Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In the News – 9/15/2009

Today I’m only going to post one article.  There are half a dozen stories that caught my attention, but no single issue inspired a major post today.

On a personal note, I visited my doctor yesterday.  On the plus side, I am still breathing, I have a pulse, and I got a flu shot.  On the minus side, for my twenty minute appointment, I traveled ninety minutes each way, waited over an hour when I got there, and spent over $100.  :-(   I won my games in both fantasy football leagues I joined, and much to my surprise, I had the best scores in both leagues.  Wooo! Hooo!  TomCat sticks out his chest and struts as if he were macho. ;-)

Joe Wilson lied about more than coverage for illegal immigrants.

JoeWilsonLied Rep. Joe ("You Lie!") Wilson's now-legendary exclamation during President Obama's speech to Congress last week was itself essentially untrue, as we've documented.

But in trying to deflect charges of xenophobia in the wake of the outburst, it looks like the South Carolina congressman again played fast and loose with the facts.

At a Thursday press conference, Wilson was at pains to present himself as a friend of immigrants, declaring:

“We need to be discussing issues specifically to help the American people. And that would not include illegal aliens, these are people-- I'm for immigration, legal immigration, I've been an immigration attorney. But people who have come to our country and violated laws, we should not be providing full health care services.”

We weren't aware that Wilson had been an immigration attorney. So TPMmuckraker went looking for information about his work in the field. And we came up dry.

According to the bio on Wilson's website -- or what's left of the site, after it crashed last week amid the flurry of attention he received -- he's a real estate attorney by trade, who helped found the West Columbia law firm Kirkland, Wilson, Moore, Taylor & Thomas, before entering Congress in 2001. He also has served as a Staff Judge Advocate with the South Carolina Army National Guard.

One lawyer from Wilson's home county of Lexington -- who said he has known Wilson personally since 1985 and described himself as very familiar with Wilson's law practice -- declared flatly to TPMmuckraker: "Joe has never been anything but a real-estate attorney."... [emphasis added]

Inserted from <TPM Muckraker>

OOPS!!  Poor Joe.  Gone are the days that congress people can lie like a Republican and not get caught.  Joe is a perfect example of GOP credibility.

While we’re on the subject of lying fools, here’s a progress report on the campaign to boycott Beck’s advertisers.

BeckCrying Today, Color of Change announced that since it launched a boycott of Glenn Beck’s Fox News show a month ago, the controversial host has lost half of his estimated advertising revenue:

According to the data collected, the amount of money spent by national advertisers on Beck’s program per week was at its highest at approximately $1,060,000, for the week ending August 2, 2009. ColorOfChange.org launched their campaign at the end of that week and since then, 62 advertisers have distanced themselves from Beck. Data collected for the week ending September 6, 2009 shows Beck’s estimated ad revenue at $492,000, equal to a loss of $568,000.

“Fox News Channel has consistently claimed they haven’t lost revenue as advertisers abandon Glenn Beck, but the numbers prove otherwise,” said Color of Change Executive Director James Rucker... [emphasis original]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

Frankly, I don’t think anything we can do will take Beck off the air.  The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press to anyone fortunate enough to own a press, or its modern equivalent.  Rupert Murdoch is fortunate enough to own lots of them, so it’s his right to keep attack dog on the air.  But if that must be so, let it be Murdoch money that supports Beck, not money from American consumers.

On the healthcare front, there’s some encouraging news for a change.

Harkin Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin predicts Congress will approve a health care reform bill this fall that includes a public option, saying a "silent majority" of Americans favor such an overhaul.

Speaking with reporters Sunday at a Democratic fundraiser, Harkin promised passage of "a bill before we go home for Christmas." He says the measure will include a government insurance option.

Harkin's views have grown in importance since he was named chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee after the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Harkin says there is little political risk in backing health care reform and that the real danger is opposing changes...

Inserted from <Common Dreams>

The buzz I’m hearing is after the Baucus proposal is announced tomorrow, and once it is marked-up before the full finance committee next Tuesday, the Democrats who constitute a majority of that committee, who have been excluded from the negotiations so far, as though elections did not matter, will be proposing amendments sufficient to clean it up.  I also understand that snake-in-the Grassley and his goose-stepping cohorts will reject even the unacceptably watered-down Baucus version.  The bottom line is this: Democrats will have to proceed without Republicans, unless they are willing to concede to a continuation of the status quo.  Since that is true, they should proceed with what Obama promised, not a measure weakened by the Repuglican Reich, whish they refuse to support anyway.

On the human rights front, the Bush/GOP practice of opposing UN efforts to combat abuses is now over.

un_logo U.S. attended its first formal meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council as a member Monday, saying it will try to promote dialogue at a body it once avoided and heavily criticized.

The U.S. was elected in June to the 47-nation council, which was criticized by the Bush administration for primarily denouncing Israel while ignoring abuses elsewhere. Washington left its observer seat on the council vacant during the last six months of President George W. Bush's second term.

"We will strive for discussions that are thoughtful, focused and open to all viewpoints and perspectives," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Esther Brimmer told the council.

The decision in May to seek a seat on the Geneva-based body after three years of staying on the sidelines was a major shift in U.S. policy in line with President Barack Obama's stated aim to closer cooperate with the United Nations...

Inserted from <AP/Google>

This is a positive development.  It’s time for the US to speak out against Israeli human rights abuses.  Plus, if the Council has ignored abuses elsewhere, we can bring them into focus.

Probably the last place one would expect a discussion of the recent Acorn scandal is on a left-of-center blog.  But I think the issue needs to be aired, and I’ve never been one to avoid hard topics.

ACORN The Senate voted Monday to block the Housing and Urban Development Department from giving grants to ACORN, a community organization under fire in several voter-registration fraud cases.

The 83-7 vote would deny housing and community grant funding to ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

The action came as the group is suffering from bad publicity after a duo of conservative activists posing as a prostitute and her pimp released hidden-camera videos in which ACORN employees in Baltimore gave advice on house-buying and how to account on tax forms for the woman's income. Two other videos, aired frequently on media outlets such as the Fox News Channel, depict similar situations in ACORN offices in Brooklyn and Washington, D.C.

The Senate's move would mean that ACORN would not be able to win HUD grants for programs such as counseling low-income people on how to get mortgages and for fair housing education and outreach.

Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., said that ACORN has received $53 million in taxpayer funds since 1994 and that the group was eligible for a wider set of funding in the pending legislation, which funds housing and transportation programs.

Just last week, the Census Bureau severed its ties with ACORN, saying it does not want the group's help in outreach efforts on the decennial count...

Inserted from <AP/Google>

OK, I’ve seen the videos and there is no question in my mind that more than one Acorn employees did advise Faux Noise plants, posing as prostitutes and pimps, on how to break the law.  I cannot endorse their behavior, and neither did Acorn.  Those employees have been fired.  To my knowledge, there is no evidence that this behavior represents Acorn’s policy.

In my opinion, the vote by the Senate and the Census Bureau removing Acorn from outreach are overreactions.  Where is the balance here.  Didn’t they consider all the good Acorn has done for the poor?  And where is the fairness?  Consider Bonner and Associates, who sent forged letters to Representatives.  Did not they break the law?  Is not Congress encouraging them to break the law by continuing to accept campaign cash they raise on behalf of Big Coal?  On the subject of prostitution, consider David Vitter, who could not have encouraged a prostitute to break the law more than he did.  He bought her services.  Has the Senate kicked him out?

My big concern is that it will be a long time before anyone else is organized sufficiently to continue the many services Acorn has provided to those who need them most.  That’s why the GOP objects to Acorn.  They hate it when the government finances services to help the poor.  Every penny spent on the poor, is a penny the GOP can’t spend on a millionaire.

The following Senators had the courage to vote against the tide:

Roland Burris, Bob Casey, Dick Durbin, Kirsten Gillibrand, Patrick Leahy, Sheldon Whitehouse, Bernard Sanders

Finally, there’s some good news on the financial regulation front.

Judge-rejects-settlement As President Obama traveled to Wall Street on Monday and chided bankers for their recklessness, across town a federal judge issued a far sharper rebuke, not just for some of the financiers but for their regulators in Washington as well.

Giving voice to the anger and frustration of many ordinary Americans, Judge Jed S. Rakoff issued a scathing ruling on one of the watershed moments of the financial crisis: the star-crossed takeover of Merrill Lynch by the now-struggling Bank of America.

Judge Rakoff refused to approve a $33 million deal that would have settled a lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission against the Bank of America. The lawsuit alleged that the bank failed to adequately disclose the bonuses that were paid by Merrill before the merger, which was completed in January at regulators’ behest as Merrill foundered.

He accused the S.E.C. of failing in its role as Wall Street’s top cop by going too easy on one of the biggest banks it regulates. And he accused executives of the Bank of America of failing to take responsibility for actions that blindsided its shareholders and the taxpayers who bailed out the bank at the height of the crisis.

The sharply worded ruling, which invoked justice and morality, seemed to speak not only to the controversial deal, but also to the anger across the nation over the excesses that led to the financial crisis, and the lax regulation in Washington that permitted those excesses to flourish.

Implicit in the judge’s remarks were broader questions on the anniversary of one of the most tumultuous weeks in Wall Street’s history: What do the giants of finance owe their shareholders and the investing public? And who will adequately oversee these behemoths?...

Inserted from <NY Times>

Now that’s my kind of judge!!  Perhaps there is hope that the judicial branch of our government might force more action from Congress!  If you missed Countdown last night, Keith was off, but they had an interesting discussion about financial regulation, and I’ll leave you with a video of that.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


Vigilante said...

Glad to have found you, Tom C. Don't know how I lost track some time ago!

Vigilante said...

Margaret Carlson is right on. Obama is good on the talk, but can he walk what he talks?

Stimpson said...

Wilson in other words: Hey, some of my best friends are immigrants. I'm an immigration lawyer. And a fitness model. And a Grammy-winning recording artist ...

TomCat said...

Thanks, Vig. Great to see you too. I explained it all in my first message. I hope he can.

Hi Stimson. LOL! how about...
I'm an immigration liar?



I am so pleased to see you again.

Gosh, it's been a long time. Miss you loads and missed you most during the most important event in recent years -- the election.

And thank you for letting me know that you are back!

leftdog said...


TomCat said...

Thanks HB! Missed you too, and missed being here for those events.

Dang it Dawg!! I just cleaned this computer, and now it's covered with barf!! ;-)

Jolly Roger said...

So Wilson is a racist and a liar.

A Rushpubliscum, in other words.

But he's not as bad as Beck. According to rumor, Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990. To date, Beck has not denied it. About all he's done is sic lawyers on a website devoted to exploring whether or not Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990.

Is that the behavior of a man with nothing to hide? I don't think it is.

the walking man said...

I do believe the American eldest statesman, Jimmy Carter has accurately defined the argument of why the neocon thugs are shrieking so loud.

I was a bit surprised to learn yesterday the beck is working under a $50,000,000 contract. Now we know the price he sold himself for, Murdoch is his ACORN.

TomCat said...

Hi JR, while I have no evidence for that claim, I would not put anything past Beck.

Dang, Mark, is that overpriced or what?

the walking man said...


The FALSE story of beck raping and murdering a young woman 20 years ago was started by the website as a parody of becks style of reportage..."i don't know for sure but..." some clever fellows used his own style of reportage and started the rape and murder allegations and now they are flying all over hell. Of course he will not address it because it would only call attention to the issue, the same way he picks a pig out of a poke and inflames the herd with ambiguity and innuendo shrieking until he is heard by the crowd.



TomCat said...

Thanks for the correction, Mark. It is funny. But I wouldn't want to spread false reports, even about Beck, especially when there are so many damning true ones about him.

Jolly Roger said...

How can we say whether or not Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990? To date, Beck's only response has been to sic lawyers on the site looking into the rumor. This hardly seems like the behavior of someone who DIDN'T rape and murder a young girl in 1990.

And now there allegations that Glenn Beck beats his wife! If this is also true, one has to wonder if there is any humanity to the man at all.

TomCat said...

Hi JR, based on Beck's lies and his attempts to incite violence, I'd say there is none, whether or not the allegations are true.