Friday Morning News You can Use

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Good Morning, Conflucians. Today I really mean it when I say TGIF! Let me tell you, teaching two classes every single day for two hours each is wiping me out. I am really going to veg out this weekend, and I can’t wait to get started. So this will be a brief, slightly ecclectic, and disorganized collection of news links. Hope you enjoy them.

Health Care “Reform”

Be still my heart!

Liberal Democrats Protest Health Care Deal, Threaten to Fight It

Fifty-three lawmakers from the Congressional Black Caucus, the Progressive Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and key committee chairmen formally opposing the deal that House leaders struck with a group of fiscally conservative Democrats known as Blue Dogs.

The letter, written to express their “opposition” to the negotiated deal, called the agreement “fundamentally unacceptable” and a “large step backwards.”

“We’re going to fight this with every effort that we have,” CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee, D-Calif., told reporters Thursday.

Liberal Democrats threaten to reject House healthcare deal

“We have compromised and we can compromise no more,” an angry Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) said at a raucous news conference outside the Capitol.

Meanwhile in the Senate, a growing number of Democrats and Republicans were taking aim at an effort led by finance committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to develop centrist healthcare legislation that could attract GOP support — in part by eliminating a government plan entirely.

The rising tide of liberal anger sent the White House scrambling, with Obama calling at least one left-leaning lawmaker to offer reassurance before Congress leaves town for its August break.

Will they really fight for actual health care reform? I don’t want to get my hopes up. Will these reps be able to stand up to the nasty threats that will be coming their way from Rahm Emanuel? Somehow I doubt it, but hope springs eternal…

Economy

The Real Unemployment Rate Hits a 68-Year High

PhD Economist: Fed has Caused Soaring Unemployment, Millions of Foreclosures, Millions Losing Life Savings and More than $6 Trillion in Lost Output

Don’t Be Fooled

Cash for Clunkers Program Suspended after Only Four Days

‘Cash for Clunkers’ Runs Out of Gas.

Cash for Clunkers is Said to Run Out

Cash for Clunkers Going Broke

Karl Rove and U.S. Attorney Firings

[David] Iglesias: ‘Long Suspected Rove’s Fingerprints Were All Over’ Attorney Firings

E-Mails Show Larger White House Role in Prosecutor Firings

Iran

BBC: Iran police clash with mourners (with video)

State TV said police used teargas to disperse crowds from the grave of Neda Agha Soltan, whose death became a symbol of post-election unrest.

Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi tried to join the mourners but police forced him to leave, witnesses said.

Further confrontations were reported at a second gathering in central Tehran.

Several hundred people defied a heavy police presence to gather at the Grand Mossala prayer area, witnesses said.

NYT: Clashes as Iranians Gather to Mourn

Thousands of people gathered in Tehran on Thursday to commemorate those killed in Iran’s post-election crackdown, but a vast deployment of police officers used tear gas and wooden batons to disperse them, in some of the largest and most violent street clashes in weeks.

The mourners gathered at the freshly dug graves of protesters, including Neda Agha-Soltan, a young woman whose bloodied image has become an icon of the opposition movement. As the opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi arrived at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery, the police barred him from entering, and angry mourners chanted, “Neda lives! Ahmadinejad is dead!” referring to Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, witnesses said.

Comic Relief

‘Birthers are Just Plain Nuts’

Baby biting Al Franken

Baby biting Al Franken

Franken attacked by biting baby

One of the job requirements of any elected representative is holding babies. Yes, it’s trivial and annoying, but new parents couldn’t be more thrilled to have someone semi-famous holding their little bundle of joy. Besides the crying, smelly diapers and potential for spit-up, these poor people have another hazard in their hands: babies who attack.

More Franken photos with biting baby

Man believed pizza slice was left behind to harrass others

On Monday evening, police were called to the 1300 block of Desoto Street about a “suspicious piece of pizza.”

The 43-year-old man demanded that police write out a police report about the slice of pizza, claiming it was left near a fence with the intent to harass. Police described the pizza slice to the Pioneer Press: “The man had found a piece of pizza that was three-quarters eaten, with bite marks in it.”

When the Punch Lines Hit Home: Judd Apatow’s Latest Film Examines the Tears of a Clown

Please post links to additional stories that interested you!


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98 Responses

  1. “Birthers are Just Plain Nuts”

    Definitely a few french fries short of a Happy Meal.

    BTW – I’ve never been harassed by a pizza slice but I was stalked by a burrito once.

  2. Thanks bb, and enjoy your weekend!

    Over here the new US ambassador to Denmark has arrived. She is a Washington lawyer, early supporter of and bundler for Obama, ex-wife of Tom Daschle, Laurie Susan Fulton.

    Looking for a list of ambassadors and their relation with Obama I came across this from muckety.com July 10th, under the headline “More Obama bundlers named to ambassador jobs”:

    ”Although you can still find plenty of critical posts about McCain and Clinton bundlers on the campaign site, barackobama.com, the page listing Obama bundlers has been deleted.”

    … but I guess that’s a surprise to no one!

    http://tinyurl.com/m6r7yz

    • Actually Ms. Fulton won me over when, as she was welcomed at the airport, her very first words … were in Danish!

      I don’t think Americans quite recognize just how much it means to non-Americans to hear foreigners speak our language. Be it performing artists, lecturers … or ambassadors, we truly appreciate when visitors have taken the extra effort to learn even just a few words in our language.

      Think back to what an impact JFK’s – not even very well pronounced – famous 4 words in German had!

      Obama’s words in Arabic on the other hand – what were they even? I guess it takes sincerity for words to be appreciated and to have an impact!

      • Ambassaborships are basically ceremonial positions – the real work is done by career foreign service officers in the State Dept.

        For years they have been handed out as rewards for big donors.

        • Yes … and?

          • I dunno – did I forget something?

          • Yes, I found it interesting that before she became ex-wife of Tom Daschle, she worked for him on the Hill. I didn’t know he had an ex-wife. She also worked representing white-collar criminal defense, and apparently was very good at it.

            She mainly wanted the appointment due to heritage, which is well enough and I am sure she will do a good job, but I would have been more impressed if she had worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

          • It is rather interesting that President “Let’s change politics as usual in Washington” started out his first six months in office handing out more ambassadorships to political donors than any of his predeccesors (55%–thus far violating the gentleman’s agreement in effect since the Eisenhower years that a 30% to 70% ratio of patronage appointees to professional diplomats is considered acceptable).

            The American Academy of Diplomacy.is among the groups that think the public would be served if that number was lowered, and have urged Obama to cut that number to about ten percent. “Too often ambassadorships have served as political rewards for unqualified candidates,” they wrote in a letter to Obama last year.

            So much for their advice.

            I tend to agree with what John Jett had to say about the issue

            Some argue it does not matter because ambassadors are not policymakers, but just implementers of what is dictated by Washington. Anyone who believes that, however, hasn’t spent much time outside the Beltway. Ambassadors run embassies with hundreds of employees from dozens of different agencies. Getting them to work well and work together requires some understanding of the way government works.

            If it is one thing that the last president demonstrated, it is that the world’s only superpower is not all-powerful and that the cooperation of other countries is essential to effectively confront the most serious threats that America faces. The last administration thought public diplomacy (not to mention domestic policy) was repeating the same lie enough times. Persuading skeptical publics abroad requires more than a few phone calls or a personal relationship with the man in the White House.

            The fact that someone has made a bundle in real-estate development or skimming bonuses in high finance does not mean he is the best person to carry out such tasks. No other serious country chooses its ambassadors in such a transparently mercenary manner. Britain and Germany, for instance, have nearly all career ambassadors with a few appointees included who are known for their political clout and not simply the size of their bankroll.

            But then again, no other country has allowed money to corrupt the political process to the extent the United States has. Tens of thousands of Washington lobbyists engaging in a multibillion-dollar business shilling for anyone with the ability to pay is one symptom of the problem.

            Link.

            With all that said, I agree that Ms. Fulton will probably do a fine job. It still remains a nice pipe dream to imagine that money could ever play less of a role in American politics.

          • Hi Inky!

            Thanks for the link. Interesting!

            And yes, I’m kind of relieved, that I liked her (and it speaks to her advantage, that she left that weasel of a husbond, heh!), and trust her to be efficient and capable. Disliking the guy in the White House is enough, I don’t also need to dislike his representative here.

            The former Ambassador to Denmark was actually rather popular. Toured DK on his bike to get to know us! We’re suckers for such engagement, lol. But he also did a really good job. I don’t think anyone would have minded him staying, and I believe there even was some talk about trying to make that possible.

  3. From the NYT:

    A senior American military adviser in Baghdad has concluded in an unusually blunt memo that Iraqi forces suffer from entrenched deficiencies but are now able to protect the Iraqi government, and that it is time “for the U.S. to declare victory and go home.”

    We won’t be leaving with Bush III in office.

    • I have come to believe it is really the Rahm Emanuel administration. That would explain why we have bush III. They have no experience and no idea how to run the country so they just take some from column A (Clinton) and some from column B (bush) and let those people tell them what to do.

    • Have you noticed that the press/media has bought the ‘Overseas Contingency Operations’ BULL…no mention of WARS anywhere these days. Mean while the TAB for the WARS continues to grow…no mention of that either, and we don’t get to see any photos of those killed, coming home ala Bush II. Very disconcerting.

  4. German scientists invent a bikini that dissolves in water.

  5. The beer thingy was a perfect venue for Biden – only seen and not heard.
    Wonder how many gaffes we missed?

  6. Quelle surprise!

    Blue Dogs Receive More Health Industry Backing

    [T]he group has set a record pace for fundraising this year through its political action committee, surpassing other congressional leadership PACs in collecting more than $1.1 million through June. More than half the money came from the health-care, insurance and financial services industries, marking a notable surge in donations from those sectors compared with earlier years, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity.

    A look at career contribution patterns also shows that typical Blue Dogs receive significantly more money — about 25 percent — from the health-care and insurance sectors than other Democrats, putting them closer to Republicans in attracting industry support.

  7. Corzine still behind. Christie appears to be widening his lead.
    Hey, whatever happen to that Obama rally that was supposed to turn it all around for Corzine?
    Where’s my primary vote, Jon??!?!?!

    • Our governor thinks California is Sarah Conner.

    • I just can’t find the link but somebody wrote a couple of days ago that people in NJ need to start learning how to say Gov Christie.

      Apparently the last NJ scandal must be the coup de grace for Gov Corzine.

      • Corzine’s not even directly involved in the arrests, although I have read that someone in his administration has had to resign. It could be just a low level functionary. The problem isn’t that Corzine himself is corrupt (tho I’m not so sure that corruption didn’t have something to do with the convention switcheroo). It’s that Corzine has done nothing to clean up corruption. He’s been like a placeholder as far as governors go. He’s done nothing in the past four years that a moderate Republican governor wouldn’t have done. Basically, nothing has changed under Corzine.
        Obama is following the Corzine model. Let’s see if he can fool the voters a second time.

  8. And the NYC tabloids give it up for the beer moment – why men only at that table? Another Bros before Hos moment
    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/photo-op-accomplished-tabloids-deliver/

    • yeah—what’s with that? If Obie was bringing a date, why not Mechelle?

    • Ms. Whalen (the 911 caller) would have been a good pick.

      • Of course, she was the only entirely blameless actor in the whole affair, so why should she get to drink with the boyz?

  9. I am very happy that there are some liberals left in Congress who are standing up to the conservatives. They will get criticized but we’ve seen enough compromise and any health care reform is not better than the right healthcare reform. I would say nothing is better than a convoluted plan designed only to placate an insurance lobby and conservatives. Once there is “reform” no matter how bad we’ll never see it again in our lifetimes.

    I see Obama has decided to give the Presidential Medal of Honor to the late Harvey Milk. Another meaningless gesture to get straight allies and gay groups like HRC singing his praises. In the meantime, purges in the military continue, LGBT people get executed in Iraq, the hate crimes bill has a death penalty amendment attached now, and Obama gets a pass for all of it.

  10. During our “exile” yesterday to SquareSpace, someone posted something about Rahm Emanuel which seemed to be a biggie.
    But I can’t find it now.
    Does anyone remember?

  11. Joeyj – is this it?

    Found this reference about Rahm Emanuel’s brother who has been appointed to two key positions related to health care. Ezekiel Emanuel’s book: The Ends of Human Life: Medical Ethics in a Liberal Polity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991. (Ezekiel is Rahm Emanuel’s brother)
    This book argues for terminating care for the elderly and the equitable allocation of medical resources.

  12. http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/82791/

    This makes sense to me

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS, EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  13. Another Clunker for Obie—cash for clunkers was supposed to allocate 4B $$$ to trade your clunker in for a new, green machine. But it is stopped in 4 days because they ran out of money? Guess they actually only allocated 1B to the program and they have problems with the mechanics of moving the money from government to dealers. Guess the Bush II problems with actually running programs are another Bush path for Obie.

    This was shaping up to be a big plus program; it probably won’t help Obie’s “plunging” approval rating that the program has been stopped after only 4 days.

    If our government can not put this simple program in place effectively, if it can not implement stimulus funding at better than 10% in 6 mo.—-imagine what they will be able to NOT do with health care.

    So now we have proved after only 6+ months that that incompetence is a bi-partisan trait!

    • I wrote both of my Senators about another program vacuuming out my wallet. It’s bad enough I got to pay the bonus of some guy from Wall Street, but now my neighbor’s new ride?
      Obama could have made this revenue neutral by offering the car companies carbon credits they could use or sell to others in exchange for offering a rebate on clunkers.
      But programs that shift large amounts of money are easier for some corrupt pol to skim off the top.

  14. BB: In answer to your question about the libs standing tall and fighting—-they will do so only long enough to pass something and then there will be a committee to reconcile the Senate and House bills and what was fought for will be traded away.

  15. I just saw pictures of the beer summit. Biden was there, LOL.

  16. Ok, saw this on the other thread, Jake Tapper’s exasperation with Gibbs is funny:

    • Obama is more Bush than Bush. Too bad Tapper et al didn’t write about that during the election.

    • That was hilarious. Whatever “side” you fall on as to whether the Gates incident should spark a conversation about race and the police, that furiously backpedaling avoidance answer satisfies NO ONE.

      If you now don’t believe we should be “taught something” about race around this particular issue, then SAY so. If you think we SHOULD be using it to learn something, then step up to the plate and SAY so. Cowardly crap like what Gibbs just did only annoys everyone.

      • A lot of people didn’t like where George W. stood on issues but they liked the fact that he stood somewhere.

        • Some people will have grudging respect for an enemy that tells them clearly where he stands.

          But NO one respects a weasley two-faced buttkisser.

          • “But NO one respects a weasley two-faced buttkisser”

            My morning chuckle, delivered in true WMCB style!

    • Thanks for that.

      Teachable moment, my arse! And is that teacher going to put down that beer and send Tapper into timeout … ’cause he’s sporting quite an attitude there. Go Jake!!!

      Honestly, I felt sick looking at the photo of that beer summit. Yet another photo op. Yawn.

    • That’s like GM saying “These new models suck, so lets hire the best ad agency to help sell them”

      • They are going to faux rail against the insurance industry even though the insurance industry benefits from their stupid plan. Nancy’s already gotten started.

        • Sam Rayburn said to a first-term congressman who wanted excused from voting with the party to satisfy his biggest contributors:

          “Son, if you can’t take their money, drink their whiskey, screw their women, and then vote against ‘em, you don’t deserve to be here.”

  17. I’m shocked! (not):

    Thousands of top traders and bankers on Wall Street were awarded huge bonuses and pay packages last year, even as their employers were battered by the financial crisis.

  18. I dunno, there’s something about this that makes me go “ewwwwwww”…

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8177528.stm

    “Endeavour will bring home Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who has spent 138 days in space and has been a member of three separate space station crews.

    Mr Wakata is returning to Earth in experimental underwear he kept on for a month. The hi-tech garments were designed in Japan to be odour-free.”

    May be odour-free, but….

    • Do the have a Hello Kitty embroidered on them?

    • I change mine every week whether they need it or not.

    • OMG this is tmi for this time of the am! He may smell nice but why are his skivvies down around his knees?
      they’re probably being tested for when the Boomers are stacked like cord word in assisted living facilities.
      I’m takin’ the shotgun to the woods before that happens to me.

  19. Tancredo calls Sonia Sotomayor racist while referring to her as “Sonia Mayer” :

  20. Re: the liberal congresspersons “standing up” on healthcare, color me cynical.

    Notice that there are all kind of proclamations that they will “fight this”, that they find it “unacceptable”, that they are writing letters to express “opposition”. But nowhere in all that blathering is a firm and unequivocal statement that they WILL NOT VOTE FOR a bill that leaves out a true public option, PERIOD.

    Pardon me if I interpret that to mean “We will make a lot of noise, and shout a lot, and make it very clear and go on record (for future re-election purposes in our liberal districts) that we opposed this. But we are going to vote how they tell us to in the end.”

    Voting on bills is no different than us voting at the ballot box. All the screeching in the world means exactly bupkus if you are not willing to back it up by withholding your vote.

    • They’re all going to vote for this crap, Obama will get his non-reform reform. It’s pathetic.

      • It’s amazing to me that people seem to think “holding their feet to the fire” means “making lots of angry phone calls and blogging our outrage and circulating petitions.”

        Um, no. Angry phone calls are all fine and good, and may help. But if they KNOW that in the end they have your vote regardless, then YOU have trained them to ignore you as an unpleasant annoyance, not a threat.

        As a rough “for instance”, your man cannot take you for granted without your assistance. Unless you continue to do for him all those things he takes for granted, all the while bitching and moaning about it. Don’t whine and bitch, just STOP doing it.

  21. There’s a headline about Fannie and Freddie probably not returning bailout money. Gee, tell me something new.

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