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Liberal Outrage

This one's probably not a prank

By fnord12 | December 24, 2009, 10:27 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

The Power of Prayer


Think Progress makes a great catch on C-SPAN this morning: Someone calls in while Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) is answering the lines, practically in tears because Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) missed this morning's procedural vote on health care.

He was apparently concerned that -- after following Sen. Tom Coburn's (R-OK) instructions to pray that someone couldn't make a manager's amendment vote Sunday night -- his prayers for Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) to die struck the wrong senator.

"Our small tea bag group here in Waycross, we got our vigil together and took Dr. Coburn's instructions and prayed real hard that Sen. Byrd would either die or couldn't show up at the vote the other night," the caller said.

"How hard did you pray because I see one of our members was missing this morning. Did it backfire on us? One of our members died? How hard did you pray senator? Did you pray hard enough?" he continued, his voice breaking.

Inhofe was at the Sunday vote, but missed another procedural vote this morning.

Barrasso didn't really respond, but reassured the caller that Republicans didn't need Inhofe there today. For the record, Inhofe is still quite alive and plans to return to the Senate for later votes this week.

Most in the comments at TPM suggest it's a hoax.

Update: Definitely a hoax.

By fnord12 | December 22, 2009, 6:57 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Two objections

#1 - I don't like that Obama is escalating in Afghanistan.

Response: Well, he said he would do that during the election, so you can't complain.

#2 - Obama was against individual mandates and for a public option during the election. But now he's supporting a bill that has no public option and includes individual mandates.

Response: What, you actually believe everything candidates say during their campaign?

By fnord12 | December 18, 2009, 4:38 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

We may be divided on the health care bill, but we can all still laugh at Jim Inhofe


In September, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) announced that he would travel to Copenhagen for the international climate change talks, for the purpose of undermining the Obama administration's position. It's not particularly common for American elected officials to travel abroad to sabotage the position of the United States government, but Inhofe is ... what's the word ... special.

His plan was fairly straightforward -- U.S. officials would assure world leaders that America is ready to act to combat global warming, and intends to pass legislation to reduce emissions. Inhofe, the Senate's leading opponent of science, reason, and evidence, set out to explain to foreign governments that U.S. officials are not to be believed, in part because he would personally make U.S. policymaking on climate change impossible.

Inhofe scheduled a brief visit to Copenhagen -- arrive, spread nonsense, fly back -- but his stay was poorly timed. When the right-wing Oklahoman got there, it was early morning, and no one was around. He was able to arrange zero meetings, met no foreign officials, and had no discussions with U.S. negotiators.

Eventually, Inhofe aides were able to corral some journalists into attending a hastily-arranged media availability, where the strange senator proceeded to share his belief that the United Nations came up with global warming as an elaborate hoax, and only the "Hollywood elite" believe the scientific evidence.

A reporter from Der Spiegel told the senator, "You're ridiculous."

By fnord12 | December 18, 2009, 4:22 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

"In a move that senior leadership aides say has left them stunned"


Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that he will filibuster a tentative public option compromise unless it's stripped of its key component: a measure that would allow people aged 55-64 to buy insurance through Medicare.

The development casts substantial doubt on whether or not a health care reform bill can pass in the Senate, and even more doubt on whether a bill that does pass the Senate will be reconcilable with substantially more progressive House legislation in such a way that a final reform package can once again pass in both chambers of Congress.

Lieberman told Reid this afternoon, after a contentious appearance on Face the Nation, that he's a "no" vote on the new compromise unless the Medicare buy-in is stripped, and he's not even waiting for the CBO to weigh in--a move one leadership aide described as "extremely unfair."

What makes the new turn even more outlandish in the eyes of leadership and others is that Lieberman ran for Vice President on a platform that included a Medicare buy-in for people not-yet eligible for the program.

Really? You didn't see that coming?

By fnord12 | December 14, 2009, 9:56 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Defeated by their own incompetence

For once. Finally it works to our advantage. Not too long ago i was worried about a special commission that would be empowered to force cuts in entitlement programs in order to reduce the deficit.

Luckily, they've designed it so that it would be impossible for anything to pass:

Importantly, the task force would ensure a bipartisan outcome. Broad bipartisan agreement would be required to move anything forward. Fourteen of the 18 Task Force members would have to agree to report the recommendations. And final passage would require supermajorities in both the Senate and House.

"Our Bipartisan Fiscal Task Force is designed to get results," said Conrad and Gregg.

Only if the desired result is the status quo.

By fnord12 | December 11, 2009, 12:58 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link

Groups of 30

Don't know what it means, but i guess i'll start looking to see if it's true.

By fnord12 | December 11, 2009, 11:08 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

It's the Great Depression all over again

With "punishing" unemployment for the foreseeable future, the Obama administration is focused on cutting the deficit. This is exactly how FDR extended the Great Depression. We learn nothing.

The one solution to both problems is to pass a better stimulus bill now, but include triggers that raise revenue in the future once we get to acceptable levels of unemployment. But they seem to be balking on that as well.

By fnord12 | December 11, 2009, 11:02 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Off with his head

I was ambivalent towards Bernanke. Krugman had vouched for him in the past, saying that Bernanke had done good academic work earlier dealing with the zero bound interest rate problem, which is what we now face. Wasn't thrilled with a lot of the decisions that were made regarding the bank bailouts, but i didn't know how much of that was coming from Bernanke vs. Geithner and/or Obama. But his opinions on cutting Social Security and Medicare, which came out during his reconfirmation hearings, are

Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) sympathized with Bernanke, saying that, because of entitlement spending, "you're going to be looking at a situation where the Congress will be unable to provide any kind of fiscal discipline because of the mandatory spending. That puts an enormous burden on your plate."

"Well, Senator, I was about to address entitlements," Bernanke replied. "I think you can't tackle the problem in the medium term without doing something about getting entitlements under control and reducing the costs, particularly of health care."

Bernanke reminded Congress that it has the power to repeal Social Security and Medicare.

"It's only mandatory until Congress says it's not mandatory. And we have no option but to address those costs at some point or else we will have an unsustainable situation," said Bernanke.

Thank god for Bernie Sanders:

Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who has placed a hold on Bernanke's nomination, was apoplectic when HuffPost told him Bernanke was pushing for cuts in entitlement spending. "Bernanke wants to cut entitlement spending? Well, that confirms everything I'm saying," Sanders fumed.

"The CEOs and top people on Wall Street make huge bonuses, and what? We're going to cut back on Social Security and Medicare? That's what we're going to do?"

Sanders said he sees it for what it is. "That's the solution? To cut back on the middle class and the elderly? That only adds fuel to the fire," he said. "Look, let's be clear. The middle class in America today is collapsing. Within the confines of the Beltway, we don't talk about that too much. But that is the reality. It's not just unemployment or underemployment. People are working longer hours for lower wages. People are unable to send their kids to college. People are losing their homes. People's jobs are going to China. That is the reality."

Update: Kurgman turns on Bernanke .

By fnord12 | December 4, 2009, 11:35 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

No Green Jobs for Us

Link via Digby:

The initial promise of green jobs was based on governments around the world declaring the fight against global warming to be a priority. The theory was that jobs in environmentally minded companies would grow rapidly as a result. But instead, some green-industry companies have been shedding jobs in the United States, and in some cases moving them to China.

Last week, the Gamesa wind turbine plant in western Pennsylvania announced it was laying off nearly half its 280 workers. Last month, General Electric said it would close a solar panel factory in Delaware, while Evergreen Solar, which received $58 million in state aid to build a 900-employee plant northwest of Boston, said it would move some assembly to China, costing 250 jobs.

There are myriad reasons why green jobs have grown more slowly than hoped. The clean energy component of the $787 billion stimulus package has only recently started to kick in. Energy experts say that banks, which have been reluctant to lend generally, have been especially loath to lend for alternative energy projects.

And renewable-energy companies are hesitating to invest in new plants and equipment before Congress enacts new environmental mandates, like cap and trade, to limit carbon emissions. In addition, the long recession (along with correspondingly slack energy demand) caused the clean-energy industry to delay expansion plans.

As a result, the United States is likely to install just one-eighth as much new solar power this year as Germany does, and China is expected to surpass the United States this year as the leader in adding new wind energy capacity.

By fnord12 | December 3, 2009, 4:10 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link


Republicans are still mad about the fact that Al Franken made them vote against an anti-rape amendment. This vote was two months ago. They're really surprised that people are upset about it. But of course they can't help whine about it, keeping their horrible vote in the news.

(Note that i'm linking to TPM. The original Politico article does its best to make it seem like it's all Franken's fault.)

By fnord12 | December 2, 2009, 6:29 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link


Joe Klein:

There is one argument for continuing the fight that I would add, however:

Pakistan. If the U.S. doesn't remain engaged in Afghanistan, the civilian government in Pakistan - already an incredibly shaky enterprise - will probably fall.

Our presence in the region is one of the main destabilizing factors. Pakistan and India were having productive talks before we set down a large military presence in the area. Now their people are angry and the fundamentalist forces are on the rise. Here's why.

By fnord12 | December 1, 2009, 5:13 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link


Death by starvation - no longer a problem. We have the ways and means to keep alive. Just.

Barwaco and Mohamed come from Nana, a small village way up on the stony Kenyan Ethiopian border. But like millions more children around the world, they owe their lives to this brand of food which is never advertised and is unknown outside disaster spots. The sweet paste, invented by a French scientist, is made under licence to UN children's charity Unicef on an industrial estate outside Le Havre, and its mix of peanut butter, vegetable oils, powdered milk, sugar, vitamins and minerals is the equivalent of royal jelly, açaí berries and chocolate all wrapped into one for malnourished children. It's cheap - a sachet costs about 85p - and because it needs no cooking or added water, children can safely feed themselves on it at home. In just a few years "ready-to-use therapeutic foods" (RUTF) like Plumpy'nut have revolutionised the treatment of severe malnutrition.

One month ago, says Jirma, both Barwaco and Mohamed were at death's door. Their muscles were wasting, their hair was turning orange, and they were showing sure signs of marasmus, a type of malnutrition caused by a diet deficient in protein and carbohydrates. When Jirma first saw them he feared for their lives. Now, with the Plumpy'nut provided by Irish charity Concern Worldwide, they have recovered nearly 10% of their body weight - the difference between life and death for a young child. In another week or two they will move on to a corn and soya blend flour and in two months they should have recovered completely.


"We are not killing people [with hunger] as we did 20 years ago," says Yves Horent, the European community's head of humanitarian aid in Nairobi. "Things have improved enormously. We don't have many deaths from hunger nowadays. We're become very good at keeping people alive technically with foods like Plumpy'nut. We have techniques to save people. We can keep mortality rates low. It's incredibly efficient. We can save children, no problem. Just 20 years ago this would not have been possible. The cost of a life saved is now very cheap - €20-€40 will save a life. We can give vouchers, so people can access food easily. Fifteen years ago that would have been unheard of. We can deal with 20 million people. Now where there is free access or there are no blocks [to humanitarian groups] to working in a country, we can move thousands of tonnes of food. We won't see people dying in thousands again, like in Ethiopia in 1984. People tried their best then, but the science was not as good as now. In the mid-1980s, we had very few professional aid workers and only a few nutritionists," he says.

But while the humanitarian groups have become incredibly good at saving people, the worry is that no one is addressing the causes of growing hunger. "Part of the problem is that we have become expert in a very artificial way now. We can take a child who is almost dead and revive her. But we cannot stop it happening again and again. We cannot prevent the problem," he says.

The reality of emergency aid today, he says, is that the millions of hungry people who are kept on a drip-feed of food aid from governments and the UN are out of sight. More than 100 million people now depend on UN food aid just to survive, not just to get them over a disaster or a temporary emergency, but to stay alive for years at a time. More than 5 million people in Ethiopia, similar numbers in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, 1 million in Kenya and more in Burma, Somalia, Yemen, Chad and India are kept permanently just above the starvation levels. There may be no full-scale humanitarian emergencies any more, but people are left in a perpetual state of chronic hunger.

Now there are ominous signs that rich countries are withdrawing even this safety net. Following the recession, countries have pledged less than half the money needed to feed the hungry. Even as hunger is increasing, the World Food Programme is nearly $3bn short and is having to close offices, cut operations and slash rations to millions of people who have no way of earning money to buy food.


Happy holidays and all that.

By min | December 1, 2009, 1:11 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

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