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Reading Around on August 25th

Some additional reading August 25th from 10:32 to 16:21:

  • Emptywheel » Was John Yoo Free-Lancing When He Approved the “Legal Principles”?

    “Earlier today, I showed that there is a CIA document on the “Legal Principles” on torture that included legal justifications that had not been in any of the August 1, 2002 OLC memos authorizing torture. I showed that the document changed over time, but that when CIA asked Jack Goldsmith to “re-affirm” the Legal Principles in March 2004, he stated that he did not consider the document to be a product of OLC.

    I have further inquired into the circumstances surrounding the creation of the bullet points in the spring of 2003. These inquiries have reconfirmed what I have conveyed to you before, namely, that the bullet points did not and do not represent an opinion or a statement of the views of this Office.

    It seems–reading Jack Goldsmith and John Ashcroft’s objections to the CIA IG Report–that John Yoo was free-lancing when he worked with CIA on them.”

    Why does John Yoo have a job at Berkley? and why does he *still* have it?


  • AP again advances falsehood that health reform “will mean cuts in Medicare benefits” | Media Matters for America – AP again advances falsehood that health reform “will mean cuts in Medicare benefits” In an August 24 article, the Associated Press uncritically reported that “[s]eniors worry that paying for the $1 trillion-plus, 10-year [health care] overhaul will mean cuts in Medicare benefits” without noting that, in the words of, “[t]he claim that Obama and Congress are cutting seniors’ Medicare benefits to pay for the health care overhaul is outright false.” Additionally, AARP has also rebutted the notion that health reform will reduce Medicare benefits
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  • “Fela: This Bitch of a Life” (Carlos Moore)

  • Music Monday: Fela Kuti’s Bitch of a Life – Carlos Moore’s Fela: This Bitch of a Life, the newly rereleased 1982 authorized biography of Africa’s greatest musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Well, sexism and police brutality. The book, translated from the French, is essentially a well-organized and very long interview of Fela at his peak. For die-hard fans of the original Black President this may be a enticing read
health politics

LBJ Birthed Canada’s Superior Health Care System

Interesting historical factoid

No Reason at All
[Progress Lighting the Way for Commerce]

As the health care establishment appears to be once again able to block any reasonable changes to America’s sick health care system, it’s important to note that, ironically, the “father” of Canada’s universal, single-payer health care system was late President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1964, his plan caused Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson to rush the same health care scheme into existence so that Ottawa was not beaten by the Americans, as was the case in 1934 with Social Security. As things turned out, LBJ compromised with the Republicans and scaled back his plan to a co-payer insurance for senior citizens, or Medicare. So it’s hardly surprising that, again, a popular President cannot win out against the nasty tactics and enormous wealth of the medical vested interests.

And yet, today Canada’s system is not only as good as America’s, but better medically speaking, according to the World Health Organization. Even more dramatic, it is between 30 and 60% cheaper for procedures, medications and hospital stays. Despite compelling evidence, the status quo remains south of the border and American voters/media appear to be unaware of the need for change. There are billions in profits being made at the expense of Americans and the country’s economy.

[Click to continue reading Diane Francis: LBJ Created Canada’s Superior Health Care System]

and sad to witness the power of the right wing in American politics. Even though the Republicans are the minority party in both the Senate and the House, they continue to control the national dialogue, whipping up the furies of their hell-hounds to snarl at Town Halls, yadda yadda. Of course, Obama’s minions aren’t exactly shaking vials of anthrax at General Assembly of the U.N., and I guess that is, on balance, a good thing. Unfortunately, too many Americans reject rationality and reasonableness, preferring to get their talking points from drug-addled Jabba the Huts.


Rabble Rousing Cost Dick Armey His Job

Can’t help but be amused that Dick Armey, the smarmy Republican, lost his cushy lobbyist job at DLA Piper because of his connections with the scream-fests at recent Town Hall meetings.

Dick Armey, the former House Republican leader, has quit his job with the lobbying firm DLA Piper amid complaints from its drug company clients about his work opposing President Obama’s health care overhaul.

To review the facts of this case: the drug companies who helped defeat the Clinton administration health care effort 15 years ago have now turned on Mr. Armey, who then was one of their most important Congressional allies. Now, having cut a deal with this administration to limit their share of the costs, the drug companies are on the other side. Foreseeing new profits from the expansion of health coverage, they are spending as much as $150 million on advertisements to support the president’s plan.

To their embarrassment, however, Mr. Armey has continued to oppose the plan as the chairman of the independent conservative group FreedomWorks. The group has helped turn out rowdy demonstrators at town-hall-style meetings with lawmakers around the country.

Click to continue reading Drug Firms Cost Dick Armey His Lobby Job –]

Not Every Object Contains Meaning

Somewhat annoyingly, David Kirkpatrick, the journalist who filed this story, didn’t bother to cite the blogs who broke the story:

And some liberal Web sites began connecting Mr. Armey’s fight against the health care legislation to his other work for DLA Piper’s drug company clients.

Would it have been that difficult to name these “liberal Web sites”? If Reuters or The Washington Post or even Bill Moyers had first reported the connection, the New York Times would have mentioned them by name, like in this story about a possible competitor to Nielsen:

The plan was first reported by The Financial Times.

A simple declarative sentence giving credit where credit is due.

I still don’t know who first reported the news. Was it Talking Points Memo? or somebody else.

Links Photography

Reading Around on August 14th

Some additional reading August 14th from 12:05 to 12:45:

William Blake:


  • Think You Can Rip Someone’s Image From the Internet and Use it For Free? Think Again, You Just May End Up Sued and Lose | Thomas Hawk Digital Connection – “It was interesting to hear yesterday from photographer Christopher Boffoli who has done a lot of freelance work lately for the West Seattle Blog. Boffoli wrote me and told me about a situation where a Seattle based Realtor, Laura Miller with Catalyst Commercial Partners, used an unauthorized photo of his for a real estate listing (photo above) of hers and ended up having to pay him a $1,000 small claims court judgment over it.

    I’ll let Boffoli tell part of the story”

  • Change of Subject: Getting aboard a health plan — it’s time to throw a lifeline to 60 million Americans – “they’re fine with the idea of providing coverage to everyone. But only if it costs them nothing and leaves them with all the advantages, priorities and prerogatives they currently enjoy. In other words, the old “I’d haul you up, but you might swamp my rowboat” argument.

    Others tell me they view access to quality health care as something they’ve earned — either by working hard or being related to someone who works hard. And if others want it, let them earn it too — the old, “Go build your own rowboat, you slacker!” argument.

    Still others say that those without coverage can always fall back on the patchwork of public hospitals, charity and Medicaid — the old “You don’t need a rowboat. Driftwood will do” argument.

    Obviously, though, too many swimmers are drowning:”

  • Krugman- Republican Death Trip –
  • – “President Obama is now facing the same kind of opposition that President Bill Clinton had to deal with: an enraged right that denies the legitimacy of his presidency, that eagerly seizes on every wild rumor manufactured by the right-wing media complex.”
  • Court extends Tribune Co. control of Chapter 11 case — – “A bankruptcy judge said Tribune Co. can keep control of its Chapter 11 case for three-and-a-half more months as it looks to sell off some assets, including the Chicago Cubs, in its bid to exit bankruptcy protection.

    Judge Kevin J. Carey of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., on Monday gave the publisher of the Chicago Tribune an extension to Nov. 30 to file its reorganization plan to emerge from bankruptcy and to repay creditors. He also set a March 15, 2010, deadline for the media giant to win creditor support for a plan.”

  • delicious blog » Sharing Made Easier: Email and Tweet Your Bookmarks – “If you use Twitter and want to send bookmarks to your Twitter feed, associate a Twitter account (only a single Twitter account can be associated at one time) by logging into Twitter under the Twitter panel. You have the option to send all your saved bookmarks to Twitter by selecting the “Tweet all bookmarks unless private” checkbox when you add the Twitter account. If you’ve selected this option, your Twitter account will appear by default in the Send field.”
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  • Juan Gris

Health Debate Turns Hostile at Town Hall Meetings

It’s quite telling that the Republican opponents to health care reform, and any other topic, have no solutions of their own. Their strategy is just to drown out any and all discussion, like little children putting fingers in their ears and screaming, “I can’t hear you”.

The bitter divisions over an overhaul of the health care system have exploded at town-hall-style meetings over the last few days as members of Congress have been shouted down, hanged in effigy and taunted by crowds. In several cities, noisy demonstrations have led to fistfights, arrests and hospitalizations.

Democrats have said the protesters are being organized by conservative lobbying groups like FreedomWorks.

[From Health Debate Turns Hostile at Town Hall Meetings]


There is no dispute, however, that most of the shouting and mocking is from opponents of those plans. Many of those opponents have been encouraged to attend by conservative commentators and Web sites.

“Become a part of the mob!” said a banner posted Friday on the Web site of the talk show host Sean Hannity. “Attend an Obama Care Townhall near you!” The exhortations do not advocate violence, but some urge opponents to be disruptive.

“Pack the hall,” said a strategy memo [PDF] circulated by the Web site Tea Party Patriots that instructed, “Yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early.”

“Get him off his prepared script and agenda,” the memo continued. “Stand up and shout and sit right back down.”

Why I'm Glad We Moved Away from East Texas  

When I was a student at UT-Austin, there was an area near the UT Tower with tables from various student organizations, passing out literature, and engaging students who passed by. The Young Republicans were one such group, and on a couple times I attempted to have dialogue with them, and observed their behavior several subsequent times. They never really wanted to debate, they only wanted to shout down anyone who disagreed with them. They were not at all interested in discussion, were not interested in debate, they were intent solely on being the loudest voicein the area.

Same as now – just proto-brownshirts, attempting to stifle conversation about important topics, disrupt, lie, and intimidate opponents. To me, this proves they have no counter-arguments, no patriotism, no desire to make our country a better place.

Pathetic, in other words.

As a thought experiment, imagine if Iraq anti-war protestors swarmed in Republican Congress-critters Town Hall meetings, and overwhelmed the proceedings. Wouldn’t they have been all arrested? Wouldn’t the FBI have infiltrated their ranks?1 Wouldn’t the television news and radio demagogues blow-hards been fulminating for sending the protestors to Gitmo? Or saying “Love Your Country or Leave it!”, or other ridiculous phrases? Yes, of course. However, when the protests come from the reactionary elements of our country…

A volatile mix has resulted. In Mehlville, Mo., St. Louis County police officers arrested six people on Thursday evening, some on assault charges, outside a health care and aging forum organized by Representative Russ Carnahan, a Democrat. Opponents of the proposed changes, organized by the St. Louis Tea Party, apparently clashed with supporters organized by the Service Employees International Union outside a school gym.

That same day in Romulus, Mich., Representative John D. Dingell, a long-serving Democrat, was shouted down at a health care meeting by a rowdy crowd of foes of health care overhaul, many crying, “Shame on you!” A similar scene unfolded in Denver on Thursday when Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California visited a clinic for the homeless there.

In a statement Friday, Mr. Dingell, 83, deplored those trying to “demagogue the discussion,” but said he would not be deterred. “As long as I have a vote, I will not let shouting, intimidation or misinformation deter me from fighting for this cause,” he said.

The tenor of some of the debates has become extreme. Ms. Pelosi has accused people at recent protests of carrying signs associating the Democratic plan with Nazi swastikas and SS symbols, and some photographs showing such signs have been posted on the Web.

On Thursday, the talk show host Rush Limbaugh said the administration’s health care logo was itself similar to a Nazi symbol.

May Day rally 2007 Washington Bridge

One of the week’s most raucous encounters occurred Thursday in Tampa, Fla., where roughly 1,500 people attended a forum held by Democratic lawmakers, including Representative Kathy Castor. When the auditorium at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County reached capacity and organizers had to close the doors, the scene descended into violence.As Ms. Castor began to speak, scuffles broke out as people tried to push their way in. Parts of her remarks were drowned out by chants of “read the bill, read the bill” and “tyranny,” as a video recording of the meeting showed. Outside the meeting, there were competing chants of “Yes we can” and “Just say no.

At an appearance at a grocery store in Austin, Tex., on Aug. 1, Representative Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat, was drowned out as he tried to speak on health care change. One opponent had a mock tombstone with Mr. Doggett’s name on it.

Last week, a protester hanged an effigy of Representative Frank Kratovil Jr., Democrat of Maryland, at a rally opposing health care change. This week, Representative Brad Miller, Democrat of North Carolina, said he had received a death threat about his support.

Nowhere is there even a hint of what the competing Republican Health Care plan is, other than lowering taxes on the wealthy and sprinkling holy water on the wounds of the indigent. Or something equally as magical.

  1. they probably did, actually []
humor Links

Reading Around on June 17th through June 18th

A few interesting links collected June 17th through June 18th:

  • Raw Story » Bachmann rebels, refuses to fill out next year’s census – The Minnesota Republican said she would only fill out the basic census information about the number of people living in the household, but would not fill out the rest of the form, the Washington Times reports.

    Under current statutes, that means Bachmann plans to break the law and could face a $5,000 fine.

    The claim that ACORN will be “in charge” of the census is the latest allegation by a politician who has developed a reputation for disseminating right-wing conspiracy theories. Most recently, Bachmann declared that President Obama is running a “gangster government” because of the GM bailout.

  • Health insurers refuse to limit rescission of coverage – Los Angeles TimesLate in the hearing, Stupak, the committee chairman, put the executives on the spot. Stupak asked each of them whether he would at least commit his company to immediately stop rescissions except where they could show “intentional fraud.”

    The answer from all three executives:



  • Blago at Second City: The Bizarre Happenings of Illinois’ #1 Criminal : The Core Junction – “In a truly bizarre moment, Rod Blagojevich made a guest appearance at The Second City, Chicago’s famed comedy club, on Saturday Night. After being prepped backstage, Blagojevich surprised the audience and started the show by entering the stage with his hands in a crucifix-like pose.”

    photo credit: swanksalot

Blagojevich Country

Links Photography politics

Reading Around on June 15th

Some additional reading June 15th from 18:15 to 19:26:

  • Iran’s Disputed Election – The Big Picture – – re Iran’s Presidential Election, Tehran and other cities have seen the largest street protests and rioting since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Supporters of reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, upset at their announced loss and suspicions of voter fraud, took to the streets both peacefully and, in some cases, violently to vent their frustrations. Iranian security forces and hardline volunteer militia members responded with force and arrests, attempting to stamp out the protests – meanwhile, thousands of Iranians who were happy with the election outcome staged their own victory demonstrations. Mousavi himself has been encouraging peaceful demonstrations, and called for calm at a large demonstration today (held in defiance of an official ban), as Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has just called for an official inquiry into accusations of election irregularities. (Update: several photos of injuries from gunshots at today’s rally added below)
  • The Fiery Judge | Mother Jones – comparing the substance and tone of her questions with those of his male colleagues and his own questions.

    “And I must say I found no difference at all. So I concluded that all that was going on was that there were some male lawyers who couldn’t stand being questioned toughly by a woman,” Calabresi says. “It was sexism in its most obvious form.”

    And what if such criticism came from a woman lawyer? Well, says Calabresi, women can be just as sexist as men in their expectations of how a woman judge should act.

    NPR played a couple of snippets of Sotomayor in its piece so listeners could judge for themselves. Ann did: “Listening to the clips, Sotomayor sounds an awful lot like John Roberts — who did not face any concerns about his ‘fiery temperament’ during his confirmation hearings. Totenberg exposes this talking point for what it is: straight-up sexism, with some racism mixed in for good measure.”

  • Daily Kos: Obama: Iranian people “should be heard and respected” – “What I would say to those people who put so much hope and energy and optimism into the political process, I would say to them that the world is watching and inspired by their participation, regardless of what the ultimate outcome of the election was. And they should know that the world is watching.And particularly to the youth of Iran, I want them to know that we in the United States do not want to make any decisions for the Iranians, but we do believe that the Iranian people and their voices should be heard and respected.”
  • Twitter Blog: Down Time Rescheduled – A critical network upgrade must be performed to ensure continued operation of Twitter. In coordination with Twitter, our network host had planned this upgrade for tonight. However, our network partners at NTT America recognize the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran
  • Competition For Dummies by digby Just think. This… – “Sadly, this is the result of misguided American exceptionalism (and years of convenient Republican gibberish.) Even people who by all rights should be well informed about the issues of the day just simply can’t wrap their minds around the fact that our health care system is not only bad by our own measurements but that it is far worse than the systems in other industrialized countries. Foreigners cannot possibly have better health care than America. This is the greatest country the world has ever known or ever will know! It’s impossible!

    Except it’s true.”