Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday's Sex News 04-30-10

Media Matters Daily Summary 04-30-10

Fox & Friends distorted Obama's words to claim he's against the "American dream"
Reporting on President Obama's financial reform speech, Fox & Friends repeatedly distorted his remarks to suggest that he is opposed to capitalism and "the American dream." In fact, Obama repeatedly stressed that he "believe[d] in the power of the free market." Read More

Fox trumpets Limbaugh's baseless accusation that Obama has "something" against "cops"
Following the passage of the Arizona immigration bill, Fox News amplified Rush Limbaugh's accusation that President Obama's concern about Arizona's immigration bill leading to racial profiling was taking "a shot ... at the cops" by asking if Obama has "something against cops." In fact, Obama's concerns over the legislation are shared by many law enforcement officials, and many experts and Fox News figures have confirmed that racial profiling is a likely result of the bill. Read More

Media absurdly claim that oil spill is "Obama's Katrina"
Media conservatives have rushed to absurdly compare the Obama administration's response to a catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to the Bush Administration's botched response after Hurricane Katrina, a hurricane that left more than 1,500 dead. This claim is undermined by a number of facts, including that British Petroleum reportedly led the Obama administration to believe that the spill was much less severe than it actually was. Read More

"Drill, baby, drill": Fox News' environmental catastrophe
In the wake of the catastrophic oil spill currently occurring in the Gulf of Mexico, Media Matters reviews Fox News' fervent advocacy for offshore drilling. Its activism has including promoting Sarah Palin's "drill, baby, drill" mantra and pushing myths suggesting that drilling is environmentally safe. Read More

Oil spill is only the latest crisis media have dubbed "Obama's Katrina"
Media figures have absurdly declared that the Gulf Coast oil spill is "Obama's Katrina" and have compared President Obama's response to the spill with President Bush's botched response to Hurricane Katrina. But this is just the latest in a long line of ridiculous comparisons in which media figures have referred to current events as "Obama's Katrina." Read More

Limbaugh falsely claimed Obama waited eight days to deal with Gulf oil spill
Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that President Obama "waited eight days" to respond to the Gulf oil spill. In fact, the White House immediately dispatched federal officials and the Coast Guard to work on the response to the spill. Read More

Memo to media: Timeline contradicts "Obama's Katrina" claim
A timeline of events following the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill belies the absurd media claim that the spill represents "Obama's Katrina." Read More

FBI Probing U.S. Officials And Massey, Owner Of W. Va. Mine Where 29 Died


NPR News has learned that the Mine Safety and Health Administration is one subject of a federal criminal investigation surrounding the explosion of the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia three weeks ago -- a disaster that killed 29 miners. The probe also looks at Massey Energy, the owner of the mine.

Sources familiar with the investigation say the FBI is looking into possible bribery of officials of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency that inspects and regulates mining. The sources say FBI agents are also exploring potential criminal negligence on the part of Massey Energy, the owner of the Upper Big Branch mine.

Massey has been cited repeatedly for violations of federal safety regulations and unsubstantiated rumors have circulated for years that mine inspectors and other officials receive payoffs. The FBI declines comment and neither confirms nor denies that an investigation is ongoing.

In a statement to NPR, Massey Energy says it is not aware of the allegations, and is fully cooperating with any investigations taking place. The Mine Safety and Health Administration has yet to respond to a request for comment................

Conservative Utopia

Glenn Beck’s shtick just a ‘Kids in the Hall’ rip-off

This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast April 29, 2010.

Boehner Takes Credit For Popular Parts Of Health Care Reform


House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today was adamant that some of the more popular parts of health care reform that the Democrats have been touting were actually Republican ideas, despite repeatedly saying in the past that no Republican ideas had been incorporated into the plan.

Appearing on Morning Edition, Boehner first pointed out that he and the Republicans have, "over the course of the last 16 months, every time we've had to oppose our Democrat colleagues, we've offered what we thought was a better solution."

He continued: "I think that our common sense ideas to reform the health care system made a lot more sense than what was passed by the majority."

Boehner added that if he and the Republicans take back the House of Representatives in November, they will repeal health care reform:

I think that we need to repeal the health care law and replace it with common sense steps that will lower the cost of health insurance in America.

Inskeep asked Boehner if he would also repeal some of the more popular and immediate parts of the bill, like allowing kids under the age of 26 to stay on their parents' health care plans, or ending the insurance company practice of canceling coverage when someone gets sick...........................................

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Media Matters Daily Summary 04-29-10

Buchanan scapegoats undocumented immigrants for "bankrupt" California
On Morning Joe, Pat Buchanan baselessly claimed that undocumented immigrants are "bankrupting" California. But California's Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said that it's a "myth" that undocumented immigrants are to blame for the state's fiscal crisis, and experts have attributed California's current fiscal crisis to the state's tax system and declining revenues due to the recent economic downturn.
Read More

WSJ falsely suggests that Bush Supreme Court nominees did not have a clear record on abortion
A Wall Street Journal article falsely claimed, in supposed contrast to Judge Diane Wood, that "[r]ecent Supreme Court nominees" did not have a clear record on abortion. In fact, Samuel Alito had written that he was "particularly proud" of his efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade and had issued a key anti-abortion rights opinion. Read More

EXCLUSIVE: AZ Leg. staffer disputes conservatives' "lawful contact" claims about immigration law
Conservative media have claimed that Arizona's new immigration law only allows law enforcement to question a person's immigration status if they are suspected of an unrelated offense. But in a statement given to Media Matters for America, a research analyst for the Arizona House Republican majority disputes these claims. Read More

Defending AZ law, Peters falsely claims crime rates are "soaring" in border states
In his New York Post column, Ralph Peters defended the controversial Arizona immigration law in part by citing "soaring crime rates in our border states." However, crime rates in Arizona -- as well as crime rates for each state bordering Mexico -- have dropped during the past decade. Read More

Fox falsely suggested Congressional Hispanic Caucus is holding 9-11 health bill "hostage" to get health care for undocumented immigrants
On April 29, Fox & Friends falsely suggested that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus was holding a 9-11 worker health care bill "hostage" in order "to get health care" for "illegal aliens." In fact, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is reportedly seeking to ensure that undocumented immigrants who served as post-9-11 recovery workers -- not undocumented immigrants in general, as Fox suggested -- would also be able to receive the "benefits for health problems they incurred because of their heroic actions" that are provided for other 9-11 responders by the bill. Read More

FLASHBACK: Media advanced falsehood that drilling is safe because no oil spilled during Hurricane Katrina
In the wake of the catastrophic oil spill currently occurring in the Gulf of Mexico after a rig exploded and sank, Media Matters reviews how media figures advanced the false talking point that oil drilling is environmentally safe because "not one drop of oil was spilled" during Hurricane Katrina.
Read More

Cavuto's coverage of financial reform is "a word that rhymes with 'pretty' "
On the last two editions of Your World, Fox News senior vice president of business news Neil Cavuto devoted more than six minutes to Democratic senators' use of expletives during a hearing. By contrast, he spent less than four minutes on financial regulation legislation that Republicans were blocking. Read More

Quick Fact: Morris falsely claims financial reform bill contains "$50 billion rescue fund"
In purporting to lay out why the financial reform bill "is a disaster," Dick Morris falsely asserted that the bill "guarantee[s] banks' survival by establishing a $50 billion rescue fund." In fact, the fund is designed to liquidate failing financial institutions, not "rescue" them. Read More

Florida tries to ban sex with animals after failing to do so last year.


The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Florida is trying to rectify the fact it “is one of only a dozen or so states that don’t have a law against having sex with animals.” Given the disturbing accounts of bestiality in Florida, the state senate is taking action. But, as Barbara Hijek notes, Florida has had difficulty getting the law passed:

The law was passed unanimously by the Senate this week. It would make it a first-degree misdemeanor to have sex with an animal, with a penalty of up to a year in jail.

The Senate had passed a similar bill last year, but it fizzled out before it came before the House. The House bill has a similar measure, but it awaits debate.

What is there to debate?

So, just to recap what you can and can’t do in Florida: Get married if you’re gay? Illegal. Adopt a child if you’re gay? Illegal. Marry your cousin? Legal. Have sex with an animal? Also legal.

Will Goldman Sachs prove greed is God?

The Guardian

So Goldman Sachs, the world's greatest and smuggest investment bank, has been sued for fraud by the American Securities and Exchange Commission. Legally, the case hangs on a technicality.

Morally, however, the Goldman Sachs case may turn into a final referendum on the greed-is-good ethos that conquered America sometime in the 80s – and in the years since has aped other horrifying American trends such as boybands and reality shows in spreading across the western world like a venereal disease.

When Britain and other countries were engulfed in the flood of defaults and derivative losses that emerged from the collapse of the American housing bubble two years ago, few people understood that the crash had its roots in the lunatic greed-centered objectivist religion, fostered back in the 50s and 60s by ponderous emigre novelist Ayn Rand.

While, outside of America, Russian-born Rand is probably best known for being the unfunniest person western civilisation has seen since maybe Goebbels or Jack the Ripper (63 out of 100 colobus monkeys recently forced to read Atlas Shrugged in a laboratory setting died of boredom-induced aneurysms), in America Rand is upheld as an intellectual giant of limitless wisdom. Here in the States, her ideas are roundly worshipped even by people who've never read her books oreven heard of her. The rightwing "Tea Party" movement is just one example of an entire demographic that has been inspired to mass protest by Rand without even knowing it.

Last summer I wrote a brutally negative article about Goldman Sachs for Rolling Stone magazine (I called the bank a "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity") that unexpectedly sparked a heated national debate. On one side of the debate were people like me, who believed that Goldman is little better than a criminal enterprise that earns its billions by bilking the market, the government, and even its own clients in a bewildering variety of complex financial scams.

On the other side of the debate were the people who argued Goldman wasn't guilty of anything except being "too smart" and really, really good at making money. This side of the argument was based almost entirely on the Randian belief system, under which the leaders of Goldman Sachs appear not as the cheap swindlers they look like to me, but idealised heroes, the saviours of society.

In the Randian ethos, called objectivism, the only real morality is self-interest, and society is divided into groups who are efficiently self-interested (ie, the rich) and the "parasites" and "moochers" who wish to take their earnings through taxes, which are an unjust use of force in Randian politics. Rand believed government had virtually no natural role in society. She conceded that police were necessary, but was such a fervent believer in laissez-faire capitalism she refused to accept any need for economic regulation – which is a fancy way of saying we only need law enforcement for unsophisticated criminals.

Rand's fingerprints are all over the recent Goldman story. The case in question involves a hedge fund financier, John Paulson, who went to Goldman with the idea of a synthetic derivative package pegged to risky American mortgages, for use in betting against the mortgage market. Paulson would short the package, called Abacus, and Goldman would then sell the deal to suckers who would be told it was a good bet for a long investment. The SEC's contention is that Goldman committed a crime – a "failure to disclose" – when they failed to tell the suckers about the role played by the vulture betting against them on the other side of the deal.

Now, the instruments in question in this deal – collateralised debt obligations and credit default swaps – fall into the category of derivatives, which are virtually unregulated in the US thanks in large part to the effort of gremlinish former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, who as a young man was close to Rand and remained a staunch Randian his whole life. In the late 90s, Greenspan lobbied hard for the passage of a law that came to be called the Commodity Futures Modernisation Act of 2000, a monster of a bill that among other things deregulated the sort of interest-rate swaps Goldman used in its now-infamous dealings with Greece.

Both the Paulson deal and the Greece deal were examples of Goldman making millions by bending over their own business partners. In the Paulson deal the suckers were European banks such as ABN-Amro and IKB, which were never told that the stuff Goldman was cheerfully selling to them was, in effect, designed to implode; in the Greece deal, Goldman hilariously used exotic swaps to help the country mask its financial problems, then turned right around and bet against the country by shorting Greece's debt.

Now here's the really weird thing. Confronted with the evidence of public outrage over these deals, the leaders of Goldman will often appear to be genuinely confused, scratching their heads and staring quizzically into the camera like they don't know what you're upset about. It's not an act. There have been a lot of greedy financiers and banks in history, but what makes Goldman stand out is its truly bizarre cultist/religious belief in the rightness of what it does.

The point was driven home in England last year, when Goldman's international adviser, sounding exactly like a character in Atlas Shrugged, told an audience at St Paul's Cathedral that "The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest". A few weeks later, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein told the Times that he was doing "God's work".

Even if he stands to make a buck at it, even your average used-car salesman won't sell some working father a car with wobbly brakes, then buy life insurance policies on that customer and his kids. But this is done almost as a matter of routine in the financial services industry, where the attitude after the inevitable pileup would be that that family was dumb for getting into the car in the first place. Caveat emptor, dude!

People have to understand this Randian mindset is now ingrained in the American character. You have to live here to see it. There's a hatred toward "moochers" and "parasites" – the Tea Party movement, which is mainly a bunch of pissed off suburban white people whining about minorities consuming social services, describes the battle as being between "water-carriers" and "water-drinkers". And regulation of any kind is deeply resisted, even after a disaster as sweeping as the 2008 crash.

This debate is going to be crystallised in the Goldman case. Much of America is going to reflexively insist that Goldman's only crime was being smarter and better at making money than IKB and ABN-Amro, and that the intrusive, meddling government (in the American narrative, always the bad guy!) should get off Goldman's Armani-clad back. Another side is going to argue that Goldman winning this case would be a rebuke to the whole idea of civilisation – which, after all, is really just a collective decision by all of us not to screw each other over even when we can. It's an important moment in the history of modern global capitalism: whether or not to move forward into a world of greed without limits.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ken Blackwell makes the case that Obama's power grab is unconstitutional .. FAIL

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Ken Blackwell Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Ken Blackwell Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Ken Blackwell Extended Interview Pt. 3
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.

Gorillaz - Stylo

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Gorillaz - Stylo
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

Media Matters Daily Summary 04-28-10

REPORT: Fox News' Dick Morris problem
Fox News has a Dick Morris problem. He often engages in ethically dubious behavior, unabashed GOP advocacy, hypocrisy, outright fabrication of smears of progressives, failed political prognostication, extreme and inflammatory rhetoric, and repeated falsehoods.
Read More

See no evil: Hannity, Palin dismiss concerns about racial profiling in AZ law
Fox News figures Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin have rejected concerns that Arizona's new immigration law will lead to racial profiling because the law says police may not "solely" consider "race, color or national origin ... except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution." However, the law does allow for race to be a consideration, and legal experts, as well as several Fox News figures and prominent conservatives, have argued that this will lead to some form of racial profiling. Read More

Right-wing mark debate over AZ immigration law with racially charged rhetoric
Numerous right-wing media figures have rushed to defend Arizona's controversial new immigration law, often by employing racially charged rhetoric, imagery, and stereotypes. Many have also embraced racial profiling while promoting the legislation. Read More

Conservatives' bogus attacks on Obama's appeal to minorities: "Race card," "Southern Strategy," "racist"
After President Obama released a video message highlighting 2010 efforts to turn out the vote among minorities, right-wing media responded with inflammatory rhetoric, including claims that Obama is playing the "race card." Those media figures have ignored that Republicans have issued similar appeals to minority voters. Read More

"I'm not in politics": Fox News president Ailes defends his network by pushing falsehoods
Fox News president Roger Ailes defended his network, claiming he doesn't "do politics," and Fox addresses mistakes "quickly" and provides "fair and balanced report[s]." Yet Fox News regularly engages in political activism, Sean Hannity has not addressed his Cincinnati Tea Party scandal, and the network's "news" division regularly pushes smears, falsehoods, deceptive editing, and GOP talking points. Read More

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Crist says oil spill proves drilling isn't safe, withdraws his support

St. Petersburg Times

The oil spill spreading across the Gulf of Mexico is sending ripples through Florida and national politics, giving Gov. Charlie Crist a reason to withdraw his support for offshore drilling.

After a 90-minute plane flight Tuesday above the spill, which was spreading in an 80-mile by 42-mile blob, Crist said, "Clearly it could be devastating to Florida if something like that were to occur. It's the last thing in the world I would want to see happen in our beautiful state.''

He said there is no question now that lawmakers should give up on the idea of drilling off Florida's coast this year and in coming years. He has said previously he would support drilling if it was far enough from shore, safe enough and clean enough. He said the spill is proof that's not possible.

"Clearly that one isn't far enough and that's about 50 to 60 miles out, it's clearly not clean enough after we saw what we saw today — that's horrific — and it certainly isn't safe enough. It's the opposite of safe," Crist said..........

Tea for Two: Teabaggers Bask in the Glow of Palin and Bachmann

Media Matters Daily Summary 04-27-10

Babbin claims CIA climate program diverts "valuable assets," CIA disagrees
Washington Examiner contributor Jed Babbin claimed that the administration is "reassigning some of [the CIA's] most valuable assets to study global warming." In fact, the CIA has said the climate data sharing program "draws on imagery and other information that is collected in any event." Read More

Dick Morris uses Fox News cred to shill for Newsmax financial schemes
Over the past year, Dick Morris has repeatedly used anti-Obama rhetoric and stoked fears about the economy on Fox News, in his latest book, and in videos for the right-wing website Newsmax. Newsmax has used those videos to the promote financial-services products it sells, which the website has pushed by playing on similar anti-Obama fears. Morris has been paid by Newsmax to use his email list to plug such products; he builds his email list through his website, which he often promotes on Fox News.
Read More

The Prowler strikes again: Right-wing media run with dubious claim that HHS "hid damning health care report"
The right-wing media have seized on a dubious, anonymously sourced post on The American Spectator's Washington Prowler blog which claimed that the Department of Health and Human Services kept a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) report on health care reform a secret until after the health care vote. However, this claim is undermined by the fact that one day before the House voted on the legislation, the chief actuary of CMS, Richard S. Foster, said that CMS would be unable to issue an updated analysis before the House vote; in addition, the Washington Prowler has a history of printing dubious, anonymously sourced claims. Read More

Lowry, Examiner blame Obama for AZ law by pointing to defunding of failed virtual border fence
New York Post columnist Rich Lowry and The Washington Examiner defended the controversial new Arizona immigration law by suggesting the state was forced to act because the Obama administration was not enforcing immigration policies; specifically, citing frozen funding for a virtual border fence. However, the administration reportedly stopped funding the virtual fence because it was over-budget, behind schedule, and a "complete failure," and the administration has redirected money to "other tested, commercially available security technology along the Southwest border." Read More

Do conservatives really think new AZ immigration law is just like federal law?
Conservative media have claimed that parts of Arizona's new immigration law are similar to federal law and that, therefore, the law should not be controversial. In fact, the immigration enforcement powers given to local law enforcement under the legislation represent a dramatic departure from current policies and would, according to many experts, lead to racial profiling, strained police resources, and distrust of law enforcement within the immigrant community.
Read More

Media still distorting Kagan's record on military recruiting at Harvard
Peter Beinart claimed that Republicans are "right" to "beat the hell out of" Solicitor General Elena Kagan for "[b]arring the military from campus." In fact, while Kagan briefly applied Harvard's anti-discrimination policy to military recruiters following an appellate court ruling, recruiters still had access to Harvard students, and Kagan has testified that she would enforce the law as solicitor general. Read More

Fox Fiction: "FOXfact[s]" perpetuate "bailout fund" falsehood
During Fox News host Gregg Jarrett's interview with Sen. Jim DeMint, on-screen text displayed two "FOXfact[s]" that falsely referred to a "$50 bil[lion] bailout fund" contained in financial regulatory reform legislation. Jarrett then asked DeMint if President Obama and others were "deliberately trying to mislead the American public" about the nature of the fund. In fact, the fund would provide for the orderly liquidation of failing firms, not bail them out. Read More

Fox News burned by dubious Prowler report they failed to "independently confirm"
Fox News' Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier seized on a dubious, anonymously sourced post on The American Spectator's Washington Prowler blog that claimed that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) withheld a report on health care reform until after the health care vote. Kelly acknowledged during the report that Fox had not "independently confirmed this"; in a later segment, Baier stated that the report's author called the Prowler's claims "completely false." Read More

Steve Schmidt tells British press..Sarah Palin answers in VP debate were 'scripted'

Sky News

The strategist behind John McCain's presidential campaign says Sarah Palin had to be coached so thoroughly before her TV debate her answers were almost 'scripted'.

In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Steve Schmidt, nicknamed The Bullet, says her preparations were going so badly in the days leading up to the debate with the vastly more experienced Joe Biden, the campaign was facing an "emergency" and a "crisis".

He told her: "These are the questions. Here's what he's going to say. Here's what your most effective response is. That we want to be able to come out of this debate saying you were on offence."

"If you hear 'A', you go ahead and say 'B', and so to that degree it was somewhat scripted," he admitted.

"The questions that we mocked and drilled in the practice debates were within a degree or two of the questions that (moderator) Gwen Ifell asked during the debate.

We had predicted all but one of them and that was a question on nuclear non-proliferation, if I recall. That came out of left-field."

The Bullet, who helped convince John McCain to pick Palin as his vice-presidential candidate, has fallen out with the former Alaskan governor since the campaign. In her book Going Rogue, Ms Palin accused McCain's team of being too controlling.

But Mr Schmidt, widely regarded as one of America's toughest and shrewdest political strategists, wouldn't be drawn further into a slanging match.

"The campaign was a long time ago, so I don't have anything more to add to it on a personal level other than to say that there was a good outcome to that debate," he said.

He gave Sky News his advice to the three UK leadership candidates as they prepare for their third and last debate, arguing that debates are easier to lose than they are to win, and that there are no bad questions, just bad answers.

"All three candidates have very different strategic equities in the debate. Nick Clegg comes in to this debate with significant momentum, as a newly significant player in the shaping of the election," he said.

With opinions about the candidates and their policies starting to solidify in the electorate, the work of each campaign in 'spinning' the perception of who was most plausible in the debate will be critical in the last days of the campaign.

"The aftermath of the debate is very seldom if ever a continuation for an argument about economic policy or social policy or national health policy," he said.

"It's trying to stick a moment into concrete that you can navigate and try to seek political advantage from that moment."...................

The Latest from Iran (27 April): An Opposition Wave?

Posted by Scott Lucas in Middle East & Iran

1840 GMT: The Uranium Squeeze. Time magazine notices a key point that we’ve mentioned for some time, “Iran’s need to find fresh supplies of raw uranium supplies is increasingly urgent, according to some reports.”

1830 GMT: The Oil Squeeze (cont.). Following the announcement by major French firm Total that it will pull out of Iran if US sanctions proceed and the defiant stance of Iranian officials that absolutely nothing was wrong with energy supplies — see 0540 and 1050 GMT), Italian company Eni says it is “working on handing over the operatorship of the Iranian Darquain oil field to local partners”.

NEW Iran’s Detained Journalists: EA’s (Vicarious) Confrontation with Foreign Minister Mottaki
NEW Latest Iran Video: Mousavi & Karroubi Meet (26 April)
Iran Document: Mehdi Karroubi “We Will Make The Nation Victorious”
Iran: The Mousavi 4-Point Message “Who Defends the Islamic Republic?”
Iran Exclusive: A Birthday Message to Detained Journalist Baghi from His Daughter
The Latest from Iran (26 April): Points of View

1700 GMT: Impact. We’ve known for days that opposition figures have been building up their challenge to the Government, but it’s today, with the revelation of the meeting between Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi on Monday, that you know the wave has hit.

For the first time in weeks, the non-Iranian mainstream media is taking notice of the opposition as more than a post-11 February blip. Reuters headlines, “Iran opposition urges vote anniversary rally”; CNN, who established an “Iran Desk” for the 22 Bahman (11 February) demonstration and soon let it lapse, follows suit: “Iranian opposition candidates call for renewed protests”.

1125 GMT: No Further Comment Necessary. From Press TV: “Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi said that it is ‘ridiculous’ to place limitations on the peaceful use of nuclear energy by making ‘unfounded’ claims about human rights and freedom of women.”

1050 GMT: All is Well Update. Despite the accumulating news of a possible oil squeeze on Tehran with foreign producers withdrawing imports, the Government line is No Problem:

Iran says its strategic gasoline reserves have climbed by a billion liters, reiterating that sanctions on gasoline sales to Iran will never materialize.

“Iran is not worried about (possible) gasoline sanctions,” Deputy Oil Minister Noureddin Shahnazi-Zadeh told Iran’s Mehr News Agency on Tuesday, adding that sanctions on gasoline sales to Iran will never occur as there is no possibility of imposing such sanctions under current conditions.

1045 GMT: We have posted a short video from Monday’s meeting between Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, in which the two agreed to call a demonstration for 12 June, the anniversary of the election.

We have also posted a feature of how EA’s list of detained Iranian journalists may have made its way into an Austrian newspaper’s interview of Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

0835 GMT: British Deportation. Last week, we reported on the British Government’s plan to deport Bita Ghaedi, an Iranian woman who fled the country because of alleged abuse by her father and brother. Ghaedi was being returned to Tehran despite the likelihood that she would face punishment because of her participation in a rally protesting conflict over Iraq’ s Camp Ashraf, home to many members of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran.

Volcanic ash intervened to prevent Ghaedi’s flight last week; however, her deportation has now been rescheduled for 5 May.

0830 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Farid Taheri, a member of the Freedom Movement of Iran, has been sentenced to three years in prison.

0750 GMT: Labour Watch. A collection of Iranian unions have issued a joint 15-point statement for May Day, “strongly supporting the demands of teachers, nurses, and other working classes of society to end discrimination”.

Member of Parliament Alireza Mahjoub has criticised the Government’s failure to implement rises in pensions and the hidden discrimination against female workers.

0740 GMT: Women’s Rights Corner. Member of Parliament Ali Motahari has harshly criticised the “feminist and anti-family” views of Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. Motahari said that Hashemi’s critique of polygamy was misguided, as the prohibition of polygamy would lead to prostitution.

0715 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Amidst reports of the poor health of many detainees, reformist member of Parliament Mostafa Kavakebian has insisted that a Majlis commission investigate the prisons.

0710 GMT: A Successful Protest. The sit-in of female detainees at Evin Prison has forced authorities to establish the separation of men and women in the facility.

0700 GMT: Corruption Watch. Green Voice of Freedom has repeated the claim that the Supreme Leader has insisted the corruption case against First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi must be dropped because of “sensitive issues of nezam (the Iranian system)”.

0640 GMT: We Persist. The Islamic Iran Participation Front has issued a protest against the recommendation of Parliament’s Article 10 Commission that the reformist party be suspended. The IIPF declares that it will continue its activities.

The protest is signed by Mohsen Safai-Farahani, who was recently handed a six-year prison sentence.

0630 GMT: More Challenges. From the conservative side, leading member of Parliament Ahmad Tavakoli has said that the number and impudence of corrupt high-level officials have risen. He insisted that these officials must be confronted, no matter where and who they serve.

And reformist Ahmad Shirzad has asserted that the opposition movement has been bolstered by the addition of “dissatisfied hardliners”.

0540 GMT: Monday was notable for the rush of opposition challenges to the Government. There was Mehdi Karroubi on a law-abiding, Constitution-promoting resistance that would bring victory to Iran, Mir Hossein Mousavi’s “Who Defends the Islamic Republic?”, and Zahra Rahnavard calling for the release of detained workers and teachers.

Of course, the important leap will be from statement to action. Yet it is striking this moment to compare the renewed calls for justice and freedom with the Government’s rhetorical flourishes.

There was President Ahmadinejad again looking outside Iran with his promotion of the “satanic tools” of the United Nations and the US. There was Foreign Minister Mottaki, confronted with a list of more than 100 detained journalists and political analysts, replying brusquely, “Stick to the nuclear issue.”

And there were apparent flights of desperation. As the chief executive of the French oil company Total was announcing that it would pull out of Iran if US sanctions proceeded, the deputy head of Iran’s oil industry, Hojatollah Ghanimi-Fard, proclamed, “Iran has negotiated development projects with several foreign oil companies, including French concerns.”

Ghanimi-Fard’s optimism contrasted sharply with a statement from the Revolutionary Guard that it was prepared to replace Total and Royal Dutch Shell in oil and natural gas projects. Ali Vakili, the managing director of the Pars Oil and Gas Company, said a one-week ultimatum had been given to Shell and Spanish company Repsol, “We will not delay the development of South Pars phases waiting for foreign companies.”

Education and Workforce Organizations Announce New Skills for America -- NOW! Coalition

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A group of education and workforce organizations is launching a new coalition called Skills for America--NOW! during an event on Capitol Hill tonight from 5:00 p.m.7:00 p.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room B-338. The honorary host for tonight's event is the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, with more than 60 Members of Congress, and it is sponsored by Corinthian Colleges, Inc., an organization with 100 campuses across the nation. The coalition was organized to meet the nation's serious challenge of re-skilling millions of American workers and assuring the right skills at the right time for the future American workforce.

Skills for America--NOW! represents some of the nation's most important organizations who have come together to develop a set of recommendations for Congress and the Obama Administration. The coalition is seeking:

  • New funding to create a special "Skills for America--NOW! Fund" that focuses on the most effective evidence-based strategies for re-training America's current workers and preparing future workers for the jobs of tomorrow. This would be targeted, competitive funding based on demanding criteria for skill outcomes and employment success consistent with the innovation funds approach of the Obama Administration and Congress.
  • A payroll tax credit to employers for enhanced employee training.
  • For President Obama to create a position as "Counselor to the President for Skills in America," who would be the designated leader to coordinate and focus the nation's CTE resources from both the public and private sectors.
  • To create a permanent government position called "Assistant Secretary for Human Capital" in an appropriate department. This position would assess, recommend and, as appropriate, lead the government's work investments and policies related to human capital.

"It's important that policymakers, educators and community members understand the value of career and technical education," said Rep. Brian Baird (WA-3), co-chair for the CTE Caucus. "This new coalition will help inform policymakers on the fundamental need for CTE. CTE not only provides students with technical skills, but it gives students academic and employability skills that will put them in high demand with potential employers. CTE is essential for the sake of our students and, ultimately, our economy."

Rep. Steven LaTourette (OH-14) adds, "In order to fill the high-demand jobs in today's economy, we need to continue to develop high-quality CTE programs at both the secondary and postsecondary level and to build partnerships between education and the business community. The coalition is a great example of how organizations with different missions can form a partnership with a common goal to build an educated and trained workforce."

Coalition members include: ACTE, The CTE Foundation; Career College Association; Home Builders Institute; Comp/TIA; National Center for Construction Education and Research; Education Commission of the States; Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute; Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association; Independent Electrical Contractors; and Society for Human Resource Management.

Together they represent thousands of employees, tens of thousands of teachers and instructors and hundreds of thousands of hiring managers and a broad range of state policy makers. For more information about the coalition, please e-mail Sabrina Kidwai at

Deepak Chopra Encourages Noble Efforts to Promote Good Karma

LOS ANGELES, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Los Angeles native and internationally bestselling author, Jessica Brody, author of the forthcoming teen novel, THE KARMA CLUB, is taking her new book's message of "Spreading Good Karma" to heart. The Karma Club is about three teen girls who decide to take Karma into their own hands by getting revenge on those who have wronged them, but in the end discover that spreading good Karma, rather than bad, is the key to living a better life.

To celebrate the launch of the book, Jessica is teaming together with Barnes & Noble for an exciting “Good Karma” fundraising event, to benefit 13 local Santa Clarita Valley High Schools and Junior Highs as well as, Brody’s non-profit website dedicated to helping teens spread good Karma around the world.

Celebration of the book release party will take place on May 1, 2010, from 1:00-5:00 PM at Barnes & Noble, 23630 Valencia Blvd. Santa Clarita, CA 91355.

The high-profile red carpet event will feature live music acts by Radio Disney stars Josh Golden and Savannah Outen. In addition to a portion of the author's book royalties being donated to, Barnes & Noble is generously donating a portion of all event proceeds back to the participating schools.

Jessica Brody's recently released movie-style book trailer for THE KARMA CLUB, featuring a special cameo appearance by Karma guru and renowned spiritual teacher, Deepak Chopra, can be viewed at

Betty Bowers - Are You Doing Your Part to Pretend to Care about the Constitution?

Furious Teabaggers Throughout America

FROM: Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian

Are you doing your part to pretend to care about the US Constitution?

GOP’s Grassley takes credit for health reforms he voted against


In a sign Republicans may be worried that health reform is more popular than they're willing to admit, the GOP senator famed for saying the health overhaul will "pull the plug on grandma" is now taking credit for some of its elements.

In a press release put out this past weekend, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said he "worked successfully to improve Medicare payments to doctors in rural states like Iowa and, in turn, access for beneficiaries, as part of the health care reform enacted this year."

That got the attention of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who reported on Grassley's new argument on Tuesday night.

"I voted against it, and it'll kill your grandma, but if there's any chance you like it, would you mind giving me credit for it?" Maddow mocked.

Grassley made waves last summer when he told an Iowa crowd, “You have every right to fear. You shouldn’t have counseling at the end of life, you should have done that 20 years before. Should not have a government run plan to decide when to pull the plug on grandma.”.............................

Media Matters Daily Summary 04-26-10

Quick Fact: Welch overstates U.S. corporate tax burden
In a New York Post op-ed, Reason editor-in-chief Matt Welch wrote that "America's corporate income tax rate ... is the globe's second-highest." However, the effective corporate tax rate, which accounts for tax benefits received by corporations, is lower in the United States than in several other nations. Read More

Hyperinflation for sale: Newsmax and Dick Morris cash in on anti-Obama rhetoric
Since President Obama's inauguration, right-wing website Newsmax has repeatedly used inflammatory anti-Obama rhetoric and stoked readers' fears of hyperinflation and economic collapse to drive sales of the financial-services products it offers, including newsletters and investment programs. Fox News analyst Dick Morris and Steve Forbes have played key roles in promoting Newsmax's financial products and economic rhetoric.
Read More

Wall Street Journal misleads on cost control under health care reform
A Wall Street Journal editorial claimed that a recent Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) report rebuts the Obama administration's argument that health care reform will lower health care costs. However, as Third Way has noted, the CMS report indicates that health care reform would actually result in lower health care spending per insured person over the next decade, and according to Ezra Klein, the trend outlined by CMS suggests that overall health spending will be lower after 2019. Read More

Attention media: Graham wanted Obama to "step it up" on immigration reform
Fox News' Dana Perino and Byron York of The Washington Examiner channeled Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) criticism of Democrats for reportedly planning to pursue immigration reform legislation before a climate change bill. But last month, Graham himself reportedly called for President Obama to "step it up" on immigration reform efforts.
Read More

Mediaite falsely claims Blagojevich motion shows Rahm Emanuel "directly implicate[d]" in case
Mediaite's Frances Martel falsely claimed that a motion filed by former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich "directly implicate[s]" White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in Blagojevich's alleged attempt to sell the open Senate seat vacated by President Obama in 2008. In fact, the document confirms Emanuel's previous account of contacts with Blagojevich's chief of staff and in no way suggests Emanuel was involved with Blagojevich's alleged scheme.
Read More

Right-wing media distort Blagojevich motion, falsely claim it contradicts Obama's statements
Conservative media have falsely claimed that a motion filed by disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich indicating that Blagojevich and President Obama spoke on December 1, 2008, contradicts Obama's statements about his contacts with Blagojevich. Media have also falsely claimed that the motion states that Obama and Blagojevich discussed who Blagojevich would appoint to fill Obama's Senate seat.
Read More

Fox's Crowley invents Obama statements to claim "conflict" with Blagojevich motion
Monica Crowley falsely suggested that a motion filed by former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich contradicted what she claimed were Obama's statements that "none of his representatives" were involved with efforts to fill the Senate seat Obama vacated. But Obama never made such a statement; he acknowledged contacts between his staff and Blagojevich's office while stating that his staff "had no involvement" in Blagojevich's alleged efforts to sell the Senate seat. Read More

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lockstep: Senate GOPers All Vote To Block Financial Reform


Senate Republicans followed through on their threat today to block debate on a financial regulatory reform bill authored by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT). The final tally on the vote to break the filibuster was 57 to 41, with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) joining the Republicans, but failed to meet the 60 vote threshold required to end debate and bring the bill to the Senate floor. (Majority Leader Harry Reid also voted no -- a procedural move he had to make in order to hold a swift revote.)

The move ratchets up a political food fight between Democrats and Republicans, with Dems on the offense, charging that the GOP's decision to block progress on the legislation puts them on the side of Wall Street.

Speaking on the Senate floor hours before the vote, Majority Leader Harry Reid said the vote "reveal[s] who believes we need to strengthen oversight of Wall Street, and who does not [and] force[s] each Senator to publicly proclaim whether party unity is more important than economic security."

Behind the scenes, though, talks between Dodd, and his negotiating partner Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) continued today and are set to carry on tonight and in the days ahead. Entering a meeting in Dodd's office this afternoon, Shelby told reporters a deal could come this week, "but not before this afternoon."........................

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday's Sex News 04-23-10

Poll: Majority want legal pot in California


In California, where activists succeeded in securing a spot for legalization on the state's 2010 ballot, the national trend appears even further accelerated. According to an April SurveyUSA sampling, if the election took place today the measure would pass 56 to 42. Support for legalization was highest among the 18-34 demographic, with 74 percent in favor.

Majorities of whites, blacks and Asians sampled for the poll also agreed with legalization, the group found. While 60 percent of the state's conservatives oppose the move, a shocking 39 percent are in favor, joined by strong majorities of liberals and moderates. The figures also fingered the Bay-area as the region with the state's highest concentration of green-leaning voters.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has expressed her opposition to the initiative, citing the law enforcement lobby's allegation that taxing the state's large population of cannabis consumers and enforcing regulations on their favored product would endanger public safety. Proponents of the ballot initiative have dismissed the objection as political posturing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Media Matters Daily Summary 04-22-10

Quick Fact: Fox & Friends pushes tired myth that Fannie and Freddie caused economic crisis
Fox & Friends advanced the false claim that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were "the original cause" of the economic crisis. In fact, as economist Dean Baker has stated, holding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac responsible for the financial disaster is "absurd on its face." Read More

Fox & Friends celebrates Earth Day by pushing "Climategate" falsehoods
After wishing viewers a "Happy Earth Day," Fox & Friends hosts devoted a segment to pushing falsehoods about "Climategate" and alleging that other news networks "ignored" the story. However, despite falsely claiming the emails show that climate scientists "manipulated data," Fox & Friends did not report that several official inquiries into the scientists' conduct found that they did not manipulate data. Read More

Fox News' Islam problem
Fox News' recent rush to defend Rev. Franklin Graham, who described Islam as a "wicked" and "evil" religion, including hosting him on Fox & Friends, is just the latest example of Fox News' relentless crusade against Muslims. The network has a history of making controversial assertions about Muslims -- often by baselessly branding them as "terrorists" or "terrorist sympathizers" -- calling for profiling, or equating Islam and all of its adherents with radical extremists who claim to act in its name. Read More

With a grain of salt: Right-wing media claim government is coming for your shaker
Following reports that the FDA is considering regulating the amount of salt in processed foods, media conservatives have falsely claimed that the Obama administration is "seizing our salt shakers." In fact, the FDA review has nothing to do with consumers' use of table salt and instead invovles examining warnings about high sodium content in processed foods and restaurant meals, the sources of 77 percent of sodium intake. Read More

Rove, Fox News morph uncontroversial proposal into government spying on "everybody's checking accounts"
Karl Rove and Fox News have pushed the conspiracy theory that an Office of Financial Research created by the Senate financial reform bill would "peer into" everybody's checking accounts, credit cards, and financial transactions. However, the OFR would simply collect and analyze data about potential risks to the financial system, and the proposal has been endorsed by Republican Sen. Bob Corker, as well as numerous economics and finance experts, including six Nobel laureates in economics. Read More

Quick Fact: Special Report repeats tired myth that Fannie and Freddie caused economic crisis
Special Report repeatedly claimed that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the economic crisis. In fact, as economist Dean Baker has stated, holding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac responsible for the financial disaster is "absurd on its face." Read More