Monday August 30th, 2010 06:34 Dean: ‘Lost Souls’ Follow ‘Racist Hate-Monger’ Beck

Howard Dean pulled off the rare twin-trashing this morning, dumping on both Glenn Beck and the people who respond to his message.  He began by calling Beck crazy, saying he has "a few things the matter with him up here, up in the head there." Later, he compounded the calumny, calling Beck a "racist" and a "hate-monger."  So who were the hundreds of thousands of people who attended the rally and the millions more who watch and listen to Beck?  Why, according to Dean, they’re "lost souls."

New York Times columnist Charles blow had set the vitriolic tone during the show’s first hour, accusing Beck of the "rhetorical assassination" of Pres. Obama.

I’ll be back with a transcript, but in the meantime, watch as Dean and Blow whistle past the rising tide. – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

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Friday August 27th, 2010 05:53 Follow the Money: Could Mayor Bloomberg’s Media Business Interests in the Middle East Have Anything to Do with His Support of the Ground Zero Mosque?

Call us cynical but we wonder whether Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s passionate backing of the building of a controversial mosque near Ground Zero stems as much from Bloomberg’s belief in America’s “freedom of faith” as it might from the Mayor’s belief in the “virtues of Islamic finance?”

Does the Mayor’s unshakable support have anything to do with The Bloomberg (company) becoming a ‘single provider of information that caters to the Islamic business market’?  A Bloomberg five-year business plan for an Islamic finance portal via a Bloomberg hub at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is already a reality.

Michael Bloomberg, has become a staunch supporter of the Cordoba House (Park51) Ground Zero Mosque.  In the process, the Mayor has lectured opponents on “religious liberty” and, by extension, implied that opposition to the mosque is largely based on bigotry.

Lately, Bloomberg has become so insistent on the mosque’s being built at its planned location that The New York Post has labeled him Pro-Mosque Mike.”

A defiant Mayor Bloomberg, saying there should be no compromise, insisted last night that a mosque be built near Ground Zero, declaring, “We must do what is right, not what is easy.

While Bloomberg hasn’t been shy about questioning the motives of those opposed to the mosque’s location, the media has shied away from the Mayor‘s motivations.  But what of the Mayor’s motives? What might they be? Does a strong passion for religious liberty explain all?

Some of Bloomberg LP’s officials may hold some clues.

On October 2, 2009, The Dubai Chronicle reported Chairman and President of Bloomberg LP Peter T. Grauer met with UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at Maktoum’s Emirate office. According to the Dubai Chronicle, Grauer gave a presentation of Bloomberg future expansion plans in the ‘area of business information’ in the United Emirates, North Africa, and India. Grauer stated the UAE was a great place to expand, the UAE’s “logistic facilities” the ‘biggest incentive for investors and companies to expand their businesses in the country and the region beyond’.

“Particularly since the meltdown of the western capitalist system, there has been an increasingly large focus on the virtues of Islamic finance. Today, there is no one single provider of information that caters to the Islamic finance market. So by Bloomberg being here, we are in the process  of building out an Islamic finance product. We are very confident that we can build a product that meets the needs of the market right now.”

–Max Linnington, Regional Head of Bloomberg Middle East and South Asia on the company’s plan to build a Bloomberg hub in Dubai at the Dubai International Financial Centre(DIFC), October 29, 2009

Some details about the DIFC:

The DIFC is the world’s fastest growing international financial centre. It aims to develop the same stature as New York, London and Hong Kong.

It primarily serves the vast region between Western Europe and East Asia.

Could the plans of Bloomberg LP have an influence on Bloomberg the Mayor?

Recently he claimed, “We would send a signal around the world that Muslim-Americans may be equal in the eyes of the law, but separate in the eyes of their countrymen.”

Might the Mayor be more interested–even just the tiniest bit–in some parts of the world than in others?

Might Bloomberg’s speech have sent a signal to the Middle East – which by a great coincidence, is the site of the Dubai International Financial Centre, the location of one of Bloomberg LP’s ten worldwide hubs?

On March 10, 2010, the Khaleej Times reported Bloomberg Set for Dubai expansion in bid to double revenues by 2014.

“Bloomberg, a leading global provider for financial data and news services, plans to “significantly boost regional operations from its Dubai hub as it is bullish about growth prospects of the emirate as a global financial center, a top executive said.”

The coincidences continue: the Mayor’s company is banking on “doubling revenues by 2014″ in a region that just happens to be largely populated by Muslims.

The Mayor, when he isn’t busy rallying support for a mosque opposed by a large majority in NYC and 70% of Americans at large, is in the newsgathering business. Bloomberg makes a lot of money providing financial news in a timely manner.

One more coincidence: if you do a search for financial news from Dubai and the Middle East, chances are, your only sources-outside the Mayor’s own — are The National, the Dubai Chronicle or the Khaleej News.

While we were able to easily access articles from the National, Dubai Chronicle or the Khaleej News about the Bloomberg Dubai hub, a search of came up empty.  Ten pages of results: nothing.

Does it concern the Mayor that is getting scooped on news about Bloomberg LP?

Michael Bloomberg has made billions of dollars being a savvy businessman. Might a savvy businessman consider it prudent to maintain good relations in the Muslim world–a part of the world where the Mayor’s company hopes to “double revenues by 2014?”

How does Mayor Bloomberg’s support for the Ground Zero mosque — based, he says, on the issue of freedom of faith – square with the “virtues of Islamic finance” and an Islamic finance portal in Dubai with Bloomberg LP‘s aim of becoming “the world’s single provider of information that caters to the Islamic finance market?”

One more important question: will the NYC media ask Hizzoner if he has any potential conflicts to act as an impartial broker on Park51? Doesn’t it seem just that the survivors and families whose loved ones lost their lives on 911 receive some answers — before receiving any more lectures from the tiny, Boston-born Democrat turned Republican turned Independent turned Republican turned Whatever Mayor of the City of New York?

It’s easy to imagine the Mayor becoming enthusiastic over opportunities when billions of dollars are to be made. Enthusiasm is a hard emotion to contain.

Even when a majority of his constituents remain opposed to the latest object of Bloomberg’s enthusiasm.

Big Journalism

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Wednesday August 25th, 2010 16:32 Will More States Follow Daniels And Perry By Squirreling Away Funds Meant For Education?

When Congress finally passed the $ 26 billion state aid bill earlier this month, it included a provision — added at the behest of Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) — that Texas not receive any of its allocated education money unless it was willing to certify that it wouldn’t cut its state contribution to education funding.

There was a good rationale for the provision, as when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus) passed, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) simply cut the state’s education budget by the same amount as the stimulus funding the state received, resulting in no net increase in education spending.

But maybe Indiana should have been on the list for heightened scrutiny as well. The Sunlight Foundation today highlighted a report in The North West Indiana County Times showing that Indiana, led by Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), pocketed its stimulus money and then placed its own education funding into a rainy day fund:

Indiana State Budget Director Christopher Ruhl confirmed the federal stimulus money was used to provide basic tuition support dollars for school districts, allowing the state to squirrel away funds that normally would have been used for that purpose. “The state dollars saved were placed in our education rainy day fund,” he said.

Hebron schools Superintendent George Letz said that the stimulus funding “was not used the way in which he thought it was designated by Congress.” “I had understood the Obama administration wanted the money to be used to provide personnel and programs to help our students improve their achievement level, but instead the government took the money and substituted it for basic tuition support,” he said.

East Porter County School Corp. Superintendent Rod Gardin confirmed this, saying “we didn’t receive any extra money.” In addition, Daniels changed the funding formula for his state’s education budget, actually shortchanging poorer districts that are losing students, even when the state technically had more education dollars to spend.

Daniels and Perry seem to have inspired some other states to at least look at using education funding to instead reduce their deficits. As Lucia Graves reported, “in California, legislators, including state Sen. Darrell Steinberg, have proposed using the $ 1.2 billion in federal money designated for the schools to help offset the state’s $ 19 billion deficit.” In Oregon, Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) has also said he might cut the state education budget after receiving federal funds.

At this point, was it a mistake to not apply the Texas standard to every state, ensuring that federal dollars actually wind up with students and teachers in the classroom? “If this is a good idea, then why not make it apply to all states?” asked Debbie Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency.

Wonk Room

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Wednesday August 25th, 2010 03:20 GOP Should Follow Christie Playbook

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may not be running for president in 2012, but he’s articulated an economic vision that’s well-positioned to gain momentum with whoever emerges as President Obama‘s Republican challenger in two years.

Christie’s decision to slash spending, delay property tax cuts and take on the state’s powerful teachers unions to control a bloated budget was initially seen as a fool’s errand in a Democratic-friendly state where special interests reign and government waste has been seen as a byproduct of the state’s political culture. His political career could well have been derailed before it began, at the hands of the sizable majorities Democrats hold in the state legislature and their allies.

But Christie not only passed an austerity agenda against influential opposition, his popularity has soared in the wake of his victory. A new Quinnipiac poll shows that, after implementing the cuts, he has become one of the more popular executives in the country. Christie’s approval rating of 51 percent now exceeds Obama’s in the traditionally Democratic state, and he holds a 61 percent rating among independents. The accomplishment is all the more impressive given that governors of both parties have seen their approval ratings collapse during economic recession.

“He’s the Rex Ryan of the statehouse — it’s his management style,” said a Christie strategist, referencing the blunt-spoken New York Jets coach. “Spending cuts are tough to swallow, but a lot of people relate to the fact there are times when you’ve got to cut your budget, tighten your belt. This is what we have to do to get our house in order, and people understand that.”

The lesson: Leadership makes a difference; voters recognize when politicians are pandering to them and credit them when they make tough decisions, even if they don’t poll favorably. (Compare Christie’s approval with that of another governor, Florida’s Charlie Crist, who avoided tough fiscal decisions and has seen his approval ratings plummet throughout the year.)

Hotline On Call

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Tuesday August 24th, 2010 17:31 Video: Hey, let’s follow Palin around the airport with a camera for some reason

Via lefty Tommy Christopher at Mediaite, who’s sufficiently creeped out by this to notice that there appears to be no security around during the part where Palin and “Hawk” first meet outside the airport. […] Read the rest »

Hot Air » Top Picks

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Thursday August 19th, 2010 07:38 TRENDING: Criticism likely to follow Obama on upcoming vacation

 President Obama and his family go for a bike ride along Lobsterville beach on Martha's Vineyard in August 2009.

President Obama and his family go for a bike ride along Lobsterville beach on Martha’s Vineyard in August 2009.

(CNN) – President Obama and his family head to Martha’s Vineyard on Friday for a weeklong vacation, but don’t expect it to be without controversy.

It will be the president’s second time on the island off the coast of Massachusetts. In 2009, Obama spent time golfing and hanging out with family and friends.

Vacations are often considered political low-hanging fruit: Zing a president or first lady anytime they go away for some rest and relaxation.

Full story

CNN Political Ticker

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