Clinton: Palestinians shouldn’t try for UN recognition, says talks need to resume, announces $150m more for Palestinians

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

ABC News’ Kirit Radia reports: With Israel announcing plans to build new housing units in East Jerusalem in the past week the Palestinians have reiterated their threat to seek UN recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state on their own in the absence of process in the Mideast peace talks.

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Political Punch

Why Presidents Shouldn’t Dance in Public

November 9, 2010 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Foreign Policy

14 Reasons You Shouldn’t Miss George W. Bush

November 9, 2010 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Foreign Policy

Why we should stop talking about the minimum wage — or maybe why we shouldn’t

October 21, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Barbara Kiviat notes that the minimum wage doesn’t help that many workers or affect that many employers. So why is it so central to our economic thinking?

Talking about the minimum wage — whether you want to increase it or abolish it — is a proxy for saying “I care about struggling workers,” or “I don’t want government telling business what to do.”

The problem with using the minimum wage to have this debate, though, is that no matter who wins, the victory will be hollow. If we want to help low-income families, we could do a lot more than change a wage many of them don’t make anyway. And if we want to minimize government intervention in free enterprise, we might choose a battle that is meaningful to companies outside of such a narrow range — half of all minimum-wage workers have jobs in the leisure and hospitality industries.

Although maybe saying that just goes to show how naive I am about politics. Maybe in that realm the best battles to fight are the ones that are the least likely to change the status quo no matter what the outcome is.

Ezra Klein

N.Y. Times Reporters Shouldn’t ‘Contaminate’ Their ‘Impartial’ Reputations on Fox News?

October 19, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

After layoffs cost him his job as a media reporter for socialist editor and author Greg Mitchell at Editor & Publisher magazine, Joe Strupp landed at Media Matters for America, where he can ask the liberal media elite why on Earth any of them would ever appear on that unethical Republican swamp known as Fox News (or Fox affiliates on Sundays). In this case, Strupp went looking for former New York Times reporters and editors to denounce current Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller (the one who suggested to President Bush he should feel personally responsible for the 9/11 attacks) for sinking to an appearance on Fox News Sunday. Former Times media reporter Alex Jones even suggested Fox gets zero credit for open-mindedness for allowing a liberal Times reporter on their set:

"It is a bad idea, period," said Alex S. Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University. "I think the format is calculated to make you say things you would like to put back in your mouth."

…He said Times reporters appearing on any cable talk show is a mistake, but singled out Fox, stating, "Fox is an organ of the Republican party. I think everyone who goes on there shares in being used by them for their entertainment value. Fox uses them to demonstrate they are open-minded by putting the Times on there. But does it show Fox is open-minded? I don't think so."

read more – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Science Proves People Shouldn’t Smash Each Other In The Face With A Large Rock

October 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Sam Harris keeps up the fight:

As I argue in my new book, even if there are a thousand different ways for these two people to thrive, there will be many ways for them not to thrive-and the differences between luxuriating on a peak of human happiness and languishing in a valley of internecine horror will translate into facts that can be scientifically understood. Why would the difference between right and wrong answers suddenly disappear once we add 6.7 billion more people to this experiment?

Granted, genuine ethical difficulties arise when we ask questions like, "How much should I care about other people's children? How much should I be willing to sacrifice, or demand that my own children sacrifice, in order to help other people in need?" We are not, by nature, impartial-and much of our moral reasoning must be applied to situations in which there is tension between our concern for ourselves, or for those closest to us, and our sense that it would be better to be more committed to helping others. And yet "better" must still refer, in this context, to positive changes in the experience of sentient creatures.

I haven't read the book and will, because Sam is both a friend and a brilliant man and I have learned and benefited from both his last books. But in discussing this book's arguments with him a while back, I found myself making many of the same points Kwame Anthony Appiah makes here. Utilitarianism – the search for morality grounded in pure well-being – is not new in the world of ideas. But its premises remain thoroughly debatable and the notion that these eternal questions can at some point be empirically or scientifically resolved is, to my mind, a category error, an ignoratio elenchi.

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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Shouldn’t taxpayers get a receipt?

September 30, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

I haven’t read through all of Third Way’s deficit-reduction ideas yet, but I love the proposal (pdf) for a taxpayer receipt:

Corn syrup, milk chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, coconut, almond, soy lecithin … any consumer can read these ingredients and their nutritional value on every package of a 75-cent Almond Joy. What is provided to a taxpayer with a $ 5,400 tax bill? Nothing. For many Americans, the amount they pay in taxes is larger than any purchase they make during the year, but studies show they know almost nothing about where that money goes to.

This contributes to ridiculous beliefs, like the view that 20% of government spending goes to foreign aid, for example. An electorate unschooled in basic budget facts is a major obstacle to controlling the nation’s deficit, not to mention addressing a host of economic and social problems. We suggest that everyone who files a tax return receive a “taxpayer receipt.” This receipt would tell them to the penny what their taxes paid for based on the amount they paid in federal income taxes and FICA.

And here’s an example of what it would look like:


EconomicTaxTaxationUnited StatesPolitics
Ezra Klein

Memo to Slate’s Weigel: Those Who Live in Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones

September 15, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Anxiety was pretty high in the heat of battle with the race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. However, a lot of that tension exists beyond the state of Delaware and there have been self-proclaimed conventional wisdom wizards critical of how the electoral process in Delaware has worked itself out.

One of those has been former embattled Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel, who in a post dated Sept. 14, took a few shots at conservative talker Mark Levin, calling him a "creep" for his criticisms of The Weekly Standard John McCormack, author of an unfavorable story about Delaware U.S. Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell.

"This is absolutely pathetic," Weigel wrote of Levin’s critique. "No, Mark, when reporters investigate female candidates, they are not ‘obsessed,’ any more than you’re obsessed with Hillary Clinton when you call her "her thighness" and ‘Hillary Rotten Clinton.’ They’re reporting. For all of your posing about legal theory and the Constitution, you make it pretty clear here that you’re a political hack."

But Levin responded promptly by reminiscing about Weigel’s prior "JournoList" transgressions by compiling his own list of so-called "Weigelisms" and posted him on his Facebook blog:

  • "This would be a vastly better world to live in if Matt Drudge decided to handle his emotional problems more responsibly, and set himself on fire."
  • "Follow-up to one hell of a day: Apparently, the Washington Examiner thought it would be fun to write up an item about my dancing at the wedding of Megan McArdle and Peter Suderman. Said item included the name and job of my girlfriend, who was not even there – nor in DC at all."
  • "I’d politely encourage everyone to think twice about rewarding the Examiner with any traffic or links for a while. I know the temptation is high to follow up hot hot Byron York scoops, but please resist it."
  • "It’s all very amusing to me. Two hundred screaming Ron Paul fanatics couldn’t get their man into the Fox News New Hampshire GOP debate, but Fox News is pumping around the clock to get Paultard Tea Party people on TV."

Of course, Weigel apologized for these comments, but if he were serious about that apology and sincerely wanted to try to re-establish some modicum of his credibility, one would think he would refrain from labeling his opponents as "creeps." – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Presidents Who Live in Glass Houses Built by Lobbyists Shouldn’t Throw Stones

September 13, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spent much of his day yesterday tripping over his shorts about a NY Times hit piece on John Boehner.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs took such a liking to this weekend’s NY Times story on House Minority Leader John Boehner and his lobbyist friends that Gibbs has posted about it on Twitter four times, beginning with one saying, “Headline says it all…A G.O.P. Leader Tightly Bound to Lobbyists.”

As the saying goes, Administrations who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

If you look at the top Members of Congress who receive the most money from lobbyists this campaign season, 16 out of the 20 are Democrats. None of the 20 were named John Boehner.

Reid, Harry (D-NV) $ 501,686
Lincoln, Blanche (D-AR) $ 363,651
Schumer, Charles E (D-NY) $ 337,013
Murray, Patty (D-WA) $ 266,023
Gillibrand, Kirsten (D-NY) $ 258,771
Burr, Richard (R-NC) $ 204,374
Specter, Arlen (D-PA) $ 194,721
Blunt, Roy (R-MO) $ 194,700
Inouye, Daniel K (D-HI) $ 167,807
Dorgan, Byron L (D-ND) $ 166,427
Boxer, Barbara (D-CA) $ 161,728
Meek, Kendrick B (D-FL) $ 154,500
Thune, John (R-SD) $ 150,176
Hoyer, Steny H (D-MD) $ 142,378
Grassley, Chuck (R-IA) $ 139,813
Dodd, Chris (D-CT) $ 133,679
Murkowski, Lisa (R-AK) $ 126,700
Leahy, Patrick (D-VT) $ 118,600
Wyden, Ron (D-OR) $ 117,899
Bennet, Michael F (D-CO) $ 107,13

Want to concentrate just on the House? There are 60 Members of the House who accept more lobby money than Bohner, 45 of them (75%) are members of the President’s party. Boehner’s $ 39.5 thousand in lobbyist donations pale on comparison to that of the Democratic house leadership.

Its not just the congressional Democrats beholden to the lobbyists, the President himself abandoned any promise he made regarding protecting his administration from the influence of lobbyists. The Washington Examiner ran a list of the President’s lobbyist connections including:

  • 50 lobbyists in administration: Obama and his underlings have named at least 50 ex-lobbyists to senior administration officials. Some highlights of the Obama Lobbyist Lineup:
    • Four cabinet-level officials are ex-lobbyists (Panetta, Sebelius, Harkin, & Holder) 
    • The IRS general counsel is a former lobbyist for the Swiss Bankers Association 
    • Mark Patterson, former Goldman Sachs lobbyist, is chief of staff at Treasury, and he never received a waiver. 
    • Obama’s top food safety guy (Michael Taylor) is a Monsanto lobbyist, and his top agriculture trade guy (Isi Siddiqui) is an agri-chem lobbyist. 
    • Joe Biden’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff are both former corporate lobbyists with clients including oil companies and Fannie Mae. 
    • The Podestas’ open door at the White House: Obama’s transition director was John Podesta, who co-founded a lobbying firm with his brother Tony Podesta. Tony and John still have some overlap in partners and issues. Also, Tony is a top fundraiser for Democrats, frequently visits the White House, and is chummy enough with the administration to get Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to attend his birthday party
  •  Ex-Google lobbyist in White House collaborates with current Google lobbyists on policy: Andrew McLaughlin, formerly a VP for public policy at Google, is the No. 2 tech policy guy in the White House. Then why was he using his GMail account to discuss policy with current Google lobbyists?
  • The drug lobby wins with ObamaCare: Remember when Barack Obama wanted to “end the game-playing” in Washington, and he used drug lobbyist Billy Tauzin as the poster-boy for DC’s destructive revolving door. Then remember how, once he got in the White House, Obama cut a deal with Tauzin, and the final “reform” bill gave the drug industry what it wanted — and remember that the drug lobby spent more than any other industry? Yeah, that was kind of awkward.

Not included in any of this are the labor unions such as the SEIU and the AFL/CIO who have influenced Obama’s policy in a big way. The President is trying to scare away conservative Democrats and independents from voting for GOP by casting the probable Speaker of the House if the GOP wins, John Boehner as the essence of evil.  If the President, and his team of progressives really want to go there, then they should understand all the facts. Not just the ones they cherry-pick.


Judith Miller Smacks Down Alan Colmes For Saying 9/11 Shouldn’t Be Commemorated

September 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Alan Colmes on the ninth anniversary of 9/11 said America shouldn’t commemorate these attacks every year, and was nicely smacked down by Judith Miller for his smarmy efforts.

Discussing the anniversary coverage on "Fox News Watch," Colmes said, "Every 9/11 it’s become like a national day of remembrance, which I understand from an emotional standpoint, but I wonder if it’s such a good idea that every year we make such a big deal on the media of it being 9/11."  

Miller shot back, "The reason you do it is to remember why we have the counter-terrorism policies we have…We need to be reminded why we’re doing this."  

Colmes pathetically replied, "9/11 should not be revered as some kind of national almost holiday."

"It’s not revered. It’s commemorated," said Miller (video follows with transcript and commentary): 

ALAN COLMES: The set up to your question I have an issue with which is that the media actually does focus on 9/11. Every 9/11 it’s become like a national day of remembrance, which I understand from an emotional standpoint, but I wonder if it’s such a good idea that every year we make such a big deal on the media of it being 9/11. The terrorists, those who would like to attack us, and those who already have attacked us, must go, "See, they’re commemorating us again." I’m not sure that this contingent every single year on 9/11 is such a good idea.

JUDITH MILLER: I think it’s a really difficult call, but I don’t see how this country cannot do it, and not wait until next year, wait until the tenth. But we must remember. The reason you do it is to remember why we have the counter-terrorism policies we have. Remember why we’re spending the money…

COLMES: That’s not something just for 9/11, though. I think we need to remember that all the time.

MILLER: We have ADD as a nation. We need to be reminded why we’re doing this.

COLMES: 9/11 should not be revered as some kind of national almost holiday…

MILLER: It’s not revered. It’s commemorated.

COLMES: …because the terrorists I’m sure are saying, "Look, they are remembering what we did."

Although I loved Miller’s smack down, it would have been nice to see someone challenge Colmes further concerning his pathetic position.

After all, he certainly isn’t opposed to 9/11 commemorations out of concern that terrorists enjoy them. Instead, like so many liberal media members, Colmes wishes America would totally forget 9/11 so we can leave Iraq, leave Afghanistan, and stop concerning ourselves with the war on terrorism.

To people like Colmes, any reference to 9/11 or terrorism undermines their dovish view of foreign policy and national security.  

Beyond this, what likely most bothered Colmes about this year’s commemorations was that they increased the resolve of folks opposed to the building of the Ground Zero mosque. 

Liberal media members across the fruited plain must be hating these commemorations occurring in the middle of the controversy surrounding this Islamic center, for they might increase the likelihood this project will be cancelled. 

For folks like Colmes, that would represent a terrible defeat. – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

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