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Friday, July 02, 2010

Survey Ranks Obama 15th Best President, Bush Among Worst

Source: US News & World ReportPresident Obama ranks 15th out of 44 in a poll of the best and worst presidents while former President George W. Bush earns a place in the bottom five, according to the Siena College Research Institute's recent survey of 238 presidential scholars released Thursday. Obama secured a top ten place in two skill set categories, communication ability (7th) and ability to compromise (10th), and in two personality trait categories, imagination (6th) and intelligence (8th). Background, described as family, education, and experience, proved his lowest score at 32nd.This is the 5th time the institute has conducted the survey of U.S. presidents, which is done a year after a new president takes office. The inaugural survey in 1982 ranked then-President Ronald Reagan at 16th. "Obviously, there's not great validity to it since they've only been in office for one year," says the survey's co-director and statistician Douglas Lonnstrom. "But it's a benchmark for us to see how they move." Bush made the top twenty in only two categories, luck (18th) and willingness to take risks (19th), and he sits in the bottom five in 12 of the 20 categories, notably 42nd in intelligence, foreign policy accomplishments, and communication ability. Lonnstrom points out the unpopular former president has time on his side, explaining it takes four or five decades to know a president's true worth. "Right now there's a lot of emotion about Bush," he says. "Time passes and people become more objective, and so we'll see."Read more:
Survey: Obama Ranked 15th Best President, Bush 39th

HUFFPOST SUPER USEMegWe 1 hour ago (8:15 PM)

I have a good friend who is a tough old broad, very smart blue collar, who used to drive truck, and her husband and three sons are also currently truck drivers. All four of these guys are on the road all this weekend, which I understand is unheard of over the 4th of July. They are busier than h e l l , with some companies paying premium rates to have their goods moved. This has been going on for several weeks now. She is convinced that the economy is a lot better than the statistics show, and that corporate America is doing a number on the President. I believe her. They are pulling out all of the stops with their mouthpieces in the Republican party and MSM. I don't usually give a second though to so-called "conspiracy theories," but people, we have a huge fight on our hands. Stay safe Mr. President!

Listen All Y'all, It's a Republican Sabotage

Tuesday morning on CNBC, the spazzy white guys in lower Manhattan were debating how the administration and Congress can best repair the economy, and mainly the jobless numbers. At one point, Rick Santelli, the hyperkinetic shoutcaster and instigator of the tea party movement, began to flail around, waving his arms above his head while yelling, "Stop spending! Stop spending! Stop spending!"
And contrary to accusations from one of the other spazzy white panelists, Santelli insisted he wasn't calling for more tax cuts. Just a freeze in government spending. Somehow.
Fine. Show us another time in American history when a spending freeze -- and a spending freeze alone -- jump-started an economic recovery following a deep recession and high unemployment. Show us. Where in the world is Santelli getting this?
It doesn't really matter from which hole Santelli's latest television meltdown was extricated. Suffice to say, there is no historical precedent for any such thing. In fact, the often-referenced spending cuts of 1937 caused the opposite effect: a backslide in the economic recovery during the Great Depression. Oh, sorry. There we go again -- referencing actual "history" instead of just screeching incongruous, contradictory and unsubstantiated nonsense, which seems to be the accepted style of discourse these days.
Santelli's rant is just another performance in a broader strategy by the Republicans and tea party movement to deliberately sabotage the economic recovery. Not unlike Santelli's "stop spending" idea, this is a strategy which also, to the best of my knowledge, has no historical precedent. For the first time ever -- and this is worth repeating -- one of the two major political parties in America is sabotaging a delicate economic recovery for the sake of humiliating the president and his party, and subsequently recapturing a political majority. LinkHere

Thursday, July 01, 2010

17 senators from states with double-digit jobless rates repeatedly vote to filibuster unemployment benefits.

Since the beginning of the Great Recession, 15 million Americans have lost their jobs. Almost half of them have been out of work for six months or more, and there are currently nearly five workers actively seeking work for every available job. However, the Senate has been unable to extend job benefits because of a Republican filibuster, which has been joined by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE). On three separate occasions, Democrats tried to break the filibuster but were unsuccessful. And while no senator voting to continue the filibuster should be allowed to escape responsibility, many voting to sustain it are from states that have been hit particularly hard by the unemployment crisis. Here are the 17 senators from states with double-digit unemployment who are willing to leave their constituents without a safety net:

Senator(s) State Unemployment Rate Votes Against Cloture (Out Of Three)
Sens. Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby (R) Alabama 10.8% Three each
Sen. George LeMieux (R) Florida 10.4% Three
Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson (R) Georgia 10.2% Three each
Sen. Richard Lugar (R) Indiana 10.0% Three
Sens. Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning (R) Kentucky 10.4% Three each
Sens. Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran (R) Mississippi 11.4% Three each
Sen. John Ensign (R) Nevada 14.0% Three
Sen. Richard Burr (R) North Carolina 10.3% Three
Sen. George Voinivich Ohio 10.7% Three
Sen. Lindsey Graham South Carolina 11.0% Two (Missed vote on 6/17)
Sen. Jim DeMint South Carolina 11.0% Two (Missed vote on 6/30)
Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander (R) Tennessee 10.4% Three each

1.3 million people have lost their benefits this month alone, and this is actually an historic step on the part of the Senate, as “never before has Congress cut off benefits when unemployment was so high.” But perhaps Republicans in the Senate agree with Sharron Angle that unemployed people are simply “spoiled” and “afraid to get a job”? LinkHere

Presidential scholars: Bush is the worst president of the modern era, bottom five of all time.

Source: Think Progress

Presidential scholars: Bush is the worst president of the modern era, bottom five of all time.

Since 1982, the Siena Research Institute has polled presidential scholars on whom they view to be best and worst presidents in American history, based on a variety of issues from “integrity” to economic stewardship. This year’s poll of 238 scholars found that President Franklin Roosevelt was once again ranked on top, joined by Presidents Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, and Teddy Roosevelt to complete the top five. However, President George W. Bush did not fare well since the last poll was conducted in 2002. He dropped 16 places to 39th, making him the worst president since Warren Harding died in office in 1923, and one of the bottom five of all time, according to the experts:

*****Today, just one year after leaving office, the former president has found himself in the bottom five at 39th rated especially poorly in handling the economy, communication, ability to compromise, foreign policy accomplishments and intelligence. Rounding out the bottom five are four presidents that have held that dubious distinction each time the survey has been conducted: Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding, and Franklin Pierce.

Bush was rated second from the bottom on “intelligence,” “foreign policy accomplishments,” and “handling of U.S. economy.” This despite promises from Bush supporters that “history will be very kind” to the former president, as his Attorney General John Ashcroft put it. Bush’s father’s legacy “held constant” in this year’s poll, with George H.W. Bush coming in at 22nd. President Reagan “dropped two places from 16th overall in 2002 to 18th today.” President Obama was ranked 15th. (HT: Taegan Goddard) LinkHere

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Turks Shot Multiple Times On Gaza Aid Ship: Forensics

Source: Agence France-Presse

ANKARA — All but two of the nine Turks killed in an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship were shot more than once, and five died from bullet wounds to the head, according to forensic reports.
The documents, penned this month, were made available to AFP Tuesday by lawyers for the victims' families, who have petitioned Turkish prosecutors to investigate the May 31 bloodshed on the Turkish Mavi Marmara ferry.

"The findings make it clear the Israeli forces shot to kill the activists and not to overpower them," one of the lawyers, Yasin Divrak, told AFP.

The youngest victim, 19-year-old Furkan Dogan, a dual Turkish-US national, was shot five times, including twice in the head, the report said.

A bullet that pierced his face was fired from close range, it said, adding he was hit also in the back of the head. LinkHere

UNFRIKINGBELIEVABLE, did they forget Iraq?

Source: The Guardian

Tony Blair, in his inevitable career progression from world leader to elder statesman, picks up another award, this time the 2010 Liberty Medal, a prize given annually by the National Constitution Centre in Philadelphia.

In announcing the $100,000 prize, Philadelphia's mayor Michael Nutter praised Blair's "relentless pursuit of a long-elusive peace in Northern Ireland as British prime minister and his dedication to the Middle East peace process".
Blair's peace efforts in the Middle East presumably don't encompass his support for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Philadelphia blogger Duncan Black noted: "I guess Tony Blair won this for his success in helping to liberate souls from the earthly existence." LinkHere

US House passes historic Wall Street overhaul

Source: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US House of Representatives gave its final approval Wednesday to the biggest overhaul of Wall Street rules since the Great Depression of the 1930s, leaving the landmark bill in the Senate's hands.

Lawmakers voted 237-192, largely along party lines, for the compromise legislation that President Barack Obama has made his top domestic priority -- and a weapon for bludgeoning his Republican foes ahead of November elections.

The US Senate was expected to take up the measure after the week-long July 4 recess, amid an 11th-hour hunt for the 60 votes needed to ensure passage over any Republican parliamentary delaying tactics.

"The party is over, no longer again will recklessness on Wall Street cause joblessness on Main Street," Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said shortly before the vote. Link Here

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Updated: Supreme Court vacates Siegelman decision

Edited on Tue Jun-29-10 05:01 PM by EarlG
Source: Raw Story

Breaking: Supreme Court vacates conviction of Don Siegelman

By Larisa Alexandrovna
Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 -- 10:30 am

In a surprise decision Tuesday morning, the United States Supreme Court vacated an earlier ruling by a lower court in the case of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, who was convicted of bribery and honest services fraud in 2006 in a case that has widely been criticized as politically motivated.

The ruling was vacated in light of a ruling last week in the case of former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling which partially struck down the so-called "honest services" fraud statute. On the heels of that decision, the Supreme Court issued a surprise ruling in the Siegelman case on Tuesday morning. LinkHere


Big News on Siegelman

Josh Marshall June 29, 2010, 10:35AM

Last week we mentioned that the Supreme Court's decision in the Skilling case could end up having a big effect on a lot of outstanding public corruption cases. Most of our readers know about the Don Siegelman case because of very serious suspicions that the case was based on a politicized prosecution. But the Supreme Court has just sent Siegleman's case back to the 11th Circuit "for further consideration in light of Skilling v. United States, 561 U.S."
Edited by Admin to update this story at the request of the original author.

Part One – The Political Prisoner
Part Two – Exclusive interview with jailed governor’s daughter, Dana Siegelman
Part Three – Running Elections from the White House
Interview with Dana Jill Simpson and alleged Rove smear campaign
Part Four – How Bush pick helped prosecute top Democrat-backed judge
Part Five – Mississippi Justice: Bush US Attorney targeted my wife, supporters and friends
Part Six - Break-ins plague targets of US Attorneys
Justice Department investigating two US Attorneys for political prosecution
Part Seven - Justice for Sale: How Big Tobacco and the GOP teamed up to crush Democrats in the South
Government opposes appeal by imprisoned attorney to visit dying wife
Democrat claiming political prosecution appeals decision to prohibit visit to dying wife
Judge who ruled on appeal of prosecuted Democrat was Karl Rove protege
Supreme Court ruling may not help Democrats targeted by Bush US Attorneys

John Pilger: There Is a War on Journalism

Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi unleashed on CBS News Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan in a post titled, "Lara Logan, You Suck" Monday.
"Lara Logan, come on down! You're the next guest on Hysterical Backstabbing Jealous Hackfest 2010!" his post began.
Taibbi was responding to Logan's appearance on CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday, during which she trashed Rolling Stone writer Michael Hastings for violating an "unspoken agreement" and publishing anecdotes in his article on General McChrystal that she feels were meant to be off-the-record. Logan also maligned Hastings' methods of gaining McChrystal's trust in order to facilitate their interview.
Anyone who wants to know why network television news hasn't mattered since the seventies just needs to check out this appearance by Logan. Here's CBS's chief foreign correspondent saying out loud on TV that when the man running a war that's killing thousands of young men and women every year steps on his own dick in front of a journalist, that journalist is supposed to eat the story so as not to embarrass the flag. And the part that really gets me is Logan bitching about how Hastings was dishonest to use human warmth and charm to build up enough of a rapport with his sources that they felt comfortable running their mouths off in front of him....If I'm hearing Logan correctly, what Hastings is supposed to have done in that situation is interrupt these drunken assholes and say, "Excuse me, fellas, I know we're all having fun and all, but you're saying things that may not be in your best interest! As a reporter, it is my duty to inform you that you may end up looking like insubordinate douche bags in front of two million Rolling Stone readers if you don't shut your mouths this very instant!" I mean, where did Logan go to journalism school - the Burson-Marsteller agency?
Taibbi didn't limit his critique to just Logan — he connected her comments to a larger pattern among mainstream journalists, whether they cover wars in Afghanistan or presidential campaigns in the US, who he says prioritize access over fact-finding and truth-seeking:
Most of these reporters just want to be inside the ropeline so badly, they want to be able to say they had that beer with Hillary Clinton in a bowling alley in Scranton or whatever, that it colors their whole worldview. God forbid some important person think you're not playing for the right team!Meanwhile, the people who don't have the resources to find out the truth and get it out in front of the public's eyes, your readers/viewers, you're supposed to be working for them -- and they're not getting your help.
Read Taibbi's full post at RollingStone.com.
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