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“Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay — once one of the most powerful and feared Republicans in Congress — was convicted Wednesday on charges he illegally funneled corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002.
Jurors deliberated for 19 hours before returning guilty verdicts against DeLay on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces up to life in prison on the money laundering charge.”
“Pity poor Alan Simpson. Three weeks after he and fellow presidential debt commission co-chair Erskine Bowles tried to put a positive spin on their incredibly controversial prescription to balance the federal budget, Simpson is still taking heat from critics on both sides of the aisle.
“I’ve never had any nastier mail or [been in a] more difficult position in my life,” Simpson told the Casper Star-Tribune in his homestate of Wyoming.
“Just vicious,” Simpson said. “People I’ve known, relatives [saying], “‘You son of a bitch. How could you do this?'”
True to form, Simpson gave his critics as good — or better — than he got.
He told the paper that “while every interest group that testified before his committee agreed that the mounting federal debt is a national tragedy, they would then talk about why government funding to their area of interest shouldn’t be touched.”
“We had the greatest generation,” Simpson said. “I think this is the greediest generation.””
“Democrats today are shopping around what they’re saying is a really juicy (if totally predictable) tale of Republican hypocrisy: Just days after the Senate GOP caucus imposed a voluntary moratorium on earmarking, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) dumped $200 million in extra cash for his home state into a spending bill right before final passage.
But experts insisted to TPM today that what Kyl did isn’t nearly as clear or egregious as the AP made it out to be.[…]
Two anti-earmark watchdogs I spoke with today took something of a similar line — saying that what Kyl did isn’t earmarking in the official sense. But, one suggested, that may not matter as much as Kyl might hope it does.”
“The Family Research Council is perhaps the most prominent voice in conservative social politics and the hosts of an annual rite of passage for many Republicans who hope to run for president. And now, FRC is on the same Southern Poverty Law Center list of hate groups as the Ku Klux Klan.
The SPLC gave the Family Research Council the designation due to anti-gay speech from its leaders, which the SPLC says includes calls for gay men and lesbians to be imprisoned.
Labeling the Family Research Council a hate group puts one of Washington’s most powerful social issues advocates into the company of groups like the Nation of Islam and the now mostly defunct Aryan Nations in the eyes of the SPLC, which tracks 932 active hate groups in the U.S.
Groups are labeled hate groups by the SPLC — which made a name for itself by using civil lawsuits to severely weaken the KKK and other white supremacist groups — when they “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics,” according to the group’s website.”
“Ohio Governor-elect John Kasich (R) spent much of his campaign selling the “accountability” and “transparency” buzzwords to Ohio constituents this year. Touting a “new way” of doing politics, Kasich promised to “recharge Ohio” with a smaller, more open government that would require accountability within important sectors – like education – that weren’t up to par. This generic rhetoric, however, sounded enough like a revolution to win him the endorsements of several prominent state newspapers, including the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Columbus Dispatch, and the conservative Cincinnati Enquirer.
But just weeks after defeating Ohio’s incumbent Gov. Ted Strickland (D), Kasich’s incoming administration is turning on those previously-espoused principles and refusing to release the resumes of the job applicants for politically-appointed state government jobs. While Strickland “regularly” released the records of job applicants for the public, Kasich claims that because the resumes are solicited via www.fixohionow.com — a private site owned by the Kasich-Taylor New Day Committee, Inc. — those who desire to work for him have an expectation of privacy. Pointing out that Kasich won its endorsement based on his stated “bias towards openness,” the once-supportive Cincinnati Enquirer lambasted his rationale as “an outrageous nose-thumbing at well-established principles of openness”.”
“In recent days, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has hinted in her clearest language yet that she is seriously considering a run for the presidency in 2012. Many observers have argued that Palin could never win because of her embarrassing lack of expertise, knowledge, or interest in foreign policy. Her appearance on Fox News host Glenn Beck’s radio show today, captured by Oliver Willis, suggests they may be right:
CO-HOST: How would you handle a situation like the one that just developed in North Korea? […]
PALIN: But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies. We’re bound to by treaty –
CO-HOST: South Korean.
PALIN: Eh, Yeah. And we’re also bound by prudence to stand with our South Korean allies, yes. “
“A war is brewing among the right wing over the chairmanship of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has jurisdiction over health care, climate policy, and energy policy. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) is the leading contender, but Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) is seeking a waiver from Republican leadership to retake the gavel, while Reps. John Shimkus (R-IN) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL) are also in the hunt. Although the candidates are lockstep in opposition to the Obama agenda and in their intention to launch witch hunts against climate science, Upton is a relative moderate, having admitted in the past that greenhouse emissions should be reduced. In contrast, Barton — who famously apologized to BP this summer — is fully aligned with the oil and gas industry, with $1,482,630 in lifetime contributions.
Now this internal fight has exploded into a Tea Party battle royale. FreedomWorks, run by veteran GOP lobbyist Dick Armey, has launched Down With Upton, a website attacking “Big Government Republican Fred Upton” for a record “full of votes for more regulation, more spending, and more taxes.” In an email announcing the campaign, FreedomWorks cited Glenn Beck’s warning that “light bulbs are just the beginning”.”
“President Obama may be forced to sign a law that would allow terrorism suspects to be held indefinitely. Supporters say it would codify a necessary, existing practice. Critics decry it as antithetical to the U.S. justice system.”
“A Virginia Tech researcher’s work on how some snakes can glide through the air is of interest to the Pentagon. Maybe it will help scientists design smaller aircraft.”
“As if a bell tolled a neighbors trouble, folks came running. An hour before the funeral of Army Cpl. Jacob R. Carver, an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 people in Harrisonville, Missouri, lined nearly a half-mile of the street in front of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, making sure Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church/family congregation were crowded out, peacefully kept far from shouting distance of the funeral.”
“The issue at the center of the foreclosure scandal isn’t the use of robo-signers and shortcuts in paperwork: It’s whether the banks’ mistakes and lack of due diligence caused people to face wrongful foreclosures.
Banks have denied that this has happened, saying, “We are confident that processing errors did not result in any inappropriate foreclosures.” Foreclosure defense attorneys, however, say that wrongful foreclosures not only happen, they’re widespread. This disagreement comes down to what constitutes a wrongful foreclosure.”
“Russian and E.U. negotiators resolved key differences on trade, removing a significant obstacle to Russia’s plans to join the World Trade Organization.”
“Concerned that its response to a North Korean artillery attack was too feeble and passive, South Korea said Thursday it would make its rules of engagement more muscular.”
“The group of professional adults responsible for making television commercials in which Dodge trucks drive through various wilderness environments or haul noticeably heavy objects is referred to by the auto manufacturer as “the creative team,” sources confirmed Tuesday. [Senior VP Frank Hammond’s] team of 15 people, all of whom have the word “creative” in their titles, most recently produced a $4.5 million 30-second spot that features the 2011 Dodge Ram 1500 stopping abruptly at the edge of a cliff.”
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