Jon Stewart takes the Republicans to task for their fear mongering over the closing of Gitmo.
Jon Stewart takes the Republicans to task for their fear mongering over the closing of Gitmo.
On Hardball while discussing the aid for family planning included in the stimulus package, Chris Matthews says that government support for family planning "sounds like China" to him. Robert Wexler attempts to reason with him and explains that proper funding and education in this area actually increases people's choices and ultimately reduces medical costs. Rough transcript:
Gingrey:...I mean we're throwing away, gosh I think that there's two hundred million dollars in there for family planning and contraceptives. Now indeed that may stimulate something but I don't think it's going to stimulate the economy.
Matthews: Well Congressman Wexler why isn't it just, why isn't it just what we thought it was going to be...infrastructure, roads, bridges, stuff that everybody agrees on needs to be fixed and creates real jobs for real people that pay decent salaries. Why don't we spend all the money on that stuff that people can see rather than all these odds and ends and cats and dogs? I mean the bill has so much in it you think it's just a shopping list of the Democratic party. That's what it looks like.
Wexler: No. No.
Matthews: Everybody that wants something has something in here.
Wexler: No what the Obama administration is arguing, and I believe they're correct is that three quarters of the money spent in this stimulus package will be out into the economy in eighteen months and I realize it's easy to find one item or this item but even, let's talk about that family planning. Family planning saves if done correctly an enormous sum of money down the road in the health care system. But back to your original point. Most of the money goes to building roads, bridges, infrastructure projects like my friend Mr. Gingrey said. As the states will have designed them and local governments as well will have designated them.
Also in terms of building schools. We desperately need to upgrade our education systems. We have enormous amount of resources devoted towards construction projects and public education as we do in terms of alternative energy sources. We are going to invest enormous sums of money in creating green jobs which have the benefit of employment increases as well as leaving our dependence on foreign oil. This is exactly what the country needs combined with three hundred billion dollars plus of tax cuts which affect ninety five percent positively of the American family base.
Matthews: I don't know. It sounds a little like China. I, Congressman Gingrey I think everybody should have family planning. Everybody believes in birth control as a right. I'm for abortion as a right and all that. It's all right. But why should the federal government have a policy of reducing the number of births? I don't know why the federal government has an interest in that. They have an interest in freedom and people making choices but I just heard a case made by Congressman Wexler that it was in the national interest to have fewer kids. I don't understand that. (crosstalk) What did you mean by that? What did you mean by that? Why is it an economic stimulus...why are we talking about family planning as an economic stimulus program...(crosstalk).
Wexler: Chris you are right family planning is a personal choice and in order to make personal choices people need to have both education and resources. And when they lack an education or know how or resources in effect then they're choice is negated. And in terms from an economic analysis to give people choices that in some instances based on personal choice will reduce health care costs in the future, that of course then reduces the burden on federal tax payers. This is not a new concept. This is what we run the government on. If we can reduce Medicaid expenditures by giving people more knowledge and choice and resources I think most people regardless of their ideology would say that's a good economic decision.
January 26, 2009 CNN
January 24, 2009 C-SPAN
January 26, 2009 C-SPAN
The Guardian is reporting that despite widespread disgust among their journalists both the BBC and Sky News are adamant in their refusal to show this video tonight.
Sky News and the BBC have stood firm on their refusal to broadcast an emergency appeal for Gaza tonight on the grounds that it would jeopardise their neutrality as the corporation faced a growing revolt against the decision among its own journalists.
The BBC insisted it would not show the appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella group of humanitarian charities including Oxfam, Save the Children and the Red Cross, in spite of renewed pressure from the public, ministers and MPs.
Pressure is also growing among BBC journalists, with sources reporting "widespread disgust" within its newsrooms. Sources have said there was "fury" at the BBC News morning meeting today, with news editors saying they had not been consulted about the decision not to show the appeal, which will be broadcast tonight on ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five at about 6.20pm.
BBC journalists will tomorrow vote on a resolution put forward by the National Union of Journalists condemning the move, which has prompted more than 15,500 complaints to the corporation. The NUJ and broadcasting union Bectu have already written to the BBC describing the corporation's decision as "cowardly" and urging it to change its mind.
The BBC director general, Mark Thompson, ruled out a change of policy, saying it had a duty to cover the issue in a "balanced, objective way".
John McCain on Fox News Sunday is asked about the closing of Gitmo, and apparently John is for it but yet he's against it. He thinks we should close Gitmo, but only after finding another kangaroo court to replace the one we have now.
He also feels we have to find somewhere to put all of those prisoners who aren't from the United States, which Joe Biden pretty well debunked today, noting that there was only ONE of them which would fit that category. McCain also apparently thinks that Obama closing Gitmo equates to just freeing prisoners without any trials. I don't think anyone is asking for that, John.
Chris Wallace frames the following question on torture as to whether anyone at a lower level should be prosecuted as opposed to anyone in the Bush administration who ordered the torture. McCain follows right along with Wallace in his answer and only talks about those at the lower level in the CIA who followed the orders and not those they were taking orders from, and says we need to "move on". As someone who was himself tortured, this is pretty pathetic. I've got to wonder if he'd be as charitable if he ever met the person who ordered his torture.
So how did a story about a far-flung village in rural Alaska about starving and freezing natives ever gain the attention of traditional media? Partly due to the Palin factor, a governor seemingly more concerned with peddling her book deal (for a measly asking price of $11mil) than her citizens. More than just her involvement (or lack thereof) though it's been a testament to the perseverance of a few people in Alaska who have really lit the fire.
It began with a story in an Alaskan newspaper (The Bristol Bay Times), spread to various Alaska progressive blogs (The Mudflats, Progressive Alaska, Immoral Minority, Diva's Blue Oasis), who in turn alerted the large progressive blogs on the net (Huffiington Post, Firedoglake, and The Daily Kos).
Recounted here from Huffington Post (1.14.09):
Four days ago, a cry for help went out from rural Alaska via the Bristol Bay Times. Many of us have known that residents of Alaska's rural villages are having a hard winter. The weather has been unusually cold this year, and prices of heating oil and gasoline have been astronomical. Add to that a disastrous collapsing salmon fishery in Bristol Bay that left residents in that area heading in to winter with less than usual, and you have the makings for a humanitarian crisis.
So in desperation, Nicholas Tucker, from the Village of Emmonak (eh-MON-eck) sent out a cry for help. With 21 days left in the month, Mr. Tucker had only $440 left to feed and keep his family of nine warm, with heating oil at $7.83/gallon. As Emmonak runs out of fuel, it will have to be flown in, potentially raising the price to $9/gallon or more.
The blogs involvement lead to direct donations of food and money, as well as sending videographer Dennis Zaki to Emmonak to record a firsthand account when other media would not send anyone.
And just today the LA Times published a piece on the problems facing the Yupik Eskimo villages ("In rural Alaska, villagers suffer in near silence").
All this attention seems to have created a backlash as well, both among the rightwing/talk radio crowd in Alaska who've called the villagers plight a "scam", and among urban Alaskans who think they already pay too much to help their remote neighbors.
There is also an international component to this story:
At the moment, villagers in Tuluksak say their greatest hope is that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will come through again on his pledge to deliver free fuel to Native Americans -- a promise that could mean 100 gallons for many families.
"What most people do not realize is that what our country as a whole has been seeing for the past year or so is nothing compared to the economic conditions that have been prevailing in many of our Native communities for over 100 years," Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Jan. 15.
"It is truly tragic," she said, "that Alaska Native villages must depend on Venezuela for their safety net."
The video above is from KTUU in Anchorage from earlier this last week.
On Fox News Sunday Bill Kristol calls the Democrats the "party of heredity" while defending his girlfriend Sarah Palin's treatment in the media compared with that of Caroline Kennedy. Neither party can claim that they don't have their own American royalty but coming from a man who is himself the benefactor of his own heredity this is pretty rich. Anyone think Bill Kristol would be where he is today were it not for his mother and father?
Lindsey Graham on CNN's State of the Union responding to John King's question about the closing of Guantanamo Bay calls it a "well run jail" and an "image problem" for the United States. King gives him an opportunity to continue with the 61 prisoners have been released to the battlefield propoganda that we saw earlier on Meet the Press from John Boehner as well. Talking points accomplished.