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Next time the GOP whines about immigration, remind them about the Civil Rights Division in the Bush era Justice Department.

You want to talk about "Prosecutorial Discretion" and Presidents deciding how and when to enforce the law?

When George W. Bush came into office, his administration basically decided to stop prosecuting civil rights cases.

From the Washington Post, in June of 2010:

When Thomas E. Perez took over the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division in October, he found an office that was a shadow of its historic self.

Nearly 70 percent of the lawyers had left between 2003 and 2007, a mass exodus that came during allegations the Bush administration was politicizing hiring. Internal watchdogs concluded that the division's former head had refused to hire lawyers he labeled "commies" and had transferred one for allegedly writing in "ebonics," allegations the official denied. Civil rights groups said the unit had lost its traditional civil rights focus.

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You know what happens to conservative Democrats who run away from their party, push the party toward the center, and block Democratic objectives in the name of "moderation"?

They lose.

There were only 19 members of the Blue Dog Coalition left this morning (down from 54 in 2008).

Let's see how they did...

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Oh, the chutzpah.

An environmental impact statement (written by a consulting firm under investigation for lying about their extensive oil-industry ties) has concluded that the Keystone XL pipeline will have zero effect on the environment and climate change.

The ludicrous reasoning behind that assessment?

"Approval or denial of any single project is unlikely to significantly affect the rate of extraction of the oil in the oil sands, or the refining of heavy crude on the U.S. gulf coast."
Which is a very Zen way of doing business. "Hey, pollution happens one way or another. What difference does it make which particular company does it? Whatev. Don't get all bent out of shape, dude."

This despite the obvious fact that actually, without KXL, the ugly tar sands will NOT grow as large or as FAST.

“Long-term, we do need Keystone to be able to grow the volumes in Canada,” as Canadian oilman Steve Laut told the Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto. Laut is president of Canada's largest heavy-oil producer, so he should know what he's talking about.

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Nothing is writ in stone yet, but after literally years of bickering, the House and Senate conferees have agreed on a $1 trillion Farm Billthat would cut some subsidies to agribusiness, while not cutting food stamps as much as conservatives were gunning for.

Final tally: Just $8 billion in cuts (although why we're cutting at all in the teeth of the worst economy since the great depression, when millions of working American families rely on food stamps to make ends meet and feed their children, is an entirely different issue).

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We finally have a budget agreement.

After years of partisan bickering and the GOP pushing the Federal Government into shutdown, lawmakers agreed on a compromise proposal that now goes to the House and Senate for final approval.

Not in the bill: 134 of the GOP's ransom demands, including some ugly provisions:

- Blocking funding for Obamacare
- Blocking Wall Street enforcement
- Stripping the Environmental Protection Agency of the ability to regulate greenhouse gases
- Reversal of clean water regulations
Poll

Which provision are you happiest about?

9%5 votes
27%15 votes
27%15 votes
5%3 votes
29%16 votes

| 54 votes | Vote | Results

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I didn't think I'd be able to get to Netroots Nation - but now it looks like I can get there. All I need now is a place to lay my head.

Anyone need a roommate? I have $ to contribute. And I'm fine just laying down a sleeping bag in the corner....

Discuss

Think the impending sequester won't affect you? Guess again... one result could be a meat shortage, starting in April.

Remember all those fun salmonella outbreaks? The FDA has a team of inspectors that go out there and make sure your meat isn't going to kill you, but not very many of them (hence all the outbreaks), and if the sequester goes through as currently scheduled, those inspectors will get furloughs, and meat processing will grind to halt.

Food Safety News reports:

The meat industry has responded by arguing that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is actually legally obligated to provide Food Safety and Inspection Service inspectors at meat plants — without an FSIS inspector plants are not allowed to operate — so USDA should instead furlough less important, or “non-essential” employees to meet the automatic cuts.
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Well, that was strange.

I got a call from a (mumble-mumble-vaguely-political-sounding) firm here in Oregon (sorry, I didn't catch the name).

The young lady on the phone said they had a few questions for me, and I was happy to respond.

It went moderately well - with questions about how I felt about the deficit and tax increases on the wealthy, whether I supported the stimulus - until they started asking about Obamacare.

There were two follow-up questions:

- Would I still support Obamacare if I knew that it would result in a $2,000 tax increase for some middle class families?
- Would I still support Obamacare if I knew that it cut $750 billion from Medicare?

It went on like that... and then at the end, the girl said, "Okay, I just need to verify your name for our records".

I said, "What?"

She repeated... she wanted me to verify my name for their records.

I told her I didn't feel comfortable with that, and that was certainly NOT standard procedure with polling.

She got quiet. Didn't say anything.

For about half a minute.

I said "Is there anything else?"

She said "No." But still didn't hang up the phone. After another silent pause of another half minute or so, I hung up.

Weird. Anybody else experience anything like this?

UPDATE: The phone number was 541-823-5027, if anyone has access to a reverse phone book...

Discuss

If you haven't been following the story, here's a quick summary:

Right wing family-values firebrand Dinesh D'Souza has been fired from his cushy sinecure at the evangelical Kings College after he was caught sharing a hotel room with his fiance, blogger Denise Odie Joseph II, at a christian conference.

Both D'Souza and Joseph are married.

D'Souza explained that "'I had no idea that it is considered wrong in Christian circles to be engaged prior to being divorced, even though in a state of separation and in divorce proceedings."

D'Souza filed for divorce on the day he was confronted about this, October 4.

The fun part is reading Joseph's views on family values. She's deleted her own blog, IDeniseLustAfter.com,which, when it existed, was described as "With an Avarice for Accoutrement~ Fashion, Lifestyle, and Socio-Political Opinion Blog". (You can still read the content in the Google cache). But some of her writing has not yet been scrubbed from the web.

Check out this great post at The Spearhead from just this past January: "The Impending Doom of RINO Dads and their Daughters: Whatever Happened to Good Ole Hypocrisy? As America looks down the barrel of 2012, I'm hoping to bring back one precious but forgotten tenet of our society."

Joseph starts off with the premise that "while the Tea Party movement has done much to reinvigorate the party's morale, it has done precious little for the party's morals."

(More after the jump.)

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Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 11:47 PM PDT

The Reaganization of the Romnibot

by jeremybloom

Well, could have seen this coming.

The media appear to be anointing Romney as the winner of debate #1, just as they anointed Ronald Reagan the winner of his first debate, and Bush II the winner of his first debate.

Not based on saying things that were true. Not based on actually landing successful and valid critiques on their opponents. But just for showing up and not failing.

Romney didn't make any major gaffs, and didn't come off as either stupid or mean or evil. So the talking heads are declaring this a Romney Win. Chris Cilizza at the Washington Post called it "Romney's prepared competence".

Obama didn't do himself any favors. He was quiet and competent, but not particularly inspiring. (One wit tweeted that his plan is clearly to be the comeback kid in the second debate...). He won the last election as the Hope kid, not the accountant, but that's what he was tonight... rattling off number after number.

But humans don't connect with numbers. He needed more human connecting moments. Maybe Romney landed one or two of those, after an entire summer of coming off as an uncaring elitist who doesn't understand cookies or NASCAR rain ponchos.

Poll

Okay, it's our turn to be delusional. Who won the debate?

50%7 votes
0%0 votes
7%1 votes
0%0 votes
21%3 votes
0%0 votes
21%3 votes

| 14 votes | Vote | Results

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What is free speech? According to the Supreme Court, money that corporations spend to influence elections is free speech, and cannot be limited. But it seems a lot of our officials think it's perfectly OK to place limits on free speech when it comes to the 99 percent.

Which is particularly ironic considering that opposition to unhealthy, democracy-stifling corporate influence on elections and government is at the very heart of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.

In New York today, Mayor Bloomberg told the assembled media that because tents used by Occupy Wall Street shouldn't be considered as part of their demonstration, those tents are not protected by the constitutional guarantee of free speech and peaceful assembly.

This has been an issue across the country - Boston, Seattle, Denver, San Diego. Local officials have used local park regulations as the deciding factor in placing limits on the right of citizens to exercise their constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

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(Crossposted from RedGreenAndBlue.org)
By now just about everyone in the country must know that 23 Occupy Wall Street demonstrators were arrested Saturday in Manhattan when they attempted to close their Citibank accounts. Their crime: they talked about it too much. (See my story from Saturday, DON'T close your Citibank account today. They're arresting people.)

What you probably don't know is: on the same morning a similar group went to a Chase bank branch and engaged in a similar action. You don't know this because, unlike at Citibank, the Chase manager just rolled with it, so it didn't turn into a news story.

Poll

Are you going to be closing your Citibank, Chase, Wells Fargo or Bank of America accounts and switching to a credit union?

34%23 votes
6%4 votes
25%17 votes
27%18 votes
6%4 votes

| 66 votes | Vote | Results

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