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For Your Consideration: Up Date x 2

Holding Government Hostage

Report: Shelby Blocks All Obama Nominations In The Senate Over AL Earmarks

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put an extraordinary “blanket hold” on at least 70 nominations President Obama has sent to the Senate, CongressDaily (sub. req.) reports. The hold means no nominations can move forward unless Senate Democrats can secure a 60-member cloture vote to break it, or until Shelby lifts the hold.

“While holds are frequent,” CongressDaily reports, “Senate aides said a blanket hold represents a far more aggressive use of the power than is normal.”

Shelby has been tight-lipped about the holds, offering only an unnamed spokesperson to reporters today to explain them. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid broke the news of the blanket hold this afternoon after Shelby announced it to him in a letter sent today. Reid aides told CongressDaily the hold extends to “all executive nominations on the Senate calendar.”

According to the report, Shelby is holding Obama’s nominees hostage until a pair of lucrative programs that would send billions in taxpayer dollars to his home state get back on track. CongressDaily laid out the programs Shelby wants to move forward or else:

h/t Evan McMorris-Santoro  @ TPMDC

Haiti: Ripples

Conditions are improving, slowly, steadily, 3 weeks after the earthquake but we have a really long way to go. The rainy season is coming in a other month and there is a need to provide shelter and sanitation needs that must be addressed quickly.

After enduring delays in receiving urgent medical supplies and equipment, as well as continuous aftershocks that threatened already-damaged facilities, MSF staff are now treating patients inside an inflatable hospital.

Originally the plan was to keep the Inflatable Hospital open for 3 months. It was then extended to 6 months, now, the plan is to keep it open indefinitely and expand it from 100 beds to 200 beds by adding 4 more sections to the already existing 9.

Now cross posted at The Wild Wild Left

Krugman vs Ailes

The Main Event Smack Down from Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman.

Krugman 1/Ailes 0

Why is BarbWa Wawa moderating “This Week”? ABC has no other credible moderators? WOA! Is Ailes the new Guinness Book record holder for double chins? I mean they must go to his knee caps..OK I won’t go any further with that thought, too gross. EWWW.

h/t Blue Texan @ FDL

First Full Moon of 2010


Tonight is the first Full Moon of 2010. It is a warm clear night here in Haiti. Moon rise was impressive.

Afternoon Edition

Our senior news editor is experiencing technical difficulties. So, here LIVE from warm, sunny Port au Prince, Haiti is your afternoon news

This is also an Open Thread

Aid missing many in a city of want

MSF Haiti 28/01/10

PORT-AU-PRINCE – When aid groups and soldiers venture out of the heavily secured refugee camps to deliver food to the starving at hundreds of smaller sites scattered everywhere throughout this capital city, they question whether they will be providing succour to the most needy, or exactly the opposite.

“When we deliver to women and children, we have to know whether they will get it or will they get killed for it,” said Adam Klyczek, a medic with the 82nd U.S. Airborne squadron of 400 soldiers based at the Pétionville Golf and Country Club, now home to about 40,000 refugees. “Is it a violent area, will we create a riot, will we start looting?”

J. D. Salinger R.I.P.

J. D. Salinger, author of “Catcher in the Rye” has passed away of natural causes according to his son. Now I will have to read the book. Blessed Be

J.D. Salinger, the legendary author, youth hero and fugitive from fame whose “The Catcher in the Rye” shocked and inspired a world he increasingly shunned, has died. He was 91.

Salinger died of natural causes at his home on Wednesday, the author’s son said in a statement from Salinger’s literary representative. He had lived for decades in self-imposed isolation in the small, remote house in Cornish, N.H.

“The Catcher in the Rye,” with its immortal teenage protagonist, the twisted, rebellious Holden Caulfield, came out in 1951, a time of anxious, Cold War conformity and the dawn of modern adolescence. The Book-of-the-Month Club, which made “Catcher” a featured selection, advised that for “anyone who has ever brought up a son” the novel will be “a source of wonder and delight – and concern.”

h/t TPM

Presidential “Hit List”

Is President Obama sanctioning the assassinations of American citizens without due process just as George W, Bush did? It would appear that is exactly what he is doing.

President Obama has now extended Bush’s “War on Terror” to Yemen. In today’s Washington Post there is an article by Dana Priest where she writes:

U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people, among them six of 15 top leaders of a regional al-Qaeda affiliate, according to senior administration officials.


As part of the operations, Obama approved a Dec. 24 strike against a compound where a U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Aulaqi, was thought to be meeting with other regional al-Qaeda leaders. Although he was not the focus of the strike and was not killed, he has since been added to a shortlist of U.S. citizens specifically targeted for killing or capture by the JSOC, military officials said. The officials, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the operations.

(emphasis mine)

Anatomy of International Murder and the Cover Up of War Crimes

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive”

Sir Walter Scott quotes (Scottish Novelist, Poet, Historian and Biographer, 1771-1832)

What follows is a tale of international intrigue with spies, murder and a conspiracy to cover up the run up to an illegal war by two leaders of government, Tony Blair and George W. Bush.

Conspiracy Theory or War crime? You be the judge.

h/t to emptywheel at FDL

Shake, Rattle and Operate (Up Dated)

From MSF


Haiti: Treatment Continues Through Powerful Aftershock

On Wednesday morning, as Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams in Haiti continued to work through long queues of patients waiting for treatment and surgery, the country was shaken anew by a powerful aftershock. In Choscal hospital, where MSF has been running two operating theaters, patients were so alarmed by the tremors that they had to be relocated into tents outside the building. The surgeons stayed in the hospital, however, rotating in regular shifts, performing one operation after another.

In the week since the January 12 earthquake, MSF has established 10 operating theaters in the battered country. Seven are in Port-au-Prince hospitals-Choscal, Trinité, Carrefour and Chancerelle-and three others are outside the capital, in the towns of Leogane and Jacmel. Overall, MSF surgical teams have been carrying out an average of 130 operations per day. Simultaneously, logisticians are racing to find new facilities or rehabilitate damaged ones. Additional operating theaters are being prepared in Leogane and Grand Goave, west of the capitol, and inside Port-au-Prince, where a team expects to complete the construction of an inflatable hospital with two operating theaters by Friday.

Cross posted at The Wild Wild Left

Hospitals Out of Air

Thought you folks would be interested in this video.

Job with MSF Now

I will put this up here for you computer wiz’s who need work

#MSF hiring a server mgmnt admin in Toronto NOW to keep our website from crashing under the load. [email protected] Please RT!

Proposition 8: Marriage Equality Day 2 (Up Dated)

The second day of testimony challenging Proposition 8 will begin at around Noon EST. The first day seemed to go well for the plaintiffs who are saying that Prop 8 violates their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

There is live blogging from Rick Jacobs at Courage Campaign’s Prop 8 Trial Tracker and by Teddy Partridge and David Dayen at FDL

Here are some highlights and observations from yesterday’s opening statements and testimony.

Judge Vaughn Walker questions defense attorney Charles Cooper’s contradictions

   Walker: If the Prez’s parents had been in Virginia when he was born, their marriage would have been unlawful. Doesn’t that show a TREMENDOUS change in the institution of marriage? doesn’t that show evolution? Isn’t that correct?

   Cooper: Racial restrictions were never a feature of the institution of marriage. (laughter in our courtrtoomm)

   Cooper: These restrictions were loathesome, and a detail. “Man and woman” has been universal, across time and all societies.

   walker: Is the evidence going to show these racial restrictions are different than the restrictions imposed by Prop 8?

   (like a bug pinned to a piece of wood)

   Cooper: Naturally procreative instincts….

   Walker: Only purpose?

   Cooper: Basis of marriage is procreation. It is a pro-child societal institution.

   Walker: Many things attend marriage, will your evidence show that those are all secondary to procreation?

   Cooper: This is about deinstitutionalizing marriage…

   Walker: Yes, you say that. But will your evidence show that?

Up Date From FDL h/t to Dayen

Gay Rights Groups Praise First Day Of Testimony, Call On Obama DoJ To Submit Amicus Brief

Geoff Kors, the Executive Director of Equality California, which led the opposition to Prop. 8 in November 2008. He was excited about the first day of testimony, particularly the words of the four same-sex partners who took the stand, the first time in a federal trial that same-sex couples have testified. “Their testimony was really moving. You heard them say that marriage is not just about rights and benefits but about love and commitment.”

Kors also singled out Ted Olson’s opening statement as the conservative case for marriage equality. Olson said that allowing certain couples a separate status despite similar rights and benefits creates a stigma without a compelling rational basis for doing so. “To have a conservative legal scholar take that position is very powerful.”

Before the trial began, Kors released a statement calling on the Obama Administration’s Justice Department to issue an amicus brief in favor of their position in Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

   “The time has come for elected leaders to empower all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Once again, we call on the Obama administration to join Equality California and others in urging the federal courts to strike down this grossly unjust law. In doing so, we will bring our nation one step closer to realizing its promise of equality for all. Our country’s bedrock principles of democracy and freedom are at stake.”

Kors elaborated on that after the first day of testimony. “This is the civil rights trial of the decade,” he said. “We’re asking the Justice Department to weigh in on a basic principle. This doesn’t only apply to the LGBT community, but all minorities. And to be silent is unacceptable.”

(emphasis mine)

I’m certain Kors isn’t holding his breath

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