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Posted at  09:04 AM ET, 04/17/2012

The Washington Post

By

Despite recent signs that gas prices may be about to fall, the Obama team harbors very real fears that pain at the pump could very well deprive him of credit for the recovery. It could impose additional financial hardships on swing voters who might otherwise be inclined to accept the premise that things are improving.

So today, the White House will unveil a new proposal designed to reframe the debate. The Associated Press reports:

Under pressure to take action on rising gasoline prices, President Barack Obama wants Congress to strengthen federal supervision of oil markets, increase penalties for market manipulation and empower regulators to increase the amount of money energy traders are required to put behind their transactions.

The White House plan, which Obama was to unveil Tuesday, is more likely to draw sharp election-year distinctions with Republicans than have an immediate effect on prices at the pump. The measures seek to boost spending for Wall Street enforcement at a time when congressional Republicans are seeking to limit the reach of federal financial regulations.

Details in the link. The move seems like an effort to take hold of a gas-prices narrative that has mostly eluded the White House’s control. Previously, Obama and Dems had sought to deflect public anger over high gas prices by highlighting GOP protection of oil industry subsidies; by pointing out that Big Oil interests are pumping big money into ads attacking them; and by picking a sustained fight with the oil billionaire Koch brothers.
MORE HERE

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Journalism has become a linguistic battleground – and when reporters use terms such ‘spike in violence’ or ‘surge’ or ‘settler’, they are playing along with a pernicious game, argues Robert Fisk

The Independent/UK, June 21, 2010

Botch and learn: the  world's media await the arrival of the Gaza   flotilla that was stormed by the Israeli Navy
AFP / GETTY IMAGES Botch and learn: the world’s media await the arrival of the Gaza flotilla that was stormed by the Israeli Navy

Following the latest in semantics on the news? Journalism and the Israeli government are in love again. It’s Islamic terror, Turkish terror, Hamas terror, Islamic Jihad terror, Hezbollah terror, activist terror, war on terror, Palestinian terror, Muslim terror, Iranian terror, Syrian terror, anti-Semitic terror…

But I am doing the Israelis an injustice. Their lexicon, and that of the White House – most of the time – and our reporters’ lexicon, is the same. Yes, let’s be fair to the Israelis. Their lexicon goes like this: Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror.

Continues >>

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Massachusetts Senate Race Results: Scott Brown Defeats Martha Coakley

GLEN JOHNSON and LIZ SIDOTI | 01/19/10 10:50 PM | AP

BOSTON — In an epic upset in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to win the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy for nearly half a century, leaving President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul in doubt and marring the end of his first year in office.

Addressing an exuberant victory celebration Tuesday night, Brown declared he was “ready to go to Washington without delay” as the crowd chanted, “Seat him now.” Democrats indicated they would, deflating a budding controversy over whether they would try to block Brown long enough to complete congressional passage of the health care plan he has promised to oppose.

“The people of Massachusetts have spoken. We welcome Scott Brown to the Senate and will move to seat him as soon as the proper paperwork has been received,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said he would notify the Senate on Wednesday that Brown had been elected.

The loss by the once-favored Democrat Martha Coakley in the Democratic stronghold was a stunning embarrassment for the White House after Obama rushed to Boston on Sunday to try to save the foundering candidate. Her defeat on Tuesday signaled big political problems for the president’s party this fall when House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates are on the ballot nationwide.

Brown’s victory was the third major loss for Democrats in statewide elections since Obama became president. Republicans won governors’ seats in Virginia and New Jersey in November.

“I have no interest in sugarcoating what happened in Massachusetts,” said Sen. Robert Menendez, the head of the Senate Democrats’ campaign committee. “There is a lot of anxiety in the country right now. Americans are understandably impatient.”

Brown will become the 41st Republican in the 100-member Senate, which could allow the GOP to block the president’s health care legislation. Democrats needed Coakley to win for a 60th vote to thwart Republican filibusters. The trouble may go deeper: Democratic lawmakers could read the results as a vote against Obama’s broader agenda, weakening their support for the president. And the results could scare some Democrats from seeking office this fall.

The Republican will finish Kennedy’s unexpired term, facing re-election in 2012.

MORE HERE

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SNL Salahi Skit Spoofs Party Crashing Couple, Secret Service (VIDEO)

Huffington Post

First Posted: 12- 5-09 06:47 PM   |   Updated: 12- 6-09 03:32 AM

UPDATE:
The Salahis did not appear on SNL’s opening scene. But the show did begin with a clip lampooning the party crashers and a Secret Service of enablers.

WATCH VIDEO HERE

The party-crashing couple that embarrassed the Secret Service and brought scrutiny to protocol at White House social events by getting into a state dinner may be in on the joke.

According to The Washington Post blog The TV Column, Tareq and Michaele Salahi are slated to appear in tonight’s opening skit of Saturday Night Live:

As of Thursday, the NBC late-night show was planning to open with a skit in which, with cast members playing all the parts, President Obama would give a speech with his cabinet behind him. Suddenly, he’s interrupted by the Salahis, who have crashed the speech — Michaele Salahi in a red,red sari, just like the one she wore when she and her husband allegedly crashed that White House state dinner last month.

The Salahis were asked about a possible SNL appearance on Friday, when the couple arrived in court. They were there over a dispute on a $925 landscaping bill. Tareq Slahi smiled, when he was asked about the appearance, but said nothing, according to The Warren County Report Newspaper.

Gossip Girl‘s Blake Lively is set to host Saturday’s show.

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30 Reasons Fox News Is Not Legit

By Eric Boehlert, Media Matters for America. Posted October 28, 2009.

Fox News routinely, and blatantly, breaks the code to which ethical journalists are supposed to aspire.

Why the Beltway press has invested so much time and energy in recent weeks defending Fox News, with one scribe even claiming that the White House’s public critique of the network was “dangerous to press freedom,” and why the press refuses to acknowledge what’s so obvious about the cable channel’s political pursuits, remains baffling.

The facts regarding Fox News’ lack of professionalism seem rather obvious (as I detail below 30 different times). And that ought to be plain for Beltway journalists as well. But whether for reasons having to do with external professional, social, or political pressures, many journalists have opted to pretend that Fox News is a serious outlet, that it’s just like its cable and network TV news competitors.

They insist that any suggestion that Rupert Murdoch’s cable channel isn’t legitimate is completely off-base and that the White House is not even allowed to have an opinion on the issue. Indeed, ABC News’ Jake Tapper suggested it was not “appropriate” for the administration to tag the channel as illegitimate. (Tapper himself can’t tell the difference between the programming that Fox News and ABC News produce.)

The rush to defend Fox News is an odd one, because I don’t remember the same type of the circle-the-wagons defense when the previous Republican administration openly waged war on The New York Times and NBC, two news outlets whose standards far outshine the kind of pseudo-reporting Fox News produces on a daily basis. That Beltway media elites have decided to rally around Fox News of all entities remains as puzzling as it is short-sighted.

The truth is, journalism is not difficult to practice, nor is it tough to identify. Journalists aren’t licensed, and anyone can try their hand at it, as the Internet has made clear. So there is no higher authority declaring what is and isn’t journalism. But the craft, like obscenity, is instantly recognizable in its true form.

For generations in this country, there has been a sort of a gentleman’s agreement in terms of what constituted professional behavior among journalists. And there has been a sense of shame when members crossed those lines into unprofessional behavior. Bosses chastened those employees, people were fired, and ethics panels were summarily convened to make certain the transgressions didn’t happen again. Fox News, though, has walked away from all of that. And guess what? The rest of the press hasn’t said boo.

MORE HERE

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by Geezer Power

So, you know about the Treasury’s $700 billion bailout plan. But you probably don’t know that the Federal Reserve has lent out about $2 trillion since September. Few do. And that is what’s irritating bulldog Congressman Alan Grayson. Will he be able to shed a light on the Fed’s secret spending?

Grayson raises voice, hackles in D.C.

Mark K. Matthews | Washington Bureau
February 9, 2009

“WASHINGTON – In just a few short weeks, freshman U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, has delivered more memorable quotes than some members of Congress do in an entire career.”

“In interviews, the 6-foot-5-inch Grayson downplays his combative approach, bridling at a reporter’s use of the “abrasive” label and saying that he would not have been assigned to the House Science Committee — the “most bipartisan committee in Congress,” he said — if he wasn’t collegial.”

“Meanwhile, his Dylan-quoting, freewheeling stance has earned him liberal fans nationwide, including Darcy Burner, a failed Washington state congressional candidate who has already asked supporters to back Grayson’s re-election campaign.”

“He’s going to have a vicious re-election battle in two years, and he’s getting pressure to sell out to the lobbyists and corporations so that he’ll have enough money to fund his re-election. That, my friends, would be a real pity,” Burner wrote in a letter.

“Fundraising, however, is unlikely to be a problem. He is the 10th-wealthiest House member, with assets of more than $29 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.”

The rest of the story

Here’s Grayson’s alter ego Steven Seagal as an abstract, reality TV, illustration of what should really happen to the major players in the shadow government that still hangs over the White House.

Youtube video

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Rove says he won’t comply with congressional subpoenas

Lawyer signals Rove cooperating with Justice Dept.

Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove “won’t comply” with congressional

subpoenas, according to a newspaper report of an event held in Los Angeles earlier this week.

Rove spoke Tuesday evening at Loyola Marymount University, a Jesuit institution in Los Angeles, as part of the school’s “First Amendment Week.”

“One man loudly denounced Rove as a ‘traitor’ before he was escorted out,” the Loyola Daily Breeze noted. “A woman held up a pair of handcuffs and said she would like to see Rove wearing them.”

Rove mounted a “sprited defense” of Bush policies: warrantless wiretapping, Guantanamo Bay and so-called harsh interrogations. But among the questions bearing relevance on Rove’s current predicament — one answer stood out.

One questioner asked Rove whether he would comply with Congressional
subpoenas. Rove was subpoenaed last month to testify to the House Judiciary Committee about his knowledge surrounding the firings of US Attorneys and the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

Rove “said he would not, and cited Janet Reno, President Clinton’s attorney general, as his authority in resisting Congressional infringements on executive privilege.”

His answer seems to contrast the sentiment of his Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, who told an investigative reporter earlier this week that Rove was cooperating with two Justice Department probes into the US Attorney firings and the Siegelman case.

“I can say that he would cooperate with the [Justice Department] investigation if asked,” Luskin said. He made no such specific commitment to an investigation by the House Judiciary Committee, or the Senate Judiciary Committee, both of which have subpoenaed him to testify on the cases.

Luskin told Raw Story Thursday that while he hadn’t seen the specific remarks, he was “confident that I’ve accurately expressed his position in this matter and it’s consistent with what I have conveyed to [House Judiciary Chairman] Conyers and to the White House.”

Rove also told the Los Angeles crowd that media coverage leading up to the election was “unbelievably tilted toward Obama,” and “not healthy for the system.”

“That coverage is putting a finger on the scale,” Rove said, adding that most members of the national press corps live in Washington and New York and went to schools with a liberal bent.

The following video is Karl Rove’s response to a Loyola Marymount University student when asked about the subpoena issued to him by House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr. on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009:

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