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The Nation

May 15, 2008
Christopher Hayes

Some things to read this morning:

1) Digby on vote suppression and disenfranchisement in Missouri.

2) George Bush partying like it's 1939. Again.

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May 14, 2008
Peter Rothberg
Peter Rothberg

Co-written by Dinelle Lucchesi.

With this historic and virtually eternal Democratic presidential primary soaking up all the oxygen some of the worthiest state candidates are being overlooked more than ever. The Progressive Democrats of America do a valiant job trying to fill this void by highlighting aspiring pols who are animated by a commitment to social and economic justice and who have a real chance to win.

Take Ed Fallon -- someone whose name you probably haven't heard before. He's competing in the June 3rd Democratic primary for Iowa's 3rd Congressional District. (Iowa confusingly holds its presidential primaries in January independently of the state's other primary races.) His average campaign donation is $75 and he has a firm policy of never accepting money from PAC's or lobbyists. His grassroots campaign has melded old-school tactics like phone banking and door to door visits with sophisticated online networking and effective use of youtube videos like this mockumentary on one of his champion causes: campaign finance reform.

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May 14, 2008
Katrina vanden Heuvel

Yesterday morning, Burger King's Senior Analyst of Communications, Denise Wilson, sent me an e-mail saying that the company had "terminated two employees who participated in unauthorized activity on public Web sites which did not reflect the company's views and which were in violation of company policy and its ‘Code of Business Ethics and Conduct.'" The statement also said, "The company has discontinued the services provided by Diplomatic Tactical Services, Inc. (DTS) for violation of the company's code of conduct." CEO John Chidsey claimed, "Neither I nor any of my senior management team were aware of or condone the unauthorized activities in question."

The statement raised as many questions as it answered, such as which two employees were fired? "We do not comment on personnel matters," Wilson replied. (Shortly thereafter, the dismissed employees were identified by Amy Bennett Williams of the Fort Myers News-Press as vice president Steven Grover and spokesman Keva Silversmith.)

What did DTS do that was a "violation of the company's code of conduct"? "DTS is no longer a vendor due to its violation of BKC's code of conduct," Wilson wrote back.

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May 14, 2008
Christopher Hayes

In last week's lede editorial, the editors wrote:

The stinging defeats of the Bush years (and, stretching back, of the age of Reagan) have induced a nagging self-doubt among many on the center-left. They just don't trust that a majority of people are actually with them--or they've stopped believing that public sympathy will mean much once the right unleashes its culture-war arsenal. But a CBS/New York Times poll showed a majority opposed to the gas tax cut, exit polls showed voters to be largely unfazed by Reverend Wright, and Obama maintained or increased his share of the working-class white vote in Indiana and North Carolina. Which means: blue-collar voters, and voters in general, are smart enough to see through the condescension of politicians selling a policy their own advisers say is bunk or peddling guilt by association.

So, too, it seems with the good voters of Mississippi's first district, who last night elected Democrat Travis Childers with a comfortable eight point margin.

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May 14, 2008
Christopher Hayes

The other J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami takes to the pages to the Washington Post to itemize 5 Myths on Who's Really Pro-Israel.

Amidst the latest bout of mid-east nonsense in the campaign, it's a nice , succinct reminder of just how dysfunctional (and simply incorrect) much of the conventional wisdom about America's Israel politics is.

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May 14, 2008
Christopher Hayes

Last month, Congressional Quarterly reported that there was little doubt that the government--under John Yoo's 2003 memo--had approved the use of mind-altering drugs to weaken the resistance of terrorist suspects during interrogation. Today, the Washington Post details how federal immigration agencies have likewise been using this strategy: injecting over 250 deportees with dangerous psychotropic drugs to keep them incapacitated until they were out of the country.

Raymond Soeoth, a Christian minister from Indonesia, was forcibly injected after asking to say goodbye to his wife. Amadou Diouf, a Senegalese married to a U.S. citizen, was injected on the plane when he tried to show the captain his temporary deportation stay:

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May 13, 2008
John Nichols
John Nichols

Not since a Republican president named Richard Nixon was trying to explain away the Watergate scandal has the Grand Old Party been on such a losing streak in special elections for congressional seats vacated by Republican incumbents.

For the third time in four months, a Democrat has won a special election for a House seat representing a district that George Bush won overwhelmingly in 2000 and 2004 and where Democrats hadn't had been out of the congressional competition for years.

This time, the Republican lost a U.S. House seat in a north Mississippi, where Democrat Travis Childers prevailed over Republican Greg Davis by a remarkably comfortable 54-46 margin.

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John Nichols
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May 13, 2008
Christopher Hayes

A lot of people wrongly believe Barack Obama is a Muslim. As I documented in a cover story for the magazine, this is largely due to a viral internet rumor that's been spread via email.

Of course, Obama is a Christian. (Not, it should be added that that should make a difference one way or the other, but, of course, it does) Here's a clear cut example where there's fact and fiction and the press has the simple job saying which is which. But instead you get this insidious hedge, like this line from a reporter on Good Morning America:

Just for the record he constantly says he's a Christian

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May 12, 2008
Christopher Hayes

One of the few national politicians willing to speak unflinchingly about how the so-called "robust" U.S. economy has failed vast swaths of America, last month, Sen. Bernie Sanders asked constituents to share their stories of how they're coping with rising prices of medicine, gas, heating fuel and food. Since then, over 700 responses from Vermont and across America have flooded his office. The letters -- a painful installation of the hollowing-out of middle-class America -- should be required reading for any elected official here in DC. Some excerpts:

I am 55 years old and clean homes for a living. I am divorced and work 6-7 days a week-10 to 14 hours a day trying to make ends meet...I drive to get to my jobs and my fuel costs have more than doubled. I use to spend $60.00 a month for fuel and now it is closer to $300.00.

We have two small children (a baby and a toddler). Due to the increasing fuel prices we have at times had to choose between baby food/diapers and heating fuel, we've run out of heating fuel 3 times so far and the baby has ended up in the hospital with pneumonia.

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