Muslims like us: Ellison targeted again for his religion

Categories: Congress
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It must suck for Keith Ellison to constantly deal with his religion. While most folks are fine with his love for Allah, some GOP leaders in Washington think it's one step away from praying at the feet of Osama. If you take their reasoning, Ellison's Muslim-ness is sure sign he is cooperating with the enemy, especially with all those dark-looking interns running around Capitol Hill. Glen Greenwald has a new post about the hysteria it's created, and how much of its sourcing is from a book.


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Decorum prevents Betty McCollum from calling out Joe Wilson

Categories: Congress, Drugs
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Congresswoman Betty McCollum wanted to speak to the U.S. House of Representatives today about the breach of conduct by her peer, Rep. Joe Wilson. But to do it would violate the same decorum Wilson threw to the wayside by blurting our "You Lie!" during President Obama's address to the Joint Session of Congress. Lucky for Wilson, as the good congresswoman was ready to throw down a rhetorical blast.

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Mass Madia

Categories: Congress

Ashwin Madia’s campaign announced today that it raised almost $700,000 during the 2nd quarter— an encouraging development for state DFLers.

The $692,940.62 outpouring bested Republican opponent Erik Paulsen’s bounty by almost $100,000. That an insurgent, 30-year-old with scant political experience outraised a comparatively entrenched, establishment candidate is an indication that the political tide might be turning in Jim Ramstad’s old stomping grounds. Minnesota’s 3rd Distrct, representing the metro’s western suburbs, has been GOP territory for the past 47 years.

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America's leading pro-Israel lobby made a flag-pin wearer out of Obama...

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Photo courtesy AIPAC

The day after Barack Obama declared victory in St. Paul, he was at a podium addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, which describes itself as "America's pro-Israel lobby."

And it wasn't just Obama. McCain did it. Hillary Clinton did it too. AIPAC is a notoriously influential lobby, with organizing skills that are the stuff of legend. Following the Obama address, The Daily Show satirized AIPAC's role in politics.



Jon Stewart began the piece by calling out: "Hey Barack Obama, you just won the democratic nomination, what are you going to do now?" Cut to Obama on the AIPAC stage where the man notorious for his aversion to flag lapel pins is wearing, well, as Stewart describes it: "the Siamese U.S.-Israeli flag double lapel pin--wow!"


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Leading the fight for farm welfare

Categories: Congress
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Today's Wall Street Journal has a fascinating deconstruction of how the farm lobby beat back attempts to curtail agriculture subsidies. Farmers will collect some $13 billion in federal subsidies this year. This despite the fact that farms, buoyed by the ethanol boom and soaring commodity prices, are projected to reap record income of $92.3 billion in 2008. Average farm household income is expected be about $90,000 this year. Currently farms with incomes of up to $2.5 million are elligible for federal funds. More »

It's official: Senator Craig disgraced the senate

Categories: Congress

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The Senate ethics panel--a contradiction in terms if ever there was one--ruled that U.S. Senator Larry Craig's wide-stance bathroom antics and subsequent bizarre guilty plea take-back constituted "improper conduct which has reflected discreditably on the Senate."

Craig responds to the charges in a letter to the AP:


"While I am disappointed and strongly disagree with the conclusions reached by the Senate Ethics Committee, from the outset I have encouraged the committee to act in a timely fashion and they have done so. I will continue to serve the people of Idaho," he said.


Craig then added: "Hey there, you got any extra toilet paper in your stall?"

Franken beating Ciresi, Coleman in new poll

Categories: Congress
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Via DailyKos, Al Franken beats both his Democratic competition and the Republican incumbent in CSRA's new poll for Minnesota Public Radio:


Democratic Primary (MoE 4.5%)

Franken 42
Ciresi 18

General Election Matchups

Coleman (R) 40
Franken (D) 43.2


But before you Franken fans get too hopeful, Kos points out that the poll may be skewed:


In 2004, the Minnesota party ID breakdown was D-38, R-35, and I-27. For this poll, it's D-52, R-34, and I-14. Of course, after the last two years, Democratic identification is up, so that might have something to do with it. But just a cautionary note in what otherwise is a great result for Franken.


To which I can only add: Go Al! Grrr!


Compare and contrast: The Reichstag fire and 9/11

Categories: Congress
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Rep. Keith Ellison (Minnesota's 5th District) is taking flak from the Anti-Defamation League for controversial remarks he made earlier in the month. During a July 8 speech he gave to a group of atheists in Edina, Ellison compared the Bush administration's post-9/11 actions to the heavy-handed undertakings carried out by the Nazi government in the wake of the 1933 Reichstag fire—initiatives that fomented Adolf Hitler's rise to power.

"After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it and it put the leader of that country [Hitler] in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted," a July 8 Strib article quoted Ellison as saying.

So in a Tuesday press release, the Anti-Defamation League took Ellison to task and demanded that he retract his remarks. "[His] comments comparing the rise of Nazism in the aftermath of the burning of the Reichstag to the War on Terror in the aftermath of 9/11 is outrageous and offensive to all Americans," read the statement.

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Manufacturing the news: Ellison edition

Categories: Congress

Of the many controversies that have afflicted Congressman-elect Keith Ellison, none is sillier--and more bogus--than this week's kerfuffle over Ellison's stated intention to take his oath of office on the Qur'an. As you probably know by now, the "debate" was ignited by Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager. In his syndicated column, Prager (whose frothing can be heard in the Twin Cities at 1280-AM The Patriot) complained that Ellison's "act undermines American civilization." Implicit in all this, of course, was Prager's transparent plea for publicity. Come Friday morning, the Strib obligingly weighed in with a page one story that was... okay, not as dreadful as the headline, "Oath on the Qur'an: Provocation or act of faith?"

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DeLay indicted

Categories: Congress
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Will the dominoes begin to fall? The AP's Larry Margasack details House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's indictment today on a single conspiracy count:


A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, forcing the House majority leader to temporarily relinquish his post....

GOP congressional officials said Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., will recommend that Rep. David Dreier of California step into those duties. Some of the duties may go to the GOP whip, Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri. The Republican rank and file may meet as early as Wednesday night to act on Hastert's recommendation. The charge carries a potential two-year sentence, which forces DeLay to step down under House Republican rules.


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