Saturday, December 13, 2008

Headlines - Saturday

Bush meets with Darfur human rights Activist Dr. Halima Bashir - author of Tears in the Desert
A normal president with a conscience might be embarrassed by his administration's failure to act on behalf of the people of Darfur, but not Dubya.
Another US drone kills militants in Pakistan:
For the third time this week, Pakistani militants destroyed trucks and containers destined for US forces in Afghanistan. This time they torched nearly 100 vehicles:
NATO forces kill 4 civilians on a bus in Afghanistan:
4,209 soldiers killed in Iraq; 628 in Afghanistan.
Defense Sec  Robert Gates: The US military will pour thousands of troops into Afghanistan by next summer and can expect to commit a sustained force for several more years:
The Vatican says it doesn't like stem cell research, cloning, in-vitro fertilization, or the morning after pill:;_ylt=Amgwml1soJdAgSPqGdaM47eyFz4D
What about the embryos that grow up and get molested by priests?
Bush opposes the FCC's plan to create free nationwide wireless broadband: 

Bloomberg filed suit Nov. 7 under the Freedom of Information Act requesting details about the $2 trillion the Federal Reserve handed out. Guess what? 

"Fed Refuses to Disclose Recipients of $2 Trillion in Lending"


When she isn't claiming that lesbian constituents have kidnapped her in a bathroom, Michele Bachmann is calling for investigations of congressmembers to see if they hold anti-American views. What kind of anti-American views? Pretty much, anyone who is critical of any aspect of American policy is an anti-American in Michele Bachmann's mind. Here's how she put it on Chris Matthew's Hardball program:


"I'm getting regular death threats. You've put my home address on national television. I'm pissed at the networks. You've intruded too much." - Rahm Emanuel, to a TV cameraman.


Who's Hoover Now?


Josh Marshall on the failed bailout:

I don't think it'll be hard to explain why Senate Republicans had the final say: that's what the Constitution and Senate rules require. How else would we have passed anything?

I do think it'll be hard for Senate Republicans to explain themselves.

They were invited, repeatedly, to participate in more than a week of negotiations with a Republican White House. They declined.

They were asked to provide an alternative bill. They refused.

Finally, one of their members - Senator Corker of Tennessee - participated in a day-long negotiation with Senate Democrats, the UAW, and bondholders. Everyone made major concessions. Democrats gave up efficiency and emissions standards. UAW accepted major benefit cuts and agreed to reduce workers' wages. Bondholders signed off on a serious haircut. But when Senator Corker took the deal back to the Republican Conference, they argued for two hours and ultimately rejected it.

Why? Because they wanted the federal government to forcibly reduce the wages of American workers within the next 12 months.


...It warms my heart that the city and state see fit to give the Yankees tax breaks, allowing them to sign players at ridiculous salaries in the worst of times, while the rest of us get to walk to the unemployment office.


Should we be preparing to say "Senator Franken"?


Is President-elect Obama really ready for the GOP vision of "postpartisanship"? The one and only Digby explains it all for us - it's "date rape"


Glory be, these people:


It just gets better and better (the supposed war on Christmas):


The Obama's asked if they could move into Blair House, the government guest house that is the traditional home of presidents elect while waiting to move into the White House, so the girls could start in their new school on January 5th. They were told no, that it was booked:


Countdown obtained a new memo that explains the GOP's strategy for blocking a bridge loan to the auto industry,

Circulating among Republicans, it wasn't about helping the automakers or the economy, it was an effort to crush the working class and punish unions. 

Union Busting" is a high priority for these Conservatives fools that have allowed our country to be run into the ground. Can you name anything good that has come out of the eight years of Bush and Conservative dominance? So what is their solution? To take it out on the blue collars of America.


You know the Republican party completely devolved into a destructive anarchic force when Dick Cheney sounds like a sane person by comparison:

Administration officials have been warning for weeks that failure to pass the bill could lead to an even deeper recession.

That was the message Vice President Dick Cheney brought to a closed-door Senate GOP lunch Wednesday, reportedly warning that it'll be "Herbert Hoover" time if aid to the industry was rejected, according to a senator familiar with the remarks. A Cheney spokeswoman would neither confirm nor deny the vice president's remarks.

I think the Republicans actually want the country to go into a depression. They think that will somehow benefit them politically because they'll blame the Democrats for making things worse. It's how they roll.


CNN's Michael Ware is easily one of the bravest (and best) journalists in America, so when he tells "Men's Journal" about how radically covering the Iraq War has changed him as a person, we should all take note.

Men's Journal:

"I am not the same f#&@ing person," he tells me. "I am not the same person. I don't know how to come home."

It's October, six months after our first meeting, and Michael Ware, 39, is at his girlfriend's apartment in New York, trying to tell me why after six years he absolutely must start spending less time in Iraq. He's crying on the other end of the telephone.

"Will I get any better?" he continues. "I honestly don't know. I can't see the — right now, I know no other way to live."

Make sure to read the whole thing. It's truly fascinating.


There's something very wrong with an organization that forces its members to resign over messages of tepid tolerance. 



Blogojevich is an ass and should either resign or be impeached as quickly as possible. But this move on the part of the Illinois AG is nonsense. We don't ask courts to "remove" people from office because they refuse to resign. We just don't. We impeach them under a proper legal process. I can't stand this rush to change the rules whenever people don't do what they're "supposed" to do. Tell the legislators to give up their Christmas break, get their asses in gear and do their job. The state will survive.

Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty and the legislature and political system have the power to check anything he does through perfectly legal means. The AG's excuses about certain payments that have been delayed is nonsense. Payments are being delayed all over the country for a variety of reasons. That's not a reason to remove the Governor through extraordinary means.

This stuff is becoming more and more common in our system and we shouldn't support it. It's undemocratic and goes against the principles of our legal system and constitution. I'm sorry it's inconvenient but that's too bad.


Broccoli kitten:


John Cole's
idea for bailing out the auto companies:

We need to invade Michigan and rebuild the state from the ground up. We will be greeted as liberators, we have clear supply lines, and we can easily rebuild the auto industry with the kind of money we spend on other countries we invade. Hell, our new Secretary of State, Hillary of Clinton, spent the better part of the past year fighting for the rights of average folks from Michigan, so think of the good will we have with the public. This is very doable. Just tell Congress we will give KBR no-bid contracts to fix Detroit.


According to the new NBC/WSJ poll, 79% say they won't miss Bush when he leaves the White House. Moreover:

the Republican Party's fav/unfav is 27%-52%, which is its lowest rating ever in the poll (by comparison, the Democratic Party's is nearly reversed, 49%-28%.


Condi: The Republican party brought us to a place where 'people can look beyond race'


According to the Blog of Legal Times, the Justice Department is blocking President-elect Obama's agency review team's request "to review classified legal opinions related to secret CIA and National Security Agency programs." Included in these documents are the "legal rationale of the NSA's warrantless spying program and the CIA's detention and interrogation policies, among other intelligence initiatives." According to a senior Justice Department official, they are "reluctant to provide the opinions to Obama's team without permission from the two intelligence agencies whose activities they address."


Dan Weiss takes a look at the 20 senators who voted for the Wall Street bailout but voted against the auto rescue last night (as well as the 10 others who skipped the vote last night, but voted for the financial bailout):

Yes to TARP, No to auto Yes to TARP, Absent for auto
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT)
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN)
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. Kay Hutchison (R-TX)
Sen. John Isakson (R-GA)
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL)
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)
Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR)
Sen.Ted Stevens (R-AK)
Sen. John Sununu (R-NH)

Biden was tending to transition duties, while Kerry was in Poznan, Poland, participating in U.N. climate change talks. Alexander was home recovering from surgery. Why did these other Senators feel auto workers weren't as deserving as Wall Street? 


Not only is John Aschcroft "stunned" that so many Americans (and the Supreme Court as it turns out) think that terror suspect detainees should have their day in court, but he thinks it "has been a humanitarian act."

ASHCROFT: You know I've got a son who's a naval officer and he spent two tours of duty in the Gulf so our family is not in favor of releasing people once they have been captured so they can take another shot at our family but there are people who say to do that.

So I think detaining people, removing them from the stream of battle by the collective wisdom of mankind, has been a humanitarian act in terms of war circumstances.

As you know, a Senate panel released a report which found that the Bush administration, not guards or interrogators, responsible for the abuse of detainees at Gitmo. Thus, by calling detention at Guantanamo Bay a "humanitarian act," perhaps Ashcroft is laying the groundwork for an insanity plea.

UpdateRaw Story reports that, during the same interview, Ashcroft said he makes the best decisions "when I have a lot of morphine in my system."

Check it out:


Fox News affiliate reports:

[Coleman's] campaign did agree to share billing records of the remodeling project. Original projections in 2006 estimated a cost of $328,000, but four months later, the construction cost was estimated at $414,000, over-budget by $86,000.

During that time is when, the lawsuit alleges, Kazeminy was trying to get money to Coleman. According to the lawsuits, in March of 2007, Kazeminy said that "U.S. Senators don't make s—" and he was going to try to find a way to get money to Coleman.

The renovations included remodeling the Colemans' kitchen, which Coleman showed off in a recent campaign ad.


Coinciding with the release of a Senate Armed Services Committee report which says that the torture at Guantanamo and elsewhere was not the actions of a few bad apples but the result of decisions made by Rumsfeld and other administration officials (no kidding), the USA Today has an article about the "progress" of Guantanamo, in other words a transcription of whatever Gitmo public relations officers tell them. Basketballs, DVDs, cultural sensitivity (tiptoeing during prayers, cutting images of Western sluts out of their complimentary copies of USA Today, etc), and of course nutritious torture: "And while 20 inmates remain on a hunger strike, they are fed through a tube that supplies at least 4,500 calories a day. 'Several of them will complain if the nurses are late,' [Cmdr. Pauline] Storum said." No one likes an unpunctual force-feeding. Especially when they're strapped down in restraint chairs.


The White House website has posted a "fact sheet" entitled "President Bush Has Improved The Lives Of America's Youth." It cites such things as lower drug use, the national AMBER alert system, investigations of "computer-facilitated child sexual exploitation," and No Child Left Behind.

CONTEST: Name some other ways in which George Bush has improved the lives of America's youth.


Oops! Hunters shoot out daycare center window



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