Thursday, January 8, 2009

Headlines - Thursday

TMZ reports that porn magnate Larry Flynt and "Girls Gone Wild" king Joe Francis are heading to Washington to ask for a $5 billion dollar porn bailout. 

"With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind," Flynt says. "It's time for Congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America."

And why not? Porn isn't any more obscene than what the economic terrorists in the banking industry, or George Bush and his minions have done to this country.
The Senate will seat Burris when he is certified by Illinois' secretary of state:
Farewell Chronicles with Hat
The Daily Beast has put together 20 of Bush's greatest forgotten scandals:
He neglected to mention he doesn't work for the Democratic party either

In an interview with The Hill, Senate Majority Leader Dingy Harry Reid said he would not roll over for the new president the way Republicans did for Bush (and he has been doing since 2006).

Reid stated, "I don't believe in the executive power trumping everything... I believe in our Constitution, three separate but equal branches of government."

"If Obama steps over the bounds, I will tell him. ... I do not work for Barack Obama. I work with him," he said.

The most depressing part is that he also said that he planned to lead the Senate Democrats until at least 2015. Hopefully the voting citizens of Nevada will squelch that dream. 

In about twelve days, nobody's going to even remember Give 'Em Head Harry, because we're all going to be talking about the dress Michelle Obama wore to the inaugural balls. 

Hey, people whining about Panetta's supposed lack of experience to be CIA director: Remember President George H. W. Bush?

He was a Congressman initially and the only House Committee he was on was Ways and Means. He was appointed Ambassador to the UN by President Nixon, and then appointed head of the Republican National Committee. After that Gerald Ford appointed Bush "Chief of the US Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China" and then in 1976 appointed him Director of Central Intelligence (DCI).

He served in this role for 355 days, from January 30, 1976 to January 20, 1977. [20] The CIA had been rocked by a series of revelations, including those based on investigations by Senator Frank Church's Committee regarding illegal and unauthorized activities by the CIA, and Bush was credited with helping to restore the agency's morale. [21]

Today, the headquarters of the CIA, in Langley, carry the name "George Bush Center for Intelligence". He had minimal "intelligence" experience prior to this role.

To its credit, the NYT article points out that "Intelligence experts say there is no strict formula for success: some career intelligence officers have proved to be dismal as directors, while others have succeeded; some outsiders have proved to be prescient, effective leaders, while others have found it impossible to impose authority over what remains an insular and secretive agency" and provides some examples.

It's very clear that the Feinstein/Rockefeller/anonymous SSCI Democrats/anonymous CIA officials concern trolling is nothing more than a power play and a reaction based on a fear of change and a fear of Panetta overturning some unpleasant rocks. I hope President-Elect Sen. Obama and Vice-President-Elect Sen. Biden don't roll over for this Village show.

Thoughts on Sanjay Gupta:

Gupta is against single-payer or any kind of healthcare system reform at all. He is decidedly a status quo type of person. The problem is that the status quo he defends kills thousands of people every year due to lack of timely healthcare or denial of health insurance coverage for serious illnesses. Anybody who defends a system that kills thousands of people per year is as morally unqualified for any position in Washington D.C. as anybody who defends torture. They're both moral atrocities, and people who defend moral atrocities are beneath contempt and should be consigned to the lowest circles of Hell, not cushy jobs in the nation's capital.


Jeff Huber cuts loose on at-Largely. An excerpt:

…Dick Cheney says Israel didn't seek "U.S. approval" to begin the ground attack into Gaza. Heh. They didn't seek "U.S. approval" before they attacked Lebanon, either. They sought Dick Cheney's approval, and he gave it to them. Dick Cheney isn't the "U.S." He's just the vice president, and the president of the Senate. He's not in the military chain of command at all, and according to him he doesn't even work in the executive branch of government.

No word yet on whether Israel got Dick's permission to use cluster munitions on the sand colored people, this time or last time. Israel's Haaretz says the Israeli Defense Force is aiming the cluster ammunition at "open areas." I have trouble imagining Hamas placing suitable cluster bomb targets in the open. You might shell an open area to set off mines that could be buried there, but if you use cluster bombs to do that you'll create another minefield on top of the one you're trying to clear.

Cluster bombs are made for killing people. Maybe the IDF is shelling open areas with cluster bombs as a humanitarian gesture, something to remind the Palestinians to stay in the closed areas where it's safer, but I doubt it. Journalist Jamal Dajani of Link TV, posting from the Israel-Gaza border, judges Israel's self described "surgical strikes" to be "as surgical as shooting chickens in a coop with a shot gun."

Mr. Bush blames the Gaza debacle on Hamas, saying it has "once again shown its true colors as a terrorist organization" with attacks on Israel. Bush didn't mention that Israel broke the ceasefire in November when it sent ground troops into Gaza. Cheney probably didn't let anybody tell Bush that part.

Maybe it's a moot issue; Israel has had Gaza under a blockade since January 2008, six months before the ceasefire went into effect. Since a blockade is an act of war imposed by armed force, one has to marvel at how even the most adroit Rovewellian can say with a straight face that a ceasefire exists within a blockade…


Steny Hoyer wants pro-Israel resolution supporting Israel's goal in its Gaza Strip operation.

What a wonderful way to start the new Congressional session — with an endorsement of genocide. Thanks, Steny.



Home sales sink to 7-year low Link

Pending sales of existing U.S. homes dropped to a seven-year low in November, as rising job losses and a deepening economic recession kept potential house buyers on the sidelines.

The Home Sales Index dropped 4.0 percent to 82.3, the lowest level since the series started in 2001. That was worse than economists' expectations for a 0.1 percent drop.  November's reading was 5.3 percent lower than a year-ago and October's pending home sales index was revised down to 85.7.  

Remind me again....who was president and which party was in control 7 years ago? This is what happens when you take money from the middle class and give it to billionaires.


Why won't God heal amputees?

Good question.


Homecrafters to turn into criminals under new law:

This is just awesome. It's ok to lie about air quality, dump tons of toxins into our rivers, and import crap from China that is laced with melamine, but by God the line must be drawn on grannys crocheting baby blankets.


Paging Geraldo ...

Joe the Plumber to become war correspondent [AP]

Suck on that, you mid-major American newspapers that've been forced to shut down your foreign bureaus!

Hats off to whichever AP writer was forced to put this story together for this gem of a droll follow-up sentence:

Wurzelbacher gained attention during the final weeks of the campaign when he asked Barack Obama about his tax plan.

Truly, an epochal event.

Oh dear God. I just realized this is going to give him more foreign policy experience than Sarah Palin has. So we'll be hearing from him again once the 2012 race fires up.


Utah's governor Huntsman wants to ease Utah liquor laws, but the state Senate says no because they want to 'protect the children':,5143,705273869,00.html

And in a related story: Abuse and forced religion at Utah's West Ridge Academy in Chino Blanco's Trapped in a Mormon Gulag. Utah state senator Chris "This baby is black. It's  dark ugly thing" Buttars was there.

At least they don't serve alcohol.

Jews don't recognize Jesus as the Son of God.
Protestants don't recognize the pope as the Ruler of the Church.
Mormons don't recognize each other in a liquor store.

And speaking of Utah, freshman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is planning to live in his Capitol Hill office, rather than rent an apartment in Washington, DC. "I'm trying to live the example that it doesn't take big dollars in order to get where we want to go," Chaffetz said. "I can save my family $1,500 a month by sleeping on a cot in my office as opposed to getting a fancy place that's maybe a little bit more comfortable." ABC News reports that at least 40 members of Congress regularly sleep in their congressional offices.

Fun fact: Jason Chaffetz has a net worth of up to $5.6 million, slightly less than incumbent Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, whom he defeated. archive-politics-news/ 1P2-16780935/ chaffetzs-net-worth-up-to-56m.html


During Tuesday's military parade in "appreciation" of President George W. Bush, Mike Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs said in his lubricious hummer of a speech:

"After this nation was attacked by a rising evil, the same evil which later murdered many others in places like London, Madrid, Islamabad and Mumbai, you quickly led us from the grip of fear to a serenity of purpose and unity of action - serenity well beyond our dreams on September 12th, when all thought further attack was not only likely, but gravely imminent. And through your vision, a new national security was rendered to reach our enemies where they hid and trained and celebrated deadly crimes."

Now that's some motherbleeping historical revisionism: the man who pogo-sticked around the country on September 11, 2001 like a hyperactive toddler on the run from the boogeyman actually was achieving some kind of Zen state of retarded enlightenment that allowed him to clear his head and pronounce, "I'm gonna attack a country that had nothing to do with those planes." Seriously, this is like a rapist-murderer being honored for his belief in safe sex.

Secretary of Defense, now and future, Robert Gates took over by saying:

"On a bright Tuesday morning in September, eight months into President Bush's first term, we learned how dangerous and unpredictable this new era could be, and saw in the starkest terms how necessary was the task of transforming the American defense establishment to meet these challenges. It was a task inspired by the vision of President Bush, propelled by the energetic advocacy of Secretary Rumsfeld, informed by the experience of our senior military leaders, and accelerated by the urgent demands of two unconventional ground wars."

See, Bush and Rumsfeld didn't run the military into the ground and nearly break our armed forces. Oh, no. Said Gates, "The result is an American military that has become more agile, lethal, and prepared to deal with the full spectrum of 21st century conflict."

The President got in on the act of mooning the facts, always with an eye toward the future, that lover of hypotheticals. He pronounced, "There will become a day when your grandchildren will ask, what did you do during your time in uniform? And you'll be able to say: We made the military stronger. We made the world freer. And we made America more secure." And it's just the start: "You'll be able to tell them the story of the first decade in the 21st century -- their early days of a generational struggle against terror and extremism. It is a story of a global coalition led by the United States that is dedicated to eliminating the forces of oppression and fear." You see? It's like the Justice League, if the Justice League was comprised of a one-legged Superman and a bunch of fast-moving midgets.

Yes, it was a grand day, with a grand parade of soldiers, all to honor the man who said that their lives should be dedicated to a fool's failed utopia.

706-10065 - Embroidered Adhesive Ribbon<BR>Small (package)
It seems the founder of the Susan Komen for the Cure (known for it's pink ribbons and pink things to purchase), nancy goodman brinker, is the "Chief of Protocol of the United States." One of "ambassador" Komen's duties is to manage the Blair House. 

Apparently somewhere in those managerial duties she couldn't find room in that huge house for president elect Obama and his family, but could for John Howard.  

Mac is back:

Former Republican presidential candidate and Arizona Sen. John McCain is re-emerging on the political scene following his November defeat with Country First, a political action committee aimed at rebuilding the Republican Party, according to an email sent to supporters today.

Uh, John? You do know that you're largely why the GOP needs rebuilding in the first place, right? Particularly because you suffered a devastatingly-huge defeat at the hands of Barack Obama two months ago.

Also, if you're trying to fix the GOP, you could start by ditching the hollow slogans from your failed campaign; it might not help if you're constantly reminding everyone why they abandoned you in the first place.

Just a thought.

Pennsylvania's senior Senator Sphincter has Attorney General-designate Eric Holder in his sights:

The senator, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who is the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said Mr. Holder's support of the White House's stance on three contentious issues when he was deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration suggested that he was too willing to do the president's bidding.


Mr. Specter raised questions about Mr. Holder's role as deputy attorney general on a range of issues that included an investigation into the 1993 federal siege in Waco, Tex., that left David Koresh and about 80 of his Branch Davidian followers dead, and an espionage investigation involving a nuclear scientist, Wen Ho Lee.

But he saved his sharpest criticism for Mr. Holder's role as deputy attorney general in three controversies in Mr. Clinton's second term: Mr. Clinton's pardon of Mr. Rich in 2001, the president's decision in 1999 to grant clemency to 16 members of a Puerto Rican militant nationalist group, and the Justice Department's rejection in 1997 of an independent counsel to examine accusations of campaign finance abuse by Vice President Al Gore and the White House. In each case, Mr. Specter said, Mr. Holder appeared to go against the advice of career professionals at the Justice Department.

So the GOP is going to dust off a slew of decades-old trumped-up right-wing scandals in order to attack someone who was only marginally involved in each.

First, trying to use the above scandals to determine whether or not Holder can be "independent" from the President is pretty ridiculous, since Holder wasn't Bill Clinton's Attorney General; he was the Deputy Attorney General. Whether or not some of those incidents happened because the DoJ wasn't independent enough from Clinton is a reflection on Attorney General Reno, not Eric Holder; all the GOP can really prove here is that Holder did his job, hardly a filibuster-worthy revelation

Second, Specter is trying to insist that the Attorney General have a certain level of independence from the President.  But, in 2005, Specter voted to confirm Alberto Gonzales as George W. Bush's second Attorney General, even though Gonzales was a Bush loyalist who had served as Bush's legal counsel ever since he was Governor of Texas. In fact, Specter was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during Gonzales confirmation; at the confirmation hearings, he raised exactly zero concerns about Gonzales' independence.  The double standard here doesn't speak particularly well toward Specter's integrity.

Third, we all know why Specter is doing this–he's desperate to burnish his conservative creds. Specter will be up for re-election in 2010 and is facing a primary challenge from Club for Growth President Pat Toomey, who nearly defeated Specter in 2004. Specter is trying to redeem himself among conservatives by leading the charge against Holder. Plus, since Holder will be confirmed no matter what, Specter can gain some points without having to actually accomplish anything.

Yeah, I know our politics is often functions as the incumbent protection racket, but I just wish guys like Sphincter wouldn't put good public servants like Eric Holder and Barack Obama through the ringer just to save their own skins.


Republicans kick the press out of a forum featuring the candidates for RNC Chairman.

First, what does the GOP worry these guys are going to say that they don't want publicized? What's wrong with Republicans that prevents them speaking freely about the issues in plain view of the American people they're hoping to–eventually–lead?

Second, without a Republican in the White House, the RNC Chairman will be the leader of a  national party consisting of tens of millions of Americans.  Don't all of the registered Republicans in America deserve a chance to hear what these guys have to say? Shouldn't Republicans get to know these candidates so that they can contact their local RNC members and express their opinion?

I understand that electing a party chairperson is always a closed and relatively undemocratic process.  Still, for a political party on the ropes, it doesn't help that they're trying to pick a new leader and chart a new direction completely behind closed doors, without the consent–or even knowledge–of millions of Republican voters.


Domestic terrorists threaten gay bars in Seattle.


NBC's First Read did a "Then and Now" comparison of ten areas to see how things have fared after eight years of Bush and Cheney. Hint: we are not better off now than we were 8 years ago.

And this awesome clip from Letterman:


The NYT's Thomas Friedman says people like to talk about America being "number one", but all the while our country sinks far behind in terms of our infrastructure. G.M. is us.


Here's a video of an American/Palestinian girl trying to get Israeli soldiers to stop firing on children throwing rocks. Talk about brave: 
She reminds me of Rachel Corrie, except of course she wasn't run over by a bulldozer and killed.
India's turn to be rocked by a swindler - Read it at The Wall Street Journal.

It's been a difficult few weeks in popedom: First, Pope Benedict XVI raised some eyebrows when he compared the need to eliminate homosexuality to saving rainforests. Now, he may have to cancel a planned trip to Israel after the head of the Vatican Council for Justice and Peace compared Gaza to "a big concentration camp." Pope Benedict is German and, as a child, was enrolled in the Hitler Youth. Israel and the Vatican are also at odds over the beatification of Pius XII, the WW II-era pope who remained silent during the Holocaust—a move that would put him on the path to sainthood. Read it at The Times of London


TSA and Jet Blue say they "did nothing wrong"

But they still paid a guy nearly a quarter-million bucks for forcing him to cover up a t-shirt with Arabic writing on it.

"We did nothing wrong." Yeah, sure, that one pegs the Bullshit Detector.


No company pays a suing plaintiff $240,000 to go away if there wasn't a really good chance that the plaintiff was going to prevail by either a summary judgment or a trial.

Russia shut off all gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine on Wednesday — leaving more than a dozen countries scrambling to cope during a winter cold snap.
This is an awesome world we live in.
Thousand points of blight
Mississippi, a hotbed of abstinence education, now boasts the highest teen pregnancy rate in America - over 60% higher than the national average!
Rockets fired into Israel...from Lebanon.
...while Israel steps up the fighting in Gaza.
And the International Committe of the Red Cross said Thursday that it had found at least 15 bodies and several children - emaciated but alive - in a row of shattered houses in the Gaza Strip and accused the Israeli military of preventing ambulances from reaching the site for four days.
Israel declined to comment, but said the military "has demonstrated its willingness to abort operations to save civilian lives and to risk injury in order to assist innocent civilians."
Here's a great stimulus idea: invade the Caymans!
Just yesterday I linked to a story in which Robert Gates said the wars would cost $70 billion next year. That's in addition to the $66 billion already approved, so the total will be $136 billion - my bad:
4,223 soldiers killed in Iraq; 632 in Afghanistan.


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