Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Headlines - Wednesday

An Open Letter to the 111th Congress

Dear Congress,

Let's get this out of the way right now: I think you're gonna suck balls.

I base my opinion on your performance during the previous administration, and I see no reason to change my mind just because y'all have a bunch of new members and America has a new president.

It's all so predictable. With virtually no exceptions, Republican members will continue insisting that the policies of shitting on the little guy are the only ones that they'll support, and Democratic members will continue to give these idiots serious thought and consideration in the futile hope that we can all just get along. In essence, you'll continue governing as if we are a "center-right" nation, which we most assuredly are not.

You'll continue to act quickly on things that should be acted on slowly, and you'll act slowly on things that should be acted on quickly. You'll insult our intelligence, waste our money (or, rather, waste our grandchildren's money since you spent ours and our kids' long ago), give plenty of face time to the rich and powerful, and collapse at the mere hint of a filibuster threat.

Iraq earned about $60 billion from average crude oil sales of 1.85 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2008, a top Iraqi oil official said on Monday. 

Nice. We spent more than twice that amount last year waiting for them to stand up so we could stand down.


"The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb makes the case that it's appropriate and praiseworthy for countries to deliberately target the wives and children of people they consider enemies. This kind of moral posture is not unheard of, of course. But it's strange to see the ethics of Osama bin Laden being explicitly adopted by the organs of mainstream conservatism. To be clear, he's not saying that it's sometimes okay to kill a bad guy's 
innocent children as part of a military operation directed against the guy. He's saying it's better to kill his children than it would be to avoid killing them." Matthew Yglesias 



Pre-emptive gated communities

Or, how to keep the rabble at bay:

Just like his father, President George W. Bush will return to Texas when he leaves office.

And just like his father, he wants a gate to be installed along a public street to limit access to his neighborhood.

Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm confirmed Monday that the younger Bush is seeking to have a gate placed somewhere along the entrance to streets leading to his future Preston Hollow address.

Yes, after his retirement, the elder Bush managed to get a bill passed in the Texas Legislature that specifically allowed "former Presidents" (no names needed) to have public streets blocked off as they saw fit. Wassamatter, no existing gated communities to any of these Bushies' liking?

Got a great idea, George. Rumor has it that under the new administration, lots of room is going to be opening up in the World's Best Gated Community. And it has a lovely view of Guantanamo Bay. I have a feeling it would suit you just fine.

Federal money will pay for the gate, not city.


Broken' Billionaire Merckle Killed Self, Family Says
German billionaire Adolf Merckle committed suicide by throwing himself under a train, "broken" as his business empire crumbled under a growing burden of debt, his family said. 

I feel sorriest for the conductor, who was an unwilling accomplice. 


New York police have arrested construction worker, John Brady, 49, for calling people and posing as a doctor - and then convincing them to give themselves a rectal examination while he was on the telephone. He has been charged with second-degree aggravated harassment.


Remember when Dubya told the Obama's they couldn't stay in the 70,000 square foot, 119 room Blair House because it was booked? Turns out it was booked for former Australian PM John Howard. He needs to stay there prior to receiving his Medal of Freedom from his fellow warmonger.

Dubya: an a-hole until the bitter end.


We all know that George W. Bush's economic track record has been bad, but just how bad was it. The depth and long term effects of the Bush recession are not yet known, but some of the preliminary numbers compiled by Pew look horrendous.

  • While both GDP and per capita GDP rose during the eight years of the Bush administration, by 19.4 percent and 11.0 percent respectively, median household incomes are actually down -- a discouraging signal that indeed not only are the rich getting richer, it is the rich who have benefitted to a much greater extent that other Americans.
  • The national debt has nearly doubled from $5.7 trillion to $10 trillion -- and that doesn't even include the amounts that the Obama administration will have to spend to try to dig the country out from the Bush recession, as well as the costs of the ongoing war in Iraq. Note, too, that George W. Bush inherited an unprecedentedly large budgetary surplus, so this blowup in debt was by no means a foregone conclusion.
  • Unemployment is up significantly, from 3.9 percent in 2000 to 6.7 percent today. Even worse, when discouraged jobseekers and the under employed are included, that rate has gone from 6.9 percent to 12.5 percent -- fully one in eight American workers.

Of course these numbers shouldn't come as a surprise to those who have watched American politics in recent years, and certainly not to those who have borne the brunt of Bush's failed economic policies. That said, it's important for these numbers to be firmly established in the record so that Republicans are not allowed to shift blame for the woes their backward ideology foisted upon the country to the current leadership in Washington.


Howard Kurtz reports that CNN's Sanjay Gupta appears on the road to be tapped as surgeon general:

President-elect Barack Obama has offered the job of surgeon general to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the neurosurgeon and correspondent for CNN and CBS, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

Gupta has told administration officials that he wants the job, and the final vetting process is under way. He has asked for a few days to figure out the financial and logistical details of moving his family from Atlanta to Washington but is expected to accept the offer.

Recall Gupta's mugging of Michael Moore over Sicko. He specifically claimed that Moore "fudged his facts", when the truth was that on every one of the allegedly fudged facts, Moore was actually right and CNN was wrong. He should be an awesome advocate for universal health care.


Glenn Beck: moron

Think Progress brings us this gem:

BECK: Can someone please retract the Jimmy Carter Nobel Peace Prize? Can someone please say, "You know what Jim, we gotta take that back. I don't know what we were thinking, but there hasn't been all that much peace there." … Eh, I don't think you get the prize for the peace when the peace didn't really happen. … Can we take his peace prize back from him?

Uh, Glenn? You're aware that the current fighting is between Israel and the Palestinians, right? And that Jimmy Carter brokered a peace between Israel and the Egyptians? And do you know that the Palestinians and the Egyptians are two different peoples living in two different countries?

So, what's your point? That someone who brokered a 30-year peace between two perpetually-warring nations doesn't deserve a Nobel Peace Prize? Or are you just saying that nobody is entitled to a peace prize because there still happens to be war in the world? I don't know.

Then again, a few years ago conservatives like Beck were trying to nominate Rush Limbaugh for a Nobel Peace Prize, which just goes to show how poor their judgment on this issue is.  Or maybe it just shows us that they don't know what the word "peace" means. And yet people like Beck are paid ridiculously large sums of money to provide commentary for news networks. 



The UN News Service reports:

Israel hit three UN-run schools - all UN schools in Gaza are clearly marked, flying the UN flag, and the organization had provided GPS coordinates of all its installations in the area to Israel. 

The Palestinian death toll rose to 660.   

Four Israeli soldiers were killed in two friendly fire incidents during overnight fighting  - five have now died since Saturday.

Update: Israel agrees to a 3 hour cease-fire so food and medical supplies can reach Gaza:

In what the United Nations fears could be the bloodiest single attack of the Israeli assault, as many as 60 members of one family were killed near their homes in the Gazan town of Zeitoun while nine more died in hospital:

I'm sure they were all militant members of Hamas.


"The loss of civilian life in Gaza and in Israel is a source of deep concern to me, and after January 20th I'll have plenty to say about the issue."

Loss of Israeli civilians?


Deacon Blues:

Who the f*ck cares what DiFi and Rockefeller think at all about national intelligence? Both of these traitors have enabled every illegal thing that Bush has done these last eight years, ranging from the Geneva Convention war crimes and CIA interrogation and rendition policies, to the FISA gutting and domestic spying illegalities. Both have sat by, gotten briefings, and allowed it all to happen, and are just as guilty of treason as the administration is. And I'm now supposed to care that DiFi thinks that Panetta is a bad choice?


Consortium News: Bush Spins Scandalous Neglect of Vets  


A miracle has happened: Jeb Bush announced in a statement released moments ago:

"After thoughtful consideration, I have decided not to run for the United States Senate in 2010."


You lost. Suck it up

That was the advice that the denizens on the Right were so happy to hand out in 2000, after Bush "won" the election: "Our guy won, your guy lost, suck it up" was their cry.

Ah, how things have changed in eight years! Here is a photo of now-former-Senator-and-current-sore-loser Norm Coleman, as he announced that
he was going to file a lawsuit because he lost the senatorial election in Minnesota:

Suck it up, Norm. Go have a drink with Libby Dole; after all, you have so much in common.
Marc Lynch underscores just how much the invasion and occupation of Iraq has upset the regional balance in the Gulf region - in favor of Iran.

The enduring image of President George W. Bush's final visit to Baghad was without question Montazer al-Zaydi's flying shoes. The enduring image of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's quick trip to Iran this week will likely be this image of his cordial get-together with Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (with no flying shoes in sight). The contrasting symbolism of the two visits could hardly be lost on Iraqis or Arabs pondering the real winner of the U.S.-Iraqi Status of Forces Agreement negotiations (which Iraqis call the Withdrawal Agreement) or the future of Iraq.

One of the saddest, most hysterical crusades by conservatives over the past few years involved their intervention in the case of critically brain-damaged Terri Schaivo. Conservatives - including former Senate majority leader Bill Frist and former House majority leader Tom Delay - brought the personal tragedy to national attention in 2005 by trying to write legislation forcing doctors to reinsert her feeding tube and taking the "extraordinary step" of subpoenaing Schiavo to testify to Congress.
One of the lawyers representing Terri's husband, Michael, was Thomas Perrelli, who is Obama's pick for the no. 3 spot at the Justice Department.
Rightwingers are upset by this, and are now gearing up to fight Perrelli's nomination.

Reviving the Schiavo case may not be the best decision. After all, 63 percent of the public supported the removal of the feeding tube. More importantly, 70 percent said it was inappropriate for the federal government to involve itself in the case, and 67 percent believed that these politicians were "trying to keep Schiavo alive are doing so more for political advantage than out of concern for her or for the principles involved."


4,222 soldiers killed in Iraq; 631in Afghanistan.

Gates: another $70 billion will be needed to fight the two glorious wars of terror in 2009:

Remember that $9 billion that seems to have simply disappeared into thin air in Iraq? Add another $25 billion to the money the Bush Administration has just pissed away through incompetence, in this case by failing to implement recommendations made by Inspectors General.


Every year various lists of "the best companies in America" to work for come out. Hard to believe how often Hooters restaurants do not make the cut.

Yes, hard to believe indeed:

A waitress was barred from working at the Hooters restaurant in Davenport after a violent physical attack left her bruised and unable to meet company standards for maintaining a "glamorous appearance."

The waitress alleges she was fired after taking time off to recover from the assault. Hooters officials say the waitress abandoned her job, but also say that the woman's bruised body made her temporarily ineligible to work as a "Hooters Girl."...


693,000 jobs lost in December.


Rove, Miers, Bolten, and Mukasey please pick up the white courtesy phone

New rules authorize the Judiciary Committee and General Counsel to add as a party to the lawsuit any individual subpoenaed by the Committee in the 110th Congress who failed to comply.


Oops! They pissed off Judge Walker before he finalizes immunity

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