Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Headlines - Wednesday

Cool story - This is "Faith" - h/t Gary:
According to the Washington Times, Jon Huntsman, the
Republican governor of Utah, says "his party is blighted by
leaders in Congress whose lack of new ideas renders them
so 'inconsequential' that he doesn't even bother to talk
to them." If there's a new way to say Hooray! it's time
NYT/CBS poll: 63% believe Republicans voted no on stimulus bill for political reasons.
6 in 10 Republicans said Mr. Obama had been trying to work with Republicans.
Only 3 in 10 Americans said Republicans were doing the same.
79% said Republicans should now be working in a bipartisan manner rather than holding fast with their policies.
56 percent of those surveyed said Mr. Obama's priority should be following the policies he proposed during the campaign last year, rather than working with Republicans.  
In a week's time, Republicans, self proclaimed "compassionate conservatives", have managed to slam our first black president, a Jewish female Justice and a chimpanzee. I wonder what their message is?
United States aid for the Gaza Strip's reconstruction will likely top $900 million, an official said, as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepared to make her first Mideast trip as America's top diplomat.
If we stopped supplying Israel with weapons and cash to destroy Gaza, it wouldn't cost so much to rebuild it. 
NASA Satellite Fails to Reach Orbit, Still Succeeds in
Stimulating the Economy to the Tune of $278 Million
Amanda alerts us to segregated proms. 
I wonder what else will be making a comeback?
President Obama late this afternoon nominated Harvard professor Ashton B. Carter, a leading authority on arms control, to take on a surprising new role, according to top administration officials - as the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer.

The choice of Carter to run the office that oversees hundreds of billions of dollars for new weapons and research - and the focus of intense lobbying by defense firms, retired generals, and members of Congress - has been rumored for weeks. And word of his pending nomination has already sparked concern within the defense industry and some of the Pentagon bureaucracy.
Bush's Loose Nukes
Cooling towers at nuclear plant
George W. Bush has no plans to retire any time soon. A post at Think Progress reminds us that Bush plans to make "ridiculous" amounts of money on the speaking circuit. While he'd probably be more valuable as a frank and honest witness to his own incompetence, criminality, and hubris, this is George W. Bush we're talking about here. Bush doesn't plan any truth-telling tours, putting all his mistakes on display so we can all learn from them. Former president Bush plans to be exactly like then-president Bush -- three gallons of smart in a fifty gallon drum, with BS making up the difference.

What people will spend the big money to hear will be Baron George Von Munchausen spinning tall tales of his own greatness. That is, if his bio at his agency - Washington Speakers Bureau - is any indication:
Senior U.S. District Judge Warren W. Eginton (left) has imposed an unprecedented criminal fine against from former Pfizer Vice President Alan Hesketh, 61. Hesketh previously was sentenced to 78 months for possession of roughly 2000 pictures of child pornography. He will now have to pay $200,000 to a woman who was in some of those pictures being abused, even though Hesketh did not take the picture or participate in the photographed abuse. Story here.
Lt. Scott Easterling (who joined the Army at age 40 after working for KBR)has entered a novel fight while serving in Iraq: he is suing President Barack Obama. Easterling is calling the President an "impostor" and challenging his right to issue commands while his birth status is in question. It is one of a series of lawsuit challenging the right of the President to serve on the basis of his birth status. It appears that he could be joined by Senator Richard Shelby in the litigation. Shelby has refused to accept Obama citizenship until he sees a birth certificate.
"As an active-duty officer in the United States Army, I have grave concerns about the constitutional eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama to hold the office of president of the United States," wrote Scott Easterling in a "to-whom-it-may-concern" letter.
An imposter? That's gold, Jerry! Gold!
Learning from Chris Buttar's stellar example, an anti-gay group in West Virginia has released an online ad that depicts gays as snipers by showing a dual-gender couple and their children in the crosshairs of rifle scope.

Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out (TWO), has called on the hate group, which calls itself the "Family Policy Council," to remove the ad:

"This kind of overheated rhetoric creates a climate where hate crimes can occur. We demand that The Family Policy Council of West Virginia apologize and take down this violent ad. This video is reckless, wrongheaded and irresponsible."

TWO also notes that FBI hate crime statistics indicate that crimes based on sexual orientation ranked third (16 percent), below religion (19 percent) and race (52 percent).

More from TWO:

According to the Associated Press, "about a minute into the video, the crosshairs of a rifle scope appear over the image of a family blowing bubbles." The narrator warns that "same-sex marriage is a closer reality in West Virginia than you may think," and that activists are "working tirelessly to define marriage away from God's design."

The AP also reports that The Family Policy Council of West Virginia, has yet to register as a charity with state officials, though it's reported raising enough to trigger that requirement.

"The Family Policy Council is not above the law," said Besen. "The state of West Virginia has an obligation to immediately investigate and ensure they are following the rules."

According to TWO, the hate group's website was developed with the assistance of, a company that describes itself as "focused exclusively on electing Republicans to local office."


We didn't need any, but now there's even more proof about the liberal media myth. It won't do any good, but tell your Republican friends if you have any:

A study of campaign coverage released by Indiana University has found that ABC, CBS, and NBC favored Republicans in each of the presidential elections from 1992 through 2004. The study, which is the "first major research project analyzing the relatively unexplored territory of visual coverage in presidential elections.", found that production decisions such as editing techniques, camera angles, and shot lengths were more favorable to Republicans. The study also looked at "who is given the last say in a piece", finding that GOP candidates were favored in terms of having the last say in all but the 2004 election.


Northern Trust Bank, which received $1.6 billion in bailout assistance, hosted hundreds of employees and clients at expensive hotels in Beverly Hills and threw Hollywood parties that featured performances by Chicago and Sheryl Crow. The bank recently laid off almost 450 workers.


Check out Wonkette's flashy graphic of Obama:

Bobby Jindal, the male version of Sarah Palin, in his Republican response to Obama's address:

Today in Washington, some are promising that government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us.

Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina, we have our doubts.

Let's think for a moment. Who was it who abandoned New Orleans again?

Uh, that would be the Republican president who ignored Katrina, the Republican presidential candidate who ate an oversized birthday cake in California while citizens of New Orleans drowned, and the Republican Congress who refused to investigate what went wrong. Your point would be what exactly, Mr. Jindal? That voters shouldn't trust Republicans to protect them in time of need? Republicans expect the American people to vote against their own self-interest. And while that may work in the south, and among the numb masses of the religious right, the rest of America (dare someone call it "real America"?) has had quite enough, thank you.

Listen closely for Chris Matthews - "Here's Governor Jindal - Oh God":

Do Republicans ever put the country before their party? The New York Times published this editorial today.

Imagine yourself jobless and struggling to feed your family while the governor of your state threatens to reject tens of millions of dollars in federal aid earmarked for the unemployed. That is precisely what is happening in poverty-ridden states like Louisiana and Mississippi where Republican governors are threatening to turn away federal aid rather than expand access to unemployment insurance programs in ways that many other states did a long time ago.








The U.S. banking system right now is a collection of zombies, insolvent empty shells that are not performing the most basic functions of a bank. As a response, there is a call on the part of some to just let them go bankrupt and collapse the way any other bankrupt company would be dissolved in Chapter 13.


CA: $50 an Ounce Tax on Pot
That seems a little excessive... 

A California legislator today proposed making the state the first to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The legislation would allow people 21 and older to grow, buy, sell and possess pot. It would be sold, regulated and taxed similar to alcohol. The state would collect $50 an ounce from sellers, and growers, too, would be taxed. Estimates are that the cash-strapped state could reap more than $1 billion a year.

"We could in fact have the political will to do something, and certainly in the meantime this is a public policy call," Rep. Ammiano said. "I think the outcome would be very healthy for California and California's economy." The bill (AB 390) would ban use near schools and prohibit growing cannabis in public view. Also illegal, as now: DWS — driving while stoned.

A Republican colleague isn't inhaling, according to The Sacramento Bee

"I don't think we're particularly well served in our society to further accommodate or even encourage something that's going to be unproductive and damaging to the individual, especially not for the reason of generating revenue," said Assemblyman Roger Niello of Fair Oaks.  

But you're OK with hard liquor - which kills thousands of people every year?


Rich, patriotic Americans that kept their cash in a Swiss bank to avoid paying taxes sue to keep their names private:


"What Republicans wanted was a bill to strengthen the economy. What the Democrats passed was a bill to stimulate government. We are committed to helping these courageous Republicans defend their position and fend off political attacks." Mitt Romney in his magic underpants Link  

Reminder: Romney's such a loser, the GOP preferred John McCain to him.



Oops! Somebody's bad!

State searches Verona plant for missing toxic mixture - can't seem to find around 2 1/2 GALLONS of thallium reported missing from an industrial diamond powders factory in the small town of Verona, about 10 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

And this: RALEIGH - Federal authorities are hunting the mastermind behind a "horrific case" in which bacteria-laden syringes shipped from an Angier plant sickened at least a hundred people and killed five.

Glenn Greenwald goes to great lengths this morning to demonstrate that the American people do not crave bipartisanship.

Michael Steele is now channeling Austin Powers:

Yesterday on Fox News, RNC Chairman Michael Steele said he was open to withholding RNC funds from Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Arlen Specter (R-PA) because they voted for Obama's economic recovery package. "I'm always open to everything baby," he told host Neil Cavuto.


Rupert Murdoch and the non-apology


Rupert Murdoch apologized today over the dead monkey cartoon. It was not sincere.

First off, the text of his apology:

As the Chairman of the New York Post, I am ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages. The buck stops with me.

Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted.

Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused. At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you - without a doubt - that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.

We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community.

While a statement accepting responsibility is a good start, no where in there do I detect any regret.

Secondly, instead of saying that he is sorry that he printed a vicious and racist comic, he says that it is unfortunate that it was interpreted as such by many.

Lastly, Murdoch does not say that it will not happen again, he only says that they will be attuned to the sensitivities of their community. I posit that they were sensitive to the community, but they just didn't care. They had a political axe to grind. They got the reaction they were aiming for.


Another soldier killed in Iraq yesterday - 4,251 total: 660 in Afghanistan.

Officials say that the Obama Administration intends to have most troops out of Iraq by August 2010, replacing the president's 16 month timetable from the campaign with a 19 month one.


Obama takes a jab at Bush policies: 'A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy' 

Fun fact: Obama was interrupted 65 times for applause and received 37 standing ovations.

Yesterday, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) called on Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL) to resign his Senate seat. Despite his own refusal to resign after admitting to being a former patron of the "DC Madam", Vitter dismissed the notion that his demands of Burris are hypocritical. "I honestly don't know anybody who would compare these situations. They are dramatically different," Vitter said. The Hill reports:

Vitter said that Burris "clearly, at a minimum, misled the Illinois Legislature and the voters of the Illinois" by giving incomplete answers about his contacts with and fundraising efforts for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.) as Blagojevich was considering appointing Burris to the state's Senate seat.

"Obviously there are even more serious charges of perjury, but I guess that will sort itself out in terms of legal proceedings," Vitter said.

After Vitter admitted his links with the DC Madam in 2007, right-wing pundit Sean Hannity said, "I think Senator Vitter should probably live by the line that he put out for Bill Clinton back in the Monica Lewinsky scandal." Vitter adamantly refused to resign. Now, it seems, the old Vitter is back and demanding that public officials be held to account.

Willy Pete and the paper of record

Ah, there it is. They tried to hide it, but today's New York Times does mention Amnesty International's report that the white phosphorus which Israel used to burn Palestinians last month was supplied by the United States. And when I say the NYT "mentions" it, what I mean is that they stuck it ten paragraphs into a story on page A7 entitled "Netanyahu Rebuffed Again in Efforts to Form Coalition," and then said only:

In a separate development, Amnesty International issued a report on Monday accusing Israel and Hamas of misusing foreign-supplied weapons to "attack civilians" during the recent 22-day Gaza war.

Amnesty called on the United Nations to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on both parties, and it urged the Obama administration to suspend American military aid to Israel.

Sort of kinda neglects to mention little details like what sort of weapons we're talking about and which foreigners supplied them (there are plates with serial numbers and "manufactured in the United States" on the shells).

WaPo mentions the Amnesty report in paragraph 9 of an AP story about Olmert firing his own negotiator. Here's what it says: "Also Monday, a statement by the human rights group Amnesty International called on the United States to stop supplying Israel with arms that the group said were used in the killing of civilians in Gaza." The words "white phosphorus" appear nowhere (and the LAT seems to skip the story altogether). We do get Israel's response that the report is "unbalanced" (in fact, it does also condemn Hamas attacks on civilians and castigates its foreign suppliers, calling, as the NYT said, for an arms embargo on both sides) and ignores "the basic fact that Hamas is a terror organization".

Compare this with the
Guardian and the London Times, which seem to take chemical warfare (and American complicity) rather more seriously than the American press.

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