Sunday, May 31, 2009

Headlines - Sunday

Compare and contrast, if you will.

First, here is how the White House, or, more accurately, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, handled a question about the already explained and dismissed criticism of Sonia Sotomayor's comments about how her Latina background would influence her legal opinions: "I think she'd say that her word choice in 2001 was poor."

Way to go, Gibby! Revive a dead argument, reify hot air, restate a rightwing frame!

Now, second, take a look at this miserable excuse for a public figure, former US Representative and Republican presidential wannabe (and current a-hole) Tom Tancredo, when he is asked if he wants to walk back his unbelievably offensive statements about Sotomayor and the National Council of La Raza:

Shuster: Would you like to take this opportunity to apologize?

Tancredo: [Laughs] No.

Notice the difference there? Look again, I know it's subtle.

The Democrat in the White House, a member of the majority party, part of an extremely popular administration, is confronted with a bit of faux controversy, and shows doubt. Where there was nothing but widely recognized smoke and mirrors, he creates the perception of real, stinky smoke (and thus potential fire).

The Republican, no longer in elected office, member of the minority party, the holder of ideas less popular than elective amputation, spews his filth, is then asked if maybe he just, you know, "misspoke," and he looks right into the camera and says, "No."

At the end of the day, I expect the Tancredos of the world will lose this fight. Sonia Sotomayor will be confirmed as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, but other battles remain, and, sure as shit, the elephants are not going to stop flinging this kind of dead-certain dung.


First, President Obama said he would agree to the release of 21 photos of prisoner abuse by U.S. military personnel (and 23 additional photos "identified as responsive"), as ordered by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in response to a suit filed by the ACLU. Then Obama changed his mind, and on Thursday, went to back to the Circuit Court and asked it, according to the WaPo, "to recall its order requiring the release of photographs held by the Pentagon."

WASHINGTON - Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings (D) spent $24,730 in taxpayer money last year to lease a 2008 luxury Lexus hybrid sedan. Ohio Rep. Michael Turner (R) expensed a $1,435 digital camera. Eni Faleomavaega, the House delegate from American Samoa, bought two 46-inch Sony TVs.

The expenditures were legal, properly accounted for and drawn from allowances the U.S. government grants to lawmakers. Equipment purchased with office expense accounts must be returned to the House or the federal General Services Administration when a lawmaker leaves office.

The current salary for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year.
House members get to blow $1.3 million to $1.9 million of taxpayers money every year and Senators get $2.9 million to $4.5 million.  
..... Tulsa miscreant Republican Rep. John Sullivan, a former failed real estate agent with a long police record for drunk driving, disorderly conduct, and assaulting police officers, checked himself into the Betty Ford Clinic in California yesterday. It isn't clear yet what precipitated the move. Usually Republican congressmen check into drug and alcohol rehab clinics when they get caught doing something unspeakable - like soliciting a police officer in a public toilet or raping a young child:

The Party of Perverts:

Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett says a member of an Allegheny County state legislator's staff wanted to engage in sex acts with a teenage boy while dressed in a panda costume.

Corbett says 40-year-old Alan David Berlin, of Carlisle, Cumberland County, was charged Thursday with attempted sexual exploitation of children and related crimes.


Agents from the attorney general's office found a wolf and cat-type costume in Berlin's home, Corbett said.

At least no wetsuits were involved.

Perhaps sexual repression isn't such a good thing.

You had to know this was coming:
"By the way, has anyone bothered to vet Sonia Sotomayor's birth certificate?

Or will she be the first illegal alien nominated to the Supreme Court by the first illegal alien to serve as president?"
I can't imagine why rightwingers were targeted in the last DHS assessment

A couple of stories about fringy people who aren't very nice - and their less-than-fringy friends.

First, as background,
here's a story from Fox News (a story on which I actually think I agree with the Fox base):

Couple Ordered to Stop Holding Bible Study at Home Without Permit

Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary have been told that they cannot invite friends to their San Diego, Calif. home for a Bible study -- unless they are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to San Diego County.

"On Good Friday we had an employee from San Diego County come to our house, and inform us that the Bible study that we were having was a religious assembly, and in violation of the code in the county." David Jones told FOX News.

"We told them this is not really a religious assembly -- this is just a Bible study with friends. We have a meal, we pray, that was all," Jones said.

A few days later, the couple received a written warning that cited "unlawful use of land," ordering them to either "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit," the couple's attorney Dean Broyles told San Diego news station 10News....

Atheist that I am, I actually agree that this the government probably shouldn't be doing anything like this - this is "the free exercise of religion," which the Constitution protects.

But of the people who are upset about this, at least one
has gone way too far:

One [blogger] is suggesting a major attack on San Diego County to the point where a checklist is posted.

The checklist suggests county radio frequencies could be jammed, county officials homes attacked and even suggests scouting locations for snipers.

Know who that blogger is?
donald rumsfeld
Sarah Palin's home town newspaper discusses whether the anti-christ will be gay
Perhaps they ought to consider whether he'll be a dingbat who thinks Africa is a country.

The comments are awesome. 
Check them out.
Meet the old boss, same as the older boss:
And speaking of old boss/new boss...
The Obama administration filed a petition with the Supreme Court on Friday asking the Court to block the 17 Chinese Uighurs detained at Guantanamo from entering the United States — this, despite a court ruling last year ordering their release. The petition argues that the Uighurs "have already obtained relief" and that the government had no legal obligation to settle them in the U.S.
As ABC's Jake Tapper notes, the Obama administration's petition suggests that the Uighurs' imprisonment "isn't so bad," and trumpets their comfy quarters at Guantanamo:

"In contrast to individuals currently detained as enemies under the laws of war, petitioners are being housed under relatively unrestrictive conditions, given the status of Guantanamo Bay as a United States military base," Kagan writes, saying they are "in special communal housing with access to all areas of their camp, including an outdoor recreation space and picnic area." They "sleep in an air-conditioned bunk house and have the use of an activity room equipped with various recreational items, including a television with VCR and DVD players, a stereo system, and sports equipment."

Furthermore, the petition cites the Senate's recent vote to block Guantanamo detainees from entering the U.S. as further reason to deny their release — despite the fact the vote was in defiance of a White House request. The petition comes just a week after President Obama, in a speech defending his plan to close Guantanamo, declared that "the wrong answer is to pretend like this problem will go away if we maintain an unsustainable status quo."

It's probably not news to you that BushCo essentially outsourced the government, getting in return much higher costs - and much lower quality. But then, government outsourcing was never meant to be efficient, except as a way of funneling money to friends and contributors.
Descendants gather to honor the victims of the Mountain Meadow Massacre atrocity in 1857 when Mormon militia members and American Indians slaughtered 120 men women and children in a wagon train traveling from Harrison, Ark., to start a new life in California:
Here they come!

The Mormons used a lot of their cash to influence Prop 8 in California so the east is ready.

With the battle moving east, some advocates are shouting that fact in the streets, calculating that on an issue that eventually comes down to comfort levels, more people harbor apprehensions about Mormons than about homosexuality.

"The Mormons are coming! The Mormons are coming!" warned ads placed on newspaper Web sites in three Eastern states last month. The ad was rejected by sites in three other states, including Maine, where the Kennebec Journal informed Californians Against Hate that the copy "borders on insulting and denigrating a whole set of people based on their religion."

"I'm not intending it to harm the religion. I think they do wonderful things. Nicest people," said Fred Karger, a former Republican campaign consultant who established Californians Against Hate. "My single goal is to get them out of the same-sex marriage business and back to helping hurricane victims."

If a religion is pumping millions of dollars to defeat a human rights issue why can't people advertise against them? Aren't their actions more offensive than an ad that says: The Mormons are coming?

Meanwhile, a French government agency has declared the Mormon religion is a cult (along with Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientology, The Universal Church, Raelians, and the GOP's friends over at the Moonie Times).


If by giving you trillions in aid so you can slaughter the Palestinians by using rockets, bulldozers, tungsten bombs, cutting off supplies and using white phosphorus, you mean 'favoring' ....

Israel to US: Stop favoring Palestinians: 


Richard Clarke reminds Cheney and Condi of their incompetence

When I saw Condi saying, "unless you were there, in a position of responsibility, you cannot possibly imagine the dilemmas we faced in trying to protect Americans," to Stanford students, my instinct was to remind everyone that she was forced to admit, "I believe the title was 'Bin Laden determined to attack inside the United States.'"


Saddam's Throne


Richard Mosse has an incredible photo series on Saddam's palaces. From an interview with the artist:

The most interesting thing about the whole endeavor for me was the very fact that the U.S. had chosen to occupy Saddam's palaces in the first place. If you're trying to convince a population that you have liberated them from a terrible dictator, why would you then sit in his throne? A savvier place to station the garrison would have been a place free from associations with Saddam, and the terror and injustices that the occupying forces were convinced they'd done away with. Instead, they made the mistake of repeating history.  This is why I've titled this body of work Breach. "Breach" is a military maneuver in which the walls of a fortification (or palace) are broken through. But breach also carries the sense of replacement—as in, stepping into the breach. The U.S. stepped into the breach that it had created, replacing the very thing that it sought to destroy.

More pictures here.


Empire Watch

McClatchy reports:

The White House has asked Congress for — and seems likely to receive — $736 million to build a new U.S. embassy in Islamabad, along with permanent housing for U.S. government civilians and new office space in the Pakistani capital. The scale of the projects rivals the giant U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which was completed last year after construction delays at a cost of $740 million.

Walt furrows his brow:

I'm all for providing U.S. officials with adequate facilities, but this idea merely underscores the inherent contradictions in the current U.S. approach.

One of America's main problems in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan is the widespread popular belief that it is now addicted to interfering in these societies, usually in a heavy-handed and counter-productive way. ... And oh yes, we also drop bombs and fire missiles into their territory, which we would regard as an act of war if anyone did it to us. Even when well-intentioned, these activities inevitably lend themselves to various conspiracy theories about America's "real" motives, and reinforce negative impressions of the United States. As of last year, only 19 percent of Pakistan's population had a favorable view of the United States.


This is not from The Onion

Young Conservatives rap about Jesus, waterboarding and abortion:


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Headlines - Saturday

In the Republican race to the bottom, we have a winner! 
"Let's hope that the key conferences aren't when she's menstruating or something, or just before she's going to menstruate."
— G. Gordon Liddy, convicted felon and rightwing radio host, commenting on Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court. Liddy went on to translate a phrase from Sotomayor's other language, which he referred to as, "illegal alien."
The Memory Hole: Back in 1995 Newt ("how's the chemo going, I want a divorce") Gingrich: "If combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for 30 days because they get infections, and they don't have upper-body strength. I mean, some do, but they're relatively rare. On the other hand, men are basically little piglets - you drop them in the ditch, they roll around in it, doesn't matter, you know."
For the life of me, I just can't imagine why Republicons have lost voters in every major voting block except for frequent church-goers.
Thanks, flat earthers and climate change deniers!
Climate change killing 300,000 per year - 99% of which are in developing countries which are estimated to have contributed less than one percent of the world's total carbon emissions:
Torture is not heroic.
Morford - Apologies from California
Wow, did we ever botch the gay marriage thing! Sorry, world:
dick cheney
Sarah Palin blows Stephen Colbert's security cover on Twitter
In recent weeks Colbert has made jokes about the security situation surrounding his trip to the vague "Persian Gulf" area at some point in the next few months. Thanks to Sarah Palin, we now know that this will be in Iraq, in June. Which was obvious enough (maybe?) but still… 
Rumsfeld on April 11, 2003 after the looting in Iraq: "Stuff happens. Free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things." The situation in Iraq is "untidy. And freedom's untidy."
Iraq faces mother of all corruption scandals
Iraq plans to arrest 1,000 officials for corruption after a scandal which has forced the resignation of the Trade Minister and is threatening the food supply of millions of Iraqis.
Good God, he's lost it  Eric the Red has lost whatever was left of his ever-lovin' mind.  How the hell else do you explain a post that compares Rush Limbaugh to...wait for it...Jesus Christ. Yep, gluttonous hatemonger with a penchant for underage Dominican prostitutes and a hillbilly heroin habit is exactly what comes to mind when I think of Jesus.
Oh, and Rush upped the ante of ugliness yesterday by comparing Sotomayor to notorious white supremacist and former GOP candidate, David Duke. Seriously.
Eric Kleefeld at TPM asks: "So why isn't he supporting her?"
And as an aside, Tom Tancredo described La Raza (to which Sotomayor belongs) as "a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses."
Reuters: because they've done so well in the past when they've self regulated, a group of banks and money managers plan to release a letter to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and other U.S. and overseas regulators to help fend off some rules proposed by the Obama administration that seek to control trading in the derivatives market, the Wall Street Journal reported.
200 US military members have been kicked out under DADT since Obama was sworn in. 
Seems to me like pretending to be gay would be a good way to escape endless war.
Listening to the Generals on the ground
A couple gems from General David Petraeus yesterday in an interview on Fox:
Gitmo has caused us problems, there's no question about it. I oversee a region in which the existence of Gitmo has indeed been used by the enemy against us. We have not been without missteps or mistakes in our activities since 9/11. And again, Gitmo is a lingering reminder for the use of some in that regard.

.... When we have taken steps that have violated the Geneva Convention, we rightly have been criticized. And so as we move forward, I think it is important to again live our values to live the agreements that we have made in the international justice arena and to practice those.


Letter to the editor

If the safety of President Barack Obama's wife and children depended on the extraction of information from terrorists, and he did not use enhanced interrogation techniques if needed to get that information, then he is neither a man nor a true father, nor should he be president of the United States.

We are all endowed with the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the government of the United States was instituted to secure these rights. And it is immoral not to use enhanced interrogation techniques in order to protect us and to secure those rights.

Gary Russon, Salt Lake City





Friday, May 29, 2009

Headlines - Friday

Wingnuts circulating this as proof that Sotomayor is a socialist:

Commenter on Media Matters: Maybe she should have quoted from St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes. Then they could put up descriptions of Danny Thomas instead of Norman Thomas.
The Rush & Cheney show accelerates military desertion of the GOP.
Sarah Palin loves wildlife
After Palin's henchmen executed 14 poor pups last summer - with a shot each to the head - and more than 250 wolves were killed during the recently concluded 2008/2009 aerial gunning season, Palin's administration is resorting to even more extreme tactics to kill wolves. This summer, poison gas bombs will be thrown into dens and snares will be set at the mouths of dens to kill off newborn pups to prevent wolf numbers from increasing. 
What kind of sick bastards sign up for these jobs?
Israel dismisses US demand on settlements -
Bibi Whatayahoo promises to dismantle illegal outposts:
Let's give them some more money. 
US Army base shuts down after rise in suicides

The flag-drapped coffin containing the body of one of three soldiers and two medical officers shot dead by a fellow US soldier at a mental health counseling clinic in Baghdad. The commander of Fort Campbell army base in Kentucky has ordered a three-day suspension of regular duties to focus on a spike in suicides among his troops amid concern over a wider trend across the armed services.

The commander of Fort Campbell army base in Kentucky has ordered a three-day suspension of regular duties to focus on a spike in suicides among his troops amid concern over a wider trend across the armed services.

The "stand-down" on Friday entered its third day at Fort Campbell, which is home to the famed 101st Airborne Division and has recorded the highest rate of suicide in the army, with at least 11 confirmed or suspected suicides.

Brigadier General Stephen Townsend announced the stand-down to focus attention

Because you can never be in too many wars
"The US and South Korea put their military forces on high alert Thursday after North Korea renounced the truce keeping the peace between the two Koreas since 1953. The North also accused the US of preparing to attack the isolated communist country in the wake of its second nuclear bomb test, and warned it would retaliate to any hostility with 'merciless' and dangerous ferocity.

Read more:
Update: North Korea fires another missile.
4,304 soldiers killed in Iraq; 690 in Afghanistan.

You can analyze your Netflix rentals here.


A goldmine of GOP stupidity
This post is about the right and their reactions to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to fill David Souter's seat on the Supreme Court. But let me start out by making one salient point; it's important to remember that Newt Gingrich is a horse's ass. He was forced to resign as Speaker of the House and, when re-election became impossible, decided to retire. He's often rumored to be considering running for president, but those rumors probably originate with Gingrich. Even if he did run, he would have no hope of ever winning. Newt is merely a media whore of the first order, a ridiculous, pompous nobody with an inflated sense of self-worth and a confidence in the wisdom of his own opinions that's shared by pretty much no one. Why we're supposed to give a crap what Newt thinks is a mystery to me. Yet there he is, on cable news talking head shows almost daily, repeating the most inane talking points out there.
When all else fails, we humans pray. That fails, too, but at least it gives us the satisfaction of doing something.
Milestones in majority rule

2009 - California Supreme Court rules in favor of love segregation.

1882-1969 - At least
3,446 blacks lynched by the majority in the US.

1942 - President orders
internment of people with Japanese ancestry living in coastal areas.

1896 - US Supreme Court
rules in favor of racial segregation

1890 - US Army
kills 300 Lakota who refuse to stop doing the Ghost Dance and return to the reservation.

1860 - Proud Southerners launch war to defend practice of slavery.

1857 - Supreme Court rules that blacks are property and
must be returned to their owners.

1852 - At the request of Gov. Brigham Young, the Territorial Legislature passes a bill
legalizing slavery in Utah Territory, thereby establishing slavery outside of the South and foreshadowing future Mormon exercises in God-ordained persecution of minority populations.

Another clue to the identity of the anti-christ: he will be gay.
Asked to spell, 'posture', the contestant requested that the word be used in a sentence. "You have the worst posture of anybody I've ever seen," was the reply.

Why did Medal of Freedom-winner George Tenet create a false record on the day after he "quit'?


Rich white guy from a privileged family that lost his bid for the presidency but won't go away, 'won't rule out Sotomayor filibuster.'

Barring any surprises, which is unlikely as Judge Sotomayor has been through the confirmation process twice before, the antics of the GOP and their Wingnut fellow-travelers are almost guaranteed to drive the GOP's share of the Hispanic vote down to maybe 20%. When you add in the overtly sexist comments that will also be made about Sotomayor, the GOP's percentage of the female vote will also shrink.

At this rate, the GOP's demographic is going to end up being not much different from the typical voters for David Duke.

Heck of a job, Mittens.


There's racism, there's glorious racism, and then there's supernova racism. Welcome to the last catogory, "reader": An alleged reader letter to John Derbyshire.


A wish that Obama be assassinated? Sometimes I forget just how batshit crazy people can be.


When it comes to the price of oil, we're always screwed:

The price of crude oil once again seems to be defying the economic forces of gravity.

There's plenty of evidence to suggest prices should be falling. In industrialized countries, storage tanks are overflowing, with enough supplies to cover 62 days of use, about 10 days more than usual. Economic weakness continues to depress world demand, which is on track to fall for the second consecutive year. And oil-producing countries, while restraining output, are adding to production capacity. New Saudi Arabian wells coming on line this year will exceed the entire production capacity of Texas.

But instead of dropping, the price of crude oil rose to more than $65 a barrel yesterday, the highest in more than six months. And some analysts said it could rise even higher as the summer driving season arrives. Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said this week that a $75-a-barrel price was within reach.


Bubble Boy shows up at The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan to blame someone else for the recession, mention 9/11, the democracy that 'may lead to the spread of democracy throughout the Middle East' - thanks to his decision to invade Iraq, and to defend waterboarding: 


There's a 13% chance you're not making your house payment

Remember the Housing Bubble and the gazillion bullshit mortgages that caused the entire global economy to collapse and send us into a terrible World Depression? It's still going down! The housing crash, that is — one in eight homeowners is now either in default or in foreclosure, a new record!

And now that subprime foreclosures are "only" 43% of the failed loans, prime borrowers have an equal percentage of defaults — 19% prime fixed-rate and 24% prime adjustable-rate mortgages. (The rest are FHA loans and whatever.)

Florida leads the nation in pathetic failure, once again, with 11% of all mortgages in foreclosure. Nevada and Arizona take the silver and bronze (of failure), and California is looking relatively less doomed with 5.2% of all home loans in default.

New home sales tanked again, mortgage rates are creeping back up, and nearly half of all existing home sales are "distressed," as in foreclosures or short sales or bank-owned or auctions. The median sale price plunged to $169,000 nationwide, 9.5% less than last year — the biggest drop since the Great Depression and only the second decline on record since then.

In other words, Expert Economists say the bottom is here, maybe 5% more price declines this year, and everything is recovering nicely by 2010, the end. Of course, these are the same economists who never saw this coming, because of course you can just loan $400K to an unemployed dishwasher so he can "buy" a stucco box hours from anywhere because that same house will of course be worth $450K next year and the guy can refinance, forever, right?



Spanish bullfighting fans witnessed the ultimate ring horror on Wednesday when matador Israel Lancho was gored. According to press reports, Lancho had a 25 centimeter-deep stomach wound that surgeons operated on. He's now said to be in serious condition:

Funny how it's only considered the 'ultimate ring horror' when the bull is winning.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Headlines - Thursday

They put a provision in the credit card bill to let people carry guns in national parks. So when you're buried under a mountain of debt, at least you'll have a scenic place to go kill yourself. - Bill Maher
Press the Meat's David Gregory, just said "President Obama did open up a pretty big area of scrutiny, though, when it comes to identity politics and personal experience, talking about the need for empathy, stressing the importance of her own personal story." He said there will be questions about whether her personal story is brought into her decision-making. I guess he didn't know about Samuel Alito, who, during his confirmation hearings cited his personal story as a factor when making decisions. 
Take it away Glenn Greenwald.
And here's another reason the wingnuts are upset: Sotomayor is unfit for the bench because she does not save enough money. Or could it be that she took Chimpy's advice and went shopping?

And here's a Twitter from Newt Gingrich: 



Part of the reason your health insurance is so expensive, is that you're paying for the uninsured - about $1,000 per year.
Doughy Pantload Jonah Goldberg reportedly unhappy when friends tell him he is looking more and more like his mom. 
Aaah, the smell of it: Eau de Torture

24 by Jack BauerAfter a hard day of waterboarding, there's nothing that freshens up a tired, sweaty Junior Torquemada better than a spritz of 24 The Fragrance. That's right, direct from the master parfumers of Dubai comes 24 The Fragrance, a new masculine scent that will drive the female prisoners wild with a desire to confess to anything - and we mean anything!

That's right, 20th Century Fox (why is it always Fox?) came up with the brilliant idea to license the name of Jack Bauer's neo-con television fantasia 24 to the land of exotically weird architecture. But the oddest part is where they plan to sell the stinky stuff - exclusively in the Middle East.

Now I'm no marketing major, but selling perfume based on an infidel American who tortures Arabs might not have the big "potent brand synergy" Fox expects.

Although there's no important connection between this stink juice and real torture, it's amazing that companies can have such a tin ear. In our society's quest to brand everything from political parties to online casinos, we're getting a little carried away.

What's next, Nuke 'Em Till They Glow aftershave?


The Reincarnation Bank. What a terrific way to swindle people!


For a limited time only: buy one Tata Nano and two large drinks at regular price, get second one free.
No wonder Obama doesn't want the photos released 

At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.

Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube. And child rape.

The USA is awesome.


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rebuffed Israel on a key Middle East peace negotiating issue yesterday, saying that "the Obama administration wants a complete halt in the growth of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory, with no exceptions." President Obama "wants to see a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions," Clinton said. 


Sotomayor's magical bean foods make her hate white people more:


Jesus Had Two Daddies


This administration is willed by God:


Strange bedfellows

Wow. Ted B. Olson, the U.S. solicitor general under Bush and his lawyer in Bush v. Gore, and David Boies, who represented former vice president Al Gore in that case, have joined forces to challenge Proposition 8 in federal court after this week's loss in the California state court system. Story here.




More taxpayer millions and millions given to the millionaires who are politically the Bush administration and Katrina:

The Shaw Group Inc. has been awarded a contract of up to $375 million by the federal government for post-disaster services in Louisiana and eight other states. - Yahoo Finance
You remember "Brownie's" roomie... Joe Allbaugh. He's a lobbyist for the Shaw Group. Why the h*** we would want to be dealing with those crooks again is anyone's guess.
Obama may let superstition compromise science at the NIH
PZ Myers explains why the rumored appointment of Human Genome Project leader Francis Collins to head the National Institutes of Health would be a disaster.
More dangerous even than President Obama's eagerness for republican cooperation is his apparent tolerance for believers in invisible sky wizards and other fairy tales.

While it's remotely possible that someone who suffers from superstition could be trusted to run, say, the White House motor pool, you really don't want him in charge of things that require an acceptance of facts.

And you especially don't want him in charge of things like scientific research if he has made a career of publicizing his belief in myths that contradict scientific facts.

Obama is rapidly solidifying a reputation as the Great Compromiser. Bad enough he's already compromised the economic stimulus into ineffectiveness and is likely to compromise health care reform into an HMO bailout. Appointing freakazoid Collins to run the NIH would be killing scientific integrity.

Between science and superstition there can be no common ground, no meeting halfway, no compromise.


That's JUDGE Sotomayor to you, Beaurregard

Used to be, dense white guys exercised their sexism against uppity females with condescending epithets like "little lady."  That was how they addressed little white ladies, of course.  Minority females were lucky to get called something not obscene but merely demeaning, like "Mammy."  Anita Hill didn't even rate that courtesy, getting labeled the "C" word. 

Federal Appeals Court Judge and Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor presents a unique challenge: a Hispanic woman born to the lowest of the low - Puerto Rican from the Bronx projects - who achieved one of the highest posts in the nation.

What to call this uppity-est of the uppity bitches?

Mike Huckabee hit on a brilliant ploy by calling her "Maria."  No, he didn't just blurt out the only Hispanic female name he could think of; this was deliberate.

"Sonia" is the intelligent, educated, lovely-mannered European wife of your upper-class suburban neighbor.

"Maria" is your illegal maid. The fat one.  Who whores around.

Backwoods Alabaman "Senator" Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions calls her "Ms. Sotomayor."

Every time he does that, Judge Sotomayor should say this:  "Ms. Sotomayor is my mother, Mr. Sessions.  You can call me Judge."


If we lived in the Real World, the confirmation
of Sonia Sotomayor to be a Supreme Court justice
would proceed expeditiously and with dignity. But
we live in the Unreal World, where dragons and
other horrid beasties roam freely.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Headlines - Wednesday

I think some people feel that the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans now is not ideological so much as intellectual. – Bill Maher
"The Representative of Her Majesty the Queen has raised the profile of the Monarchy in Canada when she "sliced off and sampled a piece of seal heart from the dripping carcass of a freshly slaughtered seal" to show support for the seal hunt.
Obviously it's no worse than this, but still....

Keith Olbermann interviewed conservative radio host Erich "Mancow" Muller tonigh about his experience being waterboarded. Mancow said he agreed to be interviewed because Olbermann is a "stand up guy" for agreeing to donate $10,000 to a charity benefiting veterans (an offer previously extended to Sean Insanity) after Mancow was waterboarded.

Mancow reaffirmed that the practice was indeed torture and said that his "psychological state" going into the experiment was that he was "laughing at it. I was willing to prove, and ready to prove, that this was a joke, and I was wrong. It was horrific. It was instantaneous. And look, I felt the effects for two days."

Mancow also revealed that his friend Sean Hannity "called me and said 'it's still not torture.'"


The attacks on Sonia Sotomayor are coming in like a tidal wave by the extreme right, but former Rep. Tom Tancredo, one of the harshest critics of the Latino community ever to run for president, actually called her a racist:

Why does General Petraeus hate America?

General Petraeus just threw a wrench in the whining conservative rants against torture and the closing of Guantanamo Bay:

General David Petraeus said this past weekend that President Obama's decision to close down Gitmo and end harsh interrogation techniques would benefit the United States in the broader war on terror.  

How long before the oxycontin/viagra addicted, fat wrinkly assed leader of the Rushpublibot party declares that Petraeus is Betray Us?
Stay tuned.


"This was the first time I'd been walking in a neighborhood for 14 years. It's not all that hard, by the way. You take one step, and then you take another." George the Wonder Monkey, mastering the art of walking Link  

Keep working on that, George.
After a while, we'll give you a stick of gum.

According to GOP, judges aren't supposed to make decisions
Before Obama's SCOTUS pick even had a name, the ideological guns were loaded and ready to fire. President Obama said he'd nominate a judge with empathy and the Republican party took that as a threat. Judges shouldn't be empathic, they said. They should be freakin' robots. They should read the law as written and generate a ruling with the same lack of compassion that computer generates a report. Looking for something - anything - to get in a fight over and (hopefully) score political points, the right glommed onto the word "empathy." That word is supposedly code for "activist judge."


Return of the Romanovs: Obama creates yet another czar 

President Obama is about to announce the creation of a "cyber czar" who will have broad authority to develop strategy to protect the nation's government-run and private computer networks. Obama's legion of czars has raised concerns among lawmakers about their concentration of power.

Obama now has produced more Czars than produced by the Romanovs who ruled Russia from 1613 to 1917. The score by latest count: Romanovs 18, Obamas 19.


Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey said yesterday that the "Pentagon is prepared to leave fighting forces in Iraq for as long as a decade despite an agreement between the United States and Iraq that would bring all American troops home by 2012." "He said his planning envisions combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for a decade as part of a U.S. commitment to fighting extremism in the Middle East."

Great. Let's keep spending $12 billion a month and letting our soldiers die for crap like this:  

The al-Maliki government is using libel lawsuits in an effort to close down the independent press in Iraq, and even some websites. Welcome back to the 16th and 17th centuries.  
4,302 soldiers killed in Iraq - that we know of so far.
Take No Prisoners - Literally

The latest New York Post column by Ralph Peters - last seen accusing journalists of treason - isn't going to get much attention, given today's Sotomayor and Prop 8 news, but it's kind of a doozy:

WE made one great mistake regarding Guantanamo: No terrorist should have made it that far. All but a handful of those grotesquely romanticized prisoners should have been killed on the battlefield.

kept alive for their intelligence value should have been interrogated secretly, then executed.

Terrorists don't
legal rights or human rights. By committing or abetting acts of terror against the innocent, they place themselves outside of humanity's borders. They must be hunted as man-killing animals.

And, as a side benefit, dead terrorists don't pose legal quandaries....

Does this mean we should have just summarily executed, say, Guantanamo detainee
Mohammed Jawad, who was captured in Afghanistan at age 16 or 17, accused of throwing a grenade at an U.S. military vehicle, which would seemingly make him, at most, a guerrilla soldier, not a terrorist? Ah, but it's reported that he was trained by Al Qaeda ... in the use of grenades, a skill I'm sure the illiterate, non-English-speaking Afghan could have used to kill mass numbers of innocent Americans in their beds, somehow. Yeah, he's definitely too much of a super-ultra-mega-monster to be treated like, y'know, a prisoner of war, even though the only act of violence he's charged with was an act of war.

Sure, if you step back, the ordinary rules of war seem absurd -- in the midst of battle you shoot to kill, but killing a soldier captured alive is regarded as brutality. But that's a widely recognized and understandable practice -- except it's not understandable to Ralph Peters, if the enemy in question is not a uniformed soldier but a terrorist (and a terrorist is anyone we say is a terrorist). Then, well, kill him. Kill 'em all.

Rules of engagement? I got your rules of engagement right here.

The Peters column loses steam after that -- he keeps coming back to the notion that if we have to take in Gitmo detainees, they ought to go to Cape Cod, because, well, Kennedy-bashing never gets old and hey, you may as well go to urbanized coastal Massachusetts because it's not as if America has any high-security prisons in sparsely populated states or anything. But really, kill 'em all is a much better solution.
For shame, California Supreme Court

The California court ruled yesterday on the constitutionality of proposition 8, the measure that prohibited same sex marriage. Unfortunately, the court upheld the ban.

California should be embarrassed. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Iowa, and Vermont allow or will allow same-sex marriages, and New York and New Hampshire are working on it. The trend is going one way, towards recognizing the civil rights of all individuals. Californians better get to work, you don't want Mississippi to beat you to the 21st century. (Although I will be quite pleased when Mississippi legalizes gay marriage, whenever that may happen and no matter what order the states accomplish it.)


In the last 8 years could anyone have predicted this picture?


RNC talking points on Sotomayor leaked

Oh my. So much for the super secret wingnutty wurlitzer blast faxer-iffic strategery.  The RNC has sprung an unintentional media leak out the wazoo.

If you look at the list of GOP talking points, you'll find this bit of Wingnut crazy speculation as to what Judge Sotamayor would do:

Stripping "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance

President Obama has set a wide open pitfall trap for the party of Hoover. Most of the party professionals know this and for them, opposing the confirmation of Judge Sotamayor to the Supreme Court is not the hill that they want to die on.

The batshit-crazy base of the GOP either doesn't understand the risks of vigorously opposing the confirmation or they do not care. Given their penchant for over-the-top rhetoric and virulent anti-immigrant bombast, the crazies are almost guaranteed to drift into anti-Hispanic screeds. Even the Former Chimperor recognized that the GOP needs to appeal to Hispanics in order to have a hope to remain a national party, but the various Hindenbergs on the Right don't care.

The GOP needs to get a clue, fast. They are tromping down the track of becoming a smallish regional party with no power at the national level, at least for the next few electoral cycles. They do this nation no good if they cannot at least have enough numbers in the Congress to influence policy and they are dangerously close to that point now.


The patriotic Vulgar Pigboy just wants her to fail:

"Do I want her to fail? Yeah. Do I want her to fail to get on the court? Yes. She'd be a disaster on the Court.

Do I still want to Obama to fail as President? Yeah, - AP, you getting this?

He's gonna fail anyway, but the sooner the better here so that as little damage can be done to the country."


In 1998, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT who said "Nobody denies that Saddam Hussein was supporting al-Qaeda…Well, I shouldn't say nobody. Nobody with brains") was one of just seven Republicans to break ranks and approve Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. But today on MSNBC, Hatch said that although he found her suitable for the federal bench then, he now might have problems with her:

HATCH: In 1998, for the circuit court of appeals, I did vote for her because I believe in giving the president due deference, especially for circuit court of appeals nominations.

But now we're talking about the most important court on Earth. We're talking about the court of last resort. We're talking about a court that everyone of us takes great interest in. And now we're talking about a woman who has been in the federal judicial system since 1992, who has all kinds of decisions that she's made, all kinds of opinions that she's written, who has written articles, who has spoken in public — all of that has to be looked into.

It should also be looked into that Orrin Hatch ran on term limits in 1977 and is still a senator 32 years later. And also that he is a douchebag.


Tucker Carlson to save the internet
Check it out, a fancy new clicky-clicky! "Pundit Tucker Carlson publicly announced Tuesday that a right-leaning news site resembling the Huffington Post he's been planning will go live within weeks … 'Tell the truth, and be accurate,' Carlson said of the venture's goals. 'It's very important to live up to the basic standards of journalism.'" Doesn't making something explicitly "right-leaning" or "left-leaning" in and of itself make it impossible to be an important journalistic news site? The Hill