Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Headlines - Wednesday

Rewarding bad behavior - Volume 938,730
Michael Jeffries, Abercrombie & Fitch
The five most overpaid CEOs
Despite last year's financial tumult, these five CEOs are still sitting pretty. Here is the Corporate Library's list of the "Highest Paid Worst Performers" of 2008. 
Obama decides Karzai gets to stay in power despite fraud:
Other public option dies too!
The Baucus caucus

Our dear friends in the Senate Finance Committee have voted down the Schumer/Cantwell "less cool but still cool" public option amendment as well, 13-10 (Dems voting no: Baucus, Conrad, Lincoln), so there will officially (we think?) not be a public option in the Senate Finance Committee bill. SURPRISE. MORE »

The Healthcare debate refocused
Over at The Altantic's business blog, writer Derek Thompson asks, "Is Today the Public Option's Last Chance?" See, members of the Senate Finance Committee are expected to force an up or down vote on a government-run health insurance option -- and that vote may not turn out well for backers.

But is it "do or die" time for a public option? Probably not. There are several bills in both chambers of congress and only one doesn't include a public option. Max Baucus' Finance Committee bill is the black sheep here. There are four other bills -- three in the House and one in the Senate -- meaning that 80% of all healthcare legislation includes the option. If the Finance Committee votes down a public option, it will most definitely not be dead. A lot of people will try to pretend that it is, but you won't be able to accuse those people of being too forthright.
Keep reading:
Foods too big to finish, like this seven-pound breakfast burrito and an incredible twenty-pound burger.
Watch a big UCLA squirrel help a little UCLA squirrel over a wall.
Ten percent of world's major species at threat:
Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) announced today that they will introduce the Retroactive Immunity Repeal Act, which eliminates retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that allegedly participated in President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program.
Google Earth meets climate change in 3D 

Google is using its Google Earth mapping tool to simulate on a 3d map of the world the predicted effects of climate change until the year 2100.

Using data provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the search giant created new layers for Google Earth showing the range of expected temperature and precipitation changes under different global emissions scenarios that could occur throughout the century. - Syndney Morning Herald


Is our military learning?


The Guardian:

Twenty-five million more children will go hungry by the middle of this century as climate change leads to food shortages and soaring prices for staples such as rice, wheat, maize and soya beans, a report says today.

If global warming goes unchecked, all regions of the world will be affected, but the most vulnerable – south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa – will be hit hardest by failing crop yields, according to the report, prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) for the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

The children of 2050 will have fewer calories to eat than those in 2000, the report says, and the effect would be to wipe out decades of progress in reducing child malnutrition.


Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John Kerry (D-MA) will unveil global warming legislation today that would require a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The bill would go even further than House legislation passed in June, which required a 17 percent decrease. Joe Romm says it is "environmentally, economically and politically stronger" than its House counterpart.

Jesus Christ. Eight years wasted under Bush doing nothing and now we may cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in 10 freaking years?


With Florida rapidly becoming the Ground Zero of Glennbeckistan, I have to wonder how the hell Alan Grayson got elected. You gotta love this guy:


This column, a disguised call for a military coup, is nothing short of treason and/or sedition. 


Ex-Bushies face lawsuits

Oh plz oh plz oh plz oh plz...

In lawsuits stemming from law enforcement and intelligence efforts after the Sept. 11 attacks, three federal courts have left open the possibility that former Attorney General John Ashcroft and former Justice Department official John Yoo may be held personally liable.

In two cases, judges appointed by Republican presidents have refused at an early stage to dismiss lawsuits that were filed against Ashcroft and Yoo. In a third case, the full federal appeals court in New York is reconsidering an earlier decision by three of its members to toss out a lawsuit by a man who was changing planes in the United States when he was mistaken for a terrorist and sent to Syria, where he claims he was tortured.

Pic by GeeGee.


image by R.J. Matson 

Americablog: Republicans ignored Afghanistan under Bush, now want "high stakes" hearings

There are many, many hypocritical things that Republicans do. But, when they play politics with national security, it's beyond hypocritical, it's despicable. For almost eight years, including those six when Republicans controlled the House and Senate, the GOP ignored the war in Afghanistan, just like George Bush did. They dutifully — and without question — followed Bush into the war in Iraq. And, they let Afghanistan fester. It was national security negligence on the part of the GOP. Now, that Bush is gone, Republicans are pretending to care about the Afghanistan war:

Republicans want to make the idea of a high stakes congressional hearing with Gen. Stanley McChrystal look inevitable.

On Monday, Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, became the latest GOP lawmaker to call on the top U.S. general in Afghanistan to come to Capitol Hill to testify about the need for more troops.

Kit Bond and his colleagues weren't screeching about hearings on Afghanistan when Bush was president. FOX News wasn't in a frenzy about that war either. They were all complicit in Bush's failure. But, now they think there's a political reason to talk Afghanistan. Really, they're sick. They don't care about the underlying policy, just the politics.


Last night, filmmaker Michael Moore sent a message to leading Democrats blocking health care reform: "I want to offer a personal pledge. I — and a lot of other people — have every intention of removing you from Congress in the next election if you stand in the way of health care legislation that the people want."


Chamber of Commerce rewrites history: "We've never questioned the science behind global warming"


Rightwing panel agrees Obama is the 'first Muslim American President'

At the How to Take Back America conference last weekend, attended by several Republican lawmakers, former Reagan official and prominent neoconservative Frank Gaffney, right-wing historian Bill Federer, and Christian activist Walid Shoebat hosted a panel on "How to understand Islam." An attendee of the panel asked the three speakers if they would consider President Obama a Christian or a Muslim, given his "roots." While Gaffney gave a now familiar response linking Obama to the Muslim Brotherhood, Federer and Shoebat provided new theories, which elicited praise from the crowd:


Sarah Failin's memoir "Going Full Retard Rogue" will be out November 17th, hopefully followed by the sequel "Going Away."



Glenn Beck draws biggest hometown protest evar

Pig of the hour tearfully receives key to the city in an invitation-only private event, while demonstrators march in Norman Rockwell-like Free Speech Zones.

Protesters started gathering outside the building more than two hours before Beck's 7:30 p.m. appearance. By the time he spoke inside the building, some 800 people were gathered outside - some from as far away as Oregon.

It was the
largest protest in living memory in the town of Mount Vernon.

Culture of Corruption

In a report which will surprise nobody, repulsive goons Glenn Beck and Sean insHannity have devoted thousands of hours to blasting ACORN – all the while 'virtually ignoring major corruption scandals.' You know, the ones involving rethuglicans. Ones they HAVEN'T labeled as 'D'.--

Media Matters for America reviewed the coverage each host has provided on his respective television programs to a selection of well-documented political scandals and instances of corruption by companies that have received thousands of times more money from the government than ACORN has. Our findings show that both hosts have been obsessed with ACORN, devoting a massively disproportionate amount of attention to the story in comparison to their coverage of controversies involving military contractors that have received billions of dollars in federal contracts and instances of Republican corruption at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

Key findings:

  • ACORN: 1,502
  • Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH): 62
  • Blackwater/Xe: 4
  • Halliburton/KBR: 43
  • "This is clear-cut, unadulterated, taxpayer-funded corruption! I'm asking you -- demand a full investigation from your representatives of everybody -- all the way to the top, everybody in government, all the way to the top, in your cities, and in our nation!!!"

    Oops - Analysis finds holes in US Iran story: US may have pretended to know about facility

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    Headlines - Tuesday

    "To love democracy and to love the Earth is to be a radical now." Joel Kupperman at the G20 summit Link
    A Palestinian boy kicks a football outside damaged homes in northern Gaza in January 2009.
    Hmmm. UN report accuses Israel of war crimes.
    "Clinton recounted that he once pulled aside Alan Simpson, the senior Republican senator, to ask him whether he really believed that the president had done something terrible in Whitewater. Simpson's response: "Oh, hell no. But our goal is to make people think you did, so we can pay you Democrats back for Iran-contra." Taylor Branch, author of the new "tell all" Clinton book Link  

    Too bad Democrats can't be counted on to stand with their president. 


    Global recession apparently hitting PR professionals the hardest

    The Vatican's new official defense makes you wonder who thought it would be a good idea to revive the story. Only about one in twenty priests touched children in their private parts!

    Protip: when, say, a political candidate admits he had sex with "between 1 and 5" farm animals, you can discard one through four.


    The Limits of Charisma - by Howard Fineman Link

    If ubiquity were the measure of a presidency, Obama would already be on Mount Rushmore. But of course it is not. Despite his many words and television appearances, our elegant and eloquent president remains more an emblem of change than an agent of it. He's a man with an endless, worthy to-do list but, as yet, no boxes checked "done." This is a problem that style will not fix. Unless Obama learns to rely less on charm, rhetoric, and good intentions and more on picking his spots and winning in political combat, he's not going to be reelected, let alone enshrined in South Dakota.

    The president's problem isn't that he is too visible; it's the lack of content in what he says in interviews. Obama can seem a mite too impressed with his own aura, as if his presence on the stage is the Answer. There is, at times, a self-referential (even self-reverential) tone in his big speeches. They are heavily salted with the words "I" and "my." (He used the former 11 times in the first few paragraphs of his address to the U.N. last week.) Obama is a historic figure, but that is the beginning, not the end, of the story.

    There is only so much political mileage that can still be had by his reminding the world that he is not George W. Bush. It was the winning theme of the 2008 campaign, but that race ended nearly a year ago. The ex-president is now more ex than ever, yet the current president, who vowed to look forward, is still reaching back to Bush as bogeyman. 

    I hate to agree with Howard Fineman, but yes, Obama thinks a speech always cures everything.
    When Obama does give a speech, it's always the same damn speech.

    That last speech he gave on health care?
    He got no bounce at all from that - why did he think he would?
    He repeats the same old arguments that haven't worked so far.
    He's still trying to reason with insane drunks.

    He seems to think (I can only guess) that if he reaches his hand out to the sons of bitches often enough,
    they will eventually shake it instead of biting it for the 200th time in a row.

    Does Obama have a learning disability? 



    William Safire dead at 79
    He's playing cards in Hell with Nixon, Helms and Russert Link

    Safire went to work for Nixon's first, unsuccessful presidential bid. He rejoined the Nixon team in 1968, when Nixon won the White House, and became one of the administration's top speechwriters. P
    erhaps his best-known line in that job was Agnew's denunciation of journalists as "nattering nabobs of negativism." But Safire left the administration to join that nattering club in 1973, when he left the Nixon bastards to join the Whore Times.

    His often-pugnacious voice - he once denounced then-first lady Hillary Clinton as a "congenital liar" - held down the right flank of the Times' op-ed page for more than three decades.  

    Well, of course this right-wing loon ran the Whore Times's Op-Ed page for 30 years. You can't get a big-time publishing job without those reich-wing credentials.

    But isn't it funny how the sons of bitches twist history?
    Tell me, Mr Safire, how many thousands of soldiers died because of Hillary's lies?
    None, of course, but the bastards always give their own a pass while attacking the innocent.

    Bill Clinton diddled an intern, so he's a bad man.
    The Bush Fuhrer killed a million Iraqi's and 4500 soldiers and he's "a good Christian man."

    Too bad we're in a party that refuses to fight back or even list the goddamn facts.



    This picture of the Horsehead Nebula is the 2009 winning entry for astronomy photo of the year.


    4,346 soldiers killed in Iraq; 850 in Afghanistan (220 of which have been this year already)


    Q. What do you get when you take a man and then remove all common sense, critical thinking skills and moral compass?

    A. Dan Riehl.

    Riehl, as you may know, has speculated that Bill Sparkman, the murdered Census worker in Kentucky, was possibly murdered because someone found out that he was a child predator.  This is because he was a substitute teacher, Boy Scout leader and Census worker, and because he had an adoptive son.

    It's pretty disturbing how Riehl managed to connect these completely irrelevant items so quickly into a portrait of a child predator. What's funny about it, though, is the defense he offered for jumping to such a conclusion:

    Before any more people start going bonkers that I'm accusing Sparkman of anything, take a breath. I've done a fair amount of crime blogging mixed in with politics over time. One doesn't rule anything in or out without some firm answers. People feel free to speculate about Meth labs and pot fields but none have been reported in the area, yet.

    Well then. If Riehl's been doing some "crime blogging" then he obviously knows what he's talking about. And he's totally correct to equate his speculation with that of meth labs and pot farms, because it's so unlikely to find a meth lab or a pot farm in a rural area. Everyone knows that both meth and marijuana are produced and consumed mainly in America's urban cores.


    Unemployment: 6 to 1 and rising, so where's Main Street's bailout?


    Can you imagine what would have happened had someone put a Facebook poll like this up when Commander Codpiece was president?


    New doubts over Hitler's death after tests on Hitler's skull reveal it did NOT belong to Hitler. In other news, ZOMBIE HITLER!!!!!

    Adolf Hitler may not have shot himself dead and perhaps did not even die in his bunker, it emerged yesterday. A skull fragment believed for decades to be the Nazi leader's has turned out to be that of a woman under 40 after DNA analysis.
    And Obama is now president... hmmm....

    Sorry. Channelling freetards again.

    And in a related story ....
    Conservative activist explains how to recognize living under nazism
    Can we please stop treating these people as if their insane ravings are simply "an alternate view"?
    G20 world leader to Obama: "We don't understand it. You're trying to make sure everybody has health care and they're putting a Hitler mustache on you - I don't - that doesn't make sense to me. Explain that to me."

    "You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the New West. You know - morons."

    Another Republican Revolution?

    Republicans are going to take over. It's inevitable. People aren't happy with congress and this means that, since Democrats are in control of both chambers, we're in for a big, big change. It's a lead pipe cinch. A sure bet. No contest. The republican base is excited, the Democratic base is disappointed. The pendulum has begun to swing.

    At least, that seems to be what a lot of people think. Democrats better watch out, a lot of pundits are saying, because 2010 could be 1994 all over again. You wait and see. Republicans, with their tea bags and Hitler mustaches are on the march!

    Of course, you know what I think of the analytic and prognosticative powers of the punditry - for the most part, they don't exist. Still, you get stories like this, from Reuters:


    Obama is ACORN you idiot Democrat:


    In this new book, Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor, Matt Latimer has an interesting insight into the presidency of George W. Bush. When author J.K. Rowling was proposed as a recipient for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Bush nixed the idea because Rowling's Harry Potter series "encouraged witchcraft." While many of us may be unaware of the outbreak of witchcraft, this was no doubt contained in one of those biblically laced briefing books of the President. What is strange is that the President already honored another author of pure fiction — CIA Director George Tenet — for producing false evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq. It must simply be the genre. 

    Keep reading:


    A political brawl rocked the California Republican Party state convention in Indian Springs this weekend. On the griddle was Meg Whitman, former former eBay exec and current candidate for governor. The issue was Whitman's failure to vote, or even register, for the first 28 years she was eligible. Making matters worse, she often did not bother to vote after she finally registered.


    Dorgan's amendment would let cheaper drugs from Canada come into the US, so people like you and me would no longer have to pay a 300% to 500% mark-up on the prescription drugs we buy. The administration scotched this possibility in their secret deal they made with Big Pharma, that was subsequently exposed. It will be interesting to see which politicians vote to have you pay three to five times as much for your prescriptions simply because American pharmaceutical companies have a monopoloy in our market. One could almost call that a prescription drug tax, since it's simply a mark-up that you're paying. Will our members of Congress vote to sustain the 300% Prescription Drug Tax? Stay tuned.

    Income gap widens between the haves and the have nots during recession
    The wealthiest 10 percent of Americans — those making more than $138,000 each year — earned 11.4 times the roughly $12,000 made by those living near or below the poverty line in 2008, according to newly released census figures. That ratio was an increase from 11.2 in 2007 and the previous high of 11.22 in 2003.
    Paul Krugman in an op-ed on climate change.
    850 Mostly Blind, Pale Creatures Discovered Underground:
    Get your religion out of MY health care. If you don't like abortions, don't have one. 

    well-duh.jpg image by cchiarizio
    Texas schools move away from abstinence-only education: we don't think it's working:
    100 greatest viral videos of all time condensed here.

    Monday, September 28, 2009

    Headlines - Monday

    Israel gets trillions of dollars from us to supposedly defend itself, and yet Bibi Whatayahoo told our Congresscritters that now is the time to act to halt the Iranian nuclear program.
    Juan Cole:
    American and Western discussions of what to do about Iran almost completely ignore Iraq. But no economic sanctions can effectively be placed on Iran without Iraqi support. A gasoline embargo would fail completely if Iraqis smuggled gasoline to Iran (which they certainly would, both for economic and religious reasons). Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq, said Saturday that new sanctions on Iran "would not work" and that Iraq would never allow its airspace to be used for an aggressive attack on Iran "by any country" (he's looking at you, Israel and US).

    Somehow I don't think this is what Bush was going for when he invaded Iraq.

    That didn't take long. 

    A Superior Court Judge in Massachusetts has thrown out the request by the Republicans to enjoin the appointment of Paul Kirk as interim Senator to hold Kennedy's seat until the special election slated for January.  No word yet if he used the phrase "whiny-assed titty babies" in his opinion.  

    The Republicans objected to Governor Deval Patrick declaring an emergency so as to give the appointment immediate effect.  Because having the people of Massachusetts have a full complement of senators during the health care debate is no where near as important as was the issue of the boating speed limit in Charlton, which Willard had found to be an emergency during his stint in office.


    First They Came For ACORN

    First Big Business, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Lou Dobbs, the Religious Right, the Wall Street Journal, Mitch McConnell, and Karl Rove came for ACORN, and the Democrats did not speak out - because they were not ACORN.

    The question that is never asked

    What is the difference between someone old enough to choose Medicare Coverage and everyone else? Why should everyone *under* the age of 65 live in fear of health care costs, job loss, private insurance recission and loss? Is there some magical bar, some fairy dust, that prevents us from admitting that American Citizens have precisely identical health care needs from cradle to grave-and that they should, of course, have the exactly same set of rights to meet those needs through a national co-insurance pool based on taxes levied evenly, and (for preference) progressively on all salaried employees and employers?

    I've never understood the willingness of the average person and the average journalist to pretend that categories like "over 65" and "under 65" reflect anything other than historical accident. We're all citizens. We are all human. We all have health care needs. My grandparents aren't more needy than I, or more worthy than I, and its not even clear that they have paid more into the system than I have. I have been astounded, absolutely astounded, at the inability of our pundits and our representatives to simply ask the most basic question: What's the difference between me and someone older than me, from a legal or moral point of view, that enables the Government to assume responsibility for ensuring proper medical care for someone of age X + and not for me or my children?

    Atrios links to this new poll showing that the public, in general, would be interested in expanding Medicare downwards to include lots more people.
    But here's the stunner: In the very same poll, respondents were asked whether they favored a Medicare-like public option for everyone. The right-wingers were out there in roughly the same numbers that they registered in answering the other questions: 26 percent of respondents said they opposed the public option. But a whopping 65 supported it.

    Despite the piss poor job of our elected leadership the people actually get it. What's good for our elderly parents is, in fact, good for all of us.

    Billions spent and 850 soldiers killed that we know of .....
    NATO and the US have decided to side with current Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai in his quest to continue to be President of Afghanistan, despite very mean-spirited gossip about how the election was maybe a sham. Washington Post

    Putting your investments where your dinner is - combine poisonous factory-farm tomatoes with disgraced investment banker Bernard Madoff. Then throw in a stock market disaster that cost investors their life savings. You may have the recipe for a revolution. 


    Not sure what to think of this:

    What if James Dean had lived? Astonishing new advert gives the original rebel a cause - and takes film critics by storm
    The profanity has yet to be coined to describe this obscenity.  "A Virginia anti-abortion activist has sent a scathing letter to the church of slain Wichita abortion provider George Tiller, telling pastors they "brought damnation" onto themselves for failing to rebuke the "babykilling." The Rev. Donald Spitz, a longtime advocate of the belief that killing abortion doctors is an act of justifiable homicide, said he also mailed a letter to College Hill United Methodist Church, which offered its larger sanctuary to Tiller's family for his funeral. Tiller was shot to death in his church on May 31 while serving as an usher. Scott Roeder of Kansas City awaits a Jan. 11 trial on a charge of first-degree murder. Spitz, who is the head of Pro-Life Virginia, runs a Web site called the Army of God. He has praised Roeder's actions and calls him a "true American hero."
    Dispatch from Glennbeckistan
    This is your country when a political party sanctions hate in the name of white privilege:
    Derrick Thomas was on his bike with home in his sights, returning about 1 a.m. Wednesday from hanging out with his girlfriend and cousin in Brooklyn Park.

    Before he knew to be terrified, Thomas, who has autism, found himself flying over his handlebars and writhing on his back on the concrete. Standing over him, he said, were three men armed with an ax, brass knuckles and a gun.

    They beat and kicked the 18-year-old while screaming a racial epithet, and they ordered him to strip naked, he told police. Then they robbed him of everything he had, including his Air Jordans, blue jeans and shirt. Police said Thomas has a mental capacity of someone 8 to 10 years old.

    "They were saying stuff like, 'We hate the president; we're gonna kill the president, his wife and his kids,'" Thomas recalled from his front stoop Friday, his left eye puffy and discolored. "They said every black person that comes through our park, we're gonna kick their butt. We don't like black people, period."
    Any questions?
    Bullets and barbecue: SC candidate raffles off AK-47, offers target practice at campaign rally.
    This is your country as envisioned by Republicans.
    I guess she should have "gotten an option like charity."

    Ted Rall gets the flu and tries to fill a prescription for Tamiflu. A real horror story.

    This is not an ordinary flu, in spite of stories like this trying to convince you otherwise. Please take this seriously


    The torturer's daughter
    Liz Cheney is laying the groundwork for a run for office.

    It could be that she wants to be in a position to prevent Dick Cheney from being tried for his crimes. Maybe she is being a good daughter, like
    Gudrun Himmler Burwitz.

    Or maybe she really does believe that torturing people makes this country safer.

    No such thing as police abuse! They only Tase people for their own good.


    The wingers love them some Constitution, except for the parts they don't like - like the Census. Then it's a big-brother-New-World-Order-black-helicopter-conspiracy-theorist wet dream. The Constitution directs that every ten years, a census be taken. It determines the amount of funding a community receives from federal and state governments, and it determines congressional representation. It is also used for the purpose of districting decisions that affect a person's representation at the local and state level, and directs the decisions a community makes.


    Gee. What a surprise.

    On CNN yesterday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged that closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay will take longer than the Obama administration planned. "I think it has proven more complicated than anticipated," said Gates, who said that he had pushed for the deadline of January 2010.


    In any other industry, this sort of thing would prompt a RICO investigation A 3,495% markup on the cost of the same drugs that patients take at home when they are administered in a hospital setting is unjustifiable and ought to be classified as Medicare fraud.


    Ahmadinejad and the nuclear enrichment plant of doom

    Obama on the evidence of Iran's secret nuclear facility: "This was the work product of three intelligence agencies, not just one." Well, if it's three whole intelligence agencies, then it must be true. (I think he means the CIA, MI6 and French intelligence). "They checked over this work in a painstaking fashion." Seems to me I've heard this sort of thing before.

    The most unlikely part of this story? That the US supposedly for years possessed intel that would have advanced Dick Cheney's agenda, but failed to leak it.

    Senators Bayh, Kyl and Lieberman issued a
    statement accusing Iran of a "consistent pattern of deceit, concealment and bad faith," because if there are three things Joe Lieberman hates, they're deceit, concealment and bad faith. "Until Iran proves otherwise, we must assume the worst about its nuclear intentions and activities -- and act accordingly." Can't let the smoking gun come in the form of a mushroom cloud.

    Update: Barack Obama demanded that Iran turn over blueprints to its underground ex-secret nuclear hideaway, and threatened to take away the US's gas and oil investment money. Iran responded by test-firing a bunch of short-range missiles and then claiming they were medium-range missiles. Sassy/grim! New York Times
    The Boston Globe reports that bank lobbyists, who earlier this year killed mortgage cramdown legislation, are funneling millions of dollars to Congress and hiring a number of former congressional and White House staffers as lobbyists in an effort to defeat proposed regulations. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), one of the chief negotiators in talks on new legislation, has responded to bank lobbyists hiring one of his committee's former aides by barring his staff from talking to him.


    More than half of the 2,737 lobbyists "hired to promote the interests of drug companies, insurers, hospitals, health professionals, industry groups and business organizations" used to "work for the government they're trying to influence."

    Sunday, September 27, 2009

    Headlines - Sunday

    CNN: 163 new species discovered near Mekong.
              Senator Kent Conrad, the Blue Dog with a head as empty as the state of North Dakota.

    Wingnuts shrieking about school children singing the praises of President Obama would do well to remember that "back in 2006, children, children from Gulf Coast states serenaded First Lady Laura Bush with a song praising the President, Congress, and Federal Emergency Management Agency for their response to — of all things — Hurricane Katrina." "Together have come to rebuild us and we join them hand in hand!"
    And who could forget this, from Jebus Camp?
    Jack Cafferty: "When Tom Delay goes to prison, can they show his dancing to the general inmate population?"
    P.M. Carpenter: Of crackpots, rightists, and wingers: The "conservative" GOP?
    You can sum up why the world is slow to confront Iran in four letters
    There are many people, both in the current Administration and in the last one, who have been frustrated in trying to get the rest of the world to confront Iran on their alleged nuclear weapons program. One word sums up why: Iraq.

    Even as it was revealed earlier this week by the Iranians that they have been constructing another nuclear facility, which apparently is in a tunnel and has been known to the intel community for years (and which explains the Bush Administration's interest in deep-penetration weapons), the Iraq debacle continues to poison attempts to deal with Iran. You may recall that over six years ago, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell made a presentation to the UN Security Council on the case that Iraq was developing nuclear and biological weapons.

    Except, of course, Iraq wasn't doing any such thing. The purported "mobile biological weapons lab" was a hydrogen-generating truck for launching weather balloons. The "centrifuge tubes" were casings for short-range rockets (that the casings were not suitable for centrifuges was known at the time). Colin Powell's presentation, and probably through little fault of his own, was a mixture of misreadings of data, disinformation and outright lies, all of which ultimately traced back to Dick Cheney and his minions.

    The rest of the world is operating on the basis of "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." Thanks to Chimpy and Darth Cheney for that. That is why, no matter how good our information is on Iran, the rest of the world will be slow to believe us.
    Rhymes with Tucker.
    "How was I to know that someone would take my rants against Census worlers seriously?"

    Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) was in St. Louis, MO today for the right-wing How to Take Back America Conference, which features panels such as "How to stop feminist and gay attacks on the military" and "How to recognize living under Nazis & Communists." The Washington Independent's Dave Weigel attended the conference and attempted to catch up with Bachmann to ask her about the murdered Census worker in Kentucky, but she evaded his question:

    After the speech, Bachmann had only a few minutes to sign autographs and collect a stack of CDs and books from fans who'd followed her into the lobby. I caught up to her as she headed outside and asked if she had any response to the murder of a Kentucky census worker, having noticed that the Census, a constant target for Bachmann, did not figure into her speech. Bachmann recoiled a little at the question and turned to enter her limo.

    "Thank you so much!" she said.

    Over the summer, Bachmann waged a high-profile, wildly-dishonest campaign against the Census, going so far as to claim that the data collected had been used to round up and intern Japanese-Americans in the 1940s.



    On C-Span's Washington Journal this week, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the godfather of global warming deniers, said that he will travel to the climate change summit in Copenhagen this fall to present "another view." "I think somebody has to be there — a one-man truth squad," he said. Throughout the program, Inhofe went through his tattered global warming denier claims: that climate change is a "hoax," that CO2 is not a pollutant, and — latching on to the latest false right-wing talking point — that clean energy legislation will cost American families $1,700 a year. At the end of the interview, Inhofe explained what guides his views:

    CALLER: Yes, I agree with the Senator on what he says about the climate change. I believe that the world is just changing like it usually does. [...]

    INHOFE: I think he's right. I think what he's saying is God's still up there. We're going through these cycles. … I really believe that a lot of people are in denial who want to hang their hat on the fact, that they believe is a fact, that man-made gases, anthropogenic gases, are causing global warming. The science really isn't there.


    Northern Virginia will pretend to have a massive, costly, hilariously detailed terrorist attack


    Remember on the ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11 when the Coast Guard held some make-believe high-speed boat chase — they were chasing Osama bin Laden, on the actual Potomac River! — with guns shots and radio screams but didn't bother to tell a single human being beforehand that it was a drill? Never will such miscues happen again! See, this time around, we know in advance that hundreds of emergency response officials are going to waste insane amounts of resources on a pretend 24esque high-speed Osama Chase tomorrow across all of Northern Virginia, so it's okay! And if all goes as planned, homeland security teams will be prepared for the real Al Qaeda-coordinated triple-bomb/chemical weapon spill on Route 50 car chase scenario, scheduled for a Christmas release. MORE »


                                  If you know what's good for you, don't anger an Israeli vegan.


    Are Republicans autistic?


    TPM: A fool and his money

    Gary Kreep

    After we published our story about the new 'birther infomercial running in a number of local markets in the south, a reader wrote in to say: Hey, it's not funny. This is a deliberate and shameful effort to denigrate and erode people's belief in the legitimacy of Obama's presidency.

    I was taken aback a bit at first. Because I agree. The mix of nihilism, know-nothingism and racism fueling the birther movement is shocking to behold. But as to funny or shameful, my only quibble is that I'm not sure we have to choose. And it turns out there's a third option.

    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Headlines - Friday

    Gone for a couple of days. Talk amongst yourselves.....
    I guess massacres, arms smuggling, over charging, war crimes and tax evasion are okay
    Jeremy Scahill: Where is the Defund Blackwater Act? 
    Democrats joined Republicans in voting to "Defund ACORN," yet have done nothing to stop Blackwater's ongoing taxpayer funded crusade in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    h/t Dick
    Bill Sparkman was a single father and non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor. He was working two jobs, as a census worker and a substitute teacher, while he waited for a permanent teaching position to open up.
     Of the various types of protesters, police hate the boneless type the most.


    New Jersey police officer Robert Melia Jr. will not face criminal charges for allegedly having sex with five calves under a perfectly bizarre ruling by Judge James J. Morley. Morley dismissed animal cruelty charges on the grounds that the cows may have enjoyed having sex with Melia.


    Mmm, Chinese flesh

    Sarah Palin attacks president Obama on foreign soil during wartime:


    political pictures for your blog


    Michele Bachmann's wheel is still spinning, but the hamster is dead.

    Margaret, I know it has been a few years since we last made the trip across the pond, but I was wondering if  anyone is still alive in Europe?   I watched a little bit of Fox News this weekend and I'm afraid everyone in Europe might have died from lack of access to healthcare.  What a shame.  They had such delicious food and beautiful art.

    I am not sure when it happened but the base of the Republican party either got lazy or stupid or both… or maybe they always were.   It took me only a few minutes of research on the internet to learn that America spends more on healthcare than any other wealthy nation and yet we don't live longer or have better health outcomes. So unless we just enjoy making health insurance companies rich, all those tea party morons  need to use the internet for something other than ordering their penis enhancement pills.

    Exactly how expensive does healthcare have to get before we decide to have an honest, meaningful conversation about this?   Rush is out there talking about how this will keep you from getting your next raise.  I've got news for you Rush.  Maybe not for you, but for the rest of the world it already has.  Sixty-two percent of all bankruptcies filed in 2007 were linked to medical expenses and almost all of those individuals had health insurance. About 1.5 million families lose their homes to foreclosure every year due to unaffordable medical costs.  Over the last few years, health insurance costs for small businesses have increased by over 100%.

    Keep reading:


    Fairbanks newspaper in hot water with Sarah Palin over terrible pun

    Asshole Stands Near Ice Thing

    The notoriously frivolous Fairbanks Daily News-Miner appears to have been caught Making Fun Of Trig, and the managing editor has written an epic apology: "Today I must apologize to Mrs. Palin personally and on behalf of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner for the choice of words used on the bottom of Wednesday's front page regarding her speaking engagement in Hong Kong this week to a group of global investors. We used offensive language — 'A broad in Asia' — above a small photograph of the former governor to direct readers inside the newspaper to a full story of her Hong Kong appearance." MORE »


    This must have been a day to remember for the amateur. After years of searching, he found what many consider one of the greatest modern historical finds in the UK.


    Telegraph UK

    An Indonesian woman has given birth to an 19.2-pound (8.7-kilogramme) baby boy, the heaviest newborn ever recorded in the country, a doctor said on Wednesday.

    The baby, who is still unnamed and is 24.4 inches (62 centimetres) long, was born by Caesarean section on Monday at a public hospital in North Sumatra province, a gynaecologist who took part in the operation told AFP.

    No kidding? Caesarean, you say?

    "This heavy baby made the surgery really tough, especially the process of taking him out of his mum's womb. His legs were so big," Binsar Sitanggang said.

    "And he had his kung-fu death-grip on her uterus, too," he did not add.

    "He's got strong appetite, every minute, it's almost non-stop feeding," he said.

    Junior is going to suck her dry.

    "This baby boy is extraordinary, the way he's crying is not like a usual baby. It's really loud."

    It's freakin' Paul Bunyon and his damn mule Blue all rolled into one! Are you really surprised this kid can wail like a Keith Richards in withdrawl?

    She had to be rushed to hospital due to complications with the pregnancy, which had reached nine months. The baby, her fourth, was the only child not delivered by a traditional midwife.


    Rove says Obama 'doesn't need any more tv time,' but he argued Bush 'needed to be out speaking every day'

    Karl Rove needs to be in jail.


    Is McCain risking overexposure? Senator to make his 13th Sunday show appearance since January:


    Condi: Either We Stay In Afghanistan Forever, Or Every American Dies Again, Just Like On 9/11

    Peter Huestis, a legend in his own time 
    Hey did you guys know that Condi Rice is a dipshit still? It's in the latest news information! "The last time we left Afghanistan, and we abandoned Pakistan … that territory became the very territory on which Al Qaeda trained and attacked us on September 11th. So our national security interests are very much tied up in not letting Afghanistan fail again and become a safe haven for terrorists … It's that simple… if you want another terrorist attack in the U.S., abandon Afghanistan." So… the Bush Administration wanted another terrorist attack in the U.S. between 2002 and 2008? This is the last time we ever trust that Karl Rove. Crooks & Liars
    500,000 troops over five years? Forget it. Nothing in Afghanistan is worth 20,000 casualties.
    Forget the Afghanistan troop debate:  Stop sending billions to fucking Pakistan!  "The U.S. Senate approved legislation Thursday to triple civilian financial aid to Pakistan to $7.5 billion over five years, underscoring the country's vital role in the war in Afghanistan and the broader fight against international terrorism." Uh, no.  Every dime of foreign aid to Pakistan goes to support the Taliban.  Been that way for about 15 years now.
    It's fine, Obama will just make do with Bush's vintage fake legal rationales for torture

    A choice bit of news today for terrorists and people who just seem like terrorists: Obama and his legal pals have decided that they will not be giving themselves any more pretend legal authority in order to detain suspicious people indefinitely. It turns out Bush and Cheney did a pretty comprehensive job of back in 2001 rounding up all the authority on Earth and renditioning the shit out of it in Gitmo and Bagram.

    "Mark D. Agrast, deputy assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, and Brad Wiegman, a principal deputy and chief of staff in the National Security Division who heads an interagency task force on detention policy, told a group of about 15 activists that the government has all the detention authority it needs and will neither propose nor support any new legislation, according to several people who attended the meeting."

    This is considerate, because of the recession.

    Washington Post


    Alaska's power not what it used to be. Senate rejects Lisa Murkowski's attempt to block EPA on carbon emissions.


    David Broder not so sure about this 'thinking' approach to governance

    David Broder at his most outraged

    Soulless demented fish-carcass David Broder has recently discovered why Obama is awful and will fail: "But Obama has made it even more explicit, regularly proclaiming his determination to rely on rational analysis, rather than narrow decisions, on everything from missile defense to Afghanistan — and all the big issues at home." How calculating that Obama is. This is not the proper way to govern! What he should do instead of "rely[ing] on rational analysis" is take a poop and see which direction it spins, in the toilet. Counter-clockwise would tell him, "build insane untested missile-krusher dongle in Poland." Washington Post


    House Liberals stand their ground and demand a public option They are standing together and holding their ground and maintaining that they absolutely will not vote for any bill that doesn't have a public option. So can we ignore the Baucus Bacchanalia and wait for what comes out of conference? The House has an equal say, and enough real Liberal Democrats to make a difference.