Monday, November 30, 2009

Headlines - Monday

Mike Huckabee granted clemency to the suspect in quadruple cop killer case in Washington state. 
Lest you forget, he has a history of clemency gone wrong. Remember this previous Huckabee clemency
Huckabee basically helped secure the guy's release because the convict had raped a distant relative of Bill Clinton - and being a distant relative of Bill Clinton, the right-wing attack machine said the woman who was raped wasn't credible (even though the guy was convicted), and they demanded that the rapist be set free because, after all, he only raped a Clinton. Well, it seems that Governor Huckabee agreed. He set the rapist free, and then the guy molested and murdered another woman. But even better? Huckabee now denies that he had anything to do with the release of the rapist/murderer. Funny, then why did Huckabee meet with the parole board on behalf of the rapist/murderer?
More on the cop killer story
Republicans haven't campaigned on "law and order" for a long time. It's hard to do that when you are the party of Jack Abramoff and trumped-up wars. But I can see where, if one is safely ensconced in wingnut talk television, that it might be preferable to having to explain to those people who in 1988 responded to the Willie Horton ads just why TWO people you released from prison went on to commit more heinous crimes.

The convergence of new and old media has some problems. Perhaps mixing a live "Tweet" and a static billboard is a bad idea?

Tiny magnetic discs just a millionth of a metre in diameter could be used to used to kill cancer cells, according to a study published on Sunday.

Laboratory tests found the so-called "nanodiscs", around 60 billionths of a metre thick, could be used to disrupt the membranes of cancer cells, causing them to self-destruct.

The discs are made from an iron-nickel alloy, which move when subjected to a magnetic field, damaging the cancer cells, the report published in Nature Materials said
Not news:
Donald Rumsfeld blamed for failing to kill cornered Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden was cornered and within reach of US troops in the Afghanistan mountains of Tora Bora in late 2001 when America's military leaders made the costly decision not to attack the terror leader with the massive force at their disposal, according to a US Senate report: 
The Family Behind Gay Genocide
Can we call them Nazis now?

The politically connected conservative religious group in Washington, DC, known as "The Family" made infamous in the United States recently by the sex scandal of one of its members, Senator Ensign, seemed creepy but also essentially harmless. Sort of a Religious Right version of The Addams Family. Good for a laugh, even if that laugh was a nervous one.

Well, today, I'm no longer willing to consider The Family, it's members and its agenda as quite so harmless, because it appears to be the driving force behind laws meant to execute homosexuals in Uganda:

Pie charts usually add up to 100, unless they're Fox pie charts.
Oh the fiscal hypocrisy!
WASHINGTON - A day before he is scheduled to announce a new strategy in Afghanistan, President Obama is under increasing pressure to explain how his administration intends to pay the rising costs of military operations in Afghanistan, which average about $3.6 billion per month.

Both Republicans and Democrats pressed the issue yesterday, previewing the political minefield that Obama will face when he addresses the nation from West Point tomorrow. Key Republicans said they intend to support him on his expected plan to send more troops, but called on him to curb domestic spending on items they oppose.
You didn't see any of those "key Republicans" uttering a peep between 2000 and 2009 about the cost of the wars or fretting about how to pay for either the wars or the costs of caring for wounded veterans for the next 90 years. Nope, they were silent as church mice as George W. Bush became the first president to wholly fund two wars on the national credit cards. No special war taxes or excise taxes or even war bond drives. No calls to conserve resources, none of that "share the cost" shit from ol' Chimpy, it was "go shopping and have a good time, America, for the end of Days is coming anyway, so who cares about that long-term deficit shit."

But now, oh, see the GOP wail about the cost and how "it must be paid for" by cutting social services in the middle of a severe recession. The health care debate is not going to get put aside, as Sen. Lugar wants. Putting aside the health care debate means killing it, and that is what the Senators from the Health Insurance Industry party of Hoover want to do. 

Much to their credit, the NYTimes has run an article on the social safety net, specifically foodstamps, and some shocking things are revealed:

  • 1 in 4 kids are being fed on some sort of assistance program — that's 25% for the math challenged.
  • 1 in 8 adults are being fed by some sort of assistance program, and like tracking unemployment, that works out to be 12.5% of all Americans
  • And of course, the interactive map shows that the Red States are the highest percentage of beneficiaries of these programs (ironically while their GOP representatives continue to work to dismantle the programs…)
  • The Heritage Foundation thinks that giving starving people food is incentive for them to remain, unmarried and unproductive and on the dole. Good Xristians, them.
  • And most shocking of all are the comments on the article, which fall pretty consistently into the social Darwinism category of, "let them starve." (At least as of this writing…)

The selfishness and pride of people who would deny help to those who need it, never cease to astonish me. 

The good news is that 

not everyone's doing poorly. In fact, the Masters of the Universe are back to their old free-spending ways, thanks to the massive government bailout funded by our tax dollars:

Conspicuous consumption is making a comeback on Wall Street. But no one wants to admit they're doing it.As traders and investment bankers near the finish line of what looks like a boom year for pay, some are spending money like the financial crisis never happened. From $15,000-a-week Caribbean getaways to art auctions to $200,000 platinum wristwatches that automatically adjust for leap years, signs of the good life are returning.

"What we're seeing in the last four to eight weeks is a fairly substantial uptick" in demand for extravagant purchases as Wall Street employees grow more confident that the market's steep rebound so far in 2009 will soon bring them fat bonuses, says David Arnold, senior vice president at Robb Report, a magazine targeted at the super-wealthy.

Isn't that heartwarming? We can be glad that someone's doing well, even if it's at our expense!



…except that Hunter Thompson was a real writer, who wrote about real issues with real style. You write about hair extensions and tell us you are a bad ass because you once had a rub-on tattoo and your booze-heiress mom once went to a Harley-Davidson biker rally with other Malcolm Forbes marketing department-types.


UK Iraq war inquiry: Blair was told Iraq war was illegal, decided on war in 2002:


4,367 soldiers killed in Iraq, 928 in Afghanistan.


The Pope has a solution to Catholicism's most pressing problems: bring back the Latin Mass.

40 years of the new Mass have brought chaos and banality into the most visible and outward sign of the church. Benedict XVI wants a return to order and meaning. So, it seems, does the next generation of Catholics.

And in other news, an Indonesian government minister is blaming the people's immorality for the disasters that have struck Indonesia.

More order, meaning, morality and obedience. It sounds like the solution to all mankind's problems.



Consumer Reports' latest test of fresh, whole broilers bought in 22 states reveals that two-thirds of birds tested harbored salmonella and/or campylobacter, the leading bacterial causes of food-borne disease. The report reveals that organic "air-chilled" broilers were among the cleanest and that Perdue was found to be the cleanest of the brand-name chicken. Tyson and Foster Farms chickens were found to be the most contaminated. The report is available, free online (note, you have to click through the side bars to the left of the story) and in the January 2010 issue of the magazine.


Even though a Bush-era request to conduct blanket searches of computer files was rebuked by judges, the Obama administration is now pushing to have the decision reversed, according to court documents filed the week of Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Headlines - Sunday

Dear God, she's stupid. The woman on this video is exactly a Canadian comedienne in her conservative character costume. Shes from a show that ABC says is the Canadian equivalent of Jon Stewart. (You'll recall that the previous time the Canadians pretended they were French President Sarkozy phoning Palin during the campaign.)
It was true 13 years ago
Lawrence Krauss wrote an opinion piece 13 years ago that contained this quote:
[T]he increasingly blatant nature of the nonsense uttered with impunity in public discourse is chilling. Our democratic society is imperiled as much by this as any other single threat, regardless of whether the origins of the nonsense are religious fanaticism, simple ignorance or personal gain.
It is even more true today. We have recently finished eight years of a presidency in which the chief executive was a religious fanatic who was a scientific know-nothing and whom took great pride in his ignorance. His political party may very well choose, as its candidate in 2012, a woman who, in comparison to George W. Bush, makes him look like a Carnegie-Mellon physicist.

When it comes to religion, people are entitled to believe whatever the hell they want, no argument. What they are not entitled to is their own facts. They are not entitled to cloak their religious beliefs with the the law. They are not entitled to ram their religious ideology down the throats of others.

When they use their ideology as the basis for policy decisions, then they endanger us all. I have very little doubt that George Bush's famed indifference to the fate of the planet had much to do with his apparent religious belief that the end of days is very near. We wasted almost a decade of effort to mitigate climate change because that ignorant bag of spooge was putrefying in the Oval Office. Thanks to the delays foisted upon us by Bush's ignorance (and Cheney's greed), the effort will be harder and more costly.

Palin seems to be cut of the same cloth, a despoiler of the world because she thinks it will end soon.
Somehow, the anti-science crowd in the US can't recognize that there is a problem. Ignorance is bliss for the teabaggers.
University of Manitoba researcher David Barber said experts around the world believed the ice was recovering because satellite images showed it expanding, but the thick, multiyear frozen sheets have been replaced by thin ice that cannot support the weight of a polar bear.

"Polar bears are being restricted to a small fringe of where this multiyear sea ice is. As we went further and further north, we saw less and less polar bears because this ice wasn't even strong enough for the polar bears to stand on," said Barber, who returned from an expedition to the Beaufort Sea in September.
Put simply, the healthcare reform bill would make the United States more like western Europe. That may mean more security about healthcare, but it also means that future generations of Americans will likely spend more time enjoying leisure.
Yeah, wouldn't want that to happen.
Digby on the banksters:

... The idea that in a country of 300 million people the only ones who are qualified to run these big failed and nearly failed banks and insurance companies are the same people who screwed them up is a sad comment on the state of American capitalism ...

I guess he's just one of those right-wing revolutionaries so beloved by Michele Bachmann and Glenn Beck
Following a pipe bomb explosion Monday night, police and federal law enforcement officials are trying to figure why a Center Avenue man turned his apartment into a bomb factory.

Police said no charges have been filed against Mark Campano, 56. Police found 30 completed pipe bombs in his apartment along with components to make more, plus 17 guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Campano is in an Akron hospital with injuries received when one of the bombs exploded.

As police and federal authorities puzzle over Campano's past and what he planned to do with the bombs, a former neighbor said Campano often railed against the government.

Barbara Vachon lived next door to Campano at the Center Park Place Apartments for several years and said he was a big reason she moved.

"He was always trying to get me and another neighbor to listen to anti-government tapes and watch anti-government videos," said Vachon. "I would never watch them. He was some kind of radical, and he didn't believe in the government."
D R I F T G L A S S sees a great parallel between this incident (and the outrage) vs. years of an univited intruder at Chimpy's Whitehouse and the absolute stoney silence.
At least he wasn't yelling "Allahu Akbar"
For if he was, you'd have heard a lot more about this creep who was building pipe bombs in Ohio.
A former neighbor said Campano had a stream of creepy visitors to his apartment and often railed against the government.
So, let's recap what we've learned: Anti-government Wingnut builds pipe bombs and the national reaction is "meh." But oh, if he had been a Muslim, care to bet how many hours of coverage Fox News would be dedicating to it?
Plunderers of the poor
Remind me, please, why it was so necessary to bail out AIG at 100 cents on the dollar and to allow them to hand out huge-ass bonuses to the crews of those financial pirates. I am not really seeing a reason as to why we shouldn't have instituted a financial version of the Terror:
Middlesboro and Clinton are two tiny, impoverished towns in southern Kentucky with a combined population of 12,000. In 2008, Middlesboro's per capita income was $13,189 a year, only a few hundred dollars more than the average worker earned in third-world Mexico. That is if they were lucky to even get a job. Real unemployment hovers somewhere around 30%, and the state is so broke that half the people eligible for unemployment benefits can't receive them. Life may be tough and most people live in poverty, but that doesn't mean they can't be made a little poorer. That's the lesson locals learned after bailed-out insurance villain AIG took over their water utility and instantly raised rates to squeeze an extra $1 million in profits out of its new customers, forcing some to consider choosing between running water and food.
I know, "capitalism" and "free market" and so on. But there is no such thing as a free market in the supply of water and sewage services. Those utilities around the nation (and, for that matter, our roads) were built by public companies with public money. To now allow a bunch of vampiric pirates, such as AIG, to fatten themselves on the bones of those least able to pay is beyond immoral.
More from the people who think they are the moral authority
LONDON — The Roman Catholic Church and the police in Ireland systematically colluded in covering up decades of child sex abuse by priests in Dublin, according to a scathing report released Thursday.

The cover-ups spanned the tenures of four Dublin archbishops and continued through to the mid-1990s and beyond, even after the church was beginning to admit to its failings and had professed that it was confronting abuse by its priests.

But rather than helping the victims, the church was concerned only with "the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the church, and the preservation of its assets," said the 700-page report, prepared by a group appointed by the Irish government and called the Commission of Investigation Into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.

In a statement, the current archbishop, Diarmuid Martin, acknowledged the "revolting story" of abuses that the report detailed, saying, "No words of apology will ever be sufficient." He added, "The report highlights devastating failings of the past."
"Of the past," my ass. It went on for decades and the reach back may only be ended because the victims of the far past are all dead. It only became "of the past" because the scandal finally broke in this country and it slowly became unfashionable around most of the Western world to continue to cover up for those saintly kiddie rapers.

And yet, these same frock-wearing child-rapers and their high-ranking protectors think that they have the moral authority to pass judgment on people, to deny the validity of their existences and to devalue their relationships?


Some months back when the bad-haired GOP sex-lizard and notorious Appalachian trail hiking, amateur castanet playing Lothario, South Carolina Governor Mark "Kiss Me South of the Border" Sanford was caught coming back from a tryst in Argentina with his Firecracker lady and soulmate, one of the notable props of the GOP was missing: the stand-by-your-man Wife.

Not Jenny Sanford. She was not going to be anyone's victim.

And so today the NYTimes published what is in essence her new brand: she has trademarked her name, she has a website, her book is due out in 2010, she has a press tour planned; she is rumored to be running for office, and of course, she has endorsed a GOP candidate to replace her skeeze of a husband, who is now battling ethics charges and a possible impeachment.

Mrs. Sanford, we salute you and wish you well on the next leg of your journey, and I hope that other women who have been wronged look to your example of how to bounce back. You are indeed a class act.


Everything about the woman is fake


Therefore, it is proven that her big "bus roadshow" is just a fake. Sarah Palin is in fact being carried around with her family on a luxury plane.

Also, on Wednesday, Sarah Palin excitedly announced on Twitter that she was going to be running a 5K Turkey Trot charity race in Washington state on Thanksgiving day. Large crowds of people turned out to catch Palin at the race, hoping to get the chance to meet the former Alaska governor. Palin, however, quit the race early to avoid many of her fans:

Palin had announced on Twitter that she would be running the 5k race organized by the Benton-Franklin Chapter of the Red Cross.

She didn't finish the race, opting to leave the course early to avoid more crowds at the end. About 40 minutes into the run, word started trickling out to people gathered at the finish line that she was gone.

Wonkette also points out that Palin said she wasn't going to be making a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving because it was "too much work."

Todd Palin says he's quit having sex with his wife. "I was always in it for the long run, but she started quitting way before we reached the finish line."


Glenn Beck 

In recent days, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has indicated that she may be open to a conservative presidential dream ticket in 2012: Palin-Beck (or Beck-Palin). "I can envision a couple of different combinations, if ever I were to be in a position to really even seriously consider running for anything in the future, and I'm not there yet," Palin told Newsmax. "But Glenn Beck I have great respect for. He's a hoot." Fox and Friends plugged the idea yesterday morning and asked Palin whether she would run with Beck. She kept the door open, saying, "I don't know. We'll see, we'll see."

But just a few hours later on his radio show, Beck shot down the idea, saying he was "absolutely" ruling out a Palin-Beck ticket. He explained that if he had the number two job, Palin would always be "yapping" like they were in "the kitchen":

BECK: I don't think things are hoots. I don't. I don't think it's a hoot. I would never use the word hoot, and I respectfully ask that every time my name is brought up she would stop using the word "hoot." [...]

No, no I'm just saying — Beck-Palin, I'll consider. But Palin-Beck — can you imagine, can you imagine what an administration with the two of us would be like? What? Come on! She'd be yapping or something, and I'd say, "I'm sorry, why am I hearing your voice? I'm not in the kitchen."


Dubai is about to default on 60-odd billion dollars in debt, whoops. Asian and European markets are collapsing, and the U.S. markets might be doing the same thing today. So much for "Do Buy." Bloomberg 


conspiracy theorist

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Headlines - Sunday

I'm gone for a week. Have a great Thanksgiving!
Shouldn't the owner (the US government) do something about this?
For Citibank credit card holders, there is one way to escape the bank's rate hikes currently under way: Meet a monthly spending requirement.

Those who meet the spending minimum — in some cases $750 a month — will be able to get a rebate on their total financing charges for that month. The rebate could cover some or all of the interest rate hike. Customers also need to make payments on time to qualify for the rebate
The Christian Taliban issue their manifesto
Yes, the evangelicals and the Catholics have decided to put aside their differences in order to form a better union to persecute their common enemy: gays, women who have sex, and those who don't want Christianity shoved in their faces at every turn. And they have issued their manifesto for taking over this land from the heathen who they feel have usurped its rightful role as Jesustan.

Tristero has more. I'm too revolted to even comment.
Senate votes to allow itself to discuss health care for several more months!
First in a series of inevitable victories, or the dems' last hurrah? "On a perfectly partisan, 60-39 vote, the Senate agreed last night to debate and amend a far-reaching health care bill. That debate will get started in earnest after Congress returns from next week's Thanksgiving recess. Democrats and Republicans expect to offer hundreds of amendments (each of which will be held to a 60 vote threshold) and debate for several weeks before holding yet another procedural supermajority vote--to end debate. If that gets 60 votes, then there will be an up-or-down vote on passage of the bill. If the bill passes it will likely undergo yet more changes in conference with House negotiators. The "conference report" that emerges from that process can't be amended, but can be filibustered in the Senate, so will likely require 60 votes for passage. Only after both chambers have passed the conference report can the bill be sent to President Obama for a signature."
Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mary Landrieu finally called their own bluff and announced at the last minute that they would, controversially, vote to allow the Senate to debate a piece of legislation it has spent most of this year crafting, to help provide affordable medical care to people. What heroes. Their procedural votes for their own party's major bill cost the nation hundreds of millions of dollars in pork handouts. That's how Serious About The Deficits they are.

It sure will be funny when they strip out the public option and Republicans still call this a "government takeover of health care" and Blanche Lincoln still loses and everyone still dies:

"Let me be perfectly clear," Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) said on the floor of the Senate. "I am opposed to a new government administered health care plan as a part of comprehensive health insurance reform, and I will not vote in favor of the proposal that has been introduced by Leader Reid as it is written…. I've already alerted the Leader and I'm promising my colleagues that I'm prepared to vote against moving to the next stage of consideration as long as a government-run public option is included."

Maybe they can get that Cao guy to vote for it again, in the Senate.


A proposed government-run health insurance program, among the most divisive issues in the health care debate, would cover less than 1.5% of the population, new estimates show.


The latest from the 20-percenters.

Anyone who believes that this woman [Palin] could not perform the duties of President adequately must have some kind of mental illness, which is likely liberalism.
Turns out there's a whole lotta crazy liburls in this country.
Fewer than three in 10 Americans think Sarah Palin's qualified to be president, according to a new national poll - the least of any of the five potential candidates included in the survey.
They make this so easy.


The KKK gathered at Ole Miss today to protest the University chancellor's decision to remove "From Dixie with Love" from the school band's song list. The song had drawn controversy because some fans chanted "the South will rise again" when it was played at Ole Miss football games.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Headlines - Saturday

h/t Laura: Michele Bachmann - Crazy Like A Fox
Matt Yglesias claims "Tea Party: The Documentary Film" isn't a parody.
h/t Biggi - Please go here and click on the purple box 'fund food for animals for free'. This  doesn't cost you a thing, takes seconds, and provides abandoned/neglected animals with food:

Rage Grows In America
Racism, Conspiracy Theories Fuel Anti-Government Fervor Link

Rumors about gun confiscations.  Angry protests about the government's tax policies, replete with Nazi comparisons. A resurgent militia movement.  Rage at the election of a president deemed to be illegitimate and threatening. Distrust and anger toward the government fueled by paranoia and conspiracy theories.

They are among the crosscurrents of anger and hostility that have swept certain sectors of the country since Obama took office nearly a year ago.  And they are contributing to "a toxic atmosphere of rage in America," according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which today issued a report looking at the various sources that have given rise to a climate of anti-government fervor in the United States.

Since Obama became president we have seen a tremendous amount of anger and hostility," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  "There is a toxic atmosphere of rage in America being witnessed at many levels, and it raises fundamental questions for our society." 

The Secret Service says threats to Obama are up 400% over Der Monkey Fuhrer.

I wish the White House would throw some water on this fire.
What's to be gained by letting it grow bigger and hotter? 


KBR Loses $3M in Rape case


A woman who claimed she was raped in 2005 while working in Iraq for Cheney's Halliburton has been awarded
nearly $3 million by an arbitrator to settle her case.

Tracy Barker sued Halliburton in May 2007, claiming she was sexually attacked by a State Department employee
while working as a civilian contractor in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

A federal judge in Bush-friendly Houston had dismissed Barker's lawsuit in January 2008, ruling she had to abide by
an employment agreement she signed that made drugged-rape legal as a form of entertainment for Halliburton employees.

Court records filed this week show Barker was awarded a judgment of $2.93 million to settle her arbitration claim against KBR. 

But this is hardly a deterrent for Halliburton to stop their rapes.
Remember, they got secret, off-the-books, no-bid, wartime government contracts for eight years.

This is like fining Charlie Sheen $2 for drunk driving.


Terrifying Homeless Camp Filled With Palin Drones:



Sarah Palin quits signing books?

And her fans are angry? Why, I'm SHOCKED!

Angry crowd shouts at Sarah Palin at her book signing in Noblesville, Indiana on November 19, 2009 after Palin quits and refuses to sign books for around 300 families that spent about 3+ hours getting wristband and another 3+ hours waiting in line to get the Palin book signed. At Borders bookstore it was announced that 1,000 individuals would be given wristbands and could get two books signed each. By the time Sarah Palin quit, there were still about 300 individuals and there families who did not get even one book signed.

The economy must really be in the crapper if 1,000 people waited 6 hours to have an Alaskan grifter sign a $9 book.


A Roadblock to Reform Gets Torn Down:


Nathalie Blanchard seems to have had one "friend" too many on her Facebook page. The Quebec woman is on long-term sick leave but posted pictures of herself on the beach and enjoying a show with the Chippendales. One of the viewers was the insurance company paying for her total disability due to depression from her job at IBM.

Story here.


Donald Giles would appear to have the trifecta of mental incompetence arguments against execution. He is a paranoid schizophrenic with an IQ of 61 and a history of suicide attempts and depression. However, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Martin McDonald has ruled that Giles, 41, may be put to death if the jury so rules in his trial for the 2003 murder and robbery of Charles Goodlett.

Story here.


Andrew Sprung sums up the findings of a new poll:

An Oxfam poll of 704 randomly selected Afghans reveals untold suffering-- 1 in 5 say they've been tortured, three quarters have been forced to leave their homes at some point in the endless civil war, 43% have had property destroyed. The survey also has what would seem to be some moderately encouraging findings regarding the counterinsurgency: 70% see unemployment and poverty as a key driver of civil war; 48% blame the government's weakness and corruption; 36% point to the Taliban; 25% to interference by neighboring countries; just 18% to the presence of international forces; another 18% to d al Qaeda-- and another 17% to the lack of support from the international community. After 30 years of civil war, only 3% named the current conflict as the most harmful period (though the report cautions that areas where the current fighting is worst are underrepresented).


Mental health break:


Clearly the answer is more free market health care

CIGNA denies hearing implant to child who will never be able to hear if she doesn't get it within the next few months.

Isn't it wonderful that in the right wing's wonderful free market world this child doesn't have to worry about the evil government getting between her doctors and her health care? And the magical Free Market Fairy smiles because that's $20,000 higher bonus that CIGNA's CEO can get next year. Why do you want to make the Free Market Fairy frown by, well, saying that this girl should be receiving the health care that her parents paid insurance money for? Heresy!

So why are we bothering with protecting these bastards, again?


Paid in Full

Mary Landrieu, on the big advantages of bribery "leverage":

In recent days, Landrieu has sounded more and more open to voting for Reid's measure. She told reporters earlier in the week that she was leaning against the vote, but shifted to neutral on Thursday and earlier Friday. By Friday night, with a stack of health care briefing papers under her arm, Landrieu said was leaning in favor of supporting the procedural motion.

She acknowledged that she had fought for changes to the bill to help people in her state. Reid included an extra $100 million in Medicaid funding for states hit by Hurricane Katrina, which includes Louisiana.

"I'm using as much leverage as I have for the issues that I think are important not just to Louisiana but to broad constituencies throughout this country… In some ways, you can't fix anything unless you keep the debate moving forward but in the other ways, you've got to use the leverage when you've got it to get some things that are important," Landrieu said.

At what point does this shit become indictable under RICO statutes? 


There's a new birther billboard in Wheat Ridge, Co., off I-70. It's got a picture of President Obama wearing a turban, asking, "President or Jihad?" and exhorting, "Wake up America! Remember Fort Hood":

Obama Billboard

Not to be outdone, the Lafayette County Republican Central Committee in Missouri has one too: 

Missouri GOP Billboard

This billboard replaces one that warned that the socialist "Obama-Nation" is "coming for you." 


Friday, November 20, 2009

Headlines - Friday

Oppose Obama's big agricultural nominee - he is a former pesticide lobbyist and is the vice-president of science and regulatory affairs at CropLife America, formerly known as the National Agricultural Chemicals Association. This industry trade group represents Monsanto, DuPont, and other companies that "produce, sell and distribute virtually all the crop protection and biotechnology products used by American farmers" -- or in simpler words, they promote toxic pesticides.

Here's a sampling of what Siddiqui and CropLife America have been up to:

- weakening the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act;
- lobbying to allow pesticides to be tested on children;
- fighting to keep ozone-depleting chemicals and persistent pollutants like DDT in use;
- resisting the labeling of genetically-modified foods;
- targeting Michelle Obama for planting an organic White House garden; and
- promoting toxic-sludge grown, genetically modified, and irradiated food as "organic."

Send a message to your representatives here:

John Gerspach, CFO of Citigroup, doesn't perform well when he only makes $400,000 per year in base salary. So, his base salary has just been raised to $500,000. 
large hadron collider
Wingnut pork is bad for your health

So much for
evidence based medicine:

While the Senate toned down the House's language on abortion restrictions, it may have ratcheted things up with another controversial reproductive-health issue: abstinence-only education. Sec. 2954 of the Senate health-reform bill, released Wednesday evening, restores funding for abstinence education.
It doesn't matter if it works or not. There are social conservatives out there depending on taxpayers money to sell medical voodoo for profit. And anyway, this is just one small provision among many that have been put in to the health care reform bill to push some dollars toward completely useless procedures that religious zealots and forced pregnancy entrepreneurs insist upon.

But it could have been worse. As far as I can tell the
faith healing provision isn't in the Senate bill. Since Hatch was the one insisting on both abstinence only education and prayer be covered as a health expense, maybe they got him to drop one of them.
"This Year in Jerusalem" - Israel's announcement that it will be expanding settlements in Jerusalem can only be viewed as a huge middle finger by the Netanyahu government to Barack Obama.  It seems to me that the only proper response by the U.S. would be a sharp slap back -- say the suspension of all foreign aid and all military cooperation until the decision is reversed.  I'm dead serious about this. This kind of activity by the Israelis is a huge detriment to the U.S. -- the perception that we not only acquiesce in these acts, but help underwrite them is more dangerous to American interests than just about anything I can imagine. 
george w. bush
4,363 soldiers killed in Iraq; 922 in Afghanistan.
In February of this year, Utah state Sen. Chris "This baby is black. . . . It's a dark, ugly thing" Buttars was booted from a Senate judiciary committee after he made incendiary anti-gay comments that were caught by the crew filming 8: The Mormon Proposition. Today he says he has nothing against gay people and actually supports Salt Lake City's recent move to add LGBT protections. But just so you know, he still doesn't want want you stuffing your dirty homo anythings down his throat.
An acorn with the nut still attached.

More Franken-food on the way

Sorry, but no thanks. If the question is really about feeding more people, vegetarian is a much better option. Somehow this sounds like something the meat industry is more interested in than anyone else. I don't care how much marketing you throw at it, there's little to like about this.

Winston Churchill once predicted that it would be possible to grow chicken breasts and wings more efficiently without having to keep an actual chicken. And in fact scientists have since figured out how to grow tiny nuggets of lab meat and say it will one day be possible to produce steaks in vats, sans any livestock.

Pork chops or burgers cultivated in labs could eliminate contamination problems that regularly generate headlines these days, as well as address environmental concerns that come with industrial livestock farms.


I wonder why anyone would think the Federal government and the medical profession were gunning for only WOMEN'S health care. After all, they're just planning to pass health care "reform" that doesn't allow coverage of abortion, they don't think breast cancer screening is necessary unless you are "at high risk" (note to the geniuses who thought up that one: for years they've been telling us that just being a woman puts you at high risk), and now they don't think cervical cancer screening is all tjay and a bag of chips either:

Cutting back on mammograms and pap smears, but Viagra is covered under insurance and Medicare.
No shit, really? Economic edition
The economy and the stock market may be recovering from their swoon, but more homeowners than ever are having trouble making their monthly mortgage payments, according to figures released Thursday.
No shit. Unemployment is high and if you don't have a job, it's pretty hard to make a mortgage payment.

So we have gone from the foreclosures that were part of the Great Mortgage Swindle, as perpetrated by Countrywide and Goldman Sachs (among others) and now we're into the foreclosures that are happening because millions of people have lost their jobs because of the financial collapse that those fraudsters on Wall Street perpetrated.

Make no mistake about it, it was fraud. They knew what they were doing. They knew that the "securities" they were selling had no core value, their sole worth was that some sucker tomorrow would pay more for them than they sold for today. They had every reason to know that the mortgage companies were creating a huge bubble by deliberately giving mortgages to people who couldn't pay them, which was all done on the sheer speculation that the housing market would go up forever. I say "deliberately", because when the banks were making loans without requiring any proof of ability to pay or any asset verification, then the whole thing was set up to be gamed. It was fraud, a real estate backed Ponzi scheme.

The people who put those deals together made a shitload of cash. Everyone else, even people who had no part in any of it, got screwed. That is why the "official" unemployment rate is 10.2% and the real unemployment rate may even be twice as high.

No shit.
There's always money for war
Eisenhower on the military industrial complex:
Gene Lyons in Salon on the myriad forces that insist we can't afford health care, but just as strongly assure us that $6.73 trillion for the war in Afghanistan is perfectly doable. (That's $1 million per soldier, per year.) Go read the whole thing:

For all its brutality, the Taliban rebellion is mainly a localized, nationalist effort to expel foreigners — one reason Gen. McChrystal hopes to be able to pacify them, as his mentor Gen. David Petraeus bought off Iraqi insurgents. With winter approaching, Taliban fighters will soon be forced into semi-hibernation. Any U.S. buildup will take at least a year to complete.

The big rush, in other words, has less to do with military necessity than with Washington political theater: specifically, the war lobby's ability to force President Obama's hand. Actually, "war industry" might be more apt. It's both more concise than the "military-industrial complex" President Eisenhower warned against and it takes into account the "privatization" of military jobs once done by soldiers — such as driving supply convoys (Halliburton), guarding embassies and other U.S. facilities (Blackwater) and training Afghan soldiers (DynCorp International).

[...] Following upon David Barstow's 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times exposé about blatant conflicts of interest among Pentagon-coached retired generals posing as disinterested "military analysts" on every TV news network you can think of, Americans can no longer afford to be blasé about the war industry.

They're selling us endless war the way they sell cellphones and Viagra.

The question is: How much is President Obama buying?

Foolproof plans
Ha ha, the Army thinks it can stop Scarah Palin from giving an inappropriate speech

Hmm: "RALEIGH, N.C. — The U.S. Army plans to prevent media from covering Sarah Palin's appearance at Fort Bragg, fearing the event will turn into political grandstanding against President Barack Obama, officials said Thursday." This will have two effects: it (a) won't prevent the media from covering Sarah Palin's appearance at Fort Bragg and (b) won't prevent the event from turning into political grandstanding against President Barack Obama. But there aren't really any good options here for Army officials, because you know that Sarah Palin! She always goes rogue, always. She's a "fresh breath of air," as they say. [AP]


Hoochiemama! Levi Johnston shan't be accepting the generous Turkey Day invitation from Sarah Palin, who selflessly offered her home to Levi on national teevee! "You could tell by her laugh she was full of it," explained Levi.


Virginia Foxx Passed Civil Rights All By Herself, Essentially, In The '60s

Unfortunate Rep. Virginia Foxx, who throws words like "tarbaby" around in casual discourse, for some reason said this about the Democrats today: "Just as we were the people who passed the civil rights bills back in the '60s without very much help from our colleagues across the aisle. They love to engage in revisionist history."

Well, we think Lyndon Johnson's signature helped a bit. Many Republicans did vote for the civil rights bills, though! They were rewarded by being voted out, en masse, by the Virginia Foxxes of the world.  

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Headlines - Thursday

Last night Rachel Maddow covered the spreading wingnut meme currently being sold on mousepads, bumper stickers, and even teddy bears. The meme? A recitation of Psalm 109: "Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children become fatherless; and his wife become a widow." Frank Schaeffer, a one-time evangelical leader, tells Maddow that this latest Bible-quoting campaign is nothing short of "trawling for assassins."
"X number of people died today. I hope that whatever you had to say was more important." - Greg Koger on the GOP's upcoming health care filibuster Link 

If the GOP had their way...

.... Its agenda, if fully implemented, would prove catastrophic. Here's what an unfettered Republican Party would do "for" America: 


"There is no reason for an American president to bow to anyone.  Our friends and allies don't expect it, and our enemies see it as a sign of weakness."  - Cheney the Dick Link 

Odd, Cheney had no problem with Bush blowing the Saudi king.



Red states operate on blue states' dime

Beggar's cupLet's get right to the point. The five poorest states in the nation are Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Kentucky. The five wealthiest states are Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland. Those are the numbers from the US Census and they tell us a lot about the partisan divide in America. Of the five pooorest states in the union, five are Red States that went for McCain in 2008. On the other hand, of the five wealthiest states, all five voted for Obama. In other words, the anti-tax, screw-the-poor, federal-government-isn't-the-answer crowd comes mainly from the poorest states and are, therefore, among the most lightly taxed. They're the ones who seem mostly likely to benefit from federal government money. In terms of federal taxes spent in their states, Mississippi gets 202% of every dollar they pay, West Virginia get 176%, Arkansas gets 141%, South Carolina gets 135%, and Kentucky gets 151%. The only state in the five wealthiest that receives more than they pay out is Maryland, at 130%. People marching around in angry little circles with signs showing President Obama with a Hitler moustache haven't been paying their fair share. Kind of makes their concerns about the deficit a little hard to take, doesn't it?
Shocking report shows that buttery food and soda is fattening

According to the Center for Science in the Nanny State, everybody should stop eating movie popcorn immediately.
CBS reports on a study by the Center for Science and Public Interest that analyzed nutritional makeup of movie popcorn; the results are eye-opening. Consuming a medium size popcorn and soda is the equivalent of eating three Quarter Pounders from McDonald's, along with 12 pats of butter. The concessions from Regal, the country's biggest movie chain, have 1,160 calories and three days worth - 60 grams - of fat. Regal said that the medium popcorn had 720 calories and the large had 960, but CSPI's tests found those numbers to be understated. A small popcorn at Regal had 670 calories - the same as a Pizza Hut Personal Pepperoni Pan Pizza. Even if you share a small popcorn - it's still about a day's worth of saturated fat per person, according to CSPI.


Today in deadly products...

The Go Office Wheel Mate Steering Wheel Desk is flat for writing and perfect for lunch or a snack. This Go Office Wheel Mate Steering Wheel Desk stores neatly in your car when used with the larger Auto Exec Laptop Car Desk. For safety reasons, never use this product while driving. Easily convert your car into your personal automobile office with the Wheel Mate car desk by MobileOffice.

The customer reviews are on Amazon are a riot.
-Wow is this thing great! I use it as a "mini-bar" when the friends and I go out to the bars. I can quickly fix multiple shots of tequila for myself and the friends as we drive from one bar to the next. We also discovered that if you place a pillow on top of it and turn on the cruise control you can catch quick naps on the interstate. If you swerve to the left or right the rumble strips on the road wake you up in plenty of time before you get into trouble. I can now take longer trips without being tired!
Who will they blame now?
The Catholic church spent $2M on a study to find out if gay men are largely the cause of the church's now decades-long molestation scandal. They aren't. 
Fact: the church has paid more than $2.3B in almost 14,000 molestation-related settlements. Good thing they're tax exempt.
TPM - End of abortion coverage for ALL women

In case you missed it, definitely take a moment to read our report on a new study from George Washington University School of Public Health which explains why the Stupak Amendment will eventually eliminate abortion coverage for all women, not just those purchasing subsidized insurance through one of the new insurance exchanges. A must read.

Oops, they did it again!

Fox caught splicing in 2008 campaign footage to make Sarah Palin book tour crowd look enormous.


The great American swindle continues: Citigroup increases executive salaries. 
I have no faith that this country won't elect Sarah Palin...but Palin/Glenn Beck? Are we THAT meshuggeh?
With even the most optimistic estimates having the employment picture not even BEGIN to improve until 2011, and Tim Geithner's buddies giving themselves huge bonuses instead of doing things like lending money in the aftermath of their huge taxpayer bailout, and Barack Obama's continued tossing under the bus of everyone who could otherwise be relied on to go to the mat for him, it's hard to imagine that the 2012 race won't be a real dogfight. The question is, just how angry (or racist) are people going to be, and are they willing to destroy the country in a stupid attempt to save it?

The signs are already there that the men who sit in the executive suites behind the so-called liberal media long for a Republican restoration, and if they can get a president about whom they can fantasize in a French maid costume, or dressed in dom/sub gear, or if they are like David Vitter, diapering them, well, so much the better. That every time she opens her mouth, incoherent babble comes out is immaterial. After all, we had a babbling idiot in the White House for eight years and survived, though whether we have survived or are just enduring the death rattle of a once-great nation remains to be seen.

Does anyone actually believe that if Sarah Palin looked like Barbara Mikulski, there would be this kind of fascination with her? Sure, her palpable self-delusion and ability to baldface lie without even flinching has a perverse kind of fascination. But I don't think it's her narcissistic, delusional megalomania or her willful ignorance that people find so attractive. Sure, projecting confidence can make people think you know something even when you're a blithering moron. But it's clear that Sarah Palin is all about the looks. The question is just how far those looks will carry her, and whether anger at what threatens to appear to be the utter failure of Barack Obama to clean up an economic mess that has taken nearly thirty years to make in a few short years is enough to generate a protest vote of that magnitude.
Remember when the Right was sooo upset that the DHS might be evaluating and monitoring far-Wingnuts as security threats? They were completely spazed out at the idea that the DBP would consider as potential threats the same folks as those who have bombed abortion clinics, shot at minorities and blew up the Murrah Building.

But when it comes to other people, well,
they want to "profile away."

Don't you just love the smell of blatant hypocrisy in the morning?
Pickles reveals details about Chimpy's preznintial lieberry 

The roof above Freedom Hall, which is a gathering point in the center of the building, will be shaped like a lantern and will be lit up at night. It will be emblematic of the Bush presidency.

Yes, the McStagger presidency could accurately be described as "lit up at night," but I think it could also be described as lit. Eh, Pickles?


Republican senators on Wednesday blocked an effort to debate a bill that would prevent credit card companies from raising interest rates ahead of new regulations coming into force next year.


President Obama has nominated Dana Peroxide, President Bush's former press secretary, to a seat on the Broadcasting Board of Governors.


1 million: Number of people who "could lose unemployment benefits in January if Congress doesn't extend federal aid," according to a new report by the National Employment Law Project. Around 9 million people currently rely on jobless benefits, with unemployment at a 26-year high of 10.2 percent.

Nothing for the self employed.


In their rush to stop teh gay from marrying, they may have outlawed all marriages in Texas.


It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times?!?

John Ziegler says Sarah Palin's book is "by far the best" book evar, angering fans of Walter the Farting Dog. Actual quote:

"For many reasons, this is by far the best book and greatest literary achievement by a political figure in my lifetime."
Jeebus. Let's get some reviews from
  • From out of all the misstatements, narcissism, spin and distortions that make this biography so embarrassing to read, one indisputable fact emerges: It's pretty clear ex-governor Palin would still be a low-profile politician in the frozen north, but for candidate McCain and his staff. Those would be the same folks she attacks so fiercely in this biography.

  • This "memoir," co-written with Lynn Vincent, is one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. "Going Rogue" appears to be addressing a checklist of grievances that Palin has been nursing just about all her life. Palin's emotional and intellectual development seems to have stalled out somewhere around tenth grade.

  • I have to say that this book really scares me. If 40-odd percent of Americans believe that she is right to be number two in office the world has big problems.

  • As a serious read about politics in America, this book best serves as toilet paper or kindling. As a hysterically funny look at the rantings of a pathological narcissist and why the Lunatic Wing of the far right must never, ever be allowed to hold power or even reproduce, it's the best political satire since Al Franken or Molly Ivens.

  • The sheer level of disrespect Going Rogue has for its readership is astounding. It, like the author, assumes that Americans are idiots, too dumb to see through the lies and spin.

  • So what if Sarah Palin didn't write this book? Even God used earthly scribes to write the Bible.
  • … hurrrr derp derp derp …

    Bonus: the book is full of so many fabrications and delusions that
    Andrew Sullivan's blog has gone silent in order to sort through the mess.