Thursday, December 31, 2009

Headlines - Thursday


In his detached way, Spock was letting us know that our besieged starship was not speeding into a safer new future, and that we still have to be scared.

Heck of a job, Barry.

There are scarier things in life, Maureen (like how long newspapers will stay in business so you can write this stuff.)

h/t Donna: don't forget to check out the blue moon tonight!
Amid Dark Times, Meet the Most Inspiring People of 2009
Newsman Wes Nisker said if you don't like the news, make your own. These people did:
Everything I Need to Know About Life I Learned from Republicans in the Third Quarter of 2009
Like, for instance:
The president is a Kenyan racist who hates white people and white culture.
The first Hispanic American to become a Supreme Court Justice is a "reverse-racist."
It's okay to call the president a liar as he's saying something true while addressing a joint session of Congress.
Making health care more accessible and affordable is a Nazi policy.
Death panels led by Barney Frank will convene in the middle of the night to decide if Grandma lives or dies.
Government-run healthcare programs are evil...and don't you dare put the government in charge of my Medicare!
The attacks of 9/11 didn't happen on Bush and Cheney's watch.
Norm Coleman's senate seat was stolen by Al Franken and John McCain's presidency was stolen by ACORN.
Whoever shouts the loudest and angriest at a town hall meeting is a better American than people who don't.
The biggest environmental threat to the planet is global cooling.
These and many other valuable life lessons were doled out freely by conservatives last summer and, having taken them to heart, I feel like I've earned an honorary Ph. Duh.
As Olbermann said last night: "With the economic crisis, two wars and healthcare reform all looming, I knew we would not want for topics. But never even in my wildest dreams did I think we would hear the cacophony of the crazy which conservatives unleashed in 2009." And it all came to a head in the third quarter---the Summer of the Loon.
A suicide bomber managed to sneak onto a NATO military base in Khost Province today and managed to detonate in the base's gym, killing at least eight Americans, all of them identified as civilians by the US military.
According to NATO, a US soldier was slain today on a base in the Baghdis Province. An Afghan soldier was said to have shot him, along with two Italians who were only lightly wounded in the incident.
White House responds to Cheney's criticism of president Obama.
George W. Bush Let Terrorists Behind Christmas Bombing Out Of Gitmo
Brian Ross of ABC News reports that two of the four men behind the plot to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day were actually prisoners of the United States and that, under the leadership of President George W. Bush, were released into a Saudi art rehabilitation program.
According to Defense Department records, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi (now known as Muhamad al-Awfi) and Said Ali Shari were released from detention at Guantanamo Bay in 2007 despite allegations of material support for military operations in Afghanistan. Naturally, they were never tried on those charges and al-Awfi reportedly was refused access to his own passport to refute allegations made against him. Shari was reportedly killed in an airstrike on Christmas Eve, and is suspected in the murder of 6 Christian missionaries in Yemen.
Both the families of al-Awfi and Shari attribute their radicalization to their years in detention at Guantanamo Bay.
Hard to believe Bush would turn someone loose when they could still be tortured. Or that they might want revenge.
"Newt Gingrich, despite not having held any position in government for over a decade, was the most frequent guest on "Meet the Press" in 2009 of any political figure in the United States. Literally...  Keep in mind, "Meet the Press" didn't have the actual Speaker of the House on at all this year." Steven Benen Link  
That's because David Gregory and whore NBC News only dance with their partners.
Bait & switch: Until early 2009, Silk brand soy milk was made using organic soybeans. But earlier this year, Dean Foods (owner of the Silk brand) quietly switched to conventional soybeans, which are often grown with pesticides. But they kept the same UPC barcodes on their products, and they kept the product label virtually the same, only replacing the word "organic" with "natural" in a way that was barely noticeable. They also kept the price the same, charging consumers "organic" prices for a product that was now suddenly made with conventionally-grown soybeans.
Cool: here's a photo of an Inuit hunter petting a young bowhead whale that has surfaced in a breathing hole he cut for it. At another time of year he would be hunting her.
American Patriots vs. America
Minute manThey call it "ObamaCare" and it's the worst thing ever. Ask nearly any Republican or conservative and they'll tell you it's Communism, Socialism, and/or Fascism. It will destroy our economy, kill seniors, and introduce Marxism into our government. Of course, we can look at other countries that have created a healthcare system and see none of this is true. But the right has always worked from the assumption that Americans are pathetic foul-ups who can't do anything other than war right. This is something that's always bothered me about them; the people who constantly talk about American Exceptionalism seem to believe the term means "exceptionally stupid and incompetent." What nearly ever other industrialized nation has accomplished, we'll never be able to do. It's ironic and hypocritical of the same people who throw around the term "anti-Americanism" to argue that we're a nation of hopeless jerks who can barely tie our own shoes. Worse, this belief in the unique incompetence of Americans is a cornerstone of their political ideology -- the founders, who they otherwise revere, put together a useless government that couldn't organize a one horse funeral. They seem to love America as a concept, but as an actual reality, well... not so much. The government the founders created is the enemy for these so-called "patriots." Modern American conservatism is more anarchic than democratic.
Tavern On The Green Closing
Central Park's Tavern On The Green, the nation's highest grossing and arguably most famous restaurant, will close tomorrow after 75 years in business.
The former sheepfold at the edge of Central Park, now ringed by twinkling lights and fake topiary animals, is preparing for New Year's Eve, when it will serve its last meal. Just three years ago, it was plating more than 700,000 meals annually, bringing in more than $38 million. But that astronomical sum wasn't enough to keep the landmark restaurant out of bankruptcy court. Its $8 million debt is to be covered at an auction of Baccarat and Waterford chandeliers, Tiffany stained glass, a mural depicting Central Park and other over-the-top decor that has bewitched visitors for decades.

Micheal Steele is laughing so hard right now, in a white way.
Conservative radio shock jock Rush Limbaugh was rushed to a Honolulu hospital yesterday with chest pains.
After paramedics arrived and treated him at the Kahala Hotel and Resort, Limbaugh was transferred to Queen's Medical Center where he reportedly arrived in "serious condition." KHON2 reports:

Sources say the 58 year old [Limbaugh] was suffering chest pains before an ambulance arrived at the hotel.

Honolulu's Emergency Services Department confirmed a male fitting Limbaugh's description was taken from the hotel in serious condition.

As an avid golfer Limbaugh travels to Hawaii just about every year and earlier this week was seen in Kona on the Big Island and at the Waialae Country Club on Oahu.

While unfortunate, Limbaugh's hospital visit is rife with irony. The ailing radio show host was sent to the same medical center that a United Press International reporter misidentified in an article published in 2008 as the facility in which President Obama was born. Though the error was corrected to accurately indicate that Obama was born in the Kapi'olani Medical Center, the mistake fueled "birther" conspiracy theories that Limbaugh then dedicated significant airtime to promoting. Since then, Limbaugh has gone as far to state that Hawaii "morphed into Kenya one day in 1961 [the year Obama was born] and reverted back to Hawaii the next day."

Meanwhile, some of Limbaugh's right-wing colleagues have spent the past week slamming Obama for vacationing in Hawaii over the holidays, which "to many Americans seems like a foreign place." Last month, Limbaugh was voted the nation's "most influential conservative voice."


Just sayin' .....



Republican attorneys general in 13 states say congressional leaders must remove Nebraska's political deal from the federal health care reform bill or face legal action, according to a letter provided to The Associated Press Wednesday. Republican attorneys general in 13 states say congressional leaders must remove Nebraska's political deal from the federal health care reform bill or face legal action, according to a letter provided to The Associated Press Wednesday.



Some of the same Republican lawmakers currently criticizing the President for softness on terrorism voted back in July 2007 against legislation that, among other reforms, provided $250 million for airport screening and explosive detection equipment.

The Improving America's Security Act of 2007 was a relatively non-controversial measure that effectively implemented several un-acted-upon recommendations from the 9/11 Commission. Eighty-five Senators voted in favor of the bill's passage. Seven missed the vote (several of whom were on the campaign trail, including Barack Obama, John McCain and Chris Dodd).

Eight Republican Senators, however, voted against passage, including Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Tom Coburn (R-Okl.) Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), James Inhofe (R-Okl.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ari.).


British priest who promoted shoplifting over starvation attacked.


A very interesting read on fighting the increasingly common superbugs. Too many doctors hand out antibiotics and pills like candy and that is a big part of the problem. The pharmaceutical industry may not like it and the doctors who receive too many give-aways from the industry may not be pleased but for those who are serious about health should start figuring out how to address this. If it helps save money for expensive drugs along the way, all the better.


 More than 25,000 Additional White House Visitor Records Posted Online.


James Dao got his hands on a Pentagon report titled, "A Different Kind of War." It's a history of the early years in Afghanistan -- and it paints an ugly picture of failed leadership. We're still enmeshed in that conflict because our political leaders, starting with Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, didn't pay any attention to the needs of the military people in that country:

It's good timing for the release of the report. Republicans -- and Joe Lieberman -- are huffing and puffing about national security today. But, that same crowd screwed up the war in Afghanistan -- against Al Qaeda and its allies -- and we're still paying the price. It's important to remember how inept our leaders were. With this record, how Dick Cheney or any Republican -- or Joe Lieberman -- has any credibility on national security is beyond me.

We're still dealing with the after effects of Bush's complete failure in Afghanistan. We're talking about Yemen now because Bush didn't do the job back then.


Revolutionary 'light emitting wallpaper' could start to replace light bulbs in 2012 - I will assume there'll be a switch so you can turn it off...
For all of those screaming for Janet Napolitano's head
Ask yourself this:

Does the CIA work for her?

Do the people who screen passengers in Lagos or Amsterdam work for her?

Do the people at the Bureau of Consular Affairs, the ones who issue visas, work for her?

The short answer to all of those questions is "no".

So what would you want to fire her for? Shooting off her mouth on ABC's "This Week" last Sunday?

And if so, then wtf is wrong with this country? You didn't see any cabinet officials fired for torturing people or illegally wiretapping Americans or any of the other stupid crap that was done by the last administration. The only guy Bush ever fired were Rumsfeld and Gonzo, who were fired for the sin of screwing up badly enough to cost the GOP control of the Congress three years ago. Even then, Torturer Dick tried to protect Rumsfeld. And Gonzo got some "wingnut welfare" no-show teaching job at the Texas Tech School of Heavy Equipment Repair.

So, if you're a Republican official, commission of war crimes and gross incompetence: Good.

If you're a Democratic official, saying something stupid on television: zOMG!!!!1! Release the Hounds of Hell!!!1!1!!
Harvesting tea baggers
Now hear this: commence operation pants-wetting!
A Chinese admiral has proposed that China negotiate deals for overseas naval bases.

The neocons will be shitting copiously into their britches over this one. We shall see how quickly they can shift gears from crapping their jeans over the Attack of the Underwear Bomber.
Maybe this is why we were trying to blow up the moon earlier this year ...
Russian scientists will soon meet in secret to work on a plan for saving Earth from a possible catastrophic collision with a giant asteroid in 26 years, the head of Russia's space agency said Wednesday.
More of this please
Rep. Eric Massa of New York was on The Ed Show last night, and he showed exactly the amount of respect to the fatassed chickenhawk Cheney that the draft-dodging, hiding-in-an-undisclosed-location coward. That is to say, none.

Unlike Cheney, Massa served this nation and a heroes blood courses through his veins. He doesn't just denounce forcefully. He challenges.



Should you move your money to your community bank?

The big banks on Wall Street, propped up by taxpayer money and government guarantees, have had a record year, making record profits while returning to the highly leveraged activities that brought our economy to the brink of disaster. In a slap in the face to taxpayers, they have also cut back on the money they are lending, even though the need to get credit flowing again was one of the main points used in selling the public the bank bailout. But since April, the Big Four banks -- JP Morgan/Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo -- all of which took billions in taxpayer money, have cut lending to businesses by $100 billion.

Meanwhile, America's Main Street community banks -- the vast majority of which avoided the banquet of greed and corruption that created the toxic economic swamp we are still fighting to get ourselves out of -- are struggling. Many of them have closed down (or been taken over by the FDIC) over the last 12 months. The government policy of protecting the Too Big and Politically Connected to Fail is badly hurting the small banks, which are having a much harder time competing in the financial marketplace. As a result, a system which was already dangerously concentrated at the top has only become more so.



Sometimes Obama looks like a glutton for punishment. Sez here in the LA Times an immigration overhaul will be next on the White House menu.

With the healthcare battle still unfinished, the Obama administration has been laying plans to take up an issue that could prove even more divisive -- a major overhaul of the nation's immigration system.

Senior White House aides privately have assured Latino activists that the president will back legislation next year to provide a path to citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States.

In a recent conference call with proponents, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, political director Patrick Gaspard and others delivered the message that the White House was committed to seeing a substantial immigration bill pass and wanted to make sure allies were prepared for the fight. 

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