Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Headlines - Wednesday June 30

Republicans and Future Problems

Republicans keep working themselves into a lather over the possibility that Medicare and Social Security may be in financial trouble. Social Security is projected to be out of money in 27 years and the GOP is chomping at the bit to try and kill it off now.

But here is the thing: There are a whole gamut of long-term problems facing both this country, if not humanity in general, and for the vast majority of them, the Republicans/conservatives don't give a shit. Let's run down a short list:

Climate change.
Rising sea levels.
Ocean acidification.
Environmental degradation from oil and gas drilling.
Growing scarcity of fresh water.
Deforestation and desertification.
Disappearance of amphibian populations.
Mass extinction of species.
Persistent chemical pollution of the food chain.
Overfishing and the collapse of fish stocks.

For all of them, conservatives either issue a mighty yawn or they, the Chamber of Commerce and the affected industries scream that "the science is not proven", relying on the obstructionism trailblazed by the tobacco industry.

But only when they spy a chance to dismantle the social safety net which keeps old people from starving to death or dying quickly of preventable illnesses, do Republicans rouse themselves to bleat about the future.

Because, when you drill down to the core of conservative beliefs, they want to make this country into a modern feudal state where there are vast amounts of serfs, a tiny professional class (since serfs don't need the services of doctors, lawyers and accountants) and a class of rich oligarchs who run everything.

The real mystery is why so many people who are in the economic classes that are being targeted by the conservatives for extinction reliably vote for them.
Kagan fends off GOP efforts to portray her as a liberal activist. 
How have we allowed 'liberal' to become a dirty word? 
Update: Could Congress pass a law requiring Americans to eat vegetables and fruits three times a day?

– inbred idiot and Senator (redundant?) Coburn, Oklahoma.

US Still Neglecting The Mess They Made In Vietnam
The United Nations has launched a $5 million project to clean up Agent Orange contamination at a former U.S military air base in Vietnam, the world body said Tuesday.
Matt Taibbi: Lara Logan, You Suck
Monday night on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow laid out a rather startling set of numbers: In the past three years, BP has netted $58.3 billion in profit, yet has spent only $29 million (0.05% of the profit) on safer-drilling research. Over the same period, BP hasn't spent one penny on researching how to respond to any type of oil spill, much less one as huge as the breach currently fouling the Gulf.
GOP Patriotism: NO Dinero For Homeless Veterans
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) asked for unanimous consent to approve a $3.4 billion bill to help homeless women veterans and homeless vets with kids. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell objected on behalf of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who is taking a stand against any measure that adds to the deficit.
That people being hurt by this recession are actually considering handing the keys to Congress back to these dark-hearted, greedy, venal, heartless bastards is just mind-boggling.
Pornography for Conservaturds. 
How does any thinking person take the Republican party seriously when you cannot tell the difference between one of its campaign ads and a Saturday Night Live skit.  This is embarrassing.
There the teabagger stood, holding in her right
hand her greatest enemy: the microphone.
Family Values

According to Sharon Angle, God wants fathers to rape their daughters. Or at least he wants daughters to bear their fathers' children. That's what they call family values in her neck of the woods:
MANDERS: Is there any reason at all for an abortion?

ANGLE: Not in my book.

MANDERS: So, in other words, rape and incest would not be something?

ANGLE: You know, I'm a Christian, and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things.
The truth is that she is being more consistent than most allegedly "pro-life" people. If you genuinely think that abortion is murder then you can't justify "killing" the blastocyst or fetus just because of the way it was conceived.

On the other hand, Angle seems to see conception by rape and incest as something God purposefully directed and so the results of which are something the birthing vessel must embrace. That's a very disturbing point of view no matter where you come out on the issue.

Harry Reid, on the other hand, must be thanking the Good Lord every night for "interceding" and providing him with Sharon Angle as an opponent. He must feel that God definitely intends for him to win re-election.
Update: Mario Piperni has this to say:

So, in Angle's little, little mind, God has a plan and if that plan involves you getting raped by your sick uncle then shut up and accept the ensuing pregnancy.

ME:  Sharron…


ME:  On behalf of every woman who has ever gotten pregnant by rape, FU and your perverted interpretation of faith.

Republican's America = Your Worst Nightmare

What do you have to look forward to when Republicans finally do take over the reins of government?   This.  And it ain't pretty.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) believes that a "political rebellion" akin to the American revolution of 1776 is brewing, that the Social Security retirement age should be raised to 70, and that the Wall Street reform bill currently moving through Congress is comparable to "killing an ant with a nuclear weapon."

In an explosive interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the GOP leader also charged that Democrats are "snuffing out the America that I grew up in." He added, "Right now, we've got more Americans engaged in their government than at any time in our history. There's a political rebellion brewing, and I don't think we've seen anything like it since 1776."


Ensuring there's enough money to pay for the war will require reforming the country's entitlement system, Boehner said. He said he'd favor increasing the Social Security retirement age to 70 for people who have at least 20 years until retirement, tying cost-of-living increases to the consumer price index rather than wage inflation and limiting payments to those who need them.

"We need to look at the American people and explain to them that we're broke," Boehner said. "If you have substantial non-Social Security income while you're retired, why are we paying you at a time when we're broke? We just need to be honest with people.

Honest?  The hypocrisy is astounding.  Cut down on Social Security but extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich is what this guy is saying.  Why is it that honesty is something which the middle class and poor need to deal with but the rich are exempt?  The same people who didn't give a damn for deficit spending during the eight years of insanity and abuse under Bush have now made this their number one priority.  And they're asking to be taken seriously.  Really?

Why not get the hell out of Iraq and Afghanistan, wars which cannot be won under any conditions, and then they would not have to worry about finding funds to pay for them?  Is the trillion already spent on those two pointless wars not enough?

Imagine a Sarah Palin White House with Boehner and McConnell in charge of the House and Senate respectively and know that there is no terrorist organization in existence which could be more destructive to America than what these fools are capable of doing.


Praise the Water.


political pictures - We need to get the public to stop thinking of BP...


So it is the Democrats messaging that completely sucks or are they just complete, gutless cowards? You know they are in bad shape when they can't even pass this mild "reform" because they're too afraid to fight the GOP who can't stop supporting Wall Street's bad behavior. Either way, they suck. Why do we vote for these people?


Is John Boehner a) racist; b) sexist; c) homophobic; or d) all of the above?

"They're snuffing out the America that I grew up in," Boehner said.
Indeed we are.

The America that John Boehner grew up in was an America where African-American males were only farm hands or factory laborers, not as politicians, judges or American presidents. Women were housewives, secretaries and elementary school teachers, not Speakers of the House of Representatives. Gay men and lesbians were either deep in the closer or they were routinely being beaten by the cops, they weren't getting married or raising families. Hispanics were maids and lettuce-pickers, not entrepreneurs and TV stars.

I suspect that Boeher was engaging in the old GOP trick of dog-whistling to the racists.

But Boehner is right about one thing: The America he grew up in is gone and, if the GOP doesn't smarten up, so will his party. Maybe not in this election or the next, but his batshit racist base is aging out and when they do, the Grand Old party will go the way of the Whigs.
The Road to Serfdom.
A progressive Budget Calculator

Not to be outdone by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Deficit, the Center for Economic Policy Research has a new budget calculator out that lets you put more liberal policies into play and see what happens to the debt level in 2020. I got us below 60 percent (the magic number, at least according to some budget hawks) by ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, creating a Medicare-like public option, adding a modest carbon tax, adding a financial transactions tax, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, increasing the cap on taxable earnings for Social Security, converting the mortgage-interest deduction to a 15 percent credit, and letting the estate tax return on schedule.

Oh, and I did all this while adding $2.1 trillion in infrastructure, R&D, and education spending, and increasing the generosity of Social Security benefits. I am a budget genius!

Gee. You'd almost think the deficit debate was a cover story for Republicans to slash social spending.


"The recession has directly hit more than half of the nation's working adults, pushing them into unemployment, pay cuts, reduced hours at work or part-time jobs, according to a new Pew Research Center survey." Nearly of half of the survey's respondents said "they are in worse financial shape as a result of the downturn, which destroyed 20 percent of Americans' wealth."


Let's add another 11 million by rewarding bad behavior

On Thursday, President Obama will deliver an address at American University to "make the case for providing a path to legal status for the estimated 11 million people who live in the U.S. illegally." Obama met with lawmakers this week to discuss a strategy for passing immigration reform, "possibly during a lame-duck session of Congress after the November election."


Financial regulation to pass .... Now? How about now?

Man, this picture is never going to get old, right?

Financial regulation was dead yesterday, but today it is alive again, just like Jesus! And speaking of things or people who are like Jesus, we have Scott Brown to thank for this turn of events. All Barney Frank and his fellow Sadducees had to do to win the love of Brown and the New England RINO ladies was take out the tax on big banks and hedge funds, raise the FDIC's reserve ratio, and end TARP early. Those sound like incredibly minor details that can be just added in last-minute negotiations, surely. MORE »


If I had my druthers ....


Yet another painfully predictable consequence ignored by people who think drilling for oil in the Gulf is a good idea. "The effects of growing Tropical Storm Alex has halted part of BP's oil clean-up attempts in the Gulf of Mexico. Activities such as skimming, dispersant flights and controlled burning have all been suspended because of strong winds and high waves. But the main methods of oil capture at the spill site is continuing despite the weather. Tropical Storm Alex is expected to strengthen into the first hurricane of the Atlantic season. Tens of thousands of barrels of oil have leaked every day since the Deepwater Horizon rig sank in April. A containment cap placed over the leaking pipe is collecting up to 25,000 barrels a day and sending it to two surface ships. And a relief well being drilled to staunch the flow is on target to be finished by early August, a senior BP executive has said."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Headlines - Tuesday June 29

Pensacola Beach, Florida before British Petroleum:
This is what it looks like now.
But squirrels and cops are terrorists

Wonkette's image library is the Alexandria of weird combinations.

ROGER EBERT ON 5-4 OVERTURNING OF CHICAGO HANDGUN BAN: "Supreme Court sides with squirrel hunters and drug gangs against cops and innocent bystanders." @ebertchicago/Reuters/Sun Times

Some new heart wrenching video footage of the oil gusher:
h/t Andy: Funny, positive, informative and very entertaining newsletter you can subscribe to here.
Betty Bowers:
Not one tightly spooled tornado or sizzling bolt of lightning has decimated even an inch of crepe paper during this year's tawdry Gay Pride parades. Clearly, the Lord is too preoccupied with despoiling Florida's lovely, white sand beaches with unwanted, brown oil. And, honestly, it doesn't take someone with an almost-high-school education to see a divine anti-immigration metaphor at work! His eye is on the sparrow -- even if it now looks like a blackbird.
GOP invites rebuked religious right general, who says he speaks with the holy spirit, to testify at the Kagan confirmation hearings.
Bob Herbert is the latest to weigh in on the opportunity squandered by the Obama Administration as a result of its mad love affair with the Pentagon and Wall Street, forsaking all others.
Dispatch from the "Holy Shit!" file.
Citing SB-1070 and the fact that they are above the law, Latinos withdraw applications for top University of Arizona position.
After Obama eats hamburgers with Medvedev, Russian spies caught all over America

The Russia House.

Just days after Barack Obama took his "solid and reliable partner" Dmitry Medvedev out for hamburgers in Arlington, the Justice Department announced the breakup of a major Russian spy ring operating right there in Northern Virginia — as well as in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. The spies were so deeply embedded in the United States (and each other) that many of them were paired off to have children and live as yuppie families. They even did their information exchanges using wirelessly networked laptops at coffee houses. If only the 11 spies had grown fat and covered themselves in tattoos and constantly threatened to kill the president and blow up Congress, nobody would've ever noticed them. MORE »


Steve Forbes craps on Robert Byrd's fresh grave

Self-made man.

Robot-dweeb asswipe Steve Forbes was such a great Republican Presidential Candidate that absolutely no-one can remember that Steve Forbes did this, not so long ago. Has he vanished up the anus of his inherited wealth? No, of course not. He's a fake Teabagger. He's got a Twitter. And he's so happy Robert Byrd is dead. The only thing that would be better, for banks, is if every other Democrat in the Senate died … and Scott Brown, too, if Scott Brown's thinking about voting for financial reform. [Twitter via Wonkette Op "Angie D."]



Exxon Valdez Cleanup Crew Dead Link
But Obama says it's safe to clean the Gulf?
Didn't we fault Bush for pulling this at Ground Zero?



Wisco: Climategate dies, but no one will run the obit


SUPREME COURT: The Vatican Is Not Immune To U.S. Pedophilia Lawsuits

Wow. The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from the Vatican, which was attempting to shield itself from child molestation lawsuits in the United States.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused on Monday to consider whether the Vatican has legal immunity over the sexual abuse of minors by priests in the United States, allowing a lawsuit filed in 2002 to go forward. The nation's highest court, asked to rule on a U.S. appeals court decision that cleared the way for the lawsuit to proceed, rejected the Vatican's immunity appeal without comment. The lawsuit, filed by a plaintiff identified only as John Doe, claimed he was sexually abused on several occasions in the mid-1960s when he was 15 or 16 by a Roman Catholic priest named Father Andrew Ronan. According to court documents, Ronan molested boys in the mid-1950s as a priest in Ireland and then in Chicago before his transfer to a church in Portland, Oregon, where he allegedly abused the victim who filed the lawsuit. Ronan died in 1992. The Vatican claimed immunity under a U.S. law, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976, that allows foreign states to avoid being sued in court. But the law contains exceptions. The appeals court cited one of those, ruling the lawsuit has sufficiently alleged that Ronan was an employee of the Vatican acting within the scope of his employment under Oregon law.
The lawyer for the above-cited Oregon case says he plans to depose Pope Benedict. "I won't start with him; I'm going to work my way up. But this ruling gives me the ability to depose anybody within the organization who has knowledge about the events."

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) reacts: "The Supreme Court's decision gives hope to hundreds of thousands of clergy sex abuse victims across the globe who know lies remain under wraps at the Vatican and will only be unearthed through persistent action by secular justice officials and systems."

SINGAPORE: World's Most Expensive Hotel Opens With World's Largest Outdoor Pool

The $6B Marina Sands Hotel opened in Singapore this weekend with a 650-foot infinity pool on the 55th floor. More cool/scary photos here. What global recession?

political pictures - That'll teach you  to talk to Rolling Stone


So we've reached the everybody-knows-we've-lost-but-we're-still-wasting-lives-and-treasure stage of the Afghanistan clusterfuck.

Derrick Crowe at FireDogLake:

One of the gems buried in Michael Hastings' now ubiquitous Rolling Stone article is a senior adviser to General McChrystal thanking his lucky stars for public ignorance of the state of the war:

Even those closest to McChrystal know that the rising anti-war sentiment at home doesn't begin to reflect how deeply fucked up things are in Afghanistan. "If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular," a senior adviser to McChrystal says.

Well, mission accomplished, gentlemen. Your little frat party managed to get everyone's attention and, combined with a never-ending stream of gruesome milestones, it caused the bottom to drop out of public support for the Afghanistan War.

Read the whole thing.


For more than year now, only one person has gotten the ugly truth about murdering, criminal military contractor Blackwater: Jeremy Scahill at The Nation. Now he reveals the real reason Blackwater is still sucking up millions of taxpayer dollars in new government contracts:


Japanese whale burgers in the name of research

Japan is actively pursuing to end the ban on hunting for specific whale species.  Their argument is that whale meat is an integral part of Japanese culture.

Asking Japan to abandon this part of its culture would compare to Australians being asked to stop eating meat pies, Americans being asked to stop eating hamburgers and the English being asked to go without fish and chips.

In truth, whale meat is more of a delicacy and not a staple food in Japan so the above statement is little more than BS.  As a means to get around the whaling ban, Japan hunts whales under the pretext that it is doing research as a means to actually save the animal from extinction.  A whistleblower's account of the truth

He once wielded a knife on the deck of a Japanese whaling ship, slicing apart the behemoths of the ocean in the name of "scientific research", while much of the rest of the world looked on in horror.

Now, as Japan pushes to overturn the 24-year ban on commercial whaling, the former whaler has come forward with allegations of widespread criminality among the men with whom he spent months in the freezing waters of the Antarctic.

Sent every winter to slaughter the mammals for research that Japan says is vital to our understanding of whale populations, the crewmen are instead seizing and selling prized cuts of meat to earn extra cash and, in at least one case, earn many more times their annual salary, says the whaler-turned-whistleblower.

The Japanese are fooling no one but the killing continues while the International Whaling Commission looks on.  Sick.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Headlines - Monday June 28

Flashback: his Senate colleague Tom Coburn prayed for Byrd's death, to prevent health care from passing. But God loves health care and hates Tom Coburn. 

h/t Fred:
Oldie but goodie Morford: The Hippies Were Right.
That buzzing you hear is our collective alarm clock ringing. Wake the fuck up.
As the oil disaster caused by the gusher in the Gulf enters its third month, the painful truth is that the response to the crisis is faltering and falling down all over the place.

BP has never been an honest partner. They have lied at every step of the way. Remember when they assured the world that only a thousand barrels a day was spilling - well, they weren't off by just a smidgen...they were lying their bloody asses off and using toxic dispersant a mile below the surface, even after being ordered to stop using it, in an effort to hide the amount of oil gushing into the ocean.

From the outset they have been allowed to control reporters' access to their crime scene and sought to control the narrative - and been quite successful at doing so.

Rachel Maddow and Mother Jones have been the rare exception and gone after the story relentlessly.

It's a story that needs to be told. It is one of greed and reckless disregard that led to the deaths of eleven individuals, multiple unique cultures and ways of life, thousands of birds, turtles, dolphins, etc - and the unique ecosystems of multiple marshlands, wetlands and barrier islands.

It is a story of incompetence, dishonesty, and willful disregard for what is best for the Gulf versus what is best for the futures of craven, venal, politicians like Bobby Jindal who points fingers at everyone else but only deploys a thousand of the six thousand National Guard troops he requested and has been authorized to mobilize as the Commander in Chief of the Louisiana National Guard, even as booms go untended and do more harm than good in delicate wetlands.

It is a story of the people of the Gulf Coast losing hope and giving up. Of boat captains choosing to stay ashore rather than go out and and use their vessels for skimming operations because they aren't being told the truth about the toxicity of the petroleum they are being exposed to, all the while they are told not to wear masks and protective gear because BP doesn't like how that looks to the press that manages to get through and get part of the story.

It is a story of scrambling to put a good face forward when important people visit then going back to doing nothing, or at least nothing right, as soon as the important person leaves and takes the cameras and reporters with them.

It is a story of a country that had ample warning to deal with it's energy problems and chose to ignore them and party like it was 1969 and they had never heard of oil embargoes or energy crises.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost and it is ugly.

Well guess what? It is going to get uglier unless we pull our heads out of the sand.

It is a story that needs to be told, because this is it, folks. This is our wake-up call, and if we don't open our eyes and get up NOW, we miss our ride to the future.

Speaking of the future, by the way, I don't understand the resistance of the fossil fuel industry to renewables. Do they think we're just going to conjure those future systems up with magic wands? No, of course not! The development and testing and installing is going to That we will have to get from...wait for it...fossil fuels. They are in no danger of losing their market. Frankly, I have been gobsmacked that such a versatile and chemically unique thing as oil was just burned up for energy ever since I took Organic Chemistry as an undergrad. That said - if we use up our energy and don't use part of it to build what's next, future generations are doomed thanks to our selfish stupidity, and they will not view us kindly. It is actually conceivable that the Third Reich may fare better in a hundred and fifty years than late 20th-early 21st century western, industrialized society if we don't get our shit together. After all, what is a few million lives from one part of the globe? A big deal at the time, sure. A big deal still today, in fact. But when you stack it up against killing entire swaths of the planet? They will look like pikers compared to us.  


LA Times: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has moved to stop a legitimately disturbing trend: welfare recipients using state-issued debit cards withdrew welfare payments as cash from casino floors. Since October 2009, welfare recipients have withdrawn more than $1.8 million in taxpayer cash on casino floors.
Almost all Valdez workers are dead
Via Shannyn Moore, CNN reports that the average life expectancy for an Exxon Valdez cleanup worker is 51 years. Most are dead.

It's great to see the New York Times finally coming around to report on Bobby Jindal's ridiculousness -- and it only took weeks of Rachel Maddow exposing his roid rage grandstanding and nonsensical, ineffectual ideas (like the stupid sand berms) to get to this point. But we're here and it's about time.

Here's a rundown of Louisiana and Bobby Jindal oil spill failures, via Jed Lewison:

1. The state's oil spill coordinator's office has had its budget slashed by 50% over the last decade.

2. Last year, Jindal cut funding from the state's oil spill research program.

3. The state's oil spill contingency plan's include "pages of blank charts that are supposed to detail available supplies of equipment like oil-skimming vessels." A plan for a worst-case scenario was labeled "to be developed."

4. Before Jindal decided to attack the Federal response, state officials signed off on all Coast Guard response plans.

5. Jindal, who raged at the Federal government for not having enough boom, requested three times as much boom as the state's plan had called for -- and 50% more boom than existed in the entire nation.

And he's only deployed 1,053 out of 6,000 available National Guard troops. But he's doing a lot of yelling and helicoptering! That's just as good as troops, no?

We might know more, but Bobby Jindal has sealed the state's oil spill response records.


Because police investigations are so much worse than covering up and enabling child rape ....

PZ Meyers: Ol' Ratzi is quite upset at the Belgian raids on Catholic church offices — he's calling them "deplorable", a "moment of sadness", and is calling in the Belgian ambassador to the Vatican for an angry dressing-down.

He's doing everything all wrong. Here's what he should be doing: he should be calling the actions of priestly sex abusers deplorable and wrong, and insisting that the church will do everything in its power to correct the deep problems that have led to these awful acts. Then he should announce that the church will cooperate fully with all legal secular actions — and the Belgian raids were fully authorized by the Belgian state — in getting down to the heart of the matter, and go even further, offering to open up all relevant records to inspection. Then I might be convinced that the church is sincere in its pursuit of justice for all, not just its priests, but also its parishioners.

But then, I'm an atheist. Ignore me. I'm kind of enjoying the spectacle of the Catholic church putting on the indignant act of a guilty criminal caught red-handed and insisting that the police shouldn't be working so hard to catch them.


Skippy's environmental news stories. 


In the wake of Thursday's Supreme Court ruling limiting the scope of a key federal anti-corruption statute, white-collar defense lawyers are salivating at the chance to challenge some of the biggest public corruption cases in recent memory -- from Gov. Don Siegelman in Alabama to Gov. Rod Blagojevich in Illinois to New York state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno to the myriad figures in the Jack Abramoff saga.


Theda Skocpol explains how congressional Republicans are intentionally holding up economic recovery until they can get back into office.


Another Fox moment of idiocy

In the simple-minded, bash-anything-Obama world of Fox News, the following is deemed to be razor sharp, inquisitive commentary.

"The President took a matter of hours to pick a commander in Afghanistan so why is it taking months to plug the leaking oil?"  – Brian Kilmeade Fox and Friends

…and five million idiots watching Fox stood up straight, scratched their heads in unison, grunted, shoved another ten Doritos into their face and asked, "Yeah, how come?"  Then they burped, took a deep mind-numbing sniff of their armpits and slouched back into their rocking chairs.  Life was good.


Does religion kill off brain cells?


Great news: CIA director: there may be less than 50 al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan

And h/t Dick: Karzai holds secret talks with top militant.


Lowest bidder wins! Even if they're murderers, torturers and con men. "The head of CIA has defended awarding a large contract to the controversial security company formerly known as Blackwater. The director of the CIA, Leon Penatta, said the company's bid was US $26m less than its nearest rival. The contract, worth $100m, is to provide security at US consulates in the cities of Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif. Blackwater guards allegedly opened fire on unarmed civilians in Baghdad in 2007 killing 17 people. In the wake of the killings, the company rebranded itself Xe Services. The company ended its operations in Iraq in 2009, in line with a ban by the government. The US government said in January 2009 that it would not renew the company's task orders."


Priorities ...

While they're cutting programs and services because we're broke, it seems like our endless wars will get every dime they demand:

As we are told that austerity is needed in government and we'll have to get less, it is becoming quite clear where our spending priorities lie.

We're going to be need another $33 billion for Afghanistan this year. So what's that, another couple dozen alleged Al Qaeda to chase around and ultimately toss around missiles at?

And everybody seems okay with that. In a time when over 10% of us don't have jobs, when the rich don't pay taxes, and the economy is on the brink of collapse, we see nothing wrong with spending tens of billions of dollars chasing a buncha goat humpers through the mountains in a place where history shows we cannot win. We're a nation of cowardly chickenshits.
h/t Fred:

Did you know that the words "race car" spelled backwards still spell "race car"?

That "eat" is the only word that, if you take the 1st letter and move it to the last, spells its past tense, "ate"?

And if you rearrange the letters in "so-called tea party Republicans," and add just a few more letters, it spells: "Shut the fuck up you free-loading, progress-blocking, benefit-grabbing, resource-sucking, violent, hypocritical douchebags, and deal with the fact that you nearly wrecked the country under Bush and that our new president is black." 


                                         Polar Bear in Training to Become Area Rug


Well, if the media persist in calling Sarah Palin a rock star, she's going to continue to behave like one

...except omitting the talented musician part and leaving just the demanding, preening, petty, self-aggrandizing beeyotch part:

CBS 13 - screenshot 1

Yup, she's just an ordinary mom. Just like all those who can't put food on the table because they've lost their jobs. You know, those "spoiled" people that Palin pick for Nevada Senate Sharron Angle talks about.

And they wonder why we call them idiots?

More at
The smell of hypocrisy in the morning
The governors of Gulf Coast states, most of whom have been relentless promoters of offshore drilling, issued proclamations urging people to pray for the Almighty to step in and stop BP's underwater gusher.

Bobby Jindal has been kvetching about the ofkshore drilling moratorium and Haley Barbour has been complaining that the moratorium is "worse than the oil spill". That is when he hasn't been telling people that they should be coming to visit Mississippi because there's no oil there.

I've visited Mississippi. As far as I can see, the only reason to go to Mississippi is because an Interstate highway goes through it. Mississippi's main function in life is to give Georgians the ability to point and say "their schools are worse".[1] But I digress.

There is something deeply hypocritical about encouraging deep-water drilling and then, when it goes wrong, crying "who could have foreseen this ever happening" and then praying to G-d to "save us" from our own folly. Unlike a hurricane,[2] this is not a natural disaster or, as the insurance weasels put it, an "act of G-d". This disaster is 100% man-made and was caused by BP, a corporation whose culture encouraged disregarding safety protocols at every possible opportunity.

So, Barbour, Jindal and Perry, grab your log,
surf's up!

[1]The unofficial state motto of Georgia is "Thank the Lord for Mississippi and Alabama".
[2] Even with hurricanes, man-made fuckery makes things worse. The destruction of the coastal marshes in Louisiana has made that state far more vulnerable to hurricanes and much of that destruction was caused by cutting channels to make things easier for the oil drillers.
Beer Diplomacy 2

Notorious beer drinker and problem solver, President Carebear sees if lightening will strike twice, and shares a beer with UK King or whatnot, David Cameron, who is not the former king, Gordon Brown. It should be noted that while Obama offered Cameron an excellent beer, Cameron offered Obama a hobgoblin:

…Seated in dark leather chairs, with the G8 and G20 logo serving as a backdrop in the small room, Obama and Cameron satisfied a wager they had made on the U.S-Britain soccer match. 'Since it ended in a tie, we're exchanging, by paying off our debts at the same time, this is Goose Island 312 beer from my hometown of Chicago,' Obama said, holding a yellow-tagged bottle of beer. Cameron then handed his beer to a smiling Obama. 'This is Hobgoblin,' he said. 'I advised him that in America, we drink our beer cold,' Obama quipped. 'He has to put it in a refrigerator before he drinks it, but I think that he will find it outstanding.'

First the Brits try to destroy the Gulf of Mexico, beloved watery place where Bubba Jindal shakes-down America Chicago-style, and now they are releasing their beer goblins on the Carebear. Why do they hate America?


Libya will allow BP to begin drilling in its offshore deepwater region next month, despite the massive Gulf of Mexico oil gusher, the head of Libya's National Oil Co. said Sunday.


Thanks to Wonkette for saying what so many think…


In his New York Times column, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman warns we are in the early stages of a "third depression." "This third depression," he writes, "will be primarily a failure of policy" as the world's leading governments obsess "about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending."


They also announced they will extract oil from deep ocean reserves without using oil rigs or drills, because that's more feasible than cutting deficits in a recession without killing growth. "Leaders at the G20 summit in Canada have reached agreement on a deal to cut national budget deficits without stunting economic growth. Summit host Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the group's richest members should halve their deficits within three years. Correspondents note that every major G20 country had already committed to that target before the summit. Proposals for a global levy on banks have been dropped, Mr Harper said. Instead, that will be left to individual countries. Agreement was also reached, says the BBC's economics editor Stephanie Flanders, on an explicit commitment to agree new minimum levels of capital for banks in time for the next Summit in Seoul in November. Precise figures will not be reached until then, she says. The group of 20 leading and emerging nations had been split over the pace of budget cuts US President Barack Obama warned against fast and deep budget cuts, fearing damage to global growth."


Are ya scared yet, punk? Are ya?

Step One: Encourage horrific gambling by banks to send the economy into a tailspin and destroy millions of middle-class jobs.

Step Two: Prevent Democratic leaders from restoring those jobs through a sufficiently large stimulus, then prevent Democratic leaders from relieving the resulting suffering with extended unemployment benefits.

Step Three: Terrorize the citizenry with threats of further disaster unless they agree to destroy the remaining shreds of their social safety net by eliminating social security and slashing domestic spending.

Brilliant! And working like a charm.

Daniel Dayen at Firedoglake:

The America Speaks meetings held in 19 cities across the country today (Saturday), funded to the tune of $1 billion dollars by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, were a study in how subtle messaging and deficit hyping can mold and shape opinions that move the public toward right-wing solutions about slashing social spending. Despite an insistence of neutrality, organizers of this series of town hall meetings allowed their agenda to show through, particularly in their presentation of options for how to deal with the nation's fiscal future. But attendees in Los Angeles and around the country weren't totally buying it in the first half of the meeting.

Read the whole thing.

Digby concludes:

Dday also concurs with my earlier impression that this was a very slickly designed program to steer people worried about the economy toward cuts in the safety net, which we all know is the real purpose of this thing. (It's amazing what a billion dollars can do...) The people who attended were mostly earnest, decent citizens who are legitimately worried about the future of this country. And they are being led very methodically into a belief that the biggest threat to that future is government spending on social programs.

Fight the fuckers with facts: click here for the facts on Social Security, and here for the facts on the deficit.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Headlines - Sunday June 27

Stress relief right here.
According to officials with the Palestinian Authority's Health Ministry, Israeli forces have seized seven oxygen machines bound for hospitals in the Gaza Strip. The machines were donated by the Norwegian Development Agency.
Closing Gitmo was only a priority during Obama's campaign.
Soon millions of birds will descend on the Gulf Coast, following the Mississippi Flyway from arctic Canada and Alaska and the Boreal forests and prairies of all of North America. And millions will die.
Herbert: Worse Than A Nightmare.
Suzanne Goldenberg: BP Accused of Killing Endangered Sea Turtles in Cleanup Operation
Environmentalists press Obama administration to put a halt to BP's 'burn fields' to dispose of oil from the Gulf spill
This is a holocaust against nature
Smaller gummint needs to protect jobs!
Poor Teabaggers and their cognitive dissonance...

A new poll contradicts the widely held belief that the the tea party movement is opposed to government action to help the economy. It shows that self-described Tea Party supporters are very much in favor of government action to revitalize America's manufacturing base.

Seventy-four percent of self-described Tea Party Supporters would support a "national manufacturing strategy to make sure that economic, tax, labor, and trade policies in this country work together to help support manufacturing in the United States," according to the poll, put out by the Mellman Group and the Alliance for American Manufacturing. Likewise, 56 percent of self-described Tea Party Supporters "favor a tariff on products imported from other countries that are cheaper because they came from a country that does not have to comply with any climate change regulations in the country where the products were made."

Actually, this might prove very interesting - as TP notes, it will fascinating to see if the astroturf organizations responsible for whipping the Tea Partiers into their current frenzy would pull their money if the "grassroots" stand by these actual populist and pro-labor numbers.


The General: Naked Sisters Stealing Cars.


Code Name: Macondo Prospect.


political pictures - Untitled


The Total Failure of Bipartisanship.


Seed of Destruction: Nuclear 'Pits'.


Funny, most are a lot more worried about the "destruction" of the environment because of BP, not the destruction of BP itself. But not Prime Minister David Cameron. 
"It's like this. If we kill them in the name of our religion
or political ideology, we're 'Freedom Fighters'. But if they
kill us in the name of their religion or political ideology,
they're 'Terrorists'. Got that?"
No such thing as surgical strike. Civilian casualty count in 3,2 ... A US missile strike has killed four suspected militants in Pakistan's tribal region near the Afghan border, Pakistani officials say. They said the missile, fired by an unmanned drone, had destroyed a house near Miranshah in North Waziristan. The house had been used by the group of regional Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a security official told the BBC. He said two more militants had been injured in the attack. The US does not generally confirm missile attacks by drones."
BBC: Oil giant Syncrude Canada has been found guilty of causing the deaths of 1,600 ducks that landed in a toxic settling pond in northern Alberta.
BP 'reporter' files report flying over Gulf, 'forgets' to mention oil spill below.
Very Realistic Simulation!

There's just one facility in the world where scientists and emergency responders can run full-scale oil spill response tests and research. It's housed at US Naval Weapons Station Earle in Leonardo, New Jersey. But when Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) tried to arrange a visit to the facility earlier this week, he learned that the facility is presently inoperable. Why? The tank researchers use to simulate spills has sprung a leak.
Even his fellow Palestinians referred to him as
the Eternal Optimist.
Gail Collins proclaims "The Age of Nancy".

                       "Omigod, I'm so full of shit I'm turning brown!"
"American forces in Afghanistan, who already face roadside bombs and insurgent attacks, may be dealing with an environmental enemy as well -- toxic sand that can damage their brains, according to a recent Navy study. ... In a presentation at a neurotoxicology conference in Portland, Ore., earlier this month, Palur G. Gunasekar, a senior scientist with the Navy Environmental Health Effects Laboratory, said that dust kicked up in sandstorms contains manganese and other metals. "The sand is a risk factor for inducing neurotoxicity," Gunasekar said. Compounds that are neurotoxic are those that damage the nervous system or the brain."
Now I know the dumbness doesn't just come from soundbites
Sarah Palin's controvercial speech at Cal State - Stanislaus has come and gone, and she will be martyring herself on the cross of the "librul lamestream media" (tm) starting in 3...2...1...after an open mic picked up journalists who were granted permission to cover the event talking derisively about the levels of incoherence that she achieved. They were mocking her in front of an open mic even before her last "God Bless America!" had finished echoing through the room.

Palin's entire appearance was controversial. Raising money for California State University-Stanislaus, she reportedly charged a $75,000 speaker's fee and asked for another $18,000 or so in expenses, including first class plane travel for her entourage and luxury accommodations. Although CSU is a public university, its leaders didn't disclose Palin's demands -- saying a private foundation was raising the funds, and was thus exempt from public disclosure laws - and we only know about them because intrepid student journalists found the contract in a dumpster.

In her speech Friday night, the vengeful Palin trashed the students as "dumpster divers" with her trademark meanness: "Students who spent their valuable, precious time diving through dumpsters before this event in order to silence someone ... what a wasted resource," she told the crowd. "A suggestion for those Dumpster divers: Instead of trying to tell people to sit down and shut up ... spend some time telling people like our president to finally stand up."

Of course, it is easy to taunt intrepid student journalists who got the story and in so doing embarrassed you when you can have them barred from covering the event, which is exactly what Sister Sarah did. Classy. Open live mic remarks here.


The Failed States of America

How do you define national failure? An economic crisis that lacks only political will to solve? A major political party deliberating sabotaging the nation to get back into power? Wasting trillions of dollars on losing wars that endanger national security? A media that deliberately traffics in lies? A corporate plutocracy murdering people and destroying whole ocean ecosystems with impunity?

If you did, America would fair fare even worse on the Failed State Index than it already does. Keep reading:


We can't even get Japan to stop whaling, and now we're going to have to try to get them to give up Maguro sushi?


Bushbama embraces killer drones with communication problems.