Monday, September 27, 2010

Headlines - Monday September 27

Bill Maher interviews Richard Tillman.
Betty Bowers says, " Please pray for folks who don't support our troops enough to lie for them! It's not asking too much that you slap a metallic decal on your SUV, turn a blind eye to the particulars of useless wars and negate all actual human loss with the promise of a magical prize by an invisible friend in the sky. Please join me in rebuking all willful people who don't toe America's theocratic line."
Tony Perkins, the rather fey head of the religious right's Family Research Council mouthed off recently about Obama "claiming" he's a Christian.  Then again, Perkins claims to be a heterosexual.
Earlier this week, Tony Perkins, CEO of the Family Research Council, a highly influential Christian right organization, questioned President Obama's faith. Perkins furthered the myth that Obama is a Muslim by saying that Obama "claims to be a Christian," but is actually "advancing the idea of the Islamic religion."
TP: But at the same time, Tony Perkins just said a couple of days ago, he doesn't think Obama's a Christian, he questions his faith, said he's "advancing the Muslim religion." How do we change that because obviously there are a lot of strong, respectful Christian groups, but with Family Research Council leading the evangelical community, how do you change that dynamic when they're spreading these fears?

INGLIS: Well I think what we should do is stick to the Ten Commandments and especially the Ninth Commandment here, which is thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
Our pal Comrade Misfit boils down the Rethug "Spooge on" ... ahem, "Pledge to America":
"We promise to what we said we would do in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006, but we never got around to doing in the years that we controlled the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Presidency. But this time you really can trust us. Would we lie to you?"
Let's set aside for a moment the accusations that megachurch pastor Eddie Long is a hypocritical, gay-bashing closeted homosexual who used his position to coerce sex from teenage boys. Can we all just agree that an enterprise with a leader who rolls like this probably doesn't deserve a tax deduction as a charity?

Bishop Long cuts a flashy figure in Lithonia, the Atlanta suburb where he lives and has built his church. He is often seen in a Bentley attended by bodyguards. He tends to wear clothes that show off his muscular physique. He favors Gucci sunglasses, gold necklaces, diamond bracelets and Rolex watches. He lives in a 5,000-square-foot house with five bedrooms, which he bought for $1.1 million in 2005.[...]

In 2005, for instance, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published tax records showing that from 1997 to 2000 Bishop Long had accepted $3 million in salary, housing, a car and other perks from a charity he controlled.

Taxing the non-charitable part of megachurch operations isn't even on the political radar, and I'm sure it's just my heathen nature causing me to bring it up, but why the hell should the Haggards and Longs of the world get hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax-free perks from their "charities" just because they're in the Jesus biz?

Update: Fight The False Charges Against Me

Despite rumors that he planned to resign, today televangelist Eddie "Down Low" Long told the congregation at his Atlanta mega-church that he plans to fight the "false charges" against him. (video here)
He said his first responsibility was his family, and the some 25,000 members of the Atlanta-area New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. However, he joked that he would be "remiss" not to address "the world." "I've been accused, I'm under attack. I want you to know, as I said earlier, that I am not a perfect man," he said. "But this thing, I'm going to fight." "And I want you to know one other thing," he told the cheering crowd Sunday morning. "I feel like David against Goliath, but I've got five rocks and I haven't thrown one yet." He then turned on his heel and walked away from the pulpit, ending his 20-minute address.
Four young men are now suing Long for "coercive sexual abuse" and a reported 30 more are said to be looking to join the suit. In 2004 Long led his congregation on an anti-gay marriage march to the grave of Martin Luther King. Last week activist Michelangelo Signorile played a clip of Long preaching that homosexuals deserved to be put to death. Raw Story has the audio.

You know, this is the kind of stuff that Valerie Plame was working on when Scooter Libber, Karl Rove, and Richard Armitage decided to commit treason and blab about her.
Mondo Frazier wrote a column for The Hill on why the Tea Party exists and why they have a future. It's an interesting piece, but one part of it caught my eye. Here it is:

At the Tea Party events that I've personally covered, the majority of the attendees appear to be in the 40 and older range. A significant portion of them remember an America prior to 1964: an America with significantly less government.

You'd have to be 46 to have been alive in 1964, and closer to fifty to have any memory of a time before then. And, really, three year-olds don't have memories about the size of government. So, why did Mondo choose 1964 as his cut-off? I mean, Medicare and Head Start and the various war on poverty programs were passed in 1965 or later, not in 1964. But, you know what passed in 1964? That would be The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which effectively ended legalized segregation.

His story also suffers from basic factual inaccuracy.

Some remember when their paychecks reflected 95 percent of what they earned -- instead of the 55-67 percent that government allows them to keep today.

Here's some reality:

Rather than keeping 95 percent of what they made, under Eisenhower (you know, prior to 1964) the wealthy actually kept 9% of what they earned.


If an American citizen is living in Yemen and directing military and terrorist attacks against U.S. interests and citizens, do we have the right to kill him? That's the question the administration doesn't want to have to answer in court. They think they have that right, but they don't want to settle it legally.

And it is a legal question. Or, better put, of course the president has the right to kill someone who is living abroad and who is trying to kill us. But he doesn't have the right to order the death of a U.S. citizen without any due process or even a review by any outside parties. Otherwise, the president can start killing U.S. citizens without even explaining himself.

What Obama is trying to do here cannot stand. I don't care about some terrorist in Yemen's rights. But I do care about setting up a process that can lead to the worst imaginable kinds of abuses. If this guy is as bad as they say, then they should submit their evidence to the courts. In the meantime, Congress needs to clean up some loose ends with the law. If Obama is relying on the Authorization to Use Military Force against those who carried out or are affiliated with 9/11, then he's on really thin ice. If we face a situation where new actors are trying to blow up our airplanes, then new authorizations are needed.

It's really the lack of foundation in law that is outrageous here. If this guy were operating in Afghanistan, it wouldn't matter that he's an American citizen. But the battlefield is supposedly borderless. That's not a tenable legal footing. And if the administration were willing to submit their evidence to real judicial review, we could have confidence that innocent Americans will not be targeted in the future.

Again, it's not about this guy in Yemen. It's about the administration trying to have the right to act on their say-so without any accountability. I very much hope they lose this case.


With the release of another Christine O'Donnell tape ("Evolution is a myth.",  "Why aren't monkeys still evolving into humans?"), Maureen Dowd takes a look at how the right's science deniers are set on leading you all into a new Age of Darkness.

Sarah Palin will believe global warming is a hoax until she's doing aerial hunting of wolves underwater. And in a 2009 clip, Sharron Angle, the Republican Senate candidate from Nevada, suggested that autism — a word she uttered with air quotes — is a phony rubric. She suggested that people are taking advantage of such maladies to get extra health benefits, adding that she doesn't see why she should have to subsidize maternity benefits for other people either, especially since, as she said, she's not having any more babies.


We seem beset with spellbinding hybrids with the looks of Fox News anchors, the brains of mice and the power of changing the direction of the country.

President Obama was supposed to be a giant leap forward in modernity, the brainy, rational first black president leading us out of the scientific darkness of the W. years. But by letting nutters get a foothold, he may usher us into the past.

Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, John Boehner, Jim DeMint and some Tea Party types don't merely yearn for the country they idealize from the 1950s. They want to go back to the 1750s.

Joe Miller, the Palin-blessed Republican nominee for Senate in Alaska, suggests that Social Security is unconstitutional because it wasn't in the Constitution. The Constitution is a dazzling document, but do these originalists really think things haven't changed since then? If James Madison beamed down now, he would no doubt be stunned at the idea that America had evolved so far but was hemming itself in by the strictest interpretation of his handiwork. He might even tweet about it.

Evolution is no myth, but we may be evolving backward. Christine O'Donnell had better hope they don't bring back witch burning.

Now someone please explain to O'Donnell why monkeys won't be evolving into humans this year.


CNN's Don Lemon became a hero last week. It takes a lot of guts to admit to having been victim of a pedophile on national television, particularly when you are on the air every day. But the people Lemon is talking to here sound like any other cultists in thrall to a charismatic leader. Their denial, their refusal to believe that the man to whom they're in thrall could be a pedophile predator, shows how much Long has been able to worm his way into people's heads. Kudos to Don Lemon for being brave enough to point out that he knows this is how pedophiles work because he's experienced it himself.

The Washington state woman who falsely claimed that a black girl threw acid in her face is being charged with theft for accepting donations from a fooled community. When she was first hospitalized, the woman told reporters that it was only through her faith in Jeebus that she survived the attack of the evil (nonexistent) black woman.
Nothing wrong with being prepared
Here's some interesting news from the UN:
THE United Nations was set today to appoint an obscure Malaysian astrophysicist to act as Earth s first contact for any aliens that may come visiting.

Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN's little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), is to describe her potential new role next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society's Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire.

God's speed, Mazlan Othman!

I'm sure this will cause a stir with the anti-UN wingnuts who will snicker and poo-poo the idea of alien intelligence preparedness -- while also claiming to have evidence that the president's parents engaged in a 50 year plot to impose Sharia law with a their Muslim terror baby.


Saint Reagan's Tax Hikes

In 1981, Ronald Reagan cut taxes by around $275 billion. But when the realization of staggering deficits began to set in, Reagan did the fiscally responsible thing. He raised taxes 11 times -- enough to effectively roll back half of the previous tax cuts. Bruce Bartlett lists the tax hikes in billions of dollars:

Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 +57.3
Highway Revenue Act of 1982 +4.9
Social Security Amendments of 1983 +24.6
Railroad Retirement Revenue Act of 1983 +1.2
Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 +25.4
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 +2.9
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 +2.4
Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 +0.6
Continuing Resolution for 1987 +2.8
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 +8.6
Continuing Resolution for 1988 +2.0
Total cumulative tax increases +132.7

Teabaggers would have hectored him out of Washington.


They're not going to stop until every child in America is as bigoted and stupid as they are.

The Texas State Board of Education adopted a resolution Friday that seeks to curtail references to Islam in Texas textbooks, as social conservative board members warned of what they describe as a creeping Middle Eastern influence in the nation's publishing industry.

The board approved the one-page nonbinding resolution, which urges textbook publishers to limit what they print about Islam in world history books, by a 7-5 vote.


Worst Persons

A collection agency associated with Bank of America for this awfulness:

Two days after being confronted by ABC News, Bank of America has fired a debt collection agency after several of its operators were caught using racist and obscene phone calls to collect debts from bank customers.

"What's up, you f---ing n---r?" said one of the collection agents in a message to 32-year old Allen Jones of Dallas, who owed $81 on his Bank of America credit card.

Banks and collection agencies rule the nation. Speaking of which, no one's really talking about the post-recession fallout from all of the bad credit scores. Between foreclosures, bankruptcies, medical bills and credit card delinquencies, is there anyone left with a solid score?


Brad Reed at Crooks and Liars has the best sex metaphor yet for voting Democratic in November.


That word doesn't mean what Christine thinks it means

If you can't resist the urge to explain to random freakazoids how sublimely idiotic was Christine O'Donnell's attempted refutation of evolution - "Then why aren't monkeys still evolving into humans?" - PZ Myers has your 10-second slap-down:

... it's a creationist misconception that evolution is directed towards a goal, and that that goal is humanity. Monkeys are evolving into monkeys, not people.

Or, you could go to the library and get copies of Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True and Richard Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth, then use them to smack the fuckwits upside the head.


The House's No. 2 Democratic leader said Sunday that comedian Stephen Colbert's testimony last week on immigration was "inappropriate" and "an embarrassment."

No, Steny. You going on a channel that broadcasts propaganda and lies is an embarrassment and inappropriate.

Steny, why don't you take your lazy a** and actually go experience actual harvesting work. See what it's like to do real work instead of this jaw yammering that politicians (especially some democrats of late) are doing in D.C.



Skippy's environmental news stories Sunday








Speaking to some Uncle Tom's Log Cabin group:

"Marriage is not a civil right. You're not black." – Ann Coulter


Glenn Greenwald: Obama Argues His Assassination Program is a "State Secret"


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