Saturday, January 15, 2011

Headlines - Saturday January 15

Off sailing for three weeks. Talk amongst yourselves!
 
 
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Dr. King was born on this day in 1929.


What Dr. King accomplished in his relatively short time in this world need not be related here.

You will still find, however, many Americans who regard Dr. King as a "communist agitator" because he stood up and spoke for those denied opportunities for education, employment and advancement because of the color of their skin. You will still find those who excoriate Dr. King because he spoke out against the Vietnam War.* More commonly, you will hear and read the statements this weekend of politicians who will praise the memory of Dr King, praise what he accomplished and then those same politicians will go back to work to do everything they can to increase the power of corporations, to increase income disparity and to crush the lives of the middle class and the poor. You will find politicians who claim that the GOP is the party King would side with, while deliberately ignoring that it was Richard Nixon who allied the GOP with the racists who bolted the Democratic Party after President Johnson pushed through and signed the civil rights acts of 1964 and 1968.

You should not pay those folk any heed.

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Did I mention that I'm going to be off sailing for three weeks? 
 
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Funny MLK Day Ecard: Sorry in advance for whatever Sarah Palin has to say about MLK Day.
 
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Vatican To Beatify Pope John Paul II

Emperor Palpatine has waived the traditional five year post-death waiting period and is moving to have Pope John Paul II named a saint. Because he was a miracle worker. Literally.
The pope on Friday signed off on the miracle needed to beatify Pope John Paul II, and set May 1 as the date to honor one of the most beloved popes of all times as a model of saintliness for the church. Pope Benedict XVI said in a decree that a French nun's recovery from Parkinson's disease was miraculous, the last step needed for beatification. A second miracle is needed for the Polish-born John Paul to be made a saint. The May 1 ceremony, which Benedict himself will celebrate, is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to Rome — a major morale boost for a church reeling from a wave of violence against Christians and fallout from the clerical sex abuse scandal.
Victims of abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy are denouncing the beatification, noting that thousands of incidents of child molestation were covered up by Catholic authorities during John Paul's reign.

 
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The one guiding principle I use whenever I try to understand any kind of socio-political event, trend or phenomenon is to simply follow the money. Ask yourself who profits from this and you'll usually understand things more clearly. Esquire's blog uses this same approach in trying to comprehend political violence.

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Wisco: Moving toward a more pleasant lie.

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American Family Association: Satan Is Making People Criticize Sarah Palin

"The hatred directed at her is mindless, it is baseless, it is utterly irrational, and it is disturbing to an alarming degree. When we look into the face of the unvarnished and seething meanness focused on Ms. Palin, we are looking into the face of evil. We are looking into the face of Satan himself, who is the ultimate source of this vitriol and toxic hate." - American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer.

 

 

 

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Cops Find Photos Of AZ Shooter Posing With Gun While Wearing Red G-String

Investigators today said that they've received a bizarre series of photos of mass murderer Jared Lee Loughner. The photos show Loughner wearing a red g-string with a Glock pistol next to his naked buttocks.
The photos were turned over to the police by Walgreens, where Mr. Loughner had taken the 35-mm film to be developed on Jan. 7, the day before the shooting. In some of the photos he is holding the gun near his crotch, and in others, presumably shot in a mirror, he is holding the gun next to his buttocks, the police said. It was not yet clear when the photos were taken. According to a detailed timeline released by the Pima County Sherriff's Department on Friday, Mr. Loughner posted one of the photos and a bulletin saying, "Goodbye friends," on MySpace early Saturday morning.

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The religious right is lining up behind Rep. Michele "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann's possible plan to run for president in 2012, which she said she'll do only upon direct orders from God.

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The Palin clown car rolls on

Excellent optics.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin recently announced plans to deliver a keynote speech later this month at a marquee gun rights event in Reno, Nevada.

Palin is set to speak at a Safari Club International convention on January 29, a gathering put on by a group that calls itself "the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and promoting wildlife conservation worldwide."

Goddamn. Please, pleeeeeease let her run for president.

Imagine a major political figure appearing at, say, a box cutter convention the week after September 11.

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Mario: For 200 Jeopardy Points: Who Is Watson, aka DeepQA?

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Palin - victim or melting iceberg? 

There's been a ton of criticism over Palin's 'they're-attacking-poor-little-me' video she chose to release on Wednesday – the same day they held the memorial for the Tucson shooting victims, the same day President Obama gave one of the best speeches of his career.  The overriding sentiment can be summed up by this piece from First Read:

While Obama tried to uplift, Palin tried to settle scores. While the president called for more civility, the former Alaska governor talked about duels and "blood libel." And while Obama's message was, well, presidential, Palin's was not. We'll say this: If Palin has ambitions for the White House — and we're still not sure she does — then her tone, message, and timing from her eight-minute video was a serious miscalculation.

Ah yes, and what about those presidential ambitions?  David Frum nails it with this this.

"She's like a big melting iceberg in warm water, and I think a big chunk of ice just slipped off the side."

See?  There is some positive effect to global warming.

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"The Editors" at Esquire correctly assess the chances of civility:

... [T]he most remarkable thing about what happened in Oklahoma City is how little it matters today. The president of the United States gave a fine speech Wednesday night in Tucson at the memorial for the people Jared Loughner shot. The only mention of Oklahoma City in connection with the president's speech was to compare it with the speech that another Democratic president had given in the aftermath of the memorial service for the 168 people that Timothy McVeigh murdered in 1995.

People mostly remembered that Bill Clinton once had made a passing mention of what he called "the purveyors of hatred and division… the promoters of paranoia" on the airwaves. (At the actual memorial service, Clinton quoted Scripture and talked about healing.) This time, many people struck pre-emptively; Rush Limbaugh may be self-medicating his wounded ego for the rest of his life over what he imagines Clinton said about him. There was a lot of what was called "defensiveness" on the activist Right, but it was nothing of the sort. They were on offense, just the way they have been since they took that heat in 1995. They abide by the order Stalin gave to the Red Army when the Germans invaded in 1942: Ni shagu nazad.

Not a step back.

The activist Right wants this rhetoric for 2012. It wants the same dark energies that helped it win the House last fall. It wants to be able to say the same things with impunity that it's been saying since 2009, as though Tucson never happened. Oklahoma City might as well have happened to the Hittites.

Which is how nothing ever changed. Which is why Oklahoma City wasn't enough.
[...]

The political culture is not what it was in 1996. It's worse. The wild-assed, Clinton-centric conspiracies — death lists! Vince Foster! Mena airport! — look positively quaint compared to the grand paranoid delusions spouted on television and on radio these days. And the casual mainstreaming of vicious mendacity isn't the property talk radio alone; we have just seen installed a Congress full of thunderous
loons. Against all odds — and, arguably, against all decency — what Bill Clinton so carefully criticized has degenerated into a time in which the governors of major states talk glibly about secession, and automatic weapons are casual accessories at political rallies….

(Perhaps the crowning irony is the fact that, of all the repercussions from the Oklahoma City bombing, the most lasting is probably those provisions of Clinton's own 1996 antiterrorism act that were strengthened and codified five years later into what became the constitutional nightmare that is the USA PATRIOT Act.)

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Jill: Meet your new RNC Chairman 

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Every cocktail party must end eventually

House GOP pretending they can repeal health care to honor Giffords

Local man receives mind-controlling vaccine.

John Boehner and House Republicans have enjoyed their assassination vacation, but they don't have time to try out the titles of any other Sarah Vowell books, because they have to spend next week performing their most important legislative achievement of the next two years: pretending they can repeal Obamacare. This is what Gabrielle Giffords would want, after all. She put her life on the line every day, especially when meeting her violent constituents, because she believed she was doing important work, like these pointless exercises. If only that dead nine-year-old could have lived to see this, eh? If only. She would be so proud of her country. READ MORE »

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The dangers of texting.

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Paul Krugman nails what President Obama fundamentally misunderstands about republicans:

For the great divide in our politics isn't really about pragmatic issues, about which policies work best; it's about differences in those very moral imaginations Mr. Obama urges us to expand, about divergent beliefs over what constitutes justice.

SNIP

One side of American politics considers the modern welfare state - a private-enterprise economy, but one in which society's winners are taxed to pay for a social safety net - morally superior to the capitalism red in tooth and claw we had before the New Deal. It's only right, this side believes, for the affluent to help the less fortunate.

The other side believes that people have a right to keep what they earn, and that taxing them to support others, no matter how needy, amounts to theft. That's what lies behind the modern right's fondness for violent rhetoric: many activists on the right really do see taxes and regulation as tyrannical impositions on their liberty.

There's no middle ground between these views. One side saw health reform, with its subsidized extension of coverage to the uninsured, as fulfilling a moral imperative: wealthy nations, it believed, have an obligation to provide all their citizens with essential care. The other side saw the same reform as a moral outrage, an assault on the right of Americans to spend their money as they choose.

This deep divide in American political morality - for that's what it amounts to - is a relatively recent development. Commentators who pine for the days of civility and bipartisanship are, whether they realize it or not, pining for the days when the Republican Party accepted the legitimacy of the welfare state, and was even willing to contemplate expanding it. As many analysts have noted, the Obama health reform - whose passage was met with vandalism and death threats against members of Congress - was modeled on Republican plans from the 1990s.

But that was then. Today's G.O.P. sees much of what the modern federal government does as illegitimate; today's Democratic Party does not. When people talk about partisan differences, they often seem to be implying that these differences are petty, matters that could be resolved with a bit of good will. But what we're talking about here is a fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government.


Read the whole thing.

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Like we keep telling you, religion is dangerous to your health. "At least 64 pilgrims have been killed in a stampede at a religious festival in the southern Indian state of Kerala, officials say. Scores more have been injured in the crush, which was reportedly triggered by a road accident. The pilgrims were returning from the Hindu shrine of Sabarimala, which is in a remote, mountainous, densely-forested area. The authorities say the death toll could rise."
 
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Hooray, the super rich have totally recovered from the collapse!

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns When they all come down and did tricks for you You never understood that it ain't no good You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you

Have you been worried that maybe the super rich global elite has been suffering since the economic meltdown began three years ago? Well thanks for worrying, but they are doing just fine. Sure, there was a bit of turbulence in their NetJets charter over some of the poorer parts of America and the larger world — you try going from $1 billion a year to, say, $650 million! — but it's smooth flying from here on out. It turns out that no matter how unemployed or cash strapped or stressed out all the non decamillionaires and hectomillionaires and cold straight billionaires might be today (and forever, until the invisible hand of death finally relieves them/us of the banal Sisyphean struggle of modern existence), the poors continues to help the super rich stay super rich. READ MORE »

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Brownback is determined to make Kansas the Mississippi of the Midwest He has proposed balancing the state's budget by zeroing out all funding for public broadcasting, and he wants to close the state mental hospital (right after a mental patient went on a murdering rampage). The Kansas Neurological Institute serves about 160 patients with severe mental deficits. Only about 1/3 are ambulatory, and only about 1/5 can speak. But Sam "Compassionate Conservative"Brownback wants to close the place down by 2014, putting the patients out on the streets or back with families that are ill-equipped to take care of them.
 
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What the bloody hell is wrong with these people?
 
At this point I have no choice but to believe that the choice, on the part of prominent republicans, to attempt to co-opt and cloak themselves in the language of genocide is deliberate. Sarah Palin is stupid enough to misuse the term "Blood Libel" but when the Washington Times, rushing to defend her, condemns those who were rightly offended by her banal and evil utterance, not by chiding "political correctness" but by doubling down:

THis is simply the latest round of an ongoing pogrom against conservative thinkers. The last two years have seen a proliferation of similar baseless charges of racism, sexism, bigotry, Islamophobia and inciting violence against those on the right who have presented ideas at odds with the establishment's liberal orthodoxy.

POGROM??? Was the deliberate, inflamatory use of at word employed to make us so pissed off that we would overlook the word "baseless" in the next sentence? Because charges of racism, sexism, bigotry, Islamophobia and inciting violence are not baseless.

But still...pogrom?

That word has a very definite meaning. It conjures images of gulags and forced expulsions and genocide and Jews standing at the edge of mass graves they had been forced to dig themselves, waiting for the firing squad that would extinguish their lives...they hoped. Since they were being buried anyway. It conjurs images of hundreds of thousands dead and hundreds of thousands more displaced.

I don't believe for a second that the term was used "inadvertently." Instead it was deliberately calculated to inspire maximum offense, upping the ante on "blood libel" as it does, at least to those who know what the terms mean and have a genetic memory of genocide. Blood Libels were primarily carried out at the local and community level. Pogroms were government sanctioned and carried out under color of law, and were aimed at all the Jews of an entire country, rather than isolated to specific communities.

Even as the right wingattempts to lay claim to the mantle of "real America" and assert that the majority of the nation agrees with them, they simultaneously project an image of being persecuted and downtrodden for their beliefs, and all it takes to offend them is to acknowledge that other people believe differently, and some of us believe not at all.

I don't know what is wrong with these people, probaly a lot of stuff. And I'm sure that part of it is cognitive dissonance, and another part of it is just ordinary, garden-variety deliberate, spiteful meanness.  

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The next time a wingnut snorts something about dead people voting for Democrats, point out that dead people also give scads of money to tea party front groups. "The California-based Tea Party Express has been getting donations from a dead woman for more than two years, records released Friday showed. ... Joan Snyder Holmes died of cancer on Feb. 1, 2007, but gave the Our Country Deserves Better PAC, the group's political action committee, donations totaling $2,500 in 2009, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics. ... In Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings, the PAC reported receiving an additional lump sum donation of $5,000 in September. ... The FEC has no record of Joan Holmes making any reportable contributions to campaigns or political committees prior to her death."

 
 
 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Headlines - Friday January 14

Leaving for here tomorrow. It's not gonna suck to be me!
 
 
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They told the truth.
Last time they came unarmed.
Last Saturday, they came armed.
 
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"Where I come from the person that is actually shooting is the one that's culpable. - Palin, thru her lying spokesman Link

So Palin is now calling for the release of Charlie Manson because he wasn't an actual shooter in the Tate-LaBianca murders?

Someone else pointed out that Hitler didn't personally push Jews into the oven.
 
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Wisco: Wingnut blogosphere's fake outrage of the day
 
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NORTH CAROLINA: Tea Party-Backed School Board Reinstitutes Segregation

Wake County, North Carolina Republicans swept onto the Raleigh school board with the backing of the Tea Party are abolishing the busing of minority students from poor neighborhoods into better-funded school districts.
The new school board has won applause from parents who blame the old policy - which sought to avoid high-poverty, racially isolated schools - for an array of problems in the district and who say that promoting diversity is no longer a proper or necessary goal for public schools. "This is Raleigh in 2010, not Selma, Alabama, in the 1960s - my life is integrated," said John Tedesco, a new board member. "We need new paradigms." But critics accuse the new board of pursuing an ideological agenda aimed at nothing less than sounding the official death knell of government-sponsored integration in one of the last places to promote it. Without a diversity policy in place, they say, the county will inevitably slip into the pattern that defines most districts across the country, where schools in well-off neighborhoods are decent and those in poor, usually minority neighborhoods struggle.
The NAACP has filed a lawsuit. Wake County's school superintendent has resigned in protest. His expected replacement is a Tea Party activist and retired general. 

 
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GLAAD Angry About Westboro Radio Deal

The Westboro Baptist Church has agreed not to picket the funeral of the federal judge murdered in Saturday's massacre in Arizona. In return, a nationally syndicated radio show will give Westboro airtime to broadcast their repulsive message. GLAAD wants the deal called off.
This week Westboro has reacted to the tragedy in Tucson with messages like "God Sent the Shooter." Giving airtime to this malicious group is like negotiating with terrorists. Except in this case, Westboro is being incentivized by being provided with an outlet to broadcast their hate to thousands of others. While countless radio stations and media outlets around the country are properly paying tribute to the fallen and taking a serious look at the tragedy in Tucson, KXXT-AM and CFNY-FM have decided to renege on their responsibility as broadcasters by rewarding one of the most anti-American groups in the country. Make your voice heard. Tell KXXT-AM and CFNY-FM that rewarding hateful behavior doesn't work and demand that they immediately rescind their offer of airtime to the Westboro Baptist Church.
 
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Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) To Propose Bill Allowing Guns On Floor Of U.S. House

Teabagger Rep. Louie Gohmert says he will introduce a bill authorizing members of Congress to bring guns to work.
"It'd be a good thing for members of Congress who want to carry a weapon in the District," he said. "I know friends that walk home from the Capitol. There's no security for us," he said, adding that the measure would deter people from attacking members. "There is some protection in having protection." He said there were times during the health care debate last year that he felt afraid, including when a stranger approached him on the street and started screaming at him. Though Gohmert doesn't have a concealed weapon permit in Texas, he's long been a strong advocate for Second Amendment rights.
What could possibly go wrong? 

 
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"Are these guys headed to the OK Corral?" "No, they're congressmen headed to the floor of the House of Representatives."
 
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Glenn Beck Defends Three-Fifths Clause

How did I miss this? Glenn Beck managed to defend one of the most awful and ridiculous sections of the Constitution: the Three-Fifths Clause which defined slaves as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of congressional representation.

http://www.bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2011/01/glenn_beck_defe_1.html

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What do you think? Does Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) have the hots for Sarah Palin or is he just plain crazy?  Whichever it is, this guy has just moved the wingnut bar one notch higher.

"If every person in the world was like Sarah Palin, there probably wouldn't even be need for government because no one would be in danger of any kind.  If every person were like Sarah Palin, this world would be a peaceful, beautiful world to live in."

Actually, there would be all kinds of dangers in a Palin-cloned world, not the least one being the thrashing that common sense, honesty, intelligence and the English language would take.

Best line goes to the Politico reader who wrote of Franks:

Ooooooh. Another customer for my famous Sarah Palin Scratch and Sniff Calendar.

I've got a prize for the person coming up with the best ending to, "If every person in the world was like Sarah Palin, then [...]".  Take your best shot.

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Here's how the tea party showed respect for our democracy.

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It should be interesting to watch Republicans, and the NRA, and the Tea Party (which is the same thing as Republicans, just the far right fringe), argue that people SHOULD be allowed to carry guns within 1000 feet of a member of Congress or a judge at an event. More from Huff Post.

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D-cap has an excellent post up looking at the state of our Union:

...

In just about ever[y] statistic that is measured, we are below average when compared to the rest of the world. The only place we come out as leaders of the pack are in military might and waging war - and even those two have not had a good ride as of late. Look at the state of education, health care, savings, tolerance, happiness, poverty, and manufacturing in this country - nothing we do anymore screams innovation or leadership. All it screams is how much money can it make for the investor class. The politicians can rile up the crowds with American exceptionalism all they want - all the facts prove they are wrong.

...
USA! USA!

America in the 21st Century has become the land of delusional idiots.

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Political Correction

POLITICO: What in the world does the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus do?

HARPER: We hunt liberal, tree-hugging Democrats, although it does seem like a waste of good ammunition.

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The winger fixation with the idea of an attack on Sarah Palin is starting to creep me out. Erick Erickson (via Southern Beale):

Out there somewhere is someone who would love to kill Governor Palin. God forbid they do it. But you and I both know there is some crazy MSNBC watcher and Media Matters reader who even now is dreaming of doing so.

And should they try, we can be equally sure of something else. The left will be divided into two camps: (1) bitch deserved it and (2) not my fault.

It is unfortunate. I hope it never happens. But you and I both know the reality in which we live.

Glenn Beck to Palin:

I want you to know you have my support. But please look into protection for your family. An attempt on you could bring the republic down.

It sure sounds like they're hoping some attack will be made, whether because they fantasize about being victims or because they think it would be exciting to see if "the republic" would be brought down, I can't say.

I would not be shocked if Palin eventually makes up some crazy story about an attempted attack on her, maybe along the lines of the Ross Perot story about how the Viet Cong tried to put a hit on him.

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Jill: Now let me see if I have the twisted Teabagger mindset straight: In Teabag America, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh are victims because people say their rhetoric is unnecessarily inflammatory, but Gabrielle Giffords had it coming. 

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rush limbaugh

Raw story: Clear Channel pulls Limbaugh's 'Straight Shooter' billboard in Tucson.

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Hundreds dead, thousands homeless in Brazil. "More than 420 people have now been killed by flooding and mudslides in south-eastern Brazil, officials say. About 200 people have died in the town of Nova Friburgo, some 175 in Teresopolis and dozens more in Petropolis, media report. Thousands of people have been made homeless. Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabral blamed local governments for allowing poor building and illegal occupations. President Dilma Rousseff has toured damaged areas in Nova Friburgo. She vowed that there would be "firm action" by the government."

Worst natural disaster in its history. "The Australian state of Queensland is facing a reconstruction task of "post-war proportions", as floods left swathes of it under water. State Premier Anna Bligh said the state was reeling from the worst natural disaster in its history. Powerful flood waters have surged through the state capital, Brisbane, leaving thousands of homes submerged. The floods peaked at a lower level than expected but more than 30 suburbs are under water. Huge amounts of debris - cars, boats and jetties - have been floating downstream, some smashing into bridges. One man died when he was sucked into a storm drain and two more deaths elsewhere were reported by Australian broadcaster ABC, bringing the toll from this week's flooding to 15, with dozens more missing."

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The EPA yesterday "revoked the permit for one of the nation's largest mountaintop-removal coal mining projects," arguing "the mine would have done unacceptable damage to rivers, wildlife and communities in West Virginia." Arch Coal's proposed mine "would have buried miles of Appalachian streams under millions of tons of residue."

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Many members of Congress are looking for increased security as they travel back to their districts for events, following the shootings in Arizona — but local law enforcement agencies may not be able to help due to widespread state and local budgeting problems. A quarter of U.S. cities have reported cutting their public safety budgets in the past year and 80 percent of them have 10 officers or less.

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Mary Fallin Offend Constitution

Republican Oklahoma governor swears to "offend" the Constitution, blames cold weather for misstatement.

Meanwhile, the Republican governor of Minnesota continues his 'thoughtful discourse' by saying the US tilts every day, a little more toward tyranny. Oh, and he'll reinstate DADT when he's president.

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On Louisiana coast, damage from oil goes much deeper than spill.

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11 small eco homes.

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PigJoernPollexGettyImages

Young pigs are seen in their pen at the Ebsen organic farm on January 13, 2011 in Langenhorn, Germany. Organic foods retailers are reporting a surge in demand following a recent contamination scandal. Investigators are pursuing a criminal investigation against the leading employees at Harles and Jentzsch - which announced some of the fatty proteins they had supplied to animal feed producers was tainted with dioxin. German authorities responded by barring 4,700 mostly poultry and hog farms from selling their products until laboratory tests could guarantee them dioxin free. Organic farms have thus far been immune from the scandal since they use no industrially-produced animal feed. By Joern Pollex/Getty Images.

 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Headlines - Thursday January 13

Orange Julius has great priorities.

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A spate of attacks against Afghanistan's intelligence service and international forces killed at least nine people, including five NATO troops, on Wednesday in a violent testament to the tenuous nature of gains made against the virulent insurgency. 

Thank Jeebus we'll be staying there indefinitely.
 
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Blaming the media by using an anti-semitic slur in the wake of the attempted assassination of a Jewish congresswoman! That woman is even dumber and less sensitive than we thought. Amazing.

Think Progress reports that Jewish groups
are denouncing Sarah Palin's usage of the term "blood libel." As most of you doubtlessly know, "blood libel" refers to the anti-Semitic claim that Jews use the blood of Christian babies to make matzoh. Such claims have been used to murder hundreds of Jews.

From the Jewish lobbying group, J Street:

J Street is saddened by Governor Palin's use of the term "blood libel." The country's attention is rightfully focused on the memorial service for the victims of Saturday's shooting. Our prayers continue to be with those who are still fighting to recover and the families of the victims. The last thing the country needs now is for the rhetoric in the wake of this tragedy to return to where it was before. We hope that Governor Palin will recognize, when it is brought to her attention, that the term "blood libel" brings back painful echoes of a very dark time in our communal history when Jews were falsely accused of committing heinous deeds.
From the National Jewish Democratic Council:
Instead of dialing down the rhetoric at this difficult moment, Sarah Palin chose to accuse others trying to sort out the meaning of this tragedy of somehow engaging in a "blood libel" against her and others. This is of course a particularly heinous term for American Jews, given that the repeated fiction of blood libels are directly responsible for the murder of so many Jews across centuries—and given that blood libels are so directly intertwined with deeply ingrained anti-Semitism around the globe, even today.
Most are noting that Palin's claim is especially offensive considering that Rep. Giffords is Jewish.
 
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"We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights. It was simply cross-hairs like you'd see on maps. - Palin's lying spokesman   Link   
   
Yeah, cross-hairs on a map - right, because everyone knows how you "reload" a map. Besides, that's not what the PW said:
      

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North Carolina state Rep. Larry Brown says his state should eliminate all funding to treat adults with AIDS because it is caused by people living "perverted lifestyles."

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"Today has been set aside to honor the victims of the Tucson massacre. And Sarah Palin has apparently decided she's one of them." Josh Marshall

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CNN's Howard Kurtz issued the following correction:

When I conducted the telephone interview for my Nov. 27 article on California Rep. Darrell Issa, my unambiguous understanding was that I was speaking with Rep. Issa. I subsequently learned that I was speaking to his chief spokesman, Kurt Bardella. None of the views ascribed to Issa are inaccurate, but the attribution throughout the story should have been to his spokesman, not to the congressman. We have since corrected the article. The earlier version also mentioned Darrell Issa's "tendency to refer to himself in the third person." In fact, that usage was appropriate because the interview was with his spokesman.

I can't imagine why political reporting is so perpetually dumbstupid.

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Let the healing begin


 
Says CNN's Eric Erickson of the assassination attempt of nice jewish lady Rep. Gabrielle Giffords:
Through it all though, well meaning people on both sides of the ideological and partisan divide are not talking about the one thing that should be talked about — a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

I wonder how that squares with referring to Justice Souter as a goat-fucking child molester.

(Media Matters)

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Matt Taibbi provided his reflections on the Gifford massacre and the state of our over-polarized society looking for entertainment in all the wrong places.

It's certainly possible that we've all become too used to unrestrained rhetoric as a form of entertainment, and people like me live right in the middle of the guilt parabola there. Most all of us are grownups and can handle extreme argument, but clearly some people are not, and obviously I'm not just talking about Jared Loughner.

To see that, all you have to do is attend almost any family gathering, where once-loving relationships have been completely lost because of the overheated right-left culture war. If real family relationships are being lost to this kind of political debate, if someone on TV can reach into your living room and break up your family without knowing anything about you or even knowing that you exist, that tells us that this mechanized mass-media rhetoric has been almost unimaginably successful at dehumanizing whole classes of people.

So how do we work to re-humanize those other guys so that we can start to work on our shared problems together?

(I personally don't want to even talk with any of them, much less live in the same country.)

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Political Pictures - Let Them Eat Cake

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The Rude Pundit:

There she sits, our idiot queen, crowned by her Hollywood coif, needing two American flags in the frame of the video to tell us how really, most sincerely Americanly American she is. In a jacket and a lower-cut than usual blouse (which, truly, made the Rude Pundit think, "She needs to use more sunscreen on her upper chest"), Sarah Palin speaks to the tragedy that occurred in Arizona this past Saturday, in "our country," she says. Then, in a moment that can only be described as "Uh, is she having an orgasm?" Palin sighs, "Mmmm...our vibrant country."

To watch Palin's seven and a half minutes of self-aggrandizement and strained victimhood is to understand in a microcosmic moment how cynically Palin is manipulating her followers. Simply put, the faux absence of self-awareness isn't charmingly silly anymore. It's just dangerous and sad. Quoting Ronald Reagan, she says, "Each individual is accountable for his actions." Then she continues, "They begin and end with the criminals who commit them." If that was the case, the world would be a simpler place, no? The entire fields of sociology, anthropology, psychology, and, well, criminal justice could be banished from the courtroom. Crime doesn't happen in a vacuum. If it did, if society had no responsibility to prevent it, then someone should have told the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, back in 2001 not to worry too much about building a nice hockey rink to keep the kids out of
trouble.

But it gets worse. Later in the meandering video, in chiding members of Congress for overreacting to the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, she
says, "Recall how the events of 9-11 challenged our values and we had to fight the tendency to trade our freedoms for perceived security." Umm, we didn't fight for our freedoms. That's why we have people held for ten years now without charge or trial in Guantanamo Bay (something Palin supports) and why we may have to have our nuts or vags fondled at the airport.

What Palin is actually saying comes through not in her hyperbolic use of "blood libel" (the Rude Pundit actually prefers his matzoh free of Christian child blood). Instead, here she is in defiant mode: "We will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms." No, no, let's not do anything in the wake of this shooting, like consider gun control measures and greater spending on mental health programs. That would take away our liberty. How can one celebrate America's greatness unless one is allowed to shoot the fuck out of animals while saying liberals are socialists bent on murdering your grandpa with a panel? It's unpossible.

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Sarah Goes Full Auto on the Media

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Blue Girl: Is civility with Conservatives even possible?

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Keep trashing Sheriff Dupnik, right-wingers The people on their feet when he popped up on the Jumbotron? Yeah, they are the people who vote for him, and have in every election he has stood for since being appointed in 1980. You are not going to drive him out of office in Pima County; the job is his as long as he wants it. But you might get your radio shows dropped from the second-largest market in the desert southwest. And since we think that would be a good thing for the American body politic, we say keep talkin.'

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Ted Nugent op-ed: Don't try to understand evil with "psychology" — just be ready to eff it in the aye! [Washington Times]

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Wonkette: Sarah Palin Delivers Annual State of Hateful Charlatan Provocation Address


 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Headlines - Wednesday January 12

 
His God keeps and bears the biggest arms in the Universe. Such is the faith that sustains him.
 
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Earlier thoughts on gun nuttery and right wing demagoguery

As you may recall, there was in the summer of 2009, a disturbing tendency for various disaffected right wingers to show up at political events openly carrying fire arms.  When some of us on the left voiced concern about this trend, geniuses like Megan McArdle made the case for gun toting as a form of protest, entitled to protection.  

I remember writing about this trend with alarm at the time; it didn't seem to require an abundance of prescience to see that this was all going to lead to no good end.  Quoting myself is a bit crass, but a couple of things I wrote were said about as well as I can express them.  First, with respect to McArdle and others mischaracterizing carrying guns as a form of politcal speech:

Let me explain the issue so even McArdle can understand it.  The guns that people bring to these events are designed to kill people -- that is their sole purpose.  When I strap one on and wear it to an event I am saying to my fellow citizens "if you fuck with me, I am willing to kill you."  The gun is not designed to stimulate debate, it is designed to end it.  It is not a symbol of civil liberty, it is an instrument of solipsistic incivility saying rather clearly that I intend to have the last word -- and not in the way that Megan imperiously proclaims from her perch on high in her blog post.

As for the dangerous interplay of guns, the fringe characters attracted to the tea party ethos, and their right wing cheerleaders, here was my impression from 16 months ago of what we were probably going to see:

What you see here is a lumpen mass whose inherent sense of resentment and suspicion has been turned up to eleven by right wing manipulators like Fox, NRO, Malkin, Instapundit, and their fellow traveling cretins.  It's all well and good until one one or two or more of these armed rubes snaps and we have carnage on our hands.  Then despite the inevitable protestations of shocked innocence on the part of the aforementioned shit stirrers, they will truly have blood on their hands.

I wish I had been wrong.

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In Arizona, Glocks Selling Like Death Hotcakes Right Now

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US has fired 250,000 rounds for every insurgent killed

There is an amazing (and startling) statistic out of Iraq and Afghanistan: the United States has fired an estimated 250,000 for every insurgent killed. The U.S. is going through so much ammo that manufacturers are struggling to keep up. In another milestone, U.S. troops in Afghanistan now surpass the number in Iraq.
Continue reading 'GAO: U.S. Has Fired 250,000 Rounds For Every Insurgent Killed'

And in a related story:

Vice President Biden told reporters at a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday that the United States is willing to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014 if the Afghans want the assistance. Funny. I don't remember being asked if I was willing

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Start Your Subscription Today!

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No. Both sides do NOT do it

Whatever may have happened in another country and another time, the plain, simple fact is that the right wing in this country is and has been routinely endorsing violence against their political opponents for decades now.

There are people still alive who supported the segregationist policies of George Wallace, who cheered as the police used dogs and firehoses on marchers.  These people don't vote for Democrats anymore.  They were conservative in the 1960s, and they're conservative now.  They have always used violence to achieve their ends.

The entire conservative movement - from their politicians to their media personalities to the 'grassroots' Tea Party groups - has embraced continual calls for violence against their fellow citizens.  Ann Coulter has sold a lot of books advocating that conservatives speak to liberals only with baseball bats.  The very same conservatives  - again, from politicians to TV hosts to columnists to nameless fool on the street - who got the vapors every time Bush was denounced now consider it perfectly fine to call the President of the United States of America a non-citizen usurper, a traitor to this country, a dangerous criminal hell-bent on destroying everything we hold dear.  They worship guns, they constantly fantasize about violence.

So in whatever way you can, resist those who want to blame 'both sides' and/or cast conservatives as victims.  Do not give into those who warn against 'politicizing' this event; someone tried to assassinate a politician based upon her views and votes.  It was political from start to finish.

PZ Meyers has a great post about this, please read it if you haven't already.

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Remember this?

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Herbert: A Flood Tide of Murder

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Wisco: Thoughts on the Tragedy.

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For what? WikiLeaks: Julian Assange 'Faces Execution or Guantánamo Detention'

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It appears Pat Robertson is not alone speaking for God in the use of nature to punish the sins of man. A Christian pastor in Queensland, Daniel Nalliah of Catch the Fire Ministries, has announced that the devastating floods in Australia are actually divine judgment against Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd because he "spoke against Israel" in December 2010.

Continue reading 'Australian Pastor Blames Prime Minister for Causing Disasterous Floods as God's Vengence'

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Glenn Beck: Then And Now

Glenn Beck in 2005: "I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong?"

Glenn Beck in 2011: "Sixty percent of Americans say the rhetoric in America has nothing to do with the shooting. It's -- it's quite honestly an abomination that it's only 60 percent of the American people. I don't understand how rhetoric had anything to do with it."

What would Glenn Beck be saying today if somebody had shot Michael Moore?

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Remember this?

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Bob Cesca: Doof Quote of the day

"This guy appears to be a communist. His beliefs are the liberal of the liberals [sic]. There is no evidence whatsoever that this man was influenced by Sarah Palin or anybody in the Republican Party. This man is not a conservative; he's a fan of communism - that's the opposite of conservatism." Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-Dumbstupid

To repeat what I just wrote on Twitter in response to this nonsense: I own the book "Of Mice and Men." That doesn't prove I'm a Depression-era migrant worker or a mentally challenged rabbit-fetishist.

Also, have you noticed how Hannity and others are suggesting that Loughner's copy of "Mein Kampf" indicates he's a liberal? Yep. The Goldberg/Beck myth that fascists are somehow liberal marches on.

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Why We Should Not Let a Semblance of Normalcy Silence Us  

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going_vague3

The most prominent Conservative public intellectual in America weighs in on the Tuscon tragedy.

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AZ to do something right! Will wonders never cease?

HuffPo: Arizona's state legislature has announced a legislative effort to combat the infamous Westboro Baptist Church's plans to picket the funerals of the shooting victims in Tucson over the weekend.
Every state should pass this, and someone also needs to remove their tax exempt status. Yesterday.
 
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Oh, look, it's Sarah Palin! - by mistermix

Sarah Palin released a video earlier this morning. It's a mix of sympathy for the victims, boilerplate platitudes (American exceptionalism gets multiple mentions) and attack.

There's no apology for her imagery, since "both sides do it":

Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that only serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

She claims that debate now is more civil than back when there were duels, and says we can't be stopped by those who seek to "muzzle dissent by shrill cries of imagined insults". And, haters, take note: we're better than "mindless fingerpointing". When Sarah points her finger, as she does many times in this video, she wants you to know that her mind is fully engaged.

Palin's toned-down appearance and scripted delivery show that she wants to adopt the appearance of reasonableness, but the message is more-or-less unchanged. The setting is presidential, but the message is classic Palin, lashing back at her critics. She was clearly hoping to show "gravitas", but that's more than set dressing.

Update: Here's how the Times, Post and Politico headlined their reports. So much for reasonableness and gravitas.


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Just in time for this year's State of the Union Address a gun and accessories manufacturer in South Carolina is celebrating their well known neo-Confederate asshole of a Congressman, Joe Wilson, with a special edition of a lower receiver for the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. It is a limited edition of a part that can be adjusted to convert the weapon into a fully automatic rifle and it is stamped with "You Lie" in tribute to Wilson's childish outburst at last year's SOTU:

Joe_you lie_Wilsons line of gun parts

According to the local paper the asswipes represented by Congressman Asswipe wanted to:

"...honor our esteemed congressman Joe Wilson with the release of our new 'You Lie' AR-15 lower receiver…"

And in light of the many, many recent events linked to gun violence the company added some small print to help Wilson duck and cover:

Continue reading What will he say this year…

 
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Jill: The Wall Street/Washington battle to restore the Gilded Age and do away with a thriving middle class is almost complete.
 
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Erick Erickson:  

Because he had the wretched cruelty to write:

Through it all though, well meaning people on both sides of the ideological and partisan divide are not talking about the one thing that should be talked about — a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Yup, sure, that's my first thought:  kill a nine year old girl; shoot some nice lady through the left hemisphere, murder a judge, and the proper response is to reflect on just how much that Jewish love child Jesus has done for me lately.
 
 
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A "courageous first step" or a "tacit admission" 
You decide:
"I told all of our guys [at Fox News], shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually," Mr. Ailes said. "You don't have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that."
I suspect that won't last, because, as Andy Borowitz humorously noted, that would create a real problem for Fox News:
"Fox without violent rhetoric would be like The Weather Channel without maps."
Seriously, though, while it is a good thing that there are people on the Right who are now talking about toning down the hate, I don't see it happening. They would have to make a real argument as to why giving massive tax breaks to large corporations and the rich helps reduce the deficit and spurs economic growth. They would have to put forth a plan to address the rapid rise in health care costs that have been going on for many years.

They probably can't, which is why they resort to bullshit cries of "socialism", "communism", "Second Amendment remedies", "Obama's a secret Muslim" and all of the rest of that crap. I think that you'll see Fox News and the rest of the Right Wing Noise Machine pick up the Crack Pipe of Hate soon enough.

But I will be happy to be proven wrong.
 
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Safety for me, but not for thee
 
In August of 2009, when the hatred and fearmongering over healthcare reform reached a fever pitch, a man named William Kostric showed up at a presidential town hall meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire with a gun strapped to his thigh. He stood on church property near the high school where the meeting was taking place, holding a hand-made sign that paraphrased Thomas Jefferson's now-infamous quote about watering the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

A few days later, when the President held another town hall in Phoenix, about a dozen protesters with weapons showed up. One of them had an assault rifle slung over his shoulder.

When liberals and Democrats -- the memory of teachers wearing t-shirts that said simply Protect Our Civil Liberties being thrown out of a Bush rally and threatened with arrest for "obscenity" still fresh in our minds -- protested this effrontery, we were mocked.

These people, we were told indignantly, had a Constitutional right under the Second Amendment to bear arms even in the presence of our precious President, and if you don't exercise your rights, they warned,m those rights will disappear. (Oddly, they remained silent on the infringement of the First Amendment rights of those who had disagreed with Bush.)

Now, a proposed new law would require all "federal officials" to wear beanie hats with flashing lights on the top 



At least that's probably what would be required by Rep. Peter "The IRA Was Not a Terrorist Group" King's proposed bill. A bill which, of course, Mayor Mike and his cabal of gun-banners loves.

Let's face it, this proposed law would be about as stupid as they get, which says volumes about the lack of intelligence of Rep. King. If someone is bringing a gun to a public event to shoot someone, does anyone seriously think that they will be deterred by a law making it illegal to have the weapon? It already is illegal almost everywhere to shoot congressmen and judges.

So let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that Mr. IRA was speaking at a hall next to an interstate. Every vehicle driving by with a gun in the trunk, hunters, target shooters, people who had no idea that the Former Supporter of Terrorism was speaking there would be subject to being locked up in a federal prison. This bill is a stupid idea, even for Pete King.

(By the way, that noted fan of Irish terrorists is also wrong about his statement that it is illegal to have a gun within 1,000' of a school. That was thrown out by the Supremes over 15 years ago.)
 
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If you buy the "all Muslims are terrorists" meme, then you are invited to explain this:
Thousands of Muslims honored a promise made by their leaders and showed up at Christmas Mass or at candlelight vigils outside Egyptian churches on Friday, offering their bodies as human shields against any acts of terrorists.
Feel free to explain how Muslims protecting Christian services is an act of terror. I'd love to hear the rationalizations from the Christian Taliban in our nation.
 
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This doesn't happen very often There is snow on the ground in 49 of the 50 states, with Florida being the only state with none of the white stuff (Snow falls on Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea all winter long, and one of us has even snowskied in Hawaii.)

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Happy belated Gitmo Day! On Jan. 11, 2002, the United States captured a few dozen civilians in Afghanistan, and then shipped them to a lawless shithole Navy base on an embargoed island.

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Is Arizona a f***ed-up disaster?  If so, you might want to blame Arizonians who vote for politicians of the caliber of Republican State Senator Sylvia Allen.

Allen, who retained her seat in an election that fall, has since gained minor notoriety after calling for more uranium mining, saying in a speech that "this earth has been here 6,000 years, long before anybody had environmental laws, and somehow it hasn't been done away with." She also has complained that trees are "stealing Arizona's water supply" and sponsored a new law that allows carriers of concealed weapons to forego safety training and the indignity of background checks.

I have no words to describe the utter ignorance of Sen. Allen.  None.

Watch this.

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Remember this?