Thursday, January 6, 2011

Headlines - Thursday January 6

Bob Herbert: Get Ready for a G.O.P. Rerun
Mario: Making a mockery of border security in 18 seconds

The U.S/Mexico border fence occupies 700 of the 2000 mile border.  It was built at a cost of $4 million per mile which works out to a total cost of about $3 billion. Maintenance will cost billions more.  Back in September, Bloomberg wrote:

If idiocy were a capital crime, at least 73 percent of Congress would be facing the hangman.

That's the percentage of legislators who supported the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which created one of the most stunning boondoggles in U.S. history…

Was it worth the cost?  Check out the video below and decide for yourself.


Wisco: Repeal and replace - maybe .... we'll see

You can find out how many are still being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan here. White people, anyway.
1,400 more troops are being FedExed to Afghanistan. The senseless bloodlust continues! [CBS]
Fat Tony agrees to speak to new conservative members on the Constitution

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia is again in the midst of controversy with his decision to accept an invitation from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to speak to incoming conservative members about the Constitution as part of their training. Bachmann, the founder of the House's Tea Party Caucus, is leading efforts to repeal health care and seek new legislation based on a more conservative view of the Constitution. The decision to participate in such an event shows exceedingly poor judgment.


The N-word belongs in "Huckleberry Finn"

The new censored version of the classic book is a cowardly attempt by Americans to avoid their own tortured history


Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the teabagging founder and former CEO of a hospital group found guilty in the hugest Medicare scam in history, began his tenure today by issuing an executive order limiting the state's non-discrimination law to cases involving race, gender, creed, color and national origin. South Florida Gay News reports:

"Governor Scott did not even include all of the classifications listed in the Florida Civil Rights Act -- let alone sexual orientation and gender identity," said Rand Hoch. As President and founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Hoch has become a familiar voice on behalf of equality issues in South Florida. He called Scott's view of diversity "limited and very discouraging" according to an article by Steve Rothaus with the Miami Herald. By ignoring the categories of "handicap" or "marital status" in his new non-discrimination policy, Scott has actually managed to add discrimination to the Florida Government policies which was not previously there. Those two categories are protected by Florida Law under our Civil Rights Act and many advocacy groups have been working tirelessly to add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the language as well.

RELATED: In 2002 the hospital group founded by Scott pleaded guilty to the largest Medicare fraud scheme in U.S. history, eventually paying an all-time record $2B in fines and settlements. Following a raid at his office by the feds, Scott was forced to resign, taking with him a mere $350M in stolen government money.


Robert Gibbs is out.

Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary and close confidante to President Obama, said Wednesday that he will step down and become an outside political adviser to the president and his re-election campaign.

Is anyone going to miss him?




h/t Dick: How Wall St. execs bankrolled GOP victory

Hedge fund moguls donated $10 million, gained key House allies to head off financial reforms



Peter Boyer's nearly 9,000 word profile of Speaker John Boehner in the New Yorker last month filled in a few gaps in what is commonly known about Boehner's biography, but there was a notable item in the new speaker's background that Boyer left out — the fact that just four months ago the Capitol was aswirl in rumors that Boehner was having an extramarital affair with a (female) lobbyist. 


So this is how mainstream religion responds to extremist violence?

I know the excuses already. The cowardly assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, who murdered Governor Taseer in Pakistan was an outlier, a freak, a weirdo, and we atheist bastards better not try to demean religion by associating a rogue individual with it. Can we spit in contempt on an entire culture instead?

Taseer was buried in his home town of Lahore. The 66-year-old was assassinated yesterday by Mumtaz Qadri, one of his police bodyguards, after he had campaigned for reform of the law on blasphemy.

Qadri appeared in court, unrepentant, where waiting lawyers threw handfuls of rose petals over him and others in the crowd slapped his back and kissed his cheek as he was led in and out amid heavy security.

Yeah, Qadri must be a despised outcast and entirely unrepresentative of what the moderates believe.

To be showered with rose petals for gunning down a defenseless man you were hired to protect…it sounds like Islamic Paradise.


GOP House members to read Constitution AND Huckleberry Finn - By Don Davis


I see that the WaPo editorial board is shocked, shocked to discover that the incoming republicans aren't serious about deficit reduction. Who could have suspected?

I was going to be snarky all the way here, but actually let's be serious: the gullibility of much of the media establishment on all this amounts to journalistic malpractice.. -
The big lie and the lying liars that tell it
Robert Reich reminds us not to forget that it is, in fact, a lie.
Republicans are telling Americans a big lie, and Obama and the Democrats are letting them. The big lie is our economic problems are due to a government that's too large, and therefore the solution is to shrink it.

The truth is our economic problems stem from the biggest concentration of income and wealth at the top since 1928, combined with stagnant incomes for most of the rest of us. The result: Americans no longer have the purchasing power to keep the economy going at full capacity. Since the debt bubble burst, most Americans have had to reduce their spending; they need to repay their debts, can't borrow as before, and must save for retirement. -
common dreams
19 Dems make symbolic vote against Pelosi. So now we have this:


IKEA announced it will no longer stock or sell incandescent light bulbs, effective Tuesday. The world's largest retailer of home furnishings says it is the first major retailer to stop selling incandescents.

IKEA's move comes far in advance of the federally mandated phase-out of incandescent bulbs. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 bans 100-watt incandescents beginning in 2012 and 60- and 40-watt incandescents in 2014.

Teabaggers will claim the Constitution says absolutely nothing about energy-efficient bulbs nor, they'll tell you, is there a single word in reference to ready-to-assemble furniture, will claim Swedes are all socialist, fascist, liberal, baby-eating Nazis and call for a ban of all IKEA stores in 3, 2, 1…



Good news! Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes of as much as 59% for individuals.

The emotionally unstable alcoholic chain-smoker now running the House of Representatives wants to make sure this is the future for all Americans unlucky enough to need health insurance (because they're not covered by the free congressional coverage that Boehner gets, along with the other GOP members of Congress). Haha, and Democrats in the House are demanding that the GOP members all opt out of the federal plan. God, what a stupid country.

The California rate hikes don't really have much to do with orange-nut John Boehner, other than the company is claiming (among other things) that the "costs of health care reform" are one of the reasons for the three or four separate rate hikes individually insured policy holders have faced in the past year.

What's "fun" about this is self-employed people are mostly not exactly rolling in money, in this third year of the recession and second year of the recovery. For many of those seeing their insurance rates doubling, the only option is to drop the insurance. And that means when they get ill — and everyone gets ill, and most everyone will be treated for expensive illnesses before they die — they'll be 100% covered by whatever program gets stuck with the bill. It's like double-super-secret Obamacare + HillaryCare x the USSR. Thanks, Republicans! (Or should we say comrades?) [LAT/Reuters]


No one saw this coming: GOP budget cuts may be much lower than promised.


There is no single reason for the rise of food prices around the world but rather, many contributing factors such as population growth, weather and of course, traders making a short term buck. The Independent.


Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone on John Boehner


I'm seriously sick of the Republicans playing Patriotism Theater on the taxpayer's dime. They care about flag-burning, but ask them about the freedoms the flag represents and Republicans are much less interested. And yes, they're going to have someone read the Constitution on the House floor, but the Bill of Rights (beyond the 2nd Amendment) - not so important.

The high theater, and empty-headedness, that is the modern Republican party just sickens me sometimes. Our country cannot survive as a world leader with leaders who refuse to focus on any of our problems - with leaders who refuse to admit that we have any problems at all. "We're number one!" might play well at the ballot box, but it (along with prayer) are lousy strategies for the long-term survival of a superpower.


Touchy touchy.


funny pictures of cats with captions


Jill: Before you get optimistic over those job numbers...


Jurassicpork: Dear General God…




The first pre-emptive surrender of 2011!

Wow, President Carebear has already signaled that the GOP has won on Healthcare Repeal –the day BEFORE they actually got the gavel:

The Obama administration, reversing course, will revise a Medicare regulation to delete references to end-of-life planning as part of the annual physical examinations covered under the new health care law, administration officials said Tuesday.

As I've noted before, if I am ever captured by the GOP or other terrorist organization, please find a skilled negotiator to haggle for my release.



Bill O'Lielly: No one knows how ocean tides work.


Remember all the ridiculous posturing about the evils of earmarks during the campaign season? turns out that in the tea party dictionary, an earmark is defined as "money spent in districts that elected Democrats."

Members of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus may tout their commitment to cutting government spending now, but they used the 111th Congress to request hundreds of earmarks that, taken cumulatively, added more than $1 billion to the federal budget.

According to a Hotline review of records compiled by Citizens Against Government Waste, the 52 members of the caucus, which pledges to cut spending and reduce the size of government, requested a total of 764 earmarks valued at $1,049,783,150 during Fiscal Year 2010, the last year for which records are available.

"It's disturbing to see the Tea Party Caucus requested that much in earmarks. This is their time to put up or shut up, to be blunt," said David Williams, vice president for policy at Citizens Against Government Waste. "There's going to be a huge backlash if they continue to request earmarks."

[ ... ]

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), for one, attached his name to 69 earmarks in the last fiscal year, for a total of $78,263,000. The 41 earmarks Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.) requested were worth $65,395,000. Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) wanted $63,400,000 for 39 special projects, and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) wanted $93,980,000 set aside for 47 projects.

Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) takes the prize as the Tea Partier with his name on the most earmarks. Rehberg's office requested funding for 88 projects, either solely or by co-signing earmarks requests with Sens. Max Baucus (D) and Jon Tester (D), at a cost of $100,514,200. On his own, Rehberg requested 20 earmarks valued at more than $9.6 million.

The next two years are going to be enough to make your head explode if you have any committment to consistency at all.


it wasn't cost cuts per se, it was cuts in the wrong kind of costs: instead of safety, they should have cut Tony Hayward's salary. "The companies involved in the BP oil spill had made decisions to cut costs and save time that contributed to the disaster, a US panel has found. In a 48-page report, the presidential commission wrote that the failures were "systemic" and likely to recur without industry and government reform. But it said BP did not have adequate controls in place to ensure safety. The April blast aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 people and caused one of the worst oil spills in history."


Club-wielding chickens. We like this. "An extinct flightless bird from Jamaica fought rivals and predators using wings evolved into clubs, scientists suggest. The boney bludgeons carried by Xenicibis xympithecus are unlike anything else known in the bird world - or in mammals, reptiles or amphibians. Writing in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B, the scientists report finding bones that had apparently been broken by another bird's club. The species may have survived until less than 10,000 years ago. A member of the ibis family, it was probably about the size of a chicken, but with an infinitely more robust armoury."

I wish domestic chickens would use this method to club farmers who cram them into tiny, filthy cages.


GOP Congress Ratifies Constitution Again Or Something?

The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, in picture-form!

John Boehner will create more jobs today by forcing members of Congress to take turns reading passages from the United States Constitution, because one of the new "rules" is that the 112th Congress has to "do something third graders would do, in social studies class" before they can begin the business of the day (shouting NO!! at each other and shooting rubber bands at the Guam delegates/any brown people sitting politely in the Gallery). Another likely explanation for this dumb bullshit exercise is that the new Teabagger Congressmonsters actually think they're voting to ratify the Constitution, and you know how they feel about carefully reading each piece of legislation before voting on it! (This is also why Eric Cantor uploaded the Constitution to his website three days before reading it on the House floor, like an idiot. It's called "transparency," people.) The bad news is that "the Constitution will be read in its most modern, amended form. This will prevent lawmakers from having to recite politically uncomfortable portions." The goddamned Democrats are up to their usual high-jinks and took out all the good parts about slavery at the last second! Send it back to committee and make it right. [The Hill]



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