Thursday, March 31, 2011

Headlines - Thursday March 31

BP Gulf Disaster Impact Could Be Much Worse Than Expected
Report: Whale and dolphin deaths may be 50 times higher than believed.
Goldman Sachs in Japan: Don't Worry, Be Happy

With radiation levels in Japan soaring, the enlightened executives at Goldman Sachs have made their priorities clear to employees inexplicably worried about nuclear plants exploding around them. Stay put, they say, or it will look bad for business. Meanwhile, Sachs analysts have cut growth forecasts for Japan and see "limited near-term upside from current market levels" for copper and other metals. What planet do these people inhabit, and can we move it further away from Earth?


Hey, look, an Obama presser.

Today's subject: More war, fewer jobs!


Quote Of The Day - Sarah Palin




"It's unbelievable (literally) the rhetoric coming from President Obama today. This is coming from he who is manipulating the U.S. energy supply. President Obama is once again giving lip service to a 'new energy proposal'; but let's remember the last time he trotted out a 'new energy proposal' – nearly a year ago to the day. The main difference is today we have $4 a gallon gas in some places in the country. This is no accident. This administration is not a passive observer to the trends that have inflated oil prices to dangerous levels. His war on domestic oil and gas exploration and production has caused us pain at the pump, endangered our already sluggish economic recovery, and threatened our national security." - Sarah Palin, noting on her Facebook page that Obama has been in office for "nearly three years." If you count 26 months as three years, that is.
This will come as a shock to public workers.
JM Ashby: Faith in the Free Market
political pictures - march madness - middle east - oil - An Annual Tournament
A long-awaited federal study finds that an estimated 32 million adults in the USA — about one in seven — are saddled with such low literacy skills that it would be tough for them to read anything more challenging than a children's picture book or to understand a medication's side effects listed on a pill bottle.
"On The Ground"

Remember the president's promise that there would be no American boots on the ground? Ahem:

CIA officers on the ground in Libya assisted with the rescue of one of two airmen who ejected when their F15E fighter jet crashed last week, sources tell the Associated Press.


The Obama administration has sent teams of CIA operatives into Libya in a rush to gather intelligence on the identity, goals and progress of rebel forces opposed to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, according to U.S. officials.

Do they really expect us to believe they are there solely to "gather intelligence"? But notice the artful phrasing: "gather intelligence on the ... progress of rebel forces". That wouldn't mean guidance and advice would it?

This is how dumb wars start. When presidents insist they haven't.

The judge is ticked that GOP Governor Walker and his state legislative cronies outright ignored a court order against implementing the state's new union-busting law. So she's now making things crystal clear:
"Apparently that language was either misunderstood or ignored, but what I said was the further implementation of (the law) was enjoined," Sumi said during a hearing. "That is what I now want to make crystal clear."
This is one of the big differences between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats work within the system to change laws they deem unjust. Republicans simply ignore the law. Bush didn't like FISA, so he simply refused to go before the judges at all. Whereas when Obama didn't like DOMA, the President sent his lawyers to the court to tell the judge they'd still be showing up in court, but they'd be arguing that the law is unconstitutional (and Obama notified Congress so the Republicans could take up the suit themselves, and they are). The Republicans would simply not show up at all.
Remind me again which industry lost trillions and threw the global economy into a recession? Just because spoiled brat bankers like Dimon recovered nicely doesn't mean that's the case for everyone else. It's amazing to think this guy was one of Obama's leading candidates to run the Treasury department. Who is really damaging America here?
Hypocridiot of the day
The whackjob wingnut M.O. in a nutshell.
VIDEO: Oops! Michele Bachmann demands freedom of speech… except for the L.A. Times

Priceless. Just perfect. Watch all the way to the very end.
Eric Turner (R-Ind) thinks women are going to lie about rape and get free abortions.
Also, Arizona bands race and sex based "Hate Abortions"; Dials Up Batshit Insanity to Eleven.
Any woman who ever votes for a republican for any reason at all needs to be committed to an insane asylum. 
Clarence Thomas Gladly Reads Amoral Decision Against Innocent Black Guy Who Spent 14 Years On Death Row

No, the glasses don't make you look any smarter.

Fringe-right corporate lackey Clarence Thomas has famously kept his mouth shut during most of his 20 years on the Supreme Court, because how could anyone improve upon Antonin Scalia's insane bullshit? But on Tuesday, Clarence Thomas cheerfully took the opportunity to read the conservative majority's decision against an innocent black man in New Orleans who had been framed by the district attorney and was very nearly executed. The man, John Thompson, won a $14 million judgment against the crooked New Orleans prosecutors — a million dollars for every year he was wrongfully imprisoned, often in solitary confinement. And now that judgment has been overturned by our sorry excuse for a high court. Clarence Thomas really got a kick out of reading this to the Supreme Court.


This crosses the line that separates legitimate religions and cults. "One Salt Lake City man, a church employee for more than a decade, is surprised and angered that he lost his temple recommend -- a prerequisite for employment in the church -- after he refused to give up his gay friends and was fired. ... Drew Call, 32, a returned missionary who is gay, was a supervisor in the church's printing department until March 7 March 4. At a February private meeting with his Salt Lake City stake president -- who declined to be interviewed -- Call says he was asked to abandon his gay friends as a condition for renewal of his temple recommend. Surprised and fearing people may not believe him, Call surreptitiously made an audio recording of the follow-up meeting in March so there could be no doubt about what happened. ... On the recording, the stake president expresses concerns that Call recently had taken his daughters to "gay bingo," a monthly charitable fundraiser hosted by the Utah Pride Center and the drag/comedy troupe Utah Cyber Sluts. "I think it's inappropriate to take children, and I really think it's inappropriate for you to go, myself, to this gay bingo," the stake president says on the recording. Later, the stake president says of the gay community, "They are conducting themselves in a manner that is definitely in opposition to teaching and practices of the gospel. I've talked to you about this, about your association with [gay people]. Last time you left here, you were willing to give up your four, or so, individuals." Call responded that he'd thought about it, but wasn't willing to give up his gay friends after all. ... To receive or maintain a temple recommend, Mormons must answer certain standardized questions. The stake president says on the recording that the question Call could not answer honestly asks, "do you support, affiliate with or agree with any group or individuals whose teaching or practices are contrary to or opposed to those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?" The stake president goes on to say that that question applies to Call's gay friends "because of the moral decay that is going in the world and that's part of it. The church opposes the relationship between a man and a man and a woman and a woman, and you're associating with those individuals. I don't know how to get around that.""


Brave wingnut crusade against creeping Sharia in Alaska.


Cramped, cheap, minimal, short-sighted, pathetic. Whatever happened to soaring goals that challenged us? "President Barack Obama has vowed to reduce US oil imports by one-third in little more than a decade. He said in a speech in Washington that America had to "get serious" about a secure and affordable energy future. Higher oil prices are threatening to hamper US economic recovery and there is growing dissatisfaction among car drivers with pump prices. Mr Obama said the US must move towards getting 80% of its electricity from non-oil sources by 2035. "We cannot keep going from shock to trance on the issue of energy security, rushing to propose action when gas prices rise, then hitting the snooze button when they fall again," he said during a speech at Georgetown University."


Substantially fewer people are viewing/listening to his speeches these days.  Couple this fact with his 42% job approval rating---the lowest since he took office--and you realize that President Obama is headed up Doo-Doo Creek without sufficient means of propulsion.

The GOP wants to disappear the video of Real World douchebag star-turned-representative whining about his $174,000 salary. "First the Republican Party in Polk County, Wisconsin, pulled the tape of Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) fretting about making ends meet on his $174,000 a year salary from its own website. Now they want it gone from the whole Internet. ... For a couple hours, the local county GOP was successful. But we've put an excerpt of the video back up. ... A day after TPM posted the video we obtained of Duffy talking about his salary at a Polk County town hall meeting earlier this year, the Polk County GOP contacted the video provider we used to host the video,, and demanded the video be taken down. ... The tape caused a stir for Duffy, a first-term conservative best known for his past as a reality TV show star on MTV's The Real World. Democrats flagged the comments about his taxpayer-funded salary (which is nearly three times the median income in Wisconsin) and criticisms began to flow Duffy's way. ... In the clip, Duffy is asked whether he'd support cutting his own salary. Duffy says he would, but only as part of a plan where all public employees' salaries would be cut. He then said that the $174,000 in salary (not including benefits) he receives is a squeeze for his family of seven to live on."


Fox Exec Admitted He Didn't Believe the 'Obama Socialism' He Was Pushing.


Urantian Sojourn thinks that appointing GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, to be the chairman of Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness would be like appointing Larry Summer and Timmy Geithner to head up his economic advisory team. Oh, wait.


With the new monkey bill, Tennessee takes evolution education back to Scopes.


A proposed law making its way through the South Carolina legislature would loosen gun ownership to an astonishing level. If passed, legal gun owners could bring their weapons to restaurants, day-care centers, and churches. The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Thad Viers (R), says that expanding the places that one can carry a concealed weapon in the state is an effective anti-crime measure.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Headlines - Wednesday March 30

Wonkette: Hey, That Obama Address Sounded a Lot Like Bush Declaring War
Eating Local Food: The Movement, Locavores and More
You have to go back to the Scopes monkey trial to find a time when conservatives were as willingly scientifically stupid as they are now in their tea party days. It's really quite stunning.
The Rich Get Richer While Nurses, Teachers, and Firefighters Get Trounced.
Why is nobody talking about this? According to leading military scientist Dr. Sarah Palin, this conflict could very well be a squirmish, which just sounds awful
At this point, supply-side economics could hardly be a bigger failure
Scissors cutting moneyCut taxes and you create jobs. Cut taxes and you create jobs. Cut taxes and you create jobs...

Say it over and over and it becomes true. Never mind that supply-side reasoning sets basic economics on its head and argues that it's not demand that drives employment, it's low taxation. Cut taxes, create jobs, end of story. It helps that the argument behind supply-side economics almost seems logical; if taxes are lower, businesses can afford to hire more. I say "almost logical" because that's the problem -- it fails to consider history and the facts, considering instead the world the way supply-siders wish it was. It isn't rational.
Right Wing Watch reports that today Tea Party Nation emailed its followers with a warning that the "uniquely American culture" of WASPs is in danger of extinction. Because shameful white women are having fewer children. Also: Too many brown people! Also also: GAYS.
What is keeping America's fertility rate up are immigrants - both legal and illegal. There are those in America who are continuously attacking the family, bent on redefining marriage and have established anti-family government programs. This has led to downward pressure on our national total fertility rate. All of these actions are done in the name of various causes such as: reducing unwanted pregnancies, delaying child bearing to further career goals and even promoting childlessness and promoting adoption as a better option. Child bearing has become something distasteful to many women, an unwanted and painful experience to be avoided rather than embraced. All of these programs, ideals and ideologies are doing one thing and one thing only - reducing America core TFR to the point of no return. The White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) population in America is headed for extinction and with it our economy, well-being and survival as a uniquely America culture. This county is dying not because it is aging, it is dying because of infertility as public policy.
REMINDER: Tony Perkins Is A Racist

I mentioned Family Research Council leader Tony Perkins' racist history and affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan a couple of years ago, but this bears repeating for those that missed it.
In 1996, while managing the U.S. Senate campaign of Woody Jenkins against Mary Landrieu, Perkins paid $82,500 to use the mailing list of former Klan chieftain David Duke. The campaign was fined $3,000 (reduced from $82,500) after Perkins and Jenkins filed false disclosure forms in a bid to hide their link to Duke. Five years later, on May 17, 2001, Perkins gave a speech to the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a white supremacist group that has described black people as a "retrograde species of humanity." Perkins claimed not to know the group's ideology at the time, but it had been widely publicized in Louisiana and the nation, because in 1999 — two years before Perkins' speech to the CCC — Republican House Speaker Trent Lott had been embroiled in a national scandal over his ties to the group. GOP chairman Jim Nicholson then urged Republicans to avoid the CCC because of its "racist views." The Duke incident surfaced again in local press in 2002, when Perkins ran for the Republican nomination for the Senate, dooming his campaign to a fourth-place finish in the primaries.
This is the same man now regularly invited to make anti-gay testimonies before Congress. This is the same man now regularly invited to spew his bigotry on national news networks. This is the same man who almost every day emails his millions of followers about the evil of homosexuality.

One of the mantras of congressional Republicans over the past two years has been to ask, "Where are the jobs?" House GOP leader John Boehner (OH) made this into a theme of the campaign last fall. As then-GOP chairman Michael Steele summarized the argument: "Americans are still asking, 'Where are the jobs?' ... Washington Democrats still have no answers." ... This afternoon, Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and other progressives took to the floor of the House of Representatives to turn this question back on their Republican colleagues. Ellison and the others asked where all the jobs-creation legislation was, excoriating their conservative colleagues for focusing on legislation like terminating the HAMP program, which would do nothing to create jobs. ... At one point, Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) took to the floor to respond to the progressives. She attacked the HAMP program, urging her colleagues to end it, and signaled that she would oppose progressive amendments to the GOP's bill for ending the mortgage modification program. Then, she incredulously told her colleagues to stop talking about jobs and focus rather on the substance of the amendments."

While the Democrats continue to compromise and capitulate, Eric Cantor and the Republicans aren't negotiating. No more continuing resolutions -- they want their cuts or the government will shut down.

"I mean I want to see a long term CR here. We've got bigger things to deal with. Time is up here," Cantor said. "A short-term CR without long-term commitment is unacceptable."

To translate -- Congress will not pass a stopgap again unless there's an agreement in place for a solution that funds the government through September.

So, fine, there are going to be budget cuts. But the Democrats can either minimize those cuts or they can give Cantor what he wants. The Republicans will win this -- and, in a way, they already have. They're getting their spending cuts. It's just a matter of how much. And who will lose? Everyone else.

Where is it?!?!?!
Donald Trump puts forward unofficial birth certificate (what's he hiding?)

Nice try, Kenyan.

Because cartoon rich person Donald Trump constantly needs new attention for his fake presidential run, he's recently decided he's a birther. Sure thing, Donald Trump. How brave of you to take time off from your important job fake-firing and fake-hiring former celebrities to shed light on this pivotal fake issue. But once the "Trump is birther" news cycle ended, he needed to up the ante. So he released his birth certificate to Newsmax yesterday. Except this yellow alleged hospital document is not an actual birth certificate from the New York City Department of Health. So why does Trump refuse to release a real, certified, long-form birth certificate? What is he hiding? Where was he really born? READ MORE »


Calling Boehner's bluff

It's going to come down to this -- 87 Teabagger freshmen in the House who are willing to go down with the sinking ship as political martyrs if we don't cut nutritional aid to pregnant women and their abortion bills aren't signed into law soon.

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats on Tuesday posed an ultimatum to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on the budget: Bring your tea party "extremists" in line or prepare for a government shutdown come April 8.

On a conference call with reporters, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Thomas Carper (D-DE) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) took turns excoriating Boehner for what they depicted as the House GOP leadership's capitulation to the 87 House freshmen threatening to scuttle any deal with insufficiently high spending cuts.

"Our problem is that we see now that Speaker Boehner is yielding to the extremes of his party, basically saying he's not going to negotiate, take it or leave it," Cardin said, insisting that Democrats were eager to compromise and cede ground to reach a deal.

I may not like it, and you may not like it when Democrats say they are "eager to compromise" but they are still the adults in the room and right now they are calling Boehner's leadership bluff. And don't be fooled, this really does put Boehner in a tough position. If he brings the Teabaggers in line, they will seek revenge on him. If he doesn't, he will be seen as uncompromising and it may very well be him who is blamed for a government shutdown. Gingrich anyone?

If there's one thing the polls all show right now, it's that Americans want compromise. I don't agree with "Americans" in this instance, but that's the base which the current discourse is being waged upon.

The radioactive core in a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor, and the EPA is measuring radiation levels in our rain water.
So much ...
For "handing over responsibility":

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is engaged in a fierce debate over whether to supply weapons to the rebels in Libya, senior officials said on Tuesday, with some fearful that providing arms would deepen American involvement in a civil war and that some fighters may have links to Al Qaeda.

We're still paying for our interference in Afghanistan in the '80s when we armed the "freedom fighters" against the Soviets. How long will we pay for this?
Will Durst: Sarah Palin visited Jerusalem's Wailing Wall, and was very excited because whaling is a big industry around Alaska.
Making Taxpayers for Christ
In the World According to Man-On-Dog, if it weren't for all them dirty sluts not doing their part of the American tax structure, there'd be no problems with Social Security revenues today.
55 people were murdered and at least 95 injured in Tikrit, Home of Saddam Hussein. (But at least we are freedom-bombing Libya, amiright?) [McClatchy]
How to assure you win an election in a small town 
You can now buy your very own Diebold Accu-Vote voting machine on eBay.

They have ten of 'em. That ought to do it.

Brad Friedman, who followed up with the seller to get to the source of these beauties:
The seller tells The BRAD BLOG the systems, more than 100 of them, come from Van Wert County, Ohio! And from a state like Ohio, you know the machines work just as they are supposed to! Get yours now and become the life of the party!
Nearly two-thirds of US companies pay no income tax. So when teachers, firefighters and policemen are being fed a line about "shared sacrifice," it really means "shared sacrifice" among other teachers, firefighters and policemen.
So there is no penalty for prosecutorial misconduct? They can railroad anyone to Death Row and get away with it. Welcome to Gilead. "In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, who contended that his office should not have to pay a $14 million judgment awarded to former death row inmate John Thompson, who was wrongfully convicted of murder when prosecutors withheld evidence. ... At a news conference wtih Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, Cannizzaro said the opinion "removes a dark cloud of uncertainty that was hanging over the district attorney's office when I arrived here in 2008." ... Cannizzaro noted that the judgment, which he estimated had grown to about $20 million with interest over the past four years, would have effectively shuttered the DA's office. ... The court's opinion was written by Justice Clarence Thomas, who was joined by John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy. At issue was whether the DA's office could be held liable for the actions of a couple of prosecutors who admittedly hid some blood evidence favorable to Thompson in an armed robbery case before taking him to trial for the 1984 murder of hotel executive Ray Liuzza during an Uptown stickup. ... Prosecutors typically enjoy immunity from such lawsuits, but a jury in 2007 sided with Thompson, who sued the DA's office for railroading him into death row via the purposely bungled robbery case. Then-District Attorney Eddie Jordan defended the civil case in federal court, but the Thompson prosecution was overseen by longtime Orleans Parish DA Harry Connick. ... The decision by Thomas concluded that the DA's office could not be held responsible for failing to train prosecutors about their obligation to turn over exculpatory evidence based on a single case.  It means that Thompson will not collect his award."
Scott Walker Ignores Court Orders, War Against Normal People Continues

Scott Walker is Above the Law

People who aren't billionaires experienced a rare "hopeful" sensation (haha, remember that word, "Hope"? Before it was removed from the Oxford English Dictionary and replaced with "OMG"?) last week, after an activist judge legislating from the bench ruled that Scott Walker's Gilded Age labor bill was total garbage. Scott Walker's goon squad just cold-ignored this ruling, of course! And now this same hippie judge has made another Koch-block ruling against Wisconsin's famous collective bargaining plan. Not a problem, though! Wisconsin's Assistant Attorney General Steven Means still says "the legislation 'absolutely' is still in effect." See? That's how Democracy works. [TPM]


Whoops. "A BP employee lost a laptop containing personal data belonging to thousands of Louisiana residents who filed claims for compensation after the Gulf oil spill, a company spokesman said Tuesday. ... BP spokesman Curtis Thomas said the oil giant on Monday mailed out letters to roughly 13,000 people whose data was stored on the computer, notifying them about the potential data security breach and offering to pay for their credit to be monitored. The company also reported the missing laptop to law enforcement, he said. ... The laptop was password-protected, but the information was not encrypted, Thomas said. ... The data included a spreadsheet of claimants' names, Social Security numbers, phone numbers and addresses. But Thomas said the company doesn't have any evidence that claimants' personal information has been misused."


William Rivers Pitt: The New American Dream


I flipping knew it was eventually going to come to this.


People helping people

House GOP kills program that stopped 600,000 foreclosures

Better built than most new tract homes!

The U.S. economy will continue to be terrible, as far as jobs and housing and state tax revenues, as long as the Housing Crisis continues. And, based on today's news and basically all housing news for several years now, the collapse of the Housing Bubble is an ongoing catastrophe — with prices still falling, terrible loans still "resetting," 9% unemployment sending ever more families into default, 14 million homeowners "underwater," 3 million foreclosures last year and another 3 million foreclosures expected this year. How might the House Republicans help America "get back to work" or whatever? By eliminating the four federal programs that have helped 1.5 million homeowners temporarily reset their mortgages and 600,000 permanently modify their loans to more affordable amounts. READ MORE »


Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned the actions of the five American soldiers charged with the murder of three unarmed Afghan men. Karzai, in his first public comments on the soldiers: "They killed our youth for entertainment. They killed our elders for entertainment."


Rep Sean Duffy complains about his $174,000 salary.


Meanwhile, in Japan: The president of TEPCO has been hospitalized with a nasty case of "hypertension." Hypertension has also seeped into Japan's water supply, soil, and produce. And with a half-life of approximately 25,000 years, this hypertension is here to stay! [AP]

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Headlines - Tuesday March 29

Morning awesome: BP Managers Said to Face U.S. Manslaughter Charges Review
The Gulf Coast: Come For the Dead Baby Dolphins, Stay and Get Sick
Actually the Koch brothers started whining at a very early age, even before their father, Fred Koch, became a founding member of the John Birch Society in 1958.
Libertopians always amuse me when they spout the nonsense about an armed society being a polite society. No. An armed society is a scared society, where normal people are terrified that any day might be their last day if one of the vicious arrogant savages who enjoy killing people happens to decide they need killing for no reason at all.

You want proof of the viciousness of some human beings? Rolling Stone's expose of The Kill Team should be frightening enough about the depths of viciousness that some people will descend to. And don't say it's because these guys got trained to be killers yada yada. These guys were vicious *before* they joined the military, indeed, probably wouldn't have been allowed to join prior to the War on Brown People Everywhere and the resulting issues with recruiting that the Army has been having.

My best guess is that the typical pasty cheeto-stained-fingered Libertopian wanking off to photos of dead brown people in Mommy's basement would be scared shitless if these folks were walking down the streets of his city in full battle rattle with rules of engagement basically letting him shoot anybody he feels need killin'. As in, we'd need some adult Pampers big-time, yo.

Clinton: No attack on Syria for now.
Bad news for Lieberman. He was already planning to invade.
Remember when they scream about "voter fraud" they are just shouting to distract you from their own voter suppression efforts -- and if you don't speak up now, soon there will be no one to speak for you. "Thursday, ThinkProgress reported that the Ohio House had approved the most restrictive voter id law in the nation - a bill that would exclude 890,000 Ohioans from voting. Earlier this week Texas lawmakers passed a similar bill, and voter id legislation - which would make it significantly more difficult for seniors, students and minorities to vote - is now under consideration in more than 22 states across the country. ... Conservatives have said voter id laws are necessary to combat mass voter fraud. Yet according to the Brennan Center for Justice, Americans are more likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than commit voter fraud. And the Bush administration's five-year national "war on voter fraud" resulted in only 86 convictions of illegal voting out of more than 196 million votes cast. Instead conservatives are employing an old tactic: using the specter of false voting to restrict the voting rights of minorities and the poor."
An Open Letter to Liberal Supporters of the Libya War
But I'll bet they vote for cutting government spending on education:
Evangelical college Liberty University is the largest recipient of federal aid to a student body in Virginia and the eighth largest recipient in the country overall, reports Lynchburg's News and Advance.
Eighty-eight percent of the $445 million in federal aid that Liberty, of Lynchburg, Va., received in the 2009-2010 school year was comprised of student loans; the remaining 12 percent came in the form of Pell grants and other federal education subsidies.

For those of us who are incredulous at the changing rationales for our intervention in the Libyan civil war, Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough has come to the rescue. He told reporters that "we don't make decisions about questions like intervention based on consistency or precedent. We make them based on how we can best advance our interests in the region." Thus, inconsistency is the consistent policy that we are trying to advance?

The White House has sent out legions of allies to defend his decision to intervene in a civil war. We were originally told that we simply wanted to maintain a no-fly zone. We are now actively assisting the rebels in their campaign and taking out government forces. What is most striking are the liberals who are defending the President and acknowledging that the distinction between Libya and Syria is probably oil (which we refer obliquely to as "our interests"). The key is that we no longer offer a pretense of principle or consistency. We appear now to simply be saying that we are the United States and can intervene whenever it suits our purposes.

"The First Amendment was written by the Founders to protect the free exercise of Christianity. They were making no effort to give special protections to Islam." Director of Issues Analysis Bryan Fischer from the American Family Association

I wonder if each wingnut yanks constitutional "facts" out of his or her own ass, or if there's one big community ass from which they all yank.

Just to be perfectly clear: Fischer is waaaaaay wrong. Way, way, way wrong.


Massachusettes rainwater radiation probably from japan.


The majority of female students at Cornell petition against having to share dorms with black students. There aren't any now, but two have applied for rooms.


Mario: Will Republicans Pay For Their Deeds in 2012?


Israel air strike kills 2 in Gaza - less than 24 hours after Palestinian factions offered a truce if Israel's military stopped bombarding the Gaza Strip.
But consumers remain wary.
Administration "Considering All Options" Regarding Libya
Except consulting Congress.
Army Apologizes for Abu Ghraib-Like Photos, This Time From Afghanistan
Says it won't happen again.
"Ten Commandments judge" Roy Moore to run for president.
I'm dreaming of a white district

ABOVE: Separated at Birth? Pigpen and Dough-Bob Loadpants (aka J-Load Doughberg)

Shorter J-Load Doughberg, America's Shittiest Website™:
Chocolate City No More

I, for one, think it is a good thing that there are fewer blacks in DC. One of the many benefits of urban improvement is that it makes all the blacks move out, because they really don't like to live anywhere but crime-ridden slums where they can sell drugs and mug people.


Maybe, if you're having a meeting about the fate of Libya, you might want to have a Libyan or two among the attendees?

(CBS/AP) LONDON — World powers were meeting in London on Tuesday seeking to plot out an endgame for Muammar Qaddafi's tottering regime and to strike agreement on plans for Libya's future.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Arab League and as many as 40 global foreign ministers were joining the talks — seeking to ratchet up pressure on Qaddafi to quit.

Just sayin' ...

Addendum: And, again, just sayin', maybe we should send our own war criminals to The Hague before we demand the Libyans turn Gadhafy over.
This is what "trickle down" looks like, people: After paying zero in taxes and actually receiving a tax credit of $3.2 billion dollars, GE is planning to share that wealth by eliminating a defined contribution benefit pension for new employees, eliminating the current health insurance plans in favor of lower quality health saving accounts, and possibly freezing wages. 
Jill: Sorry, Mr. McKinley, no redemption for you.
Have shepherds, like Patrick Edouard, always had carnal relations with their sheep?  Or is this just another modern trend?
When the going gets tough, Japanese CEOs get going. (And we don't mean they put on their Superman Underoos and get busy, but as in they disappear.) "In normal times, Masataka Shimizu lives in The Tower, a luxury high rise in the same upscale Tokyo district as the U.S. Embassy. But he hasn't been there for more than two weeks, according to a uniformed doorman. ... The Japanese public hasn't seen much of him recently either. Shimizu, the president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco, the company that owns a haywire nuclear power plant just 150 miles from the capital, is the most invisible -- and also most reviled -- chief executive in Japan. ... Amid rumors that Shimizu had fled the country, checked into hospital or even committed suicide, company officials said Monday that their boss suffered an unspecified "small illness" due to overwork after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake sent a tsunami crashing onto his company's Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station. ... Vanishing in times of crisis is something of a tradition among Japan's industrial and political elite. During Toyota's recall debacle last year, the car maker's chief also went AWOL. "It is very, very sad, but this is normal in Japan," said Yagushi Hirai, the chief editor of Shyukan Kinyobi, a weekly news magazine. ... Shimizu's vanishing act "is not so much extremely strange as inexcusable," said Takeo Nishioka, the chairman of the upper house of Japan's Diet, or parliament. Speaking to reporters, Nishioka described as "mysterious" Shimizu's refusal to join the head of the nuclear safety agency at a briefing on the crisis for parliament. "I cannot understand this," fumed Nishioka."

I have to admit I'm enjoying watching Weepy, the strangely orange-hued Speaker of the House, deal with his coalition of water-head Teabaggers and Xristian Xraxies as he tries to get a budget passed. No wonder he can only get three weeks at a time.

  • Teabaggers, morons that they are, only know how to subtract. And if they don't get their way slashing everything, they will say that they will shut down the government.
  • The Xristian Xraxies won't vote for the budget unless pregnant women are strapped to a cot and forced to calf their rapist's baby, and/or strip gays of their rights is attached to the bill.

And then the Dims are there saying if you do either of those things, we won't vote either.

It's enough to give a man grey hair. If he weren't already dying it, that is.


At least he didn't claim mission accomplished. "In a televised address to the nation on Monday night, Obama said he refused to be a president who waited for images of slaughter before taking action (except in countries without oil). In blunt terms, Obama said the response had stopped Gaddafi's advances and halted a slaughter that could have shaken the stability of an entire region "To brush aside America's responsibility as a leader and more profoundly our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are (except, say in places like Sudan). "Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different," Obama said. However, he said that broadening the international mission to include regime change would be a mistake."
Thank you, anti-science rethuglican know-nothings. "China is on course to overtake the US in scientific output possibly as soon as 2013 - far earlier than expected. That is the conclusion of a major new study by the Royal Society, the UK's national science academy. The country that invented the compass, gunpowder, paper and printing is set for a globally important comeback. An analysis of published research - one of the key measures of scientific effort - reveals an "especially striking" rise by Chinese science. The study, Knowledge, Networks and Nations, charts the challenge to the traditional dominance of the United States, Europe and Japan. The figures are based on the papers published in recognised international journals listed by the Scopus service of the publishers Elsevier."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Headlines - Monday March 28

Aussie PM gives climate change speech Obama won't:
In case we need another reason to think two, three, 20 times before committing ground troops anywhere. "In February 2006, with roadside bombs killing more and more American soldiers in Iraq, the Pentagon created an agency to defeat the deadly threat and tasked a retired four-star general to run it. Five years later, the agency has ballooned into a 1,900-employee behemoth and has spent nearly $17 billion on hundreds of initiatives. Yet the technologies it's developed have failed to significantly improve U.S. soldiers' ability to detect unexploded roadside bombs and have never been able to find them at long distances. Indeed, the best detectors remain the low-tech methods: trained dogs, local handlers and soldiers themselves."

No-Lie Zone

Fixer: Since the Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear Meltdown began, the world governing body of real football soccer has mandated a minute of silence before every match out of respect for the Japanese. Now, I probably see more soccer matches in a week than most Americans see in their lifetimes and I've seen the "minute of silence" a hundred times since the catastrophe. In every match, in Europe, in Asia, in South America, the referee had to blow his whistle to end the silence. Caught the US - Argentina match the other night from Jersey's Meadowlands. Let's just say I was somewhat embarrassed.
Sex consulting with Newt
Newt Gingrich: My Affair Clarified Why Clinton Needed To Be Impeached
When Newt Gingrich was getting non-wife blowjobs during Bill Clinton's blowjob hearings, he did so because his lust for the United States of America needed an outlet. But America should really have been thanking Newt Gingrich for having that affair. All the court proceedings he's had to go to for his divorces over the years taught Newt what it meant to lie under oath at one of those things, so he knew it (an opportunity to embarrass and score points against Clinton) when he saw it. And all this adultery expertise didn't cost the taxpayers any extra!

GINGRICH: No. Look, obviously it's complex and obviously I wasn't doing things to be proud of. On the other hand, what I said clearly — and I knew this in part going through a divorce. I had been in depositions. I had been in situations where you had to swear to tell the truth. I understood that in a federal court, in a case in front of a federal judge, to commit a felony, which is what he did, perjury was a felony. The question I raised was simple: should a president of the United States be above the law? [...]

WALLACE: I'll ask you man-to-man. did you think to yourself I'm living in a really glass house? Maybe I shouldn't be throwing stones?

GINGRICH: No. I thought to myself if I cannot do what I have to do as a public leader, I would have resigned.

Newt is pretty modest, but we're probably all of the opinion that he should be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the brave sacrifice and consummate patriotism he showed in having sex with women who were not his wife. (And those mistresses should be given Purple Hearts for suffering what Newt did to them.) After all, impeaching Bill Clinton was necessary to protecting our country's—wait, no, there was no point to that. [Think Progress]

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times
To cite just one example, the relationship between Barack Obama and GE Chairman, CEO and Artful Tax Dodger Jeffrey Immelt is so close, it's a miracle Michelle Obama hasn't filed for divorce on the grounds of adultery. Indeed, when Obama turns over in bed at night, one can imagine his elbow hitting Immelt in the face.
One of the major tenets of war 
"No plan survives contact with the enemy."-- Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke (the Elder), 1800-1891
I am keeping that maxim in mind when I read the statements being put out by the Administration, such as this from President Obama's Saturday address:
As I pledged at the outset, the role of American forces has been limited. We are not putting any ground forces into Libya. Our military has provided unique capabilities at the beginning, but this is now a broad, international effort. Our allies and partners are enforcing the no fly zone over Libya and the arms embargo at sea. Key Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have committed aircraft. And as agreed this week, responsibility for this operation is being transferred from the United States to our NATO allies and partners.
Yeah. Sure. Assuming the Libyan rebels manage to topple the current regime, which as far as I can tell, will have to involve doing a Ceaușescu-type maneuver on Gaddafi, the Libyan Army will have to be completely rebuilt, which is going to require money, equipment and trainers. There may have to be stabilization troops on the ground for years (hello, KFOR).

Make no mistake about this, either: The crap about "we had to intervene to prevent a humanitarian crisis" is bullshit. We chose sides in an insurrection that has morphed into a civil war. In revolts, insurrections and civil wars, the losing sides generally get treated very harshly. There have been civil wars going on in sub-Saharan Africa for decades with millions of people getting killed. Those wars have included the use of rape and amputations as tools of terror. But other than some pissant interventions by the French in their former colonial regions, most of the world has only tut-tutted at it and confined its disapproval to trying the few warlords that have been arrested.

To quote a man I met this weekend: "If sand were a valuable commodity, we'd have intervened in Darfur years ago."

I don't object to the notion of Gaddafi (and his sons) being deposed. I imagine that the world will improve slightly when their oxygen-use permits are revoked. And I understand that much of this has to fall to us, because we are the only nation (for now) with the military and sensor capability to get this intervention started.

But it bothers me. In almost every state in this country, times are pretty grim. I don't know how we can ever to hope to remain a First World nation with deteriorating roads and shitty public schools. We have 1.5 political parties that regard education as maybe being a barely necessary evil.

In a world where it is becoming increasingly apparent that a basic business tool is the ability to access broadband Internet services, there are rural regions which don't have that and won't have that without government investment to at least help build the system. I don't understand why that is so hard to get going; the same exact point was true for rural electrification and telephone service in the last century.

We can't find money for better schools. We can't find money to improve our roads. We can't find money to use for developing businesses and industries. But we can always find money to go out and kill people around the world.

And that bothers me.

More protesters killed in Syria. "Twelve people were killed on Saturday during anti-government protests in the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, the government has confirmed. It said civilians and security personnel were among the fatalities. Dozens of people have been killed in a week of protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. A presidential spokesman said a decision to lift decades-old emergency laws had already been taken. President Assad is expected to address the nation in the coming days. The government said at least 200 people were also hurt in Latakia and blamed the deaths and injuries on unidentified gunmen shooting from rooftops."

What gives? We'll take a wild guess and say greedy SOBs. They reject the idea of companies using profits to hire employees rather than already wealthy CEOs: "U.S. corporations continue to post strong profits quarter after quarter, even as the unemployment rate remains high and the U.S. economic recovery plods along in fits and starts. What gives? Corporate profits grew 36.8 percent in 2010, the biggest gain since 1950, according to Friday's latest report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. No sign could be more clear that U.S. companies see the so-called Great Recession in the rearview mirror. The strong profits, however, mask the continued difficult terrain for businesses. Yes, profits are high, but that doesn't mean business is strong."
Nailing these big insurance bastards would make up for a lot
I am so old I remember when Blue Cross and Blue Shield were - you better sit down - non-profit insurance companies.

One of them covered doctors and prescriptions and the other covered hospital care. They merged and turned into a for-profit HMO during the Reagan crusade to corporatize America.

Before Reagan, HMOs were weird little experiments, trying to bring down healthcare costs by covering preventive care and encouraging healthy habits.

After Reagan, HMOs were Giant Rapacious Monsters, making profits not by encouraging good health but by denying payments to anyone stupid enough to actually get sick or injured.

They've been getting worse every year since. It does not surprise me to learn that Blue Cross/Blue Shield finally crossed the line from behavior that should be illegal to behavior that actually is illegal.

The surprising part is that the Obama Justice Department may actually prosecute the bastards for it.

Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars:

If Eric Holder ends up indicting and convicting the Blues, I'll take back every snide comment I ever made about the Department of Justice:

The U.S. Justice Department is widening a probe into whether Blue Cross Blue Shield health-insurance plans are artificially raising premiums in several states by striking agreements with hospitals that stifle competition from rival insurers.

Federal investigators and some state attorneys general have sent civil subpoenas to "Blue" health plans in Missouri, Ohio, Kansas, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and the District of Columbia, according to people familiar with the matter.

The investigation is examining whether dominant health plans around the country are forcing hospitals to sign anticompetitive contracts that unlawfully inhibit them from doing business with their rivals.

The Justice Department's investigation comes as the Obama administration seeks to rein-in rising health-care expenses that threaten to drive up the government's costs for expanding care under President Barack Obama's health-care plan. Congressional Republicans and others have said the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Obama's signature domestic policy achievement, won't lead to lower insurance premiums. Showing that the administration can counter rising premiums by encouraging greater competition could help win support for the law from a skeptical public.

The contractual provisions under scrutiny are known as "most-favored nation" clauses. They usually stipulate that hospitals must charge the insurers' competitors equal or higher prices for medical services.

Such clauses aren't in themselves illegal-they can simply be guarantees to get the best pricing available. But they can violate antitrust laws if used improperly by a dominant company to hobble competitors.

Blue plans tend to be state- or regionally-based and therefore have the market clout to strike such deals with hospitals. While national plans such as UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Aetna Inc. tend to be larger, they are more spread out and typically lack the concentration of a Blue plan in a given local market.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said: "The antitrust division is investigating the possibility of anticompetitive practices involving MFN clauses in various parts of the country."

These insurance contracts are written with all kinds of unfair and non-competitive restrictions. Did you know that when doctors sign an agreement with an insurance company to accept their users, they also agree that they won't offer lower prices to patients who don't have insurance? So even if your doctor wants to cut you a break, he can't.

Imagine, just for a minute, that your insurance company were motivated not by squeezing every last dime of profit out of you but by giving you financial incentives to get and stay as healthy as possible.

It actually does happen, right here in America:  At the socialist-medicine success of the Veterans Affairs health care system. For millions of seniors who rely on the single-payer Medicare system. And soon for every resident of the Great State of Vermont, whose legislators have just approved a single-payer system.

Have you talked to your Democratic neighbors today?

World's Governments Can't Decide How Radioactive Everything Is

Today is probably your last chance to finger-bang.

Extremely radioactive water has been discovered outside one of the Fukushima reactors, which means there's a good chance that radioactive liquid is seeping into Mother Earth right now as we are typing this. Tepco officials reported that radiation levels at Reactor No. 2 were "10 million times higher than normal before correcting that figure to 100,000." That doesn't sound fishy at all! (Nothing will ever sound fishy ever again, once all the fish die of radiation poisoning.) And while American Authorities promise that only trivial amounts of radiation have harmlessly trickled over to our continent, and that our precious anus burgers and plasma widescreens are still safe, four of eleven radiation detectors in California were offline for "repairs" last week. Oh, and now traces of radiation have been detected on the East Coast, on the other side of the world. So who knows? Maybe everyone will die today. Luckily there is already a plan to drain all the oceans and then use the radioactive saltwater to power spaceships to Mars. [BBC]


The Minnesota TimberMILF wants to punish single mothers economically. "Bachmann proposes implementing a tax system that would encourage "family formation." The context of Bachmann's remarks make it clear that she would like to either give tax credits, or lower tax rates to people who are married as opposed to those who are single. Given Bachmann's past statement on gay rights, the lower tax rates and/or tax credits would also only apply to heterosexual couples. If implemented, single mothers would likely be taxed at a higher rate than mothers who are married."
The free speech closet
No word if reporter imprisoned in a closet at Biden event was stripped naked

[Insert illiteracy/pissing on underage girls joke]

Though foreign reporters are still filing stories from Libya these days, such freedoms do not exist in the Landfill of Humanity on this side of the Atlantic, a place also known as "Florida." On Wednesday morning, Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Powers went to cover a Bill Nelson fundraiser featuring Joe Biden at one of those Florida death mansions made out of stucco and the corpses of sex offenders or whatever. But Biden hadn't gotten there yet, so his advance team put Powers in a closet and posted a staffer at the door so he couldn't get out and talk to the awful rich Florida people who showed up to this thing. "When I'd stick my head out, they'd say, 'Not yet. We'll let you know when you can come out,'" Powers said. He didn't, however, say if he was stripped naked and forced to live in solitary confinement for days on end, which is usually what people get when they aid and abet journalism these days. READ MORE »