Saturday, September 06, 2008

Saturday Stuff

Come to think of it, I'm kind of in the mood for a beer myself (at least one, given the stuff in the last post - h/t The Daily Kos)...

...Nada Surf ("Whose Authority").

A Love Note To Blogger Tech Support

Time for more boring "blogger meta" stuff...

I posted last week about the fact that I could not view the site from my daytime location because I received an error message telling me that Internet Explorer 6 couldn't load it, so the operation was aborted. I thought the issue lied with my daytime provider, but the issue has now replicated itself on my home PC, so I now know that the fault lies with Blogger. This has been going on since at least Wednesday, and to say that I'm PO'ed about Blogger's inaction on this (despite three posts to the Blogger help(less) group) is a huge understatement.

What this means to you, dear reader, is that, in addition to possibly encountering this issue yourself since it seems to be replicating, I will not be able to reply to comments since I can only do so in view mode, and again, when I try to access the view, I get the IE error and it crashes. And I know this is occurring with other IBC blogs.

I read a post on a discussion forum that this may be some Blogger/Google trick to get more people to try Chrome instead of IE; believe me when I tell you that I am not a fan of anything created by Bill Gates, but it ended up costing me over $300 to replace my hard drive and install some new programs the last time I had to back out of IE7 (which is a hideous program) back to IE6, and I'm not going to risk that hell again with a new browser. And in principle, this would be a reprehensible thing for Blogger/Google to do; I was willing to put up with the occasional disappearing/duplicating post from time to time, to say nothing of disappearing/duplicating text and other content, but if this is what they're up to, this would absolutely tear it with them.

So I don't know exactly what will be happening next. I may try to continue posting, or I may just put everything on hold while I ready a new "home" elsewhere and cut the cord with Blogger for good. It's really up to them.

If and when I get this mess settled, I'll let you know ASAP. In the meantime, thanks for hanging in there.

Returning To PA-08 Once More

I know I haven't had much to say about the 8th District PA Congressional race between incumbent Dem Patrick Murphy and Repug challenger Tom Manion for a little while, and that is because Manion hasn't really done anything to generate news coverage as far as I can determine, though a debate has been scheduled for October 17th (and I had to search to find that out, and in the process, I came across this link; it turns out that Manion has been meeting riders at the Cornwells Heights, PA train station to determine their concerns, or something: 1) Isn't it a little late to still be trying to determine what the concerns of the voters are? and 2) Meeting the voters at train stations sounds just a little familiar, though I know no party has a monopoly on that tactic).

Well anyway, just to remind us of how important it is to support Patrick, here's his speech at the Democratic National Convention (and to reward good behavior, click here).

Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday Stuff

Give 'em hell, Joe, whether they know that's what it is or not (h/t The Daily Kos - the volume gets louder about halfway through; dag, he was right down the street from me, more or less)... first, here is the 9/11 "tribute" video shown at the Repug National Amnesia Festival ("tribute" to whom, I wonder? Utterly contemptible - "a president who knows how," or whatever? Too afraid to come right out and plug McBush?)...

...and, as usual, K.O. hits the perfect tone in his response...

...and I realize that it gets a bit pointless and stupid at times to keep noting that Fox Noise is the media operation for the Rethuglican Party masquerading as a news organization, but we do what we must...

...and as a tribute to Bill Melendez, here is the final six minutes or so of "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"...

...and to take us into the weekend with style, here's Chris Isaak ("Diddley Daddy," on "Soundstage"; I have no clue about his politics, but I just like his music).

Echoes Of Dubya From John W. McBush

Believe it or not, there’s still more from Michael Morrill at Keystone Progress that I didn’t get to previously…

Like McCain, Bush Promised Bipartisanship

1999: Bush Bragged He "Worked Closely With Both Parties." At a speech given to the Latin Business Association Luncheon, George W. Bush said, "This reform movement also requires a different mindset in politics. Education is too important to have a strategy of divide and conquer. Unless parents and principals, teachers and academics, Republicans and Democrats can find common purposes, reform will fail. I have worked closely with both parties in my state, because I know that if we set out to score partisan points, we will never solve problems. If we do not share credit for progress, all of us deserve the blame for failure." ["No Child Left Behind" speech, via Project Vote Smart,
9/2/99, emphasis added]

2008: McCain Bragged About Working "With Members Of Both Parties." In his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention, McCain said, "Again and again, I've worked with members of both parties to fix problems that need to be fixed. That's how I will govern as President." [RNC, 9/4/08, emphasis added]

Like McCain, Bush Promised To End “Partisan Rancor”

2000: Top Adviser Said Bush Would "Clean Up The Partisan Rancor." The Ottawa Citizen reported, "The presidential candidate will set the tone of his campaign with his primetime acceptance speech today. 'The tone will reflect the direction he wants to take the country in,' said Ed Gillespie, one of Mr. Bush's policy advisers. 'He wants to clean up the partisan rancour which has marred the political process.' 'He will show a new, fresh political style which is more inclusive,' Mr. Gillespie added." [Ottawa Citizen, 8/3/00]

2008: McCain Addressed "The Constant Partisan Rancor" In Washington. In his convention speech at the Republican Convention, McCain said, "The constant partisan rancor that stops us from solving these problems isn't a cause, it's a symptom." [The Atlantic, 9/4/08]
And lest we forget...

Bush's Tax Cuts Pay For Cindy's Outfit

According to
Vanity Fair, the outfit Cindy McCain wore at the Republican Convention Tuesday night cost a whooping $313,100.

Oscar de la Renta dress: $3,000
Chanel J12 White Ceramic Watch: $4,500
Three-carat diamond earrings: $280,000
Four-strand pearl necklace: $11,000-$25,000
Shoes, designer unknown: $600

Total: Between $299,100 and $313,100

I hope she thanked Laura Bush while they were on stage together. According to an analysis by the
Center for American Progress Action Fund, the McCains have received $313,413 thanks to George Bush's tax cut.

If John McCain were President, she might have been able to add a bracelet to the ensemble. According to the
same study under McCain proposed tax cuts they would have received tax breaks of $367,788.
And as we always know, as far as the Repugs are concerned, "tax cuts will always be their 'Jesus'" (here).

Friday McBush Economic Lowlights

I’ve got a whole bunch of stuff to get to courtesy of Michael Morrill of Keystone Progress, so let’s begin, shall we?

  • McCain Used Record Of Job Layoffs To Attack Romney. CBS News reported that McCain attacked Romney's record and rhetoric that private-sector experience enhances his ability to create jobs: "McCain added by criticizing Romney's private sector experience, which Romney has used as his platform for being able to bring America's economy back. 'As the head of his investment, quote, company. He presided over the acquisition of companies that immediately laid off thousands of workers.'" [CBS, 1/28/08]

  • (McBush Adviser Carly) Fiorina Laid Off Nearly 18,000 HP Workers During "Restructuring." According to the Omaha-World Herald, "Hewlett-Packard, based in Palo Alto, Calif., had a $ 903 million loss on revenue of $56.6 billion for its fiscal year that ended last Oct 31. According to a summary by Hoover's Inc., an Austin, Texas, provider of business information, Hewlett-Packard has undergone extensive restructuring under Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina. The company announced earlier this year that it planned to cut 17,900 people by October because of a weak economy and its merger with Compaq." [Omaha-World Herald 9/29/03]

  • Fiorina Suggests Her Biggest Mistake Was Not Firing More People More Quickly. In 2005, Fortune magazine reported that "Fiorina does not agree, naturally, that there's been a brain drain (at HP). In fact, she believes that one lesson she's learned while running HP is that she should have moved more quickly in ejecting certain people. Smartened up now, she says, "I would have done them all faster. Every person that I've asked to leave, whether it's been clear publicly or not, I would have done faster." [Fortune, 2/7/05]
  • According to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, McBush's corporate tax cuts would give:

  • $3.8 billion in tax breaks to the 5 biggest oil companies [CAPAF , 4/15/08]

  • $1.9 billion in tax breaks to the 10 biggest health insurers [CAPAF , 4/15/08]

  • More than $500 million to the companies where his economic advisors serve or served as CEOs [CAPAF, 4/15/08]
  • And maybe this is why Senator McBush wants to talk Terra! Terra! Terra! instead of what matters most…

  • McCain On Outsourcing: "I Don't Care How Many Of Them You Outsource." Responding to a question about the economy during an appearance on MSNBC's Hardball, McCain said, "If we start seeing what a lot of us expect, and that is a strong economy cannot go forever without picking up jobs. I don't care how many of them you outsource, then I think the president is going to be helped by that." [MSNBC, "Hardball," 2/25/04]

  • McCain Told Ohio Workers Their "Jobs Aren't Coming Back," But "Free Trade Is The Best Thing That Can Happen To Our Nation." At a town hall meeting in Rocky River, Ohio, McCain told the audience, "Some of those manufacturing jobs are not coming back and you know it and I know it." McCain added, "The economists that I know and trust and the history that I study, and I study a lot of history, says that free trade is the best thing that can happen to our nation. When we have practiced protectionism it has had devastating consequences." [Reuters, 2/25/08]

  • McCain Said "I Can't Tell You These Jobs Are Ever Going To Come Back." During a campaign trip to Youngstown, Ohio, McCain said, "I can't tell you that these jobs are ever going to come back to this magnificent part of the country … But I will commit to giving these workers a second chance. They need it, they deserve it. I know that's small comfort to you, but I can't look you in the eye and tell you those steel mills are coming back." [New York Times, 4/23/08]

  • McCain: "There Are Some Jobs That Aren't Coming Back To Michigan." During a Republican Debate on Fox News, McCain said, "Sometimes you have to tell people things they don't want to hear along with things that they do want to hear. There are jobs -- let's have a little straight talk. There are some jobs that aren't coming back to Michigan." [Fox News, Republican Debate, 1/10/08]

  • McCain Belittled Mill Workers When Asked About The Detrimental Effects Of Trade. USA Today reported, "A man in Littleton [Colorado] complained that free-trade policies were destroying the textile industry. 'Frankly, I didn't know that your ambitions for your children were to work in a textile mill,' McCain said. 'I would rather have them work in the high-tech industry.'" [USA Today, 9/7/99]

  • McCain Told Workers Not To "Cling To An Old Economy." According to the Boston Globe, McCain said, "So we want people to be part of that revolution, and we've got to be part of that new economy, rather than try to cling to an old economy." [Boston Globe, 4/23/08]

  • In The 1980s, McCain Supported Maquiladora System That Threatened U.S. Jobs. States News Service reported, "The federal government's promotion of U.S. investment in Mexican factories has pitted congressmen from states bordering Mexico, including Arizona Reps. Jim Kolbe, Morris K. Udall and John McCain, against others who charge the policy exports American jobs. … Also, Republican McCain has sent a pro-maquiladora letter to his fellow congressmen in response to a 'dear colleague' letter from a Pennsylvania House member who bashed the twin plant system, according to a McCain aide. … The maquiladora system, established by the Mexican government in 1965, allows non-Mexican owners of plants within 25 miles of the border to assemble their products on the Mexican side and then bring them back to the U.S. twin plant without paying duties." [States News Service, 10/14/86]
  • And I would ask that you remember this for a moment also…

  • McCain Said Americans Ought to Offended By CEO Pay and Golden Parachutes. In an April speech, McCain said, "Americans are also right to be offended when the extravagant salaries and severance deals of CEOs “in some cases, the very same CEO's who helped to bring on these market troubles – bear no relation to the success of the company or the wishes of shareholders." [McCain Economy Speech, 4/15/08]
  • …as you read about how much “Straight Talk” McBush and his pals are worth.

    Meg Whitman

    In 2007, Whitman Received A "Package" Worth $10 Million. As reported by the Associated Press, "Retired EBay chief executive Meg Whitman received compensation valued at US$10 million in 2007, a pay package that included $787,936 for personal air travel, according to a securities filing by the company on Monday. Whitman, a billionaire who owns a two per cent stake in online auctioneer EBay, the second largest holding, retired in March after 10 years at the helm. Considered one of Silicon Valley's most powerful women, she remains on EBay's board and serves as a special adviser to incoming CEO John Donahoe. Her 2007 pay package included a salary of $995,016, a bonus of $243,013, and $1.4 million in non-equity incentive pay, according to the company's proxy statement. She received stock and option awards valued at $6.6 million when they were granted and other compensation equal to $792,436, including the travel expenses." [Associated Press, 4/28/08]

    Whitman Received A $2.9 Million Salary In 2005. As reported by Forbes, eBay CEO Meg Whitman received $2.9 million in 2005. [Forbes, accessed

    Despite Retiring, Meg Whitman Still Draws $1.2 Million Annually As A "Special Adviser." As reported by Barron's, "In an 8-K filing with the SEC this afternoon, eBay disclosed that outgoing CEO Meg Whitman will draw a $600,000 annual salary as a "special advisor" to the company through the end of the year. She also will have a target incentive bonus equal to her base salary, i.e., another $600,000." [Barron's,

    Carly Fiorina

    Despite Being Forced Out, Fiorina's Severance Package Was Reportedly More Than $42 Million. CNNMoney reported, "Ex-Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will get a severance package worth about $21.4 million, but stands to reap another $21 million after she was forced out by the computer maker's board last week, a newspaper reported Saturday. The additional amount reflects the estimated value of her Hewlett stock and options as well as her pension, which were not included in her severance package, the New York Times reported." [,

    Fiorina Was Paid $10.7 Million In 2002, But Was Decreased To $6.6 Million In 2003 Due To Poor Performance. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, "Hewlett-Packard has slashed the pay of chief executive Carly Fiorina after she missed some performance targets last year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission… Fiorina's total pay -- including salary, bonus and stock options -- dropped about 38 percent from $10.7 million in fiscal 2002 to $6.6 million last year.

    While her base salary went up from $1 million in 2002 to $1.24 million in 2003, her performance-based bonus dropped from $2.9 million to $2.1 million and the value of her stock option grants declined from $6.8 million to $3.3 million." [San Francisco Chronicle,

    Rudy 9iu11ani

    Giuliani Is Worth Up To $70.4 Million, Earned $16.8 Million In 2006. As reported by CNN, "'They are an elite class,' said Shelia Krumholz, director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics. 'Only about 1 percent of the American population are millionaires.'… "Giuliani reported assets of between $18.1 million and $70.4 million. Because the FEC allows candidates to report assets within ranges, the actual value of his assets lies somewhere between those figures. The report also shows that during 2006, Giuliani made $16.8 million in income, including about $9 million for giving speeches, usually at $100,000 a pop." [CNN,

    Willard Mitt Romney

    Mitt Romney Was The Richest Presidential Candidate In 2008, Worth Up To $250 Million. As reported by the Associated Press, "Republican Mitt Romney is expected to report financial assets between $190 million and $250 million, an amount that would likely make him the wealthiest of the 2008 presidential candidates… Romney also has a blind trust for his children and grandchildren that is estimated to hold assets between $70 million and $100 million, the adviser said. Those assets do not benefit Romney or his wife and are not required to be reported in federal financial disclosures." [Associated Press,

    Fred ("Flaw And Ardor") Thompson

    Fred Thompson Made $8 Million In 2006. As reported by CNN Money, "Fred Thompson may be history's best-paid public servant. He's been a senator, lawyer and lobbyist, but his stint as Arthur Branch, the DA on 'Law and Order,' and other acting bits playing past and present U.S. Presidents and FBI and CIA directors are what made him wealthy. In 2006 he took in about $3.6 million for his acting roles, another $3.6 million as a commentator for ABC Radio, plus $1.6 million for making speeches. He collected an additional $200,000 or so from his investments." [CNN Money,

    "Deadeye" Dick Cheney

    Dick Cheney Is Worth Up To $99 Million, Possibly $29 Million More Than In 2001. As reported by the Washington Post, "Vice President Cheney and his wife, Lynne, have fared better, reporting assets of at least $21 million and as much as $99 million, the forms show. The Cheneys are at least as wealthy as they were when the vice president entered office, and may have added as much as $29 million to their net worth during his tenure." [Washington Post, 5/16/08]

    Cheney's Halliburton Retirement Package Was Worth An Estimated $20 Million. As reported by the New York Times, "The energy services company that Dick Cheney served for much of the last five years as chairman and chief executive has agreed to let Mr. Cheney, the Republican vice-presidential candidate, retire with a package worth an estimated $20 million, according to people who have reviewed the deal. The board of the Halliburton Company, which is based in Dallas, approved the arrangements on July 20, five days before Gov. George W. Bush announced his selection of Mr. Cheney as his running mate." [New York Times, 8/12/00]

    And speaking of taxes (were we?), Adam Jentleson, the Communications and Outreach Director for the Hyde Park Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, tells us…

    To cut through the rhetoric coming out of St. Paul, here is a by-the-numbers examination of how Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin are proposing a third term of failed conservative policies.

    The McCain-Palin Agenda for Our Economy:

    Zero tax relief for 100 million middle-class Americans, but trillions in tax cuts for big corporations and the very wealthy.

    $175 billion per year in tax cuts for corporations.

    $45 billion per year in tax cuts for the top 200 corporations alone.

    * The top 1 percent will receive nearly 50 percent of the benefits of McCain's tax plan.

    * People making $5 million a year (McCain's definition of "middle class") will get a
    nearly $1 million tax cut.

    • Women will continue to make 78 cents to every dollar a man earns because
    McCain opposes legislation to close the pay gap.

    The McCain-Palin Agenda for Health Care:

    158 million Americans will be at risk of losing their employer-sponsored health care coverage.

    56 million Americans with chronic illnesses will be at risk of losing their coverage.

    * More than 59 million women who receive their health insurance through their job or their spouse's job will be at risk of losing that insurance.

    * More than 30 million women who suffer from a chronic condition could lose their coverage, find it harder to obtain coverage, or have to purchase supplemental insurance to cover their chronic condition.

    * Millions of middle class Americans
    will see their taxes go up, because McCain's health care tax credit is not indexed to keep up with costs. (For instance, a family making $60,000 a year will see their taxes go up by $1,100 by 2013.)

    * McCain's one-size-fits-all health care tax credit will fall far short of covering many Americans' health care costs. For instance, it will cover
    less than one-third of the average health care costs for older, sicker Americans.

    The McCain-Palin Agenda for Energy:

    $4 billion in tax cuts for the top 5 oil companies in the U.S. ($1.2 trillion a year for ExxonMobil alone).

    $39 billion in taxpayer subsidies for big oil and gas companies over the next five years.

    More than 30 years before gas prices go down, because it will take at least that long for McCain's drilling proposal to affect prices.

    $0 in gas price relief from drilling, instead of up to $500 in relief from a proposed gas rebate that McCain opposes.

    The McCain-Palin Agenda for Four More Years of the Same Failed Conservative Agenda:

    159 lobbyists working for the McCain-Palin campaign.

    * 0 new ideas to get our economy working again and restore our leadership around the world.

    * 4 more years of President Bush's policy agenda.

    SEE ALSO: McCain's
    Slick Talk Express.
    And finally, this analysis from Jim Kuhnhenn and Jim Drinkard of the AP (the AP!) “lays it on the line” concerning “Senator Stiff” and “Governor Gidget” (and you KNOW McBush is in trouble when some of his former media chums feel left out to the point where they actually start doing their jobs again – and shockingly, that includes Ron Fournier here).

    More On Dubya And Our Military

    CNN tells us here that Dubya is “considering” 8,000 troop cuts (? – shouldn’t that be “a cut of 8,000 troops”?) in Iraq (gee, how nice of President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History to “consider” that, huh, seeing as how the majority of this country has wanted our people out of Iraq for – oh, gee, I don’t know - FOREVER???).

    However, The Almighty Petraeus tells us here that no cuts could take place before 2009.

    I report, you decide, my friends.

    A Summary Of The Charade

    It sounds like this individual would have been right at home at the Rethuglican Denial-Palooza this week (from ’04 – note the band aid mocking John Kerry’s Purple Heart). In that spirit, I thought this New York Times editorial today was worth a read…

    By the time John McCain took the stage on Thursday night, we wondered if there would be any sign of the senator we long respected — the conservative who fought fair and sometimes bucked party orthodoxy.

    Certainly, the convention that nominated him bore no resemblance to that John McCain. Rather than remaking George W. Bush’s Republican Party in his own image, Mr. McCain allowed the practitioners of the politics of fear and division to run the show.

    Thursday night, Americans mainly saw the old John McCain. He spoke in a moving way about the horrors he endured in Vietnam. He talked with quiet civility about fighting corruption. He said the Republicans “had lost the trust” of the American people and promised to regain it. He decried “the constant partisan rancor that stops us from solving” problems.

    But there were also chilling glimpses of the new John McCain, who questioned the patriotism of his opponents as the “me first, country second” crowd and threw out a list of false claims about Barack Obama’s record, saying, for example, that Mr. Obama opposed nuclear power. There was no mention of immigration reform or global warming, Mr. McCain’s signature issues before he decided to veer right to win the nomination.

    In the end, we couldn’t explain the huge difference between the John McCain of Thursday night and the one who ran such an angry and derisive campaign and convention — other than to conclude that he has decided he can have it both ways. He can talk loftily of bipartisanship and allow his team to savage his opponent.

    What makes that so vexing — and so cynical — is that this is precisely how Mr. Bush destroyed Mr. McCain’s candidacy in the 2000 primaries, with the help of the Karl Rovian team that now runs Mr. McCain’s campaign.

    There could not have been a starker contrast between Mr. McCain’s night on the stage and the earlier days of the convention, a carnival of partisan rancor. It was not a forum for explaining policies or defining ideals, certainly none ever associated with Mr. McCain.

    On Wednesday, the nastiest night of the week, Mr. McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, and other speakers offered punch lines, rather than solutions for this country’s many problems — ridiculing the Washington elite (of which most were solid members) and Barack Obama.

    “Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights,” Ms. Palin said.

    Mr. Obama, in reality, wants to give basic human rights to prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, only a handful of whom are Qaeda members, and shield them from torture. So, once upon a time, did Mr. McCain, but there was no mention of that in St. Paul, or of the bill he wrote protecting those prisoners.

    Mike Huckabee dismissed Mr. Obama, the first black candidate of any major party, as a mere “symbolic” choice for president.

    At the same time, the Republicans tried to co-opt Mr. Obama’s talk of change and paint themselves as the real Americans. It is an ill-fitting suit for the least diverse, most conservative and richest Republican delegates since The Times started tracking such data in 1996.

    It was, in short, a gathering devoted almost entirely to the culture war refined by Mr. Rove in Mr. Bush’s two campaigns.

    On Thursday, Mr. McCain said he would reach out to “any willing patriot, make this government start working for you again.” Mr. Bush, too, promised the same bipartisanship in his campaigns, and then governed in the most divisive, partisan way.

    Americans have a right to ask which John McCain would be president. We hope Mr. McCain starts to answer that by halting the attacks on Mr. Obama’s patriotism and beginning a serious, civil debate.
    Don't hold your breath waiting for that, by the way; glad I didn’t miss much (and by the way, you can go here to turn your disgust into something positive).

    More Friday Freeper Fiction From

    (I’m going to try and tackle two conservative pundits here for the price of one.)

    In today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, Jonathan Last tries to tell us here that the presidential race is tightening because both sides have “ditched their playbooks”…

    To understand the change in strategy, let's first go back to the Democratic convention in Denver. There was much concern at the start of the convention over whether Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton would endorse Obama.

    Of course she would. But Clinton did so by the smallest degree politically permissible.

    She touted the importance of putting a Democrat in the White House and urged her supporters to work for Obama. What she didn't do was issue a single word of specific praise about Obama.
    Really? That’s news to me. I’m sure you can find more than “a single word of specific praise for Obama” from this excerpt of Senator Clinton’s speech (transcript is here)…

    Barack Obama began his career fighting for workers displaced by the global economy. He built his campaign on a fundamental belief that change in this country must start from the ground up, not the top down. He knows government must be about "We the people" not "We the favored few."

    And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he'll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global challenges of our time. Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, President Clinton and the Democrats did it before. And President Obama and the Democrats will do it again.

    He'll transform our energy agenda by creating millions of green jobs and building a new, clean energy future. He'll make sure that middle class families get the tax relief they deserve. And I can't wait to watch Barack Obama sign a health care plan into law that covers every single American.

    Barack Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly and bring our troops home – a first step to repairing our alliances around the world.

    And he will have with him a terrific partner in Michelle Obama. Anyone who saw Michelle's speech last night knows she will be a great First Lady for America.

    Americans are also fortunate that Joe Biden will be at Barack Obama's side. He is a strong leader and a good man. He understands both the economic stresses here at home and the strategic challenges abroad. He is pragmatic, tough, and wise. And, of course, Joe will be supported by his wonderful wife, Jill.

    They will be a great team for our country.

    The McCain camp followed suit the next afternoon. Since June, the McCain campaign had positioned itself as, to put it simply: Not Obama.

    That worked pretty well. Through a series of attacks on Obama's celebrity status, his credentials and his readiness to lead, McCain closed the gap in the polls. The race was even as the conventions began.

    But then McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate and changed the entire narrative of his campaign.
    I don’t know about the “narrative,” but the selection of “Governor Hottie” definitely changed the polling (here), and her attempt at a “full Zell” on Wednesday also impacted the Obama fundraising (here – I don’t have any numbers on that for McBush).

    With that, I’ll leave Last and turn (reluctantly) to Christine Flowers (here)…

    Sarah Palin said a lot of things during her acceptance speech, and all of them proved her fitness for office.

    She talked about national security. She talked about energy. She talked about taxes.

    Utterly knowledgeably.
    So says Flowers; however, Adam Nagourney of the New York Times tells us the following (from here, and if Palin isn’t going to get the benefit of the doubt from him, then she won’t get it from anybody)…

    In (Palin’s) speech, she tried to address (the media perception that she had become a bigger story than McBush) by belittling what she disparaged as the Washington elite and the news media — a sure-fire applause line at these kinds of events — and invoking her own experience as a reformer. Yet she made no effort to say what she might do as a vice president, no small question when her lack of a national or international portfolio suggests she would not slide easily into the kind of full partner role enjoyed by Mr. Cheney and Al Gore.

    “The Gore-Cheney series of vice presidencies have changed the nature of the job,” said Gary Hart, a former Democratic senator from Colorado and a friend of Mr. McCain. “What McCain has done is to try to revert to the 19th-century model, early-20th-century model of vice president — the ‘job isn’t worth a warm pitcher of spit’ model, which means you don’t do anything.”

    “But we don’t live in that kind of world anymore,” Mr. Hart said. And, he said, that is a particularly relevant question given Mr. McCain’s age — 72 — and health problems. “I’m sure John thinks he can live forever, or at least for eight years,” Mr. Hart said.

    In an interview a month ago on CNBC, Ms. Palin went so far as to disparage the job of vice president, saying, “What is it exactly that the V.P. does every day?”
    Flowers also tells us…

    Palin rose above all of the dirt and innuendo thrown at her by the liberal peanut gallery, nutroots and Obama surrogates and showed the kind of character that can't be supplied by campaign managers or conjured up in pretty speeches. Unlike the senator from Illinois, who has based his entire candidacy on dreams and ambiguity, the governor of Alaska spoke the language of real life. Fluently.

    Unlike Obama's perfect family, whose greatest challenge seems to be affording piano lessons and camp for his daughters, Palin talked about her youngest child, a 4-month-old with Down syndrome.

    Unlike Obama's record of "community service," Palin explained just what it meant to be a municipal and then a state executive who needed to be on call 24/7, 365 days a year, without the luxury of being able to vote "present."
    I’m so glad that that Flowers doesn’t traffic “in dirt and innuendo,” aren’t you? Also, she notes twice that Palin’s youngest child has Down’s Syndrome – I don’t know why even noting it the first time was relevant (let alone having the child onstage, which is bizarre) but that’s just me, I guess.

    And how’s this for a laugh?

    I'm not a person who likes to play identity politics. It doesn't matter to me what color you are, what gender, or with whom you're likely to fall in love. Substance matters more than the irrelevancies of race, sex and the color of your hair.
    Her quote about “identity politics” is pretty odd, to say nothing of disingenuous, considering that she once concocted this nonsense not so long ago (from here)…

    There is that sense among people with college degrees, 401(k)s and wine cellars that those who never made it to their educational or economic level have a stunted existence that makes them much more susceptible to racism and sexism and all the other -isms (except, of course, "multiculturalism") that make them unworthy of the vote.
    And oh yeah, Flowers also sticks in a note about “flaws” of Palin that are “updated hourly” at The Daily Kos (and speaking of which)…

    Now allow me to return to Last again to close this...

    Now the campaigns are on parallel tracks aimed at actively competing for the swath of voters in the same handful of swing states.
    True, but this tells us what Michael Gerson, the ultimate “Dubya’s-inner-circle” insider, thinks (if HE isn’t on board with McBush and Governor "Gidget's Got A Gun," then there REALLY IS a problem)…

    (The) policy in the speech was rather typical for a Republican. Pretty disappointing. It didn't do a lot of outreach to moderates and independents on issues that they care about.
    And just for emphasis, here’s CNN's Jeffrey Toobin once more.

    Friday AM Stuff

    You were right the first time, former governor (and what color terror alert are we at today, anyway?)...

    ...and gosh, Jeff, don't hold back on us; tell us what you REALLY thought of McBush last night...

    ...and nice comeback here on that ridiculous line of Repug attack about community organizing (hat tips for all three of these to The Daily Kos)......

    ...and here's just a quick reminder of what's at stake (as if we'd somehow forgotten, I know).

    Thursday, September 04, 2008

    Thursday Stuff

    Just to let you know, Major General Don Loranger (U.S. Air Force, Ret., 30 years service), a Republican, is supporting Obama (My favorite lines? On the matter of experience vs. judgment, "Wile E. Coyote had experience, but The Road Runner had judgment"; and what does he say to other Repugs who question him? "Read a book.")...

    ...and as the Rethuglican Reality Avoidance Extravaganza winds to a close, here is the song that sums up my opinion of them pretty darn well ("Ship of Fools," by World Party).

    A Stroll Down Repug Memory Sewer

    I haven’t been paying much attention, but I hear that plenty of “the usual suspects” have been tossing around red meat for “the base” at the ReThuglican Denial Show this week (including the “mayor of 911” hisself, as well as a certain lady Alaskan mayor), but while all of “the faithful” are partying, I’d like to remind them of an inglorious moment about 16 years ago.

    In today’s New York Times, various individuals from the Gluttonous Old Party dusted off the memory banks, as it were, and provided their remembrances of prior conventions. And I thought this one by Bay Buchanan was worth recalling…

    In December 1991 my brother Pat walked away from CNN and threw his hat into the ring for the Republican nomination against President George H. W. Bush. After 10 weeks of campaigning, he won 37 percent of the vote in New Hampshire but was soon overwhelmed by the president’s huge campaign operation.

    By the end of the race, Pat had some clout. He had promised his supporters he would go all the way to the convention and he intended to honor that commitment. He was willing to make a strong case for Mr. Bush against Bill Clinton, but he wanted a prime-time spot at the convention in return.
    As the story goes, Pat heard from Reagan buds Jim Lake and Charlie Black (The guy gets around, doesn’t he?), and he eventually got his deal: the endorsement of Poppy Bush, and his prime-time audience for what came next…

    Pat went on to deliver his now famous “culture war” speech. It is often blamed for Mr. Bush’s defeat, and Pat is accused of hijacking the convention. But the final version was sent to the White House for approval, and it received high praise from the news media and the Bush family. Oh, one other detail: A poll that concluded the night after Pat spoke gave President Bush a 10-point bump in the number of voters who strongly supported him.
    So remember, Repugs, just because you decide to “kick it up a notch” in the bloviating rhetoric department for the benefit of “the base,” that doesn’t always guarantee the result you want.

    Because, as we know, things didn’t go according to the plan (interesting that Clinton is Red and GHWB is blue…and at least one individual decided enough was enough).

    Lest We Forget About "Over There"

    In today’s New York Times, reporter Erica Goode tells us here of Ali Abdul Jabbar, a “Sunni Awakening” commander who was fortunate enough to prevent a standoff with the Iraqi army over any alleged involvement with al Qaeda (with the American army apparently mediating the dispute – the photo above shows members of the “Awakening” with alleged al Qaeda suspects in custody)…

    (Jabbar’s) men — armed with Kalashnikov rifles, ammunition pouches hanging from their chests — guarded the door, prepared to defend him if the army arrived. Other members of the Awakening Council, one of the Sunni-dominated citizen patrols backed by American forces here, lounged around the room, drinking Pepsis and observing a one-day strike called in protest of Mr. Jabbar’s rumored status as a wanted man.

    But a few hours later, the atmosphere appeared to have calmed. Mr. Jabbar and an Iraqi Army captain stood in front of the neighborhood’s Abu Hanifa mosque, shaking hands and exchanging mutual expressions of support and friendship. The strike was called off. And the warrant was forgotten, if it had ever existed; the captain told Mr. Jabbar it had never been issued.
    I don’t really have a lot to say here, but the story does point out the following in particular…

    The escalating events of the morning, and the abrupt turnaround by midafternoon, offered a vivid illustration of the mounting tensions between the Awakening Councils and Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s government, which is mainly Shiite. American and Iraqi officials have said that the Iraqi government will take full control of the Awakening patrols in and around Baghdad on Oct. 1.
    So I would just ask that we all, in the midst of the most important election I can ever recall, please keep in mind that the transition will be taking place between the Awakening councils and the Iraqi government at around the end of the month.

    Along with the rest of us, I can only hope and pray that al-Maliki and his people decide to do this right with our assistance and not try to settle old scores instead (if for no other reason, than to ensure the safety of our people over there), lest scenes like this one described in the story start playing out all over the place, again…

    In other developments around Iraq on Wednesday, at least five Iraqis — two police officers, two soldiers and one Awakening Council member — were mistakenly killed and at least four others wounded by American forces in the Abayachi neighborhood near Tarmiya, north of Baghdad, according to Col. Muhammad Kadhum, of the Abayachi police.

    An American military statement said that American forces conducting combat operations had exchanged fire with Iraqi forces, resulting in casualties.

    Colonel Kadhum said the Americans were in a boat patrolling the Tigris when they approached an Iraqi checkpoint. The Iraqi security forces thought that the approaching troops were terrorists, Colonel Kadhum said, and began firing at them. An American aircraft then arrived and opened fire on Iraqi forces.

    “The American commander came to my office today, and he apologized for what happened,” Colonel Kadhum said. “He promised to start an investigation.”
    But how could this be? Senator McBush told us Iraq was “a peaceful and stable country” here.

    That’s not "change we can believe in," my friends.

    It's Terra! Terra! Terra! Time With John W. McBush

    So, according to this Daily Kos post, the Repug nominee for president has a “secret plan,” you might say, to capture Osama bin Forgotten?

    Well, I would say that this is becoming a tired refrain at this point, seeing as how he uttered similar words here (in January of this year), here (in July), and here (last month). And gee (as Atrios has pointed out), wouldn’t it be a good idea to share this plan of his so we can do something about bin Laden RIGHT FREAKING NOW??!!

    And it is made even more ridiculous when you consider that (according to here), McBush has opposed providing the necessary troop strength for Afghanistan, pursuant to a request from Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen; he also said on “Hannity and Colmes” that “no one in Afghanistan threatens the United States of America” in 2003, we may yet “muddle through” on Afghanistan also in 2003, said we “prevailed” there in 2004, and it was a “remarkable success” in 2005.

    Further, according to this Think Progress post, McBush senior adviser Charlie Black told Fortune Magazine that “another terrorist attack” would be “a big advantage” to McBush’s campaign (and do you really have to ask whether or not Black was reprimanded for that?), and McBush has also claimed an advantage during other terrorist attacks, such as the murder of Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto (I can’t think of a word to describe how ghastly such a claim truly is).

    And to top it all, I just visited the McBush “Country First” web site a minute ago, and under the list of issues, there’s not even a mention of Afghanistan.

    Well, not to worry. I’m sure we could just go right ahead and launch an attack against Iran, since they’re no doubt training those Sunni insurgents, and that would cripple bin Laden to the point where it would be easier to apprehend him.

    (Um, I’d better point out that that’s sarcasm – based on this “golden oldie,” I’m not sure McBush would know the difference.)

    The “Dragon Lady” Still Reigns At The DOL

    The Murdoch Street Journal tells us today that…

    The Department of Labor, charged with enforcing the federal law protecting corporate whistleblowers at publicly-traded companies, has been dismissing complaints on the technicality that workers at corporate subsidiaries aren’t covered.

    The government has ruled in favor of whistleblowers 17 times out of 1,273 complaints filed since 2002, according to department records. Another 841 cases have been dismissed. Many of the dismissals were made on the grounds that employees worked for a corporate subsidiary, says Richard Moberly, a University of Nebraska law professor. He studies issues involving workers who face retaliation from employers for reporting wrongdoing, and based his findings on department data. The rest of the cases are either pending, withdrawn, or settled.

    Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat who helped craft the whistleblower provision -- part of the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance act -- says the law was meant to cover workers in corporate subsidiaries. "Otherwise, a company that wants to do something shady, could just do it in their subsidiary," he said.
    By the way, to read more about Moberly and to also read the linked article to the journal, click here (subscription required).


    The dismissed cases include three whistleblower complaints against the German manufacturer Siemens AG and two against London media giant WPP Group PLC. The Labor Department rejected all five cases because the employees worked for subsidiaries, agency records show. Both companies declined to comment.
    As you can expect, though, this is par for the course for Chao’s Department of Labor (and the explanation for her nickname is provided here).

    This tells us that she threw out the same whistleblower case three times (a National Parks Service employee raising concerns about asbestos in his workplace), this tells us that she threw out a case of an Air Midwest pilot who contended that he was demoted for reporting safety violations (memo to self: never fly Air Midwest), and this tells us about Princeton professor Adam Finkel, who filed suit against OSHA (under the DOL) to get the agency to test its workers for beryllium exposure and ended up getting canned (chronic beryllium disease is a fast-progressing, debilitating and potentially fatal lung disease).

    Oh, and do I need to remind you about Chao’s opinion of the American workforce (here)?

    Whenever I post about Elaine Chao, I usually end it with a call to fire her. I realize now, though, that that will never happen unless she resigns (and at this point, why should she?).

    And in a way, I guess that’s a good thing. Seeing as how she remains the only member of Bushco still holding the post to which she was appointed upon Dubya’s installation by the Supreme Court in 2000, I can think of no other agency head who embodies the contempt for those whom she purports to represent (i.e., American workers), to say nothing of Bushco’s typically villainous conduct, better than she does.

    On a wholly other note, I should point out that I still have issues with posting, to the point where I cannot reply to comments after they are approved and it is difficult to view posted content. I don’t know if this is still a Blogger issue or if the responsibility lies with my daytime service provider. However, I have no issues at my other location, and apparently there are also no issues with leaving comments otherwise – thanks for that (I'll reply later). If there are any updates, I’ll let you know.

    Yet Another Preacher Controversy

    Nico Pitney and Sam Stein over at HuffPo tell us here that “Governor Hottie,” fresh off her barnburner attack of propaganda at the ReThuglican Denial Show yesterday (and really, my friends, is it actually a surprise that she railed against Obama and the Dems the way she did? I mean, you really didn’t think she was going to sensibly address the issues we face, did you?), had what passes for her worldview informed at an early age by the Wasilla Assembly of God Pentecostal Church, specifically by the “teachings” of the Very Un-Reverend Ed Kalnins.

    This guy is a real sweetheart…

    The church runs a number of ministries providing help to poor neighborhoods, care for children in need, and general community services. But Pastor Kalnins has also preached that critics of President Bush will be banished to hell; questioned whether people who voted for Sen. John Kerry in 2004 would be accepted to heaven; charged that the 9/11 terrorist attacks and war in Iraq were part of a war "contending for your faith;" and said that Jesus "operated from that position of war mode."
    Oh yes, how true it is that Our Lord operated from “war mode”; you know the gospels tell us that Jesus said “love your enemies”? Well, Kalnins is right, as it turns out; that was an error in transcription (I mean, they were lucky to have ink, papyrus or a tablet to write on, for God’s sake). He really said, “club your enemies.”

    (OK, blaspheming snark mode off…).


    During the 2004 election season, (Kalnins) praised President Bush's performance during a debate with Sen. John Kerry, then offered a not-so-subtle message about his personal candidate preferences. "I'm not going tell you who to vote for, but if you vote for this particular person, I question your salvation. I'm sorry." Kalnins added: "If every Christian will vote righteously, it would be a landslide every time."

    Months after hinting at possible damnation for Kerry supporters, Kalnins bristled at the treatment President Bush was receiving over the federal government's handling of Hurricane Katrina. "I hate criticisms towards the President," he said, "because it's like criticisms towards the pastor -- it's almost like, it's not going to get you anywhere, you know, except for hell. That's what it'll get you."

    Much of his support for the current administration has come in the realm of foreign affairs. Kalnins has preached that the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq were part of a "world war" over the Christian faith, one in which Jesus Christ had called upon believers to be willing to sacrifice their lives.
    And only a cynical liberal blogger like your humble narrator would consider it to be anything more than a coincidence that all of Kalnins’ writings and videos of his sermons have, as if by magic, suddenly become inaccessible from the Wasilla Assembly of God web site, as Jake Tapper reports here (server traffic my corpuscle).

    And here’s more on Kalnins, by the way…

    He also claims to have received direct "words of knowledge" from God, providing him information about past events in other people's lives. During one sermon, he described being paired with a complete stranger during a golf outing. "I said, I'm a minister from Alaska and I want you to know that your wife left you -- you know that your wife left you and that the Lord is gonna defend you in a very short time, and it wasn't your fault. And the man drops his clubs, he literally was about to tee off and he dropped his clubs, and he says, 'Who the blank are you?' And I says, 'well, I'm a minister.' He says, 'how do you know about my life? What do you know?' And I started giving him more of the word of knowledge to his life and he was freaked out."
    I'm sure he's got a lot of company at this point.

    And in conclusion…

    …Kalnins, like many national conservative religious leaders, sees Alaska's governor as one of his own. "Gov. Sarah Palin is the real deal," he told his church this past summer. "You know, some people put on a show...but she's the real deal."
    I’m sure she is (and by the way, here are the latest depressing TV numbers for the ReThugs from kos – tee hee – and georgia10 brings us up to speed here on all of the latest concerning “Governor Hottie”).

    Oh, and lest I forget, here's another one of those untidy little moments when church and state overlap for the Repugs, as they always do.

    Update: It turns out that "Governor Hottie" is a real "rainmaker" all right, but for the wrong party.

    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    Wednesday Stuff

    Oh noes, it looks like, just when the Palin stuff is easing for a bit, John W. McBush has a brand new problem...

    ...Alter Bridge ("Broken Wings").

    While The Repug Denial Party Continues

    This story tells us that, while the Repugs continue to delude themselves in St. Paul...

    ...Barack Obama took a swipe at Republicans today while talking about jobs in eastern Ohio.

    The Democratic presidential nominee criticized the GOP for not discussing the economy Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention.

    "All these speakers came up. You did not hear a single word about the economy. Now think about it: Not once did people mention the hardships that folks are going through," Obama said at a Kent State University branch campus in New Philadelphia. "Not once did they mention what are we going to do about keeping jobs here in Ohio."
    Of course not. Were they to do so, they would have to acknowledge their record of utter failure.

    Oh, and in response to Holy Joe's lie about how Obama never worked with Repugs in the Senate, I should note that "Republicans For Obama" seems to be doing just fine, with former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee (pictured) stumping for the Democratic nominee in St. Petersburg, FL (here)...

    Chafee was the lone Senate Republican to vote against the Iraq War resolution. He lost his seat in 2006 to a Democrat, then registered as an independent and cast a ballot for Barack Obama in the presidential primary, his first vote for a Democrat. A recent survey suggests he may not be alone in his dissatisfaction.

    An August poll by American Research Group Inc. found that about 34 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of independents disapprove of Bush's job performance. And Chafee argued Tuesday that politically McCain is not appreciably different from Bush.

    Louis Kwall, a Clearwater lawyer and Republican who supports Obama, agreed. He said McCain's vice presidential choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a Christian conservative, was evidence that he will continue the ideological partisanship of Bush.
    Finally, concerning Palin, K.O. called Mike Huckabee on the latter's BS about the Alaska governor receiving more votes than Joe Biden here (I can't make this stuff up, my friends).

    A Note To "Nooners"

    (I’m going to try posting even though the site is still hosed…hopefully it will be fixed soon…hat tip to D-Mac at Philadelphia Will Do for the pic.)

    I gotta tell ya’, the Murdoch Street Journal always delivers when it comes to publishing unctuous, high-minded piffle purporting to be halfway intelligent editorial commentary.

    The latest example appears here in the form of Peggy Noonan’s “analysis” of John W.McBush and his selection of “Governor Hottie” as his running mate (and after “Nooners” finishes this more or less hypothetical detour of hers, she finally gets to that point)…

    I do not understand the absence of humor, that powerful weapon, that rhetorical cannon, in this year's campaign. There are a lot of things to say here but let me tell you the first I think of. America is a huge and lonely country. We are vast, stretch coast to coast, live in self-sufficient pods; modern culture tends us toward the atomic, the fractured and broken up. When two people meet, as they come to know each other as neighbors or colleagues, one of the great easers, one of the great ways of making a simple small human connection is: shared laughter. We are a political nation. We talk politics. So fill that area with humor: sly humor, teasing humor, humor that speaks a great truth or makes a sharp point.
    (By the way, please don’t ask me at what point Nooners decided to opine in a philosophical manner befitting the female equivalent of Charles Kuralt or Paul Harvey, but you’re hardly alone if you find that to be tiresome.)

    Actually, there are a lot of things I could say here also, but I’ll begin by pointing out that there is political humor in abundance on the web, especially now (though someone who fancies herself as erudite as Nooners does wouldn’t stoop so low as to extend a mention to we filthy, unkempt liberal blogger types, I realize). However, maybe the “absence of humor” for Nooners is also explained by this CNN story, noting that 76 percent of those polled (in their “self-sufficient pods”?) think this country is “on the wrong track.”


    Obama talked to the audience; he talked TO America. McCain should talk with the audience. He should keep in mind that if his audience is laughing and chanting, it will help him with his delivery. As they cheer he can smile, while checking his next line. I am told alternately that he has given up on the teleprompter and will go straight from text, and that he will use a teleprompter. I assume the latter is true. If it is it will be interesting to see if he has mastered it. That will tell us if he practiced the speech. That will tell us if he knows what this speech IS, which is one big fat brilliant opportunity. If he's reading from text, well, it is not true that this is impossible in the media age. People didn't use teleprompters until 30 years ago. But when McCain reads straight from text we tend to see a lot of the top of his head, with the soft white hair and the pink brow glistening under the lights. Which tends to accentuate his age. So how he does the speech is of more than academic interest.
    Interesting that Nooners apparently doesn’t consider the content of McBush’s speech to be as important as the “optics” of it (and keep in mind that this column of hers is hilariously titled “A Clear And Present Danger To The American Left”; who says there’s “an absence of humor” in this campaign?).

    So, while I don’t intend to watch McBush’s speech tomorrow night, I have no doubt it will be captured on video for posterity, and at that point I’ll look for the high(low?)lights. That way, I can see how many times his pink brow beneath his soft white head twitches angrily at the mention of Obama and the Democrats, to say nothing of his POW captivity (he’s the one who has trivialized that, not me).

    One more thing: maybe Nooners isn’t as high-minded as she would have us believe after all, considering this (h/t Atrios).

    Site Load Issue

    I know the site won't come up in IE6 - I'm trying to get it fixed...

    Update 1: Just had the same thing happen at takeitpersonally...anyone with a Blogger site should check to make sure they're OK.

    Update 2: This could be an issue with my daytime publishing location only; I'll find out tomorrow - sorry if I caused undue alarm.

    Today's Police State Update

    This Raw Story post tells us that the ACLU is calling for “investigation into charges of mass arrests and police brutality as the Republican National Convention goes on”…

    Reports of mass arrests continue. On Tuesday, at least three people were arrested during a march of nearly a thousand organized by the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign. This follows numerous Monday occurrences, which include the arrest of an Associated Press photographer and Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, along with 139 felony charges issued among nearly 300 demonstrators, whose arrests were made with such chemical aids as pepper spray and tear gas.
    And this Editor and Publisher post from an AP story tells us…

    ST. PAUL Two University of Kentucky journalism students and their newspaper adviser remained jailed Tuesday night, more than a day after they were swept up with nearly 300 others during protests in downtown St. Paul.

    Police arrested students Edward C. Matthews and Britney D. McIntosh along with adviser Jim Winn on Monday afternoon. All came to the Twin Cities to document protests held in response to the Republican National Convention, meeting this week in St. Paul.

    Matthews' father, Tom Matthews, heard about his son's arrest Tuesday morning, then saw him in an Associated Press photo that showed him turning away from a stream of pepper spray.

    "I feel for him," his father said. "He's taking it in the chops."
    He’s not the only one. As reporter Dave Davies of the Philadelphia Daily News tells us here…

    If police and protesters skirmish around the Republican National Convention, count on Philadelphia Associated Press photographer Matt Rourke to be in the middle of the action.

    He was rewarded for his efforts Monday by being doused with pepper spray, knocked down and arrested by St. Paul police.

    Rourke was shooting photos of the protesters at a parking lot at 7th and Jackson streets, in downtown St. Paul, when police converged from three directions on protesters that they regarded as particularly troublesome.

    "We were encircled, and as I moved toward the officers in front of me in a passive manner, my legs were taken out from behind in an aggressive manner," Rourke said yesterday after 12 hours in jail.

    "I went down pretty hard, causing me to scrape my elbows and knee a bit."
    Rourke said that officers ignored his RNC credentials and pleas that he was a journalist as they took his camera, turned him over and wrapped his hands in plastic cuffs.
    Oh, and by the way…

    Rourke said that earlier in the day he was hit with pepper spray several times by police and that they at times seemed to be aiming directly at him.

    "I wasn't given an opportunity to wash [the pepper spray] off in prison," Rourke said.

    Rourke was released at about 2:30 a.m. and was back on the job yesterday. Prosecutors say that there are no plans to charge him.
    Oh, great then; let’s just indiscriminately round up people we don’t like and beat the hell out of them (“Probable cause?” What’s that?).

    And finally…

    St. Paul police spokesman Peter Panos didn't return a call for comment yesterday, but Police Chief John Harrington told reporters in a briefing that he thought police "did not overreact. They responded appropriately" in dealing with demonstrators.

    "If a reporter is committing crimes while they're under their credentials," Harrington added, "I think they become regular citizens."*
    Yes, but as the Davies story tells us, there are probably quite a few press people being rounded up and detained without charges, so they’re definitely not “committing crimes.”

    I’ll tell you what; here is a link to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Chamber of Commerce web site. The only way we’re going to get any satisfaction on this story is if we contact them and make some noise. Tell them their city needs to make amends, or else it will definitely be crossed off any list of tourist destinations we may devise in the future.

    And a good way they can start is to call for Police Chief Harrington’s resignation.

    Update: Achtung, baby!

    Tuesday, September 02, 2008

    Tuesday Stuff

    Guess I "missed the memo," huh (h/t The Daily Kos; a "Freudian slip" maybe?)...

    ...Comparing "the angry left" to Vietnamese torturers, huh Dubya?

    You're a sanctimonious little prick. You're a miserable failure. And maybe your sheeplike Rethuglican stooges will buy your "dog whistle" bullshit, but the vast majority of this country stopped listening to you long ago - not laughing, however (and by the way, you never did apologize for those 2000 smears against McCain in South Carolina, did you?)...

    ...and by the way, Your Fraudulency, this is how a president is supposed to act...

    ...and I dedicate this to Dubya ("Not My Time" by 3 Doors Down - suck on that, you pitiable mistake!).

    A Tuesday Program Note

    Just to let everyone know, I couldn't find "hide nor hair," as they say, of the Democratic National Convention on either the GE Network, the Disney Network, or the Sumner Redstone Network last week. However, I should point out that all three are prostrating themselves in fealty accordingly during the Rethuglican National Propaganda Show.

    ("Fairness Doctrine"? We don't need no stinkin' "Fairness Doctrine"!)

    Update 9/4/08: OK, my bad; there was network coverage of the Dems, but I missed it (as noted here, though Media Matters mentions another issue that tells us how coverage is skewed).

    As Dubya's Time Draws Short

    (The logo was left over from a prior post, meant as a shot over all of the supposed subliminal advertising by this administration, such as “securing the homeland” or “ensuring economic prosperity” in those cheesy backdrops, part of that legendary “message discipline” which hasn’t been seen for some time.)

    If you’re looking for a fairly sickening example of pitiable self-absorption, I can’t think of anything that topped Peter Baker’s feature article on George W. Milhous Bush in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine (here).

    And I don’t mean to criticize Baker when I say that; the story of the inevitable winding down of the reign of the most execrable human being to ever inhabit An Oval Office is something that should be reported.

    Baker presents a fairly rich tableaux of denial, misinterpretation, character assassination, denial, reality avoidance, factual confusion, misplace hero worship, denial, filial non-communication, and preoccupation with utter triviality (did I mention denial?). And it is thoroughly emblematic of the Republican pirates who have made an utter mockery of the executive branch of our government.

    There’s so much here that I can’t get to it all in a single post, but I’ll mention the following lowlights…

    Bush has been so far down for so long (in the polling numbers) that his aides long ago gave up any hope that the numbers would change while he is still in office. “There’s kind of a liberating aspect to it,” Dan Bartlett told me over lunch in July, at a homey steak joint in Austin, where he returned after leaving the White House last year. “It’s not that you chase polls, but you’re cognizant of them. So if you know they’re not going to change, you can just do what you think is right.”
    “So if you know that they’re not going to change, you can just do what you think is right”; does that seriously imply that they haven’t been doing “what they (thought) was right” all of this time? If so, then just what the hell did they think they were they doing? Or aren’t we supposed to know?


    If anything, it may be that the low numbers have become almost a badge of honor for Bush. Not that he wants to be unpopular, but he sees leadership as a test. “Calcium” is a favorite term he uses with aides to describe the backbone he admires. “He does make a lot of references to Truman as the model of his late presidency, and the Truman model is unrewarded heroism — or ‘heroism’ is not the right word: unrewarded courage,” Michael Gerson, another former senior adviser to the president, told me. “It fits very much his approach and his self-conception. His view of leadership is defined as doing the right thing against pressure.”
    Gerson is a despicable hack and an utter toady.

    There is nothing – repeat, NOTHING – in the life and experience of George W. Bush that is translatable to any other president who preceded him, with the possible exceptions of Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson and Warren Harding, three of the worst presidents this country has ever seen up until now.

    As noted here, Truman was a World War I artillery officer, a judge, a United States Senator, the head of the Truman Commission to investigate contractor fraud during World War II, and a president who saw the conclusion of the war which consumed more of this country’s vast resources than any other (still including our current mess in Iraq). And oh yes, he had the spine to fire perhaps this country’s most honored military figure (rightly or wrongly; the former in my book) and thus prevent a ground war against the nation with the largest population in the world.

    Dubya, on the other hand, saw some questionable military service with the Texas Air National Guard before he “transitioned” back to civilian life as a business failure, a figurehead owner of a major league baseball team, a ceremonial governor, and an utterly wretched president.

    Any questions?


    Donald Ensenat, a friend of Bush’s for more than 40 years who worked as his chief of protocol before stepping down last year, said that the president’s view, as he paraphrased it, has come down to this: “I’ve already taken my last licks for being unpopular, so these last two years I do what’s right — that’s my job, not with my finger in the air.
    I can think of a wholly other place for that finger, just for the record.

    Oh, and by the way, concerning “the surge”…

    (In December 2006) Bush announced…a plan (similar to the McCain plan to escalate our forces by approximately 30,000), overruling the objections or concerns of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his outgoing field commanders, the Iraq Study Group (led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Representative Lee Hamilton), the new Democratic majorities in Congress and a sizable number of his fellow Republicans — all part of a Washington consensus that, to varying degrees, wanted him to pull troops out, not send more in. McCain, for once, was impressed that Bush stood up to the pressure. In his mind, that was real leadership.

    “He could have done the easy thing,” says Terry Nelson, a political strategist who worked for both Bush and McCain. “He could have taken the Baker-Hamilton report, and everyone would have said that was good. And instead, he took a gigantic political risk, which today seems to be paying enormous benefits in terms of security in Iraq and political progress. And he gets no credit. None.
    I’ll tell you what, Terry; why don’t you contact the friends and family members of some of the heroes noted here and ask THEM how much credit they think Dubya should get, OK?

    (Note: Apparently, there was a malicious server attack on a few months ago, and I'm having trouble accessing the site - typical Repug-simpatico crap.)

    And I know the Repugs are going to go on and on and on about “the surge” this week in St. Paul, by the way (that and “drill, drill, drill” are the only bows in their metaphorical quiver, if you will – a truly sad state for which they have only themselves to blame…and to be honest, I wish the Dems had taken on “the surge” last week – maybe they did and I missed it).

    Here’s the deal: there’s a reason why the surge followed the “Anbar Awakening,” and that is because the former would not have been possible without the latter. Throwing more and more of our fine service people into the Iraq meat grinder has been a ruinous act anyway, but particularly so when a significant portion of the country didn’t stand up for itself. However, they did to an extent with the "awakening," and that ensured some degree of “surge” success (though – and I say this sarcastically often enough, but it’s true here – “no one could have foreseen” that). Also, the point of the surge was to buy time for the Iraq “government” to get its act together, which they seem to be doing somewhat, though not exactly the way Bushco wants, I’m sure (and all of this could blow up at a moment’s notice).

    But here’s the $64,000 question for which I have yet to hear a good answer from the Repugs: if the “surge” was such a success, why aren’t our people coming home from Iraq RIGHT FREAKING NOW???!!!

    To reiterate, I think Baker has done us a service by chronicling the utterly pathetic demise of the Bushco nightmare. I consider this a prelude of sorts to Bob Woodward’s upcoming book as well as Oliver Stone’s movie.

    And to conclude, I’ll let Mrs. Doomsy have the last word; she started to read Baker’s article but gave up, asking aloud, “Are we supposed to feel sorry for the son of a bitch?”

    I couldn’t have put it better myself.

    Update 9/3/08: O'Hanlon and the other Iraq war apologists (Tom "Suck. On. This." Friedman, Clap Hanson, Krauthammer, etc.) should be strung up as food for the buzzards (here).

    Cafferty No Likey The Repugs

    Sweet Mother of Abraham Lincoln! Check this out (and so true).

    Update 9/05/08: Our deepest sympathies, Jack, truly.

    The Latest News On "Governor Hottie"

    (A big hat tip goes out to one of my senior correspondents for the pic.)

    Just to recap briefly (the news on Sarah Palin is coming at us “hot and heavy,” as it were – hat tips to Michael Morrill at Keystone Progress for the links)…

  • She once ran the 527 group of Sen. Ted (“The Internet – It’s A Series Of Tubes!”) Stevens (here).

  • The FBI didn’t participate in the screening process - was there one? - before she was offered the nomination (here).

  • For the record, here is a complete list of those considered for the VP slot from the “2008 GOP Convention Surrogate Background Book” (basically, the individuals considered not worthy versus the Alaska governor):

    Nancy Pfotenhauer
    Douglas Holtz-Eakin
    Tim Pawlenty
    Lindsey Graham
    Sen. Joe Lieberman
    Rick Davis
    Charlie Black
    Carly Fiorina
    Frank Donatelli
    Mitt Romney
    Rudy Giuliani
    Tom Ridge
    Mike Huckabee
    Norm Coleman
    Meg Whitman
    Michael Steele
    Mel Martinez
    Charlie Crist
    Sam Brownback
    Fred Thompson
  • Also, I wanted to take note of the following item from this article by Adam Nagourney in the New York Times today about Palin and the aftermath of her selection…

    In many ways, how the country will react to the pregnancy of Ms. Palin’s 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is more a sociological question than a political one. Yes, many officials in both parties — including Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, Mr. McCain’s Democratic opponent — were quick on Monday to say that the private lives of candidates should be strictly off limits.

    But this clearly stands as a challenge to the traditional image of a potential first family, and could well provide fodder for provocative conversations around kitchen tables or sly references in the late-night television comic-sphere. It will test again what voters deem private, at a time when the Web has pulled down so many curtains, and what in these times is considered a normal family life.
    Uh…excuse me?

    Yes, the proliferation of web content over the last few years and the means of generating, distributing, and accessing that content, for better or worse, is an everyday fact of life. Along with distributing information efficiently, it has changed the nature of that information, allowing incorrect or what you could call salacious material to replicate itself everywhere along with all of the good material that has heightened and informed our dialogue.

    However, how anyone could blame “the web” for the lowering of our discourse in the 1990s in the era of the pornographic “Starr Report” is something that I cannot imagine. As nearly as I can determine, blogs didn’t first start springing up until about the end of the previous decade, and they became a cottage industry of sorts under President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History. Basically, the nature of our discourse had been in decline for quite some time before the web accelerated the process.

    And even though the subject of this post has since been discredited, what I pointed out here remains an example of thoroughly disingenuous “reporting” by Nagourney that helps to lower our discourse every bit as much as the preoccupation on the part of the media or anyone else with a personal scandal involving a newsworthy person.

    Yes, the personal life of Bristol Palin should be off limits, as well as that of any minor who happens to have a governor of a state in this country for a parent. However, what this says about the “values” of people who wish to intrude on people’s personal lives as opposed to practicing actual governance really is what matters here, and that should be noted (as Philadelphia Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky does here).