Saturday, January 03, 2009

Some Saturday Dubya Fluffery

Ben Feller of the AP brings us the following from here, what he laughably calls “analysis” of the all-but-over foul, fetid Bushco reign (in particular the following)…

In sessions with policy experts, Bush tends to ask questions that get right to the nub of a sticky issue. His top aides speak regretfully about how the country never got to see that side of him, even after all this time. They describe a man who is deeply inquisitive, not blithely incurious as much of the world thinks.
In response, I have only to say this: on page 247 of “State of Denial” by Bob Woodward, President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History, in a meeting in August 2003, took the lead in asking questions about whether or not we “we have a communications strategy to be able to run with Al Jazeera,” so that we could supposedly encourage the Iraqis to “not allow foreign fighters” to come into their country (making a half-hearted attempt to fight what was then the growing insurgency; Woodward notes that no one alerted Bush to the irony of his request).

And that is the only time throughout the course of a nearly-500-page book, not counting preface material and citations, where George W. Milhous Bush is not being utterly led around by the nose like a puppy courtesy of the likes of “subordinates” Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, Paul Bremer and others.


You can tell the issues that really get Bush going, because he talks about them differently, more passionately: education, AIDS relief, freedom. They happen to be ones that can be viewed more clearly through a moral lens. That's how he sees the world.
In response, despite some acknowledged successes of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (or PEPFAR), the following must be noted (from here)…

Rules governing how PEPFAR funds can be used for HIV prevention have been the source of substantial international controversy and criticism. In 2005, the Brazilian government declined to accept $40 million in U.S. HIV assistance because of requirements in American law that U.S. grant recipients formally condemn prostitution. In addition, U.S. government funds may not lawfully be used for needle-exchange programs for injecting drug users.

But the most controversy has surrounded the requirement that 33 percent of PEPFAR prevention money be spent on abstinence-only programs. Because services including HIV testing and prevention of mother-to-child transmission are included in PEPFAR's prevention portfolio, the practical effect of PEPFAR's legislative mandate is that abstinence programs consume roughly two out of three PEPFAR dollars for the prevention of sexual transmission. In 2006, the U.S. General Accounting Office, an independent agency that audits U.S. government programs, reported that
legislative earmarks for abstinence programming were impeding the ability of PEPFAR country teams to devise prevention programs that meet national needs.
In other words, how logical is it to tie an abstinence-only program to obtaining PEPFAR-funded medications in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, where many men have as little interest in practicing monogamy as they do in even using a condom?

And on the matter of “freedom,” how about if Feller contacts some of the approximately 2 million Iraqi refugees to see how “free” they believe themselves to be.

Continuing again...

The toughest moments for him come when he meets the grieving families of the troops he sent to war. Or when he meets severely wounded troops in recovery. Many of the hurting tell Bush they want to get back out in active duty. He is moved by the sacrifice.

"I do a lot of crying in this job," Bush once acknowledged.
So do the families and friends of the service people killed in Dubya’s war of choice in Iraq, though I can’t imagine how he would know that since he never attended one of their funerals (and banned photography or filming when the flag-draped caskets arrive home).

This steaming heap of refuse by the AP’s Feller is corporate media stenography at its worst. But instead of venting my own outrage over it, I’m just going to put up John Flynn one more time here, who states his own commendable sense of revulsion better than I can (I expect to be coming back to this “analysis” again).

Friday, January 02, 2009

Friday Stuff

And I'm sure Fix Noise will stay classy in '09 too (watch the ticker - h/t HuffPo)...

...and Josh Marshall brings us the 2008 Golden Duke Awards (yes, I noticed the Edwards award - sigh, though he deserved it - but I got a kick out of the line about renaming the awards for Kwame Kilpatrick; also, I included a compilation of the videos a couple of days ago, and the winner is...Liddy Dole for "Godless"!)...

..and hey, free guns for the Afghans, huh? Guess we'll never learn that bombs don't pay the bills or feed starving families or rocket launchers aren't going to create jobs (not in their country, anyway)...

...Marc Broussard ("Yes We Can, Can"; I know it's been a long time coming, but this is still just a reminder of why we supported Obama to begin with and why we still do - by the way, I'm not bothered by the fact that John Edwards is included; despite his fall from grace, he remains the only prominent Democrat on the national stage who gives a damn about poverty, and don't forget that).

A Friday Blago Post

You know, I really had planned to stay out of the latest developments in the whole Rod Blagojevich/Ronald Burris/Bobby Rush mess (though Rush appears to have decided to shut his yap for a moment), but Ruben Navarrette, Jr. decided to use it as an excuse to tell us the following from here (about the response of Obama and the U.S. Senate to Burris)…

The takeaway…was that, after nearly 50 years of dutifully supporting white Democrats, African-Americans are still relegated to the role of supporting actors. And when an African-American dares to vie for center-stage, white Democrats who don't want to cede power will try to tackle him to the ground.
Oh, that’s funny.

First, let’s look at this post from HuffPo’s Paul Jenkins, which tells us that…

John McCain lost by a margin of 90% among African-Americans, and 2 to 1 among other ethnic and racial minority groups, and young people. The future hardly belongs to a party who is falling further and further behind among the fastest-growing demographic groups, and among those who will be voting for decades to come. Republicans' problems go well beyond their dreadful record of the past decade and their wrong-footed policies, although neither helps. As it shrinks, the GOP is becoming ever-whiter, more male, more Southern, more Christian-centric, and increasingly unable to appeal to voters, or potential candidates who do not fit its narrow mold.
(And by the way, though this is a right-leaning site, the author makes a good point about the so-called “Bradley effect” here.)

Second, while you could argue that the Senate Dems have painted themselves into a corner somewhat on the Blago/Burris mess by deciding they won’t have anything to do with them (as Jane Hamsher does here), I believe their actions will be validated when a person is eventually seated who has a lot less baggage than either of these two characters (we’ll see if I’m right, of course, and Obama, for his part, has deniability – if this drags on and on, he can blame the Illinois legislature for refusing to take action and let his former Senate colleagues off the hook).

Have the Democrats taken advantage of some of their constituencies for political purposes? Uh, next question (and do you really want me to answer that for the Repugs and get started on a rant over something so plainly obvious?).

But instead of claiming that “the Democratic Party (is) trapped by (its) own hollow rhetoric about inclusion and opportunity. And it's great fun to watch,” perhaps Navarrette, Jr. could instead point out that the Party has decided that maybe allowing itself to be shaken down by a profanity-spewing and ethically challenged governor isn’t the best course of action for the residents of the state of Illinois, regardless of their skin color.

Update 1/7/09: Silly me for trusting Reid and believing he had some means of preventing Burris from being seated; when am I going to learn that this Congress is better at caving (regardless of whether we're talking about fellow Congressional Repugs, egotistical governors, or delusionally narcissistic presidents) than anything else (here).

Some New Year Wingnuttery

As dmac notes here, if it’s Friday, that means it’s time for more Christine Flowers propaganda (but, as always, IOKIYAR), and Rick Santorum told us yesterday that passage of the Employee Free Choice Act would mean that union members could visit the home of a non-union worker up to four times to try to lean on them so they would join a union, a la Don Corleone, as Little Ricky put it (I’d reference the exact quote, but the column has been taken down for some mysterious reason; maybe Snarlin’ Arlen objected to the free publicity Former Senator Man-On-Dog gave to prospective Dem challenger Chris Matthews? – still having a hard time with that, by the way.)

Time and the desire to maintain my sanity with the new year already underway do not allow me to give Flowers and the former PA senator from northern Virginia the proper response (I also have no information to counter Santorum’s claim at the moment, though I’ll keep looking), but I would like to call out something particularly offensive and ridiculous that I found elsewhere on the site today.

In their “Lightning Round” set of editorials here (including a tribute to the brave Penn trauma surgeon John S. Pryor killed in Iraq; any loss of life from Dubya’s horrific war of choice in Mesopotamia is terrible, but this is particularly so), I found the following comment in response to an editorial about the increasing risks from violent crime facing young African American men in this country since 2000…

Help control the Deer population by killing them so that they will not starve to death or be run over by cars. This is the Black answer to the long time problem of prison over-population. Put them out of their misery. It will both cut back on unwanted pregnancies and the added expense of incarcerating them. Sort of like a "crime prevention remedy".
I should note that there has been some discussion of how to manage the deer population in Bucks County, Lower Makefield in particular, but that was not mentioned in any of the four “Lightning Round” editorials.

No, this was a commenter plainly and simply comparing a demographic segment of our population to animals that, in the estimation of “Barryboy,” should be herded up and slaughtered.

And this is considered an acceptable comment for the site.

Just keep telling yourselves, though, that filthy, unkempt liberal blogger types such as your humble narrator are the problem, as opposed to the “news professionals” who have no problem allowing comments stating that “the Black answer” is to round up “Deer” to be indiscriminately shot.

The "1850" Fraud

(Note: The photo shows the flames that still burned in the ruins of the home of senior Hamas leader Nizar Rayan in Gaza, who was killed along with members of his family in an air strike on Thursday - from the BBC.)

The following came from Monday’s press briefing with deputy Bushco flak Gordon Johndroe (here – a little late due to the year-end stuff and the holiday, and I also posted over here)…

Q The President, earlier this year - well, I guess last November during the Annapolis process, had hoped that there would be a peace deal (between the Israelis and the Palestinians) before he left office. Obviously that's not going to happen. So what is his feeling now, given what's occurring right now over there, about the prospects for a peace deal in the future?

MR. JOHNDROE: You know, this is a very similar situation that the President found when he took office in early 2001, with increased violence on the ground. I know that his goal is that this violence come to a, as I've said, sustainable, durable and end with a ceasefire, but a ceasefire that's respected by Hamas, so that then all the parties could come together and work towards the goals in the road map and the goals of the Annapolis Conference. The Annapolis goals are ones that have been widely accepted. We saw a good U.N. Security Council Resolution 1850 within the last couple of weeks.
Well, let's just say that this note about Res 1850 piqued my curiousity, so I did some investigating.

As noted here…

The body of UN Security Council Resolution 1850 avoids any meaningful mention of a two-state solution or the creation of a Palestinian state with the exception of a feeble reference late in the text -- added almost as an afterthought -- to "preparation for statehood". While the preamble does mention Resolution 1514, issued five years ago, and notes that "lasting peace can only be based on an enduring commitment to mutual recognition, freedom from violence, incitement, and terror, and the two-state solution, building upon previous agreements and obligations," and even notes "the importance of the Arab peace initiative of 2002" the seven articles of the resolution, adopted on 16 December, focus on committing all parties to continuing an endless peace process.
And here…

Speaking from Syria today the head of the PLO political department said that United Nations Security Council Resolution 1850 “intentionally neglects important texts of resolutions previously adopted by the Council.”

As Palestinian officials state, the Israeli administration must commit to observing previous resolutions. UNSC
resolution 465 calls for dismantling settlements (in the Arab territories), while 467 renders invalid actions taken by Israel to change the character of Jerusalem. Qaddumi noted the dozens of General Assembly resolutions along with UNSC 478 and the International Court’s opinion against the Wall.

“As long as Israel continues to behave as if it is above the Wall and is treated as such, there will be no peace as the Palestinian issue is at the heart of the conflict in the Middle East,” Hamdi Shakura of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights told PNN this afternoon.
Am I saying that either the Israelis or the Palestinians are innocent here? Of course not. However, I tend to get more than a little perturbed at our media and politicians for their simplistic analysis of the conflict, particularly when, as Greg Mitchell of Editor and Publisher notes here, Israel is criticized more vociferously by its own press than ours. And I think blowing off any serious coverage of Resolution 1850 by our co-opted, bought-and-paid-for corporate media is sadly typical of this problem.

Update: Obama can't start soon enough, based on this (17 days to go, people)...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Thursday Stuff

A couple to ring in the New Year: I put up a clip of Delaney Bramlett a couple of days ago that didn't do him justice, I think, but I found this which I think is a much better tribute - "Coming Home," with then-wife Bonnie Bramlett in 1970 with the group that would eventually become Derek and the Dominos (Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, and Bobby Whitlock), part of "Delaney and Bonnie And Friends" along with a fellow named George Harrison...

...and Meredith Brooks ("Bitch" - no particular reason).

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday Stuff

Yep, based on this, I guess it would make sense that Blago would name someone as duplicitous as he is for Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat from Illinois (here - and this is nice too, isn't it; h/t HuffPo)...

...oh, and as it turns out, there was more stuff thrown at Dubya than a shoe a few weeks ago (who knew?)...

...and you know, I've seen this video a couple of times, and I admire it in a way because it's exactly the type of cause he would have supported (here), but I'm sorry; it's just too damn creepy...

Update 1/6/09: This story about the "Lennon Bus" that made possible the performance of Zimbabwe's Liyana band with five gifted San Francisco School of the Arts students is pretty neat, I must say.

...and at this point, I think this song captures what I feel pretty well and is a good tune to close out the year ("I've Seen Enough" by Cold War Kids).

Doomsy's Do-Gooders And Dregs (2008 - Pt. 8)

Time to end this: prior related posts are here, here, here, here, here, here, and here (and I also posted over here)...


Bobby Fischer, Richard Knerr, John McWethy of ABC News, Roy Scheider, Howard Metzenbaum, Paul Scofield, Richard Widmark, Abby Mann, Dith Pran, Jules Dassin, Mildred Loving, Ron O’Brien, Robert Rauschenberg, Will Elder, Sister Catherine E. Mulkerrin, Sydney Pollack, Anne d'Harnoncourt, Alton Kelley, Jim McKay, Tim Russert, George Carlin, Larry Harmon, Randy Pausch, Edie Huggins, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Jerry Wexler, Ike Pappas, Norman Whitfield, Paul Newman, Gil Stratton, Neal Hefti, Levi Stubbs, William Wharton, Studs Terkel, Miriam Makeba, Catherine Baker Knoll, William Gibson, Robert Prosky, Dennis Yost, Mark Felt, Robert Mulligan, Harold Pinter, Delaney Bramlett, Freddie Hubbard

Update 1/1/09: Add former Dem Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell here.

Dregs Of The Year

Though there were few-and-far-between moments when they distinguished themselves as a body, as far as I’m concerned, this year’s winners are the U.S. Supreme Court (I really went back and forth between giving it to the Bush “Administration” since they’re on their way out, but then I realized that such a citation would imply that they would qualify for this year only, when in fact, they qualify for each of the three-plus years that I’ve been doing this).

And when I speak of The Supremes, I speak primarily of these four characters…

I hasten to add that, though, that the conservative bloc on the court was hardly the only offending party; Justice John Paul Stevens cast the deciding vote in favor of upholding Indiana’s onerous voter ID law here, believing that the law did not cast an undue burden on the elderly and minorities (though it does) to remedy the supposed problem of voter fraud at the polls, which, for all but the rarest of cases, doesn’t exist (that and other rulings are noted here).

And I also think it’s noteworthy that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia, both professed Catholics, voted in favor of upholding Kentucky’s method of capital punishment by lethal injection here (the Church opposes capital punishment; I don’t oppose it either, but then again, I don’t sit on the High Court). Further, Scalia bellowed in response to Stevens when the latter spoke out against the death penalty, as noted by Nat Hentoff of the Jewish World Review.

However, what was for me the lowest of the low points of the Court’s term came here, when they struck down the handgun ban in the District of Columbia which had stood for 32 years, postulating rather speciously I think that every American has the right to own a gun as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, particularly hypocritical since the Supremes don’t allow guns in their building (the ruling also had more than a little bit to do with this rare moment of disagreementand a strong one at that – with the Dem U.S. House Rep from PA’s 8th district).

Another low moment came here last month when the Supremes ruled in favor of the Navy in the case of sonar testing off the California coast and its harmful effects on whales and other marine life (with this update telling us that, as part of the settlement terms in the case won by the Navy, that branch of our services will be forced to conduct the environmental impact studies that they should have conducted anyway).

Also, I found the Court’s deliberation in the case of a Muslim man from Long Island rounded up indiscriminately after 9/11 to be a bit odd here, particularly when they wondered whether his actions would be similar to those of “the president of Coca-Cola” (Stephen Breyer), as well as trying to determine a parallel to the case of Bill Clinton and Paul Jones (Stevens).

Another injudicious moment came here in February, when Scalia spoke here in favor of torture (AND capital punishment? “Who Would Jesus Kill,” Your Honor?).

Want more? Here, Justice David Souter claimed that the fine for the Exxon Valdez spill ($2.5 bil) was “excessive under maritime law” (how would anything less be sending a message to perhaps the worst corporate offender against the environment on the planet?).

The high point for the Court’s term as far as I was concerned, though, was the ruling in Boumediene v. Bush in June, in which Justice Anthony Kennedy (writing for the majority) claimed that prisoners in our custody have the right to habeas corpus, with Scalia claiming in dissent here that “(the ruling) will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed” (something Scalia should have thought of before he decided to vote to overturn the D.C. handgun ban as far as I’m concerned).

The influence of the Repugs in this country started to erode in 2006 with their loss of Congress, and the Dem takeover has now happily extended to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. However, the solid conservative majority of the High Court is likely to remain for decades to come (to say nothing of appointments to other federal courts throughout this country during Bushco’s foul reign). We can only hope, though, that, over time, the Court will come to recognize that such rulings as those I’ve noted here do not, for the most part, reflect the spirit and intent of what this country wants to see in its justice and its politics.

A thin hope to be sure, I know. But for now, consider the Court to be the 2008 Dregs Of The Year.

Update 1/1/09: Looks like Hangin' Judge J.R. is returning to form with his bi-yearly complaint here (aww, he only makes $217 grand a year - poor baby!)

Update 1/8/09: And here is another "gift that keeps on giving."

Update 1/13/09: I forgot about this decision also.

Runner up: Any Senator who voted against the automaker loan (here)

Do Gooders Of The Year

Aside from the overturning of the DC gun ban, the other most notorious story for yours truly over the last year was the utter capitulation of the Congressional Democrats on the revision sought by Bushco and the Repugs to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA – here is one prior backgrounder post).

However, journalists Chris Hedges and Naomi Klein (pictured), along with The Nation magazine and the American Civil Liberties Union, filed suit against FISA as soon as it was signed into law by Dubya, as noted here (I have no word of any recent activity in this matter).

For showing the courage that utterly escaped our representatives in Congress, the plaintiffs in the FISA lawsuit, including Hedges and Klein, are the 2008 Do Gooders Of The Year.

Runner up: Why, that would have to be…


(And so the New York Mutts are the “team to beat” because you now pitch for them, "F-Rod"? We’ll see about that!)

Happy 2009 to one and all – may we navigate through the next 12 months OK and find ourselves in a much better place this time next year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday Stuff

TPM TV brings us the sleaziest campaign ads of '08 here, with the winner to be announced tomorrow (and nary a Dem in the bunch, as you might have expected)...

...and shifting gears a bit, I thought this was a nice tribute from Turner Classic Movies in memory of all of those movie biz pros who left us this year...

...and I'm a bit late with these two, but RIP Delaney Bramlett (performing Chuck Berry's "You Never Can Tell" on "Shindig!" in 1964)...

...and Freddie Hubbard ("Misty")

A B.Rush/Blago Double Team?

There are many reasons why we wish Dem Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois would show an ounce of decency and give up his office, then go crawl under a rock somewhere (taking his wife with him), but one of them is because Blago's departure would put the lid back onto the steaming pot of Illinois political corruption that runneth over in response to this mess (and living in PA, I know a thing or two about steaming pots of statewide political corruption, to say nothing of local).

Part of that, I believe, was demonstrated in the following quote from Illinois State Representative (and former Black Panther) Bobby Rush (pictured) from this story (in response to what Rush believes is the main reason why Obama's vacant Senate seat should be filled as soon as possible, preferably by B-Rod)...

"Let me just remind you that there presently is no African- American in the U.S. Senate," Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois, told reporters.
With this in mind, please review this post which tells us that Rush supported Obama for the U.S. Senate in 2004, but only after Rush's first choice, Blair Hull, lost in the Democratic primary.

Apparently, Rush believes that, with Obama now in the White House, B-Rod is the best choice for funneling contributions to Rush's favored causes, appearance of impropriety be damned.

Despite Rush's protestations, I think the only color that matters to him is green, not black.

And annoying Fran Drescher laugh and all, I think it's apropos to embed this again.

Update 12/31: Looks like Roland Burris (Blago's pick) takes after the Guv too based on this (and Rush sure knows how to play the race card, kind of like somebody else with that first name but a different skin color).

Update 1/1/09: What BarbinMD sez here...

Update 1/7/09: Stay classy, Bobby (ye gods)...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Doomsy's Do-Gooders And Dregs (2008 - Pt. 7)

We're getting there, people, I promise: prior related posts are here, here, here, here, here, and here (and I also posted over here - sorry this is so long, but I'm trying to just about finish this)...

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Klaus Emmerich, the retired editor-in-chief of Austrian broadcaster ORF, for claiming here that African Americans "are not civilised (sp) enough to rule"; must be a paid consultant to Fox Noise (yeah, you guys sure showed a lot of guts during the Anschluss, didn't you? Welcomed your goose-stepping little pal Adolf with open arms as I recall).

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Michael Barone, who said that the “Alaska Disasta” herself, Sarah Palin, was attacked by the media because “she did not abort her Down’s Syndrome baby” here (real nice).

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who filed suit to prevent the enactment of Proposition 8 which would eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry here

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Former DC appeals court judge Patricia Wald, who compared the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody to the treatment Bosnian Muslims received at the hands of their Serbian captors, basically accusing Bushco of committing war crimes here

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Collectively, the New York Times (and our corporate media in general) for their woeful “reporting” on the recount in the U.S. Senate contest between incumbent Norm Coleman and Dem challenger Al Franken here (more on this later in this post).

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

David Karlson, chief operating officer for PSI, a company that manufactured and resold “flash bang” grenades that they knew were defective and could have been fixed for about $3.72 apiece, as noted in this CNN story; the grenades were first sold to the military, then resold to the FBI, and three agents suffered “severe bruising, a concussion and burns to (their) neck and ears (as well as) hearing loss” when the grenades blew up while they carried them in their vests (Karlson and three others have been indicted for fraud, conspiracy and money laundering).

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Minneapolis, MN talk show host Chris Baker, who said that the media has “blood on its hands” for the murder of transgender woman Moses Cannon because it creates “a false sense of reality” (I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about either; I just know that he’s a bigot and a moron in whichever order you choose - here).

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Departing Repug Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel for taking a shot at Flush Limbore and Hagel's former colleagues here.

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Staying in that state for now - Nebraska musician Eric Hahn gets the nod for cutting his 27-inch-high Mohawk (and yes, it set a new record for the Guinness Book) and donating it to Locks of Love here – hat tip to “Countdown” for this.

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Madison County, Idaho superintendent Geoffrey Thomas, who blamed “the media” for spreading the story about second and third graders on a school bus in Rexburg chanting “assassinate Obama” here (oh, so what the hell were we supposed to do – ignore something like that?); conversely, kudos to Rexburg Mayor Shawn Larsen for speaking out against it in a local newspaper.

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Richard Peters of Marysville, Washington, who was arrested after his 6-year-old daughter was fatally shot in their Washington state home; Peters allegedly told authorities he had been drinking double shots of vodka while cleaning his guns (two other kids in the home were subsequently removed by Child Protective Services – as a rule, I usually avoid crime stories, but I had to say something about this).

Bogus Lawsuit of the Year

Naming "Deadeye Dick" Cheney in the Texas prisoner abuse case; District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra, the person who included Big Time based on the grand jury indictment, has had his own legal battles (hey, I want to get Cheney too, but it should be over something a lot more substantial than this – Cheney was charged in engaging in an organized crime activity because of his holdings in the Vanguard Group – hey now! – that managed the assets of the prisons where the abuse allegedly occurred; Abu G may actually be on the hook, though, which is totally

Update 12/31/08: And speaking of Abu G. (here - he gets named again later in the post)...

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

George Will, for saying that the New Deal didn’t work here (I swear, the next time these conservatives take another cruise to Alaska, I hope the ship sinks and they all drown; I know I shouldn’t wish ill on these people, but this country is in the biggest mess I’ve ever seen right now due to Repug non-governance, and the right-wing idiots refuse to change their tune in the face of it).

(And just for good - or bad - measure, here's Will again downplaying the current economic crisis; Paul Krugman, who has forgotten more about economics than Will will ever know, has said that, if anything, the New Deal didn’t feature enough public works spending, not that it spent on public works at all and failed, as Will alleges).

Surreal Fourth Estate Moment Of The Year

Smerky in his November 23rd newspaper column tells us here that “I don’t do reporting”..

Um – is that something like a surgeon saying, “I don’t do medicine”?

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Andrew Ross Sorkin, business writer for the New York Times, who originated the preposterous lie that UAW members make $73 an hour (so noted by K.O. in the third video here)

“F” Blast Of The Year

Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, after the team won the World Series, let fly at the victory celebration for all to hear; hey, people, the team had just finished playing 162 regular season games, 10 playoff games and 5 World Series games (including the fifth one, split just about in half because of the rain – thanks, Bud Selig), so I would say that they’re entitled to blow off a little steam, OK (I didn't get the link in time before it was deleted - sorry).

(And by the way, a "Dregs" citation goes out here to the 26 people who complained out of probably upwards of a million people who actually heard it - probably the same bunch of fundamentalist tightasses who went crazy over "The Tit That Will Never Die," helped re-elect George W. Bush twice and have no issue with him lying this country into the Iraq war or the gutting of FISA, assuming they even know what FISA is)

The “It Might Be A Good Thing If We In This Country Know About This Story” Citation

The plight of Aafia Siddiqui (here – h/t Avedon Carol)

Dregs Of The Year Nominees

A joint citation to Big Pharma drug merchant Johnson and Johnson and Harvard University psychiatrist Joseph Biederman; as reported here by Miriam Hill of the Philadelphia Inquirer, J&J “gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to a research center run by (Biederman) explicitly to generate data to help expand sales of the company's antipsychotic drug Risperdal in children, according to court documents (side effects of the drug in kids include “weight gain, breast milk production in both sexes, facial tics and muscle tremors”); gosh, I wonder if that fine, upstanding one-time Repug contender for Patrick Murphy’s seat (Tom Manion by name) knew anything of this?

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Catholic pastors (or any religious figure) telling their congregation that they must atone for voting for Barack Obama, as was the case here (he’s “pro-choice,” see; as a McClatchy commenter put it, “No, don't vote for the president who will care about all Americans and will be the first honest decent president in eight years. Just vote for a treacherous lying republican who is a war monger with hateful policies.”)

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Deborah Lawrence of Seattle, WA, who was asked to contribute an ornament to the White House Christmas tree here; she did so, with the words “Impeach Bush” painted ever so delicately amidst the swirling design (the Washington Post and the AP pointed out the wording, and Laura Bush had the ornament removed – no word on whether or not Lawrence will ever get it back – h/t “Countdown”).

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

To WXPN, the public radio station of the University of Pennsylvania in these parts, for their “One Day, Funky Friday” pledge drive on Friday December 5th.

I realize that they need to “put the bite” on us to make payroll and provide their diverse music selection, but I’d just like to point out three things. First, is asking people to contribute during the holidays like this really a good idea when people are spending on seasonal gifts? Why not try a drive like this AFTER the holidays are over?

Second, does the station management read the headlines? Are they aware that over half a million people lost their jobs in November, the highest total job loss in 34 years, and that unemployment currently stands at 6.7 percent (noted here)? If they have to make cuts, it will stink, but we’ll understand.

Third, given all of this, can they please be a little less obnoxious when they ask us for dough (as opposed to radio personality Michaela Majoun whining at us, “Make your call for support NAAAOOOOWWWW”)?

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

U.S. Attorney and Buscho underling Mary Beth Buchanan, who (judging from this Think Progress post) has no intention of resigning her position under the incoming Obama Administration; Buchanan, among her many other sins, hired Monica Goodling, who went on to fire other U.S. attorneys for not prosecuting Democrats on specious charges, as Buchanan herself has done concerning the inquisition of Cyril Wecht (noted in the post).

I’d pay Obama $20 out of my own pocket if he made sure that Buchanan was led out of her office in restraints by U.S. marshals.

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Peggy Noonan, Reaganite and Wall Street Journal Op-Ed writer, who claimed in an Op-Ed here that “at least Bush kept us safe.”

Here’s one response to this absurdity from Glenn Greenwald (and here is another from Eric Alterman).

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Montana Dem Senator Jon Tester, for the following from here...

Still, some lawmakers said they could only conclude that the automakers were forced to travel an unduly rough road, and that the financial firms got a free pass.

At a banking committee hearing on Thursday, Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, gestured angrily at a chart showing the billions that have been received by the financial firms. “You guys have been put under far more scrutiny, far more scrutiny than the people up here on the board, for far less money,” he told the auto executives.

“I would love to have those birds in here again because they need to be talked to.”
Yeah, but he ended up voting against the automaker loan, so I guess I have to put an asterisk next to this one.

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

White House press flak Tony Fratto, for claiming here that Bushco's horrific "midnight rule" changes are "transparent," "routine," and "responsible"; I swear, these people couldn't tell the truth if their lives depended on it.

Concern Troll Of The Year Nominee

David Horowitz for this, in which he chastises his fellow conservatives for continuing to agitate over Obama's birth certificate (please), but then states, "What difference does it make to the future of this country whether Obama was born on U.S. soil?

Uh, and what exactly is the question about anyway, David (h/t Arianna Huffington for noticing this on "Countdown").

Denialist Of The Year Nominee

Tom Friedman for this (and I loved kos's line about six more months).

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Sean Inanity for claiming here 10 million jobs were created under Dubya (uh, no...that happened under Clinton, and in each of his two terms actually; that's 20 million total, Sean - I wouldn't want you to overwork your brain cell trying to do the math)

The “He Obviously Didn’t Get The Memo That His Fifteen Minutes Were Up” Citation

Joe The Plumber (and let us not forget that he isn’t a plumber, and his name is Samuel, not Joe) tells us here that he was “appalled” by John McCain, which is particularly low because, were it not for McCain – despite it all, a far better man, let’s not forget – “Joe” would be an unknown nothing as opposed to a “known” one.

Most Undeserving Winner Of The Presidential Citizen Medal

Charles Colson here (more on Colson from "Right Wing Watch" here)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Repug Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina for claiming here that “we’re going to have riots” in Detroit if the bailout for the automakers is passed (he won’t have to worry - DeMint and his fellow knuckle-dragging Repugs in that body of Congress effectively killed it, though a compromise of sorts was reached with Dubya; tells you how much of a no-brainer this issue is that Commander Codpiece was personally involved)

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Colin Powell for slapping down "Governor Hottie" over her "value system" here (a little late, but kudos for doing the right thing)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Actually, they could be dregs of the century for a variety of reasons (probably too many to list here), but Bushco gets it here for its role in prisoner abuse (and Lawrence Di Rita, a former aide to Rummy, gets a particular huzzah for his spiteful, childish, propagandistic reaction which is completely typical for this regime...and here's more Di Rita stupidity).

And here's Bushco in action once again (every time I think they can't sink lower)...

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Dem (!) U.S. House Rep Silvestre Reyes for this (Torture is OK? Is he kidding?)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

DHS Secretary Mike (“City Of Louisiana”) Chertoff for allowing illegal immigrants to pass Secret Service checks and clean his house here (reported by the Inquirer; the paper then asks a good question – if Homeland Security can’t police the home of the person who runs it, how well is it policing our borders?)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Our Gal Condi Rice, who said in an interview that the Repug Party has brought us to a place "where people can look beyond race" - as Think Progress tells us here, "of the 247 members in the (congressional Republican) caucus, none are African-American and just five are Hispanic" (also for this)

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominees

Workers at the Smithfield Packing Slaughterhouse in Tar Heel, N.C., who fought for 15 years to unionize and finally succeeded, noted in this post - congratulations!

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Former Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) coach and ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose, who was quoted as saying here that he hopes Tampa Bay "doesn't win another game all year" - go out and buy some more hair gel, Barry; yes, Tampa Bay is a mess, but that's a crappy thing to say (and they just won a Cup about four years ago - man!).

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Saturday Night Live, for making jokes about the fact that David Paterson, the governor of New York, is legally blind, as noted here - also for making references to drug use and saying that Paterson's path to the governor's office was "an actual plot from a Richard Pryor movie."

I'm sure "humor" about crippled Iraq war veterans is next - soooo glad I gave up on that wretched show years ago (and yes, I'd say the same thing if Paterson were a Repug).

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Senate Repug Bob Corker of Tennessee for, more than anyone else, waging war on the UAW and doing his level best to destroy 10 percent of the American economy, as noted here (and how depressing is it that Harry Reid and Chris Dodd, who stood so tall on FISA...Dodd, that is...need to be reminded of that - Reid is up for re-election in 2010 and has an approval rating below 50 percent, for which he has only himself to blame).

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Maurice Cheeks, former coach of the Philadelphia 76ers and point guard on the last team of that franchise that won a world's championship in 1983, who blamed himself for getting fired after the team's 9-14 start this year.

Here's what I don't get about that; the team just added Elton Brand, whose star has apparently faded somewhat, though he can still do a lot, but he's also still learning how to mix in with the team (which is a bunch of disparate parts anyway, but that's another story). Also, in the NBA, 9-14 isn't terrible; you could play most of the season slightly below .500 and make a run at the last minute and get into the playoffs. And Cheeks was canned after home-and-home losses to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, not exactly also-rans.

Maurice Cheeks is a first-class person who had the misfortune to be employed with a no-class organization. I'm quite sure he'll land on his feet somewhere else, and I for one wish him all the best.

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Former Philadelphia Eagles running back Siran Stacy (sticking with sports), whose wife was killed along with four of their five children when a drunk driver in a pickup truck crashed into their van near Dothan, Alabama in November 2007, as noted here; Stacy, who preaches at the Pathway Church in Mobile, Alabama, said of the life form once known as Adam W. Wayman (the person responsible for the carnage who died in the accident also), that "I forgive him."

Wow (by the way, the fifth Stacy child was treated and released, though Stacy himself suffered horrific injuries from which he appears to have recovered - Godspeed).

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Georgia (where else?) Municipal Court Judge Keith Rollins, who ordered Lisa Valentine to serve 10 days in jail for contempt of court because she would not remove her Muslim head scarf, as noted here; Kelley Jackson, a spokeswoman for Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker, said state law doesn't permit or prohibit head scarves (the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations cited the same judge for also removing a woman and her 14-year-old daughter from his courtroom in December because they were wearing Muslim head scarves...Valentine was released shortly after she was jailed without comment)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Dem Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas for hinting that she may vote against the Employee Free Choice Act here (just how much $$ is she getting from Wal-Of-China-Mart, I wonder?)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Sorry, but this country gets it overall for this.

The "Maybe They Should Have Ordered The Herman Goering Streusel Instead" Citation

To Heath and Deborah Campbell of Easton, Pa., who named their little boy Adolf Hitler; as it turns out, they were shocked - shocked! - when a New Jersey supermarket wouldn't make a birthday cake with the child's name on it (here)

Sometimes I wish we had such a thing as a national parenting test to see who would qualify and who wouldn't (I have a feeling, though, that we wouldn't be as surprised as we might think, and I don't mean that in a good way...I know a lot of news organizations have already picked up on this).

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Repug U.S. House Rep and former presidential candidate Duncan Hunter once more for claiming that "torture provided 'enormously valuable' information that saved American lives"...uh, no.

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Robert Redford, for speaking out against the "midnight rule" sale of 110,000 acres of public land in Utah by Bushco to oil and gas producers here; also to the National Trust for Historic Preservation for trying to block the sale also (with Dana Perino clueless as usual)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Alberto Gonzales again - OK, so let me get this straight; Gonzales claimed here that the CIA had "orally cleared" the bogus Niger uranium claim used as a pretext to the Iraq war (busted by Joe Wilson, leading to Bushco's reprisal against his wife...meaning that it could be used in speeches by Dubya leading up to the war), but the House Oversight Committee has now discovered that the CIA "objected to the uranium claim in (two) speeches, resulting in its deletion from the President’s remarks."

As Atrios says, they lie, then hundreds of thousands die, then they lie about the lying, and "the Villagers" say nothing. But ask them about a $400 haircut or a presidential blow job from an intern, and they'll prattle on all the day long.

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Wingnut statistician (or so he fancies himself) John Lott, for claiming, among other things, that the Minnesota State Canvassing Board decided that four ballots that appeared to show a vote for incumbent Repug Sen. Norm Coleman (in his contest with Al Franken) should be called "No" votes; the problem is that Lott doesn't tell you that - by state law - the votes had to be considered as such because they had "clearly identifying marks, such as signatures"...Lott also misinforms by showing two examples of votes supposedly called for Franken, which were not - wanker (he should stick to his bogus numbers crunching to allegedly show how more guns make us more safe instead...h/t The Daily Kos)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

John Cloud of Time Magazine - no, I didn't like the way Obama handled the thing with Rick Warren either, but that hardly means that Obama is a bigot, and that's a laughable charge coming from someone who defended Mann Coulter, of all people (here).

The “U Stink U nogood lib terrist n’ Obama Sucks Signed BushLvr” Citation

Idaho state lawmaker Stephen Hartgen (R-Twin Falls) may introduce a bill in the 2009 Legislature to force people to use their real names when commenting on the Internet (here) – he’s a former newspaper publisher (gee, just a bit of payback here, ya’ think?)

The "Shrill, Baby, Shrill" Citation Of The Year

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman tells us here that he is "in communications" with the Obama team concerning the economy (smart)

The "And Somewhere, The Masked Avengers Are Smiling" Citation

The New York Times published a letter supposedly from Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe opposing Caroline Kennedy's bid for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat, but the letter turned out to be fake (here)

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Judge Ricardo M. Urbina for ruling here against Ralph Nader in his lawsuit claiming that the Dems conspired to keep him off the ballot in the 2004 presidential election (all together now...WAAAAAHHHH!!!!).

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Former Deputy Attorney General Jim Comey for claiming that Eric Holder should be confirmed here (take that, Snarlin' Arlen!)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Jon Sinton, former president of Air America Radio, for saying that Flush Limbore is right to decry the Fairness Doctrine here (once more, a liberal dupe and "Third Way" sympathizer validates a right-wing talking point, namely, that Obama wants to bring the "Fairness Doctrine" back, making me wonder yet again why I bother to do this at all, with people like Sinton who claim to represent me)

The "My Fondest Wish For The Incoming Obama Administration And Attorney General Eric Holder (Assuming Confirmation, Of Course)" Citation

That they'll FINALLY resolve once and for all what the #@!# went on in the Anthrax scare and either identify those responsible for sure and arrest/prosecute/convict them or tell us that they're all dead now and there's nothing else that can be done (here)

Dregs Of The Year Nominees

I know this is on a par with beating a horse that is not only dead, but one for which rigor mortis has set in, but I have to nail Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer for AGAIN doing their best to propagate the lie that the reason for the financial collapse in this country is...wait for it...the dreaded COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT!!! (here)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

KBR, for (allegedly) knowingly exposing our troops, such as James Gentry of the Indiana National Guard, to a deadly toxin while they were stationed in Iraq here (keep telling me again how much better corporate entities have "managed" the utter failure of Iraq better than professionals representing our government...the monstrous deceit and mismanagement of these cretins almost exceeds the imagination)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Dana Perino, for pledging that Dubya's pardon requests would go through the pardon attorney, Ronald L. Rogers, when that plainly didn't happen in the case of Isaac Toussie here, the Brooklyn developer who served time in prison for masterminding a massive Suffolk (Long Island) real estate scam - Toussie's pardon was revoked soon after the inevitable outcry began (our corporate media will blow over this, of course, but prattle on about Marc Rich all day).

(I read an article in the New York Times magazine recently about incoming Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs in which Perino confessed to having trouble sleeping because of the strain of the job. Yep, a guilty conscience will do that.)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Tonia Thomas, a “Christian woman (Baptist, who) claims she was fired from her job because she greeted callers with ‘Merry Christmas’," according to this story; her former employer, Counts-Oakes Resorts Properties Inc. of Pensacola, FL, claims they are “a Christian company.”

The story tells us that Thomas has already found another job, though it pays less than the $10.50 an hour she made at Counts-Oakes (of course, a lawsuit is involved here or else no one would have reported this; the federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission is representing her in her complaint, which alleges that Counts-Oakes “harass(ed) and taunt(ed) Thomas after she was fired by calling the police to watch her pack her belongs and leave”).

Why does this story get me steamed? Well, because Thomas found another job for one thing, which is something a lot of people cannot do in this wretched economy. Also, in this day and age, many of her former customers at Counts-Oakes just don’t observe Christmas, and no one should assume that everyone does.

Finally, she’s mad because the police watched her pack her stuff as she left; I hate to break the news to Thomas, but as cold as that can be, her former employer has that right (many employers don’t even grant their former employees the right to go back to their work areas and claim their stuff after they’re let go).

Basically, Thomas wants special treatment because she’s “a Christian.”

Welcome to reality, lady.

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Rick Warren for this - God, I wish this guy would just shut his pie hole and go away; I hope this is a lesson for Obama, as well as any other pol with an ounce of common sense...NO MORE DAMN PREACHERS, OK??!!

Here's a Warren backgrounder, for the benefit of anyone who needs to be "brought up to speed" (maybe one or two).

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed, who asserted in a column (here) that she "hears rumbles President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is reportedly on 21 different taped conversations by the feds -- dealing with his boss' vacant Senate seat!" Sneed added: "A lot of chit-chat? Hot air? Or trouble? To date, Rahm's been mum. Stay tuned."

I think that’s kind of interesting, since I’VE heard “rumbles” that Sneed “likes to fornicate with livestock and exhibit her private parts for a nominal fee to complete and total strangers.”

Sourcing on that claim? Why, I have none. Just like Sneed on her claim about Emanuel.

The difference is that I don’t get paid to peddle lies for ready consumption by wingnut media, and Sneed does.

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Gladwyne, PA businessman Todd Carmichael, who journeyed across 700 miles of Antarctica alone, on foot, pulling a sled of supplies in temperatures that reached 35 degrees below zero. It took him 39 days to reach the South Pole and complete the journey - a new record.

Part of the reason for Carmichael's trip was to conduct scientific reporting on global warming (as opposed to other millionaire vanity adventures that do nothing but attract attention to that person and their supposed greatness - see Fossett, Steve...yeah, I know his death was confirmed this year, but he still deserves a shot for all of the man-hours spent trying to rescue him when his balloon inevitably went down or his plane inevitably crashed).

(By the way, if you can access the Inquirer editorial here where they praise Carmichael, please take a shot at trying to figure out their logic on why Ralph Nader's failed '04 presidential bid in PA - speaking of vanity adventures - merits "a well-deserved review of the decision" in which he was disqualified because of bogus signatures on his petition.)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Chip Saltsman, who distributed a CD containing “Barack the Magic Negro” as part of his campaign to be elected chairman of the Republican National Committee next month, according to this story (he's got my vote - tee hee)

And why is it that so many Repugs are named "Chip" or "Tucker" or "Haley" or "Clayton," by the way?

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

The Bucks County Courier Times in these parts; I don't know how a publisher can claim to produce a Saturday "newspaper" with barely any news coverage, a preponderance of local area school sports (plenty of ads, of course) and, worst of all, no Op-Ed page.

For the longest time, the Courier Times didn't publish on Saturdays, though they started publishing a Saturday paper a year or so ago, but about six months ago I believe, they started publishing this wretched Saturday tabloid-looking product that is practically unreadable.

Either publish a legitimate newspaper or take the day off.

Update 2/6/09: The paper announced today that they're going to an "online version only" for Saturday editions. I'll check it out and see how good it is, but kudos to them for taking the right step here.

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Anyone who subscribes to the notion that a "gas tax" is required to compel consumers to buy more energy-efficient vehicles since they'll have to pay more for gas, as the New York Times did here; this notion is often applauded by those who advocate more spending for mass transit (this isn't a slam at Atrios, by the way - he's fundamentally right to be pushing for SUPERTRAINS).

Here's a thought; how about spending more for mass transit AND making more energy-efficient vehicles and forgetting about the damn gas tax, since the price of gas will fluctuate independent of anything a politician in this country does anyway?

Build the hybrid and price it affordably, and you've got yourself a deal (assuming we all keep our jobs and we'll have enough money to pay, which is another story I realize).

Dregs Of The Year Nominees

Anyone who automatically assumes without question that Israel has the right to pummel Gaza with rockets; I mean, does our lockstep support of Israel in this country mean we've forfeited our obligation to at least think about whether this is the correct course of action (in light of this post from Greg Mitchell of E&P)?

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominees

PA State Rep Josh Shapiro, who has been sponsoring legislation since 2005 that would make it illegal to drive in PA while talking on a hand-held cell phone, and fellow state rep Eugene De Pasquale, who has proposed banning text messaging while driving, as noted here (both Dems, in case you need to ask)

I'll wrap this up next time.

Update 2 1/2/09: I found out a bit late about Celia Chazelle, the chair of the history department at the College of New Jersey and a scholar of medieval history, who teaches the class “Social Justice, History and Practice” at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility in Bordentown (here - definitely a "Do Gooder" nominee).

Update 2 1/28/09: Sorry I couldn't approve your comment, mberenis, lest Blogger flag me for spam again, but I can at least give you a link here.