Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Stuff

"Worst Persons" time (the volume is a little off), with K.O. telling us that Flush Limbore bloviated recently about ACORN supposedly getting $4.19 billion from the stimulus bill, which is typically wrong - the money is for "non-profit housing developers to help purchase, rehab, and resell foreclosed properties" (of course, as Keith notes, Limbore could actually bid for some of it if he weren't so busy lying about it); Bill Orally blames Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan for telling NATO to curtail its bombing activities because it's killing too many Afghan civilians - of course, SecDef Bob Gates thinks Karzai is right, and Billo is typically wrong as well (Keith forgot his Billo voice here); the winner (?), though, is Bernard Goldberg, formerly of CBS News, who, as K.O. notes, doctored a transcript of Tom Brokaw talking to Charlie Rose, putting words into Brokaw's mouth from a wholly other question in that interview - nice - even though Goldberg claims that the media "jumped the shark" on Obama (superb takedown by K.O. on this cretin who truly deserves it)...

...and as a tribute to keyboardist Billy Powell of Lynyrd Skynyrd, here's "That Smell," performed with what I guess would be the band's most recent incarnation at Rockpalast in 1996 (the original band with Ronnie Van Zant is featured in a video from here, performing "Gimme Three Steps").

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (1/30/09)

As reported in last Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer, here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress were recorded on major roll-call votes last week (and I also posted over here - a little late due to technical difficulties).


Tighter bailout rules. Voting 260-166, the House passed a bill (HR 384) setting stricter rules for the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). The Senate will not take up the bill, relying instead on Obama administration pledges to tighten up the program.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: John Adler (D., N.J.), Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), and Joe Sestak (D., Pa.).

Voting no: Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).
Typical partisan, party-line BS, and here’s more (and I have to tell you that I’m not entirely sure of the reason for the disconnect here between the House and the Senate; if Harry Reid and company are looking for both efficiency and expediency on this, they may end up with neither).


Secretary of State Clinton. Voting 94-2, the Senate confirmed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D., N.Y.) as the 67th U.S. secretary of state.

A yes vote was to confirm Clinton.

Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Ted Kaufman (D., Del.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), and Arlen Specter (R., Pa.).
(And by the way, allow me to welcome Ted Kaufman of Delaware to the festivities, taking over for Joe Biden while Biden’s son Beau serves in Iraq and then, in all probability, prepares to run for his dad’s seat when he returns, God willing.)

Oh, and the two numbskulls who voted against HRC’s confirmation were Diaper Dave Vitter and Jim DeMint, as noted here (the latter has truly been “covering himself in glory” lately).

Pay-bias suits. Voting 61-36, the Senate passed a bill (S 181) giving plaintiffs greater standing to file suits alleging pay discrimination. The bill would permit claims to be filed within 180 days of the latest infraction. This would nullify a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which requires pay-bias suits to be filed within 180 days of the first infraction. This vote sent the bill back to the House.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez and Specter.
And thus closes yet another horrendous chapter in the annals of Hangin’ Judge J.R.’s Supreme Court (and the bill is now law, as noted here).

GOP pay-bias plan. Voting 40-55, the Senate defeated a bid by Republicans to narrow the statute of limitations in S 181 (above) for filing pay-bias claims. The GOP sought to require claims to be filed within 180 days of the time the plaintiff first knew or should have known of the alleged discrimination.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting yes: Specter.

Voting no: Carper, Casey, Kaufman, Lautenberg and Menendez.
Some “plan”; all that would have done was to validate the original bogus ruling by the Roberts court that generated the response leading to the Ledbetter law.

As always, screw you, Arlen (if you really opposed Ledbetter, then do so honestly and vote No to S181 for the record as long as you support the watered-down "alternative").

Right-to-work laws. Voting 66-31, senators tabled (killed) a proposal to add a federal right-to-work law to S 181 (above). Twenty-two states now have right-to-work laws, which make it illegal to require union membership or the paying of union dues as a condition of employment.

A yes vote opposed the amendment.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez and Specter.
Not much to think about here, people; so-called “right to work” laws are nothing but attacks on unions, couched in typical Republican-ese.

This week, the House took up an $850 billion economic-stimulus package, while the Senate debated expansion of children's health insurance and voted on Obama administration appointees.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday Stuff

Bye Blago; can't say I'll miss ya' (wonder if Bobby Rush will have any luck trying to suck up to the new "guv"?)...

...and what a shame that Chip Saltsman has apparently dropped out of the running for the RNC chairmanship; I mean, he represents them perfectly, as kos notes here (including this little gem)...

...I haven't checked in with K.O. for a little while now; here's "Worst Persons" from Monday (former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich slams Flush Limbore, Sean Inanity AND Michelle Malkin - haven't come up with a parody nickname for her yet; Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit tries to buy a luxury corporate jet with our bailout money - hmmm, doesn't his name rhyme with "bandit"...just wondering; and former Lehman Brothers Chairman Richard S. Fuld, Jr. hides assets from creditors by transferring them to his wife, gratis of course - real nice)...

...Seether ("Breakdown"; awesome song and a really cool vid).

“Post Partisanship” From Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao

Even though his wife is now out of a job, that doesn’t mean that the Senate’s Minority Leader isn't still obstructing away, of course (heckuva job to send him back last year, Kentucky voters – you gonna extend the same privilege to Senator “I Hear Voices” too next year?).

With this in mind, I give you this story, featuring Mitch McConnell supposedly believing that the GOP must “change” (and if you believe that, I’ve got a book of updated safety workplace regulations from Dubya’s Department of Labor to sell to you…and speaking of Former Commander Clueless, I also posted over here.)…

However, this doesn’t sound like “change” in any way, shape, or form (from here)…

Top Senate Republicans are raising doubts about the Senate version of the (recently passed by the House with zero Repug votes stimulus) package, which is approaching $900 billion. "In a time of trillion-dollar deficits, we cannot afford Washington business-as-usual," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said Thursday. "Are these projects really necessary? Will they stimulate the economy? Should we ask the American people to foot the bill?"
Actually, this story tells us that the American people have already been asked…

A national poll released today shows that 94 percent of Americans support a national effort to build up the country's infrastructure. Meanwhile, 81 percent of Americans say they are prepared to pay 1 percent more in federal taxes to support infrastructure projects. (Separately, a new Gallup Poll finds that a slim majority of Americans, 53 percent, support a $775 million stimulus package of the type Barack Obama described in a speech (on January 8th).)
And by the way, speaking of the stimulus, the king of the “Roadblock Republicans” said here that “he didn’t think [the stimulus is] going to have any problem getting over 60 votes,” even though (as you can plainly see from the headline) McConnell’s Repug colleague, the even-more-clueless Jim DeMint of South Carolina, predicted the stimulus package would get “zero” votes, adding to the illustrious legacy he’s helped to build here and here (where he said there would be riots in Detroit if the automaker loans were approved; I don’t call that a bailout since the funding was already agreed upon for retooling, but will be used to insure GM and Chrysler’s solvency instead).

And returning to the matter of McConnell and his beloved Graying Obstructionist Party in the AP story (really “ruled” by these characters, let’s not forget), we read this…

McConnell called for the GOP to embrace its conservative tenants – and resist diluting its message – to bring people back and attract new rank-and-file, saying: "Our principles are universal. They apply to everyone."
If he wants to believe that, fine. However, this Daily Kos post from last April (citing a Pew Research study that really doesn’t leave room for doubt on which way younger voters are going in this country) features the following from Ezra Klein…

Political scientists argue that the more often someone votes for a party, the more that preference gets locked in. Each vote marginally increases your personal identification with the party you pulled the lever for. Three election cycles, and you're probably a partisan for life, or something near to it. Which means an advantage like this (for the Dems), though potentially temporary, also opens the door to a more enduring electoral edge with this generation.
And as long as McConnell and his beloved Repugs keep fighting the stimulus, to say nothing of squabbling with Obama and the Dems on the Iraq war, Afghanistan, and a whole host of other issues, that trend will never change.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday Stuff

Wow, is this silly; kudos to John Coleman for saying he'd do it again...

...and even more ridiculous is the fact that the stimulus bill passed the House without a single Repug voting for it (sorry to besmirch Groucho by associating him with these cretins, but this tune sure does fit - somebody tell me when this "post-partisanship" phase starts, because I apparently didn't get the memo)...

...and I'm so glad Bill Orally doesn't report rumors, aren't you (h/t Crooks and Liars)...

...and this story tells us that the former Cat Stevens will perform "The Day The World Gets Round" by George Harrison to benefit the children of Gaza shelled by the Israelis; here's a clip of the original tune by "the quiet Beatle" with a video tribute.

Amnesia At Our Peril

I have to admit that I was stunned to read this “Point/Counterpoint” feature in the LA Times yesterday between Susan Estrich and Hugh Hewitt on the subject of investigating Dubya and his pals for “break(ing) the law in fighting terrorism,” not because I expected anything but utter wankery from Hugh Hewitt, but because I expected Estrich to amount at least a token defense, given that she’s the “liberal” here (silly me - and I also posted here).

Here she is…

I don't approve of torture, detaining people without charges or warrantless wiretapping without some form of judicial review or approval. I don't believe that the Constitution grants the executive virtually unlimited powers even in the pursuit of the horrors of terrorism. I'm actually sentimental enough to get shivers up my spine when I hear the stories of the acting U.S. attorney general and the FBI director racing to the hospital bed of the seriously ill then-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft in 2004 to warn him not to sign the directive the White House chief of staff was bringing over. That directive was a reauthorization of a blatantly unconstitutional assault on individual liberties and freedom in the name of fighting terrorism.

But the punch line, as we both know, is that Ashcroft didn't sign off on the White House's secret surveillance program. The president, reportedly having been kept in the dark by folks in his own administration and facing mass resignations from lawyers who belong to a different political party than I do but swear allegiance to the same Constitution, revised the program. The good guys won. The Constitution lives.
Glenn Greenwald, in another typically thorough post, gives us all the particulars of how former Bushco AG Abu Gonzales did his best to keep Deputy AG James Comey from testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee and thus keep hidden the story of Comey’s visit, along with FBI Director Robert Mueller, to the hospital room where then-AG John Ashcroft was recovering from a gall bladder condition on March 10, 2004. The point of Comey/Mueller’s visit, of course, was to help Ashcroft resist pressure from then-Bush White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and Gonzales from approving the warrantless wiretapping program.

However, according to TPM Muckraker here…

When Comey went in on that Friday, March 12th to give the White House its customary morning briefing, Comey said that the president pulled him aside. They had a 15 minute private meeting, the content of which Comey would not divulge. But Comey did suggest at the conclusion of that conversation that the president speak with FBI Director Mueller. And so that meeting followed. Following that meeting, Comey said that Mueller brought word that the Justice Department was to do whatever was "necessary" to make the program into one that the Justice Department could sign off on.

Comey said that it took two to three weeks for the Justice Department to do the analysis necessary to have the program approved. During that time, the program went on without Justice Department approval. But following the Justice Department's suggested changes, the Justice Department (either Ashcroft or Comey) did sign off on the program.
And of course, as we know, the 110th Congress codified the lawbreaking of the happily-now-departed Bushco cabal here by passing its utter sham of a FISA bill (here).

So I guess, to Estrich’s thinking, the Constitution “lives” indeed – without the Fourth Amendment, that is.

She also tells us this…

That's how the story should end. I don't need their heads. I don't believe John Yoo and his colleagues deserve to be in prison. That isn't what criminal law is about. That isn't how the system we all swear allegiance to is supposed to work.

For those who don't know, Yoo was the White House lawyer whose job it was to come up with fancy legal justifications for blatantly unconstitutional programs, which were then promoted by others. He and those who worked with him and followed his advice are guilty of twisting the Constitution -- abusing it, even. Our founding fathers -- who, unlike us, actually lived under tyranny -- took some care to prohibit it. If Yoo and company had had their way, the founding fathers' efforts would have been for naught.
All the more reason to haul Yoo’s ass in front of a war crimes tribunal, IMHO, along with Dubya, Rummy, and “Deadeye Dick,” for starters, particularly when you consider the following (from here, in Jack Goldsmith, former Office of Legal Counsel lawyer in Bushco’s “Justice” Department, describes how he finally came to part ways with his employer)…

Yoo was a ''godsend'' to a White House nervous about war-crimes prosecutions, Goldsmith writes in his book, because his opinions reassured the White House that no official who relied on them could be prosecuted after the fact. But Yoo's direct access to Gonzales angered his boss, Attorney General John Ashcroft, according to Goldsmith. (Neither Ashcroft nor Gonzales responded to requests for interviews for this article.) Ashcroft, Goldsmith says, felt that Gonzales and the war council (Gonzales, Cheney Chief Of Staff David Addington, Defense Department General Counsel William J. Haynes II and Yoo) were usurping legal-policy decisions that were properly entrusted to the attorney general, such as the creation of military commissions, which Gonzales supported and Ashcroft never liked.

Several hours after Goldsmith was sworn in, on Oct. 6, 2003, he recalls that he received a phone call from Gonzales: the White House needed to know as soon as possible whether the Fourth Geneva Convention, which describes protections that explicitly cover civilians in war zones like Iraq, also covered insurgents and terrorists. After several days of study, Goldsmith agreed with lawyers in several other federal agencies, who had concluded that the convention applied to all Iraqi civilians, including terrorists and insurgents. In a meeting with Ashcroft, Goldsmith explained his analysis, which Ashcroft accepted. Later, Goldsmith drove from the Justice Department to the White House for a meeting with Gonzales and Addington. Goldsmith remembers his deputy Patrick Philbin turning to him in the car and saying: ''They're going to be really mad. They're not going to understand our decision. They've never been told no.'' (Philbin declined to discuss the conversation.)

In his book, Goldsmith describes Addington as the ''biggest presence in the room -- a large man with large glasses and an imposing salt-and-pepper beard'' who was ''known throughout the bureaucracy as the best-informed, savviest and most conservative lawyer in the administration, someone who spoke for and acted with the full backing of the powerful vice president, and someone who crushed bureaucratic opponents.'' When Goldsmith presented his analysis of the Geneva Conventions at the White House, Addington, according to Goldsmith, became livid. ''The president has already decided that terrorists do not receive Geneva Convention protections,'' Addington replied angrily, according to Goldsmith. ''You cannot question his decision.'' (Addington declined to comment on this and other details concerning him in this article.)

Goldsmith then explained that he agreed with the president's determination that detainees from Al Qaeda and the Taliban weren't protected under the Third Geneva Convention, which concerns the treatment of prisoners of war, but that different protections were at issue with the Fourth Geneva Convention, which concerns civilians. Addington, Goldsmith says, was not persuaded. (Goldsmith told me that he has checked his recollections of this and other meetings with at least one other participant or with someone to whom he described the meetings soon after.)

Months later, when Goldsmith tried to question another presidential decision, Addington expressed his views even more pointedly. ''If you rule that way,'' Addington exclaimed in disgust, Goldsmith recalls, ''the blood of the hundred thousand people who die in the next attack will be on your hands.''
Oh, and in the same post, Addington cheerily exclaims that “we’re one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious [FISA] court” (what a creep).

And in case anyone was wondering about the alleged legal basis for denying habeas corpus rights to prisoners at Guantanamo, another Yoo “innovation,” this reminds us that Yoo decided to do that on the shaky-at-best legal reasoning of the WWII-era Supreme Court ruling in Ex Parte Quirin, in which German spies were executed (Quirin was at issue in the Boumediene v. Bush ruling, which was the third setback handed to our then-ruling cabal by the Supremes)…

How was this possible? The Court had a simple answer: haberdashery. Writing an unseemly eight months after the saboteurs had been executed, the Court held that the Germans, having shed the uniform of their nation, had likewise shed the protections of the laws of war. Thus they were, in the phrase Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone coined, "unlawful combatants."
I don’t know if exposure to the light of day of all of these abuses of our constitution and the rule of law would result in convictions, but at the very least, it would show to the world that the abuses of the prior regime will not be tolerated and never serve as a precedent for future presidential administrations.

I’m hardly some fancy law professor like Estrich, but even I know that.

And I don’t think she’s much of a “liberal,” for refusing to acknowledge that (actually, I don’t think she’s much of an American, period).

Update 1/29/08: Though Estrich thinks we should "move on," of course (in a manner of speaking), this is another reason why we should do the exact opposite.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday Stuff

Sweet Mother Of Abraham Lincoln! What a difference between Robert Gibbs and Dana Perino, Tony Snow, Scott McClellan, Ari Fleischer, etc.; Gibbs sounds more like an adviser than a press secretary here (Maybe, in a way, he is? And I'm fine with that based on this, by the way.)...

...Mike Papantonio gives Flush Limbore the spirited takedown he deserves for claiming on-air that he hopes Obama "fails"...

...and sticking with Pap, he tells us here that Blackwater is expanding its foul reach domestically (charming)...

...Red Jumpsuit Apparatus ("Your Guardian Angel").

Benny’s Bonzo Obama-Rama Slam

Time again for me to criticize the leader of my faith (the penance will come later - and I also posted over here).

As noted here…

President Obama is probably not itching for a fight over abortion. But he might get one. With unusual speed, the Vatican has condemned Obama's Jan. 23 repeal of the ban on U.S. funding for foreign family planning aid groups who offer abortion services.

The repeal fulfils a campaign promise Obama made to pro-choice supporters. But if the late Friday afternoon signing was an attempt to get the change in under the radar, it didn't work. Top Vatican officials, usually hesitant to respond directly to Washington's domestic policy decisions, pounced quickly. By Saturday afternoon, the Holy See was emailing reporters the Sunday edition of its official daily, L'Osservatore Romano, which features a front page headline describing Obama's decision as "very disappointing."
“With unusual speed” is an understatement; I mean, Obama was just sworn in last week!

(And by the way, please do not forget that we’re talking about a man who said that Orthodox churches were “defective” because they didn’t recognize the primacy of the pope, called for a return to the Tridentine Latin rite mass which advocates the conversion of Jews to Catholicism, dismissed the Vatican’s chief astronomer for correctly pointing out that “intelligent design” isn’t science, issued a “Ten Commandments for Drivers” – “thou shalt not text while signaling for a left turn”?? – and once called Bob Dylan a “false prophet,” all of which is noted here.)

I would also note the directness of Benedict’s remarks, criticizing Obama by name, whereas any criticisms of Dubya (re., Iraq, capital punishment) were couched in less explicit terms, not even mentioning President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History personally (and I think we should also recall the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s association with Neil Bush in a “management trust” that could have “masquerade(ed) as a religious charity (that) would be an excellent place to launder money or park assets away from the taxman's prying eyes,” according to writer Chris Floyd here).

Oh, and I forgot to note that Benny is, at heart, a climate change denier based on this. And did I also forget to mention that His Holiness also lifted the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying bishop here?

I know we’re talking about a “grab bag” of different public incidents here, and it’s hard to find an equivalency between any of them. The common thread to all of them, though, is the “vicar of Christ,” a man flawed as we all are, though perhaps more so than he would like us to believe.

Update 2/4/09: God, Benny, are you a chump (here).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday Stuff

With each passing day, I'm more and more glad that this assclown (c-b-lo) decided not to run against Specter (here - and please, Patrick, stay out of this, particularly because of this).

I mean, of course we're not supposed to help the states and low-income working women reduce their health care costs. Why should we help defer that ever-growing expense in any way? And "government-run" health care? What are you anyway, a damned socialist??!!

As Dubya would say, "jes' tell 'er to pop out the kid and get back to work!"

Besides, we're talking about a "female problem," and sex is icky. Any Repug will tell you that.

Update 1/28/09: I don't care how "powerful" Drudge is supposed to be; he's still an idiot (here).

I posted earlier today about Baby Newton Leroy's Contract On America, and that was in part a response to Clinton's extremely sensible initial budget that ended up giving us about ten years of prosperity. However, the rantings by the corporate media loons like Matthews over the government paying for "midnight basketball" back then is similar to the Luntz-esque demagoguery we're hearing now about this ("OMIGOD!! OUR GOVERNMENT IS PAYING FOR CONDOMS!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!").

Even though we've elected an extremely intelligent president, the stupidity quotient in this country continues to rise unabated by the minute (and cause, meet effect).

...and I almost can't find the words to describe how sweet this would be, based on this development...

...I have to admit that this is a nice story (doing a "180" here); Jonathan Rosenberg, owner of Tabby's Place, talks to Richard Schlesinger of CBS News about why he decided to leave his successful dot com career to care for unwanted cats, and introduces us to a few of his tenants....

Watch CBS Videos Online

...Delta Spirit ("Trashcan").

Farewell To "Kristol Mess Monday"

(By the way, Greg Mitchell of E&P gives Irving’s boy a going-away present of sorts here; would that Kristol and his attacks on common sense would “go away” for real, of course, but we’ll take what we can get.)

Not with a bang or even a whimper, a sad chapter in the annals of the fourth estate comes to a close with this, including the following (and I also posted here)…

Conservatives have been right more often than not — and more often than liberals — about most of the important issues of the day: about Communism and jihadism, crime and welfare, education and the family. Conservative policies have on the whole worked — insofar as any set of policies can be said to “work” in the real world. Conservatives of the Reagan-Bush-Gingrich-Bush years have a fair amount to be proud of.
I’m not quite sure how any American – to say nothing of any conservative – can be “proud” of the intervention by the Reagan Administration in the ‘80s in Afghanistan that ultimately led to the rise of Osama bin Laden, as noted in this Democracy Now! interview with Steve Coll, author of a notable book on the subject; if you’re going to spend a fortune arming these people against the Soviets, why not spend a relative pittance after the fact in helping them build schools and hospitals to help put their lives back together after we’ve helped them to blow their enemies and themselves to bits (the whole “winning hearts and minds” thing)?

And though this doesn’t fit into Kristol’s grab bag of conservative “success stories” under the guise of crime, welfare, education or the family (maybe more of the last category, unintentionally?), this excerpt from a 1995 Mother Jones analysis of Baby Newton Leroy’s “Contract On America” is nonetheless applicable (with Kristol and Gingrich being two peas in a foul pod)…

In the name of fiscal responsibility, Republicans will press for deep cuts in programs many Americans have come to rely upon for their health and overall well-being. Everything from poultry inspections and federal park maintenance to health research and public broadcasting is likely to suffer.


Obviously, cutting federal benefits to the poor, blind, and disabled is not what most Americans had in mind when they turned over control of Congress to the GOP. But that is what the Republicans have in store. All of the above programs would have to be radically reduced just to give the Republicans a chance of living up to their promises to cut taxes, increase defense spending, and balance the budget.
Oh, and as long as we’re revisiting bad Repug history, remember this gem in the “contract” from Former Senator Wide Stance?...

(Repug Idaho Sen. Larry) Craig will push a point embedded deep within the contract that will require the federal government to compensate private landholders and businesses when the cost of complying with federal regulations exceeds 10 percent of the property value. Craig and other private property proponents contend that the current system--which requires landholders and corporations to pay the costs of environmental cleanup and endangered species preservation--violates the Fifth Amendment, which states "nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation." Recently, judges have sided with landholders and businesses when the cost of complying with regulations equals or exceeds 100 percent of the land value.

The 10 percent threshold proposed by the Republicans would add billions of dollars to the government's cost of protecting endangered species and removing dangerous substances from the air, water, and workplace--costs that Republicans are not interested in financing. Environmentalists have said, for example, the government would never have been able to ban DDT in 1972 under the Republican proposal, because of the costs associated with compensating the farmers who used the toxic insecticide.
Oh, and here’s another obscured item from the “Contract”…

Civil Rights Laws: The Contract erodes the enforcement of civil rights, worker's rights, (and) employment discrimination…under the guise of a "cost/benefit" analysis on all new and existing regulations. Agencies must justify the costs of those regulations to the states and to businesses and then must lower the costs each year to be less than the proceeding year. The Republicans do not weigh in the balance the benefits civil rights and non-discrimination laws have for individuals and the society at large; these laws are basic constitutional rights guaranteed to everyone.
However, perhaps realizing that his time taking up space on the Times Op-Ed page is indeed running out and he’s seeking to be diplomatic somehow, Kristol leaves us with this…

That exhortation (from Tom Paine, including the phrase "These are the times that try men’s souls"; he’s opining about Obama’s inauguration speech) was appropriate for World War II. Today, the dangers are less stark, and the conflicts less hard. Still, there will be trying times during Obama’s presidency, and liberty will need staunch defenders. Can Obama reshape liberalism to be, as it was under F.D.R., a fighting faith, unapologetically patriotic and strong in the defense of liberty?
(I’d like to see Kristol Mess actually file for unemployment or visit a homeless shelter or a VA health care center so he can tell those in need of services that “the dangers are less stark, and the conflicts less hard” than World War II, by the way.)

And the Times’ conservative quota hire concludes his column today (after the paragraph I just highlighted) with “That would be a service to our country,” followed by the Times Op-Ed note that “This is William Kristol’s last column.”

Sounds like somebody ought to flip those two sentences around, if you ask me.

Update 1/27/09: The Times reports today that Kristol is going to the WaPo; the ideological inbreeding of our corporate media cousins continues.