Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday PM Stuff

I've been meaning to share this all week and I keep forgetting, so I suppose now is as good a time as any...

...and I think this is some pretty cool, Saturday-night-party music (part of me wants to "dropkick" Ryan Madson).

Saturday Stuff

I don't agree with his Nader comment, but Bill Maher is spot-on about everything else here (if I hear one more chicken Democrat - redundant? - complain that "we don't have the votes" on ANYTHING, including a public health care plan, I'm going to spit - hat tip to diarist Count Imbroglio at The Daily Kos)...

...and I've always found a quiet and contemplative tune to be an appropriate remedy for a dreary Saturday like this; however, this ain't it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Stuff

This is a big deal for local Philly sports fans, by the way, and I'm referring to the passing of WPVI Sports anchor Gary Papa; the synch is slightly off, but this is a nice remembrance...

...and I have to admit that I had a hard time trying to come up with a way to properly note that yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the murder of Denver radio talk show host Alan Berg by white supremacists (here), but I guess the most appropriate way to do it is to put up an excerpt of this Democracy Now! interview last October by Amy Goodman of James Ridgeway, author of "Blood in the Face: The Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads and the Rise of a New White Culture" (pointing out, among other things, the way racism became more pronounced with Obama's candidacy...I always thought Berg's death was one of the milestones in the gradual rise of right-wing radio and media in general in this country, with many of its practitioners casually advocating violence and death against those they disagree with)...

Update 6/20/09: I think this is a cautionary column from Bob Herbert of the New York Times on this subject.

...I'll try to lighten things up now a bit with "Worst Persons" (House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Man Tan) first calls the stimulus "generational theft," but now applauds the "shovel-ready" projects funded by it - huh?; The California Repug Party hires a guy named Mark Anthony Jacoby to trick people into registering for them - and of course, what do we hear from the Murdoch Street Journal and other right-wing media in response, those who worked themselves into a froth over ACORN, who actually found out their own screwups and corrected them? Why, the sound of crickets, of course; but Jeffrey Smith of the Justice Department takes it for trying to keep video of an interview Deadeye Dick Cheney gave concerning the outing of Valerie Plame (CREW wants Smith to give the interview to prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, which he should)...and oh, Smith doesn't want the testimony "to end up on a late-night comedy show," huh? How about every left-wing blog in creation, then?)...

...and believe me when I tell you that I need this to try and "get me in the mood" for Sunday, given the awful weather and the even-more-awful play of your Philadelphia Phillies at the moment.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (6/19/09)

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.


Car, truck vouchers. Voting 298-119, the House passed a bill (HR 2751) enabling consumers to trade their car or truck for a government voucher worth $3,500 to $4,500 to be used to help buy or lease a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle - foreign or domestic. The exact value of the voucher would depend on the new vehicle's fuel efficiency. The government would destroy the traded-in vehicles. Congressional auditors predict the bill would spur 600,000 vehicle sales and leases. The bill is now before the Senate.

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.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), Joe Sestak (D., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

Voting no: Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.).
Am I the only one who sees some humor in the fact that the only person who opposed a bill to encourage people to buy cars is named “Dent”?

This tells us that the voucher applies if your car gets 18 mpg or less; the Democratic Underground post also wonders how “Government Motors” came up with that figure (and, as I always say to people who think we’re “goin’ Socialist” or whatever, if the automakers and money geniuses hadn’t fracked up their companies so bad, then the “gov’mint” wouldn’t even be in the car business or owning AIG, Lehman, etc.).

And I’m sure you’re all breathlessly awaiting this week’s stupid “No” vote by Joe Pitts, wondering why this isn’t it. That will come later.

Foreign-affairs budget. Voting 235-187, the House authorized a $40.6 billion, two-year foreign-affairs budget (HR 2410) that would fund Department of State and Peace Corps operating expenses, a major expansion of the Foreign Service, and a broad range of U.S. non-military policies and programs overseas.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Castle, Dent, Fattah, Holden, Murphy, and Schwartz.

Voting no: Gerlach, LoBiondo, Pitts and Smith.
David Waldman at Congress Matters tells us what’s going on with this bill here (I think what got the collective shorts of the Repugs all tied in a knot here, minus Castle and Dent, is the part about “meeting our financial commitments” to the U.N. – I should say, though, that as much as I don’t like Chris Smith, he tried to get some interesting stuff into this, and I mean that as a compliment).

I think it’s safe to say that, with this bill, the State Department will now have a higher profile under Obama, and will not be dismissed with the metaphorical back of the hand as the “department of nice” as they were during the dark Bushco days (that quote came from the utterly ignominious Doug Feith, by the way).

Aid to Pakistan. Voting 234-185, the House authorized $10.5 billion in U.S. economic and military aid to Pakistan through 2014. The bill (HR 1886) puts the Department of State in charge of the funding and sets benchmarks for Pakistan to meet. Now awaiting Senate action, the bill signals growing U.S. concern over the stability of Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Holden, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.

Voting no: Castle, Dent, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith.
Wow, funding Pakistan with actual oversight and benchmarks. What a concept (with more party-line Repug nonsense).

Tobacco regulation. Voting 307-97, the House gave final congressional approval to a bill (HR 1256) launching FDA regulation of tobacco products, with the cost to be paid by fees on tobacco manufacturers and importers.

A yes vote was to send the bill to President Obama.

Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Castle, Dent, Fattah, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Murphy, Schwartz, Sestak, and Smith.

Voting no: Pitts.

Not voting: Adler.
“Pancake Joe” does it again! And wasn’t it worth the wait?


Tobacco regulation. Voting 79-17, the Senate passed a bill (HR 1256) to begin federal regulation of tobacco products. Under the bill, the FDA would regulate cigarette ingredients; require public disclosure of those ingredients; restrain cigarette marketing to children; require health warnings to cover at least half of each side of a cigarette package, and require manufacturers to verify health claims.
A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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 (D., Pa.).
This week, the House took up fiscal 2010 appropriations bills, while the Senate debated a government apology to African Americans for slavery and segregation and a bill promoting foreign travel to the United States. Both chambers voted on a bill to fund war and foreign affairs through Sept. 30 (which passed, as noted in the prior post).

Fumento’s Fractious Pandemic Prognostication

(You know me, always trying to build my word power, as they say - and I also posted some stuff here.)

The Philadelphia Inquirer published this Op-Ed today by Michael Fumento on the matter of the swine flu pandemic…

How bizarre. The World Health Organization has declared swine flu a pandemic, signaling that governments worldwide should launch emergency response plans.

The mildest pandemics of the 20th century killed at least a million people worldwide, according to the WHO's data, while old-fashioned seasonal flu strikes every nation yearly and kills an estimated 250,000 to 500,000. As of last week, when the swine-flu pandemic was declared, the H1N1 virus had killed a total of 144 people. In Mexico, where the outbreak began and has been most severe, the cases peaked quickly, in just four weeks.

A pandemic declaration will be costly at a time when we can least afford it, and it could prompt severe restrictions on human activities (think China). Perhaps most important, the declaration could render the term "flu pandemic" essentially meaningless, risking lethal public complacency if a bona fide one hits.
I think you get the idea of where Fumento is coming from based on this excerpt (and I fail to understand how he can apparently prioritize financial cost with what could be the cost to human lives and entire populations should this virus – which, as Wikipedia notes here, is already a mutation of four different viruses - mutate further and “become(s) more virulent and less susceptible to any vaccine developed to protect from an earlier strain”).

I should back up briefly and note that, according to this, $8 billion has been approved to fight the flu pandemic, so in addition to Fumento’s disingenuous argument IMHO, I have to wonder about the timing of this editorial (as noted here, pandemic preparedness funding has been one of many political “footballs”). But there you are (and I don't mean to "blow off" the issue of the war spending bill; I can only put out one fire at a time, as they say).

As Fumento points out in his editorial, the reason for the preparedness is to prevent any possible recurrence of the 1918-19 Spanish flu outbreak, which killed at least 20 million people. However, just because medical understanding and technology as well as pharmacology have advanced as they have over nearly the last 100 years, that doesn’t mean that we should take anything for granted.

But what the Inky doesn’t tell us here is that Fumento is an old hand as dismissing such public health threats; here, (footnote #8) in January 2007, he did the same thing over the “bird flu” (basically arguing that, hey, if it doesn’t threaten industrialized countries like ours, then don’t worry, be happy). And here (also along with Dr. James Chin, who Fumento cited in today’s Inquirer editorial), the headline is titled, “United Nations’ Panel Lowers Its Politically Correct AIDS Estimates,” which I think is a particularly repugnant headline given this.

I suppose I could dig deeper into the disease numbers here to critique what Fumento is saying, but I don’t think he should be taken all that seriously anyway when you consider that, as noted here (in the matter of FDA regulation of the tobacco industry)…

Fumento typically assumes positions on tobacco issues that are in favor of tobacco companies. He has been a vocal critic of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 1993 Risk Assessment on secondhand smoke.[5] In a July 7, 1996 article in the Rocky Mountain News, Fumento disputed whether the nicotine in cigarettes is addictive, stating "The FDA is using the addiction issue as an excuse to gain the power to regulate tobacco."[6]
And it gets even better, believe it or not…

"Scripps Howard News Service announced Jan. 13 that it's severing its business relationship with columnist Michael Fumento, who's also a senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute," reported BusinessWeek in 2006. "The move comes after inquiries from BusinessWeek Online about payments Fumento received from agribusiness giant Monsanto -- a frequent subject of praise in Fumento's opinion columns and a book."
With this in mind, I’ll look forward to a future Inquirer editorial from Armstrong Williams on “No Child Left Behind” (here).

Update 6/21/09: Or Larry Sabato commenting on Virgil Goode's congressional campaign here, though we don't know that he did so, but still...(h/t Atrios).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday Stuff

Boy, is Ed Schultz right here; I contacted Casey and Specter earlier, but thus far, no response; I'll keep you posted (h/t The Daily Kos - to find out who your senator is so you can do what must be done, click here)...

Update 6/25/09: I heard back from Bob Casey earlier, and he supports a public option. Go Bob!

Update 6/26/09: I know this is driven solely by politics (Specter's numbers are in a nose dive), but kudos to him for doing the right thing anyway.

..."Worst Persons" (the staffer for Repug State Senator Diane Black of TN, Sherri Goforth, forwards an incredibly offensive presidential portrait with two white eyes against a black background only for Obama, with Black giving Goforth the proverbial beating with a wet noodle as punishment - yep, good for Keith to take advantage of an opportunity for a really bad pun...and by the way, wingnuts, I heard a hue and cry over the Emerge Magazine cover of Clarence Thomas as a lawn jockey, which actually was appropriate, but not a peep from you over this; Karl Rove laments ABC's coverage of Obama next week...oh for God's sake, stop being such a WATB!; but Charles Krauthammer wins it for manufacturing an alleged "quote" from Obama concerning Fix Noise...God, and this war-porn-cheerleading Beltway hack - who may have had something to do with Dan Froomkin losing his job, though I hasten to add that a lot is still "up in the air" on that - is published EVERYWHERE!)...

Update 6/19/09: More from Jane H. on Froomkin here (h/t Atrios) well as appropriately tongue-in-cheek remarks by kos here.

...and even though this song is a little uncomfortably biographical, I still thought it was neat...

...and RIP, Bob Bogle of The Ventures.

Repug (And Now Dem) Immigration Irritation

The New York Times tells us here that…

Nearly three years after the Justice Department found that the nation’s immigration courts were seriously overburdened and recommended hiring 40 new judges, only a few hirings have taken place and the case backlog is at its highest point in a decade, according to a study released Wednesday.

The report, by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonpartisan group that analyzes data about federal government performance, found that the shortage of judges had contributed to a 19 percent increase in the backlog of cases since 2006 and a 23 percent increase in the time it takes to resolve them.

As of April 12, Justice Department officials said, there were 234 active immigration judges, an increase of 4 judges since August 2006. At that time a review by the attorney general, Alberto R. Gonzales, determined that immigration courts were struggling with their case burden and recommended that 40 judges be brought on board.

“It’s a system at its breaking point,” said Dana L. Marks, an immigration judge in San Francisco who is president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. “How can a system function properly when it is starved from the critical basic resources it needs?”
And in response, President Obama plans to sink more funding into a program started by Dubya, as noted here (I’m not quite sure of the wisdom of this move, but I’m just presenting the info so you can decide – the spin seems to be that he’s moving towards the issue of immigration reform once more, but we’ll see; by the way, more than a little bit of editorial interpretation in this L.A. Progressive article here, as far as I’m concerned)…

The controversial program gives Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unregulated access to the immigration information of every person in local prisons across the United States. Although Obama may be sending mixed signals as he paves a road to immigration reform-signals that frustrates many of his most steadfast supporters-he also understands that he must smooth the way for immigration reform by restoring the confidence of the American public and prove that the government is capable of upholding the rule of law.

Immigration enforcement is fundamentally a federal responsibility, but state and local governments can and should play a role in helping the federal government remove violent criminals from American society.
Yeah, well, it sounds like state and local governments are already doing that; according to this, Obama would “drop funding for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program and save $400 million (something Dubya tried but couldn’t do, forcing the cost of ‘incarcerating and prosecuting criminal aliens’ on the states),” but increase funding for border enforcement and the “E-Verify” system used by the Citizenship and Immigration Services department in concert with the Social Security Administration, as well as hiring 80 new agents to identify criminal immigrants in jails.

And no discussion of this topic would be complete without noting the words and actions of His Fraudulency himself, who told us this in 2005…

Since I've taken office we've increased funding for border security by 60 percent. Our border agents have used that funding to apprehend and send home more than 4.5 million people coming into our country illegally, including more than 350,000 with criminal records.
And of course, since we’re talking about Dubya here, none of this information is verifiable.

However, this tells us the following…

Despite assurances it repeatedly gave to Congress, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has not used its increased funding to capture the "most threatening" immigrants who have outstanding deportation orders -- immigrants ICE characterized as criminals or terrorists. ICE instead pursued easier targets.
A vast majority of those arrested had no criminal record, and many had no deportation orders against them, either.

In 2007, only 9 percent of those arrested had criminal records, and 40 percent had no outstanding deportation order. Over 5 years, ICE spent $625 million to arrest 96,000 people, three-quarters of whom had no criminal record.

Showing good numbers became a higher priority for ICE than following its mission -- and so ICE quietly changed its mission. Although ICE repeatedly told Congress that it was focusing its resources on immigrants with criminal backgrounds, when it changed the rules in 2006 it didn't bother to tell Congress. After all, the truth might have jeopardized the increased funding that ICE enjoyed.
And these were the typical ICE tactics to justify their numbers and, thus, their funding…

During [a 2007 in New Haven] raid, lawyers at Yale’s immigration law center said, agents who found no one home at an address specified in a deportation order simply knocked on other doors until one opened, pushed their way in, and arrested residents who acknowledged that they lacked legal status.

Janet Napolitano has "ordered a review of the fugitive teams operation." She should order it to return to its original mission and to stop lying to Congress about its results. While she's at it, she should order ICE agents to respect the Fourth Amendment.
Indeed, our existing lack of policy allows characters like Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (noted here) to continue pretending that he’s keeping us safe by arresting those nasty illegals busy hatching plots, when in reality, the “crime” most of these people are guilty of is faulty-to-non-existent documentation on their status.

It doesn’t take a genius to point out that any sensible discussion of immigration reform precludes a path to citizenship for people doing the right thing. However, that notion taking hold to the point where it will be enshrined in a bill that eventually makes its way to Obama’s desk is as “certain” as our collective realization in this country that terrorists can be safely housed in our supermax prisons along with all other manner of violent offenders who pose infinitely greater threats to our safety.

Hiring more judges and/or clerks and/or agents are all “back end” solutions to the problem that are important in their own right. However, federal legislation that would grant that path to citizenship for the illegals who deserve it is a “front end” way to get a handle on this situation before they become statistics that we have to pay for anyway.

(Another “front end” solution here is to grant them driver’s licenses for work only, forcing them to purchase insurance and quantifying their numbers – they’d have to go a long way to be worse than the people I share the road with now, and failing to do this only forces them further into an underground economy, as noted here.)

Update 6/25/09: A great comment to this Media Matters post tells us the following...

...many of these migrants are being guided into the United States by coyotes working for American companies that like using the abject poor of Mexico for cheap labor rather than pay Americans a decent wage for what is often dangerous work.

We don't have an illegal immigration problem in the United States, we have an illegal EMPLOYER problem. Make the penalties for bringing in people from other countries for the purposes of exploitation stern enough to force compliance, and the immigration part of it will take care of itself.

An “Overqualified” Supreme Sellout

(The “o” word being code for age discrimination, IMHO - and I also posted some stuff here.)

This post from NBC News tells us the following…

In (an) age discrimina- tion case, the court -- again by a 5-4 vote -- said that lawsuits claiming that an employee was fired because of age must show that age was the reason for the firing, not simply that it was one of several other factors. The court has allowed the "several factor" analysis in claims for race discrimination. But the court said today that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act is worded differently and does not allow lawsuits for such "mixed motive" cases.
This AP story provides these additional details…

Jack Gross had been a vice president of FBL Financial Services of West Des Moines, Iowa. But in 2001, he lost the title of vice president in a reorganization and two years later, some of his responsibilities were given to a colleague.

Gross sued under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act and a jury agreed that his age was a motivating factor in his demotion. Gross was awarded $46,945 in lost compensation.

A federal appeals court in St. Louis overturned the verdict, however.

"We hold that a plaintiff bringing a disparate-treatment claim pursuant to the ADEA must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that age was the 'but-for' cause of the challenged adverse employment action," (Justice Clarence) Thomas said in the high court's opinion. "The burden of persuasion does not shift to the employer to show that it would have taken the action regardless of age, even when a plaintiff has produced some evidence that age was one motivating factor in the decision."
Oh, and by the way, AP, I’m not aware of the existence of a “Democrat” Party. Can you, then, confirm the existence of a “Republic” Party?

What is particularly curious (and appalling, truth be told) to me is that, prior to now, the Court had ruled favorably towards workers in age discrimination issues; a year ago, the Court said here there was a “burden of proving that a layoff or other action that hurts older workers more than others was based not on age but on some other ‘reasonable factor.’”(Meacham vs. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory)

Also, this ruling by the Supremes “allow(ed) a claimant (or claimants) to recover if it can be shown that an employer used a neutral business practice (not motivated by discriminatory intent) that had an adverse impact on people age 40 and over. The claimant need not establish that the employer intended to discriminate.”(Smith v. City of Jackson)

And in addition to Meacham, this article provides more information on recent Supreme Court decisions in this matter.

The supposed rationale provided here by The Supremes in the Gross case at issue this moment smacks of the same parsimony as that of the Lilly Ledbetter ruling, and it looks like a legislative remedy will be required here also to undue the wrong they committed today.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Stuff On Iran

I thought this was a good interview of NBC News Correspondent Richard Engel by K.O. last night, with the political background stuff also, of course...

...and here's the Rachel Maddow interview with Trita Parsi that I mentioned last night (a lot of replication between the two here, I know).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday Stuff

God, you mean all Ensign did was cheat with a woman whom he later fired (here)? He didn't journey into a public restroom in the Minneapolis airport to troll for sex or wear a diaper when consorting with a prostitute? Hey, he's got a "high bar" to meet from his party when it comes to this stuff -- BOOOR-IIING!!...

Update 6/17/09: Or, as Ensign put it, “I believe that marriage should be defined as that between one man and one woman, as well as the campaign staffer married to an employee in my Senate office” (more or less – from here).

Update 6/19/09: Better and better...

...Rachel Maddow interviewed Trita Parsi tonight on the Iran election and the aftermath, by the way - interesting stuff. When the video becomes available, I'll put it up here, but for now...

...and if you're talking about a delicate international crisis requiring tact, intelligence and discretion - well, you can always count on the Repugs to Bring On Teh Stupid instead (and Pence wins a free jar of jellybeans for invoking The Sainted Ronnie R - at least he didn't say that Tehran was "like a normal Indiana outdoor market in the summer time" as he did about Baghdad here)...

...and as a tribute to Barry Beckett, he of the Muscle Shoals sound, here's the '70s hit "Kodachrome" by Paul Simon (that's Beckett on the piano).

Update 6/22/09: The "wheel of karma" strikes again.

Without Ted, Will Enzi Lead The Charge Against Health Care Instead?

As the typical, inevitable Repug obstruction now begins in earnest on health care legislation, I should say that we shouldn’t be surprised that this is occurring.

However, I should point out that I’m a little surprised by the “point person” in their campaign, who would be Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming (pictured).

You see, Enzi and Kennedy worked together here on the “Drug Safety Act of 2006,” which, among other things, accomplished the following…

• Establish(ed) a collaboration among the FDA, academic research institutions, and the biomedical research industry to improve the process of drug development and evaluation, and advance the FDA’s Critical Path Initiative;
• Establish(ed) a publicly available database of clinical trials to help enhance patient enrollment in clinical trials of drugs, provide a mechanism to track subsequent progress of trials, and ensure that the results of trials are made public, and that patients, doctors, and pharmacists have the most up-to-date information;
• (Made) improvements to the FDA’s process of screening advisory committee members for financial conflicts of interest to ensure that these committees provide independent expert advice, and to bolster the credibility of the product review process.
The bill also addressed a variety of other issues pertaining to the marketing of drugs, including safety monitoring, risk avoidance, and disclosure of clinical trial results.

And in this matter, Enzi said as follows…

“As Chairman of the (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee, I am deeply grateful for the cooperation and support of Senator Kennedy, as well as the dozens of stakeholders, who have worked tirelessly to make this bill a reality,” Enzi concluded.
And this tells us that Enzi, also along with Kennedy and former Repug Senator Pete Domenici, passed the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 through the Senate (it never passed the House and, consequently, never became law). It would have required employers to cover mental disorders with the same health coverage as would be used for those suffering from physical disorders (with child mental disorders alone costing this country about $9 billion annually, as noted here – mental health was a particular cause for Domenici, as noted here Update: I meant to note earlier what the Time story tells us, that the Domenici bill was reintroduced and passed last year).

And on June 4th (concerning the health care legislation), Enzi said the following (from here)…

Senator Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, the senior Republican on the health committee, said that there were also a lot of areas of agreement. “I think we have been surprised at the amount of agreement there is on a lot of it,” he said, adding, “There are still a lot of areas of disagreement, too. Now Senator Dodd has been given the role of taking the lead in the HELP committee, and I appreciate the way that he is doing that.”
However, on June 9th, we learned this (from here)…

Meanwhile, Enzi criticized the Democrats for trying to push health care reform through on, what they call, an “arbitrary deadline.”

“I am disappointed in the focus that some Democrats have placed on meeting arbitrary deadlines over getting the legislation done right,” Enzi said.
And worst of all, from here (last Sunday)…

The politics are getting uglier by the day as reform moves from abstractions to legislation. Republican leaders have moved into opposition, with moderates whom Obama needs to make the legislation bipartisan, such as Utah's Orrin Hatch and Wyoming's Mike Enzi, ridiculing proposals as "liberal gobbledygook."
All of these histrionics over the public option, cousins (and yes, I realize how ridiculous it is to consider Hatch as a “moderate”).

However, I have to admit that I expected better of Enzi here, someone who has done some legitimate good. Maybe he should stop his current posturing, though, and realize the great existing need for an end to the gamesmanship here.

Were he to do the right thing, I’m sure an elderly politician currently being treated for a life-threatening illness in Massachusetts would be “deeply grateful for (his) cooperation and support,” as would we all.

Update 6/18/09: Oh, and speaking of Hatch, to no one's surprise, he's reading from the same script as Enzi here (NY Times content).

We've Already "Changed The Channel," Dana (update)

(I also posted here, and posting probably won’t happen tomorrow, just to let you know.)

My goodness, is Dana Perino a sourpuss at National Review Online today (here)…

I like a robust debate, and finally we’re starting to see some really good reporting on the merits of the president’s reform proposals. Judging by the reaction, people don’t seem to like what they’re learning. And some may feel like they’ve not been getting the full story about how much the reforms will cost them. Now that that cat’s out of the bag, their skepticism is rising. It’s no wonder the White House wants to open its doors to ABC for a large-scale PR push.

Perhaps ABC will help provide more clarity and “select” people who will ask tough questions; however, no matter how tough the questions are, President Obama will have home-field advantage. And it’s hard not to look like you’re in the tank when you’re anchoring from the Blue Room.

President Obama gets to lead the news with his announcements every night. What might provide a more informed debate would be to use ABC’s considerable resources to go outside the Beltway and Manhattan and see what the rest of America is thinking about health-care reform.
And by the way, I’m not being mean here; in case you thought I was choosing to exclude the portion of the post where Perino provides the background on what she’s talking about, I should let you know that I didn’t, because she didn’t include it.

So I navigated here, and I found out from wankerific Baltimore Sun media pundit David Zurawik that “Primetime” will devote an hour on Wednesday June 24th to the president while he answers questions on health care, with the “health care conversation” continuing on “Nightline.” “Good Morning America” that day will originate from the South Lawn of the White House and will include an exclusive interview with President Obama (and clips of an interview correspondent Robin Roberts conducted with Michelle Obama). Also, Charlie Gibson will broadcast the ABC Evening News that day from the White House “blue room” (Perino referenced that much anyway - at least, as a news reader, it will be impossible for Gibson to ask any questions about the capital gains tax).

So basically, if you love the Obamas, the White House, and the ABC television network, just camp out in front of the tube all day and vegetate with your snack food and beverage of choice. (and oh yes, “Z,” Rachel Maddow only books guests for her show who agree with her – what an asshat; that's in another post today from his blog).

Hell of a bunch of details for Perino to omit, huh?

Update 6/18/09: OK, to be fair, I should note that Zurawik was, once more, trying to draw an equivalency between Rachel Maddow, who actually converses with her guests and, to my knowledge, has never cut off someone’s mic, and a certain falafel-abusing, murder-encouraging Fix Noise talking head whose initials are B. O’R. That is what got me steamed, and it wasn’t accurate for me to summarize this as “Z” saying that Maddow didn’t want to have guests who disagreed with her. Maddow’s point is that she wishes to have substantive discussions with Republican policy makers, assuming that’s possible, not self-anointed spokespeople like Gingrich, Romney, Huckabee, etc. And when anyone on Faux “News” communicates something to that effect, please let me know (I won’t hold my breath). Also, this is the Zurawik post in question that I should have linked to earlier.

Also, I realize I could run with the quote from Perino about her version of “robust debate” within the White House, but I’ll let that go for now because, happily, she and the regime she fronted for are gone.

Instead, I’ll merely point out that Perino’s old boss used the media as much as he could also to forward his own agenda, such as this interview five years after 9/11, in which he STILL made the Iraq/9-11 connection, saying “that we're in– we're in a – a– a major struggle with extremists. You know, when you really think about why would somebody kill 3,000 Americans?”

And he, no doubt, always will.

Oh, and this tells us of the Bush’s 2001 Christmas special, a “behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the holiday transformation of the White House. This year, First Lady Laura Bush chose ‘Home For the Holidays’ as the theme of her first Christmas with President George W. Bush in the White House. The White House Curator, White House Chief Florist and the White House Chief Pastry Chef give viewers an insider's perspective of the days of preparing the ‘People's House’ for the holidays.”

Yeah, I’m sure we got the “full story” on the intricacies of designing table centerpieces so as not to obscure the seasonal poinsettia plants.

And another thing: do you remember that little movie Dubya made (here). In 2004? It was called “Faith In The White House.”

So in terms of a “large-scale PR push,” former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History wasn’t even satisfied with TV. He needed a damn feature film!

Really, though, all we have here is the typical Bushie whining when they can’t control their precious narrative (or, absent that, the narrative of their party), such as here when well-connected Repug stooge Ed Gillespie whined about NBC’s editing of an interview Bush gave to correspondent Richard Engel.

Also, there's more than a bit of jealousy on display here; this informs us that Obama’s inauguration was the second highest rated in the history of TV inaugural coverage (Reagan’s was the highest), with 37.8 million viewers. Conversely, “the least watched inauguration would be George W. Bush's second one in 2005 that withdrew only 15.5 million.”

Tee hee hee…

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday Stuff



(Ok, I'm calmed down now - and The Sainted Ronnie R. was "buds" with this guy, let's not forget)...

...and sorry, Holy Joe and Huck (well, actually, I'm not at all)...

..."Worst Persons" (Jonathan Weisman of the Murdoch Street Journal has a con-vee-nient memory lapse as to who exactly it was who took over Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG...I'll give you a hint: it was Number 43; The Doughy Pantload somehow finds an equivalency between liberals calling neocons for what they are and anti-semitism...uh huh; and the city council of Brooksville, FLA gets just a tad bit extreme in their dress code - wearing briefs "on the outside," huh? And yes, I know that part is truly a joke.)...

...the only thing dumber than the Brooksville, FLA city council is this vid (I think these guys saw "Magical Mystery Tour" one too many times; and oh yeah, if you play the backwards part at the end backwards, it sounds like "raspberry sauce").

Beck’s Dreck Is A Monday WaPo Waste

Boy, it must’ve been a really slow news day for the WaPo; as noted here, the paper held an online Q&A with Glenn Beck today.

Paris: Should liberals be afraid to say what they believe about the best way forward for the U.S.?

Glenn Beck: No. During the Iraq War, for anyone who cares to know the truth, I was on the air chastising people that were saying that Hollywood should shut up or that if you have a different opinion you should shut up. I was of the opinion that there's nothing wrong with vigorous debate, what George Washington called the "battlefield of opinion."
Here are examples of what Beck considers “vigorous debate” (telling Dem U.S. House Rep Keith Ellison of Minnesota to “prove to me that you’re not working with our enemies,” calling Hillary Clinton a “stereotypical bitch,” discussing the prospect of “nuking the Middle East,” calling those who were unable to leave New Orleans after Katrina hit (or chose to stay) “scumbags,” saying he “hates” the families of 9/11 victims, calling Cindy Sheehan a “tragedy pimp” and “a pretty big prostitute”…need I go on?).

And oh yeah, on the matter of discussing opposing viewpoints on the war, Beck told us the following last year (from here, under the title “Iraq Victory Possible, If We Want It”)…

It seems that for so many in the media and elsewhere, there is an incredible desire to find the negative. It's an unquenchable thirst. How else could an essentially fired former press secretary's questionable claims about the war be more important to cover than improvement in the actual war?

Widely reported or not, we have made great progress.

Terrorism worldwide has decreased by 40 percent since 2001, according to a Canadian study. The Iraqis have gained control of Basra and Sadr City. Iraqi oil outputs have hit a post-war high.
But then again, to be fair, Beck could not have known this when he concocted his propaganda.


Anonymous: What do you think about the current crop of likely Republican presidential contenders for 2012 (e.g. Palin, Gingrich, Romney, Pawlenty, and Sanford)? Which one(s) have common sense?

Glenn Beck: I don't know yet. I haven't seen anybody yet that I totally believe. I don't know if I will. I think America has been burned too many times.

In 2000 I wasn't for George W. Bush, and then I got wrapped up in the whole political party thing, especially after 9/11, and like a lot of people I fought about it with my friend and at parties because I thought the people in Washington really believed what they were saying.
Beck was working at WLFA in Florida in 2000, and I really wasn’t able to find out much of what he did until his show was picked up by WPHT here in Philadelphia (typical). However, as Media Matters notes here, just because he “wasn’t for George W. Bush” in 2000 doesn’t mean he didn’t serve as a Dubya propagandist in 2004.

Bluffton, SC: What specific alternatives to Obama's policies do you propose?

Glenn Beck: I've already given my thoughts on the bailouts. America is built on failure -- we build our success on failure. I don't understand why so many on the left who believe in Darwinism don't let it apply to a business standpoint. Let the banks' lose their tails, they need to. It's harsh and painful, but I don't think any animal lover would be walking around trying to staple tails back on monkeys as they became humans.

As for health care, the idea that my company is going to be taxed higher because I provide coverage for my employees is an insult and should tell you what direction this country is going.
Yeah, maybe, but guess what? “Straight Talk” McCain proposed the same thing during the election last year, as noted here. If you disagree with it, fine, but just note that that’s a bipartisan position.

Meanwhile, I’ll breathlessly await what I hope will be an eventual online Q&A with some other published authors hosted by the Post, namely Markos Moulitsas Zuniga and David Sirota (and I’m sure I’ll KEEP waiting).

I now return you to your regularly scheduled propaganda.

Update: More from this idiot here...

Randall Terry Rides Again

(And I also posted here.)

I put up the “Countdown” video from here last Friday about Randall Terry’s indignation over Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court, which he among others has been using to rally “the base” on behalf of his “pro-life” cause.

Well, it turns out that the “Countdown” excerpt was just a prelude to what Terry hopes will be bigger things, based on the rest of his speech (and we’ll be so much the worse off if he turns out to be right).

As noted here, Terry “announced the formation of a new organization to be known as Operation Rescue Insurrecta Nex,” with the Latin phrase translated to “insurrection against death.”


"The freeing moment will come when you decide to take a bullet for this movement," Mr. Terry said in a small ballroom watched over by one security guard. "Then you can't be bullied and intimidated into silence anymore."

"My mission is to raise up a new generation," (Terry) said, "to recruit them, train them and unleash them."

He brushes off criticism that activists like him created a climate that goaded the suspect in Dr. (George) Tiller's slaying into action.

"You can't work with me if you can't say abortion is murder and child-killers are murderers," he said. "You've got to be prepared to take the heat over those words. The true terrorists are those who reach into a woman's womb and kill her child."

His opponents "refuse to admit that abortion is the cauldron from which evil flows," he added. "George Tiller reaped what he sowed. He was a murderer."
Randall Terry, judge, jury and executioner, ladies and gentlemen (and just because Alan Keyes happened to be one of the people who showed up for Terry’s little party, that hardly means that these people can be laughed off).

And by the way, Media Matters put together this post four years ago to tell us about more of Terry’s deranged antics (and that was before he compared Obama to the leaders of Nazi Germany here), including the following…

  • In 2005, he emerged as the spokesman for the parents of the terminally ill Terri Schiavo (that episode, combined with Katrina later that year, marked the beginning of the end of conservative dominance in this country).

  • In 1993, at an anti-abortion rally in Fort Wayne, Terry said "Our goal is a Christian nation. ... We have a biblical duty, we are called by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism. ... Theocracy means God rules. I've got a hot flash. God rules." In that same speech, Terry also stated that "If a Christian voted for [former President Bill] Clinton, he sinned against God. It's that simple."

  • In 1989, a "Holy Week of Rescue" shut down a family planning clinic in Los Angeles. More than 40,000 people were arrested in these demonstrations over four years. Subtlety wasn't Terry's thing -- he described Planned Parenthood's founder, Margaret Sanger, as a "whore" and an "adulteress" and arranged to have a dead fetus presented to Bill Clinton at the 1992 Democratic National Convention.

  • In 1988, Terry and his legions started standing in front of local abortion clinics, screaming and pleading with pregnant women to turn away. They tossed their bodies against car doors to keep abortion patients from getting out. They waved crucifixes and screamed "Mommy, Mommy" at the women. When Terry commanded, hundreds went jellyfish-limp and blockaded the "death clinics."
  • And believe me when I tell you that there is much more.

    And as dear as my faith is to me, I believe something is very wrong when a Catholic priest, Father John Mikalajunas, can say here that...

    "I have known Randall longer than all his accusers... Let us remember that it is the Devil, the father of lies, who is the 'accuser' of the faithful.

    "I am happy to declare as a Catholic priest and a proclaimer of the gospel, that Randall Terry is a Catholic Christian in full communion with the Church, and that the statements and insinuations to the contrary should be devoutly ignored by the faithful."
    But meanwhile, this guy, for one, can’t even catch a break from his own archbishop because the one-time presidential candidate supports a woman’s right to choose.

    I mentioned Judge Sotomayor at the beginning of this post, since, as noted, he is a fresh target for Terry’s outrage. However, I should say that, even though I believe Sotomayor is a fine nominee, if would have been perhaps even more interesting if Obama had nominated Judge Diane Wood, who, as noted here “made use of RICO provisions in dealing with a legal case” against Terry, thus designating Operation Rescue as “an ongoing criminal organization.”

    Uh, yep.

    Update 7/6/09: God, what a freaking psycho (here).

    Sunday, June 14, 2009

    Sunday Stuff

    God, is "Dr. McLaughlin's Gong Show" still on the air? I thought that decrepit staple of the fossilized Beltway punditocracy had been put out of its misery (more fool me, I guess - and Media Matters explains what's wrong with this clip here)...

    ...and lo, another week beckons.