Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday Stuff

More lowlights from The Party of No - first we have Repug Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl...

...and House Minority Leader John "Man Tan " Boehner ("What would they do?" indeed)...

...and I apologize for wasting your time with more coporate media nonsense on this...

...and of course, it's not as if Former Commander Codpiece ever intentionally ogled young women, right? (h/t Jed Lewison at The Daily Kos - from a US women's volleyball team contest at last summer's Beijing Olympics)...

...and I guess you can file this under "fighting vainly the old ennui" - and it's suddenly raining here also.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Stuff

By the way, I don't think I'm going to be able to post the way I want to on a couple of big non-Sarah Palin stories that have broken recently, so I'll just try to provide some "ultra-quick hits" here...

  • I just have one response to this - NOW does everybody know why we've been screaming about a certain George Walker Bush for as long as we all have here? NOW does everybody know that we WEREN'T EXAGGERATING when we called our prior ruling executive cabal a bunch of corporatist, power-hungry, moralist-pretending, Constitution-shredding PIRATES??!! And now, does everybody know why I and much of this country were SO DAMN ANGRY ABOUT THE CONGRESSIONAL DEM FISA SELLOUT??!!

  • Update 1 7/11/09: Here's more (h/t Eschaton).

    Update 2 7/11/09: As Frank Zappa once observed, "the beat goes on and they're so wrooong" (here).

    Update 3 7/11/09: Man, is Tony Auth on a roll! (hope it isn't too hard to read; the talking donkey in the pen says, "We were against unconstitutional wiretapping before we were for it").

  • In the matter of Leon Panetta vs. Pelosi (or, in this case, Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois), with the typically clueless House Repugs looking for a way to stick it to the Speaker because they have not one thing better to do, I think it's important to remember two things: Pelosi wouldn't be where she is unless she were an expert at "saving face," as they say, and Panetta (who's been around longer than she has I'm sure, though I guess I should check on that) isn't going to "dime out" the people he needs to run his agency effectively by admitting she's right (even though she probably is). Aside from that, I don't know what else to say about this - I know there's an important principle here...namely, our intel services aren't supposed to break laws, even though they routinely do...but I'm afraid it's going to be lost amidst the flotsam generated by the corporate media-political-industrial complex in this country.

  • OK, now that that's out of the way, here's what I thought was a good interview Rachel Maddow conducted with chief NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel last night on Iran...

    ...and I just love it so when moralistic, hypocritical, self-serving Repugs go down in flames...

    ...RIP Drake Levin of Paul Revere and The Raiders (God, the go-go dancers from "back in the day" are a hoot, and as a YouTube commenter pointed out, no, that's not Goldie Hawn - funny if it were, though)...

    ...and it looks like Mr. Plant got a "Whole Lotta (Royal) Love" here, so to speak (God, Bob, Prince Chuck looks better than you do!), so here's a Led Zep fave in honor of the occasion (from '73).

    Friday Mashup (7/10/09)

    (Cleaning out my "in" bin again...).

  • I’m almost glad I came across this opinion column in the Christian Science Monitor (an otherwise sensible publication) written by David Rittgers, an Army Special Forces veteran and attorney affiliated with the Cato Institute (a clue right there as far as I’m concerned), who tells us as follows…

    Washington – Congress seems intent on passing new hate-crime legislation. It may sound like a surefire way to tamp down on hate crime, but it won't work.

    The law would expand federal jurisdiction from crimes motivated by the victim's race, color, religion, or national origin to include the victim's gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.

    Scott Roeder is accused of shooting abortion doctor George Tiller to death; he is sitting in jail awaiting prosecution. The same goes for Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, who shot up an Army recruiting station in Arkansas and killed Pvt. William Long. As soon as Holocaust Museum shooter James von Brunn is out of the hospital, he can join them.
    It would have been more apropos of Rittgers to note an example of an LGBT individual here (to be honest given the proposed modifications), since the late Dr. Tiller, the two Army recruiters and the Holocaust Museum guard do not fall into that category as far as I know (though no one should be penalized for being straight either, I want to emphasize).

    The point I want to make, though, is noted here (from a factsheet linked to this post)…

    The Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 would direct federal resources to help local law enforcement fight violent hate crimes, and would let federal law enforcement step in when locals don’t.

    Religious Right leaders choose to portray the hate crimes legislation as a “threat to religious liberty.”

    They spread the lie that the churches will be silenced, and that church leaders and their supporters will be jailed for speaking out against homosexuality. The bottom line: This is all completely false. I urge my colleagues on the other side of this issue to stop bearing false witness against this legislation.
    That was written by a member of African American Ministers in Action, a group that supports the legislation, by the way.

    And as Think Progress notes from here…

    …a federal hate crimes law already exists: Passed in 1968, it allowed federal investigation and prosecution of hate crimes based on race, religion, and national origin. The new law would simply add sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected groups,and allow local governments to get needed resources from the federal government for investigations and prosecutions.
    As Think Progress tells us, the bill passed the U.S. House and awaits action from the Senate (where we can hope they take an altogether different view than Rittgers does).

  • This April New York Times editorial tells us the following…

    In 1993, Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act, widely known as the motor voter law, to make it easier for eligible voters to register and to increase registration rates of traditionally underrepresented groups, including poor people.
    In addition to requiring states to provide voter registration materials to people applying for and renewing driver’s licenses, the law requires states to offer registration forms at offices that administer public assistance such as food stamps and unemployment insurance.

    States started out with some enthusiasm, but in recent years compliance has fallen sharply. Project Vote and Demos, public-interest groups that work for voting rights, studied the implementation of the motor voter law nationally from 1995 to 2007. In a 2005 study of 103 people leaving a Department of Jobs and Family Services office in Ohio, only three reported being given voter registration forms. Surveys conducted outside of public assistance offices in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maryland and other states found similar problems.
    And an update from this week tells us the following…

    Brenda Wright, director of the Democracy Program at the nonprofit group Demos, one of the groups behind (lawsuits filed by a coalition of groups across the country to force states to comply with the law), said 2.6 million people were registered through public assistance offices in 1995-1996, the first two years the law was in effect. But she said registration has dropped precipitously throughout the nation since then, as much as 90 percent or more in some states.

    Wright said 2 million to 3 million more low-income people could be registered each year if all states followed the law.

    The suits say that the states are violating the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, commonly known as "motor voter" because it requires states to offer voter registration when residents are applying for a driver's license or state ID. To reach low-income citizens who are less likely to own vehicles, the law also requires that voter registration be distributed along with applications for public assistance like food stamps and Medicaid.

    The coalition of advocacy groups, which also includes the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, Project Vote and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, say most states have programs for driver's license registration, but many are ignoring the public assistance requirement.
    I’ll keep on the lookout for further developments here (unfortunate that it took legal action to try and make states comply with the law, but there you are - and yes, I know I just referred to ACORN - "ooga booga!," wingnuts).

  • This tells us that US handgun demand is driving the world gun trade, though fortunately, as noted here, those supporting “concealed carry” rights are having a difficult time trying to get their way on college campuses.

    Meanwhile in the realm of sanity, this tells us that the one-gun-a-month bill has passed the NJ “lege” and is currently sitting on Gov. Corzine’s desk (the Garden State would be the fourth in the nation to limit gun purchases in this manner).

    Election year or no, sign this, Guv.

  • Finally, in the “Friday Funnies” department, I give you Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who compares our country at this moment to pre-WWII Nazi Germany here.

    I’m not going to give DeMint’s lunacy a spec of credibility here, but I will only point out that the National Socialists Party (as noted here) rose to power through development of a cult of personality invested in its leader (Adolf Hitler, of course) and a loathsome intolerance (and avocation of violence of course) against those thought to be outsiders or not of their own kind for one reason or the other. And though there are some who argue that our current president is endowed with a cult of personality of his own (and Dubya wasn’t?), I believe that is where the comparison ends.

    However, if DeMint is actually right (and God, let us hope history proves him wrong), then I would say that the “road map,” if you will, towards a dictatorship conceived by the Nazis is being followed more closely by the individuals shown above because of the symptoms on display in the video (who have more common cause with DeMint than they EVER will with Obama); happily THEIR party is out of power at the moment (and let us do what we can each and every day to make sure it stays that way).
  • Thursday, July 09, 2009

    Thursday Stuff

    I agree with Cenk of course, but I can assure you that the people of the Valley Swim Club who are responsible for this mess feel very little embarrassment (K.O. named John Duesler tonight as a Worst Person, but to be honest, I think he looks like nothing more than a naive chump here)...

    Update 7/12/09: I grudgingly give the swim club credit for doing the right thing here - we'll see.

    ...and by the way, I've had a bunch of disagreements with Repug Sen. Charles Grassley, but boy was he spot-on here, particularly considering this...

    ...also, with all of the words recently written with the passing of former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, it's easy to forget about another one to, to me, is demonstrably more vile, and it's this guy - happy birthday, you cretin (here is a fitting remembrance, particulaly in light of this)...

    ...and oh yeah, I thought this was catchy (YouTube, by the way, is saying they're going to stop supporting IE 6, which is an old, crappy MS browser I know, but it's what I'm running, and I have no intention of trying to upgrade to a new, crappy MS browser, or to go through the pain of converting to anything else - basically, it's buh-bye to the vids if YT does that except for MSNBC, just to let you know).

    A New Day For The FDA

    (Posting will be questionable for the foreseeable future, by the way – maybe tonight, but we’ll see).

    This CNN story from Tuesday tells us the following (in light of the recent e coli outbreak)…

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Top Obama administration officials outlined several new initiatives to safeguard the country's food supply Tuesday, saying the recent spate of food-borne illnesses is unacceptable.

    The FDA intends to issue new guidance over the next three months regarding steps the entire food industry can take to more quickly detect contamination sources and remove the unsafe products from stores.

    A new position at the agency -- deputy commissioner for foods -- will be created for the sole purpose of overseeing food protection. The commissioner will be part of a "unified incident command system" established to address contamination outbreaks and facilitate responses at the federal, state, and local levels, officials said.

    In addition, they said, food safety information will be more effectively communicated to the public through a revamped Web site:

    The announcement was made near the White House by Vice President Joe Biden, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

    J.D. Hanson, a policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety, called the initiatives a good first step. "They are the kinds of things we have been calling on previous administrations to do, and we're glad this administration is moving fairly quickly on these issues," he told CNN.

    Hanson praised the creation of the position of deputy commissioner for foods at the FDA, saying it should have happened long ago. "You'd think an agency called 'Food and Drug' would have made food a priority a long time ago. They didn't until today."

    But he said the government still isn't tough enough with the food industry. "Their goal of 90 percent compliance with their new guidelines is not good enough. It needs to be very close to 100 percent compliance."

    And he said bureaucracy stands in the way of improvement. "Right now there are 13 federal agencies that deal with food safety. We would pull all of those functions into one agency."
    And that explains why both HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement along with Biden.

    Also, this tells us about H.R. 2749, the Food Safety and Enhancement Act of 2009 sponsored by U.S. House Dem John Dingell, a bill that, if enacted, would provide a pretty comprehensive overhaul of much of our food management, dealing with registration of food facilities, adherence to performance standards, enabling a public notification and advisory system (don’t worry, though – I don’t think we’ll see a “color-coded” alert for foods like Tom Ridge’s notorious alert system at DHS), quarantine authority for foods, and civil and criminal penalties in the event of noncompliance, among many other aspects (a similar bill was introduced by Rep. Rose DeLauro in 2007, though I don’t have any update on that – could have expired at the end of the session).

    However, as noted here about the Dingell bill…

    (H.R. 2749) quickly passed out of a House subcommittee, but not before it was weakened by deal-making. Instead of phasing in a system that would track the origins of ingredients in processed foods, the measure now orders the FDA to study the issue. The mingling of foods from sources around the world is a significant factor in the magnitude of recent salmonella outbreaks, because a small amount of tainted food from one source can contaminate much more. This is why it was so difficult to trace the source of the salmonella in a 2008 case involving salsa that sickened more than 1,300 people.

    Congress should restore the tracking provision to a bill that otherwise contains many of the elements for meaningful reform. The bill would tighten food oversight by requiring companies to develop safety plans and by funding more frequent FDA inspections through a fee on food producers. Before consumers get too excited, they should know that "more frequent" means once every four years instead of once a decade, and as often as once every 18 months for foods considered most at risk for contamination. The bill also would enable the FDA to issue recalls, a provision so obviously overdue that most Americans think the agency already has that authority.
    Yep, I have to admit that I thought that also, though I suppose our lawmakers were no doubt influenced by right-wing pabulum on this subject such as the following (from here)…

    Most of this food--whether produced at home or imported from abroad--is perfectly safe. Market competition and consumer choice provide the incentives that drive producers to supply high-quality products in return for market share and profits. While markets are the best defense against tainted food, there is still some risk that unsafe products may reach America's kitchens--accidents can happen.

    Thus, as a complement to the market, govern¬ments implement food standards, testing require¬ments, and inspection procedures in an attempt to reduce the risk of harm to zero. The U.S. government may be able to do more to catch the occasional tainted product by restricting and controlling the market with costly regulations, but only at great expense to con¬sumers and companies. High food prices and less food will not bolster America's food security.

    Instead, government should take a balanced approach to food safety by keeping markets free and limiting the scope and cost of government intervention to establishing minimum accepted quality stan¬dards and implementing science-based methods of detecting tainted domestic and foreign products before they reach U.S. consumers. Even though the focus of legislative reform is currently on import safety, domestic food sources should face compara¬ble government scrutiny.
    So…our government is supposed to let “the markets” make decisions on food safety absent those “costly government regulations”…but somehow provide scrutiny of our foods while “limiting the scope and cost of government intervention”?

    I have to admit that I’m a bit curious to find out how much these Heritage flunkies are compensated for concocting this doubletalk.

    Even though the Dingell bill could use some work, we should be grateful for the steps taken by the Obama Administration to protect our food supply particularly because of the sad record of former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History on this score in particular (this tells us of FDA scientists intimidated by the prior regime during a tainted tomato scare – hence the pic – this also tells us that there was no requirement under Bushco to notify us in the event of a recall of genetically modified foods, this confirms once more that the Repugs are “the party of unregulated meat and poultry,” and this tells us, among other things, that Bushco’s FDA operated under a $135 million shortfall in 2006).

    And given all of that, I’m not sure what would turn my stomach more thoroughly – an ingestion of tainted food, or the thought that we could still be in the dark days of Bushco noncompliance with even the most basic food protection measures (and I emphasize that I don’t plan to find out any time soon).

    A Meta Post On The Valley Swim Club Story

    (And I also posted here.)

    This doesn’t have anything to do with politics (not directly anyway), the Iraq war, or any other national news. It doesn’t have anything to do with George W. Bush either, or President Obama (actually, I’m in the middle of a wholly other topic more typical for this site that I want to post on before the day ends, and hopefully I’ll get to it).

    To back up for a minute, I first heard about this story here at Eschaton (I’m pretty sure NBC 10 here in Philadelphia, to be honest, broke it first). Basically, here’s what happened (as Adam B tells us here); some kids from the Creative Steps Day Camp in Northeast Philadelphia bussed to the Valley Swim Club of Huntingdon Valley, PA to go swimming (the Creative Steps kids being African American and the Valley Swim Club being private with mainly a white membership, though I believe it has advertised itself as public to attract new members, but I’m not 100 percent sure about that…and by the way, the Valley Swim Club took $1900 from Creative Steps to let the kids swim).

    Well, when the Creative Steps kids arrived, Adam B recounts what happened (from Philly news reports)…

    According to 14-year-old camper Dymir Baylor, with whom I spoke yesterday, some of the comments were heartless.

    "I heard a white lady say, 'What are all these black kids doing here? They might do something to my child,' " recalled Dymir, who says he lives in a neighborhood so diverse, he'd never heard anyone speak like that before. "It was rude and ignorant."

    His mom, Sharrae Thompson, was appalled that an adult would behave so terribly.

    "I was just shocked," she said. "This is 2009. You can't believe people would carry on like that."

    (Creative Steps director Alethea) Wright was adamant that (Valley Swim Club President John) Duesler make things right.

    "I told him, 'The parents don't want their money back. They want a good place for their children to swim, which is what they paid for. Please, let's try to work this out.' "

    …Wright says memberships were arranged through e-mail and paid for in advance, but when the kids showed up at the club, she says members made racially insensitive comments and took their kids out of the pool:

    "One of the members was shouting out, 'We're gonna see to it that they don't come back anymore.' And two days later, Dr. John called me and said, 'Miss Wright, I truly apologize, I'm so embarrassed, but the membership has overthrown me in votes and you're not going to be able to come back to the club.'"
    I’m sorry that I don’t have anything particularly brilliant to add here, partly because this story has been covered much more thoroughly by news professionals who do this sort of thing for a living. But though I didn’t grow up in Somerton as Adam B did, I did grow up in the Bustleton section of Northeast Philadelphia, which is right next door (to Somerton and Huntingdon Valley).

    And not for a minute am I going to defend the vile words and actions of those who denied access of the Valley Swim Club facilities to the Creative Steps kids. I don’t give a damn what the color of their skin happened to be; the Valley Swim Club should have done what is best for the kids, figured out what their mistakes were and made things right for next time.

    Instead, they have stupidly chosen to mistreat the Creative Steps kids by accusing them of “doing something” to the white kids who comprise much of the club’s membership. And they have opened the proverbial Pandora’s Box which will generate consequences that will only grow worse over time (in terms of any possible good image the Club once held or tried to maintain).

    I guess I’m posting about this because I’m feeling equal parts anger, disgust, and sorrow, and I’ll try to express these feelings through some reasonably intelligent prose.

    The fact is that I know these people. And many of them are truly hard working and good in many ways; they took care of their homes, participated in the typical neighborhood and family functions, served their communities as well as this country, and on and on. My parents interacted with them, and we all grew up together.

    But way, waay too many of them are stone racists (and I’m not going to absolve myself completely either – I’d like to think that I grew out of that over time, but I won’t kid you; I definitely get that impulse also on occasion, wrong as it is).

    Now if I were to say that to any of them (or if I had done so in the past), at least one of two things would have happened: 1) They would have done their very best to utterly kick my ass and would have likely succeeded, or 2) They would have expressed hurt and indignation over what they considered to be my thoughtlessness.

    And it would have eventually occurred to me that these individuals (in the Philadelphia suburbs, in this case, though you could find people with this shared experience throughout this country) landed in the suburbs due to the “white flight” in this country from the cities that took place primarily in the 1950s (indeed, in Bucks County where I live, people who arrived over the last 10-15 years from Philadelphia, including your humble narrator, were often stigmatized on the pages of the Bucks County Courier Times, though not so much any more). And that experience had a lot to do with coloring their racial perceptions.

    But that doesn’t absolve any of them (or anyone who has grown up in that area, or anywhere in this country where such tacit racism is allowed) of their actions.

    This also reminds me of the presidential election last year. I heard more than a few white people who were peers of mine or family friends express some truly stupid, and in some cases vile, racial contempt towards Barack Obama. It truly was just like they turned on a “stupid” switch somewhere in their brains when it came to the election.

    Am I trying to bestow some saintly character on African Americans by saying this? Of course not. Stupidity, greed, vanity, thoughtlessness, criminality, and every vice you can name come in all shapes, sizes, genders, races and ethnicities. But I suppose I feel compelled to say all of this about this story because it has utterly laid bare a dirty aspect of my upbringing, to say nothing of that of probably millions of other Americans.

    A while back, I teed off on Attorney General Eric Holder because of some phrasing from him that I genuinely didn’t like about race relations in this country (here).

    However, given this story, I think the main reason I feel this way is that I’m starting to believe that he could be right.

    Update 7/10/09: I'm not a bit surprised that Keystone Progress has now gotten involved - kudos to them (here).

    Update 7/12/09: I grudgingly give the swim club credit for doing the right thing here - we'll see.

    Update 7/18/09: And while I was away, I believe Creative Steps said "thanks, but no thanks" to the offer to come back from the swim club - smart move (here is an update).

    Update 11/14/09: Surprised?

    Wednesday, July 08, 2009

    Wednesday Stuff

    "Worst Persons" (the blog Freedom Works gets the bronze for decrying lobbyists, when the person in charge of FW, Dick "Barney Fag" Armey, is a lobbyist extraordinaire for AIG and GM - you can cut some of this with a knife, my fellow prisoners; Jim Inhofe gets it also for calling Al Franken a clown - yes, I know I already gave him the treatment for that here (last item), but why not again, I ask?; but Repug State Senator Sylvia Allen of Arizona gets the nod for proclaiming that the earth is 6,000 years old in the course of a hearing about uranium mining - ummm, OK)...

    ...and now, time for a musical interlude.

    Abu G. Finally Lands On His Feet

    (And I also posted here.)

    This CNN story tells us that former Bushco attorney general Alberto Gonzales has secured employment; he will work to recruit minority students for Texas Tech University’s diversity office and teach a junior-level political science seminar on "Contemporary Issues in the Executive Branch," according to a statement from the school.

    And this story from April 2007 (when Gonzales was in charge) tells us that, in addition to the notorious role Abu G. played in the firing of the U.S. Attorneys…

    Federal enforcement of civil rights…eroded over the past six years due to “willful neglect and calculated design” by the Bush administration, according to a recent report released by two Washington think tanks.

    The report, which was issued by the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights and the Center for American Progress, focuses much of its criticism on the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, long the federal government’s instrument for enforcing civil rights laws.

    The division was created in 1957 by President Eisenhower as a response to the growing national civil rights movement. It is charged with enforcing laws in areas such as voting, education, employment and housing.

    Now, on the eve of the its 50th anniversary, the report says that the Civil Rights Division has “fallen into a dangerous state of disrepair.”

    In the area of employment, the report claims that the division is pursuing fewer cases in which the complainants are African Americans “while devoting more resources to ‘reverse discrimination’ cases where the complainants are white.”

    In voting, the report charges that the Bush administration has intentionally misused the division’s mandate to further Republican Party aims, and has “effectively ignored” the division’s longstanding priority of combating voting discrimination against African Americans.
    Well, I suppose this isn’t an issue for Texas Tech, as long as the minority students are Hispanic, or of any other ethnic or racial origin other than African American (removing tongue from cheek as I type this).

    And actually, given what we know of our happily-now-gone AG, I’d like to suggest the following course offerings to be taught by Texas Tech’s new hire…

  • Covering Up A Future President’s Misdemeanor Drunk Driving Conviction

  • Ignoring The Freedom of Information Act To Restrict Access of Presidential Records

  • Initiating Convenient Memory Lapses When Testifying Before Congressional Committees

  • Abusing The USA Patriot Act For Fun and Profit

  • Soliciting Contributions For Your Legal Fund While Facing Congressional Investigations Into Perjury and Obstruction of Justice Charges
  • Also, I guess Texas Tech probably doesn’t have a satellite campus in Spain, but if they did, I would love to see “Fredo” sent there by the school, given this story.

    Update 7/18/09: More outrage from here...

    Tuesday, July 07, 2009

    Tuesday Stuff

    Mark this day on your calendars (h/t The Daily Kos)...

    ...and leave it to the Repugs to try and spoil the occasion...

    ...though the party out of power is no doubt an inspiration to these cretins, as Pap tells us...

    ...and this news flash: Michael Jackson is still dead (and yes, he received a very nice sendoff; wonder if these guys were influenced - maybe?).

    Some “Fish-y” Palin and Sanford Fodder

    I was honestly going to leave former “Governor Hottie” and Mark Sanford alone, which is particularly tough in Sanford’s case since, as noted here, he voted to impeach President Clinton over the business with Monica Whatsername, and he also excoriated fellow Repugs Rob Livingston and Larry Craig over their infidelities.

    I was going to grumble and merely accept the rank hypocrisy of the fact that, as noted here, Sanford was censured by his own party in South Carolina, enduring the fate that Clinton should have endured for approximately the same offense (to say nothing of the fact Dem governors Jim McGreevey and Eliot Spitzer resigned and candidates John Edwards and Gary Hart saw their aspirations end as a result, while Sanford, John Ensign and “Diaper Dave” Vitter continue merrily on).

    I really thought I would get past all of this, until I read Stanley Fish’s column in the New York Times today, in which he tells us…

    I did not vote for Sarah Palin in the November election, and had I been a resident of South Carolina, I wouldn’t have supported Mark Sanford. But I find their failings and, in the case of Sanford, sins more palatable than the behavior of the pundits who are having so much fun at their expense.
    Please note that Fish considers himself a columnist only and not necessarily a pundit, as if that actually makes a difference.

    In the matter of Just Plain Folks Sarah in particular, Fish tells us as follows…

    Palin had barely finished speaking when MSNBC paraded analysts from both sides of the aisle (Matt Lewis and Chris Kofinis) who agreed that (1) it was a disastrous performance and (2) they couldn’t for the life of them figure out why she had delivered it. Kofinis: “It’s hard to understand why she’s resigning.” Lewis: “What she’s essentially done is guarantee that no pundit could make any intellectual defense of her.”

    Later, Joe Scarborough pronounced in the same vein: “It’s hard to find a compelling reason.” The former majority leader of her own party, Ralph Samuels, chimed in, “I’ve had a million calls today from friends, all political junkies, and everyone is asking the same questions. Is it national ambition, or does she want time to write the book, or is she just tired of it. Don’t have a clue.”

    Maybe he should look at the video and pay attention this time to the reasons she gives. It is true that her statement was not constructed in a straightforward, logical manner, but the main theme was sounded often and plainly: This is not what I signed up for. I’m spending all my time and the state’s money responding to attack after attack and they aren’t going to let up because, “It doesn’t cost the people who make these silly accusations a dime.”
    “Silly accusations,” huh? And Palin’s statement “was not constructed in a straightforward, logical manner”? Shocking!

    I’ll tell you what, my fellow prisoners. Let’s review some recent history concerning Our Gal Sarah, Dontcha Know, and you can decide who is “silly” here and who isn’t.

  • This tells us that Palin lobbied against the stimulus before she saw a drop in oil-related revenue impacting her state.

  • This tells us about the wingnut Alaska cruise that first brought Palin to the attention of usual conservative media suspects such as Rich Lowry (ugh) and V.D. Hanson before she ended up as the VP nominee last year.

  • This tells us that, prior to her debate with fellow VP candidate Joe Biden last year, Palin couldn’t recall a single newspaper or magazine she’d ever read.

  • Among the wealth of information here, we learn that Palin said that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were “publicly owned” (they started out that way before they were privatized).

  • We also learned the following (here, from the once-credible Dana Milbank)…

    Barack Obama, (Palin) told 8,000 fans at a (Florida) rally here Monday afternoon, "launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist!" This followed her earlier accusation that the Democrat pals around with terrorists. "This is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America," she told the Clearwater crowd. "I'm afraid this is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country." The crowd replied with boos.

    Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."

  • Here is a tour de force Palin post by georgia10 of The Daily Kos, in which we’re reminded that Palin claimed to oppose the “Bridge to Nowhere” she once supported, managed to insert earmarks on behalf of her state with the help of a lobbyist to former Senator Ted “Tubes” Stevens, never issued a single order as the head of Alaska’s National Guard, managed to fire a longtime local police chief who ran afoul of her, etc.

  • And finally, this “Political Punch” post from Jake Tapper tells us of Palin’s encounter with the “Reverend” Thomas Muthee of Kenya, who “laid hands” on Palin in a church service to protect her from “witchcraft” (or as Bill Maher said on “Real Time” last year, “if Barack Obama were in this video instead of Palin, this election would be over”).
  • And it’s not as if Palin didn’t have her own defenders in the media, including Michael Barone, who claimed that “journalists” were attacking Palin because “She did not abort her Down’s syndrome baby” (nice).

    Also, I’m not going to waste more space on Sanford than that which is absolutely necessary, since I already devoted a lot of space documenting what an awful governor he is here (and please, Governor, no more apologies, particularly for using state funds for your trips to Argentina – I’d prefer that you go, but if you stay, at least you’ll serve as a bad example...and how funny is it that, when Sanford served in the U.S. Congress in 1997, he "pointed to the U.S. embassy in Argentina as an example of wasteful State Department spending when he was trying to cut the department’s budget," as Politico tells us?).

    The rest of Fish’s column is a bunch of navel-gazing about what Palin and Sanford’s true intentions supposedly are, as if anyone can divine that (I would say it’s merely survival for Sanford).

    In Palin’s case, though, if this really is a case where she has had enough and that’s all there is, then she should also realize that, for reasons not entirely of her own choosing, she has exceeded any reasonable person’s wildest expectations of what she could have ever hoped to accomplish (oh, and by the way, here’s still more proof of how overmatched she was).

    And by the way, if somehow she really is done (though I don’t think so), let this be her postscript.

    Monday, July 06, 2009

    Monday Stuff

    Well, it's nice that Robert McNamara finally realized his mistakes in Vietnam (as he acknowledges in this C-SPAN interview with Brian Lamb), at least 30 years too late, though (and by the way, this story is true)...

    Update 7/7/09: Here are more "fond recollections" with Joe Galloway, and a better retelling of the Martha's Vineyard Ferry story.

    ..."Worst Persons" (John Boehner decries the lack of "shovel-ready" stimulus projects, except the ones in his state of course; Flush Limbore proposes an armed insurrection against our government by Honduran rebels...uh, isn't that, like, incredibly illegal?; but the Duval County, FL Repug Party and their teabaggin' pals take it for more Obama-Hitler comparisons - ugh)...

    ...I don't know if Allen Klein deserves a tribute song or not, but if one fit, I think this would be it...

    ...and oh yeah, time to rock...

    More Dubya Mementos

    (And I also posted here.)

    The New York Times (via Think Progress) tells us here today that when Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History opens his library at Southern Methodist University in 2013, “visitors will most likely get to see one of his most treasured items: Saddam Hussein’s pistol.”

    The Times also tells us that another library memento candidate could be “a brick from the Iraq safe house where the Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed by an American air strike in 2006.”

    I think it’s telling that no direct role was played by Dubya in acquiring these items (the story also tells us that, along with gifts donated to presidents, “sitting on John F. Kennedy’s desk in the Oval Office was a paperweight made from a coconut shell he had carved with a distress message after his PT-109 was sunk during World War II”).

    With that in mind, I’d like to suggest these “additions” to Number 43’s SMU library…

  • A portion of the levee that ruptured along the Industrial Canal of New Orleans’ Ninth Ward during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (the occasion of Dubya’s infamous “fly-over”)

  • A slice of the birthday cake Dubya presented to “Straight Talk” McCain on the occasion of the senator’s 69th birthday on an Arizona airport tarmac, which also occurred while New Orleans drowned (the cake reportedly melted in the heat)

  • A Florida voting ballot with a so-called hanging or partially perforated “chad” from 2000 during the contested election which made him president

  • A book of fart jokes to commemorate Dubya’s preoccupation with that genre of humor (Timothy Noah of Slate tells us that a “whoopee cushion” trick carried out against Karl Rove was postponed for two weeks in deference to the aftermath of the London al Qaeda bombings)

  • A manuscript of Dubya’s 2003 State of the Union address, one of the most grotesque examples of wall-to-wall lies ever foisted on this country

  • His ceremonial veto crayon, which he used only once before the Democrats took over Congress in 2006 – after that, he vetoed 11 bills until he left office last January

  • A copy of the Iraq Study Group report, issued in December 2006 after the Democrats had recaptured Congress, which recommended a “phased withdrawal” from that country and negotiations with Iran and Syria over Iraq; this was promptly ignored in favor of “the surge”
  • This is all I can think of for now. If I come up with anything else, I’ll update this accordingly.

    Think Progress notes that historian Douglas Brinkley said Bush has “a True West magazine kind of pulp western mentality,” and I think that makes these items appropriate; I would tend to think “pulp” is an apt description also (as in the matter between his ears).