Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday Early PM Stuff

(Posting could be flaky over the next week to ten days, by the way - other stuff going on.)

Mike Papantonio brings us the sorry tale of "Corporations: A Love Story" (shamelessly stealing, more or less, the headline from the movie)...

...and kudos to Rachel Maddow for this defense of Obama's Nobel Prize award against the wingnut caterwauling (h/t blackwaterdog at The Daily Kos)...

...and speaking of wingnut caterwauling...

...and since the weekend is here, that means it's time for a little retro fun.

Oh, and by the way, I've said nothing about the business with David Letterman because I really don't care. He's a late night TV entertainer, and quite a good once, not a paragon of moral virtue. He made some awful mistakes and now he's paying the price (and I have to acknowledge that it takes a particular genius to find humor in it). Besides, I know all about promoting somebody who claimed to be something much more than what he turned out to be and getting burned for it, so I just thought it best to avoid the subject altogether.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Friday Stuff

I don't say much about this asshat, but luckily Think Progress follows him pretty closely; there are worse moments still with him, believe it or not, but this will do for now...

...and Rachel Maddow and Kent Jones discuss Texas Repug House Rep Louie Gohmert, who is more "out there" than King, believe it or not (and I've been trying to figure out how to work this in about how Gohmert's latest bigoted, homophobic hillbilly rant came in response to Patrick Murphy's extremely constructive effort to try and repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell...after listening to this, I think somebody missed his ride in the cargo area of the pickup truck on his way to Bug Tussle)...

...and today is the day and month of the birthday of two rock icons; one is still with us...

...but the other is no longer (warning: this is unexpurgated version).

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (10/9/09)

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.


Energy, water appropriations. Voting 308-114, the House adopted the conference report on a bill (HR 3183) to appropriate $33.5 billion for energy, water, and nuclear programs in fiscal 2010.

A yes vote backed the conference report.

Voting yes: Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), Joe Sestak (D., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

Voting no: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.) and Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.).

Not voting: John Adler (D., N.J.).
I haven’t made it through all of the 160 or so actions on this bill to validate my theory, but here it is anyway; my guess is that Rob Andrews voted No because funding was included here for dredging the Delaware River, which Andrews has long opposed partly due to the wildlife impact and also because shipping isn’t as big a deal for Delaware as it is for the port of Philadelphia (as a certain Snarlin’ Arlen Specter knows full well based on this). I’ll keep looking and update this if I can find out any other reason.

And as for Joe Pitts, as we know, he doesn’t need a reason to vote No in response to anything.

Guantanamo prisoners. Voting 258-163, the House urged the administration not to use funds in the 2010 Department of Homeland Security budget (HR 2892) to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees to U.S. prisons. The nonbinding measure also recommended against any public release of photos showing U.S. military abuse of prisoners.

A yes vote backed the motion.

Voting yes: Castle, Dent, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Murphy, Pitts, Schwartz, and Smith.

Voting no: Andrews, Brady, Fattah, and Sestak.

Not voting: Adler.
(Just an FYI...John Adler has been missing a few votes; I hope he's not too busy fundraising because his seat has been targeted by the Repugs..??)

I know this was smart politics by Patrick Murphy and Allyson Schwartz, but I still think this is a ridiculous non-issue. We would have no problem if we put the worst Guantanamo cases in solitary confinement; I’d be more concerned about them trying to communicate to a sleeper cell somewhere than I would about anything else. Basically, I don’t see how they’re more threatening than the individuals currently housed on our dime.

And as for the photos, if our people are obeying the law and their identities are protected, then I don’t really see how the photos could be such a problem.


Hearings on Afghanistan. Voting 60-39, the Senate agreed to conduct hearings on U.S. operations in Afghanistan after President Obama resets his policy there. The amendment was added to HR 3326. Obama is expected to respond by year's end to the military's request for tens of thousands of additional troops in Afghanistan, and Senate hearings would occur after his announcement.

A yes vote was to hold hearings after Obama's announcement.

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.).

C-17 funding dispute. The Senate refused, 34-64, to strip HR 3326 (above) of its $2.5 billion for buying 10 C-17 cargo planes not wanted by the Pentagon. The amendment sought to transfer the C-17 money to accounts that more directly support troops, their families, and combat operations. The politically popular C-17 is built mainly in California with suppliers in about 40 states.

A yes vote opposed C-17 funding.

Voting yes: Carper, Kaufman, and Specter.

Voting no: Casey, Lautenberg, and Menendez.
I can see Menendez and Lautenberg voting against this since it would have potentially impacted jobs as McGuire Air Force Base, and I assume Casey was thinking about jobs at the Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia, or Boeing in Ridley Park, Pa. – the C-17 is manufactured by McDonnell-Douglas, which merged with Boeing, just so you know.

And by the way, I understand the argument that it probably isn't logical to keep building these things. But I also understand the logic that it's important to keep people employed, especially now (more liberal hand-wringing, I know).

This week, the House took up the final versions of 2010 agriculture and homeland-security budgets, while the Senate debated 2010 appropriations bills.

Friday Mashup (10/9/09)

  • Did you know that the Nobel Peace Prize won by President Obama is “the last thing he needs”?

    Neither did I, until I read this dreck from Nancy Gibbs of Time Magazine…

    The Nobel committee cited "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." His critics fault some of those efforts: those who favor a missile shield for Poland or a troop surge in Afghanistan or a harder line on Iran. But even his fans know that none of the dreams have yet come true, and a prize for even dreaming them can feed the illusion that they have.

    At this moment many Americans are longing for a president who is more bully, less pulpit.
    Proof? Anywhere in sight?? Hello???

    The president who leased his immense inaugural good will to the hungry appropriators writing the stimulus bill, who has not stopped negotiating health care reform except to say what is non-negotiable, whose solicitude for the wheelers and dealers who drove the financial system into a ditch leaves the rest of us wondering who has our back, has always shown great promise, said the right things, affirmed every time he opens his mouth that he understands the fears we face and the hopes we hold. But he presides over a capital whose day-to-day functioning has become part-travesty, part-tragedy, wasteful, blind, vain, petty, where even the best intentioned reformers measure their progress with teaspoons. There comes a time when a President needs to take a real risk - and putting his prestige on the line to win the Olympics for his home town does not remotely count.
    Ummm…there actually is s point there, I realize; I’d like to see Obama do more on repealing DADT and the ridiculous “Defense of Marriage Act,” as well as getting us the hell out of Afghanistan. But as I’ve said before, every time you get unhappy with him and consider the alternative offered last year, just say “Vice President Palin,” and that helps to put things in perspective right quick.

    And besides, what the hell does any of this have to do with winning the Nobel Peace Prize?

    And if you thought such wankery was a one-time occurrence for Ms. Gibbs, this tells us of similar ruminations on the Obamas’ decision to send their daughters to Sidwell Friends School, this tells us of her fiction that Bill Clinton once referred to Obama’s candidacy as a “fairy tale” (Clinton, rightly or wrongly, was talking about Obama and Iraq), and this tells us that Gibbs gave former CIA Director Michael Hayden a pass on his inconsistent statements about warrantless surveillance.

    Oh, and I suppose I’d better not tell Gibbs about this either, or else she’ll proclaim that Obama will lose his likely bid for re-election in 2012.

    One more thing (and I have Avedon Carol at Eschaton to thank for this suggestion); I’ll do a deal with the wingnuts on this. If you don’t say anything about Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize, I won’t say anything about Henry Kissinger, one of the most grotesque liars in our history, winning it, OK?

  • California Repug U.S. House Rep Jerry Lewis (OK, a different guy from the pic) tells us the following (here)..

    The U.S. House and Senate met yesterday to negotiate the final conference report on the fiscal year 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations bill. Even though both the House and Senate have previously overwhelmingly voted to prevent the transfer and release of Guantanamo detainees into the U.S., the conference report contains language allowing detainee transfers for the purpose of prosecution in U.S. criminal courts.

    The Democrats in the conference committee have defied the will of Congress and the American people and have voted to allow terrorist detainees to be brought onto American soil at taxpayer expense.
    There actually is a bit of truth there, but only a bit; as noted here…

    Democratic senators and congressmen added language to a Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill that “prohibits” detainees from being transferred to the US “except to be prosecuted.”

    Such transfers would only be allowed after Congress receives a plan detailing the risks involved, how to mitigate them and other demands.

    The measure must still face a vote before the full Senate and House of Representatives. Just last week, the House voted to prevent the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States for any reason.
    So if Lewis wants to oppose bringing terrorists to this country for prosecution (which, to a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger such as yours truly, seems like the smartest way to try them), he can vote against the measure (to say nothing of housing them here – Lord knows we have enough supermax space for at least some of them). Otherwise, he should shut up.

    And for more fun with Rep. Lewis, click here.

  • Finally (keeping it local, of you will), I cannot let this week end without commenting on the ridiculous editorial by the Bucks County Courier Times in favor of building the new Aria health center in Lower Makefield, Pa. (here)…

    If increased traffic was a legitimate reason to block development, none of us would be here. The land on which our homes sit would still be growing alfalfa. And the deer would have plenty of room to roam. That leads us to Aria (formerly Frankford) Hospital's request to move from its hemmed-in site in the crowded Oxford Valley Mall area to the more open environs of Lower Makefield.
    I guess that argument makes sense in a universe where Thumper The Rabbit operates an ATV and Bambi drives a Hummer.

    Best as we can tell, the supervisors' chief complaint is the traffic the hospital would generate - their attorney's 21 reasons to reject the proposal notwithstanding. The problem with the traffic argument is this: Hospitals don't generate a lot of rush-hour traffic because their employees work shifts.

    Just look at nearby St. Mary Medical Center, which has grown into a small city. Its only access point is on Route 413, a heavily traveled two-lane highway. While traffic backs up at times, the situation isn't dire or dangerous. Compare that to the multi-lane Newtown Bypass, which would provide one access point to Aria. It's a busy highway; there's no doubt about that. But Aria's plans include measures to mitigate additional traffic generated by the hospital, offices and surgery center.

    We're not experts on traffic engineering.
    Obviously, though the paper has obviously forgotten that an actual engineer did write a really good Guest Opinion on this subject last April (a man named Joseph Hochreiter), and in it he looked at traffic access issues, all kinds of infrastructure issues (water, sewer, electrical), the development of “feeder” roads hinted at in the Courier-Times editorial, and the question of what would happen to the current Frankford site on Oxford Valley Road in the event of a move (you can tell he knew what he was talking about because of the volume of wingnut umbrage he generated in the comments).

    Oh, and do you know what else Hochreiter talked about? Patient care, that’s what.

    As in wondering how the hell the residents of Levittown and Fairless Hills are supposed to be served by the closing of Frankford and a re-opening in Lower Makefield (along with the relocation of Capital Health to very nearly the same area).

    If you want to keep current with the developments on this issue, click here (it would probably do the Courier Times more than a little good to go to the site and read up on this in case they decide to pontificate on this matter again).

    Finally, though I beat up the Courier Times on this issue, I have to point out that they’re absolutely right to note in this “Thumbs Down” segment the supposed bet between the mayors of Philadelphia and Denver on the baseball playoffs and the pittances pledged by all the “corporate citizens” involved (the winning city gets $2K for the homeless and the loser gets $500, and the participants involved are the First Bank of Colorado along with Citizens Bank and Comcast).

    It would have been less insulting had they not even bothered to place the wager at all.
  • A Friday Media "Funny"

    (And I also posted here.}

    Glad to see that, with the FHA now having solvency issues (here), Italy PM “Uh Oh” Silvio Berlusconi in trouble again (here) and the recent third anniversary of the slaying of journalist Anna Politkovskaya on Tuesday (and kudos to HRC for this), U.S. News is still performing cutting-edge, trailblazing reporting.


    Thursday, October 08, 2009

    Thursday Stuff

    I hope to get back to regular posting tomorrow (by the way, here is a follow up to the "Countdown" health care special last night).

    In the meantime, K.O. talks with Derrick Pitts of The Franklin Institute about NASA's plan to smash a satellite into the moon (didn't Spacely Sprockets subcontract George Jetson to do that once - the sad part is that I'll bet there are a fair number of people who would have read that last sentence and thought I was serious...can't wait for the wingnuts to try and blame Obama somehow for this)...

    ...and here's a tune for the occasion, with a nice slide show.

    “Nail. Hammer. Head.” By Meteor Blades

    And people wonder why we despise this guy so much (and I know sometimes Rep. Stark goes off the deep end a bit with his comments - not here, though - even though he’s fundamentally right, but keep in mind also that Stark served this country).

    Wednesday, October 07, 2009

    Wednesday Stuff

    I haven't made it through all of K.O.'s hour-long health care "Special Comment" tonight, but what I've seen so far is quite moving (can't think of a word to describe how pathetic it is that the "action item" is to, in essence, shame Dem senators into not supporting a Republican filibuster, but we are where we are).

    Someone named Izzy Forman at 360i on behalf of MSNBC was kind enough to send me the following links - many thanks:

  • Here is the transcript.

  • Here is Keith telling us that health care as basic as life itself, pointing out that there is no higher human priority than health and therefore no more basic government responsibility than ensuring the care of its citizens.

  • Here Keith warns that America is actually getting worse at addressing the health concerns of its citizens and is on track to surpass even the tragic conditions of Dickensian England.

  • Here he outlines how the current American health insurance system is so much more focused on making money than making Americans healthy that in some cases companies actually benefit when their employees die.

  • Here he presents a personal perspective on the pain of illness and the difficulties of end-of-life decision making - physical and emotional pain worlds away from the insulting "death panels" debate.

  • Here he outlines his intention to show his support for American health reform by donating to the National Associations of Free Clinics to offer a free clinic every week in the capitol cities of the states of the six senators standing in the way of health reform in the Senate. Details for viewer participation to come.
  • And as I watched this, this song kept running around in my head.

    Another Wednesday Mashup (10/7/09)

    (And I also posted here.)

  • So Rudy 9iu11ani has endorsed Meg Whitman for governor of California, huh?

    Well then, let’s note here that, by her own admission, Whitman has a lousy voting record, supports public funding of abortions and California’s strict gun laws (here), and once endorsed a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate (Barbara Boxer, as noted here).

    Also, the following should be noted about Whitman:

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

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

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

    Way to go, dude!

  • Update 10/8/09: Here is more.

  • Also, while I don’t really care a whole lot about a certain Flush Limbore having enough dough to pair up with Dave Checketts, the owner of the St. Louis Blues hockey team, in an effort to buy the St. Louis Rams football team (here), I think certain Democratic-friendly owners ought to pay attention to the $230,050 number next to the Rams’ political donations on behalf of the party currently in power here and realize that that would dry up to zero if those two took over (that seems high, but Open Secrets is generally pretty credible).

    And of course, this is a typically crass maneuver by perhaps the most notorious demagogue of the air waves (a lot of company there, of course), particularly given his antipathy to African Americans, including both a certain 44th president and a certain quarterback trying to work himself back from injury, as noted here.

  • Update: YEAH BAY-BEE!!!

    Update 10/11/09: I know K.O. supported his right to own the Rams, but this sounds like more trouble for him, and rightly so.

  • This tells us the following…

    NEW YORK — Private unlicensed gun dealers were captured on video selling weapons to undercover investigators who admitted they couldn't pass background checks in a sting operation by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to highlight the "gun show loophole."

    Nine states, including New York, have passed laws to close the loophole, requiring background checks on at least all handgun purchases at gun shows. Bloomberg has long campaigned for Congress to close it, and for states to do it on their own if the federal government does not.

    Even in states that haven't closed the loophole, federal law bars "occasional sellers" from selling guns to people they have reason to believe would fail background checks.

    This is where the Bloomberg operation says 19 out of 30 sellers broke the law during the investigation, in which undercover investigators posing as buyers wore tiny cameras concealed in baseball hats and purses and audio recorders hidden in wristwatches.

    In each purchase, the investigator showed interest in buying a gun, agreed on a price and then indicated that he probably could not pass a background check. Most sellers allowed the purchases anyway, responding in some cases by saying, "I couldn't pass one either," or "I don't care," according to the videos.

    Two assault rifles and 20 semiautomatic handguns were bought this way, the report said.
    And as noted here, both those with links to overseas-based terrorist groups and such home-grown cases as Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Timothy McVeigh and David Koresh have exploited this loophole to arm themselves for their most heinous purposes.

    However, there is some good news; as noted here, Pennsylvania is one of the nine states noted in the story for closing the loophole, though the state requirement is for handguns only (33 states have taken no action whatsoever, and the high court of Hangin' Judge JR is apparently trying to figure out how to make things worse, based on this).

    Meanwhile, the bill introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg to fix this horrific problem continues to sit, utterly inactive (paging Harry Reid…).

    God Bless America.

  • Update 10/08/09: OF COURSE this won't create as big a stir as ACORN, since, as noted by Thers at Eschaton (from where I got this), an actual law is being broken here.

    Tuesday, October 06, 2009

    Tuesday Stuff

    (Either tomorrow or Thursday could end up as a no-posting day, by the way.)

    I actually found myself not caring about Keith's interview with Joe Trippi until about the last minute, where they talk about the Dem senatorial primary between Snarlin' Arlen and Admiral Joe (funny that Specter did some impromptu stand-up comedy last August during the congressional recess making fun of Sarah Palin, but he voted for her when it counted).

    I have to tell you that this race worries me a bit. Obviously, Admiral Joe is the better choice because he's an actual Democrat, though I haven't agreed with all of his votes by any means. However, it couldn't be more plain that the Democratic Party establishment is solidly behind Specter, which we know.

    I think that if Sestak manages to beat Specter (which we want), we're actually going to have a problem (we'll have one either way). I have a nightmare image of that same Democratic establishment deciding to sit on its hands if Sestak is the nominee, and I see filthy, unkempt liberal blogger types definitely not doing a lot if Specter wins (who is damaged goods, let's face it, even though he's spent a career winning fights like this somehow).

    Let's be plain - despite how I personally feel, I will support Specter if he wins because he would be the standard bearer of my party. Besides, a split like this could help full-mooner, Club-For-Growth wingnut Pat Toomey to actually win this thing, which would be a catastrophe (think Little Ricky all over again, though a shade smarter).

    Finally, while it's true that I could have a more intelligent foreign policy (or ANY policy) discourse with my cat than I could with Sarah Palin, let's not sit around chortling over her too much. We may think "Palin fatigue" is the most powerful motivating political force out there, but sadly, it isn't. Wrongly of course, Obama hatred is Number One. And that would come into play for Toomey also of course, and let's remember that Obama didn't win PA, even though he had a lot of support then as now. Hillary beat him.

    All I'm saying is that this race is going to be a fight regardless of whether or not Sestak or Specter wins the Dem primary (for different reasons for each candidate). We'll lose it if we assume any different. Chris Christie blows off the media, huh? That's not going to do much for his sinking poll numbers, is it?...

    ..."Worst Persons" (Betsy McCaughey gets the "bronze" for paling around with the guy who came up with that graphic of Obama as a witch doctor, which CNN thought was "satire"...yep, Keith, she's bad news, you're right, but given this, I think you ought to have a little talk with Dylan Ratigan; Rupert The Pirate is also called out for, in essence, firing Sandra Guzman, the New York Post editor who called out her publication over the offensive cartoon noted here; but Michele Bachmann does it again for more thuggish imagery in her bizarro pronouncement about Nancy Pelosi and the "Bush Dogs" - maybe people vote for Bachmann because they're afraid she'll kill them if they don't...???)...

    ...and correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is the only non-'80s music video featuring a llama.

    Tuesday Mashup (10/6/09)

  • Not content with pundit wankery for the moment, Bret Stephens of the Murdoch Street Journal decided to “look into the future” and imagine more scenarios of failure for President Obama, to wit (from here, in which a U.N. resolution is passed forcing Israel to give up its atomic weapons, and the U.S. under Obama of course abstains)…

    At the time, the U.S. opposed a resolution focused on Israel but abstained from a more general motion calling for regional disarmament. "We are very pleased with the agreed approach reflected here today," said then-U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA Glyn Davies.

    Since then, however, relations between the Obama administration and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, never warm to begin with, have cooled dramatically. The administration accused Tel Aviv of using "disproportionate force" following a Nov. 13 Israeli aerial attack on an apparent munitions depot in Gaza City, in which more than a dozen young children were killed.

    Mr. Netanyahu also provoked the administration's ire after he was inadvertently caught on an open microphone calling Mr. Obama "worse than Chamberlain."
    Gee, “Bibi,” isn’t that a little harsh?

    I mean, I’m sure Obama doesn’t have the same power moves to the basket as this guy…

    …but hey, he’s still got “game,” don’t you think?

    (Yes, I know who Stephens is talking about – I’m giving him all the seriousness he deserves.)

  • Not to be outdone, former Bushco mouthpiece Dana Perino, currently taking up space with Fix Noise, opined as follows (from here)…

    If the administration really thinks America needs another stimulus to end the recession, they're going to have to be straightforward about why the February stimulus hasn't worked. America is going to want answers to questions including, “Where are all the shovel ready projects you talked about? Why is the unemployment rate rising when you said it would go down if we supported the package? And where are all the new green jobs?”
    Well, I’m sorry to trouble her “beautiful mind” with some reality here, but Think Progress informed us of the following (here, when Perino was busy telling lies about our prior ruling cabal – it takes a particular kind of gall for this woman to criticize the current administration over the official unemployment rate, considering that she once said that the best way to fix unemployment is for people to “get back to work”)…

    It is both insulting and naive to suggest that people aren’t working because jobless benefits are somehow too generous and they’re too lazy to look for work again. People aren’t working because Bushonomics have hemorrhaged jobs and slashed the safety nets for laid off workers:

    The Bush administration’s refusal to extend a helping hand to those punished by the economy it created is nothing new: Last month, the White House threatened to veto a second stimulus package over opposition to an expansion of food stamps benefits.
    And of course, Bush had vetoed an extension of unemployment benefits before the incident noted by Think Progress took place.

    By the way, here is a little compilation of Number 43 in action (or “inaction,” more precisely) on the economy; I know of no other president in my memory who oversaw not one, but two recessions (of course, Dana, being a little dim on history such as this event, wouldn’t know that, I realize).

  • Update: Sorry Jed's video is hosed - oh well.

  • Finally, I have a question – are you as sick of looking at this insufferable, sanctimonious mug as I am?

    It belongs to widely syndicated pundit Cal Thomas, spewer extraordinaire against all things Democratic/liberal/progressive/whatever. And I honestly try to avoid this guy partly because, unlike many of his ilk, he actually did serve our country. However, he concocted a particularly odious mess last week, and I was fortunate to find someone who gave Thomas the comeuppance he deserved.

    Here is Thomas…

    Has anyone noticed the apparent uptick in terrorist activity? …(The) Justice Department has brought charges in three "unrelated" bomb plots. In the most serious case, Najibullah Zazi, an airport shuttle driver from Denver, was indicted in New York on charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against persons or property in the United States. Authorities last week also arrested a 19-year-old Jordanian citizen, Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, and accused him of trying to blow up a downtown Dallas skyscraper. And an Illinois man, Michael C. Finton (aka Talib Islam) was ordered held last week on charges he tried to blow up a federal building in the state's capital.

    Are we being infiltrated and surrounded by people who want us dead and our country destroyed? Try a little experiment, Google "Islam near" and then type in the name of any city or town. When I tried the small town of Bryn Mawr, Pa., 10 Islamic-related sites came up.
    Oh goody, this sounds like fun! Can I play too? Here is what I was able to locate also.

    Meanwhile, in the world of adults, here is some commentary from Jay Bookman…

    So the presence of Islamic related sites is evidence of a terror conspiracy? What Thomas seeks is the marginalization and rejection of Muslim Americans, the very process that in European countries has made their Muslim communities more prone to radicalization. He seeks to create the very thing he claims to despise.

    It’s useful to recall that after the fall of communism, this very same Thomas called for a “cultural war crimes tribunal” in which many of his fellow Americans would be forced to answer for their opinions. At those trials, he wrote, “people from academia, the media, government and the clergy who were wrong in their assessment of communism would be forced to confront their mistakes.”

    Sounds just like democracy, doesn’t it?

    In 2003, this stalwart defender of democracy again called for a domestic war crimes tribunal, this time to bring to account “scores of false media prophets who predicted disaster should the U.S. military confront and seek to oust the murderous regime of Saddam Hussein.” This was in those short heady “Mission Accomplished” days right after the invasion of Iraq, before most Americans truly understood that we were not being greeted with roses and chocolate.

    “The purpose of a cultural war crimes tribunal would be to remind the public of journalism’s many mistakes, as well as the errors of certain politicians and retired generals, and allow it to properly judge their words the next time they feel the urge to prophesy…,” Thomas wrote. “All of the printed and voiced prophecies should be saved in an archive. When these false prophets again appear, they can be reminded of the error of their previous ways and at least be offered an opportunity to recant and repent.”

    The mindset of people such as Cal Thomas is far more undemocratic and dangerous than that of most of the Muslim Americans whom he seeks to smear.
    And it’s not as if Thomas has ever drawn the line at former presidents either, as noted here.
  • Monday, October 05, 2009

    Monday Stuff

    "When," indeed...

    ...and as I watch this, I realize once more what a pathetic life form Sen. Blanche Lincoln truly is...

    ..."Worst Persons" (George Will still denies climate science - maybe he'll start to find a clue when the Potomac just about dries up into a pond, but I'm not counting on it; Flush Limbore claims that Obama lost out at Copenhagen because ACORN couldn't stuff the ballot boxes, or something (I've noticed that radio station WPHT in these parts is advertising ol' Flush a lot more these days - I hear the ads during the Phillies' games...maybe his audience is either dying off more than they thought or dumping him in droves due to the drug-infused balderdash he keeps spewing); but Repug U.S. House Rep Paul Broun of Georgia gets the nod here for a variation on the Dubya-stated theme that "Everyone already has health care in this country. You can just go to the emergency room." when one of his constituents tries to communicate his struggles with depression - the takeaway here for yours truly is someone from the audience calling out for the public option...wonder how much play THAT will get on the news networks with initials for names?)...

    ...and any band that disses Glenn Beck certainly deserves a video link, I always say.

    Monday Mashup Again (10/5/09)

    (And I also posted here.)

  • The last item in this post pertains to a J.D. Mullane blog post in which he tells us that he’s “keeping it local” from now on (his blog post was dated September 19th).

    Well, as noted here, he criticized David Letterman over his staff indiscretions on September 30th.

    In my 9/22 post, I gave Mullane about two weeks before he got bored with “keeping it local.” However, he ended up not even making it that far (unless New York City is now considered to be “local”).

    Well, there is a bit of good news here; at least Mullane’s paper remembered to publish an Op-Ed section today, which they mysteriously forgot to do yesterday.

  • Repug U.S. Senator John Thune of South Dakota called for using about $330 billion of unused TARP funds (out of about $700 billion total) to pay down the debt in this Murdoch Street Journal Op-Ed today.

    Well, based on this story, I think the funds should be used instead for shoring up unemployment insurance (not just in South Dakota, but across the country…the percent of unemployment in Thune’s state is lower than other areas of the U.S., but the state’s benefit fund is running out).

    And the money could be put to other uses; as noted here, an updated version of the WPA (including more infrastructure projects) would end up putting a lot more people to work than tax cuts and state stabilization funds ever could (though the latter is important, I realize).

    Yes, it’s important to balance the budget. But not in the midst of a crisis (of course, Thune, being a member of the political party that dug this hole to begin with, will continue his little exercise in reality avoidance as long as he can until and unless the voters of his state come to their senses and send him packing next year).

  • I really didn’t say much about the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China last Thursday, but I was reminded to do so after reading this Op-Ed in the New York Times yesterday, claiming that, between Mao Tse-tung and Deng Xiaoping, “Deng is the leader to celebrate.”

    To me, that’s like having to choose between a brutal dictator and one who was only slightly less repressive.

    I am not a scholar in these matters, I readily admit. And Deng does deserve a good bit of credit for China’s economic development.

    But I think it’s more than a little sad that people like Mao and Deng are considered to be synonymous with China’s development, while Zhao Ziyang serves as little more than a historical footnote.

    As noted here…

    Deng was originally Zhao's mentor and appointed him to carry out economic reforms, but Zhao criticizes Deng's idea of political reform as merely "a kind of administrative reform." What Zhao describes as Deng's beliefs have since become the conventional wisdom among China's top leaders: "Deng believed that a precondition of reform was an upholding of the Communist Party's one-party rule. . . . Deng was particularly opposed to a multiparty system, tripartite separation of powers, and the parliamentary system of Western nations."

    This is more than a history lesson. China's current leaders, including President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, owe their careers to the political coup that took place in 1989. Mr. Hu indirectly benefited when he was praised for his bloody crackdown on protests in Tibet. Mr. Wen, who once considered Zhao a mentor and accompanied him to Tiananmen Square to speak to students before the crackdown, seems not to have been influenced by Zhao's political beliefs. But this generation will not run China forever.
    And this tells us of Zhao’s memoir published earlier this year; it is to be devoutly hoped that his dream of genuine political reform in China is kept alive, long after the current leaders of his country who stifle it utterly disintegrate into the dust.

  • Finally, I need to “go rogue,” if you will, and stray off-topic somewhat.

    As we left Sunday services yesterday (yes, a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger type such as yours truly actually goes to church), I noticed a sign in the vestibule advertising a screening of the film "The Jeweler's Shop," based on a book written by Karol Wojtyla about three marriages from a spiritual perspective (Wojtyla, of course, would eventually become this guy). The screening will take place this Friday at the parish (I’m not mentioning the name of our parish for a reason that will be evident soon – besides, the issue isn’t confined to just here).

    I’m recounting this because the sign advertising the film said, "Who would think a pope would author a movie starring Burt Lancaster?" (one of the film’s stars).

    Wow. What a crappy attitude.

    And why exactly is that, I’ve wondered.

    Well, when you read this Wikipedia article, the answer becomes plainly evident…

    Lancaster was an unabashed liberal, who frequently spoke out with support for racial minorities. He was also instrumental in the formation of many liberal groups, through financial support. At one point, he was rumored to be a member of the Communist Party, because of his involvement in many liberal causes. He was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War and political movements such as McCarthyism, and he helped pay for the successful defense of a soldier accused of fragging another soldier during the war.[5] In 1968, Lancaster actively supported the presidential candidacy of antiwar Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota, and frequently spoke on his behalf in the Democratic primaries. In 1985, Lancaster, a longtime supporter of gay rights, joined the fight against AIDS after his close friend, Rock Hudson, contracted the disease. He campaigned for Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election.
    (Oh, and by the way, yesterday was “Respect Life Sunday” – I guess “respect” doesn’t extend to those with whose ideology you disagree.)

    Well, I think the person who created that sign is at least a little ignorant of the history of our faith; as noted here…

    The Catholic Church exercised a prominent role in shaping America's labor movement. From the onset of significant immigration in the 1840s, the Church in the United States was predominantly urban, with both its leaders and congregants usually of the laboring classes. Over the course of the second half of the nineteenth century, nativism, anti-Catholicism, and anti-unionism coalesced in Republican politics, and Catholics gravitated toward unions and the Democratic Party.

    More recent examples of catholic social justice in action is the Campaign for Human Development created in part as an outgrowth of the work of Msgr. Geno Baroni, who founded the National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs (NCUEA). NCUEA spawned, funded and trained hundreds of parish, neighborhood and community based organizations, organizers, credit unions, and local programs. Baroni's Catholic social justice in action included notable proteges, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-OH, currently the longest serving woman in Congress and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-MD. President Barack Obama's first community organizing project was funded by the Campaign for Human Development.[2]
    OMIGOD! The Catholic Church sponsored a community organizing project for that socialist, liberal, closet-Kenyan president of ours?? HORRORS!!

    Well, despite that, I hope to watch the film one day because I’m sure it will be illuminating. Even if the movie does star Burt Lancaster.

    (Actually, given the fact that Lancaster so devoutly supported causes pertaining to social justice, I believe that Pope John Paul II should have felt fortunate that the actor helped him to tell his story.)