Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday Stuff

"A new generation of patriots?" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

And "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!" huh? Read this.

(h/t Dependable Renegade via Eschaton - once more, here's the thing on "Nate," and this is the clip where he appears.)

...and by the way, congratulations go out to the Senate Dems who voted to allow debate to begin on health care reform (would have been reprehensible to vote no, not that that's stopped some of them in the, just have the little demagoguery and debate show, go to reconciliation and GET THIS DONE!!)...

...and yes, I realize this is a rather shameless plug for an X-box game, but I like the game and the song is pretty cool too, so here it is.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Stuff

Pap has a cautionary lesson for the "teabaggers," assuming they had sense enough to listen; however, I don't think any politician, particularly Obama, should take young voters for granted - yes, assuming the blessed day comes when health care reform is passed, he's going to have to give them something else, and "doubling down" on Afghanistan is going to push them away even more (a long-overdue executive order banning DADT enforcement would be a nice "payoff" also - watch the stuff about "gray hair," Pap :-)...

Update 11/21/09: Too funny (h/t Eschaton)...

...and I really liked "Oxford Comma" from these guys, and this is a fun little tune also.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (11/20/09)

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 (most of last week's votes had to do with health care, which I realize I've posted on ad nauseum already - the vote to begin debate in the Senate happens tomorrow evening).


Democrats' health bill. Voting 220-215, the House passed a bill (HR 3962)] that would provide affordable medical insurance to about 36 million uncovered U.S. residents while overhauling insurance-industry practices in ways that benefit the sick, the well, the uninsured, and the insured. The bill, which awaits Senate action, would extend coverage to about 96 percent of the non-elderly population by 2019 while not adding to the national debt.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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

Voting no: John Adler (D., N.J.), Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

Republicans' health bill. Voting 176-258, the House defeated a Republican alternative to HR 3962 (above) that would grant states tens of billions of dollars over 10 years as an incentive for them to expand health-insurance coverage and reduce insurance premiums for their residents.

A yes vote backed the GOP alternative.

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

Voting no: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Holden, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.
Holden and Adler could've supported the Repugs' joke of an alternative here, as long as they chose to bail on their party on the one that mattered - at least that would've been consistent.

Dispute over abortion. Voting 240-194, the House amended HR 3962 (above) to prohibit the bill's public option from funding abortions and bar those with premiums subsidized by taxpayers from buying private policies that contain abortion coverage. The amendment went beyond "Hyde Amendment" language already in the bill that would bar federal funding of abortions except in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother.

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

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

Voting no: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.
So Tim Holden opposes health care, but supports the Stupak-Pitts pro-sepsis coathanger abortion amendment in spite of that.

I just want to make sure that we have that on the record, that's all.


Judge Andre Davis. Voting 72-16, the Senate confirmed federal Judge Andre M. Davis, 60, of the Maryland District Court, for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. This gives Democratic appointees a 6-5 majority on the Richmond-based court, which hears appeals from federal courts in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Senate has confirmed seven of President Obama's district and appellate court nominees.

A yes vote was to confirm Davis.

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.).
As noted here about Judge Davis, he was nominated by former President Clinton in 2000, but under something called the "Thurmond Rule" that barred consideration of judicial appointments during an election year (dumb, but consider the source), the Senate couldn't act on his appointment. Well, Dubya came along and passed over Davis for eight years, leaving it up to President Obama to renominate Davis, which he did last April. Congratulations on your long-overdue confirmation, Judge Davis.

This week, the Senate took up health care and resumed debate on 2010 budgets for veterans' programs and military construction. The House schedule was to be announced.

Friday Mashup (11/20/09)

(And I also posted here about a political matter close to home.)

  • As I noted yesterday, “Holy Joe” Lieberman decided to hold his Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on the Fort Hood shootings.

    And as noted here, he had a hard time getting people to testify (awwww)…

    Mr. Lieberman’s hearing made only limited headway because the Obama administration has refused his requests for witnesses from the F.B.I. and the Defense Department.

    Mr. Lieberman said he had spoken with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Mr. Gates, who told him they would cooperate with his inquiry, but did not want to compromise the criminal investigation.
    Ah, but he was able to get one “name” figure anyway…

    As a result, Mr. Lieberman proceeded with several nongovernment experts and former officials, including Frances Fragos Townsend, formerly the homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush.
    And what did Fran have to say? Well…

    Ms. Townsend expressed concern that “political correctness” and fear of intruding on Major Hasan’s free speech rights might have interfered with the sharing of information earlier this year, when an F.B.I.-led counterterrorism team examined his e-mail exchanges with Anwar al-Awlaki, a well-known radical Islamist cleric, but found nothing amiss.
    I guess this is what you can expect from someone who issued a report on Hurricane Katrina that was “incomplete,” said it was “offensive and crippling” that she actually had to worry about being subpoenaed in the course of doing her job (horrors!), and said that Osama bin Laden was “virtually impotent” (all noted here, though I also praised her for going against the wishes of “Deadeye Dick” Cheney here; I guess such praise was premature).

    Actually, if all Lieberman needed was someone to mouth right-wing talking points, he could have called Glenn Beck as a witness. He would have been just as credible as Townsend, and he probably would have gotten better TV ratings on CSPAN from his intended target audience.

  • Update 11/21/09: Yep, I think the "L" word sums up Lieberman here also (h/t Eschaton).

  • Also, I should note that, to probably no one’s surprise whatsoever, Christine Flowers of the Philadelphia Daily News thinks the Stupak-Pitts pro-sepsis coat hanger abortion amendment (here) is hilarious (OK, the reaction to it from those dreaded liberals, I mean).


    …(and) what I found particularly smirk-inducing was the total silence from these same quarters over recent decades as the Catholic Church threw its weight behind health-care reform. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama could have had no better champion than the leaders of the church who consistently criticized both Republicans and Democrats in Washington for failing to address the needs of the indigent and lower-middle class.
    Instead of responding to Flowers’ dog-whistle antics and trying to engage her in something close to intelligent dialogue on this (a fool’s errand in her case), I thought it best to link to this post instead from Natasha Chart of Open Left here, who tells us the following…

    I remember the day in 1997 when I listened to my doctor tell me that I had a very large ovarian cyst, also, that I was likely to have a miscarriage. She said it was good that my body seemed to be taking care of things on its own, because the cyst could rupture and hemorrhage and they couldn't operate if I was pregnant because it was a Catholic hospital.

    My doctor wasn't mean about it, she just couldn't give me this operation that she'd told me about a minute previous I needed to avert a threat to my life.

    I was lucky that I miscarried. As the hormone-induced changes in the cyst caused pain that made it hard to stand upright in a matter of days, it's a good that I didn't have to go through the trouble of finding another hospital covered under my insurance. I went quickly from the terror of waiting to know if I could get that operation to the grim realities of going through it and recovering.

    It turned out all right, but I've always remembered since then that I once sat helpless in a doctor's office watching her eyes slide away from mine to the floor as she refused to say anything when I pressed her to tell me what would happen if there wasn't a natural miscarriage. She just skipped ahead to how someone with my blood test results wasn't going to be pregnant much longer.

    Opponents of abortion like to center their arguments around the fetus and talk about whether it's a person. Which basically means to me that they don't think women are people with the basic right to determine the conditions of their lives and what will happen to their bodies, who can be forced to suffer or die because it will make someone else feel better.
    I would ask that you read all of her post, and then tell me what a compassionate, conservative Catholic Flowers supposedly is (I’ll try not to laugh too loudly if you do, but I won’t guarantee anything).

    Oh, and another thing, Christine: I should tell you that, in all of the time that I have attended church, I have never heard anyone from the pulpit who “consistently criticiz(ed) both Republicans and Democrats in Washington for failing to address the needs of the indigent and lower-middle class.”

    With that in mind, though, if you want to get an idea of how this country has fared on the poverty issue under Republican versus Democratic presidents, the Census bureau put some numbers together cited in this post, and except for President Carter (though not for lack of trying to combat it, I’m sure), this country fared worse under the Repugs.

    And in other faith-related news, Richard Viguerie (someone else who gives Catholics a bad name, IMHO) has been encouraging his brood not to contribute to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development “because of the pro-abortion and homosexual organizations that are funded by CCHD,” as he put it here.

    In response, this editorial tells us the following…

    In Baltimore, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development helped the United Workers Association win a salary increase for cleaners at Camden Yards, strengthens the mission of the Maryland Disability Law Center and assists Neighborhood Housing Services to combat predatory "pay day" lending by developing micro-lending in communities that lack access to banks. In other cities, grants have helped groups fighting for better working conditions on behalf of farm workers. McDonald's, Yum Brands, Burger King and other fast food chains now pay tomato pickers more for their backbreaking labor in the fields because of these efforts. Just this year, the campaign awarded more than $7 million to grass-roots community organizations across the country. The campaign's Poverty USA initiative, which raises awareness about the impact of poverty on families, has been recognized as one of the best public service programs in the nation.

    For centuries, Catholic social teaching has emphasized the obligation to care for our struggling neighbors on the margins of society. This is why Catholic Charities USA oversees the most extensive social services network for the poor outside of the federal government, and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development provides low-income citizens with the tools to improve their own lives.

    As more Americans lose jobs and health care, faith-based community organizers offer critical lifelines to those who are only a layoff or medical scare away from poverty. This work is more important than ever. Census figures show the number of people falling into poverty increased by more than 2 million last year. Nearly 40 million Americans now live below the poverty line, the highest level since 1960.

    The ACORN scandals should not define the proud legacy of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. The bishops' initiative has distinguished itself for the past four decades and deserves the support of all Americans who recognize the silent genocide of poverty as a political and moral failure unworthy of a great nation.
    Amen to that.

  • And finally, though this is a week old I know, this communicates another reason why social justice is important as far as I’m concerned; that is, to stand up to the intolerant ravings that are spreading this country faster than the H1N1 virus, particularly when one side is responsible for it, but it is somehow excused because the other side of the ideological chasm is guilty of the dreaded “partisanship” also.

    With that in mind, I would like to state the following for the record…

  • I never threatened conservative interest groups such as the National Association of Manufacturers or the Chamber of Commerce, organizations that are typically antagonistic towards Democrats in general (here).

  • I never said any Democrat/liberal/progressive/whatever should “prepare for war” with conservatives (here).

  • I never “prayed” for Dubya’s days to “be few” (yes, I had my Bush Countdown clock on this site, but that was for the end of his time in office, not the end of his life - here).

  • And I would have never imagined bringing a gun to a Republican presidential campaign event (here).

  • And I sure as hell never threatened a police officer (nor would I ever even entertain such a thought) after Dubya was installed as president in 2000 and (arguably) voted back to office in 2004 (here).

  • And I hope it goes without saying that I would never kill innocent church parishioners either (here).
  • So the next time you read David Zurawik or some other pundit whining about how MSNBC and Fix Noise are supposed to be equally partisan, remember that Rachel Maddow has never alleged that the president was a mass murderer (here) and Keith Olbermann has never smeared anyone he disagreed with by nicknaming them as “killer” (here).

    And let’s all hope and pray that it doesn’t take anyone else’s death to make that point plainly understood once and for all.

  • Update: Let's also pray for a brain cell here, people.

    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Thursday Stuff

    "Worst Persons" (Rupert The Pirate now tells us that he doesn't think Obama made a racist comment after he said that he thought Obama did just that - huh? - I think I need Ibuprofen at this point; that idiot U.S. House Rep Louie Gohmert of Texas (of course) says that the Dems “want another terrorist attack so they can pass a new jobs bill” (and “the great unwashed” immediately erupts into applause); but Glenn Beck takes it for a rather con-vee-nient memory lapse as he makes a remark about Norah O'Donnell correcting a girl who said that Sarah Palin didn't vote for the bailout, and then Beck goes all "oooh, it's...that fascist - or whatever he's called this week - Obama picking on kids again," forgetting that doing stuff like that is oxygen to Fix Noise)...

    ...and speaking of kids, here's something else for the young folks.

    Thursday Mashup (11/19/09)

    (And I also more or less posted over here – one of these days I’ll come up with something without the word “mashup” in the post title, but this is all I got for now.)

  • This story tells us the following…

    RALEIGH, N.C. – The U.S. Army plans to prevent media from covering Sarah Palin's appearance at Fort Bragg, fearing the event will turn into political grandstanding against President Barack Obama, officials said Thursday.

    Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum told The Associated Press that Bragg's garrison commander and other Army officials had decided to keep media away from Palin's book promotion. He said the Army did not want the Monday event to become a platform to express political opinions "directed against the commander in chief."

    "The main reason is to stop this from turning into a political platform," he said. "There are Army regulations that basically prohibit military reservations from becoming political platforms by politicians."
    With all due respect to our military, you have got to be fracking kidding me here!

    This tells us that Former President Numbskull journey to Fort Bragg to go all “Ooga Booga! Terra! Terra! Terra!” in May ’08, this tells us that he did the same thing in July ’06, and this tells us that he did the same thing yet again in June ’05.

    And by the way, my issue isn’t with how Fort Bragg wants to handle the Palin book thing, since she has clearly learned one of Bushco’s PR lessons about using our military as props to promote their favored cause. My issue is with Fort Bragg pretending that it doesn’t serve as a political venue for the commander-in-chief now that a Democrat sits in the Oval Office.

  • Update 11/20/09: Sounds like Fort Bragg is trying to reach some sort of an accommodation here, but again, I believe the point I made above is still valid.

  • And Pete Hegseth of Irrational Spew Online is all over Grampa Fred Thompson’s recent declaration that “it really doesn't matter how President Obama divides the Afghan baby, how he splits the difference between McChrystal and Biden. Because the war has been lost” (here).

    To which Hegseth replies…

    It’s awful politics, but no longer unprecedented. Senator Thompson is doing his best Harry Reid impression.

    I'm disappointed in Senator Thompson, he knows better. His statements were political, and do nothing but undermine our troops in the field. We cannot afford to do onto President Obama on Afghanistan, that which the Left did to President Bush on Iraq.
    And in response, I give you this…

    "I don't know that there is any victory there. We're not going to be able to defeat all the crazies in Iraq."
    Now who do you think uttered those words?

    Was it Reid? No. He said, “the war is lost,” and as far as I’m concerned, the jury ultimately is still out on that one.

    Was it John Kerry? No.

    Obama? No. Biden? No. Hillary Clinton? No.

    Give up? I’ll tell you who.

    It was Snarlin’ Arlen Specter of “the Left,” that’s who (here).

    And when Reid spoke his words, the wingnutosphere leapt into a spitting, sputtering rage the likes of which I haven’t seen since a certain presidential candidate made a reference to “clinging” and “guns” about PA voters (and which we may yet see about the wise decision to try KSM and his pals in NYC before all is said and done; the latest to voice his disapproval is Richard Grasso on Bloomberg News…yes, this Richard Grasso).

    So Hegseth and his pals should be careful about who they lump in with “the Left” next time.

    And besides, Thompson can’t be a member. He doesn’t have an honorary ACORN membership card or a commemorate photograph of Ward Churchill (at least, not as far as I know).

  • And in other news about President Obama and his travels abroad, Dana Milbank of the WaPo tells us the following here (though calling this “news” is a stretch, I’ll admit)…

    Instead of facing questioners in public, Obama invited correspondents from each American television network to come to his hotel for a series of one-on-one interviews of about 10 minutes apiece.

    For the president, this was a low-risk alternative. Each reporter had to cover multiple topics, and that, by the White House's design, left little room for probing beyond the superficial. Obama told Fox News's Major Garrett, for example, that the White House is "taking a look" at tax provisions to encourage businesses to hire, but he didn't offer any specifics. He told CBS News's Chip Reid that he is "fine-tuning" his Afghanistan strategy, but he didn't say what it is. He gave CNN's Ed Henry the news that he is "absolutely confident" that health-care legislation will pass, but he didn't say in what form.

    Then there were the requisite human-interest questions that the TV morning-show hosts love. NBC News's Chuck Todd asked whether the president had lost weight. "I'm eating fine and I'm sleeping fine," Obama reported. "My hair is getting gray." Henry asked whether Obama would read Sarah Palin's book. "You know, I probably won't," the president answered.

    In that sense, Obama's Asian tour continued a pattern he has developed at home. He had five full news conferences at the White House during his first six months in office but has had none since July. That puts him roughly on par with Bush, who had four full White House news conferences in the same time. For Obama, who pledged to bring a new level of transparency to the presidency, that's hardly an impressive record.
    I’m a bit unsure as to how to respond to Milbank here, since he and his WaPo playmate Chris Cillizza have been practicing their version of “fluff” journalism for quite some time now (on display here…and referring to “Mad Bitch Beer” and showing a pic of Hillary Clinton, huh? Nice). So I suppose that’s why they recognize it when it’s practiced by others..??

    Journalistic malpractice is nothing new certainly for Milbank, though. As noted here, he was guilty of clipping quotes from then-candidate Obama during last year’s campaign, and despite statistical evidence to the contrary, he ridiculed those calling for Dubya’s impeachment, even though a majority of those polled in a survey called for it over his warrantless surveillance (here).

    And it should also be noted that Milbank is sooo gracious to his fellow journalists, such as Nico Pitney, for whom Milbank accused the Obama White House of “staging” an opportunity to ask a question for Pitney’s benefit (here).

    I’ll tell you what, Dana – if and when Pitney ever participates in a video supposedly poking fun at politicians but which inadvertently exposes his own sense of entitlement and chumminess with those upon whom he is supposed to report, then we’ll talk, OK?

    And in other news pertaining to anti-Obama partisans, John Feehery of The Hill accuses Obama of “going out of his way to irritate women” (here).

    Oh yes, I’m sure it was so “irritating” of Obama to initiate a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses (both an "x" and "y" benefit there, I realize), appoint the first Latina woman to the Supreme Court, sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, and expand SCHIP and child vaccination programs (good news for both moms and dads there can read about that and more here).

    And by the way, the so-called “bo-tax” on cosmetic surgery (so clever the wingnuts are sometimes) that Feehery refers to was proposed by Harry Reid, not Obama, and it would not apply to cosmetic surgery “to correct a congenital deformity or any disfigurement resulting from accident, injury or disease,” as noted here.

  • And finally, it looks like Joe “Short Ride, He’s With Us On Everything But The War” Lieberman held his first hearing into the Fort Hood tragedy today (for some reason I cannot fathom, Reid still allows Lieberman to chair the Homeland Security Committee), based on this, though there were no witnesses (mainly because investigations by the Army and the FBI’s office are still ongoing)…

    “Our congressional investigation is to learn what happened in this case and to prevent it from happening again,” Lieberman said. “Their investigation looks backward and is punitive. Ours looks backward and forward and is preventative. I am optimistic that we will work out a way for both investigations to proceed without compromising either.”
    Yeah well, says you, you traitor on health care reform, among many other issues.

    And in response, I thought John Nichols of The Nation made some good points here…

    So be it.

    Let's call Joe Lieberman's bluff.

    Let's have the Homeland Security Committee hearings.

    While the Army and the FBI will conduct both criminal investigations and serious inquiries into why Major Hasan's breakdown was not adequately noted or addressed by his commanders, congressional oversight of the military is always appropriate.

    So have the hearings. But make them real.

    There's no need to downplay the fact that Major Hasan was a Muslim, or that he appears to have bought into some of the most extreme — and broadly rejected — variants on Islam.

    There's nothing wrong with asking precise, detailed questions that offer as much explanation and detail as can be accumulated. There is no point in being politically correct — or in being politically incorrect. Embrace transparency and facts. Bring in experts and ask questions.

    Ask all the questions.

    What was the bigger factor motivating Major Hasan: stress or religion?

    Was Major Hasan a cold, calculating Islamic extremist or a deeply troubled man who was about to be dispatched to a warzone (Afghanistan) on a mission that associates and family members said was his "worst nightmare"?

    Was the stress Major Hasan was under the sort that might lead an otherwise responsible individual to get lost in a swirl of religious ranting and fundamentalist fantasy?

    Could such stress lead other individuals to embrace fundamentalisms, be they Muslim, Jewish or Christian?

    Might it be a good idea to strengthen the wall of separation between church and state in what is supposed to be a secular fighting force?

    And don't hesitate to ask questions about Muslims in the military.

    Was Major Hasan a typical American Muslim? or an outlier far removed from the mainstream values and practices of a religion that has been practiced in the United States since the founding of the republic?

    Was Major Hasan typical in any way of the thousands of Muslims who currently serve in the U.S. military?

    Isn't it true that the overwhelming majority of Muslim soldiers serve with distinction and that, overall, Muslim soldiers — like their Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu comrades — have historically been seen as less likely to get involved with fights and violence on military bases?

    Isn't it true that Muslim soldiers are seen by military commanders as essential players in a diverse Army that does not merely reflect the whole of America but that presents the best face of America in a world where it is vital to assure that this country's military missions are not dismissed as the "crusades" of a western nation that does not understand Islam or Islamic states?

    Was Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey right when he warned against actions that could "heighten the backlash" against Muslims in the military and argued that Muslim soldiers provide diversity "gives us ALL strength"?

    Was General Casey even more right when he declared after the shootings, and after he had reviewed detailed reports about Major Hasan's background, motivations and actions, that: "As great a tragedy as this was, it would be a shame if our diversity became a casualty as well"?
    Yes, Holy Joe, ask all the questions (sounds like you have your work cut out for you).

    If you think you can do a better job than the Army and the FBI, then have at it.

    I’ll be watching.
  • Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    Wednesday Stuff

    In response to this (and all of it is needed, and more), all I can point out is that "elections have consequences"...

    ...and happy birthday to Graham Parker (I can't believe this year is the 30th anniversary of "Squeezing Out Sparks," one of the greatest LPs - remember them? - of all time).

    Wednesday Mashup (11/18/09)

    (And I also posted here.)

  • This story tells us the following…

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Senate committee passed legislation on Wednesday that would increase government oversight of the U.S. food supply, which has been battered by a series of high-profile recalls that have soured consumer confidence in the food safety system.

    The bill would expand U.S. Food and Drug Administration oversight of the food supply by giving it the power to order recalls, increase inspection rates and require all facilities to have a food safety plan in place.

    The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved the legislation unanimously by a voice vote.

    "There are very few things that are as important as ensuring that the food we eat and the food we serve our families is safe for consumption," said Sen. Christopher Dodd.
    So in addition to fighting for reasonable credit card rates and the public option in health care legislation (here), Chris Dodd is also doing his best to ensure the safety of our food supply (And tell me why he’s losing to this Rob Simmons guy again? Oh, yeah…he supposedly scored a point higher on a preferred mortgage than anybody else – riiiiight.)

    Well, in case anyone needs a history lesson as to how much the FDA treated like a “poor stepchild” by our prior ruling cabal, click here (and to find out more on what the FDA is doing on this score, click here – I must confess to some concerns on Michael Taylor, however, who was named as “food czar” last July, based on this.)

  • Also, consider this a case study of the right-wing echo chamber at work, people; as TPM noted here…

    Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) has strong words for the Republicans opposing Attorney General Eric Holder's plan to bring five 9/11 suspects to New York City to face trial.

    "They see this as an opportunity to demagogue," he said. "They will seize on any opportunity to do that, and that means they'll even take a stand that's un-American."

    "It's un-American to hold anyone indefinitely without trial," Moran added. "It's against our principles as a nation."
    And now, that quote was used to concoct the following, as Think Progress tells us here…

    Former Bush attorney general Michael Mukasey is one of the Republicans who has been speaking out against Holder. Last week at a Federalist Society conference, Mukasey said that holding the trial in Manhattan increased the risk of a terrorist attack on the city.

    In an interview with Washington Times radio this morning, the hosts asked Mukasey about Moran’s comments. Mukasey responded by suggesting that the congressman “get professional help” from Maj. Nidal Hasan:

    Q: Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia says anybody that questions KSM coming to New York City for a civilian trial — that they’re un-American. What is your reaction to that?

    MUKASEY: I think he’s lost touch with reality. He ought to get professional help, perhaps from Maj. Nidal.
    Ha and ha (typical for the Moonie Times, of course; also, I always wondered on what basis Mukasey was given this “cred” as AG aside from the fact that he wasn’t the hopelessly compromised hack that Alberto Gonzales was, since Mukasey was every bit as political as anybody else in that regime).

    So, Moran’s statement that it’s “un-American to hold anyone indefinitely without trial,” morphs into it’s “un-American for anyone to question whether KSM should be tried in New York City.”

    It would be amazing if it weren’t so disgusting (though, to be fair, Moran has been known to shoot his mouth off from time to time, as noted here).

    However, do you know where else it is stated that, under our legal system, defendants are entitled to a speedy trial?

    Right here, in the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, that’s where.

    Of course, I would understand why Mukasey would be ignorant of anything pertaining to the Constitution, since, as noted here, he supported Section 215 of The Patriot Act (and as noted here in an updated link to the '07 post, Section 215 basically makes a mockery of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments also).

    Oh, and for good measure, Bill Kristol criticizes Holder’s “tinny bravado” for choosing to try KSM in New York City here.

    And in response, I give you The Rude Pundit (here)…

    Still, no one out-wrongs or out-pussies Bill Kristol, and The Weekly Standard editor, who, one should always be reminded, was Alan Keyes's presidential campaign manager, didn't disappoint. Also on Fox, he repeated what is becoming a mantra of the right on Mohammed: "There are huge problems with this. These guys were not given their Miranda warnings...[W]here was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed arrested? In Pakistan in a pre-dawn raid. He wasn't read his rights."

    Oh, calm down, Nancy. Mohammed was captured in Pakistan. The most stomach-churningly charitable reading of his torture and treatment for years at Gitmo is that he was like a detained suspect in a crime who is questioned before being formally arrested. That's the whole "enemy combatant" status thing. You can pretty much bet that he'll be Mirandized once he's officially under arrest, if he hasn't already. But, no, don't let that stop another talking point that sounds like it's from an episode of Law and Order: STFU.
    I couldn’t have said it better.

  • Finally, former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm was apparently looking forward to Oprah’s interview with Sarah Palin (her again!) yesterday, but was upset by the appearance of porn actress Jenna Jameson instead (here)…

    Oprah's guest clearly rejected the idea of wearing a confining pantsuit in public. Her short skirt went right up there around Nebraska. The hair hung down to the Dakotas. And Oprah's questioning seemed a little off-target too for a political interview.

    The two women got along well, though. Then, they hit on some puzzlingly explicit topics that you don't normally hear much of in interviews of unindicted politicians.

    The guest had written a book a while back called "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star," which wasn't exactly the title we had expected based on the advance publicity for the former Republican VP candidate.
    (You’d truly have to be a curmudgeon to claim disappointment with “only” having to settle for Jameson, I believe, who at least is a subject matter expert in her chosen field.)

    And “How To Make Love Like A Porn Star” – now why does that sound familiar?

    Oh, I know why! It’s because, as Frank Rich noted here in a New York Times column from about five years ago, it was published by News Corp.

    And you know who owns News Corp, don’t you? Rupert The Pirate (aaaarrrggh, me hearties!), that’s who.

    Just remember that the next time you hear about “family values” from Fix Noise (another Murdoch creation, of course), as in this example.
  • Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Tuesday Stuff

    I keep telling myself that people get Stephen Colbert's jokes, and nobody thinks he's actually serious - hope I'm right...

    The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
    The Word - Skeletons in the Closet
    Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

    ...and that skyline looks familiar, but apparently, these dudes are from Tennessee.

    Tuesday Mashup (11/17/09)

  • Oh yes, I’m so upset that Sarah Palin is unhappy about the photo of her selected for the Newsweek cover.

    Which she posed for, by the way.

    In the course of an interview about her book (which, based on this, must be utterly rife with inaccuracies - and speaking of which, kos asks the question of the year here).

    With said criticism coming from an individual who winked during the course of a vice-presidential debate last year (causing Rich Lowry, among others, to very nearly have an accident here).

    Yes, part of me is repulsed that Newsweek would use her looks to sell their magazine (which helps her book sales, of course). But to me, this sounds like a boy who yelled “Fire” in a crowded movie theater and then is upset when someone is trampled to death in the ensuing stampede.

    Most of the marketing of Sarah Palin has to do with her looks, along with her ability to toss out “dog-whistle” catchphrases for her blinkered idiot supporters who actually take her seriously as a person of any political import whatsoever. If she denies that, then she’s a fool (and when it comes to understanding of our functions of government and the political history of this country, Palin may be an idiot, but if there is one thing she most certainly is not, it is a fool).

    So stow your criticisms and veiled allegations of sexism, former Madame Governor. It all contributes to money in your pocket anyway.

    Besides, if you want to get mad about a photo, feel free to get steamed about the one with this post.

  • So “Doctor” Bart Stupak of Michigan believes that he has enough votes to kill health care reform if that horrible amendment he sponsored with Joe Pitts is removed in the Senate or in a House-Senate conference, does he (here)?

    Fortunately, Dem U.S. House Rep Mark Schauer of Michigan’s 7th District (who lives in the real world) tells us the following from here…

    This bill will offer every American access to quality, affordable health insurance, strengthen Medicare for seniors by closing the prescription drug donut hole, and lower health care costs for businesses to help them compete. Additionally, this fiscally responsible plan will reduce the federal budget deficit by $109 billion over the next decade.

    Doing nothing is simply not an option.‬‪ Families and businesses are drowning under rising health care costs. Since 2000, health costs for small businesses have skyrocketed 129%, and premiums for families have doubled while wages have only gone up 3%. In 2008, there were 1,600 health care-related bankruptcies locally, and this year more than 176,900 Michiganders lost their health insurance due to the economic crisis.‬‪

    Without taking action, health costs for Michigan families will continue to rise by $1,800 each year. Seniors will keep falling into the prescription drug donut hole. Businesses will continue to face double digit premium increases annually, costing us jobs. And rising costs will keep adding to the deficit.‬‪ The status quo is simply unsustainable.‬‪
    (I know this stuff is a recording, but in response to the same old propaganda, I have to recycle the same old truth.)

    And if you want to do something about Stupak-Pitts, by the way, click here (and in the meantime, I apologize to every living being in the universe for actually supporting Stupak on anything, as I did once here).

  • And finally, I came across the following from Stanley Fish of the New York Times today (here)…

    There is a class of utterances that, when encountered, produces irritation, distress and, in some cases, the desire to kill. You hear or read one of these and your heart sinks. Everyone will have his or her (non)favorites. Mine is a three-word announcement on the TV screen, “To Be Continued,” which says, “I know that you have become invested in this story and are eager to find out how it ends, but you’re going to have to wait for a few days or a week or a month or forever.” In the great order of things, it is only a minor inconvenience, but it is experienced as a deprivation; you were banking on something and now it has been taken away.
    Fish then goes on to list various phrases that he finds to be tiresome, which is his right I guess. That, though, prompted me to add a few of my own, as noted below…

  • “Moderate” politician – This is someone who appears to be claiming some kind of middle ground in an argument, though what you usually find out is that this person, just about always a Democrat, has ended up compromising on his or her core beliefs, and in response, the Republican with whom that person is trying to reach an accommodation has compromised not one bit.

  • “Deeply divided” – This is a phrase used in a headline to indicate deep disagreement usually between core demographics of a particular party (again, often among Democrats), though upon reading the story in depth, what is usually discovered is that there is more overall agreement than not (e.g., health care reform).

  • “Core liberal constituency” (or some variation thereof) – This is used when describing support for a particular policy or item of congressional legislation, and what the reader would be inclined to believe upon reading this phrase is that such a policy or item of legislation would be favored only by individuals currently not in the majority (e.g., LGBT individuals, union members, African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans). However (and even if it turns out to be true that such a policy or item of legislation enjoys support only among minority groups like this), what you discover when you add up all of the groups that support this is that such a policy or item of legislation enjoys pretty damn broad support beyond “liberals” and probably among a lot of independents and maybe even some Republicans (e.g., support for the public option).

  • “Global War On Terror” – I realize this has been retired a bit by the Obama Administration, to its credit, but it has come to denote terrorists in general across the world as if they are part of some “evil empire,” though in reality they are dispersed and only occasionally have intersecting interests, usually against a common enemy (often us). And the phrase will always remain in vogue among Repugs certainly, who continue to nurse the delusion that it excuses our country's basic compliance with the rule of law.
  • And last, but certainly least…

  • “We’ll have to leave it there”
  • And to ensure that the posting circle, as it were, remains unbroken here, this is an episode of mindless punditry by Fish on Just Plain Folks Sarah Palin and “Governor Appalachian Trail” from last summer (and I’ll add to this list if I can think of anything else).
  • Monday, November 16, 2009

    Monday Stuff

    Jonathan Alter of Newsweek basically calls "America's Mayor" on his "Terra! Terra! Terra!" BS here on "Countdown" (and I can't believe I'm on the same side as Bob Barr, David Keene and Grover Norquist, but I am)...

    ..."Worst Persons" (I know I already took a shot at Steve Douchey earlier over "the bow," so I won't waste more time with him; Glenn Beck says we should try KSM in The Hague, but he''s wrong - that's where we should try Bushco; and I already went after Kristol Mess earlier today I know, but I think he deserves another shot for the reason K.O. tells us here - that is, Irv's son basically says the hell with due process and let's kill Maj. Hasan without the benefit of a trial, and thus dishonoring the sacrifice of his victims who served to preserve our way of life)...

    ...and here's something for the grownups; the debut of "The Sound of Music" took place today on Broadway in 1959...

    ...and here's something for the kids.

    Monday Mashup (11/16/09)

    (And I also posted here - also, posting may be on or off for the next few days.)

  • So the wingnutosphere has worked itself into a froth over President Obama’s bow to Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace, have they?

    And why am I not at all surprised that former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm is leading the charge, as John Cole tells us here?

    Well, as Media Matters informs us here, not only did President Nixon bow to Emperor Hirohito, the man responsible for bombing Pearl Harbor, but President Eisenhower did likewise to former French (!) president Charles DeGaulle (and gosh, as Joe Conason tells us here, even The Sainted Ronnie R talked to dictators too - word on any bows, though.)

    Lather, rinse, repeat…

  • Also, the esteemed Beltway pundit duo of Cokie and Steve Roberts were concocting more drivel for the Bucks County Courier Times Op-Ed page yesterday, among other outlets (here)…

    True, the country is still staggering from the hammer blows of a severe recession. With unemployment at 10.2 percent, the administration’s first moral — and political — priority should be kick-starting the economy and creating jobs.

    But that’s in the short run. In the long run, deficits matter. A lot. And the numbers are truly shocking. The budget shortfall reached $1.4 trillion in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, by far the largest in history. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the national debt will snowball by a total of $9.1 trillion over the next decade.
    Do you know what else leads to high budget deficits, Cokie darling?

    Offshoring, that’s what, such as the kind you and your hubby championed here.

    And now, for the reality perspective, I give you today’s “cold slap in the face” from former Reaganite Paul Craig Roberts (here)…

    There are two reasons for the dollar's demise. One is the practice of American corporations offshoring their production for U.S. consumers. When U.S. corporations move their production of goods and services for American consumers to foreign countries, they convert U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) into imports. U.S. production declines, U.S. jobs and skill pools are destroyed, and the trade deficit increases. Foreign GDP, employment and exports rise.

    U.S. corporations that offshore their production for U.S. markets account for a larger share of the U.S. trade deficit than does the OPEC energy deficit. Half or more of the U.S. trade deficit with China consists of the offshored production of U.S. firms. In 2006, the U.S. trade deficit with China was $233 billion, half of which is $116.5 billion — or $10 billion more than the U.S. deficit with OPEC.

    One of the great lies of the offshoring interests is that U.S. manufacturing is in trouble because of poor U.S. education and a shortage of U.S. scientists and engineers. Pundits such as Thomas Friedman have helped to spread this ignorance until it has become a dogma. Recently, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt lent his weight to this falsehood (see "The U.S. No Longer Drives Global Economic Growth," Manufacturing & Technology News, Nov. 30, 2007).

    The fact of the matter is that the offshoring of U.S. engineering and R&D jobs and the importation of foreign engineers and scientists on work visas have combined with educational subsidies to produce a surplus of American scientists and engineers, many of whom are unable to find jobs when they graduate from a university or become casualties of offshoring and H-1b visas.

    Corporate interests continue to lobby Congress for more foreign workers, claiming a nonexistent shortage of trained Americans, even as the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology concludes that real salary growth for American scientists and engineers has been flat or declining for the past 10 years. The "long trend of strong U.S. demand for scientific and technical specialists" has come to an end with no signs of revival (see "Job and Income Growth for Scientists and Engineers Comes to an End," Manufacturing & Technology News, Nov. 30, 2007).

    What economist has ever heard of a labor shortage resulting in flat or declining pay?

    There is no more of a shortage of U.S. scientists and engineers than there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The U.S. media have no investigative capability and serve up the lies that aid short-term corporate and political interests. If it were not for the Internet, which provides Americans with access to foreign news sources, Americans would live in a world of perfect disinformation.
    And somehow, I don’t think any of the long-term jobless in this country are worrying about the budget deficit while they’re chasing down dead-end job leads and trying to figure out how to shift credit card balances around to find the lowest APR while also paying for food, clothing and the mortgage/utility bills (of course, Heaven forbid that the Robertses would go find these people, talk to them, and challenge their preconceived notions...yes, I know the Robertses acknowledged unemployment, but my point is that the deficit is something to discuss when our economy returns to something approximating normal behavior.).

  • And finally, Stu Bykofsky of the Philadelphia Daily News thinks “good” Muslims should stage a protest march showing their love for America (here)…

    Author and former CBS correspondent Bernard Goldberg floated the idea of a Million Muslim March on Washington to reclaim their religion from the murderous extremists, here and abroad. The AIFD's Jasser applauds the idea, as do I.

    American Muslims could use the march - a secular pilgrimage, really - to visibly wrench their religion from the terrorists' bloodstained hands.

    If a loyal American Muslim asks, "Why should I have to do this?" my answer is easy: You don't have to. You should want to.
    Oh, and by the way, as some sort of attempt at equivalency, Bykofsky begins his column by telling us about Jewish terrorist Baruch Goldstein, who killed 29 Muslims in 1994 (so there’s proof that Bykofsky isn’t some pundit wanker trying to play judge, jury and executioner on Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the accused Fort Hood shooter, before he’s even tried…right?).

    Well, all I can say is that, anytime you think Bernard Goldberg can enhance your argument, you’re out there on a short limb to begin with.

    This 2006 USA Today story tells us of a poll which found that 39% (of those polled) “favored requiring Muslims, including U.S. citizens, to carry a special ID 'as a means of preventing terrorist attacks in the United States.' " Further, the poll found that about one-third of respondents "said U.S. Muslims were sympathetic to al-Qaeda, and that 22% said they wouldn't want Muslims as neighbors."

    Not to be outdone, though, U.S. Congressional Repugs Sue Myrick, Trent Franks, Paul Broun (taking a break from screeching about health care reform) and John Shadegg (I swear, Shadegg is usually right in the middle of this stuff too or certainly nearby) called for an investigation into the Council of American-Islamic Relations, which Glenn Greenwald rightly termed a “witch hunt” here.

    And even though there are six million Muslims in this country according to a quote from President Obama noted here (now seriously people, why would he lie about that?), there is only one representative in the U.S. Congress (who had to endure this moment of media insanity from “America’s Assignment Editor”) and, of course, none on the Supreme Court (or ANY court in this country, as nearly as I can determine).

    So yes, I actually agree with Bykofsky about the fact that Muslims should march on Washington.

    However, instead of doing so for the purposes of a “loyalty oath,” I would suggest that they do so for a wholly other reason.
  • Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Sunday Stuff

    As Bill Maher said before Obama went on vacation in Martha's Vineyard for some golf and other stuff (remember that?), "the only sand trap I want to see you get out of is Afghanistan"...

    ...and I guess this is what used to be called a protest song, with some f-blasts and an important message at the end.