Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday Stuff

I probably should have highlighted this report from Rachel Maddow yesterday instead of the one with Jeff Sharlet, even though the Sharlet one was great also (the remarks highlighted at the end here are the biggest "takeaway" for yours truly, by the way)...

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...and here's the year 2009 in review, from Yahoo (as year-end wrapups go, this is OK - I made it through about 20 seconds of Jib-Jab before I felt like I was going to throw up)...

...Raveonettes ("Last Dance" - an apropos selection for the last Indie tune of '09, IMHO)...

...and I heard a few songs by this lady at a wedding this year, and I thought it would be appropriate to close out the year with one of her "covers"...definitely a bittersweet story; all the same, here's to a good New Year for us all.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday Stuff

This is a great New Years' resolution (and don't forget to consider credit unions if you are eligible, by the way)...

...and good for Rep. Eric Massa - as Atrios sez, more like this (and good for Ed Schultz too)...

...and I don't quite know if this poofy kind of "fro-hawk" works or not for me, but it is interesting (good song too)...

...and I wanted to revisit this second tune in particular before the year ends.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Doomsy's Do-Gooders And Dregs (2009 - Pt. 9)

All good things must come to an end, alas (Part One is here, Part Two is here, Part Three is here, Part Four is here, Part Five is here, Part Six is here, Part Seven is here, and Part Eight is here)...


Griffin Bell (What a shame he didn’t live to see FISA restored to the law he originally authored in 1978), Ricardo Montalban, Patrick McGoohan, Beverly Eckert, Andrew Wyeth, Donald True Van Deusen, John Updike, Ray Dennis Steckler, Lukas Foss, Hank Crawford, Dewey Martin, James Whitmore, Harrison Ridley, Jr., Paul Harvey, Horton Foote, Natasha Richardson, John Hope Franklin, Maurice Jarre, Uriel Jones, Bud Shank, Randy Cain, Harry Kalas, Les Keiter, Lee Madden, Bea Arthur, Danny Gans, Robert B. Choate, Hugh Van Es, Newt Heisley, Peter Zezel, Koko Taylor, David Carradine, Kenny Rankin, Barry Beckett, Bob Bogle, Ed McMahon, Irv Homer, Farrah Fawcett, Walter Cronkite, Frank McCourt, Gordon Waller, Corazon Aquino, Budd Schulberg, John Hughes, Willy DeVille, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Les Paul, Kim Dae-Jung, Don Hewitt, Edward M. Kennedy, Dominick Dunne, Larry Knechtel, Sheila Lukins, Larry Gelbart, Jim Carroll, Mary Travers, Jody Powell, Crystal Lee Sutton, Art Ferrante, Irving Penn, Philip Brown, Nan Robertson, Dickie Peterson, Captain Lou Albano, Soupy Sales, Claude Levi-Strauss, David Lloyd, Al Alberts, Lester Shubin, Gene Barry, Bob Keane, Val Avery, "Editor and Publisher" (maybe), Jennifer Jones, Arnold Stang, Vic Chesnutt, George Michael (reporter/sportscaster), James Sullivan, Dax Ryan Locke, Michelle Lang, David Levine

Videos Of The Year

Here are the comedy stylings of a certain 43rd President of the United States before he happily departed from office (I don’t know about you, but we still have our “1/20/09, Bush’s Last Day” refrigerator magnet)…

…and soon afterwards, this dance craze swept the nation (well, not really…and yes, I supported it because I thought it would be accompanied by some relief for “main street” also; just a silly lib to buy that con, I guess)…

…also, anyone taught to report via a print or electronic medium is first taught to communicate their life experience as much as is permitted; given that, I think Dagen McDowell of Fix Noise has a bit more interesting of a background based on this clip than she might want to admit (comparing her personal life perhaps to the Obama Administration trying to tax AIG’s bonuses, as noted here)…

…and April brought us this gem from Stephen Colbert, who had another great year…

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
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…and yes, the guys in the red pinstripes came up short against the Yankees this year, but for a magical time, the Phillies ruled baseball; in May, they were honored in a White House ceremony (delayed by the death of announcer Harry Kalas the month before)…

…oh, and a certain Democratic senator from Minnesota was FINALLY seated in June (would that the following clip were actual footage, but we’ll take what we can get)…

…July brought us this truly disgusting moment, in which the utterly compromised Senate Dem Kent Conrad of North Dakota laughed at a DNC ad in support of a public option (which is dead, people – more on that in a bit)…

…and in August, Barney Frank of Massachusetts gave those “teabaggin” town-hall wingnuts exactly what this lady and her pals deserved…

…also, file this September clip away with Dr. Dean describing an “enormous backlash” as a result of dropping the public option from health care reform, and let’s see what transpires at the polls next year (I’m afraid Dean will be right; I don’t have the numbers, but I’m sure I posted more about health care reform than anything else this year)…

…earlier I mentioned Stephen Colbert, but his Comedy Central cohort Jon Stewart struck gold, as they say, with this CNN sendup in October…

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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…and just so no one can accuse me of utterly ignoring wingnuttia this year, this is the November trailer for the “documentary” film “Tea Party” (and here is more comedy involving “Nate”; I wish Rob Reiner or Christopher Guest would make a parody film, but the teabaggers are a parody all by themselves)…

…and earlier this month, Rachel Maddow conducted some first-rate reporting on Richard Cohen (again, not the “liberal” WaPo columnist, but the “gay-to-straight” therapist) and the anti-homosexual movement in Uganda (which has sprung with the “blessing” of The Family in D.C., the organization of moral charlatans including Joe Pitts and Tom Coburn).

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Dregs Of The Year

I don’t know about you, but I never found a reason as to why exactly Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid chose not to use budget reconciliation in trying to pass health care legislation recently. The closest I came to an explanation was the quote found in this linked Politico story in which he says flatly that, “I’m not using reconciliation,” which really isn’t an explanation at all.

However, that didn’t stop the politicians and the punditocracy from trying to malign those who wanted the public option in health care reform as the wish of "a bunch of people that watched 'Schoolhouse Rock' growing up (and) think that they understand how the Senate works, and they don’t," according to a Senate aide in this story, as well as claiming that advocating universal coverage was a position for people who should “lay off the hallucinogenic drugs,” as John Harwood of the New York Times recently claimed here.

Well, the story, in part, tells us the following…

The problem is that budget reconciliation isn't really supposed to be used to make policy. Instead, as the Congressional Research Service's Robert Keith said in a 2008 report, reconciliation "is a procedure ... by which Congress implements budget resolution policies affecting mainly permanent spending and revenue programs." In the procedure's early years, however, it was used to circumvent the filibuster on provisions unrelated to that purpose. So in the 1980s, then-Minority Leader Robert Byrd led the Senate in a crackdown. What resulted was the Byrd Rule, which prohibits the Senate "from considering extraneous matter as part of a reconciliation bill."

The definition of "extraneous matter" is fairly broad, and subject to interpretation -- during the Bush administration, Republicans passed tax cuts using reconciliation -- but it generally includes any provision that fails one of these six criteria, as listed in Keith's CRS report:

• it does not produce a change in outlays or revenues;

• it produces an outlay increase or revenue decrease when the instructed committee is not in compliance with its instructions;

• it is outside of the jurisdiction of the committee that submitted the title or provision for inclusion in the reconciliation measure;

• it produces a change in outlays or revenues which is merely incidental to the non-budgetary components of the provision;

• it would increase the deficit for a fiscal year beyond the "budget window" covered by the reconciliation measure; and

• it recommends changes in Social Security

Even if a provision violates one of these rules, it won't automatically be stricken from a bill. In order for that to happen, a senator has to take action, generally by raising a point of order. Then, the chair (the majority leader or a designee) rules on whether to sustain that point of order and remove the offending part of the bill. That may seem like an easy victory in the making -- Reid rules that the public option passes the Byrd Rule's tests, and that's that -- but that's not necessarily the case.

Liberals argue that the public option could survive the Byrd Rule, pointing to tax cuts that Republicans passed using reconciliation during the Bush administration as precedent, and arguing that the public option would pass the tests anyway because it would theoretically decrease the federal deficit.

They may have a point, but it doesn't much matter -- the only thing that does is the opinion of Alan Frumin, the Senate parliamentarian. Technically, Reid isn't required to abide by Frumin's judgment, but according to Robert Dove, who served twice as Senate parliamentarian, he will anyway. "It's not that they have to [listen to the parliamentarian]," Dove told Salon, "but absolutely they do ... The past history is that the view of the parliamentarian becomes the ruling of the chair."
Also, this Think Progress post tells us that both former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (who, since he is no longer in public life, should not have an "axe to grind" here) and former President Clinton have said that reconciliation could have been used to achieve the goal of passing the legislation. And I readily acknowledge that there would have been tradeoffs in terms of what would have emerged in the final bill, but adding a public option would have fundamentally changed the business model of how health care is provided by our for-profit private sector in this country, forcing insurers to spend more on patient care than they would otherwise spend on lobbying, advertising, and other charges unrelated to the function they have been charged to perform on our behalf.

And it’s not as if the Senate considered reconciliation (which can only be used for passing a bill once a year) completely off limits; this tells us that Sen. Tom Harkin was looking at using this tactic for education-related legislation.

I also have read that supporting this “three-quarters-of-a-loaf-at-best” health care reform bill yet to emerge from the Senate and House conference (which may include mandates for coverage, and to read about how popular that is without the public option or Medicare expansion, click here) is something we should settle for at the moment and attempt to revisit a greater government role in health care later on. That is utterly laughable. Imagine all the “teabaggin” nonsense all over again, and in an even-numbered election year to boot (either Congressional or Presidential, or both.) If anyone thought voters were generally disgusted with the carnival shows we were treated to on this issue already, then the overload if we replayed this fiasco all over would be enough to make prospective supporters flee in droves.

So what were we treated to as a result of Reid apparently choosing to abide by the Senate parliamentarian and bypass reconciliation to secure either the public option or Medicare expansion? Scenes such as this where Reid had to suck up to miscreants such as “Holy Joe” Lieberman, Ben Nelson and Lord knows who else to obtain the magical 60 votes needed for passage to prevent the inevitable Repug filibuster (and by the way, many have blamed Obama for not supporting the public option as strongly as he should have or trying to back away from it; I think that’s a valid point, but Obama is in charge of the White House, not the Senate).

For all of these reasons (and despite the good that will actually be achieved in the health care bill, which could have been so much better), Harry Reid is my choice for Dregs Of The Year (and my runner-up is anyone who supported funding the Afghan war but not health care reform, as noted here).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take some more hallucinogenic drugs.

Update 1/19/10: What Jed sez here...

Do-Gooder Of The Year

I happened to come across this image over the summer, and I must tell you that it has stuck with me for the whole year. I think the life form responsible for it is named Mark Gietzen; I think he’s the owner of the truck.

I’m not sure what repulses me more about it – the matter-of-fact manner in which it treats the murder of Dr. George Tiller, or the notion that Dr. Tiller’s death is somehow nothing more than a battle in some holy war the anti-choice zealots are fighting in the same of some utterly self-deceived notion of what constitutes right and wrong.

And as we know, the death of Dr. Tiller led to another media feeding frenzy, with Tucker Carlson of that “liberal” network MSNBC saying here that comparisons between Dr. Tiller and Nazis/al-Qaida were "objectively true," and some radio hater named Hal Turner basically condoning the murder here and saying that anyone on “the lunatic left” should be put in an asylum (no standard of decency for some of these people whatsoever).

OK, now that we’ve heard from the full mooners, let’s hear from the reality-based community on Dr. Tiller, shall we? This tells us the following…

Dr. Tiller was one of three abortion providers in the U.S. who performed abortions after 24 weeks of gestation. Late term abortions are almost always done when a woman's health is at risk or if the fetus has no chance of surviving outside of the womb or if the fetus has a condition that will lead to a slow, painful death post-partum. In a sense, Dr. Tiller was performing abortions that were deemed medically necessary (for testimonials of some of Dr. Tiller's patients, please go here).

But that's not what the anti-choicers want you to believe. He was a killer, running an abortion mill in Wichita, the abortion capital of the US. He had to be stopped. Domestic terror cell, Operation Rescue (let's just call a spade a spade, shall we?), had longed targeted Dr. Tiller, going so far as to move their terrorist organization to Wichita and posting all information about the people who worked in Dr. Tiller's clinic, including photos. Isn't that convenient? Why would they do that if not to incite violence against those employees and Dr. Tiller?

It is of no surprise whatsoever that Dr. Tiller's murderer was affiliated with Operation Rescue.

What should be of no surprise to the anti-choice movement is that the man who murdered Dr. Tiller (at his church, with his wife watching from the choir loft), has now created a martyr. Everyone in the women's rights movement was already familiar with Dr. Tiller and his passion for reproductive rights. This was a man who wore a bullet proof vest to work. Who had legal charges brought against him constantly by anti-choice politicians (he was never convicted, of course). Whose clinic had been bombed and, most recently, had been vandalized. Who was shot in both arms by another domestic terrorist (now serving time in prison). Who went to work every day despite these obstacles because he believed that women were capable and had the right to make their own health decisions.
And the Orange County Girl post contains links to testimonials from women in dire need of Dr. Tiller’s services, including “KB” from Maryland, whose in-utero child suffered from a condition known as pulmonary artresia, which would have ensured nothing but a short, painful life filled with endless surgeries (all of this was determined at the 21-week ultrasound, which is normally routine). And this post from the blogger hilzoy tells us, among other things, of a mother suffering from a condition of preeclampsia so severe that the baby had to be aborted to save her life (preeclampsia, by the way, is a condition under which the pregnancy starts to cause all kinds of severe harm to the mother, including blood pressure so high that it could induce a stroke).

These women turned to Dr. George Tiller for help. And despite the risk involved, he never refused them (and as hilzoy states at the end of the post)…

George Tiller endured decades of terrorism to help women like these, women in unspeakably awful situations whom very few people were willing to help, given the price domestic terrorists had decided that anyone who helped them would have to pay. Now he has given his life.
For all of these reasons, I can think of no one more deserving of Do Gooder (and martyr) of the Year than the late Dr. George Tiller (and the runner-up would be Iranian Neda Soltan, another victim of terrorist violence, as noted here).

Update 1 1/9/10: Yep, unbelievable fits here - so does putrid, disgusting, etc...

Update 2 1/24/10: Nail. Hammer. Head.

Update 3 7/8/11: More thoughtful words on Dr. Tiller here (and there really isn't anything "pro life" about the characters who invoked violence against Tiller, of course)...

And in keeping with my custom for these posts, I should go “meta” again and thank anyone and everyone who has bothered to read this blog over the past year; I hope it has been instructive somehow. Also, every year I say that I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep it going in the following year, and that is true for 2010 also. Though it’s something I want to do, it does absolutely nothing when it comes to paying the bills, and I may have to concentrate more on that in the coming year at the expense of posting every day. I should also point out that I know I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time refuting the right-wing nonsense that will never stop, but I’ve tried to do that in a way that helps to educate and inform. Personally, I’d like to concentrate more on “theme” posts about a particular topic that provide greater depth, but again, I do what I can within the usual constraints. I really do “wing it” pretty much with this thing, so I’m really not able to make any promises other than to say that I’ll do my best.

Best wishes to one and all for a happy, successful and safe (as much as possible) 2010!

Tuesday Stuff

I’m not going to waste my time and yours pointing out Karl Rove’s idiocy here in blaming Obama for the near-disaster on the plane to Detroit, since Think Progress already did that, but instead, I’ll just put up this video by Bill Moyers about Rove from August 2007, when Rove left the Bush White House; Moyers ended his run on the program “Now” this year (and Jed L. makes a good point about Rove and marriage equality here – divorce is a tragedy for any couple, even when it involves “Bush’s Brain”)…

...and here’s a double shot, as it were, of Randall Bramblett (both tunes are good, but I prefer “You Can Be The Rain” myself)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday Stuff

I'll give Orrin points for honesty here, but not much else...

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...and I wanted to put this up one more time before the year ends.

Doomsy's Do-Gooders And Dregs (2009 - Pt. 8)

Not quite finishing up here, but close (Part One is here, Part Two is here, Part Three is here, Part Four is here, Part Five is here, Part Six is here, Part Seven is here, and I also posted here)...

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

David Horowitz, for writing here at his blog that “The Fort Hood killings are the chickens of the left coming home to roost.” (I guess this is what happens when you can no longer file nuisance lawsuits claiming liberal bias on college campuses – you face such a struggle to remain relevant somehow that you resort to garbage like this…by the way, a dishonorable mention goes out to Eric Etheridge, the New York Times “Opinionator,” for helping to spread this manure - here is the reality point of view on this)

Dregs of the Year Nominee

Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman-Sachs, who said he was doing “God’s work” here while running a company described as “the site of the best cash-making machine that global capitalism has ever produced, and, some say, a political force more powerful than governments” (I seem to recall that He expelled the moneychangers from the temple…I believe they thought they were doing “God’s work” also)

Dregs of the Year Nominee

Rupert Murdoch, for agreeing with Glenn Beck that Obama is a racist (yes, we know what Murdoch is, but this is still too far, even for him)

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, recently stricken with leukemia, for claiming here that “it’s a just and noble cause to make health care available for everyone” (best of luck, big guy)

Commemorative Harry Kalas “Outta Here” Citation Of The Year

Lou Dobbs leaves CNN, thus putting to rest K.O.’s impression of him that actually was starting to get on my nerves (here and here)…

Dregs of the Year Nominee

E.J. Dionne, who wrote here that poor women should “learn to live with” the odious (Dem congressman Bart) Stupak-Pitts abortion amendment (I used to respect this guy)

Dregs of the Year Nominee

And speaking of that, I should add that just about every week I point out how awful the U.S. Congressional Republican Representative from PA-16 is, but I’d like for you to read the following excerpt from this post and pay particular attention to some of the language in the amendment Pitts sponsored…

A day before (HR 3200) passed out of committee, Stupak co-sponsored, and voted for an amendment written by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA)--distinct from the now notorious "Stupak amendment"--that would have limited the government's ability to include abortions in benefits plans to cases of incest, life of the mother, and forcible rape.

The Pitts amendment actually passed, 31-27, with the support of several Democrats and all Republicans. But the "forcible" language--legally significant--was a bridge too far.

In a parliamentary maneuver, chairman Henry Waxman actually voted "aye", according to a House aide, in order to retain the prerogative of bringing it up for a second, unsuccessful vote. Between votes, Waxman conferred with some of the bill's Democratic supporters to convince them to help shoot it down.
It’s bad enough that Pitts would author an amendment limiting abortions in the case of rape, period. But that wasn’t good enough for Pancake Joe (and yes, Stupak signed onto it, which was bad enough, but Pitts originated it). No, Pitts somehow thought about this enough to decide there were somehow degrees of horror in rape itself, to the point where he decided that he should try to exclude “forcible” rape only and not bother with rape where, say, a guy slips something into the drink of a woman, she ingests it and passes out, and then he takes her somewhere and commits his criminal act. For this, Pitts earns a special citation (and any “Democrat” who actually voted for this amendment should be voted right out of office).

These are the calculations of a monster, his nauseating “pro-life” and supposed human rights concerns notwithstanding. Any woman who actually votes for this guy truly suffers from Stockholm syndrome.

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Ashleigh Banfield, returning to network TV news at ABC after an exile for speaking out against the Iraq War in 2003 (and read this HuffPo article and try NOT hating NBC News President Neil Shapiro who ultimately fired her)

Dregs of the Year Nominees

All of the Bucks County Democrats and independents who sat on their hands during the election and allowed David Heckler to defeat Chris Asplen for DA, Mike Burns to defeat Ron Smith for District Judge (long odds there I know, but still), Dan McLaughlin to defeat Fran McDonald for LMT Supervisor, and (worst of all) Simon Campbell and Kathleen Zawacki to defeat Colleen Klock and Jon Shain for Pennsbury school board. This was embarrassing, people!

Question of the Year

Asked here by kos…

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Rep. Louie Gohmert of (where else?) Texas, who claimed here that the Dems “want another terrorist attack so they can pass a new jobs bill” (and “the great unwashed” immediately erupts into applause…or, as a commenter noted, is calling this supposed bill “new” the closest the wingnuts will ever get to admitting that the stim actually created jobs?)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

David Broder, for claiming that Obama has to hurry up and make a decision on Afghanistan “whether or not it is right” (obviously, as BarbinMD notes, Broder’s ass won’t be on the line here, nor that of anyone he knows, apparently)

Dregs Of The Year Nominees

Repug Senator Richard Burr of South Carolina and the co-sponsors of s.3167, The Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, that allows any of our returning veterans affected with PTSD to continue to own a gun until a judge determines that they shouldn’t (uh, and what kind of a critical need does this address again?).

And by the way, Jim Webb gets a sub-citation here for supporting this monstrosity (hat tips to Jay Ackroyd and Jesus’s General).

Dregs of the Year Nominee

Doug Hoffman, the third-party candidate endorsed by “values” conservatives such as Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and Dick Armey in the NY-23 U.S. Congressional election this year (as opposed to that bad, “lu-bu-ruul” Repug Dede Scozzafava) for blaming his loss on ACORN here (nah, your defeat at the hands of Bill Owens had nothing to do with the fact that you were utterly clueless on the issues in your district, with this seat now in Dem hands for the first time since the Civil War, did it?)…and by the way, let’s wait 5 minutes and see if Hoffman unconcedes again (here)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin, who sent a correspondence to Dem legislator Patrick Kennedy in 2007 saying it would be “inappropriate” that he receive Communion because he’s pro-choice, and here, he “ask(s) respectfully” of Kennedy “that you refrain from doing so" (and Tobin is surprised that Kennedy told everyone this – how clueless is Tobin anyway?)

Obviously, Bishop Tobin believes we live in a theocracy, which we plainly do not (and don’t hold your breath waiting for Tobin to criticize this, by the way).

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Mark Halperin of “The Page” for this wretched idiocy (I’m not even going to try and describe it; all I’ll say is that it has to do with that Ben Stiller/Cameron Diaz movie “There’s Something About Mary,” which actually had some funny moments, and Sen. Mary Landrieu)

Dregs of the Year Nominee

Former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, for claiming here that “we did not have a terrorist attack during President Bush’s term” (sometimes there are no words, people)

Dregs of the Year Nominee

President Obama (and yet again, yes, you read that correctly) for failing to sign an international treaty banning land mines (here...also for this, along with a citation to AG Eric Holder)

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee (Special "It Takes A Train To Laugh, It Takes A Sleigh To Cry" Citation)

A certain Robert Allen Zimmerman gets the nod for recording a Christmas album for which all proceeds will go to charities for the homeless and hungry in the United States, Britain and 80 poor countries (here).

Turkey Of The Year

Repug U.S. House Rep Mike Pence of Indiana, who found a way to slam Obama and the Democrats in the GOP’s Thanksgiving holiday message (here, a symptom of this idiotic mindset)

Dregs of the Year Nominees

Durbin and Di-Fi for opposing the shield law (noted here, with an update here)...

Dregs of the Year Nominees

The assclown Philadelphia Flyers fans who cheered when referee Stephane Auger was hit by a puck and knocked to the ice in a game against the Washington Capitals on December 5th (and by the way, the Caps won 8-2...ha ha)

Dregs of the Year Nominee

The University of Virginia staff who alerted their families of gunman Seung-Hui Cho's 2007 attack an hour and a half before they notified the students (noted here - I'm a bit shocked by how this story came and went, to tell you the truth)

Do Gooder of the Year Nominee

Barney Frank for this...

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Ben Nelson for this (and kudos to Barbara Boxer for using this as a comeback)

Do Gooders Of The Year Nominees

Seton Hall Law School for this

Un-Reported Story Of The Year

This (OMIGOD - ACORN!)...wonder if they'll get their federal funding back now, which was taken away here? Need I even ask?

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Speaking of ACORN, Judge Nina Gershon gets the award for this (Congress can't target funding of a particular group like ACORN, though I'm sure that won't stop the Repugs and chicken Dems from trying to pass idiotic legislation trying to do just that).

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP, for saying here that “Gay rights are civil rights” (let's hope and pray that this kills this whole notion that, on balance, African Americans have a natural antipathy towards gays because of religious issues)

The “And I’ll Bet Nobody Knew That The Guy Providing Intel To Reagan On The Grenada Invasion Was Cleaning The Bedpans At The Medical School Either” Citation

As noted here, an Iraqi cab driver supposedly provided WMD "intel" to Tony Blair prior to the invasion...and speaking of Iraq, what Atrios sez here.

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Richard Miniter, the former Opinion Page editor of the Moonie Times, who, as noted here, sued the paper and the “rev” himself alleging breach of contract, emotional distress and damage to his reputation (Miniter says he was pressured to attend a Unification Church event and was harassed over his refusal to sign a fraudulent document to help an executive).

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

New Jersey State Senator William Baroni, the lone Republican who has said he plans to support legislation for marriage equality, as noted here (and he's a Roman Catholic, it should be noted...the story tells us that a vote in the legislature was postponed as of 12/9; supporters of the legislation are trying to get it passed and over to Gov. Corzine's desk before he leaves office next month and is replaced by Chris Christie, who of course would veto it)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Repug U.S. House Rep Robert ("Man, that's a good point!") Wittman of Virginia for this

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

All kinds of reasons to cite Baby Newton Leroy Gingrich on an almost bi-weekly basis, but this is despicable even for him

Update 12/30/09: What a waste of protoplasm (here).

The “What A Shame He Couldn’t Raise Himself From The Dead After All” Citation

As noted here, Oral Roberts, noted “miracle” faker, is called home to God in December (presumably, though you never know…odd numerical twist that he passed at 91, having raised $9.1 million with that stunt in 1987 to raise $8 million, lest he die)

The “Slavish Worship By The Punditocracy At The Altar Of Our Corporate ‘Betters’ For No Reason Other Than To Further Enshrine The Feel-Good Mythology Of Our Miserable Status Quo” (Got All That?) Citation

Time Magazine names Ben Bernanke Man of the Year (here - I defer to profmarcus on this one, and also to Kevin Drum here)

Inopportune Historical Reference Of The Year

Moon Unit Bachmann implorers those teabaggin' wingnuts that they are "the charge of the light brigade," forgetting, as Jed tells us here, that the charge was a military disaster.

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Pitcher Cliff Lee, acquired by the Phillies last season for their drive to the playoff and the World Series last year, going 7-4 for the Phils with a 3.39 earned run average in the regular season and 4-0 in the playoffs with a 1.56 ERA (Lee was responsbile for both Phillies' wins in the Series against the New York Yankees).

Recently, though, Lee was traded to the Seattle Marines as part of the deal that brought pitcher Roy Halladay to Philadelphia from Toronto (noted here, so the Phillies basically traded third baseman Jason Donald, catcher Lou Marson, and pitchers Jason Knapp and Carlos Carrasco for nothing).

I just wanted to note Lee's contribution and say thanks, and good luck (against everyone except us, of course...some say he didn't want to "lock in" to a deal with the Phils, though Lee has denied that).

Do Gooder of the Year Nominee

James Bain, who, as noted here, was recently freed after more than three decades in prison; a DNA test showed he did not kidnap and rape a 9-year-old boy in 1974 - Bain was quoted as saying "I'm not angry"...God bless him

Dregs of the Year Nominee

Tweety, who claimed here that the netroots "get their giggles from sitting in the back seat and bitching" (yeah, well, when we end up having to apologize all over the place for misogynist remarks about Hillary we'll feel contrite, OK?)

The "Cannot Distance Myself Far Enough From My Failed Vice-Presidential Run, Even Though I'd Still Be Hunting Moose And Rousting Meth Dealers In Wasilla If It Weren't For A Certain Arizona Senator" (phew) Citation

Sarah Palin was spotted wearing a blue visor with the McCain-Palin logo hidden by what would look like a magic marker (yes, I promised to eventually ignore her, but this was too precious)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee (The "Privacy Rights? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Privacy Rights!" Citation)

Rep. Todd Lamb of Oklahoma, who, as noted here, helped draft legislation to post informatiom about women's abortions online (and a Do Gooder citation to Oklahoma County District Judge Daniel Owens, who denied the state's motion to dismiss the case challenging this monstrous law, putting the measure on hold until a February 19 hearing)

Dregs Of The Year (At Least) Nominee

Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the former South African health minister who died in December; she drew international censure for questioning the causal connection between H.I.V. and AIDS and for promoting dietary measures rather than drugs to treat AIDS, a policy that was held responsible for hundreds of thousands of premature deaths (here)

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Rep. Jim Campbell, a veteran Republican state legislator in Maine, announced he’s leaving the party over its inability to solve his state’s and the nation’s broken health care system (here). In a statement, Campbell expressed frustration with the party, saying he wants to “send a message” to Republicans in Washington to stop blocking health care reform for “partisan gain” (welcome to the fight)

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee (Special Heartbreak Citation #1)

Former Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Dave Pear, who, despite winning a Super Bowl and receiving the accolades of adoring fans, wishes he had never played football due to the trauma it has ended up inflicting on his body, or as he tells us here...

"My life is simple," he says. "It's hard to get out of bed, but eventually I do. I try and do a little walking on the treadmill. I take naps. I go to physical therapy once per week. I read my Bible."

He is, in basic terms, a train wreck -- a football-inflicted train wreck. Pear walks with a cane and, often, simply doesn't walk at all. He suffers from vertigo and memory loss. Over the past 18 years, he has undergone eight surgeries, beginning with a Posterior Cervical Laminectomy on his neck in 1981, and including disc removal and rod fusion in his back (1987), arthroplasty in his left hip (2008) and, earlier this year, four screws removed from his lower back. Though he chalks up his physical ailments to snap after snap of punishment, he pinpoints the biggest problems back to 1979 and '80, his final two NFL seasons. While playing for Oakland, Pear suffered a herniated disc in his neck that never improved. Despite the unbearable agony, he says the Raiders urged him to keep playing.
And by the way, the oh-so-mighty-and-august National Football League (and the players association under the late Gene Upshaw) definitely earn Dregs citations for their treatment of former stars such as Conrad Dobler (never thought I'd feel sorry for him in particular), Wally Chambers and Earl Campbell.

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

I've given him a couple of Dregs citations, so I think it's only fair to give President Obama another nod here for the Copenhagen Accord, arrived at with the cooperation of a surprising array of parties from the developing world, including leaders from Brazil, South Africa, India, and China, as Think Progress tells us here. This is a first step toward finishing a new internationally ratifiable agreement on climate change, which leaders hope will happen as soon as possible in 2010.

Yes, it's imperfect, but it's a start (and more than we ever got out of Commander Codpiece on this, which was bupkus of course)...and also for this...and in the matter of the Franken amendment, "nobody could have predicted" this, of course...except everybody maybe?

Update 12/30/09: Also, give it to "the prez" for this (cautiously optimistic, just like Steven Aftergood).

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Part-time songwriter Orrin Hatch gets it for inserting a $50 million amendment into the health care legislation for abstinence-only programs to be run by the states; as the Times notes in this editorial, "A Congressionally mandated study released in 2007 found that elementary and middle school students who received abstinence instruction were just as likely to have sex in the following year as students who did not get such instruction" (God, how many MORE times must that be pointed out?).

Dregs of the Year Nominee

Det. Mike Baylor, the Washington, D.C. plainclothes police detective who allegedly pulled his gun out and waved it at a large group of people in a snowball fight at the corner of 14th and U streets NW on December 19th when his personal vehicle was hit, as noted here (idiot - h/t to Atrios for the Washington City Paper story)

Dregs of the Year Nominee

RNC spokesperson Gail Gitcho, who, when commenting on a matter concerning the fact that RNC chairman Michael Steele has received thousands of dollars in speaking fees since becoming chairman, said that "Many Democrat and Republican national chairmen have regularly received outside income" (here)...

I'm not aware of the existence of a "Democrat" Party any more than I am aware of the existence of a "Republic" Party, Ms. (?) Gitcho. And if Steele wants to spend his time preparing for speeches instead of trying to come up with opposition-party strategy (aside from just saying "No" and being obstructionist, of course), that's fine with me.

Dregs of the Year Nominee

U.S. House Rep Parker Griffith of Alabama, who, as noted here, recently switched his party allegiance from Democratic to Republican; he was one of three House Dems who voted against the health care bill, the stimulus measure, and the cap-and-trade bill (don't let the door hit you on the way out, loser...and kudos to the DCCC for this)

Dregs of the Year Nominee

Angie Langley, who started the "My Congressman Is Nuts" blog as a protest against Alan Grayson; now I'm not opposed to her right to free speech, but as noted here, Langley doesn't even live in Florida's 8th district, so she misrepresenting herself (but of course, as far as Langley is concerned, IOKIYAR)

Dregs of the Year Nominee

Repug U.S. House Rep Tom Price of Georgia (of course) who agreed with the statement here that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder may have a "disdain" for America

Stupidest Left/Right Convergence Of The Year

Jane Hamsher teams with Grover Norquist to call on AG Eric Holder to investigate Rahm Emanuel over some alleged impropriety with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which prompts two responses: 1) Does anyone think Holder will seriously pay attention to it, and 2) Why would anyone trust Grover Norquist on anything? (Jed L. at The Daily Kos has good stuff on this here)

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee (Special Heartbreak Citation #2)

Salvation Army Maj. Philip Wise, who, tragically, was shot to death in front of his three adopted children (here)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee (Special M.I.A. Citation)

Even though every other member of that body voted one way or the other on health care reform, the final vote of 60-39 tells you that someone didn't think stating "yea" or "nay" on that landmark legislation was worth his or her time. And who might that person be who was derelict of duty? Why, it was none other than departing Senate Repug Jim "High and Tight" Bunning of Kentucky (thoroughly in character - as this tells us, it was one of 21 missed votes this month!)

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Ranking House Intelligence Committee Repug (yep, he's pretty "rank" all right - ba-dump!) Pete Hoekstra gets it for blaming the Obama Administration here for the recent aborted attempt by Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab to blow up a plane, though he ended up setting himself on fire in the process (somehow I don't think MENSA will be knocking on this guy's door...and yes, I know we're fortunate that we can joke like that).

Hoekstra said as follows...

“People have got to start connecting the dots here and maybe this is the thing that will connect the dots for the Obama administration”...
Maybe it's a bit too much of a shock for Hoekstra to realize that he can't find someone else that he can use for purposes of sock puppetry (see Line, Joke), but as noted here, the Obama Administration has been pretty much focused on Yemen already and didn't need Hoekstra or anyone else to remind them about it.

Update 12/29/09: I guess it's a little late to name Hoekstra as Dregs of the Year for this, but he's making a heck of a run based on this also.

Dregs Of The Year Nominee

Mary Matalin, for claiming here that Dubya "inherited" both the recession that began his presidency and the 9/11 attacks (the zombie lies with these life forms truly never die)

Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

Jasper Schuringa, the passenger on Flight 253 from the Netherlands to Detroit who, as noted here, "tackled" suspected terrorist Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, the guy who tried to detonate a bomb on the plane (and this Daily Kos post asks a good question)

I'll end this next time.

Update 12/29/09: And yep, Governor Ahh-nold earns a last-minute "Dregs" citation for this.