Saturday, January 09, 2010

Saturday Mashup (1/9/10)

(This is probably a first for me as it turns out, but this is what you do when juggling medically-related stuff such as what I’m currently dealing with...and again, posting will be sporadic, though I did manage to post over here also).

  • This LA Times post from last earlier this week tells us the following…

    It's no secret that "Avatar" has been stunningly successful on nearly every front. The James Cameron-directed sci-fi epic is already the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time, having earned more than $1 billion around the globe in less than three weeks of theatrical release. The film also has garnered effusive praise from critics, who've been planting its flag on a variety of critics Top 10 lists (it has earned an impressive 83 score on Rotten Tomatoes). The 3-D trip to Pandora is also viewed as a veritable shoo-in for a best picture Oscar nomination when the academy announces its nominees on Feb. 2.

    But amid this avalanche of praise and popularity, guess who hates the movie? America's prickly cadre of political conservatives.


    To say that the film has evoked a storm of ire on the right would be an understatement. Big Hollywood's John Nolte, one of my favorite outspoken right-wing film essayists, blasted the film, calling it "a sanctimonious thud of a movie so infested with one-dimensional characters and PC cliches that not a single plot turn, large or small, surprises.... Think of 'Avatar' as 'Death Wish' for leftists, a simplistic, revisionist revenge fantasy where if you freakin' hate the bad guys (America) you're able to forgive the by-the-numbers predictability of it all."

    John Podhoretz, the Weekly Standard's film critic, called the film "blitheringly stupid; indeed, it's among the dumbest movies I've ever seen."
    Well, guess what? This tells us the following…

    LOS ANGELES — Blue-skinned aliens are helping Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. see green.

    The runaway global success of James Cameron's 3-D spectacle, "Avatar" – his first feature film since the record-breaking "Titanic" in 1997 – has prompted analysts to lift earnings estimates for News Corp., the owner of movie studio 20th Century Fox.

    It's fairly rare that a media conglomerate's bottom line is affected by a single movie, but with more than $1.1 billion at box offices worldwide, partly boosted by higher 3-D ticket prices, "Avatar" has the potential to be the biggest of all time.
    And if anyone out there believes that Rupert The Pirate (aarrrgghh!) gives a damn about right-wing ideological purity if it affects his profit, then I’m sure those individuals also believe that the Titanic (speaking of Cameron) will bob up to the surface any day now.

    (And the answer to the question is no, I haven’t seen it – with the cost of a family night at the movies, I’ll probably wait until it comes to cable.)

  • Also, as the stories broke this week all over about the decisions by Dem U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan and Chris Dodd not to seek re-election, I found myself wondering why the decision by Dem Colorado Governor Bill Ritter to do the same thing was considered as part of a trend that forecasted supposedly diminishing fortunes for Obama and U.S. Congressional Democrats (how many stories were there with pictures of all three featured prominently with portents of doom and gloom?). Basically, my question is why anyone would think any gubernatorial race has that kind of national impact by itself.

    This was the opening paragraph in the WaPo story on Thursday…

    Democrats have long known that 2010 would be a difficult year politically, but the decision by embattled Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.) not to seek reelection, along with similar announcements by another longtime senator and a once-rising star among Western governors, brought home that reality with unexpected intensity Wednesday.
    Now, let’s compare that with the coverage of a Republican governor who decided to step down not too long ago; here is the first paragraph of that story…

    Sarah Palin, the Republican Alaska governor who captivated the nation with a combative brand of folksy politics, announced her resignation yesterday in characteristic fashion: She stood on her back lawn in Wasilla, speaking into a single microphone, accompanied by friends and neighbors in baseball hats and polo shirts.
    And by the way, here is more comedy from the Palin story (particularly funny when you read this)…

    Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele said later in a statement that Palin is "an important and galvanizing voice" in the GOP and will help the party's gubernatorial candidates this fall in Virginia and New Jersey.
    And you have to read almost to the very end of the WaPo story to find the following…

    The decision by one of the Republican Party's most popular grass-roots politicians to leave office sent shockwaves through the GOP, a party still reeling from its 2008 electoral losses and from the sudden falls of Sen. John Ensign (Nev.) and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, two stars once considered presidential hopefuls.
    Talk about burying the lede!

  • And finally, this New York Times story from Wednesday tells us the following…

    A federal appeals court panel on Tuesday strongly backed the powers of the government to hold Guantánamo detainees and other noncitizens suspected of committing terrorist acts.

    In a sweeping opinion, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the presidential war power to detain those suspected of terrorism is not limited even by international law of war.
    The story tells us that the individuals primarily responsible for this travesty (aimed directly at recent Supreme Court decisions favoring detainee rights, as the Times tells us) were Judge Janice Rogers Brown (who, as noted here, has shown a “persistent and disturbing hostility to affirmative action, civil rights, the rights of people with disabilities, workers' rights, and criminal rights,” and has ruled “based on extremist ideology that ignores judicial precedent, including that set by the U.S. Supreme Court”) and Brett Kavanaugh, who, as noted here, previously tossed a lawsuit from detainees alleging that they were tortured by U.S. military contractors.

    Sadly, the foul, fetid Bushco reign lives on.
  • Friday, January 08, 2010

    Friday Stuff

    As a tribute of sorts to former NYC mayor Rudy 9iu11ani based on this, I present the following from Lois Griffin…

    …and a hat tip goes out to Open Your Mind’s Eye for this (nice when a DFH wins for a change)…

    …”Worst Persons” from Thursday (Michael Steele talks trash while he rakes in the dough from a book deal that is, in all likelihood, a violation of RNC ethics rules…didn’t know the RNC even had ethics rules – color me shocked!; Glenn Beck articulates more delusions about how Bushco supposedly conducted “open” press conferences – yep, those nice men in their white coats with the butterfly nets are surely closing in; but Sherman Frederick, publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, gets it for mangling facts in an Op-Ed attacking President Obama – as Spencer Ackerman noted in the Think Progress post linked to previously, "You actually need to give President George W. Bush credit for this. The Bush people did a wonderfully effective job of making it verboten in mainstream political discourse to consider the deaths of 3000 Americans on 9/11 in any sense Bush’s failing" – sad, but true)…

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    …and I present this number in honor of what would have been the 75th birthday of “The King.”

    Thursday, January 07, 2010

    Thursday Stuff

    I guess there really are no other serious options left, are there? (h/t The Daily Kos)...

    Zombie Reagan Raised From Grave To Lead GOP

    ...and I guess the online award for a production such as this one from Jed Lewison of The Daily Kos would be a "Webby"; if so, he certainly qualifies (here)...

    ...and Rachel Maddow reports on typical Repug opposition to a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency aimed at trying to curb the excesses of our supposed financial wizards, led by Sen. Robert Bennett of Utah (yeah, I don't know about you, but golly, I sure miss that ocean sludge - everyone should listen to every single word that Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren has to say)...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ...and is that Philly Mayor Michael Nutter playing "the ax" here???

    Wednesday, January 06, 2010

    Thursday AM Mashup (1/7/10)

  • I have to admit that I hate to see Chris Dodd step down as the legitimate Democratic senator from Connecticut (his statement is here), but doing so allows that state’s attorney general Dem Richard Blumenthal to immediately enter and take control of that contest over teabagger Rob Simmons, former World Wrestling Entertainment head (with husband Vince) Linda McMahon, and Peter Schiff (here).

    Despite some of the cozy business with AIG and Countrywide (made into a media sensation by the Murdoch Street Journal, among others), it’s safe to say that Dodd was one of the best friends progressives ever had (evidence is here).

    But of all of the Dodd moments, this video captures one which may be my personal favorite (God, Bill Orally is such a toad - as if anyone is going to "change channels" after his "Oooga Booga!" warning).

    Congratulations on a great career, Sen. Dodd – all the best.

    (And by the way, for anyone who thinks the sky is falling all over the Dems only, this “Fix” article from Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post reminds us that, as of last Friday, 14 current Repug House seats are in play as opposed to 10 Democratic seats. And in the Senate, as noted here, Dodd and Byron Dorgan are but two Dems leaving, possibly to be joined by Blanche Lincoln based on this, while five Repugs are departing, and they would be Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Martinez and Voinovich.)

  • And speaking of political races (which will gradually become a hotter and hotter topic), it seems that we have another Repug entering the primary to win the right to run against incumbent Patrick Murphy for the 8th District U.S. House seat (here)…

    Ira Hoffman, who runs a financial company, is the fifth candidate to vie for the Republican nomination.

    The Solebury Club, a health club in Buckingham, is not the typical place one would announce his candidacy for Congress.

    During a speech in front of family, friends - and a bunch of workout zealots - Hoffman criticized "the lack of fiscal accountability and the overreach of the federal government that is already threatening our constitutional rights and freedoms" and took aim at Patrick Murphy, the two-term Democratic incumbent.

    "Mr. Murphy represents whatever Nancy Pelosi tells him to represent," said Hoffman, a 22-year county resident. "I will represent the people and their interests and not the special interests."
    I’m not going to waste my time at this point noting yet again that Patrick has voted against Democratic budgets and also voted in favor of gun rights and expressed support for tort reform, with the latter two being particularly odious staples of wingnut orthodoxy. I’ll just let Hoffman and his playmates thrash each other and focus on the survivor of what is looking like more and more of a debacle every day (with, believe it or not, a probable sixth candidate likely to announce a bid this Saturday, as the Courier Times tells us).

    And why stop there, I ask? Let’s make it a “lucky seven.” And I’ve got just the person to run.

    How about it, Jay Russell? You managed to royally frack up the Bucks County Commissioners contest back in ’07, as noted here. Why not do the same thing to the Repug U.S. Congressional primary?

    Or are you going to pass it up because you won’t be able to do a favor for Jim Cawley and Charley Martin in the bargain?

  • Update 1/15/10: Aside from the ridiculously benign treatment the teabaggers get in this New York Times article, the "takeaway" for me here is that there are nine Repugs vying for the right to oppose Patrick Murphy (and as noted, it would be 10 if Jay Russell declared also - no word on whether or not Mikey Fitzpatrick was one of the participants).

  • Finally, while I waited once more in a doctor’s office and/or hospital to tend to my recent medical need, I happened upon the most recent issue of Time Magazine and discovered the latest bit of Beltway punditry from Joe Klein here, castigating those baaad liberal bloggers once more for refusing to settle for three-quarters of a loaf on health care reform and steadfastly supporting the public option instead.

    Klein kept beating the drum about how 30 million more people will be covered under the legislation that will hopefully one day emerge from Congress and make its way to President Obama’s desk, but otherwise, he really didn’t bother to constructively address the issues about the legislation raised by Dr. Dean, among others. And since I’ve already posted my brains out about this topic, I’m not really inclined to do that myself, nor will I choose to address yet more moronic faux equivalency by Klein and his pals between right-wing and left-wing bloggers (besides, I have to be cautious about too many keystrokes at the moment).

    However, this stunningly idiotic excerpt from Klein really needs to be addressed…

    The denizens of the left blogosphere consider themselves the Democratic Party's base. But they are not. For Democrats, as opposed to Republicans, the wing is not the base; the legions of loyal African Americans, union members, Jews, women and Latinos are. In the end, the sillier left-village practitioners are stoking the same populist exaggeration — the idea that Washington is controlled by crooks and sellouts — that conservative strategists like Bill Kristol believe will bring the Republicans back to power. The perversity of this is beyond comprehension.

    Who the hell do you think has been primarily responsible from turning the Democrats into a bunch of perennial election losers into winners (and yes, the groups Klein mentioned definitely do play and have played roles, and Democrats have also been aided in no small way by the impact of incompetent Repug non-governance)?

    Do you honestly think we would be where we are if we relied exclusively on accommodationist, triangulationist DLC LOSERS for the past three years or so (and speaking of which, how funny is it that their supposedly ideal candidate is contemplating another run, as noted here)?

    Ordinarily I would shy away from “blowing the horn,” so to speak, about what left-wing bloggers overall have accomplished during this time, but given Klein’s insulting remarks, I feel I must do so.

    This post from Chris Bowers states that bloggers raised over a million dollars for Dem candidates in ’04, and this states, among other things, that the so-called liberal blogosphere was “spectacularly effective” during the 2006 congressional campaign (the analysis of a conservative site, by the way, the hat tip for which goes to Outside The Beltway, another right-wing site).

    And to get an idea of the left blogosphere’s impact in ’08, this tells us that Act Blue raised at least two million dollars (more on Act Blue here). Pretty nice work for a group that doesn’t belong to the Democratic “base,” wouldn’t you say?

    We’re not going anywhere, Klein. You and your “brie-and-white-wine, please-pass-the-sweet-and-sour-shrimp” fellow stenographers will eventually grasp that fact.

    And you’d better damn believe that our money is as good as yours.

  • (Also, I keep forgetting to note that I posted stuff here also.)

    Update 1/15/10: More nice work by people from '09 who apparently are not part of Klein's Democratic "base" is noted here.

    Tuesday, January 05, 2010

    Tuesday Later PM Stuff

    God, I hate it when someone who is actually good leaves government; I didn’t mention Sen. Byron Dorgan much, and that’s because I can’t recall a time when he didn’t do the right thing – as noted here, there is indeed no positive way to spin this (and the clip from 1999 below shows his true prescience, notably lacking among others in that supposedly august body – thanks for all you’ve done, Sen. Dorgan)…

    …and here’s a mini “Special Comment” by K.O. on health care reform (he’s covered this previously, but it’s still important stuff)…

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    …and Jon Stewart returns with more on the “pants bomber” and the accompanying political circus…

    The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
    Terror 2.0 by Yemen
    Daily Show
    Full Episodes
    Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

    …and I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time to “kick it up a notch.”

    Tuesday Early PM Stuff

    Once again, posting is going to be an issue because of my current adventures with our health care system and workers compensation, but I'll do what I can.

    And even though it is now 2010, we of course are still preoccupied with health care reform (pretty safe to say that Ezra Klein has forgotten more about this issue than Flush Limbore will ever know...maybe one day, I'll try to put the collective experience I'm now acquiring on this issue into a post or two)...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ...and here's something a little mellow to share while we keep from freezing our asses off.

    Monday, January 04, 2010

    More General “Terra! Terra! Terra!” New Years’ Nonsense

    (By the way, there’s a reason why I’m not a medical professional – my self-diagnosis of a wrist sprain turned out to be incorrect. In truth, I have a broken arm…peachy. For this reason, posting will be highly problematic for a little while.)

    As noted here, we learned the following from retired General Thomas McInerney recently (in the matter of the would-be “pants bomber” on Flight 253)…

    McInerney: Because I believe that in the next 90 to 120 days, there is danger, a very high probability that a U.S. airliner will come down because of one of these bombers. And so, we've got to go to more than just the normal process that they're talking about now, we have got to go to very, very strict screening, and we have to use profiling. And I mean be very serious and harsh about the profiling. If you are an 18 to 28-year-old Muslim man, then you should be strip searched. And if we don’t do that, there’s a very high probability we’re going to lose an airliner.
    Yeah, you know what, Former General Tom? I think we should do more to help al Qaeda in its recruiting efforts, instead of, you know, waging the legitimate war on terror (as opposed to the phony one in Iraq when we blew that country to bits) with common sense and adherence to the rule of law, and by doing so, showing up al Qaeda for the murdering cowards that they truly are.

    And I just wanted to remind everyone that, if McInerney sounds familiar, it’s probably because he was one of the generals noted in this Pulitzer Prize-winning story by David Barstow of the New York Times about the military analysts who pontificate on TV about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan under the guise of objectivity, when in fact they run businesses that depend on access to the very Pentagon officials they are tasked to critique (time for yet another blogger ethics panel, it would seem).

    As Barstow reported…

    Though many analysts are paid network consultants, making $500 to $1,000 per appearance, in Pentagon meetings they sometimes spoke as if they were operating behind enemy lines, interviews and transcripts show. Some offered the Pentagon tips on how to outmaneuver the networks, or as one analyst put it to Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, “the Chris Matthewses and the Wolf Blitzers of the world.” Some warned of planned stories or sent the Pentagon copies of their correspondence with network news executives. Many — although certainly not all — faithfully echoed talking points intended to counter critics.

    “Good work,” Thomas G. McInerney, a retired Air Force general, consultant and Fox News analyst, wrote to the Pentagon after receiving fresh talking points in late 2006. “We will use it.”

    The group (of analysts) was heavily represented by men involved in the business of helping companies win military contracts. Several held senior positions with contractors that gave them direct responsibility for winning new Pentagon business. James Marks, a retired Army general and analyst for CNN from 2004 to 2007, pursued military and intelligence contracts as a senior executive with McNeil Technologies. Still others held board positions with military firms that gave them responsibility for government business. General McInerney, the Fox analyst, for example, sits on the boards of several military contractors, including Nortel Government Solutions, a supplier of communication networks.
    And as noted in this prior post, Gen. Marks’ case was particularly egregious since he had been tasked to find the WMD in Iraq prior to the invasion, eventually discovering that they didn’t exist, but he kept hyping the war anyway.

    Back to McInerney...

    The full dimensions of this mutual embrace were perhaps never clearer than in April 2006, after several of Mr. Rumsfeld’s former generals — none of them network military analysts — went public with devastating critiques of his wartime performance. Some called for his resignation.

    On Friday, April 14, with what came to be called the “Generals’ Revolt” dominating headlines, Mr. Rumsfeld instructed aides to summon military analysts to a meeting with him early the next week, records show. When an aide urged a short delay to “give our big guys on the West Coast a little more time to buy a ticket and get here,” Mr. Rumsfeld’s office insisted that “the boss” wanted the meeting fast “for impact on the current story.”

    That same day, Pentagon officials helped two Fox analysts, General McInerney and General Vallely, write an opinion article for The Wall Street Journal defending Mr. Rumsfeld.
    And by the way, as noted here, McInerney accused liberals and Democrats in general of “aid(ing) and comforting the enemy.”

    Well, at this point, I usually respond with some kind of a dig or smartass remark, but instead, I’ll merely give my fingers a rest and embed this appropriate video instead (and yes, that is Richard Branson).

    Update 1/5/10: I forgot about this choice item concerning McInerney.

    Sunday, January 03, 2010

    A New Year's Message

    I'm not sure how much I'll be posting over the next few days since I'm mending a bit from a wrist sprain (unless I can figure out how to type with my toes), but for now, I think this speech by Charlie Chaplin from "The Great Dictator" is a nice meditation to kick off 2010, which largely resonates to the moment IMHO (to offer some background, it should be noted that the film was released in October 1940, before the U.S. officially entered World War II, even though the war in Europe was definitely "on" at that point).