Friday, April 02, 2010

Friday Stuff

Good for Ed Rendell to encourage everyone to play nice - all any of us can do is try...

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

..."Worst Persons" (Erick Erickson actually doesn't spew profanity and conjure up images of bestiality when he says that there's no authority that says he has to fill out the census - wrong, and more on Erickson shortly; Flush Limbore actually says that he isn't responsible for trying to link President Obama to a certain Austrian former postcard painter with a funny mustache - uh, no; but Jim "High And Tight" Bunning and Crazy Tom Coburn share the honors tonight for holding up relief for victims of flooding...stand up and take a bow, you red state numbskulls who voted for these two clowns)...

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

...Rachel Maddow talks here with Thurbert Baker, a Georgia gubernatorial candidate and the state's attorney general, who has enough sense to avoid that ridiculous lawsuit over health care reform unlike 14 of his peers (and of course, Baker is meeting with the requisite Repug umbrage for it)...

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

Update 4/14/10: God, Perdue is an idiot (here).

...and just in time for the opening of the 2010 Major League Baseball season, it looks like the Boston Red Sox have one hell of an exciting new promotion (don't tell Ron Paul, or he may think they're serious)...

Red Sox Announce Plans To Return Fenway To Original 1912 Conditions

...and it's time to check in with Jon Stewart (and once more, to quote Steve Benen, "This is CNN?" - We'll have to "leave it there.")...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
CNN Hires Erick Erickson
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

...and I know Good Friday is perhaps the darkest day on the Catholic liturgical calendar, just as Easter is a day of rejoicing, so, since I don't expect to be doing much posting this Sunday, I thought I'd offer this little number which, moodwise, is about halfway between the two (Jackson Browne covered this way back when also).

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Thursday Stuff

(Posting is questionable for tomorrow, by the way.)

Thus does the murderer Scott Roeder, avowedly "pro life," now become a member of our penal system, granted the benefit of remaining days on earth that he denied to Dr. George Tiller - let us hope and pray that no one else ever follows in Roeder's footsteps, though, if past is prologue...

...and speaking of crazy, Sean Hannity calls the tea party numbskulls "Tim McVeigh wannabes," no doubt offering encouragement to the next nut case with a gun. And he's serious... mean, "wannabes" responsible for stuff like this, Sean (hat tip to The Daily Kos - God, this is appalling even for Hannity)...

Update 4/2/10: Nope, no connection at all (here)...

..."Worst Persons" (More "Bolshevik," if you will, from Dick Morris, complaining that protesters are featured at appearances by Sarah Palin or Mann Coulter, or something - like that extra snarky dig at the end, by the way; Flush Limbore turns out to be merely "uninformed" - yeah, that's the ticket - as to whether or not children with pre-existing conditions will be covered under health care reform; but Blanche Lincoln gets the nod here for something that really tears it and is utterly despicable, running some cutesy little TV ad where she pretends to be some kind of Cokie and Steve Roberts-approved "sensible centrist" opposing health care reform, then running a radio ad that, ahem, sounds as if it's catering to a particular racial demographic in which she claims she "stood with" Obama on health care reform - to do what you can to begin her forced retirement from public life, click here)...

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...and I'm glad to see she's back with a hit - she was huge in the '80s, and it looks like she hasn't aged a day.

Thursday Mashup (4/1/10)

(And I also posted here.)

1) Bob oh boy, former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm can barely contain himself over the following (here)…

Turns out the Democratic Congress' passage of the Democratic healthcare legislation signed last week by Democratic President Obama is so wildly popular that a new Gallup Poll finds for the first time this survey cycle registered American voters now prefer that a Republican represent their district.

The new survey of the generic congressional ballot, taken after the massive healthcare bill's partisan votes last month and just released overnight, finds 47% say they'd like a Republican representative and 44% prefer a Democrat.

Wow, looks like Repugs are favored by a whopping three percent here, boys and girls (basically, we’re within the statistical margin for error – and by the way, the main reason I’m even bothering to link to Malcolm at all on this is so everyone can see the utterly tasteless cartoon that accompanies his post).

I’ll tell you what – here is more on the poll Malcolm is referring to. The trend lines show a narrow crossover and only a slight variation of what has been in place already for the past few months (slight Dem edge here, slight Repug edge there…).

So what have we learned, exactly? That the fall elections will turn on whichever base is more energized? That independent voters may be trending back and forth between the two parties for a little while? That the teabaggers will return in force this summer (just like the mosquitoes) for more town hall nonsense? That, as David Corn of The Nation said weeks ago, nobody controls “the narrative”?

In other words, a bunch of stuff we already know.

Meanwhile, here is another Gallup Poll (with USA Today) showing that “By 49%-40% those surveyed say it was ‘a good thing’ rather than a bad one that Congress passed the (health care reform) bill.”

Good thing for Malcolm that, under the law, no one can be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition any more. If pundit wankery qualified and HCR never became law, Malcolm might never get coverage again.

2) Over at the Murdoch Street Journal, Mary Anastasia O’Grady opines as follows (here)…

Last year, the U.S. tried to force the reinstatement of deposed president Manuel Zelaya (in Honduras). When that failed and Team Obama was looking like the Keystone Cops, it sent a delegation to Tegucigalpa to negotiate a compromise.

Participants in those talks say Dan Restrepo, senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs at the National Security Council, let slip that the U.S. interest had to do with American politics. The Republicans, he said, were using the administration's support for Mr. Zelaya, an ally of Venezuelan Hugo Chávez, against the Democrats. It's not going to work, Mr. Restrepo is said to have informed the other negotiators, because "we have the power" and would be keeping it for a long time.

It can't have been comforting for Hondurans to learn that while their country was living a monumental crisis, fueled by U.S. policy, Mr. Restrepo's concern was his party's power. For the record, an NSC spokesman says "Mr. Restrepo didn't say that." But my sources are more plausible considering what has transpired since.

O’Grady then goes on to cite any effort to allow Zelaya to return to Honduras as some of “bullying” by Number 44 in the region, or something, made manifest according to O’Grady by references to U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens as “the proconsul”- funny, but I don’t recall O’Grady or any other neocon being upset when this guy held that title in Iraq soon after the invasion.

I’m not an expert on Honduran affairs, but I have to wonder why Zelaya would do such a thing when, according to that country’s minister of security, he could be arrested. But when it comes to U.S. political influence in that region, the following should be noted (here)…

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., will defy President Obama by meeting with de facto Honduran president Roberto Micheletti.

"No U.S. Senator has yet been to Honduras to assess facts of crisis. @JohnKerry & Obama admin using bullying tactics to hide truth," DeMint wrote on
his Twitter.

The meeting goes against the administration's policy of isolating Micheletti's government, which seized control from elected president Manuel Zelaya on June 28th.

No word from O’Grady on whether or not DeMint’s boneheaded (and possibly treasonous) decision to ignore a presidential directive is “good for U.S. national security interests.”

3) And finally, today is the 60th birthday of Supreme Court Justice “Strip-Search Sammy” Alito. With that in mind, Wikipedia tells us here that it doesn’t consider Alito quite as conservative as Antonin Scalia based on some of his rulings and opinions since he was confirmed, which to me is like saying Bill O’Reilly isn’t quite as much of a frothing nut job as Glenn Beck.

Also, Glenn Greenwald contrasts Alito with Sonia Sotomayor over the “empathy” question, which of course was big during the Sotomayor hearings, and harks back to some of Alito’s lower court rulings that were overturned by The Supremes (here).

And how can we forget Alito’s mouthing of “not true” when Obama criticized The Supremes over the Citizens United ruling (here)? I have to admit that I really didn’t have that big of a problem with it; I mean, I definitely believe Alito and the conservative majority were in the wrong, but I can’t blame Alito for an instinctive reaction (at least he didn’t stand up and yell, “You Lie!”).

This post, though, provides a cautionary reminder of what Alito could yet do from his perch atop “the show.”  As a member of the conservative block of the High Court of Hangin’ Judge JR, we can rest assured that no civil liberty will be beyond the reach of this bunch for the next 20 years or so while they endeavor to create case law at every opportunity that comports with their forever-twisted worldview.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday Stuff

Hat tips to John Cole at Balloon Juice and The Daily Kos (please fill out the form, people - we did)...

Update 4/2/10: To quote Steve Benen, "This is CNN?"

We'll have to "leave it there."

...and there's probably a lot more that Keith could say in response to that teabaggin' idiot Marco Rubio in Florida, but this is good enough for now (you're a bit late with playing the whole right-wing "fear and smear" game, Rubio, by about 5-7 years I'd say - way to get your metaphorical clock cleaned in that recent debate by Charlie Crist, who, despite his issues, is a far better man)...

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

...and for something completely different, as they say, here is a report from Rachel Maddow on the Hadron Collider (have to keep trying "hadron" and not making typos - heh heh)...

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

...and RIP jazz guitar great Herb Ellis; here, he talks of his big band career, including with Jimmy Dorsey, and plays "The Days of Wine and Roses."

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (3/31/10)

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 (lots going on, mostly related to HCR - and I also posted here)...


Health-bill passage. Voting 219-212, the House sent President Obama a Senate-passed bill (HR 3590) overhauling American health care, which he signed into law. The House also sent the Senate a bill (HR 4872, below) containing changes in the new law requested by House Democrats. This year's final health-care law will be a combination of the two measures.

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.).
Congratulations to everyone who voted in favor of the most important piece of legislation to emerge from the U.S. Congress in over 40 years, and an utter pox on those who voted No (this tells us the traitorous John Adler has sealed his fate, and to respond to the same awful decision by Tim Holden, click here).

Health-bill changes. The House passed, 220-211, a bill (HR 4872) similar to HR 3590 (above) but with changes designed to attract wavering Democrats. The bill contains an unrelated measure that would shift student loans to a system of direct lending by the Department of Education, excluding the private-sector lenders that now dominate the government program. This would save more than $80 billion over 10 years, with most of the savings used to expand the Pell Grants by which low-income youths pay for college tuition.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.

Voting no: Adler, Castle, Dent, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith.
And though voting in opposition to this also isn’t quite as bad as opposing health care reform, it still stinks to high Heaven (and even with “Man Tan” Boehner “holding” the private lenders “in his trusted hands,” as noted here, it still passed – good times).

Abortion dispute. Voting 199-232, the House defeated a Republican bid to add antiabortion language to HR 4872 (above). Democrats said that the new health law would contain "Hyde Amendment" language, which bars federal funding of abortions except in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother, and that President Obama would reinforce the Hyde policy by executive order.

A yes vote backed the GOP motion.

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

Voting no: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.
And what is stated in the writeup is exactly what happened, which is unfortunate, really (meaning that the federal order adhering to "Hyde" was to see what would happen if men had to jump through the same hoops to get coverage for Cialis or Viagra as women have to jump through for abortion coverage).

Health-care repeal. Voting 184-239 against, the House defeated a bid by Republicans to repeal two revenue provisions of the new health law. The motion to HR 4849 (above) sought to repeal the law's $2,500 cap on contributions to Flexible Spending Accounts as well as its ban on using both FSAs and Health Savings Accounts to pay for over-the-counter drugs.

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

Voting no: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Holden, Murphy, Schwartz and Sestak.
Personally, I would like to have seen an amendment introduced banning FSA funds from being used to pay for abortion – maybe someday (not much to say about these votes because, again, except for Adler and Holden, it’s all party-line stuff).

Summer jobs, disaster aid. Voting 239-175, the House sent the Senate a deficit-spending bill (HR 4899) to provide $600 million for summer jobs for youths and $5.1 billion for federal disaster relief. The bill defines the disaster aid as emergency spending and thus exempt from the "pay as you go" law. The bill extends until May a provision of last year's economic stimulus allowing the Small Business Administration to guarantee up to 90 percent of certain loans to companies.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Holden, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.

Voting no: Castle, Dent, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith.
And oh yes, please tell me once more how the Repugs are supposedly “the party of small business” again when they oppose this (And why should the “gumint” have to pay for summer jobs for kids? Let ‘em all clean toilets and pick up trash at McDonald’s, right?)

OK, snark mode off…

Jobs bill. Voting 246-178, the House passed a deficit-neutral bill (HR 4849) providing tax breaks to spur investment in small businesses and public-works construction by states and cities. The $18 billion-plus cost would be offset by other changes in the tax code. Under the bill, those who make certain small-business investments before Dec. 31 would receive a 100 percent exemption from capital-gains taxes on stock held for at least five years.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Castle, Fattah, Holden, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.

Voting no: Dent, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith.
I guess the “carrot” of the capital gains tax reduction was enough to bring Mike Castle on board; it looks pretty certain that he’ll get the Biden/Kaufman Senate seat and flip it to an “R” this fall, to be wrong, though.

(And yet another banner week for Joe Pitts comes to a close; to do something about it, click here.)


Health-law changes. Senators passed, 56-43, a bill (HR 4872, House vote above) making several changes in the new health law. In part, the changes consist of removing special deals for states such as Florida and Nebraska; increasing Medicaid funding for all states; narrowing the doughnut hole in the Medicare prescription-drug plan; delaying until 2018 a new excise tax on high-end medical insurance, and starting Medicare taxation of well-off taxpayers' investment income. The bill was sent to the House for technical corrections and then to President Obama for his signature.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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.).
This is the “reconciliation” fix that Harry Reid should have sought last year to prevent this soap opera from dragging out for another three months as I and many others called for (of course, I took hallucinogenic drugs and watched “School House Rock” and didn’t know what I was talking about…or something).

Health-law repeal. Voting 58-39, the Senate tabled (killed) a Republican amendment to HR 4872 (above) to immediately repeal the new health law.

A yes vote was to kill the amendment.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Specter.
“Diaper Dave” Vitter, come on down! (re: he sponsored this amendment…nice try – all amendments listed here).

Health-law opt-out. Voting 58-41, the Senate tabled a Republican amendment to HR 4872 (above) under which states could opt out of the new health law on grounds that it usurps powers reserved to the states under the Tenth Amendment.

A yes vote was to kill the amendment.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Specter.
Next up, we have Kay Bailey Hutchison, fresh off her failed attempt to unseat “Goodhair” Perry as governor of Texas (here).

Medicare savings. Voting 56-42, the Senate tabled a GOP amendment preventing the new health law's $500 billion in Medicare savings from being used to subsidize premiums in the state-based insurance exchanges. The amendment to HR 4872 sought to use the savings instead for Medicare solvency.

A yes vote was to kill the amendment.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Specter.
I believe this came from Judd Gregg (I’ll never understand why Obama ever wanted him as Commerce Secretary, by the way).

Medical-device taxes. Voting 56-42, the Senate defeated a GOP amendment to HR 4872 that sought to strip the new health law of its $40 billion in taxes on medical devices over 10 years. That sum accounts for about one-tenth of the new law's revenue stream.

A yes vote was to kill the amendment.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Specter.
Pat Roberts of Kansas, it’s your turn (thanks for playing our game – here are some lovely parting gifts).

Federal aviation budget. Voting 93-0, the Senate passed a bill (HR 1586) authorizing $70 billion for aviation programs through fiscal 2012. In part, the bill funds the operation of the Federal Aviation Administration, improvements at airports, air-service subsidies for smaller cities, and a sweeping upgrade of air-traffic control.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez and Specter.
This week, Congress is in Easter-Passover recess until the week of April 12.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Stuff

Gosh, what are you Carly, a shmegege or something?...

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

...and Gramps ("Country First") McCain claims here that "no Americans were killed or wounded in Iraq in the last three months"...would that that were true, but it isn't (I swear, that man can screw up stuff like this forever and STILL be taken seriously)...

...and oh yeah, based on this, it sounds like the "family values" party strikes again (CNN's Rick Sanchez tries not to laugh too hard)...

...and I have a feeling that, by the time their campaign is over, the Carly Fiorina people will be singing the title of this song a lot (tune only - no vid).

For Pro-Israel Blather, Price Isn't Right

(And I also posted here.)

Over at The Hill, Repug Georgia U.S. House Rep Tom Price tells us the following (here)…

In just over a week, the Obama Administration has successfully called into question the United States’ unwavering commitment to the people of Israel and further progress in the Middle East peace process. The Administration began with an inappropriate response to Israel’s announced plan to construct new homes in Jerusalem – claiming the White House was 'insulted' by Israel’s timing on the announcement. The President determined this was reason enough to condemn our strongest ally in the Middle East. That was followed by an unprecedented cold-shoulder for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. Here the media was shut out and the two leaders had what has been reported as a less than cordial exchange.

Being honest and straightforward with our allies is an important part of international diplomacy. But delegitimizing Israel through a series of public rebukes will only strain the US-Israeli relationship which significantly undermines the peace process.

(Oh, and before I forget, I thought this was an interesting little item involving Price.)

In a strange way, I’m happy that Price concocted this dreck because it gives me an excuse to mention this New York Times column on Sunday from Tom Friedman, who I otherwise would pillory except for the fact that I thought he made some good points…

In the last decade, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process — for Israel — has gone from being a necessity to a hobby. And in the last decade, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process — for America — has gone from being a hobby to a necessity. Therein lies the problem.

(As) Newsweek’s Dan Ephron wrote in the Jan. 11, 2010, issue: “An improved security situation, a feeling that acceptance by Arabs no longer matters much, and a growing disaffection from politics generally have, for many Israelis, called into question the basic calculus that has driven the peace process. Instead of pining for peace, they’re now asking: who needs it? ... Tourism hit a 10-year high in 2008. Astonishingly, the I.M.F. projected recently that Israel’s G.D.P. will grow faster in 2010 than that of most other developed countries. In short, Israelis are enjoying a peace dividend without a peace agreement.”

Now, in the same time period, America went from having only a small symbolic number of soldiers in the Middle East to running two wars there — in Iraq and Afghanistan — as well as a global struggle against violent Muslim extremists. With U.S. soldiers literally walking the Arab street — and, therefore, more in need than ever of Muslim good will to protect themselves and defeat Muslim extremists — Israeli-Palestinian peace has gone from being a post-cold-war hobby of U.S. diplomats to being a necessity.

And I would argue that this is the case primarily because of AIPAC (water wet, sky blue I know); this post by Justin Raimondo includes the following from the blogger Billmon:

“While the marriage may look like perfect conjugal bliss from the Washington end, the Jerusalem end has a different point of view – and always will. The Israelis understand, even if their American patrons do not, that they live in another country, one with its own national interests, its own strategic ambitions and its own enemies, none of which necessarily overlap with America’s.

“They don’t even make much of an attempt to hide it, as this writer for David Horowitz’s Frontpage (to Israel what the Daily Worker once was to the Soviet Union) makes clear: ‘A more independent Israel is determined to make its own mark on the world – questioning U.S. authority more frequently in order to establish its own autonomous relations with other countries.’

“A good idea. It’s just a shame our own political lap dogs and their media water carriers won’t do likewise.”

When it comes to “making its own mark in the world,” I think this post, featuring some truly revolting historical revisionism about Israel’s latest incursion into Palestine from PM “Bibi” Netanyahu, tells you exactly what they think of U.S. perceptions, along with those of the rest of the world (again, not ceding the moral high ground to the Palestinians completely here either – also, here is an example of just how long a reach the “Israel lobby” has).

Also concerning AIPAC, it should be noted that they recently held their annual conference in Washington on March 21st, as noted in this story, including the following:

(Attorney and Philadelphia delegate Len) Feldman observed that “being a strong Zionist is not tied to being Jewish. Clarence Jones, an African American, and one of Rev. Martin Luther King's speechwriters said, Rev. King was a Zionist based on morality.”

In response, I give you the following
here from Ira Chernus, professor of religious studies at Boulder, CO (and that would be a negative in response to the King claim, just to let you know).

Also, Crooks and Liars notes here (in comments) of AIPAC’s involvement with Freedom’s Watch, the happily-now-defunct outfit that helped whip public opinion into supporting Dubya’s Mesopotamian catastrophe as well as punish those who opposed them (and let’s not forget the prominent role played by this guy). Finally, this post from profmarcus citing Professor Juan Cole gives us a map in four parts that tells the story of Israel’s conquest more dramatically than any words I could conjure up here or elsewhere.

Returning to Tom Price of Georgia, I have to say I agree with him when he says that “being honest and straightforward with our allies is an important part of international diplomacy.” And that’s all the more reason why AIPAC should be called out, and the state of Israel, given their prosperity while our country tries to spackle our economy back together, should get financially cut off at the knees by our government (here).

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Stuff

K.O. returns again with "Worst Persons" (Senator Teabag is still trying to raise money on the rumor that Rachel Maddow will oppose him for his Senate seat when Brown runs again, which, mercifully, will be only after a three-year term...interesting to see what would happen if Keith opposed him, though, seriously, there's no reason why he should; Moon Unit Bachmann is back for another citation, this time for telling everyone to bang garbage can lids just have to watch the rest because it's so unbelievable - people have actually voted for this dingbat; but, inevitably, we end up with either Beck or Bill Orally, and this time it's the latter - he spoke to the It Happened To Alexa Foundation, and on a flight back from doing so, he took out a copy of Playboy to read on the flight in plain sight of parents with children, after greeting all of his admirers on the flight of course...let's see, hypocrite, fraud, voyeur who doesn't have enough common sense to take his business behind closed doors - yep)...

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

...and I dedicate this to Pope Benny, who has become almost Nixonian in his behavior lately (here - h/t Atrios).

Monday Mashup (3/29/10)

(And I also posted here.)

1) In an otherwise shockingly sensible column in The Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday, Michael Smerconish said the following…

It occurs to me that something else was gaining momentum during (the era of the Clinton Inquisition, written about in a book profiled by Smerky): the rise of talk radio, cable news, and the Internet. And the convergence of the three against the backdrop of Monica Lewinsky and the impeachment proceedings gave rise to what we see today.

Well said (and to get an idea of how disproportionate the media coverage was for the Clinton stuff versus a story of actual Constitutional importance such as the NSA illegal spying scandal, read this from Jamison Foser of Media Matters).

However, given this item telling us how Smerky once called out to Roger Waters of Pinky Floyd, who was onstage performing a concert at the time (Waters being a proponent of the Palestinians, among other causes Smerky doesn’t like), I think the columnist doth protest too much. Let me know if and when he ever apologizes for that, and I’ll consider him an expert on civil behavior, but not before.

2) And speaking of Inky columnists (I’d say they were “right wing,” but that would be redundant), Torture Yoo was given more column real estate yesterday to inflict the following (here)…

This "individual mandate" forms the centerpiece of the federal government's latest, greatest intrusion into civil society. Obama staked his presidency on the nationalization of one-sixth of the economy, with measures requiring employers to offer insurance, regulating the policies offered by insurers, and eventually setting the prices for medical procedures.

There’s probably a lot more I could take issue with, but I’ll focus on this piece of wingnut fiction for now; as Paul Krugman tells us here

The first of these myths, which has been all over the airwaves lately, is the claim that President Obama is proposing a government takeover of one-sixth of the economy, the share of G.D.P. currently spent on health.

Well, if having the government regulate and subsidize health insurance is a “takeover,” that takeover happened long ago. Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs already pay for almost half of American health care, while private insurance pays for barely more than a third (the rest is mostly out-of-pocket expenses). And the great bulk of that private insurance is provided via employee plans, which are both subsidized with tax exemptions and tightly regulated.

The only part of health care in which there isn’t already a lot of federal intervention is the market in which individuals who can’t get employment-based coverage buy their own insurance. And that market, in case you hadn’t noticed, is a disaster — no coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions, coverage dropped when you get sick, and huge premium increases in the middle of an economic crisis. It’s this sector, plus the plight of Americans with no insurance at all, that reform aims to fix. What’s wrong with that?

And in writing about the so-called “Commerce Clause” in the Constitution which (I would argue) allows the federal government to enact legislation that is largely beneficial, Yoo calls it “the Ryan Howard of federal power” (trying to sound “local”…ha ha), when he probably would have been more “spot-on” if he had invoked LA Dodgers Matt Kemp or James Loney, since Yoo is based at The Hoover Institution in Southern California.

3) Finally, this New York Times story yesterday tells us about the upcoming battle for financial reform…

One of the more public campaigns against the Democrats’ reforms does not come from Wall Street, however. It comes from an obscure, Republican-leaning group that is seeking to cast the plan as a boon to Wall Street.

The group, the Committee for Truth in Politics, has spent an estimated $5 million on advertising against the proposals, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which monitors political advertising. The ads portray the financial reforms — misleadingly, the administration says — as a $4 trillion bailout for big banks.

The group’s membership and financing have been kept secret, and it has refused to divulge its donors; it is suing the Federal Election Commission, claiming the rules for disclosure in political advertising are an unconstitutional impediment to free speech.

James Bopp Jr., the lawyer and conservative advocate who represents the group in its lawsuit, said in an interview that the ads accurately reflected a section in the House bill that would allow the Federal Reserve to spend up to $4 trillion to stabilize the financial system in a liquidity crisis. He said characterizing the bill as anything other than a bailout “is a typical Washington lie where politicians do one thing in Washington, which is to advance the Obama socialist agenda, and lie about it when they go home because they don’t want anyone to know about it.”

But Representative Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who guided the bill through the House, calls the ad campaign “a complete mischaracterization” of the legislation, which he said would limit the Fed’s ability to support otherwise healthy banks during a liquidity crisis and prevent the type of bailouts that have gone to A.I.G. and other giant firms.

Buzzflash tells us more here, including the following…

Obviously, the Committee for Truth in Politics is a finely-tuned lie machine. In its short history, the Committee has spent the majority of its time and money on straight-up falsehoods. One anti-Obama ad wrongly claimed that the then-candidate supported early release programs for convicted sex offenders.

National Public Radio's Secret Money Project reported that the group is estimated to have spent at least $1.2 million on anti-Obama ads during the 2008 campaign. It's likely they've spent much more, but they're arguing with the Federal Elections Commission that they shouldn't have to disclose how much money they have or how much they've spent and on what. In the interim, they're flouting the law by refusing to file legally-required paperwork.

So, in addition to calling out the lies in the ad, (Montana Sen. Jon) Tester calls on the "secretive organization" to disclose its donors. The nonprofit corporation is registered with the Secretary of State in North Carolina as of September 2008, but it has failed to file with the Federal Elections Commission as well as the IRS.

Hence the lawsuit that kept the committee from fully functioning until after the Citizens United case was decided (Bopp is a member of Citizens United and had a lot to do with the legal challenge that led to the horrific decision by the High Court of Hangin’ Judge JR).

But the recent decision doesn't mean the Committee for Truth in Politics is out of hot water. Quite the opposite, really. The Supreme Court affirmed eight-to-one that disclosure laws should remain in place. That means that while Bopp's groups can spend whatever they want to spread their lies, they still should have to disclose who they're lying for.

So Bopp, ultimately, is the bag man for a bunch of corporate malefactors who want to keep ripping us off in secret with impunity. And Bopp will earn their favor as long as he can keep conniving legal tricks to keep it that way.