Saturday, December 04, 2010

Saturday Stuff

I know I’m a bit behind the curve on the whole Julian Assange/Wikileaks thing (I’ll plan to say more later), and I admit that I’ve gone back and forth a bit, but every time I hear the argument that revealing the information in the diplomatic cables puts our service people in danger, I keep waiting for the truth behind such a charge, but it is never forthcoming. I think it exposes the dark comedy of what passes for our foreign policy more than anything else.

I also think the person interviewed by RTAmerica makes some interesting points about how conditioned we are generally in this country by our media, and about how waay too many people accept the dookey it passes off as news. However, let it be known for the record that he’s dead wrong about Bill Clinton pardoning anyone having anything to do with Iran-Contra (Poppy Bush was the guy behind that one)…

…and by the way, ho, ho, ho.

Time To Refill The Swamp

Note: These links to other posts appeared in the right column of the home page under the heading which is the title of this post. I just moved them to here and published this post separately as a bit of "housekeeping" because the right column list was getting too long.

This way, when the Repugs screw up, I'll just add it to this post instead (and if you don't completely understand, don't worry about it - the point is that this isn't new content).

  • The Best Pols $$ Can Buy

  • The Chamber's Head Count

  • A Long Two Years Coming Up

  • Their "Plan" Revealed At Last

  • Say Buh-Bye To Jobs...

  • ...And The "Safety Net"

  • Issa's Inquisitions

  • Need A History Lesson, I See

  • "Disclosure"? What's That?

  • HCR For Me, But Not Thee

  • Yes They Can - Now

  • Back To The Kitchen, Honey

  • Witness The Chamber's "ROI"

  • More Non-Governance

  • More HCR Hijinks

  • Will Justice Be Done?

  • The "Science" Of Denial

  • Marching Backward

  • A "Wise Old Head" Gets It

  • Just Let The Planet Melt

  • The Teabaggers Get Played Again

  • "Anti-Earmark" My Eye!

  • "Power Grab" This!

  • Talking Out of Both Sides of Their Face...Again

  • "Put Up Or Shut Up" on the Constitution

  • The "Slo-Mo Train Wreck" Begins

  • A Lesson In Gubernatorial "Priorities"

  • Everything But Tax Cuts For The Rich Is "Welfare"

  • Laws Are For Suckers (And Democrats, Of Course)

  • Their War On Medicare

  • More On Their Disgusting Priorities

  • The Cost Of 10 Years of Cuts

  • But Gosh, Didn't She Receive Such A Glowing Portrayal In The NY Times?

  • Saint Orrin Says Screw The Poor

  • More Fodder For "So Be It" Boehner
  • Friday, December 03, 2010

    Friday Stuff

    Once again, after reading this column by Paul Krugman today, I felt like I needed a reminder, as follows (and Number 44 should put this up at the White House web site in a continuous loop as a reminder to himself first and foremost)…

    …and if Obama needs an example of how to lead, all he needs to do is watch Alan Grayson here (and once more, I don’t care if he’s on his way out…if Obama keeps trying to be a “Repug lite” instead of the Dem he acted like during the campaign – well, short of the Repugs committing ritual suicide by nominating Sarah Palin in 2012, I don’t see how he keeps his job)…

    …also, Keith Olbermann paid a nice tribute to Ron Santo tonight and took a well-deserved shot at all of those who passed over Santo for the Baseball Hall of Fame – yes, I’m a Phillies fan, but I still appreciate a great player who gave his all and gave back to the fans as well; God rest him…

    ...and here is another seasonal favorite.

    Doomsy's Do-Gooders And Dregs (2010 - Pt. 2)

    (Part One is here.)

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    David Margolis of the Obama Justice Department, who claimed here that John Yoo and Jay Bybee only showed “poor judgment,” as opposed to “violating their professional obligations as lawyers” as the DOJ originally decided; the original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action – possibly an impeachment inquiry in Bybee’s case, but with the “poor judgment” downgrade, that will now not happen (more on Margolis here)

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    California councilman (and one-time Meg Whitman for Governor – heh) supporter Bob Kellar for this (try peddling this dookey to companies that hire illegals because they refuse to pay a livable wage)

    Dregs of The Year Nominee

    Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao here, for claiming that Dubya was wrong to try terrorists in civilian courts (leave it to McConnell to propagandize about one of the few things Number 43 did right – as Media Matters reminds us here, Rudy 9iu11ani praised the conviction of Zacarias Moussaoui in federal court in 2006, though of course “America’s Mayor” walked that one back too…repeat after me, Mitchy Poo: a trial in civilian court is the fastest way to convict these life forms)

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    “Straight Talk” McCain for his flip-flop on DADT (noted here – he opposed the policy until he got an ultra-right-wing challenge to his Senate seat from J.D. Hayworth and Minuteman nutball Chris Simcox…and a “Do Gooder” citation to Admiral Mike Mullen for courageously breaking the ice, as it were, here...and as of December of this year, this battle is still going on - a guy who hasn't served for over three decades somehow knows our military on this better than a currently-serving Admiral, or so McCain would have us believe)

    Two-Faced Conservative Hypocrite Of The Year (So Far)

    Sarah Palin was all up in arms against Rahm Emanuel over his use of the word “retard,” which is understandable a bit given her son, but she never called out Flush Limbore for the same reason (here...and kudos to Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver for having the guts to do something on that Palin wouldn’t do here)

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Turncoat former Dem Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, who threatened to hold up all Obama appointments unless he got two lucrative earmarks for his home state here (Shelby gets a nod for this also)

    The “Lucky It Wasn’t Michael Bolton, Or It Could Have Initiated Nuclear War – Seriously, Though, This Is Messed Up” Citation

    This tells us that Philippine patrons who sang “My Way” at karaoke bars were getting killed, presumably for not singing well - ? - so much so that police have classified the type of crime as “My Way” killings – too weird.

    Sports Goat Of The Year Nominee

    Indianapolis Colt (and former Eagle) wide receiver Hank Baskett fumbled an onside kick to start the second half of the Super Bowl in a game won by the New Orleans Saints 31-17 (here)…and the Eagles ended up resigning him anyway – fools (they released him again, and I think he ended up with Minnesota, for now).

    Dregs Of The Year Nominees (Special “Cloudy With A Chance Of Stupidity” Citation)

    The grandkids of Sen. Jim Inhofe of (Crazyland) Oklahoma built an igloo and called it “Al Gore’s New Home” to commemorate a heavy winter snowfall (I know it’s hard for the wingnuts to comprehend, even the young‘uns apparently, but as TP tells us here, the warmer clouds high in the atmosphere are holding more moisture, and that’s the reason why the weather has been nuttier – of course, these nematodes were strangely silent during this summer’s extreme heat…go figure)

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    Health America gets the nod here, an insurer who denied coverage to five-year-old Kyler Van Nocker, who suffered from neuroblastoma, which is a very rare form of childhood cancer that targets the nervous system and creates tumors throughout the body (as TP tells us – Health America’s excuse was that his therapy was supposedly “experimental”).

    And what do those “tea party” numbskulls have to say about this? Cue the sound of crickets (and by the way, Kyler died in September).

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Schubert and Hoey Outdoor Advertising of Wyoming, Minnesota, the idiots who concocted a billboard with a picture of Dubya and the words “Miss Me Yet?” as noted here (what do you think, assclowns?)

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    President Obama again, for, as Paul Krugman notes here, thinking his key to electoral success is to trumpet “the influence corporate leaders have had on his economic policies” and saying he doesn’t “begrudge” the $17 million bonus awarded to J.P. Morgan Chase and Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon or the $9 million issued to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, noting that some athletes take home more pay.

    As Krugman tells us, “irresponsible behavior by baseball players hasn’t brought the world economy to the brink of collapse and cost millions of innocent Americans their jobs and/or houses.”

    I’m beginning to think Atrios is right – maybe the Obama people really don’t know what the hell they’re doing, starting with our “hopey, changey” chief executive (I'm pretty sure I gave him a "Do Gooder" nod at one point, though...and speaking of Obama and Krugman, this is one of the most damning columns about a politician that I've ever read, and I wish I could disagree with it).

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee (Channeling Rich Lowry Citation)

    The “Dean of Beltway Journalism” himself, Broderella, for lavishing praise on Just Plain Folks Sarah Palin to the tune of us “taking her seriously” which about 70 percent or so of this country wisely refuses to do when it comes to presidential aspirations (must be embarrassing to do nothing but provide the journalistic equivalent of fluffery to GOP daddies, or mamas…I know this stuff is Broder’s stock in trade, but this was particularly ridiculous)

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    This is a tough call, but I have to give it to Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada for agreeing to remove the “offending image” of a sign reading “Tea Bag The Liberal Dems Before They Tea Bag You” from an issue of “Captain America” in which Cap tries to infiltrate the “teabaggers.” The problem is that that sign, with the exact wording, was captured by David Weigel of The Washington Independent, who attended one of their “rallies” (all of this is noted here).

    The teabaggers are a bunch of racist right-wing nuts. If they don’t like the fact that they’ve been portrayed that way, tough shit.

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    To commemorate President's Day, I wanted to absolutely choke the sh*t out of Evan Bayh based on this (I should watch it with the bad words, I know). It seems like this guy wanted to put it to the Democrats every way possible by deciding not to run for another term. By doing so four days before the deadline of 2/19 for entering the contest, he did a good job of making some Democrat(s) scramble to get into the race before the deadline, while the Repugs already had two nominees not named Mike Pence ready to run (one of which, Dan Coats, ended up winning in November). And all the while, Bayh thumbed his nose at the supposed “partisanship” that made it sooo unattractive for him to serve, apparently.

    I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that we were finally rid of him without having a solid Dem in place (as in Connecticut, with Dodd bowing out in favor of Richard Blumenthal), or the fact that this Senate seat flipped to the “R” column with Bayh whining “I told you so.”

    Bayh is now what he has always been – a coward. Nothing more.

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Tom Wroblewski put up a billboard in Wisconsin that said “Impeach Obama” (here). However, that’s not the reason why he gets this citation (it’s really stupid free speech, but it’s free speech all the same). Wroblewski gets the citation because, even though he went to the trouble of raising the dough and putting up the ad, he says “despite the billboard's language, he's not suggesting Obama committed an impeachable offense.”

    Dude, at least have the courage of your stupid convictions, OK?

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    “The Donald,” for saying that Al Gore should have his Nobel Prize taken away since we’re in the middle of “the coldest winter ever recorded” (it’s about wildly fluctuating climate change, you idiot – gee, I could be a big deal in business too if I was born with $3 million to start with - here)

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Shamsiddin Abdur-Raheem, 21, of Galloway Township, N.J., who allegedly wrapped his 3-month-old daughter in a blue sleeping bag and threw her off the Driscoll Bridge into the Raritan River (if found guilty, they should do the same thing to him, except his sleeping bag should be weighted with cinder blocks – he

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Joseph Stack, a software engineer alleged to have flown an airplane into an office building in Austin, TX because he was furious at the IRS (the building contained about 200 federal tax employees – 2 were killed and 12 were injured, and Stack “bought it” as well…I seem to recall a prior presidential administration saying we were “fighting the terrorists over there so we wouldn’t have to fight them here,” or something like that - here)

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Repug Rep. Steve Brunk of Kansas (of course) who compared rape to auto theft here (nice guy)

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Dianne Capps, an organizer of the Tea Party movement in Washington State, who admitted here that she called for the hanging of Sen. Patty Murray, but says her words were misinterpreted (they always say that – what is it going to take before one of these moonbats is finally arrested? On second thought, maybe I don’t want to the way, Murray won over Dino Rossi in November.)

    Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

    Damian Kulash, Jr. of the band OK Go for writing this terrific Op-Ed in the New York Times about record companies (EMI in this case) no longer allowing embedding of videos by blogger types such as yours truly, and how that hurts promotion of those videos and, ultimately, sales (as in the case of other media companies, they’re trying to squeeze every last dime out of every last asset and being penny-wise but pound-foolish, as they say)

    Do Gooder of the Year Nominee

    Oklahoma County Judge Daniel Owens, who ruled here that "a controversial abortion law that mandated collecting personal details about every single abortion performed in the state and posting them on a public website" was unconstitutional (Why not stop there, I wonder to myself? Why not include details of the woman’s menstrual history and how many times she’s had sexual intercourse? I mean, if you’re going to go “the full Neanderthal,” why go half way? And h/t to Think Progress, by the way)

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    St. Louis Cardinals’ pitcher Ryan Franklin, who was upset here presumably at basketball player Gilbert Arenas and football’s Plaxico Burress over their gun antics as the reason that Franklin can no longer bring weapons into the Cardinals’ club house, in keeping with a new Major League Baseball policy banning guns from all of the clubhouses of the other teams also (hat tip to Red vs. Blue).

    Now I have no doubt that Franklin practices gun safety, but as a commenter noted to the original "St. Louis Today" article (no longer available), why should Franklin feel put out because he cannot bring a gun to his work place?

    Once more, thank you, o Supreme Court of Hangin’ Judge JR for that awful Heller ruling that enables this behavior.

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    White House press secretary and counselor Robert Gibbs, for saying the public option “can’t pass” through reconciliation even though 23 senators have signed a letter supporting it (here), typical of the utterly defeatist attitude of this White House (gee, I wonder if he was one of NYT reporter John Harwood’s anonymous sources who hoped around now for a return to ’94 and the Repugs controlling Congress, which we very nearly ended up with?)

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    “Miss Beverly Hills” Lauren Ashley, who said it’s “divine law that gays be put to death” (lovely) here…

    Do Gooder of the Year Nominee

    Dem U.S. House Rep Anthony Weiner of New York, who called his Repug colleagues “a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry” here (and in true Specter/Bachmann fashion, he later apologized even though he was right)

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    Repug U.S. House Rep Trent “African Americans Were Better Off Under Slavery” Franks here (I swear, what universe do conservatives live in?)

    Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

    Dem U.S. House Rep Tom Perriello of Virginia, who said the Senate should “get its head out of its rear end” and confront the climate crisis here (I would add passing health care reform with a public option, passing a jobs bill that ISN’T a joke filled up with tax cuts for a fraction of the necessary amount, etc...Perriello would end up losing in November, though he really should try again in 2012, along with people like John Hall, Alan Grayson in another district, and hopefully that guy who was in PA-08 also)

    Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

    Annabel Park, founder of the so-called “Coffee Party,” which, as nearly as I can determine, is a lot more in line with what we’re supposed to be about in this country when it comes to citizenship than those tea party fools (here)

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    New York Governor David Paterson for what appears very much to be his interference in a criminal investigation in which his bodyguard beat up his girlfriend (if true, this is worse than the Spitzer stuff as far as I’m concerned...Paterson would later decide not to run for another term - here)

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Not-soon-enough-to-retire Kentucky U.S. Senate Repug Jim “I Hear Voices” Bunning for blocking the extension of unemployment benefits for a tortuous weekend in February into March before finally relenting (an utterly pointless – to say nothing of ruinous for many people – exercise by a demented, craven fossil of a human being, done with the full approval of his party's "leadership"

    Dregs of the Year Nominees

    Tanesha Turner, 24, and Cornelius Brown, 27, of Indianapolis, Indiana, who made Turner's 5-year-old daughter take the purse from an unsuspecting patron at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in the 5500 block of East 82nd Street on Feb. 14 (here). Turner was charged with theft, a Class D felony, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor. Brown was charged with theft, a Class D felony and assisting a criminal, a misdemeanor.

    According to Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, the daughter at first refused, but then Turner said “Do it for Mommy.”


    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Rep. Bart Stupak (D-SEPSIS), who, based on this, was prepared to “bring down” the health care legislation unless it included his coat hanger abortion amendment (unbelievable...Stupak would later relent and support HCR and face more threats from the “pro-life” crowd than he ever did from us filthy, unkempt liberal blogger types)

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    Michael Cannon of The CATO Institute for this charming little “tweet” on HCR (time for another blogger ethics panel – should highlight the screen shot only)

    More later...

    Thursday, December 02, 2010

    Thursday Stuff

    Shazam! I didn't know nuthin' 'bout no "Confederate ball"! Anybody know where I can git a white robe and a pointy hat with a cover to protect my identity? Somebody call the Grand Dragon!

    (Oh, and am I the only one who thinks that was the lamest seasonal commemoration since Mayor Tommy Shanks lit the Melonville Christmas tree? And yes, that was another SCTV reference picked up probably by, at the most, ten people.)...

    ...and Dear God, how on earth can we STILL be talking about tax cuts?

    I know nobody listens to us filthy, unkempt blogger types, but Atrios has been saying since forever that Number 44 should just let the damn Bush tax cuts expire and then support the one he wants next year, which I think is dead-on.

    Oh, but the Repugs will try to pick up the ball and go home again - and how exactly is that different from what they're already doing?...

    ...and here's a little holiday number (hope the song is right)...

    ...and changing things up again, allow me to note that celebrated American composer Aaron Copland died 20 years ago today; this tells the story of perhaps his most famous creation.

    Doomsy's Do-Gooders And Dregs (2010 - Pt. 1)

    Yep, it's that time again (getting a jump on some people with this, I'll admit, partly because posting will get flakier through the month), and I'd better start getting this wrapup for 2010 together because I have a lot of stuff; like last year, it will probably take me up to New Years Eve to get to it all, so here goes.

    And what is the point of this, I hear you ask? Well, aside from this being my own obligatory “year end” list, I’m noting here a lot of stuff that I happened to come across during the year that I, for the most part, didn’t post about but wanted to comment on anyway.

    (And by the way, unacknowledged hat tips are probably owed here to Eschaton, Daily Kos, Think Progress, Huffington Post, Open Left, Democracy Arsenal, and a few other sites here - many thanks.)

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    Mann Coulter trying to resurrect the Obama/Madrassa lie here (that didn’t take long)…

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    Former NJ Governor Tom Kean, one time co-chair the 9/11 commission, who said here that the “pants bomber” Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab “probably did us a favor” by launching his unsuccessful attack; Kean went on to say that the Obama Administration “wasn’t focused” on terror (as if Kean would know)…

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee (Would-Be Holy Roller Citation)

    Brit Hume of Fix Noise, who implied here that Tiger Woods’ infidelities stemmed from the fact that he’s a Buddhist…

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    Teabagger extraordinaire Dale Robertson – funny, but I always thought that word was spelled with an “e” (here)

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    Allan (“Defeating Liberals Is More Important Than Defeating Terrorists”) Quist (here - yep, they were sure “off and running,” weren’t they?)

    Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

    Not the biggest fan of Ron Paul, but he gets it here for taking on “Deadeye Dick” over the former veep’s attacks on Obama over those dern terrists (here)

    Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

    Raul Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, for criticizing the fact that health care reform legislation won’t go to a House-Senate conference committee (here - he would be one of the relatively few incumbent U.S. House Dems re-elected in the fall)

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    Erick (“Son of Erick”) Erickson of Red State, for claiming here that Obama’s Nobel Prize was awarded because of affirmative action (and get a load of his “sourcing” on the “brown shirt” remark he attributes to White House health care spokesperson Linda Douglass)

    Do Gooders Of The Year Nominees

    Once upon a time as they say, former Toronto Blue Jays’ second baseman Roberto Alomar got into an argument over a called third strike with umpire John Hirschbeck, and it became so heated that Alomar did the utterly unconscionable thing of spitting on Hirschbeck, an act for which Alomar quite rightly apologized. Well, as the Sports Illustrated story tells us, the two have since become friends, with both men helping to support a foundation Hirschbeck started to combat a rare brain disease known as adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), which, tragically, took the life of Hirschbeck’s 8-year-old son.

    (By the way, Alomar didn’t get into the Hall of Fame, though he should one day because he ended up having an otherwise outstanding career.)

    Idiot Of The Year Nominee (Would-Be Plaxico Burress Citation)

    Gilbert Arenas of the NBA’s Washington Wizards, who (here) brought guns into the team’s dressing room at the Verizon Center and, before a game with the Sixers, made a shooting motion with his fingers at his teammates as if it were a joke (there are kids who get suspended from school for those kinds of actions – the joke I mean, not the guns…hopefully that’s only a hypothetical – Arenas has been suspended indefinitely without pay pending an investigation – I’m not the biggest fan of NBA Commissioner David Stern, but I think that’s exactly the right move)

    Idiot Of The Year Nominee (Runner Up, So Far)

    Staying with sports, Eagles employee Dave Spadaro gets it here for spitting on the star in the middle of the field of the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium prior to the team’s opening round playoff game (the Eagles got waxed 34-14 in what would prove to be Donavan McNabb's final game as an Eagle…Spadaro apologized, but why he would’ve thought it was a good idea to begin with escapes me).

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    Former Bushco lawyer John Farren (here), who was arrested in his New Canaan, CT home Wednesday and accused of trying to kill his wife, according to the New Canaan Police Department (yes, I know this is a bit beyond the usual political yak-yak stuff – hopefully she’ll recover all right and Farren’s sorry ass will end up in jail)

    Dregs of the Year Nominees

    The New Jersey State Senate for defeating a same-sex marriage bill (here)…

    Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

    Tom Ridge, for defending Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano here against right-wing criticism in response to the failed Christmas bombing last year (and somebody tell Dan Burton to go take pot shots at pumpkins, or something – see #7 here)

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee (“As Primitive As Can Be” Citation)

    Fresh on the heels of the underwear bomber, Joseph Hedlund Johnson of Salem, Oregon boarded a plane bound for Hawaii and scribbled a note including references to “Gilligan’s Island” and the plane “ripp(ing) apart in mid-flight and we plumited (sic) to earth” and handed it to a flight attendant, leading to the plane turning around and heading back to Portland, Oregon with a NORAD escort (and this brainiac apparently was surprised that he would be interviewed by FBI agents - here).

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    Bush Dog (and "U.S." Chamber of Commerce Dem "pet") Dan Boren for this (guess the fix was in by then but Boren was too dumb to keep his mouth shut about it)...

    Dregs Of The Year Nominee

    Brian Williams of NBC News, who seemed here to have plenty of outrage over the fact that former baseball slugger Mark McGwire finally stopped lying about taking steroids, but, as Attaturk notes, doesn’t seem to feel any such outrage over Bushco’s continual lies, particularly about Iraq (and yes, he would do fine reporting on the Haiti earthquake soon after this - which is his job, after all - but that doesn’t make up for his goof here)

    Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

    Shep Smith of Fix Noise provided a moment of sanity here, slapping down nutball Pat Robertson over the latter saying, in essence, that Haiti got what it deserved concerning the horrible January earthquake (usually a good thing when Shep goes “off message” like this).

    Do Gooder (?) Of The Year Nominee (Special “Returning To The Scene Of The Crime” Citation)

    Obama asked Dubya to “lead the bipartisan effort” to help Haiti, even though, as TP notes here, we have undermined that country for years

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Flush Limbore for his Haiti earthquake comments here – too much even for him (as noted previously, dishonorable mention to “Reverend” Pat Robertson for his remarks on this also - Flush gets called on absolutely nothing by our corporate media, but we know that of course...though one fine person did the right thing)…

    Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

    Speaking of which, Roger Ebert gets it for saying here that Limbore should be “horse whipped” for implying that Obama would steal money for Haitian relief (h/t Daily Kos – no bottom for Flush, people…our pal “Rog” will show up later too).

    Dregs of the Year Nominee (Pot, Meet Kettle Citation)

    Former local CBS News anchor Larry Mendte gets a mention for a close-to-home topic; here, he criticized the “sexism” of remarks made by people who opposed the notion of Mendte’s wife Dawn Stensland’s run for political office (Stensland was a former news anchor also).

    I’m not saying Mendte doesn’t have a point, but these remarks are coming from a guy who was sentenced to six months’ house arrest for hacking into the email of former co-anchor Alycia Lane, who contended that, as HuffPo tells us here, “his jealousy over her ascending career and popularity led him to (hack her Email) and spread salacious details to gossip columnists that ultimately resulted in her firing.”

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Jim Cramer of CNBC, who predicted a big stock market rally here if Repug Scott Brown won the Massachusetts U.S. Senate contest against Martha Coakley to fill Ted Kennedy's seat (Brown did, of course; the market lost 200 points the next day – after Jon Stewart took him apart in ’09, you’d have to be a dope to take Cramer seriously anyway)

    Dregs of the Year Nominees

    The All-American Basketball Alliance (AABA) gets a nod here; they sent out a press release on Sunday saying that the league intends to start its inaugural season in June, with teams in 12 U.S. cities. However, the AABA is different from other sports leagues because only players who are “natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league.” AABA commissioner Don “Moose” Lewis insists that he’s not racist, but he just wants to get away from the “street-ball” played by “people of color” and back to “fundamental basketball” (no word on whether or not the players would wear white hoods during the games).

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    “Straight Talk” McCain, who chastised National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter on the Christmas Day would-be plane bombing here even though McCain said the would-be bomber had a one-way plane ticket (it was round trip) that he bought in Copenhagen (actually, the would-be bomber bought the ticket in Ghana).

    And it doesn’t matter how many facts McCain screws up; he will always be welcomed on the Sunday morning gab fests as a supposed expert on foreign policy (he would further lend himself to self-parody over his “danged fence” video in May...Senator "Country First" was busy this year, but not in a good way).

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Dem Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, the state where New Orleans was decimated by Hurricane Katrina, for blocking climate change legislation (as TP tells us here, “Landrieu’s actions are quite simply morally indefensible. The Mississippi Delta is under extraordinary threat from global warming, as seas rise and storms intensify” – un-freaking-believable! Also, Landrieu earns a citation for more “Drill, Baby, Drill” nonsense after the horrific BP spill in the Gulf)

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Here’s the once-a-year (at a minimum) citation to Senate numbskull Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who does everything possible here to block a hearing for Obama nominee Erroll Southers as head of the TSA because DeMint believed that Southers wanted the TSA to become a “labor union,” then complains that Southers “wouldn’t answer simple, direct questions” – uh, yeah…because DeMint NEVER GAVE HIM THE CHANCE – when Southers gets tired of this whole fiasco and withdraws his name from consideration (and of course, the next time something almost happens or – God forbid – actually does happen involving a terrorist incident on a plane, train or other means of transportation, the Repugs will scream louder than anyone about it, even though DeMint is putting us at greater risk by not granting a hearing to Obama’s nominee…truly mind-numbing stupidity here)

    …and by the way, DeMint, if you’re going to lie, at least be man enough to owe up when you’ve been busted (Who do you think you are, Flush Limbore? And this bit about the Repugs working on health care reform “for years” is hilarious).

    Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

    Former Sixer Samuel Dalembert for his Haitian relief efforts (here – good luck with Sacramento)

    Dregs Of The Year Nominees

    Collectively, to the five wingnut Supremes on the court of Hangin’ Judge JR for their “Citizens United” decision here, basically opening up the tap of corporate dough in elections that had previously been turned off (Think Progress provides the details of this travesty, along with what is hoped to be congressional legislation to invalidate the ruling and Justice Stevens’ sound, stinging dissent, though none appears to be forthcoming because of typical Senate gridlock – K.O.’s Special Comment on this was outstanding)

    …and here is another awful consequence that led in large part to the electoral debacle in November (probably hands-down Dregs of the Year winners for this in a typical year, but this wasn't a typical year).

    Do Gooder Of The Year Nominee

    Departing U.S. Senator Snarlin’ Arlen Specter earns a mention; he told Moon Unit Bachmann here to “act like a lady” because she repeatedly interrupted him during a discussion about the Massachusetts election on WPHT in these parts (I supported Sestak, sure, but kudos to Arlen for putting this idiot in her place).

    …so of course, Specter, being a typical Dem, apologized even though he was right – pathetic.

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Radio personality Michaela Majoun of public station WXPN in these parts; I need a minute to set this up.

    So newsreader Robert Drake told us about a story in January of a black bear giving birth in the wild and the fact that the birth would be filmed, and Majoun kind of jokingly asked, “where’s the father?,” to which Drake replied, “Well, you know how bears are, ha ha,” which was silly but OK, but then Majoun says, “You know how men are, ha ha.”

    This, by the way, from someone who once said that a station volunteer taking member phone calls for song requests was “personing the phone” (who cares if it’s an imaginary word – it’s “PC” and Majoun is the high priestess in that department, if you will, so that’s all that matters).

    I’ll remember this the next time the station has one of their obnoxious pledge drives and fellow DJ David Dye “suggests” a membership contribution of $12 per month.

    (Actually, though, based on this, maybe "personing" isn't such a complimentary term after all.)

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Yes, I know what John Edwards is (speaking of “knowing how men are,”) and yes, I remember how I once supported him, and he’s not going to get a pass from me here, but the New York Times has to get a citation for its photo spread and feature article in January (can't track down an online link) on Edwards admitting paternity of Rielle Hunter’s child (about freaking time, I know), lavishing coverage on Edwards as his personal and political lives imploded that he never received when he was a presidential candidate (excluding Paul Krugman, of course – Edwards was one of the first high-profile Dems to admit he was wrong on Iraq, he was the first to put out a policy on health care that was well-received by Dem policy experts on the subject, and he was and remains the only Dem politician to give a damn about poverty in this country).

    Do Gooder of the Year Nominee

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who, as noted here, “called for an unfettered worldwide Internet and urged global condemnation of those who conduct cyber attacks,” as a result of this practice by the Chinese; her words sought to contain tensions with the United States over the hacking and censorship of Google (unclear exactly how this affects Net Neutrality, but I don’t know how it couldn’t be beneficial...she would run into trouble over the Wikileaks stuff later, of course)

    Do Gooder of the Year Nominee

    Gary McLean, a CSX Railroad train inspector, who rescued an 8-week-old puppy that was frozen to the train tracks in Alabama here (all together now – aaawwwww….)

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer for this (nice job not getting “Gov. Appalachian Trail” to step down, BTW)…

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Fix Noise – so many reasons I know, but as Media Matters notes here, they were “virtually alone” in not airing the “Hope for Haiti Now” concert

    Dregs of the Year Nominee (Posthumous “So I Guess We Really Didn’t Hear The Rest Of The Story After All” Citation)

    As noted here, longtime radio commentator Paul Harvey, who died in February ’09, “enjoyed a 20-year friendship with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, often submitting advance copies of his radio script for comment and approval. Harvey wrote Hoover and his deputies regularly. Hoover, in turn, helped Harvey with research, suggested changes in scripts and showered the broadcaster with effusive praise.”

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Dem U.S. Senator Bill “Spaceman” Nelson of Florida, for blaming “the left” for the problems of health care reform (here)

    Dregs of the Year Nominees

    The “village elders” in Bangla Desh who “issued (a) fatwa” against a 16-year-old Bangladeshi girl who was raped and conceived during the attack here; the elders also fined the girl's father and warned him that his family would be forced into isolation if they didn't pay (the alleged rapist suffered no punishment).

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Paul Shirley, the former NBA player who still plays pro basketball, who penned a long letter about Haiti and the consequences of its earthquake, in which he seems to hold most Haitians accountable for the dire state of the nation (here).

    He began the letter by stating that he has not donated to relief efforts in Haiti and "probably will not... for the same reason that I don't give money to homeless men on the street."

    Nice guy.

    Yes, I know Haiti is a basket case of a country, but the time to try and put it back together is later, not this very moment. For now, we still have a humanitarian disaster on our hands (here). Let’s try solving that before we point fingers, OK?

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    President Obama (here we go again) for referring to nukes, development of coal and oil drilling as “clean energy jobs” here (nice work on the SOTU, though...I'm pretty sure I give him kudos later for other stuff)

    …and also, as far as I’m concerned, the proverbial buck stops with him on the failure of the HAMP program (here).

    …and maybe this is “piling on,” but I expected better of them (though I will admit that “the world’s greatest deliberative body” has been tying his hands on closing Guantanamo, as well as other matters).

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    Repug U. S. Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire for having a meltdown here when questioned by MSNBC hosts about what items he would cut from the budget, particularly concerning education (Gregg’s outrage is funny when you consider that, as TP tells us, Gregg voted to “balance the budget faster by eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Departments of Education, Commerce and Energy in 1996”…still can’t believe Obama considered him for commerce secretary).

    Dregs of the Year Nominee

    “Strip Search Sammy” Alito, for mouthing the words “not true” here when Obama criticized the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling during the SOTU address (and as Think Progress reminds us here, Alito's comment would prove to be "not true" itself)

    More later...

    Wednesday, December 01, 2010

    Wednesday Stuff

    I tried to put together a "mashup" post today with the common thread of Republicans being "a-holes" in blocking legislation and basically laughing at Obama as a result of our chief executive's attempts at bipartisanship or whatever on the omnipresent matter of tax cuts (and as always, in Beltway parlance, "bipartisanship" means Democrats giving in more and more while Repugs keep moving the goal posts), but I ended up running out of time. Besides, if you visit Daily Kos today, you'll find that they did a much better job of it than I could have.

    Also, I know that, during these next two long, burdensome years of Repug control of the U.S. House, I'll have to be a bit selective in displaying my outrage since I except this bunch to utterly disgust me on a continual basis. That being said, this is still pretty contemptible (every time a pundit says, "This must be an area of bipartisanship"...well, you know what the Repugs do in response).

    In particular (from another story on this topic - I didn't include the link since it will eventually expire)...

    "It's not about making our children healthy and active," said Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee. "We all want to see our children healthy and active. This is about spending and the role of government and the size of government — a debate about whether we're listening to our constituents or not."
    Just remember, however, that tax cuts for millionaires are utterly sacrosanct (here, and speaking of child neglect in this country, this tells us that we rank 23rd in the world in infant mortality).

    But of course, then as now, when it comes to the Repugs, "tax cuts are their Jesus"...

    Update 12/2/10: More here (with the Kline quote, more or less)...

    ...and I didn't expect to get into the holiday stuff this early, but the "festival of lights" is upon us once more (and we're about to hit "Do-Gooders and Dregs" territory, by the way - the file keeps getting bigger every year, and this is no exception).

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    Tuesday Stuff

    Yeah, I gotta tell ya' that if I hear or read "The Write Stuff" once more in relation to anything pertaining to the Fourth Estate, I'm gonna start hockin' up the alphabet...

    The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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    ...and I suppose this gives me an excuse to put on my red jump suit and wrap-around shades and journey back to the '80s, so here goes.

    Tuesday Mashup (11/30/10)

  • This tells us that those “values voter” wingnuts have sprung into action once more and forced the Smithsonian Institution to bow to their collective will…

    The Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery is under fire for hosting an exhibit that is filled with homoerotic art, an image of Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts and a video of Jesus on a crucifix covered in ants, outraging conservative leaders and prompting some Republican lawmakers to call for a congressional investigation.

    “Absolutely we should look at their funds,” Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, told Fox News.

    “If they’ve got money to squander like this – of a crucifix being eaten by ants, of Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, men in chains, naked brothers kissing – then I think we should look at their budget.”

    The video, “A Fire in My Belly,” is included in the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibit titled, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” which is scheduled to run through the Christmas season.
    An update on the Fix Noise site tells us that, because of the collective screeching of these life forms, the Smithsonian is canceling the video exhibit, even though…

    National Portrait Gallery historian and exhibit co-curator David C. Ward told, which first reported the story, that “A Fire in My Belly” reflects the “violent, disturbing and hallucinatory” aspects of the AIDS epidemic.

    “Fire in My Belly is an example of political engagement in artistic form with the AIDS epidemic by an artist deeply concerned with the exploration of our response to that medical and societal calamity,” Ward said. “That it is violent, disturbing, and hallucinatory precisely replicates the impact of the disease itself on people and a society that could barely comprehend its magnitude.”
    This is a timely reminder due to the following (noted here)…

    After 15 years of increased support for HIV/AIDS programs, funding stagnated due to the global economic crisis. In 2009, commitments from donor governments totaled $8.7 billion, equal to that in 2008.

    National testing campaigns have proven successful in several African countries like Burkina Faso, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania. South Africa has launched the world's largest HIV testing campaign, aiming to test 15 million people by June 2011.

    "It is clear that without continued and strengthened financial and programmatic commitments, there is considerable danger that these achievements could be undone," the report said.
    For this reason, anything that can possibly draw attention to the fight against HIV/AIDS is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. And it’s not in the least bit surprising that “family values” hypocrites like Jack Kingston (who, apparently, is still searching for his flag lapel pin) and Bill Donahue have sprung into action to criticize the Smithsonian video (and OMIGOD! Ellen DeGeneres is HOLDING HER BREASTS!!).

    (And yes, I’ll be honest and say that I can live without seeing Jesus on the cross with ants on him also. But sometimes, art needs to be shocking to make a point, particularly concerning HIV/AIDS.)

    However, now with the Congressional Republicans ascendant, we can look forward to a fresh round of caterwauling over “values” stuff like this as a smokescreen while they shower more perks on their true “base” in the form of tax cuts, spending and legislation designed to make their alleged burden as light as possible.

    Still, though, it galls me in the extreme that a bunch of uptight, self-serving hypocrites think that, as usual, they can dictate what kind of art I choose to patronize. Well, two can play at that game.

    This tells us that the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery is scheduled to run an exhibit on The Sainted Ronnie R starting next July; if you wish to follow my lead and protest the exhibit, contact the Smithsonian by clicking here (And by the way, Smithsonian, which “four failed presidencies” are you referring to in the Reagan writeup? That’s a rather snarky and pointless jab at at least one Democratic president. Is it necessary to point out the benefits of The Great Society and the Panama Canal treaty once more?).

    Actually, I think protesting Reagan in the name of activism on behalf of HIV/AIDS is highly appropriate, since, as noted here, it was his cowardly neglect in the face of the fight against it that exacerbated it (which I’m sure will be dutifully ignored in the Reaganalia scheduled to inundate us beginning next February, the 100th anniversary of his birth…maybe someone can find a “welfare queen” and evict her as a “tribute”).

  • Update 1: More from Think Progress here...

    Update 2: Even more apropos to acknowledge the exhibit given this...

  • Next (speaking of self-serving Repugs), Rick Santorum tells us the following about health care reform (here)…

    "First, get rid of Obamacare," Santorum said. "Repeal it. There is nothing, nothing there that is worth saving, in my opinion."

    Most calls for repealing the law exclude provisions such as stopping insurers from rejecting clients because of pre-existing conditions or allowing children to stay on their parents' plan until they are 26 years old. Polls show wide support for those provisions. Voters do not like the law's mandate that everyone must buy insurance.

    Asked for clarification at an evening event, Santorum stood by his earlier remarks. He said the pre-existing conditions clause in the law doesn't work because it allows people to wait until they get sick to buy insurance, which he said would cause insurance premiums to "skyrocket."
    (Hence the need for the mandate, but good luck trying explain that to Little Ricky – maybe there’s some wiggle room on the “tax” against those who don’t subscribe, though.)

    While it seems that the polling numbers on health care reform have pretty much solidified for the moment based on this, this tells us that only 14 percent of those polled want our politicians to tinker with the new law as opposed to, you know, doing stuff to create actual jobs.

    So yeah, Ricky, you go ahead and harp on something that is at least partly favorable with a majority of those polled, to say nothing of lowering the deficit over time. Just keep running on that and let me know how you make out, OK?

  • Finally, Senator “Country First” (Which one, I sometimes wonder?) had some good words to say here about departing U.S. Senator from Wisconsin Russ Feingold (and once again, an eternal pox on that state for tossing Feingold in favor of the odious Ron Johnson).

    What an utter shame that this charlatan (McCain, I mean) didn’t have the moral character to, in tribute to his exiting colleague, support the DISCLOSE Act as noted here, the passage of which would have prevented in future elections the disgrace of the “U.S.” Chamber of Commerce ads that largely proved to be Feingold’s undoing (actually, as Steve Benen tells us, McCain not only opposed DISCLOSE, he filibustered it).

    With the Repug takeover of the House and their gridlock of the Senate, you can rest assured that DISCLOSE is dead for the foreseeable future.

    And McCain will still continue to be invited to the Sunday morning gab fests as if absolutely nothing has happened.
  • Monday, November 29, 2010

    Monday Stuff

    I thought this was kind of witty...

    ...and speaking of The Fab Four, the "quiet Beatle" left us nine years ago today (this was a hit for Ringo of course, but George produced it for him).

    Monday Mashup (11/29/10)

  • Yep, I always just assumed that departing Dem U.S. House Rep David Obey was a guy who had his priorities in order, and this proves it as far as I’m concerned.

    Seriously, we’re losing a ton of really solid Democrats from this Congress (once more, our everlasting thanks go out to the High Court of Hangin’ Judge JR for the horrible Citizens United atrocity of a ruling that had a lot to do with this, as well as those “moderate” Dems and independent voters), and Obey is definitely one of them.

    And the impact won’t be truly felt until the sheer partisanship, ineptitude and favoritism of the 112th Congress is on display for all to see, a bunch we will be saddled with for a minimum of two years.

  • Next, I give you an interview that appeared in yesterday’s New York Times magazine with hedge fund manager Pete Peterson, who has been “fixated” on the federal deficit for years, as Deborah Solomon of the Times tells us, with an emphasis on Social Security…

    Q: The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, whose report is due out Dec. 1, has been nicknamed the Cat Food Commission, because many of us are worried about cutbacks to Social Security that would have older people eating cat food to survive.

    A: That’s absurd.
    Actually, it isn’t (as if Peterson would know anyway). What is, though, is Peterson’s claim (noted here) that there is no Social Security trust fund, when in fact it exists and, as of 2007, held more than $2 trillion in government bonds.

    As the truthout article by Dean Baker also tells us…

    Fifteen years ago, Peter Peterson used some of the immense wealth he had accumulated as an investment banker to create and bankroll the Concord Coalition. The Concord Coalition was designed as a bipartisan organization promoting fiscal responsibility, with its primary targets being Social Security and Medicare. Peterson and his crew put out screeds, with titles like "Grey Dawn," that attacked these programs and warned that the growing wave of elderly would bankrupt the country.

    Like most of the granny bashers, Peterson routinely played fast and loose with the facts. For example, while warning about the poverty facing future generations, he suggested cutting the annual Social Security cost of living adjustment because the official consumer price index (CPI), to which retirees benefits are indexed, overstates the true rate of inflation. However, if the CPI really overstates inflation, then incomes are rising much more rapidly than the official data show; and future generations will be far richer than we could possibly imagine. (If income rises by 4 percent and the inflation rate is 3 percent, then real income has risen by 1 percent. But if our measure of inflation is wrong, and the rate of inflation is just 2 percent, then real income has risen by 2 percent.)

    Peterson also did his best to conceal the real source of projected budget problems: a broken US health care system. As Peter Orszag, the director of the Congressional Budget Office, has repeatedly noted, the projections for exploding deficits are driven by projections for exploding costs for government health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid. The costs of these programs are in turn driven by rising private sector costs.

    If we fix our health care system and get costs under control, then the growing population of elderly will pose no greater burden in the future than in the past. (We have always had an aging population. We live longer than our parents' generation and our children's generation will live longer than our generation.) If we don't fix our health care system then it will inflict enormous damage on the economy, even if we eliminate Medicare, Medicaid, and other public health care programs altogether.

    But Peterson's priority is not fixing health care, it is cutting Social Security and Medicare; and he is not a man to let facts or logic get in his way. He used his wealth to buy a substantial audience for his books and his views, most often in forums where they could not be challenged by real experts.
    What’s more, the blogger dday of firedoglake tells us here that one in four of the staffers of the bogus Erskine Bowles/Alan Simpson debt commission have contacts “from groups that are ideologically committed to destroying the social safety net in America,” Social Security and Medicare in particular.

    And as dday also tells us, presidential staffers had to go get the commission report from the Internet before the official release, while it was prematurely leaked to Peterson’s own advocacy groups in advance (kind of tells you what Peterson thinks of the White House even though it granted his cause such prominence).

    In addition, Daily Kos diarist Willa Rogers tells us here, the following alternatives apparently weren’t even considered…

    What about opening up Medicare to younger, healthier populations? Or using the VA formulary to control Part D costs for prescription drugs?
    And I thought the following response from the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka was dead-on…

    The chairmen of the Deficit Commission just told working Americans to ‘Drop Dead.’ Especially in these tough economic times, it is unconscionable to be proposing cuts to the critical economic lifelines for working people, Social Security and Medicare.

    Some people are saying this is plan is just a “starting point.” Let me be clear, it is not.

    This deficit talk reeks of rank hypocrisy: The very people who want to slash Social Security and Medicare spent this week clamoring for more unpaid Bush tax cuts for millionaires.

    What we need to be focusing on now is the jobs deficit. Working families already paid for Wall Street’s party that tanked our economy. If we actually want to address our economic problems, we need to end tax breaks that send American jobs overseas and invest in creating jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and green technologies.
    Also, as far as Peterson’s dismissive reaction to the term “catfood commission” is concerned (a term coined first apparently by either Digby or Jane Hamsher), what follows goes a long way to explaining why it is apropos; as Dem U.S. House Rep (and commission member) Jan Schakowsky notes here “the commission has been resistant to producing distributional analyses of the various proposals. If they did, she says, ‘we would know who benefits and who pays’.”

    Silly Jan – as far as Bowles/Simpson/Peterson are concerned, suffering is for the little people (and once again, let me join the call for a “jobs” commission now that the Bowles/Simpson cat is out of the proverbial bag, with an employment “roundtable” representing something that could actually be constructive…it would be nice to hear our “hopey, changey” chief executive come out for that, now wouldn’t it?).

  • Continuing, against my better judgment, I’m actually going to comment on something by Charles Krauthammer, which is more nonsense in response to the START treaty currently awaiting Senate ratification (here, and if Jon “Earmark King” Kyl has his way, that is something we will never see – maybe I should let Krauthammer be, but he’s read by so many damn people who actually think he isn’t an utter partisan)…

    The problem is never the weapon; it is the nature of the regime controlling the weapon. That's why no one stays up nights worrying about British nukes, while everyone worries about Iranian nukes.

    In Soviet days, arms control at least could be justified as giving us something to talk about when there was nothing else to talk about, symbolically relieving tensions between mortal enemies. It could be argued that it at least had a soporific and therapeutic effect in the age of "the balance of terror."

    But in post-Soviet days? The Russians are no longer an existential threat. A nuclear exchange between Washington and Moscow is inconceivable. What difference does it make how many nukes Russia builds? If they want to spend themselves into penury creating a bloated nuclear arsenal, be our guest.
    Actually, I think we are on our way to “penury” with our “bloated nuclear arsenal” also.

    I will give Krauthammer credit for consistency in his argument, but that’s all. As noted here, he said similar moves to control Russian nukes by The Sainted Ronnie R were “ignorant and pathetic,” even though, as noted here…

    (START, renamed START I) barred its signatories from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads atop a total of 1,600 ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and bombers. START negotiated the largest and most complex arms control treaty in history, and its final implementation in late 2001 resulted in the removal of about 80 percent of all strategic nuclear weapons then in existence.
    And as the New York Times pointed out here…

    Republican senators who are now resisting ratifying the New Start arms treaty should certainly have been paying more attention to the Lisbon meeting (in which NATO leaders agreed to jointly develop a shield intended to intercept short- and medium-range missiles). They have been so busy claiming, inaccurately, that the treaty would constrain future missile defense systems that they apparently failed to notice real progress toward the only effective system that current technology permits.

    Unlike the troubled missile defense program here, the European shield can be built at a modest cost with already-tested systems. Claims that President Obama is shortchanging America’s nuclear arsenal are also off-base. The administration backs spending more than $85 billion on maintaining and modernizing nuclear weapons over the next decade, far more than we think is needed.
    Ratifying START would send a signal to the world that we’re prepared to act like adults on this issue in the face of a common enemy, which would be Iran (something that apparently is more on the minds of world leaders based on the leaked Wikileaks cables than we were led to believe). But then again, cooperation on this would remove the spotlight from Kyl and focus it back where it belongs, and that would be on a strategy of deterrence and a common-sense reduction of WMD possessed by the two biggest nuclear proliferators on the planet.

    And given Kyl’s antics, can someone explain to me why the Repugs are supposed to be the “daddy party” again?

  • Finally, David Carr of the New York Times doesn’t think the recent controversy over the TSA “pat downs” is a big deal (here – three guesses who he blames for causing the furor)…

    If a squadron of mad scientists surrounded by supercomputers gathered in a laboratory to try to conjure a single news topic that would blow up large, they could not touch the T.S.A. pat-down story.

    It began with a Drudge Report link to a video on Nov. 13 of an intrusive pat-down, and then leapt to social media and the rest of the Web. Twitter lighted up, flashing 4,000 posts an hour with cheeky hash tags, and in just the first two days of last week, there were 60 million Google queries for information on the change in the Transportation Security Administration protocol, according to Trendrr, a social media measurement company.

    Cue the media mushroom cloud: by Tuesday, there were print reports about the new scanning technology, heavy-breathing blog posts about the government using the technology to alter or gather DNA (yow), and every cable channel featured wall-to-wall speculation about what would happen when people got to the airport on Wednesday and how many would be carrying lanterns and pitchforks.

    “This story tapped right into the central nervous system of the collective consciousness,” said Mark Ghuneim, chief executive of Trendrr. “It was huge.”

    But then, in the real world, nothing happened.

    The pat-down story was the equivalent of vaporware — it seemed as if something huge was about to happen, but it turned out that it was a story about a story, the noisy, fervent sound of a news system feeding on itself.
    It’s almost comical to point out that Carr apparently doesn’t even read his own newspaper; as Times writer Ariel Kaminer told us on Saturday (here)…

    Last Monday at Kennedy International Airport, as I went — ticket in hand — to experience it for myself, a uniformed officer informed me that she would be patting me down from head to toe, using a new enhanced technique. On “sensitive areas” — the breasts, buttocks and groin — she would use the back of her hand.

    Did I have any metal objects in my pockets? No. Would I prefer a private screening area? No.

    Then the officer’s hands did as she warned me they would. They poked around the back of my collar, they extended along my shoulders, they ran up and down my arms, they smoothed down my back, they slid inside the back waistband of my pants and they glided down my butt. The officer bent down and I felt her hands skate up the back of my left thigh — all the way up — and then do the same on my right. Then she rose, came around in front of me, and began again.

    As she acquainted herself with the precise topography of my bra, it seemed a fitting moment to get to know each other a bit. “I bet people are freaking out about this,” I said.

    It wasn’t much of a bet. Those freakouts — by passengers who were subjected to the new screening techniques, by passengers who have never been and want to keep it that way, by elected officials — had already gone viral. A “National Opt-Out Day” had already been scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving to protest the full-body scanners. Still, opting out of them may shield you from prying electronic eyes, but it just lands you where I was, right in the palm of the security agency’s roving hands.

    So, were people freaking out? My screener flashed me a “you don’t know the half of it” look. Then she worked her way over my belly and inside the waistband of my jeans. (A note to airline travelers: You might want to rethink those fashionably low-waist pants. I wished I had.) Then it was up and down my thighs again, and over a “sensitive area” indeed.
    Geez, it sound like the least the screener could have done was to offer her a cigarette afterwards.

    There aren’t too many issues where people who are miles apart ideologically can agree, but this appears to be one (here). And Isaac Yeffett, former Security Director for Israel's El Al Airlines, basically said here on “Countdown” that such measures are a waste of time, as opposed to a simpler interview technique (and I would say that the Israelis have a good track record on this stuff).

    As for me, the next time I have to travel domestically, I’ll stick with Amtrak.
  • Sunday, November 28, 2010

    Sunday Stuff

    RIP Leslie Nielsen (and stuff like this is tougher than it looks, by the way - from the hilarious "Police Squad!" TV series that spawned the "Naked Gun" movies - loved the first one, the second one was OK, and when it comes to the third one, the less said, the better)...

    ...and here is a cover of the Bee Gees tune as a musical remembrance of sorts.