Saturday, January 01, 2011

Saturday Stuff

We know Richard Holbrooke passed away a few weeks ago, but I recently came across this item, and I thought it was an interesting remembrance, particularly about the Kosovo war...

...and whaddaya know? Look who received an OBE (here - and congrats to Trevor Horn and Annie Lennox also).

Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Stuff

As we watch the train wreck of the 112th Congress unfold, keep in mind what the American sheeple voted out of office; namely, grownups who actually got stuff done, as Rachel Maddow reminds us here...

...and I give you the following from the land of Dan Boren, Tom Cole, Jim Inhofe, Tom Coburn, etc., though it could easily be replayed across the country (a bit of a happy ending, though - hat tip to Crooks and Liars)...

...and I got a kick out of this earlier this year, so I thought I'd put it up once more...

...and I guess this is an appropriate sendoff to 2010.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday Stuff

Before the year ends, I want to revisit some stuff such as this, which is K.O.'s Special Comment on the Citizens United ruling from January, in which Olbermann proved to be sadly prescient...

...and I can't recall whether or not I put this up already, but even if I did, I think it's worth another shot.

Doomsy's Do-Gooders And Dregs (2010 - Pt. 10) - update

(Time to wrap this up...Part One is here, Part Two is here, Part Three is here, Part Four is here, Part Five is here, Part Six is here, Part Seven is here, Part Eight is here, and Part Nine is here.)


Rory Markas, Jean Biden (VP Joe’s mom), Miep Gies, Eric Rohmer, Teddy Pendergrass, William J. Lederer, Robert Parker, Erich Segal, Kate McGarrigle, Steven Lovelady, Air America, Jean Simmons, Pernell Roberts, Howard Zinn, J.D. Salinger, Tom Brookshier, Andrew Lange, Jerilyn Ross, John Murtha, Phil Harris, Charlie Wilson, Dick Francis, Doug Fieger, Melanie Shouse, Dale Hawkins, Tom “T-Bone” Wolk, Fabian Bachrach, Merlin Olsen, Juanita Goggins, Johnny Alf, Peter Graves, Charles Moore, Alex Chilton, Fess Parker, Stewart Udall, Margaret Moth, Robert Culp, Jim Marshall, Johnny Maestro, Jaime Escalante, David Mills, Malcolm Poindexter, Herb Ellis, John Forsythe, Morris Jeppson, Malcolm McLaren, Anna Walentynowicz, Dorothy Height, Benjamin Hooks, Dorothy Provine, Lynn Redgrave, Robin Roberts, Lena Horne, Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, Hank Jones, Ronnie James Dio, Bill “Wee Willie” Webber, Dennis Hopper, Rue McClanahan, John Wooden, Murray Stein, Crispin St. Peters, Manute Bol, Pete Quaife, Sen. Robert Byrd, Bill Hudson, Juanita Kreps, George Steinbrenner, Vernon Baker, Vonetta McGee, Daniel Schorr, Ben Keith, Mitch Miller, Bobby Hebb, Wayne Stephenson, Patricia Neal, Charles Bowser, Dan Rostenkowski, Abbey Lincoln, Bobby Thomson, Harold Dow, George David Weiss, William Saxbe, Dorothy Sucher, Cammie King Conlon, Paul Conrad, Robert Schimmel, Kevin McCarthy, Edwin Newman, Frederick Jelinek, Dr. William F. Harrison, Arthur Penn, Tony Curtis, Arthur Holch, Solomon Burke, Ted Sorensen, Jill Clayburgh, Sparky Anderson, Mary Hanssens, Alex Anderson, Pat Burns, Chalmers Johnson, Kris Froland, Tom Underwood, Irvin Kershner, Ron Santo, Phil Jasner, Elisabeth Edwards, James Moody, Richard Holbrooke, Blake Edwards, Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart), Steve Landesberg, Fred Foy, Bud Greenspan, Michael O'Pake, Billy Taylor, Melissa Lynch

By the way, here are some late citations:

Dregs of the Year Nominees

I admire Will Bunch and departing PA Governor Ed Rendell, but I think they’re both nuts to wax apoplectic over the decision by the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles to postpone the Sunday 12/26 home game with the Minnesota Vikings until Tuesday because of the recent snowstorm – geez people, think about public safety here, willya (here)?

And there may be a proper time and place to criticize the fact that the Chinese are ahead of this country academically (putting aside the craven stupidity in this country of running up a trade deficit with them and deciding to reward the “pay no price, bear no burden” crowd with pointless tax cuts and underfunding education in the process), but the occasion of cancelling a football game does not qualify for that, IMHO.

I’ll tell you what, Governor – if you want to weigh in with some genuine umbrage over the weather, aim some at your New Jersey counterpart Governor Bully, who took a typically Republican “out” for himself by taking a vacation to Disneyworld (here – and kudos to Dem Newark Mayor Cory Booker who made himself useful by delivering diapers to a homebound mother).

(And for all the brouhaha, the Iggles ended up losing the game.)

Dregs of the Year Nominee

The Daily Tucker himself here for saying that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick should have been “executed” (as always, threats of violence mean nothing to the wingnuts when it comes to disparaging people with whom they disagree)

Dregs of the Year Nominees

Alexander Pirone, 21, and Catherine McGrath, 24 – as the Philadelphia Daily News tells us here, the two burst into St. Charles Borromeo Church in Drexel Hill, PA shortly after Christmas midnight mass began and…well…

"At one point in time, they were fondling one another in the pew to the point where a couple of the church goers had to tell them to stop acting like morons," (police superintendent Michael) Chitwood said. "They had to tell them that they were there to worship and pray and stop making a spectacle of themselves."

When the Mass was over, (Officer Samuel) Sproull (who was attending Mass) decided to wait for the couple outside of the church, but they never came out, Chitwood said. As the priest was about to lock up the church for the night, an EMT worker who also attended the Mass told Sproull that he'd seen the couple go downstairs and never come up, police said.

Sproull went downstairs and found Pirone sitting on the steps and McGrath locked in the bathroom, flushing the toilet, Chitwood said. When he was able to get the restroom door open, Sproull found four glassine bags in the toilet that are typically used to hold heroin, Chitwood said. A search of McGrath turned up a plastic vial with several bags of heroin in it as well as 43 pills, he said. Sproull also found numerous dangerous pills and narcotics on Pirone, Chitwood said. Both Pirone, of Clifton Heights, and McGrath, of Springfield, smelled of alcohol at the time too, according to police.
Authorities believe the two were planning to rob the church, but now they’re in jail for their trouble (I almost think that at least “two hots and a cot” are too good for these losers).

Update: Here are some more entries:

Do Gooder of the Year Nominee

President Obama, for his recess appointment of James Cole as Deputy Attorney General – as noted here, Cole busted disgraced former House Speaker Baby Newton Leroy Gingrich (of course, Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the NYT considered the Cole appointment “controversial” here... more corporate media harrumphing)

(I think this is 3-4 Do Gooder citations and 3-4 Dregs citations each to Obama, by the way.)

Do Gooder of the Year Nominee

I’m sure his sentence suspension of Gladys and Jamie Scott, two sisters serving double-life sentences for an armed robbery in which they were alleged to have netted $11, was an act of craven political opportunism by Repug Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour to deflect the controversy he created over his “White Citizens Council” remarks to The Weakly Standard, but it was still the right thing to do, and he deserves credit for it (here).

And now, without further ado...

Do Gooder Of The Year

I’ve gone around and around on this one, but I just don’t know how it could be anyone else but Julian Assange.

And I’m sure the first objection to this citation is that there is a pending rape charge against him. Well, as noted here, the charge was dropped in August of this year, but the Swiss refilled the charge. And according to the post from Zennie62 of the San Francisco Chronicle, the charge is based on the fact that Assange had consensual sex with two women, one in her 20s and one in her 30s, without a condom (and apparently, not using a condom in Sweden constitutes a rape charge punishable by two years in prison if convicted). So it sounds to me like this charge against Assange is definitely questionable.

Another accusation against Assange is that information in the diplomatic cables he published has led to the deaths of U.S. military or Foreign Service personnel. Here is the closest I came to substantiating that accusation (and as you’ll see, I couldn’t).

This Washington Post column by former Bushco flak Marc Thiessen linked back to an AEI post in which Thiessen claimed that the identities of 100 Afghans cooperating with us were revealed (and I think it’s telling that Thiessen doesn’t say that in the WaPo column). The source of that claim (or as near to one as I can find) is, as noted here, Sarah Palin’s Facebook page, one of the places where reality-based commentary goes home to die.

I think it’s plain that the real reason for anger against Assange is that, by releasing the information quite probably provided to him by Bradley Manning (who I’m sure will never see the light of day again as a result – more on him here), he has made our government look bad in a similar manner as Daniel Ellsberg did when he released The Pentagon Papers (Keith Olbermann interviewed Jim Moore of HuffPo below for more background – Ron Paul made a similar comparison here).

Actually, I think what the leaks are exposing is some of the idiocy (to say nothing of potential criminality) of our military decision-making (and if you want to read something darkly humorous, this post based on a cable released by Assange tells us just how much Bushco was preoccupied with filmmaker Michael Moore; ask more questions and see where they lead to give you a picture of what contemptible pirates our prior ruling cabal really were).

And by the way, in response to the Wikileaks controversy, the Obama Administration has said something along the lines of “we support the free flow of information and approved access,” or whatever. I would actually believe that if, for starters, they would sign off on a federal press shield law, which they will not do. Also, while I was debating myself about Assange, Iraqi-torturing Repug U.S. House wingnut Allen West stated the following here, which helped to “seal the deal” as they say, and it’s hard to argue with Assange’s “anarchy” comment here, unfortunately.

As a final defense of Assange, I’ll turn the floor over to Glenn Greenwald (here)…

Almost as revealing as the contents of the secret U.S. cables being released by Wikileaks is the unanimity of the condemnation from "our political and media class," Glenn Greenwald of said Tuesday.[1] -- Noting the widespread currency of calls for Julian Assange's assassination, Greenwald wrote: "The way in which so many political commentators so routinely and casually call for the eradication of human beings without a shred of due process is nothing short of demented." -- "Without exception, all of these people cheered on the attack on Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of more than 100,000 innocent human beings, yet their thirst for slaughter is literally insatiable." -- "After a decade's worth of American invasions, bombings, occupations, checkpoint shootings, drone attacks, assassinations, and civilian slaughter, the notion that the U.S. Government can and should murder whomever it wants is more frequent and unrestrained than ever." -- And it is noteworthy that "These are usually the same people, of course, who brand themselves 'pro-life' and Crusaders for the Sanctity of Human Life and/or who deride Islamic extremists for their disregard for human life." -- As for the media, the response to Wikileaks is a demonstration that our servile corporate mainstream media is essentially the equivalent of state-run media, Greenwald said. -- Greenwald is not an unconditional defender of Wikileaks, but believes that "our government and political culture is so far toward the extreme pole of excessive, improper secrecy that that is clearly the far more significant threat. . . . I seriously question the judgment of anyone who -- in the face of the orgies of secrecy the U.S. Government enjoys and, more so, the abuses they have accomplished by operating behind it -- decides that the real threat is WikiLeaks for subverting that ability." ...
(More great commentary on Assange from Greenwald is here, by the way.)

I realize that divulging secrets in the manner Assange has done is not the best thing to do. However, when doing so reveals the moral bankruptcy of our foreign policy (to say nothing of putting Assange himself at great personal risk of harm), I think that puts him head and shoulders above the other nominees here (and runner-up citations to Wendell Potter for helping to “blow the whistle” on CIGNA’s odious health insurance practices – here – and to Josh Fox, the filmmaker of “Gasland” about the wreckage wrought all over this country by the exploration for natural gas – here).

Update 12/31/10: And speaking of the mess in PA over drilling in the Marcellus Shale, I give you this.

Also, 10 medical aid workers – six Americans, one German, one Briton and two Afghans - were slain in August in Afghanistan here…may God take them into His care, and may their cowardly murderers wish they had never been born.

Dregs of the Year

As I said at some point earlier, the Supreme Court of Hangin’ Judge JR would have taken this hands down for January's catastrophically awful Citizens United ruling in somewhat of a normal year.

However, BP made sure that this year was anything but normal last April (here).

And on top of that:

  • BP ran full page ads in newspapers saying they had taken “full responsibility” for the spill, even though 76 percent of those polled disapproved of their handling of the spill (here).

  • BP bused in 400 temporary workers for a photo-op when President Obama toured the Gulf region to examine the spill (here).

  • Taking full advantage of the tragedy, BP bought up the rights to oil-related search terms to make its site show up first on search engines (here).

  • Showing that, among other shortcomings, BP has no sense of irony, they put up signs at their stations at the time of the Gulf disaster telling customers that they are responsible for any spills (here).

  • BP and their corporate partners Transocean and Halliburton skipped hearings in Mississippi on the spill here.

  • As noted here, former BP CEO Tony Hayward predicted a lot of “illegitimate” lawsuits over the spill because “this is America” (Gee, any wonder why Hayward was forced out?).
  • Also concerning the disaster in the Gulf, I should note that I could fill up tons of space on this site if I chronicled every stupid thing Charles Krauthammer ever said or wrote even more than I do already, but this example was particularly ridiculous; in May, he blamed “environmentalists” for the BP spill.


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

    After Hayward took his fall, his replacement pretty much picked up where Hayward left off.

    Here, Robert Dudley launched a “feisty” defense of the company and “accus(ed) the media and some people in the oil industry of fear-mongering and a ‘rush to judgment’ that exacerbated the crisis.”

    Your company is responsible for the worst ecological disaster that has ever inflicted this country, pal. So why don’t you just go and pour yourself a great big, heaping glass full of STFU (and a related dishonorable mention goes out to Bobby “Don’t Call Me Piyush” Jindal for this and this).

    And in case anyone thinks I plan to give Dems a pass on this, I should note that former House Rep and “Bush Dog” Gene Taylor of Mississippi compared the spill to “chocolate milk” here and said it would “break up naturally.”

    Update 2/20/11: And the beat goes on, sadly (here)...

    WASHINGTON – Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a top scientist's video and slides that she says demonstrate the oil isn't degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor.

    That report is at odds with a recent report by the BP spill compensation czar that said nearly all will be well by 2012.
    In addition to BP, I have two runner-up Dregs of the Year citations. The first is to anyone in this country or overseas belonging to what is known as “the pain caucus,” who claims to support deficit reduction at the expense of any kind of stimulus meant to encourage employment (though, truth be told, all they really care about is the most favorable high-end tax rates possible at the expense of everyone else).

    The second citation goes to everyone in this country who voted for a Republican last November (Update: Also, to those who didn't bother to vote at all).

    Now believe me, I’ve tried to settle for the explanation of “well, the economy stinks, so of course the Democrats lost.” However, that to me doesn’t come even close to a reasonable excuse.

    The Republicans, then as now, have offered nothing but the same failed policies that originally got us into the mess we currently face. The biggest fault of the Democrats is that they failed to remedy the epochal blunders of Bushco and the Republican congress of the earlier part of this decade quickly enough to suit a spoiled electorate (the closest I came to reading a column that summarized what took place was this from Pulitzer Prize-winner Eugene Robinson, who basically said that the voters of this country were consumed by a “temper tantrum,” which ended up enabling you-know-who – and when it comes to Republican enablers, Media Matters had an interesting related post here).

    Oh, and in another gloriously intelligent move; the voters of PA-16 absolutely insist on sending Joe Pitts back to Congress every two years. Well, guess what? Now this guy, as incoming head of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health in the House, has some real power and can really f*ck things up for women first and foremost on the issue of choice (more on this almost unspeakably depressing development here).

    Update 1/2/11: More here also.

    With a Republican governor, an incoming Republican U.S. Senator and U.S. congressman and what appears to be a thus-far endangered Democratic U.S. Senator (if this is any indication), to say nothing of a state government which is pretty much a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republican Party, I would say that our beloved commonwealth of PA is pretty much up the proverbial creek without a paddle. And we have a gang of utterly partisan, quite likely prejudiced and thoroughly misinformed voters to thank for it (by the way, I’m in my early 50s, and that remark is aimed pretty much at anyone 30 years of age or older, and a few younger voters also). You all should be proud of yourselves for the likely disasters to come (I also wonder if the prior ruling cabal before Obama did a far better job of embedding a panic/stupidity reflex into most of the voters of this country than anyone realized after 9/11, and that has become the default option, if you will).

    Update 1/5/11: I probably should have thought of this way before now, but what is noted in this video contains what, for me, will easily be the most enduring image of the 2010 elections.

    And with that, as is my custom, I usually go “meta” at this point and thank everyone who has taken time over the course of the year to read this site, and I do so again now. However, I have to tell you that I’m really unsure how to proceed at this point. More so than at any time prior to now, the events of last month have made it thoroughly clear to me that my efforts at debunking the various right-wing nonsense and trying to bring something approximating truth to stupidity is not unlike spitting into a tornado. As Rachel Maddow, among others, has pointed out, the right-wing noise machine is thoroughly self-sustaining at this point; I can recall a time when they were considered to be part of the “fringe” in our media environment, but now they are thoroughly mainstream. And I can’t change that, not by myself anyway (there are literally new idiotic narratives being concocted by National Review, Tucker Carlson, the Washington Times, Andrew Malcolm, Marc Thiessen,, the Wall Street Journal, etc., etc. every day – usually, debunking them for the moment just means that they’ll return a few days or weeks later with another twist that bears no resemblance to discernable reality either).

    What I envision at the moment are most weeks where I may post for 3-4 days tops. That depends on a number of factors, though. One is the extent of my activities which actually generate income, which this site most certainly doesn’t (and that’s just an observation on my part, not a complaint – kind of hypocritical for me to bitch about that when I don’t tip other sites myself). The other I guess is the level of disaster that our Republican overlords will inflict on us when they seize power for real next year (and on that subject, I’ve been meaning to compliment the Senate Dems on their attempts to change the rules for the next session, though sadly they’re more than a little late with that effort; that also assumes that intelligent legislation will be coming to them from the Repug-controlled House, which to me is an utterly laughable prospect).

    Maybe I’ll change my mind as events warrant, but I’m going to wait and see. I’ll keep you posted.

    And despite it all, I hope everyone has a Happy 2011.

    Wednesday, December 29, 2010

    Wednesday AM Stuff

    We in the reality-based community know that, just because of the increased amounts of snow in these parts over the last couple of winters, that doesn't mean that global warming is any less of an issue - actually, Dr. Reese Halter explains how that means that the problem is getting worse ( the way, Sam Seder sitting in for K.O. on "Countdown" did a good report here comparing Obama and Michael Vick to Dubya and Scooter Libby - no video I can embed here yet - the stuff that matters starts at about 2:22; I though the "weather map" bit Seder did here was pretty clever, and if you want a chuckle, stick around to see Rachel Maddow's "light saber")...

    ...and again, no video here, but I just like the song, so here it is.

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    Wednesday Mashup (12/29/10)

    Kind of a "Turbo" version coming up here…

  • With the departure of the 111th Congress, it looks like it’s time for the wingnuts to begin their umbrage festival over how much further this latest session allegedly ended up sinking our country into debt (here).

    I’m not going to waste any more time trying to dissect this, since I’m sure a week or so later someone who knows more about these matters than I do will end up pointing out how such a conclusion is wrong (For example, how is it the fault of this Congress that it has spent funds for wars Iraq and Afghanistan that did not originate on its watch? Or for Dubya’s useless stinking tax cuts for the “pay no price, bear no burden” crowd, which deprived our government of needed revenue?).

    Instead, I’ll merely point out (speaking of Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History) that this shows how much he added to the debt versus other presidents in the last 50 or so years, and wonder how the right-wing echo chamber can carry reality avoidance to yet another whole new level.

  • Also (speaking again of Number 43), the book he allegedly authored, “Decision Points,” has sold 2 million copies, as noted here.

    Considering the voluminous instances of plagiarism, as noted here, I’m sure that, in another dimension somewhere, P.T. Barnum is having one great big laugh after another, both over the author and the poor suckers who shelled out hard-earned money to read a tome that Dubya was too lazy to actually write himself.

  • Finally, there was much rejoicing at the Daily Tucker here over the upcoming return of the U.S. House from the “iron-fisted” Nancy Pelosi (too damn funny – some reality-based commentary on the former speaker is here) to “show Republicans are listening to Americans frustrated with Washington’s ways of doing business”…

    One of the most significant changes — and a favorite of Tea Party activists — will require members of Congress who introduce legislation to cite the powers in the Constitution to enact it. To emphasize the importance of the U.S. Constitution, Boehner will have it read aloud on Jan. 6.
    As dday tells us here…

    This is fairly anodyne stuff, and if it’s the worst by-product of the Tea Party’s newfound prominence in national politics, we’ll have all dodged a very large bullet. But this just seems needlessly silly to me. If legislation is unconstitutional that will come out somewhere down the line. Entire court cases are devoted to this question, I’m told. And a line inside the legislation, which “proves” the Constitutionality, just isn’t going to be good enough for the judicial branch, I can safely assume.

    There’s an Office of Legislative Counsel which already provides advice on Constitutional matters to lawmakers. So this mechanism already exists. Spelling it out in the legislation may make a few tea party activists happy (although I doubt it), but it does nothing to actually address matters of constitutionality.
    And given how thoroughly those newly-minted Repug reps elected to Capitol Hill are likely to be absorbed into the corporatist wing of their party (as noted here), a recitation of the Constitution is all the teabaggers are likely to get for their trouble.

    Tee hee hee…

  • Update 1/3/11: I thought this was a terrific post by David Waldman concerning the whole "reading of the Constitution" thing, particularly the stuff on John Lewis.

    Monday, December 27, 2010

    Monday Stuff

    (Still kind of an off-on posting period at the moment - I'll definitely try to have something this week.)

    It looks like there may be an end in sight to the Korean hostilities if a particular demand of the "Dear Leader" can be met, as The Onion News Network tells us here...

    Kim Jong Il Ends Nuclear Program For Lead In Next 'Batman'

    ...and as a tribute of sorts to incoming Repug U.S. House Rep Joe Walsh and his decision to forego taxpayer-funded health care as a member of Congress (here), I thought this was appropriate (sorry, no video).

    Sunday, December 26, 2010

    Sunday Stuff

    I suppose this officially marks the end of Christmas, though the season isn't over (not until about 1/6 as far as yours truly is concerned - and oh yeah, the snow keeps us in the mood a bit also)...

    ...and Turner Classic Movies put together what I thought was a nice tribute to those in the movie biz who left us last year (though a mention here didn't make it, unfortunately).