Saturday, May 07, 2011

Saturday Stuff

"Swipe" this, money-grubbing Wall Street a-holes (see what happens when you kick out the adults in the 111th Congress and put the little kids in power in the 112th, all you morons who voted for the Repugs last fall?)...

...and yes, I'm sure this video will give rise to another lecture about personal morality and lax judicial sentencing, as if that has anything whatsoever to do with the ridiculous subservience to any whim of the NRA, particularly in our beloved commonwealth...

...and what would you say if you had the opportunity?...

...and I could do without the talky intro here, nice brogue and all, but I still think this will be a hit for the youngsters :-).

Friday, May 06, 2011

Friday Stuff

It seems like every bit of bad news imaginable turns out to be good news for Big why am I not surprised that easily the most positive development this week turns out to be bad news for these crooks...

...and I just love it when Jim DeMint proves to the entire world what a lying boob he truly is (here)...

...and look who's 80? And did he ever win a championship? Not sure (maybe with the Mets), but he should have (yep, he did in 1954)...

...and I guess the "Say Hey! Kid" was a bit of a "rad racer" in his day (getting closer to the summer, people).

Friday Mashup (5/6/11)

  • I give you the following from Mark Halperin’s sad excuse for a politics/news blog here, proclaiming that “Bam and Mitch (as in Daniels) Are Friends” (yeah, let’s see how long that lasts, I think to myself).

    In response, I give you the demonstration from Dem U.S. House Rep Jim Crowley here…

    …and once more, this from last night.

    See, the problem when you actually run part of the U.S. Congress, Orange Man, is that you can’t just shoot rhetorical spitballs. You actually have to govern (and I liked this too).

  • Next, I give you this item from the Bucks County Courier Times today…
    (Thumbs Down) To state Rep. John Galloway and two resolutions he introduced encouraging the state to support so-called project labor agreements (PLA) on all publicly funded construction projects.

    His argument that taxpayers will get more for their money if contractors are required to pay the "prevailing wage" to their workers is a lot of hot air. The cold truth is - Galloway's spiel is a union-bolstered ruse.

    The truth also is that PLAs knock small, local contractors out of the game. Small contractors can be more cost-efficient than big union contractors because they aren't saddled with onerous union rules that drive up the costs of the jobs they do.

    Galloway should serve the taxpayers who elected him and not the unions that want to eliminate the competition.
    I realize this newspaper’s august editorial board is never going to stop riding its anti-PLA hobby horse, so it’s incumbent on filthy, unkempt liberal blogger types such as yours truly to restate an argument I’ve made many times before, one of which is that (as noted in this Wikipedia article), non-union contractors can work in a PLA with union contractors; more follows…
    A Project Labor Agreement (PLA), also known as a Community Workforce Agreement, is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project.[1]

    Before any workers are hired on the project, construction unions and contractors have bargaining rights to determine the wage rates and benefits of all employees working on the particular project and to agree to prevent any strikes, lockouts, or other work stoppages for the length of the project.[2][3] The terms of the agreement apply to all contractors and subcontractors who successfully bid on the project, and supersedes any existing collective bargaining agreements.[2]

    PLAs are used on both public and private projects, and their specific provisions are tailored by the signatory parties to meet the needs of a particular project.[3] PLAs typically require that the contractor hire all workers through union halls, that nonunion workers pay dues for the length of the project and that the contractor follow union rules on pensions, work conditions and dispute resolution.[4] Many PLAs also require that employees hired for the project are referred by the union hiring halls, though most of these allow for alternate hiring mechanisms, including retention of a contractor's "core" or key employees.[2]

    On February 6, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order[5] encouraging the use of Project Labor Agreements on Federal projects of $25 million or more. According to the order, Project Labor Agreements promote efficient and timely completion of large-scale construction projects and prevent many of the problems inherent in such construction.[1]
    I got into more stuff concerning the proposed used of project labor agreements in the construction of the new Doylestown courthouse by Bucks Commissioner Diane Marseglia here.

    Actually, I have news for the Courier Times…by supporting PLAs and cost controls of large-scale construction projects, State Rep. John Galloway is “serv(ing) the taxpayers who elected him.”

  • Continuing, I give you the following from Repug U.S. House Rep Bill Huizenga of Michigan here…
    This week, at the dedication of a statue of President Gerald R. Ford, our 38th President, former vice president, U.S. Representative for 25 years and House Minority Leader for eight, he was praised as a bipartisan leader, a man who brought a country together in an economic and politically turbulent time.

    “Politics is a clash of ideas, not a blood sport,” Ford himself once said in a speech long after his Presidency.

    It is especially fitting that his statue was revealed in another, similar era: a divisive political climate as we fight over the best way forward on a budget, as our nation struggles with economic difficulties that have now surpassed those even Ford faced.
    As noted here, Huizenga has taken campaign funds from the family of Erik Prince, head of what was once called Blackwater. He also is chummy with the individuals behind Amway and once suggested that US intelligence agents who claimed there were no WMDs in Iraq were terrorist sympathizers (none of this stuff is illegal I know, to my knowledge, but let’s just say that it doesn’t paint a pretty picture). Oh, and Huizenga, along with all of his other Repug pals in the House, just voted for that horrific HR 3 bill from Chris Smith that attempts to redefine rape (here).

    I obviously didn’t see eye to eye with President Ford on many issues, but he commanded respect if for no other reason because of his lengthy government service noted above (as well as his Navy service – he endured some truly harrowing stuff in the South Pacific during World War II). Also (and unlike just about any other Repug out there now), he at least had enough of a sense of humor to play along with the ruthless (and hilarious) skewering he got from Chevy Chase on “Saturday Night Live” way back when.

    In short, I believe that, were President Ford still with us, he would no longer recognize (or have the patience for, probably) the hateful, misogynist, provincial, cartoonish bunch that now lay claim to the mantle of his political party, including Huizenga.

  • Finally, I came across this column at The Daily Tucker by David Bossie (here)…
    The strength of America comes from the power of the American woman. I have been married for over ten years and my wife Susan and I have four children together ranging in ages from five months to nine years. My wife is the rock of our household who holds everything together. Without her, the family bond that we share would not exist. Susan comes from a long line of conservative American women who not only keep the family unit together but, more importantly, keep our nation together.
    Of course, and that’s why he’s in charge of an organization that used to be named after a coarse, vulgar reference to a portion of the female anatomy.

    Bossie’s column is timed for Mother’s Day this Sunday, as we know, a day sponsored in this country by Julia Ward Howe (as noted here) in 1870 and originally intended to be recognized as “Mother’s Day for Peace” on June 2nd (Howe felt compelled to do something in response to the wars engulfing this country and many others, then as now sadly).

    So I’m sure you can appreciate that I think it’s more than a little disgusting for Bossie to claim to honor mothers, particularly when he violated the spirit of the peace effort upon which this day is based by doing the propaganda bit for Dubya’s Not-So-Excellent Adventure in Iraq here.

    All the same, I hope all mothers everywhere have a great day this Sunday (they should be honored each and every day besides just this one occasion).
  • Thursday, May 05, 2011

    Thursday Stuff

    I don't know who the constituents are who are represented by State Rep Steve Simon of Minnesota, but I'm quite sure they're very proud of him for this (background is here)...

    ...and from the sublime, we now go to the ridiculous (here..."baby Americans?" And leave it to goofballs like Chris Smith to betray their party's true intentions, and it would take me hours to refute Louie Gohmert's minutes of stoo-pid at the end)...

    ...and Alan Shepard became the first American in space on this date 50 years ago today...

    ...and here's a tune for the occasion (from about 11 years after the launch as I recall...not much of a vid, I know, though the fade is cool at the end).

    Thursday Mashup (5/5/11)

    (Not sure about posting for tomorrow…)

  • Anyone who has any familiarity with this blog knows how I feel about a certain Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History, but part of me really hopes that this post from Think Progress turns out to be wrong (citing a New York Daily News story).

    I mean, I had hoped there would be something that would transcend the partisan political crap and compel Number 43 to put in an appearance at the ceremony today at the site where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center once stood, timed after the killing of Osama bin Laden (here).

    Actually, I probably would not have said anything about this had it not been for this editorial in the formerly Moonie Times, which bellowed as follows…
    Unconscionable. Politicizing. A slap in the face. Those were the kinds of phrases the left deployed against President George W. Bush to suggest he was exploiting the memory of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. These same voices are now giddy with delight at the prospect of President Obama’s “mission accomplished” visit to Ground Zero on Thursday. Such hypocrisy is par for the course.

    Under other circumstances the planned wreath-laying would invite less controversy. Honoring those who fell on 9/11 days after Osama bin Laden’s demise is fitting. Given the care Mr. Obama ordered be given bin Laden’s remains, it would be unseemly if the killer received more respect than his victims. Yet liberal Democrats have poisoned the well over the past decade, lending Mr. Obama’s actions the appearance of opportunistic political theater - particularly given the approach of the 2012 campaign season.
    When it comes to “poison(ing) the well” on the issue of politicizing terror, I would ask that you read this post and view the video from “Countdown” titled “The Nexus of Politics and Terror,” then tell me which political party has “poisoned the well” on this issue and which one hasn’t.

    Also, I came across this story in which many of the students who sat with Dubya in that Florida classroom while he read “The Pet Goat” in the midst of the 9/11 attacks recall the experience, with most seeming to be sympathetic to Number 43 given that they’re now teenagers and have had some time to reflect on the whole chain of events. I don’t begrudge them their opinions, but I still believe it was wrong from Bush to continue reading the story and not simply say to the class, “Would you please excuse me, an urgent matter has come up,” or something, and head to the nearest command and control center, where it was at the time (and I actually think it was a bit gratuitous for one of the students to take a shot at Michael Moore, who I thought offered a perfectly legitimate criticism of Bush’s actions).

    We learned later, of course, that Bush acted in accordance with his “gut,” perhaps more than any other president (and just about always to the exclusion of his head), and perhaps this was just one of those times, maybe even in an effort to comfort the kids. Unhappily for us, his gut turned out to be utterly wrong so many times.

    And while we’re on the subject, I came across this item, which posited the dangerous notion that, since we’ve killed bin Laden, we can just go ahead and do the same thing to Quaddafi in Libya. This is exactly the type of jingoistic, triumphalist crap that gets us into war without end and does nothing but turn people of another skin color into refugees, auger untold damage to our military, and reap more ill-gotten gain for the “pay no price, bear no burden” bunch who, according to this, are getting just about everything their way anyway.

  • And with that in mind, I give you this from Cal Thomas (aside from bin Laden, I suppose this is topic #1)…
    The Environmental Protection Agency has prevented Shell from proceeding with its Northern Alaska (oil) drilling project after Shell reportedly invested more than $4 billion in the project. How can companies make costly investments when they are uncertain that policies allowed in one administration will still be allowed in the one that follows?
    I realize this is pretty much garden variety wankery from Thomas, particularly when you consider the following as noted here…
    In December, the EPA's Environmental Appeals Board ordered the EPA to revisit two permits the agency had granted to Shell Oil for oil exploration off the coast of Alaska. The board -- which was responding to an appeal from Alaska native and environmental groups -- determined that the EPA had made two errors in issuing the clean air permits and told the agency's regional office that they needed to be revised. On February 3, Shell announced that the drilling projects would be postponed until after 2011 due to the permit delays and Alaska's short (105 day) offshore drilling season.

    Of course, even if Shell had begun its exploratory drilling in the Arctic yesterday, it wouldn't do anything to bring down the high gas prices because the wells wouldn't start producing significant amounts of oil for several years, assuming the exploration is successful.
    However, I wanted to point out Thomas’ column for two reasons in particular. The first is upon the news that ExxonMobil made about $30 billion in profit here, so of course the Repug-run U.S. House voted to continue tax breaks for them and their energy-biz pals that they don’t need.

    The second reason is to note the findings here of students at Hamilton College on the subject of pundit accuracy; the results are that Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd of the Times were found to be the most accurate (with liberals generally more accurate than conservatives…shocking I know, but good for the students for doing this).

    And who was found to be the least accurate of the bunch? Why, Cal Thomas.

    Tee, hee, hee…

  • Continuing, it looks like Irrational Spew Online is in high dudgeon over the recount in the Wisconsin Supreme Court contest between incumbent (and likely winner, and Walker ally) David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg here, criticizing the Kloppenburg campaign for contesting 18 absentee ballots from an organization of cloistered nuns because the ballots weren’t certified (with someone named Christian Schneider harrumphing because 14 of the ballots were for Prosser and 4 for Kloppenburg…I have some questions about the supposedly honest mistake that revealed, as if by magic, 7,500 votes for Prosser before the recount started from an individual in his camp with a history of funny stuff like this at voting time, as noted here).

    Besides, it’s particularly humorous to read Republican criticism of the absentee ballot process when you recall the gyrations of the Norm Coleman campaign on the question of absentee ballots when he was challenged by eventual winner Al Franken in 2008 (here).

  • Finally, the New York Times decided to profile crackpot “historian” David Barton today here, more or less glossing over the rank distortions of this character as follows…
    He is so popular that evangelical pastors travel across states to hear his rapid-fire presentations on how the United States was founded as a Christian nation and is on the road to ruin, thanks to secularists and the Supreme Court, or on the lost political power of the clergy.

    Through two decades of prolific, if disputed, research and some 400 speeches a year on what he calls the forgotten Christian roots of America, Mr. Barton, 57, a former school principal and an ordained minister, has steadily built a reputation as a guiding spirit of the religious right. Keeping an exhaustive schedule, he is also immersed in the nuts and bolts of politics and maintains a network of 700 anti-abortion state legislators.

    Many historians call his research flawed, but Mr. Barton’s influence appears to be greater than ever. Liberal organizations are raising the alarm over what they say are Mr. Barton’s dangerous distortions, including his claim that the nation’s founders never intended a high wall between church and state.
    Yep, for my money, this article doesn’t do a whole lot of analysis of this guy, and it somehow completely forgets to mention his association with Glenn Beck (who has called Barton “the most important man in America today”), in which the two argued against the Supreme Court ruling of Stone v. Graham in 1980 while completely forgetting to note that the Court ruled as it did in respect of the “establishment” clause, which of course does not permit the federal government to make a law “respecting an establishment of religion” (here).

    Oh, and did I mention that Barton is virulently anti-gay, as noted here (and once asked why we don’t “regulate” homosexuality as we do trans fats, as noted here)?

    And Barton has criticized two of our founding fathers, John Adams here and Thomas Jefferson here, with (of course) crackpot renderings of actual events (Barton also once asked “Are American children poor because they only have two TVs instead of three?” here).

    I will give the Times credit for linking, in the story, to this People for the American Way report on Barton and how his loopy theories have gained traction among the GOP faithful.

    And I suppose it wouldn’t trouble me much if Barton continued to gain influence to the point where he emerged as the intellectual “godfather” of the wingnuts, to the point where he could lead them anywhere he wanted.

    I would settle for right over the proverbial cliff.
  • Wednesday, May 04, 2011

    Wednesday Stuff

    Happy 70th birthday greetings hereby go out to none other than George Will (from a year ago, though the Krauthammer topic is still timely)...

    ...and here's a tune for the birthday boy (digging into the archives again).

    Wednesday Mashup (5/4/11)

  • To begin, I give you the following “Foto Funny” from Enjoy.

  • Next, leave it to former Bushie Marc Thiessen to use the occasion of bin Laden’s killing to tell President Obama to apologize to those CIA officers who were allegedly persecuted by our chief executive (here)…
    In normal times, the officials who uncovered the intelligence that led us to Osama bin Laden would get a medal. In the Obama administration, they have been given subpoenas.

    On his second day in office, Obama shut down the CIA’s high-value interrogation program. His Justice Department then reopened criminal investigations into the conduct of CIA interrogators — inquiries that had been closed years before by career prosecutors who concluded that there were no crimes to prosecute. In a speech at the National Archives, Obama eviscerated the men and women of the CIA, accusing them of “torture” and declaring that their work “did not advance our war and counterterrorism efforts — they undermined them.”
    And in a somewhat shocking development, Thiessen actually links to a news story posted at HuffPo concerning the quite-correct decision by Obama to shut down the “high value” interrogation program. However, I’ll leave it up to you, dear reader, to find where Obama is calling out those in our intelligence services who participated in the program (which is a violation of the Geneva Convention, let’s not forget, a violation for which prosecution is mandated, though the Obama Administration has been loath to go that route, despite Thiessen’s bloviation to the contrary).

    This is typical for Thiessen, though, who also said here that "America is in greater danger" than it had been during the Bush administration because of President Obama's anti-terrorism policies (which makes Thiessen look particularly silly now). And as noted here, his claims that torture made us safer under Dubya are, as usual, wrong.

    Also, to invalidate Thiessen’s original argument, here and here are proof that the information that was used to hunt bin Laden was obtained through legal means, not “enhanced” methods.

  • Update 5/6/11: I should have noted earlier that Obama isn't going to prosecute anyone involved in waterboarding, as noted here (tells you what a rank propagandist Thiessen is that he didn't point that out).

  • Further, The Daily Tucker is in an uproar over the nomination of Jack McConnell to the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island (here)…
    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced its opposition to McConnell’s nomination in May 2010, marking the first time the Chamber has ever publicly denounced a district court nominee. The Chamber points out concern with McConnell’s history as a trial lawyer. His private practice law firm represented the State of Rhode Island on two major cases, one against tobacco companies and another against lead paint companies, and benefited largely from both.
    Oh yes, how awful for a law firm to actually benefit from a trial (seeing as how lawyers, you know, actually generate billable hours).
    Rhode Island and many other states won their lawsuits against tobacco companies, but McConnell’s law firm procured millions of dollars from the Rhode Island lawsuit instead of passing it onto states and taxpayers.
    I’m sure all judgments were awarded under the appropriate supervision of the presiding judge…give me a break!
    Rhode Island lost the lawsuit against lead paint companies.
    Yes…the verdict McConnell won was overturned by the state supreme court (that and a lot more is noted here).
    But, before the end of the lawsuit, one paint company, DuPont, settled with McConnell’s law firm. It’s unclear the amount McConnell’s firm received in the settlement, but DuPont made a donation to a Massachusetts hospital for the law firm in an amount McConnell had previously agreed to make himself.
    My gosh, can you imagine the financial reward McConnell no doubt reaped from forcing DuPont to donate to a hospital?? Appoint a special prosecutor immediately (and keep an eye out for the black helicopters!).

    And of course, McConnell is also supposedly to blame for helping to draft and negotiate a $264 billion, 46-state settlement in the states' lawsuit against the tobacco industry, as noted here. From 1997 until 2000, McConnell investigated the case, filed the complaint and conducted discovery and motion in the case while representing many states, including the State of New York, through its attorneys general.

    In response, I give you the following (from…
    In a joint written statement, Rhode Island Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, both Democrats, said "it is not a surprise" the Chamber would oppose McConnell "as part of their agenda."

    "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been outspoken in opposing consumer protection, campaign finance reform, the minimum wage, action on climate change, and holding polluters accountable," stated the senators. "And it is also no surprise that Rhode Islanders of all backgrounds don't agree with these outlandish claims because they know Jack McConnell to be highly qualified in every respect."
    On top of that, I give you the following from Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy…
    Jack McConnell has the strong support of his home state Senators, bipartisan support from those in his home state, and his nomination has been reported favorably by a bipartisan majority of the Judiciary Committee multiple times. This nomination is one of many that have been stranded on the Senate’s Executive Calendar for many months – stalled by Republican objection to proceeding to debate and vote.


    When I came to the Senate, the President of the United States was Gerald Ford, whose statue we just unveiled in the Rotunda. We did not filibuster any of his Federal district court nominees. We did not filibuster any of President Jimmy Carter's district court nominees. We did not filibuster any of President George H. W. Bush's district court nominees.

    We did not filibuster on the floor any of President Clinton's or any of President George W. Bush's nominees. Somehow the rules have changed for President Obama.

    This is troubling as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, but also troubling to the Federal judiciary nationwide.

    So I did a little research. Looking back over the last six decades, I found only three district court nominations—three in over 60 years—on which cloture was even filed. For two of those, the cloture petitions were withdrawn after procedural issues were resolved. For a single one, the Senate voted on cloture and it was invoked. All three of those nominations were confirmed. I trust that the nomination of Jack McConnell will also be confirmed.

    From the start of President Obama’s term, Republican Senators have applied a heightened and unfair standard to President Obama’s district court nominees. Senate Republicans have chosen to depart dramatically from the long tradition of deference on district court nominees to the home state Senators who know the needs of their states best. Instead, an unprecedented number of President Obama’s highly-qualified district court nominees have been targeted for opposition and obstruction.

    That approach is a serious break from the Senate’s practice of advice and consent. Since 1945, the Judiciary Committee has reported more than 2100 district court nominees to the Senate. Out of these 2100 nominees, only five have been reported by party-line votes. Only five total in the last 65 years. Four of these five party-line votes have been against President Obama’s highly-qualified district court nominees. Indeed, only 19 of those 2100 district court nominees were reported by any kind of split roll call vote at all, and five of those, more than a quarter, have been President Obama’s nominees, including Mr. McConnell.
    Is the McConnell case one where a “high roller” of a particular political party is being rewarded for past services rendered? Sure it is (welcome to Politics 101).

    But this time, it is supposedly different because the prerogative of a Democratic president (and an African American one at that!) is in question (and to provide some appropriate context on why this matters, I give you this; I don’t usually cite or defer to Hangin’ Judge JR, but I do when it comes to the question of the danger posed by judicial vacancies).

  • Finally, it seems that Mikey the Beloved found time to speak before the Newtown Business & Professional Association here (of course, nobody asked Mikey why he didn’t hold a town hall meeting during his recent congressional break to defend his atrocious vote for “Ryan Care,” or hold him to account for his “tele”-town hall, a tactic he once wrongly criticized Patrick Murphy for when the latter served in Congress…such “tele”-town halls, or something like it, are held by businesses all the time).

    There’s a lot of typically ripe stuff here from Mikey The Shill, but I’ll concentrate on the following in particular…
    Answering a question on energy independence, Fitzpatrick said he favors an all-in strategy that includes nuclear, oil, wind and solar.

    “We need nuclear. We haven’t’ built a nuclear plant in 10 years. We haven’t built a new refinery in 30 years. We should support companies like Gamesa, but we have to do it equally. You cannot say you’re a winner and you’re a loser.

    “I think Bush was wrong and I believe Obama is wrong on energy,” he said. “Bush loved the oil industry. Five years later, President Obama is in the White House. He denigrates the oil industry and all the tax rates are for wind and solar. And I’m as green as the next guy, but there’s no way to power this country on wind and solar.

    “We need an all-in strategy,” he said.
    Oh yes, President Obama denigrates the oil industry; that’s why domestic oil production increased last year was at its highest level since 2003 (and I’m going to keep linking to this as long as Repugs keep lying about it).

    But on the issue of Mikey supposedly being “as green as the next guy,” I give you this, telling us that he flip-flopped on drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (that remains a bad idea that would yield precious little “black crude,” not enough to make a difference at the pump, while risking truly catastrophic environmental damage) and voted against investing in cleaner energy.

    Fitzpatrick voted to fundamentally rewrite our national mining policy by ending a decade-long congressional ban on the sale of public lands to mining companies. These lands, which are currently used for recreation, wildlife, fisheries or regional drinking water, could now be sold without public input or environmental review, and Americans who now enjoy them could see them privatized and closed. The lands could even be used for real estate development or other purposes (Roll Call #601).

    Fitzpatrick voted against requiring federal agencies to identify the environmental impacts of their programs on minority and low-income populations and to develop policies for implementing their programs in a nondiscriminatory manner (Roll Call #130).

    Fitzpatrick voted to cut discretionary spending on the environment and natural resources by $2.85 billion, more than 9 percent below the previous year's levels. By 2010, funding levels for these programs would be 21 percent below the level needed to maintain current activities. Among the hardest hit are the Land and Water Conservation Fund, as well as programs to invest in clean water infrastructure, protect oceans and coasts, and conserve agricultural lands. The resolution also allowed the Arctic Refuge to be opened up for drilling through a fast track budget reconciliation bill (Roll Call #88).

    Fitzpatrick voted to waive any federal or state law in building roads, walls, fences and other barriers along U.S. borders. In addition to jeopardizing a wide array of protected federal lands, the waiver provision would deny citizens the right to appeal (Roll Call #29).
    And by the way, check out in the story where Mikey says that people are paying attention to “entitlement reform,” I suppose, “for the first time in a long time”…what a snotty bastard (to say nothing of wrong).

    In response, I have only this to ask:

    Where are the jobs, congressman??!!

  • Update 5/5/11: And speaking of Mikey, he voted for this atrocity from Chris Smith also.

    Tuesday, May 03, 2011

    Tuesday Stuff

    Yes, he still does Special Comments, this one about you-know-what (coming back to Current TV at 8 PM EST on 6/20, as a reminder)...

    ...and this has just kind of put me in the mood for something gothic, so here it is.

    Tuesday Mashup (5/3/11)

  • I just loved the corporate media tut-tutting on display in this New York Times story from Saturday…
    A group of leading Democrats, including some with close connections to the White House, are officially forming what are expected be the major outside groups to combat Republicans — and support President Obama — in the 2012 elections with help from huge donations from big money donors and corporations who will have the legal ability to stay in the shadows that Mr. Obama has previously so vocally criticized.

    The groups are to be called Priorities USA and Priorities USA Action, and, as such, are modeled after the Republican groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS that were started with help from the strategist Karl Rove and were credited with helping greatly in the party’s takeover of the House of Representatives this year — and, it happens, with facilitating a waterfall of anonymous donations from moneyed interests in the November elections.
    And of course, a quote from Jonathan Collegio of American Crossroads is provided to accuse the president of “brazen hypocrisy” (funny).

    Let me ask the following questions in response, then:
  • Who issued that horrific ruling in the Citizens United case? That would be Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican presidents.

  • Who sponsored the DISCLOSE Act (which would have gone a long way towards fixing the problem created by Citizens United)? Chris Van Hollen in the U.S. House and Charles Schumer in the U.S. Senate, both Democrats.

  • Who opposed the DISCLOSE Act? Republicans (and the ACLU, strangely enough).
  • So basically, the Democrats have done a lot to try and fix the campaign finance mess created by Republicans. However, falling short of that, they are now wisely deciding to play by the same rules that had a lot to do with their midterm congressional losses last year.

    Oh, and nice “analysis” by the Times to not mention Citizens United in the story (found mention in the comments) and say nothing about the DISCLOSE Act also (just another reason for humble, filthy, unkempt liberal blogger types like yours truly to exist, I suppose).

  • Next, before he inflicted his ultra-ridiculous blog post yesterday where he gave Obama zero credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden, J.D. Mullane propagandized as follows (here, about high gas prices and the complaints of individuals while filling up)…
    I reminded several SUV drivers that President Obama, on a recent visit to Bucks County, said they had only themselves to blame for pain at the pump.

    The president derided those who drive SUVs that get "8 miles a gallon," recommending they purchase more fuel efficient cars.
    There’s a scant bit of truth there, but Obama didn’t blame individuals for high gas prices (just because you read it at The Heritage Foundation doesn’t make it true…usually it’s the opposite) – as noted here…
    Gamesa employee Jerry Holt, who said he drives a large van to carry his big family, asked Obama if anything can be done to lower relentlessly rising gasoline prices.

    Oh, the president said, we might drill for oil a bit. But lower gas prices? In a word - nope.

    "(W)e can't just drill our way out of the problem," Obama said. Fuel efficient cars are the way to go, he said, which means Americans must switch to smaller cars. Some in audience applauded.

    "Now, I notice some folks clapped," the president said, "but I know some of these big guys, they're all still driving their big SUVs. You know, they got their big monster trucks and everything."

    Speaking directly to Holt, Obama said: "Well, now here's my point. If you're complaining about the price of gas and you're only getting eight miles a gallon, you may have a big family, but it's probably not that big. How many you have? Ten kids, you say? Ten kids. Well, you definitely need a hybrid van then."

    He continued: "None of this is going to help you this week, though. So, like I said, if you're getting eight miles a gallon, you may want to think about a trade-in."
    Mullane then went on to say that hybrid vans cost a minimum of 40 grand, and as I pointed out, that claim was preposterous as usual. Also, if someone particularly with even a small family is driving a vehicle that gets lousy gas mileage and they need the President of the United States to point out to them that they need to do something about that…well, I’m not sure they don’t deserve to be called out over it.

    And as noted here…
    “Any claim that my administration is responsible for gas prices because we've, quote/unquote, ‘shut down’ oil production -- any claim like that is simply untrue. It might make for a useful sound bite, but it doesn't track with reality.”

    The president said that he will encourage offshore oil exploration and production as a way to reduce the nation’s reliance on imports, as long as it’s safe and responsible, something he said he learned from the oil disaster in the Gulf just under one year ago.

    “Lately we've been hearing folks saying, well, you know, the Obama administration, they put restrictions on how oil companies operate offshore. Well, yes, because we just spent all that time, energy and money trying to clean up a big mess. And I don't know about you, but I don't have amnesia; I remember these things. And I think it was important for us to make sure that we prevent something like that from happening again.”

    He added that the administration is “pushing” the oil industry to take advantage of the” tens of millions” of acres of leases where they’re not producing, by providing better incentives to promote “responsible development.”

    As the national average of a gallon of gas hitting $3.58 this week, the president noted that a long line of presidents before him have promised the same things – mentioning the politics of the moment that tends to takeover when gas prices rise.

    “Remember, it was just three years ago that gas prices topped $4 a gallon. I remember because I was in the middle of a presidential campaign,” the president said, “because we were at the height of political season, you had all kinds of slogans and gimmicks and outraged politicians. They were waving their three-point plans for $2 a gallon gas. You remember that, ‘drill, baby, drill,’ and we were going through all that. And none of it was really going to do anything to solve the problem. There was a lot of hue and cry, a lot of fulminating and hand-wringing, but nothing actually happened. Imagine that in Washington.”
    Gas prices go up in the spring, and if we’re lucky, they go down in the fall. Year after year after year.

    A concept like that is so simple that I think even J.D. can comprehend it.

  • Further, I happened to stumble across the following ripe stuff from Mona Charen at (here – another “Terra! Terra! Terra!” replay upon bin Laden’s death)…
    In those harrowing first days and weeks after the 9/11 atrocity, Americans were traumatized -- but also bewildered. What vicious hatred was this? Who was this new and terrifying enemy? What could possibly motivate people to sacrifice their lives for the honor of killing innocent American civilians -- and cause thousands of others to cheer mass murder?

    Naturally, some Americans couldn't resist the temptation to ride their own hobbyhorses. We had it coming, said the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, for tolerating abortion and gay unions. (Falwell later apologized.) On the left, a veritable chorus of "blame the victim" analysis explained that America's crimes had driven our enemies to terrorism. The Nation magazine declared that America was "the world's leading rogue state."

    Noam Chomsky offered his own twist, calling the U.S. the world's chief "terrorist state." Michael Moore, who held a seat of honor at the Democratic National Convention in 2000, offered that we shouldn't be surprised by the attack because "we have orphaned so many children ... with our taxpayer-funded terrorism."
    For the record, here is the full quote from Moore along with some others:
    “We abhor terrorism - unless we're the ones doing the terrorizing. We paid and trained and armed a group of terrorists in Nicaragua in the 1980s who killed over 30,000 civilians. That was OUR work. You and me. Thirty thousand murdered civilians and who the hell even remembers!”

    “We fund a lot of oppressive regimes that have killed a lot of innocent people, and we never let the human suffering THAT causes to interrupt our day one single bit.

    We have orphaned so many children, tens of thousands around the world, with our taxpayer-funded terrorism (in Chile, in Vietnam, in Gaza, in Salvador) that I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised when those orphans grow up and are a little whacked in the head from the horror we have helped cause.”
    And while OBL is turning into shark food, let’s not forget that we did a lot to make him into what he turned out to be in the end, as noted here (nice to not repeat that same mistake).

  • In addition, I give you the following from The Weakly Standard (here)…
    The Wall Street Journal editorializes on the latest activities of Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama’s secretary of Health and Human Services. Sebelius has decided effectively to tell the elderly CEO of Forest Labs to get a new job. The Journal's editors write:

    “HHS this month sent a letter to 83-year-old Forest Labs CEO Howard Solomon, announcing it would henceforth refuse to do business with him. What earned Mr. Solomon the blackball? Well, nothing that he did—as admitted even by HHS….

    “This is a threat to every health CEO in America. If Forest wants to continue to sell its drugs to Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration — the biggest buyers of pharmaceuticals — it will have to change management. Losing the federal government as a customer is potentially crippling to a drug company.
    Now before we shed a tear for that elderly, 83-year-old Howard Solomon, CEO of Forest Labs (and how dare that mean Kathleen Sebelius actually hold a CEO in the pharma biz accountable), consider that his company is guilty of the following, as noted here…
    • 1997: The FDA declares that Forest’s Levothroid thyroid disorder product was an unapproved drug and that the company would need to seek FDA approval to continue selling it. Although the drug had been on the market for decades, no company had actually proved its safety and effectiveness to the FDA.
    • 2001: The FDA gave Forest until this year to get an approval for legal sales of Levothroid. Forest continued to sell its drug.
    • Jan. 11, 2002: Forest received a letter from FDA indicating that the agency will not recommend approving Forest’s drug.
    • Sometime in January 2002: At a meeting with the FDA, Forest executives are warned that there would be no more warnings about sales of Levothroid and that the agency will pursue legal action.
    • March 29, 2002: The FDA writes to Forest that the company’s proposed remedies for Levothroid are inadequate.
    • April 18, 2002: Forest “decided internally not to comply with the Guidance’s phase-down schedule,” according to the criminal charges.
    • May - July 2003: Forest “dramatically increased its manufacture of Levothroid” by offering customers special terms for bulk orders of several months’ supply of Levothroid.
    • Aug. 7, 2003: The FDA sends a warning letter addressed to Solomon: “Our investigators determined that you have failed to obtain an approved application and have made a deliberate decision not to follow the agency’s gradual phase-out plan,” it states. Solomon is ordered to stop making Levothroid.
    • Aug. 8 and 9, 2003: Forest directs its factory staff to work overtime until 1 a.m. filling the remaining bulk orders for Levothroid. The workers had to override the computer system to get the job done, and worked on Levothroid to the exclusion of the company’s other drug orders. The company made special arrangements for extra trucks to pick up the bulk order, according to the feds.
    (And you know it was bad if Dubya and his pals actually had to do some government oversight for a change.)

    This tells us more about Levothroid, the condition for which it is prescribed, and its side effects.

    If Solomon truly knew nothing of what his company did in marketing the drug (which I don’t believe), then he deserves to be fired for incompetence (of course, he’ll probably end up bailing with a cushy “parachute”); in the “through the looking glass” world of The Weakly Standard and the Murdoch Street Journal (where the column today originated), however, it is nothing but a “big gumint power grab” for HHS Secretary Sebelius to look out for those who would be done harm by Solomon and his company’s negligence.

  • Finally, as a Roman Catholic, I know it is cause for celebration that Pope John Paul II was beatified on Sunday May 1st (not sure why Robert Mugabe was allowed to attend the festivities, though, as noted here).

    However, I have a question; given that “May Day” was a source of pride for the Communist regime the pope opposed most of his adult life, couldn’t they have flipped the calendar a little more and found another more appropriate date instead?
  • Monday, May 02, 2011

    Monday Stuff

    In case anyone hasn't noticed, our corporate media is already starting to spin the story of bin Laden's killing along the lines of "well, he was just a figurehead at this point"...

    And Barney Frank asks a really good question here about Obama supposedly finishing the work of Dubya, or whatever...Clinton tried to kill bin Laden in the '90s and didn't get him: does anyone seriously think that, had Dubya bagged him somehow, he and his crew would have said they were finishing the work of Clinton, or whatever? Hell no - they'd rub Clinton's face in it forever...

    ...and I don't know what "base" Joe Scar is referring to here, but I'm sure there were plenty of Obama supporters gathered at Ground Zero and in front of the White House last night (his comment about "ideological leanings" illustrates what Frank is talking about)...

    ...and let's not forget that Obama got done what he said he'd do here...

    ...and as all of this played out, this song kept running around in my head; there are times when I imagine still seeing Don Havlish emptying his cart and paying for groceries at McCaffrey's Supermarket.

    More OBL Fallout (updates)

    Some interesting (but thoroughly unsurprising) pundit reactions to the death of bin Laden…
  • J.D. Mullane: A good day for America, and President Obama's job approval ratings should get a ten point bump shortly -- until the national jobs report arrives on Friday (here).

  • Andrew Malcolm (here) creates a narrative from an anonymous “career soldier” who says that “it was that such an inherently complex military team operation was being framed by Obama aides to steer way too much credit to the spectators in the White House and away from the unidentified operatives and their vast military support network.”

  • And of course, former Iran-Contra criminal Elliott Abrams said here that “It is therefore unfortunate that Mr. Obama seems to want more than that fair share the American people will naturally and rightly give him. His remarks last night were far too much laced with words like “I met repeatedly,” “at my direction,” and “I determined,” trying to take personal credit for the years of painstaking work by our intelligence community. Mr. Obama might have noted that this work began under President Bush, but as usual he did not.”

  • Uh, I wouldn’t be too quick to give Dubya credit for much of anything on this occasion given this (though Abrams, Malcolm and Mullane are reading straight from the playbook of these jackasses also).

    Even at a moment like this, they cannot give President Obama a speck of credit.

    I genuinely detest these people.

    And by the way, if you have American flags, today is a particularly good day to fly them.

    Update: Here is more right-wing unreality on this (and by the way, of all of the praise unjustly heaped on Dubya - absolutely beyond belief - at least Rummy, of all people, "walked back" his comments a bit here).

    Update 5/4/11: And of course, Rummy has now "walked back" his original "walk back" here (still hard to comprehend that we were actually ruled by these fools and frauds for eight miserable years).

    Sunday, May 01, 2011

    Rot In Peace, OBL

    Years ago, I said that I didn't want to see this character's face again unless he was dead. Now, thank God, that day has arrived (here).

    Congratulations to everyone in our military and intelligence services, particularly for those who carried out the raid that killed him, as well as any overseas partners who may have provided intelligence.

    Now, May 1st will be remembered as "Mission Accomplished" for real.

    Update 5/2/11: I think this provides some important context.

    Sunday Stuff

    Oh, and happy eighth "Mission Accomplished" day (as noted here)...

    (And in response to this, I have only to say the following...well done, if it turns out to be true. Now, let's get the hell out of Afghanistan!)

    ...and Obama is trying to "deactivate" weapons? What, is he in possession of a Klingon death ray or something? (here)...

    ...also, for what it's worth, Citizen Kane premiered 70 years ago today (for the benefit of you old movie buffs)...

    ...and I suppose that makes this tune appropriate (have to crank the volume a bit).