Saturday, June 04, 2011

Saturday Mashup (6/4/11) (updates)

  • In response to this (and more here)…

    …allow me to present once more the following message from the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee…

  • Also, I apologize for wasting everyone’s time once more with the Anthony Weiner stuff, but I thought this was hilarious from Florida U.S. House Repug Cliff Stearns, who considered “Weiner-Gate” (yep, I guess it was inevitable), a “threat to national security” (once more, the takedown is here).

    Stearns is the guy, by the way, who added an amendment to the Zadroga Bill (the one that offered much, MUCH needed medical aid to the 9/11 first responders) to the effect that said first responders wouldn’t receive benefits unless they were first crossed off a terror watch list (typically good video response by Jon Stewart here).

    So basically, Stearns should do the following when it comes to Weiner or any other topic, really; sit down and STFU.

    And for something truly absurd, Roger Stone, of all people, weighed in on the Weiner mess here at The Daily Tucker, immediately trying to create a false equivalency between Weiner and Chris Lee, the disgraced Repug U.S. House rep who advertised himself shirtless on Craigslist for a date, which was a bit of a “sticky wicket” seeing as how he was married and all like that (typical for a dirty trickster like Stone).

    Stone is a legendary bottom-feeder (as noted here - second item), having visited X-rated sex clubs with his wife in Florida and “plac(ing) ads and pictures in racy publications and a website seeking sexual partners for himself and his second wife…he (also enjoyed) frequenting ‘Miami Velvet’ a swingers club in Miami.” Stone denied the report (of course).

    Stone also denied having anything to do with the Willie Horton ad that Lee Atwater ran against Michael Dukakis on behalf of Poppy Bush in 1988, and Stone also denied having anything whatsoever to do with the infamous “Brooks Brothers Riot” that halted the Miami Dade vote recount in Florida in November 2000 (I guess this is typical for a guy who says, “Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack”).

    Also, Stone chaired a 1995 presidential bid by Sen. Arlen Specter (then a Repug, of course – he admitted that much anyway), and in 2004, Stone was responsible for distributing “Kerry/Specter” signs in a successful effort to defeat Dem Joe Hoeffel, who was challenging Specter for his Senate seat at the time (interesting company Arlen keeps, isn’t it?).

    Oh, and remember the godawful Citizens United ruling? Well, Stone originally founded the group in 2008 under the name “Citizens United Not Timid” against Hillary Clinton (I’ll let you, dear reader, determine the meaning of the acronym).

    And to conclude the “Weiner wrapup,” I give you this from a blogger named Tommy Christopher at Mediaite who is having a tizzy with Markos Moulitsas at Daily Kos over the identities of two women who may or may not have been involved with some sort of related correspondence with Weiner (“Betty” and “Veronica”); Christopher is alleging that Moulitsas is “outing” the two anonymous sources.

    Well, as you can read from the Mediaite post, Moulitsas very wisely I think chose not to talk about the matter on the phone with Christopher, but chose to communicate via Email, thus creating a written record that is a lot less subject to interpretation than a phone conversation (Christopher said that “greatly hampered the amount of detail I could give (Moulitsas),” which to me is the first indication that something is fishy here). Moulitsas also emphasized that he saw nothing illegal going on in the post in question, which was written by a diarist and not a member of the site’s editorial staff (Markos also asks Christopher, “If (Betty and Veronica) are so afraid, why are they talking to you?,” which is another good question).

    And as for the supposedly innocent “Betty and Veronica,” this Daily Tucker post that links to Mediaite tells us that “Betty’s friend Veronica then approached Christopher with a made-up story about Weiner sending her lewd pictures on Twitter.” And that is supposed to somehow make us feel sorry for “Veronica”?

    Yes, I know this is penny-ante crap compared to real issues like the wars, jobs and the economy, the environment, the struggle for human rights around the world (including the full-pitched battle of working men and women and families in this country against the “pay no price, bear no burden” bunch that should have been a foreseeable consequence from the 2010 elections). But I just made the call for better or worse to defend a Democrat who has done the right thing many, many times in the past. If that ended up sucking away needed oxygen, as it were, from more important stuff…well, so be it (and for good measure, I give you what Thers at Eschaton sez here).

  • Update 6/6/11: Even though this is just piddly crap as I said, God almighty, somebody remind me again why I support these clowns (here...and I'm sure Clarence and Ginny Thomas are laughing their asses off, since this totally evaporates the legitimate issue Weiner fought for of the $$ Ginny made from Silent Clarence and his Citizens United ruling, which C. Thomas supported of course).

    Worse, this lends even the smallest degree of legitimacy to Breitbart, though it's pretty sad that his "get," at long last, is a picture of a guy's underwear with an erect member.

  • Next, I give you last Sunday’s Area Vote in Congress (here)…

    2012 military budget. Voting 322-96, the House authorized a $690 billion military budget for fiscal 2012, up $10 billion, or nearly 2 percent, from the comparable 2011 figure. The bill (HR 1540) sets a 1.6 percent military pay raise while authorizing $119 billion for war in Iraq and Afghanistan and $52.5 billion for the military's TRICARE health program.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), John Carney (D., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Michael Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Pat Meehan (R., Pa.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), Jon Runyan (R., N.J.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

    Voting no: Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.).
    To his credit, Fattah’s politics are pretty progressive, but no matter how you cut it, this vote looks like he’s defunding health care for the military. I know that’s not his intention, but that’s how he’s going to get attacked for it.
    Afghanistan withdrawal. Voting 204-215, the House defeated an amendment to HR 1540 (above) setting a quicker pace for President Obama to draw down the 100,000 U.S. troops now in Afghanistan. This was the first congressional vote on Afghanistan since the death of Osama bin Laden. The amendment gave Obama 60 days to improve upon his existing plan, under which he is to start removing troops in July with no projected completion date. The amendment would require the president to set a date for ending the withdrawal and report to Congress every 90 days on his progress toward that goal.

    A yes vote backed the amendment.

    Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Fattah, Holden, Schwartz, and Smith.

    Voting no: Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, and Runyan.
    I know Chris Smith only voted for this to try and paint himself as a moderate (nice try) and attack Obama at the same time (and yes, I still think this bill should have passed even though a Democrat is in the White House…comforting somewhat to know it almost made it to the Senate).
    Combat-pay increase. Voting 185-233, the House defeated a bid by Democrats to increase the existing pay bonus for U.S. troops "under hostile fire" or "in imminent danger" from $225 to $325 per month. That was to be in addition to the 1.6 percent pay raise already in the bill for uniformed personnel. The vote occurred during debate on HR 1540 (above).

    A yes vote backed higher combat pay.

    Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Fattah, Holden, and Schwartz.

    Voting no: Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.
    This is another vote to remember if you see Mikey The Beloved and his fellow Repug playmates wrapping themselves in the flag and waving to the crowd at a 4th of July parade (or Veterans Day, or the just-passed Memorial Day…).

    Oh, and speaking of our PA-08 U.S. House rep, I would ask that you keep this in mind when the news breaks that our U.S. congressional district will be redrawn to make every effort to ensure that we are saddled with Saint Mikey forever and ever (ugh).
    USA Patriot Act. Voting 250-153, the House sent President Obama a bill (S 990) to extend until June 2015 the three sections of the USA Patriot Act that are not permanent law. One section authorizes roving wiretaps on the communications gear used by terrorist suspects. Another permits surveillance of noncitizen "lone-wolf" suspects not linked to terrorist organizations. Under the third, Section 215, investigators can obtain warrants for searching businesses and other entities without having to show probable cause. The USA Patriot Act was enacted in response to the 9/11 attacks.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Andrews, Carney, Dent, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, Schwartz, and Smith.

    Voting no: Brady, Fattah, and Fitzpatrick.
    This is another “safe” vote trying to paint Mikey as a moderate knowing it would pass anyway (as much as I hate to do it, I have to give him credit for doing the right thing here anyway).
    Primary-care physicians, dentists. Voting 234-185, the House passed a Republican bill (HR 1216) to scale back a program in the 2010 health law designed to train thousands of primary-care physicians and dentists for work in underserved communities. The Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program is now being funded by $230 million over five years in mandatory spending.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.

    Voting no: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Fattah, Holden, Meehan, and Schwartz.
    I thought Congressman John Dingell wrote a great response to this awful development here – please read every word.

    USA Patriot Act. Voting 72-23, the Senate sent the House a bill (S 990, above) renewing three sections of the USA Patriot Act until June 2015. The sections permit roving wiretaps on noncitizen terrorist suspects on American soil, authorize surveillance of "lone-wolf" suspects not linked to terrorist organizations, and allow government access to business records and other files without having to show probable cause.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), and Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).

    Voting no: Chris Coons (D., Del.) and Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.).

    Not voting: Robert Menendez (D., N.J.).
    This is about what I would expect from Toomey (as noted here, he voted for the original Patriot Act in 2001 when he was in the House), and Carper also to tell you the truth, but Bob Casey should know better (kudos to Coons and Lautenberg).
    Suspicious banking activity. Voting 91-4, the Senate tabled (killed) a bid to soften the requirement in the USA Patriot Act (S 990, above) that banks notify the Department of the Treasury of any suspicious activity in their accounts. Under the amendment, banks would submit what are known as suspicious activity reports only when asked to do so by law enforcement.

    A yes vote was to kill the amendment.

    Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, and Toomey.

    Not voting: Menendez.

    Paul Ryan's budget. Voting 40-57, the Senate defeated a Republican budget (H Con Res 34) for 2012 and later years that was identical to one passed in April by the House. Written by Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), the budget would, over time, privatize Medicare, raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, convert Medicaid to a block-grant program run by the states, permanently extend Bush-era tax cuts, reduce discretionary spending for domestic programs by more than 20 percent, increase the basic defense budget by 15 percent, and keep Social Security as it is, among other provisions.

    A yes vote backed the Ryan budget.

    Voting yes: Toomey.

    Voting no: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, and Menendez.
    I give you yet another awful vote by Toomey (just remember that, if the Repugs controlled both houses of Congress and the White House, “Ryan Care” would be the law by now).
    President Obama's budget. By a vote of 0-97, the Senate unanimously defeated President Obama's proposed budget for fiscal 2012 and later years, a document (S Con Res 18) that proposes no structural reforms of Medicare, Social Security, or other entitlement programs. For 2012, the president calls for overall spending of $3.73 trillion, a deficit of $1.3 trillion, a slight drop in military spending, and major spending increases for education, energy efficiency, biomedical research and high-speed rail.

    Voting no: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Toomey.
    I haven’t been this disgusted over a vote in a long, long time. This to me is the utterly sickening triumph of our media/political/industrial complex manufacturing the almost hallucinogenic narratives of debt vigilantes who must be heeded to ensure the arrival of magical unicorns who will lead us back to prosperity. And that’s barely more stupid than the “conventional wisdom” that rules the day on this subject.

    And given that this budget was bound to go down in flames, I honestly can’t imagine why Harry Reid even scheduled it for a vote.

    After this, those chuckleheads running the House decided to vote on raising the national-debt ceiling, and the Senate was in Memorial Day recess. The House took its Memorial Day break last week.

  • Finally, I give you the following…

    And I’ll bet he kicks his dog too – please.

    Even though John Ensign was covered a lot when the tale of his shenanigans broke, he still didn’t get this type of wall-to-wall coverage (to say nothing of Anthony Weiner, for something of which he may be completely innocent…a likely possibility given Breitbart’s sordid track record). Also related to Ensign, his former Repug senate playmate Crazy Tom Coburn has received a total pass from our corporate media for his own role.

    Not for a second will I defend Edwards’ conduct, but if he is acquitted of all charges, whoever made the decision at the DOJ to prosecute this case should be fired.

  • Update 6/6/11: And speaking of Edwards, get a load of this steaming pile of dookey from Katharine Q. Seelye yesterday (here is a follow up)…
    But after all the sordid lies, a “not guilty” verdict could be a rather hollow victory. Here may be a case where the law is inadequate. After all, can a jury render the final verdict on a betrayal so vast?
    Oh, shut up.

    This is from a newspaper that virtually ignored Edwards when he ran for the Democratic nomination in 2008, as evidenced by this notorious 1,250-word column about Democrats and Latinos in which Edwards isn’t even mentioned once. And now The Old Gray Lady is tripping over itself to cover him now that Edwards is in big-time legal trouble?

    Spare me.

    Friday, June 03, 2011

    Friday Stuff

    I'll try to get back to posting soon, but we'll see...

    ...but for now, RIP James Arness...

    ...oh, and Social Security is a "pyramid scheme" (here)? Wonder if this guy reads J.D. Mullane?

    And then this asshat tries to walk back his comments by saying he defends "the promise of Social Security" - somebody votes for these clowns, I keep telling myself...

    ...and good for Jon Stewart for ripping that sleazy weasel Eric Cantor (here)...

    ...and no use crying over spilt milk, I guess ;-) - kind of a gothic twist at the end, though.

    Thursday, June 02, 2011

    Thursday Stuff

    Given this video as well as this, can somebody tell me again why this guy is supposed to be so popular?...

    Update 6/3/11: Better, but Governor Bully still doesn't get it.

    ...and happy 70th birthday to Charlie Watts (don't see him in this clip from The Concert for NYC...oh well).

    Wednesday, June 01, 2011

    Wednesday Stuff

    Against my better judgment, I've decided to waste more time over this (the takedown is here), but I thought Jon Stewart made some good points about "the usual suspects"...

    ...and rock and roll is free, or can be I guess, like this blog :-).

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    Tuesday Stuff

    Kudos to Dem U.S. House Rep Cedric Richmond for this - I'd like to say exactly what I think of Huntington Ingalls, but I honestly do try to watch the profanity around here, though sometimes "F" blasts are called for...

    ...and maybe this is a "message" song, or maybe it isn't - I just like it, that's all.

    Monday, May 30, 2011

    Monday Stuff

    Glad Anthony Weiner isn't being deterred by the latest Breitbart crap (available from here)...

    ...and I'll bet you were watching the musicians too - yeah right.

    Memorial Day Stuff

    I don't do the whole "paintball" thing, but I still thought this was a good video...

    ...and as long as we're on the subject...

    Sunday, May 29, 2011

    Sunday Stuff

    Such good friends, aren't they...

    ...also, I couldn't make this up if I tried - way too damn funny (more here)...

    ...and happy 50th birthday to Melissa Etheridge.

    Alleging Daniels Dirt, Smerky Doth Protest Too Much

    Wow, what a howler from Smerky today at The Philadelphia Inquirer (here)…
    Mitch Daniels would have added some much-needed substance to the national dialogue. His reason for not running for president is a sad commentary on the sideshow our elections have become.

    "On matters affecting us all, our family constitution gives a veto to the women's caucus, and there is no override provision," Daniels said in his statement, referring to his wife, Cheri, and their four daughters. "Simply put, I find myself caught between two duties. I love my country; I love my family more."

    Nobody seems to doubt the sincerity of that statement.

    It would appear that the family veto was predicated upon concern over scrutiny that his marriage had begun to receive.

    After filing for divorce in 1993, Cheri Daniels moved to California and married another man, while Mitch Daniels and the couple's daughters remained in Indiana. After the second marriage ended, Cheri returned in 1997 and remarried Mitch. Questions about the episode prompted Daniels to release a second statement specifically addressing the media scrutiny of his marital history.

    "The notion that Cheri ever did or would 'abandon' her girls or parental duty is the reverse of the truth and absurd to anyone who knows her, as I do, to be the best mother any daughter ever had," he said.

    The mere release of such a statement shows just how aware of the burgeoning controversy the Danielses had become despite its irrelevancy to his governing. Whatever the circumstances behind it, that mid-'90s separation had no bearing on Daniels' ability to restore fiscal stability in the Hoosier State. Indeed, there has been no whiff of impropriety during his administration.

    Maybe the lesson, then, is to stop being so puritanical when it comes to political introspection.

    This is coming from a guy who said here that he thought it was “significant” that Bill and Hillary Clinton, with their public and private work, apparently spend only 14 days a month together (as if that’s any of my or anyone else’s business).

    And this is coming from a guy who imparted the following about “Game Change” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, the Beltway “tell all” book from the 2008 election…
    John Edwards met his paramour in the Regency Hotel bar. His inner staff knew of his infidelity and noted his insatiable desire for power (which included an overture to Obama for the vice-presidential slot on the very night he lost the Iowa caucus). Also, the book's portrayal of Elizabeth Edwards is decidedly negative and bears no resemblance to what the authors describe as the "myth of Elizabeth the Great."
    And this is also coming from a guy who wrote a column here in which he basically argued that Edwards had no right to run for president because Elizabeth Edwards would eventually die and their children would be left without a mother, or something.

    And in the matter of our elections becoming a “sideshow,” I give you the following from here…
    First, Mitt Romney has to be the antithesis of a Philly Guy. There's the name "Mitt." It might get him into Merion, but it's not a Philly name. And, he's too everything - too clean, too handsome, too wealthy. Ditto for John Edwards. In this town, $400 buys 40 guys a haircut, not just one. We make news anchors out of guys like Romney and Edwards, either one of whom I picture standing at Ninth and Passyunk ordering a cheesesteak John Kerry style - with Swiss.
    And as long as Smerky is bothering to comment on “immoral behavior” (from politicians and not himself, of course), allow me to present the following, in which our intrepid pundit class compares Arianna Huffington, revealing that “Straight Talk” McCain apparently didn’t vote for Dubya in 2000, to “a hooker giving up her john.”

    As noted here…
    (Smerky) wants us to dwell on trivial attributes and imagined slights, because conservatives have no answers for the important stuff. Real men and women face up to real problems, instead limp wrists (sic?). Real men and women worry less about slamming sensitivity training and more about the Army's shortage of translators, armored vehicles, and leadership at the very top.

    That's why commentators at Fox News dwelled on John Kerry's (non-existent) manicure and botox, while touting Bush as a strong leader. They distract us from the truth that Kerry is a genuine war hero and Bush went AWOL because his daddy pulled strings.

    That's why Arnold Schwarzenegger called Democratic legislators "girly men" when he learned that governing California requires more than steroids and a bikini wax.

    Or, as Bill Maher summed up, "what [Ann Coulter] was saying was that democrats are pussies." Except the reality is that John Edwards has a plan to tackle health care. Constructive ideas about real problems? Ann Coulter avoids them like a vampire facing a crucifix.

    But don't get caught up in being offended by Smerconish's remarks. "And if you're offended by my use of that word [sissy], then you're exactly the person that I'm talking about..." You'd be playing into the hands of a scam artist.
    And by the way, Smerky, as a commenter noted, maybe the real reason Daniels isn’t running is because, had he declared, he would have had to explain once more how much of a fraud he perpetrated on the budget while serving as Dubya’s head of OMB, as noted here.

    I would say that using his family situation, whatever it is, to cover up his negligence on the job is a pretty ugly cop-out.

    Update: And by the way, as long as I brought up Edwards and the potential comingling of campaign funds on behalf of Rielle Hunter, I think the following should be noted from here...
    Yes. It is likely criminal. I have no issue with the DOJ's recommendation (against Edwards). I simply wish (the WaPo's Ruth Marcus and our Beltway corporate media stenographers in general) would exercise the same kind of principled thinking on issues like John Ensign and Tom Coburn's payoffs to Ensign's mistress, Wall Street thuggery, bank fraud, and other areas where wealthy donors wield far more influence.
    And that's particularly true in light of this.