Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Stuff

It’s just a poster, people…

…and for more, click here…

…and Robert Greenwald tells us about more voting mischief by the Kochs (Want to know why I said what I said about the people around here who didn't bother to vote last Tuesday? It's because the people in this video want to, but they're being shut out - they at least recognize what the franchise truly means)…

…and happy birthday, Neil Young.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Stuff

So what say you, Mikey The Beloved, about H.R. 2309 (more here)? Want to back up that patriotic-sounding opinion column of yours today with some action that actually matters?..

...”Worst Persons” (Some congressional asshat from Nebraska wants to let the telcos allow telemarketing solicitations to our cell phones, for which we would be charged, of course – on a related note, I’m still wrestling with my “smart” phone, for which I, as a dumb user, have to come up to speed; Jim DeMint, in a timely item for today, continues to be a WATB; but James O’Keefe manages to outdo DeMint on that score, as his whiny punk ass gets dressed down by Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia Journalism School’s Dean of Students – Sreenivasan was kind, actually, since I would have mentioned little Jimmy’s criminal record kitty kitty)...

…and I posted about cluster munitions earlier, and whenever I touch upon that topic, I always think of this tune; sorry, no video…

…and I present this with thanks to all of those who have served our country, and continue to do so.

Friday Mashup (11/11/11)

  • I realize that a Friday without wingnuttia from Christine Flowers would be – well, it would be a hell of a lot more pleasant, but we are where we are.

    And today (here), she tells us that “the shame is ours” (huh?) concerning the Penn State scandal, and that there shouldn’t be a rush to judgment on Joe Paterno.

    I agree, actually (on the "rush to judgment" part), even though it looks bad. My problem with Flowers, as usual, is that she seems to have no trouble calling for judicial retribution when it suits her, even though it isn't warranted (calling abortion a "capital crime" here - unbelievable language for a lawyer, but such is her stock in trade).

  • Next, Mikey The Beloved tells us that he recently visited our military in Iraq and Afghanistan here, adding the following also (in an opinion column timed for Veterans Day today)…
    I challenge the Congress and the administration to live up to the promises made long ago and to meet the advice given by Gen. Washington and President Lincoln regarding obligations to those who served. Whether it is the vigorous pursuit of an undetermined VA claim, breaking through the bureaucracy on behalf of the family of a currently deployed soldier, or the gentle advice and care for a homeless veteran referred to my office, I and my staff stand always prepared to do our best to honor veteran service through diligent and compassionate service in return.
    As far as “challenging the administration” is concerned, Politifact tells us here that President Obama has kept his promise to fight veteran homelessness. However, if Fitzpatrick is looking to blame anyone in Congress for exacerbating this problem, he should look towards the other side of the Capitol where Crazy Tom Coburn resides in “the world’s greatest deliberative body” (here...more here).

    Oh, and on the subject of looking after our veterans, let it be noted that our PA-08 U.S. House rep voted against a combat pay raise here and voted against a bill guaranteeing pay to our military in the event of a government shut down here.

    Update 11/12/11: Another important vet-related note here...

  • And that’s probably a good transition into last week’s Area Votes in Congress writeup as published in the Philadelphia Inquirer here (not much to say about it, but here it is for the record)…

    Securities deregulation. Voting 407-17, the House on Thursday sent the Senate a bill (HR 2930) allowing start-ups and other companies to conduct public stock sales of up to $2 million per year without first registering the securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Companies now can bypass SEC registration only if the offering is private or does not cross state lines, among other exceptions.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    All Philadelphia-area representatives voted yes.

    Private stock offerings. Voting 413-11, the House on Thursday sent the Senate a bill (HR 2940) allowing start-ups and other companies to advertise private stock offerings to the general public, such as over the Internet. Firms now can publicize these tightly controlled offerings only to a limited number of "accredited," or wealthy, investors. The bill gives the non-wealthy an opportunity to also take the risk of buying into start-up ventures, while putting a $10,000 limit on an individual's stock purchases.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    All Philadelphia-area representatives voted yes.

    "In God We Trust." Voting 396-9, the House on Tuesday passed a nonbinding resolution (H Con Res 13) restating that "In God We Trust" is by law the official U.S. motto. Republican sponsors called the measure a timely reminder that America is a nation under God; Democrats said the House would better spend its time debating jobs bills.

    A yes vote backed the resolution.

    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.).

    Not voting: Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.).
    By the way, I posted about this utter waste of time here - third bullet.

    Obama jobs bill. By a vote of 51-49, the Senate on Thursday failed to reach 60 votes for advancing a bill (S 1769) to spend $60 billion over 10 years for projects to rebuild public works, stimulate the economy, and create jobs for unemployed construction workers. The vote sustained a GOP filibuster and effectively killed the bill, which is one part of a $447 billion jobs plan offered by President Obama.

    A yes vote supported the bill.

    Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.).

    Voting no: Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).
    Toomey continues to be utterly awful (once more, take a bow, all you methane dispensers who voted for him).
    Republican jobs plan. Voting 47-53, the Senate on Thursday blocked a Republican alternative to Obama's jobs bill (above). In part, the GOP bill (S 1786) would extend existing transportation programs for two years at a cost of $40 billion, to be offset by unspecified cuts in other federal programs, and impose a one-year freeze on new environmental regulations.

    A yes vote supported the bill.

    Voting yes: Toomey.

    Voting no: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, and Menendez.
    Even when the Repugs actually try, somewhat, to pass jobs legislation, they screw it up (here).
    Aid to small airports. Voting 41-57, the Senate on Tuesday refused to eliminate the $6 million budget for a program to help commercial airports at smaller cities upgrade their operations. The amendment was offered to a $182 billion fiscal 2012 appropriations bill (HR 2112) for several departments that was later passed and sent to conference with the House.

    A yes vote backed the amendment.

    Voting yes: Carper, Coons, and Toomey.

    Voting no: Casey, Lautenberg, and Menendez.
    This week, the House was in recess. The Senate took up fiscal 2012 appropriations and a bill to repeal IRS withholding requirements on certain government contracts.

  • Continuing, Kathleen Parker of the WaPo believes that a certain Willard Mitt Romney has been acting “too nice” in the Repug presidential candidates’ beauty pageants (here).

    Um, I wonder how “nice” Romney supposedly was when he was helping to wreck companies and destroy jobs when he founded Bain Capital in 1984 and left as its CEO in 1999 (here).

    And concerning Parker, I’m keen to ask the question once more; what was that Pulitzer for again?

  • Finally, this tells us the following…
    Two prominent senators want Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to steer talks on an international weapons ban away from a plan they say would harm U.S. defense firms that manufacture cluster weapons.

    At issue are efforts to secure a new global pact on cluster munitions that will take place next week in Geneva. Two competing proposals will be in play, but GOP Sens. Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Richard Lugar (Ind.) warned Clinton they are concerned efforts to strike a sixth cluster-weapons agreement “may be at an impasse.”

    “A widely supported draft protocol has emerged which imposes multilateral controls on the production, stockpiling and use of cluster munitions,” the senators wrote to Clinton in a Nov. 1 letter obtained by The Hill. “However, strong opposition from some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as reservations expressed by a small number of governments could derail the … conference’s efforts to achieve a sixth protocol.”
    Basically, Kyl and Lugar oppose the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) for the following reason…
    The CCM “fails to address 85 percent of the world’s cluster munitions stockpiles,” and is designed to permit the production, stockpiling and use of cluster weapons, the lawmakers wrote. “As such, it discriminates against U.S. manufacturers instead of promoting solutions that can effectively address the humanitarian issues associated with unexploded ordnance.”
    I honestly don’t know how it’s possible for Kyl and Lugar to make that claim, since, as noted here, “The Convention on Cluster Munitions, CCM, prohibits all use, stockpiling, production and transfer of Cluster Munitions.” That sounds pretty darn all-inclusive to me.

    And as noted here
    (Beirut, 16 September 2011): The Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions ended in Beirut today with a strong international declaration to rid the world of cluster munitions.

    The 90 States Parties and signatories to the Convention at the meeting adopted the Beirut Declaration, which notes the lifesaving gains made already by the ban. It also strongly condemns the use of cluster munitions by any actor, anywhere.

    “We acknowledge that the progress made since the First Meeting of States Parties and throughout the Oslo Process is the result of the successful partnership between States, international organizations and civil society,” the Declaration says.

    In closing the Declaration says: “Together, we are compelled to do more, for as long as people remain at risk, to accomplish our collective goal – a world free of cluster munitions.”
    Oh, and in case anyone thinks all I’m trying to do here is blame Republicans on this issue, I should point out from here that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lectured former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi about the use of cluster bombs against his own citizens, when, as noted here, the U.S. is the largest cluster bomb manufacturer in the world; these instruments of death are being manufactured by BAE Systems, DaimlerChrysler Aerospace, European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS), Israel Military Industries, General Dynamics, Giat Industries, Lockheed Martin, Saab Bofors, and Thomson Dasa Armements (don’t know offhand all the companies on that list with U.S. operations, but more than a few I’m sure).

    And as noted here (in a post where Bushco, on its way out the door in December 2008, punted on the issue, handing it off to Number 44), 98 percent of cluster bomb victims are civilians, and 27 percent are children.

    But for the moment, it looks like Kyl and Lugar are the latest culprits responsible for inaction on this issue, claiming that talks on a sixth cluster-weapons agreement may be “at an impasse” (gosh, the Senate at an impasse on deliberations? I guess, in other “news,” sky is blue and water is wet).

    I guess both Repugs should count their blessings that there’s no possibility that cluster weapons (which, of course, will now be “smart,” but probably not “smart” enough to accidentally kill or maim kids) could ever blow up in Phoenix or Fort Wayne. If that were true, my guess is that there would be a whole other degree of urgency from them on this issue that is nowhere to be found at the moment.
  • Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Thursday Stuff

    Gee, Karl, you would have been less subtle if you told Repug U.S. House Rep Patrick McHenry to walk up to Elizabeth Warren and punch her in the face (more here, including a way to give to Warren’s campaign in response - and by the way, concerning OWS, suck on this, Turd Blossom)...

    Update 11/16/11: Here is a welcome response...

    …and speaking of “Bush’s Brain” and his pals, Think Progress tells us here about how that Kenyan Muslim Socialist pre-zee-dint has been just so awful for business now, hasn’t he (repeat the lie enough times and too many people will consider it to be the truth)…

    …also, “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller was published 50 years ago today (here are clips from the movie – the last shot of Alan Arkin captures my opinion on the Repug presidential beauty contests)…

    …”Worst Persons” (K.O. tells us here about Teahadist crook Anthony Loiacono, John McCain having a “senior moment” about corporate tax repatriation, and also PA’s former Senator “Man On Dog” – if it were almost anyone else except Santorum, I would give this person a pass out of pity for this awful gaffe, but since it’s Santorum, the guy responsible for moments like this among many other disgusting others, I won’t)…

    …and from the world of science, I give you this, which made me recall this little number (I would never undergo such a procedure, nor would I encourage anyone else to do it either).

    Wednesday, November 09, 2011

    Wednesday Stuff

    In a really weird, twisted way I’ll admit, I have to thank Repug U.S. House Rep Joe (“Welcome To The Club”) Walsh for this, since it shows the GOP wingnuttia on full display (and by the way, in 1970, the U.S. Postal Service became a semi-independent federal agency, mandated to be revenue-neutral. That is, it is supposed to break even, not make a profit – not that I would expect Walsh to actually be swayed by logic)...

    ...and yep, they sure do find a way, don’t they...

    ...and we know "OWS" has been a long time coming, as the song goes, but somehow, I don't think it's going to be a long time gone (like the tune, by the way)...

    ...and I don’t know if it’s possible to “learn how to love” Cain, Willard Mitt, Moon Unit Bachmann and the rest (thinking of "Goodhair" Perry's "duuuh" moment tonight), though a lot of people, sadly, are giving it a good try.

    Wednesday Mashup (11/9/11) (update)

  • I honestly wasn’t going to say anything about the sexual stuff with Repug presidential soon-to-be-no-longer-hopeful Herman Cain, since I personally had prior issues with him before we ever got to the point where we are now. However, I’m compelled to do so after reading this item from the WaPo…
    If there was ever any doubt that the Herman Cain scandal was slowly slipping into a more sensational phase, then Gloria Allred’s presence at a Monday news conference with an alleged victim of the Republican presidential candidate erased any doubt.

    Allred, who calls herself the “most famous woman attorney practicing law in the nation today,” has represented a motley crew of women who have brought claims against wealthy, famous, and high-powered men.
    Yes, Gloria Allred is a publicity hound, but since when is she the person on trial in the court of public opinion here?

    And Allred represents “a motley crew of women”? Such as Mandi Hamlin I guess, who claimed that she was “humiliated” when she was forced to take off her nipple rings at a Lubbock, Texas airport? Or actress Charlotte Lewis, who claimed that she was “sexually abused” by Roman Polanski when she was 16 years old? They’re both “motley” women, according to Nia-Malika Henderson, the person who concocted this dreck?

    As noted here, though, hackery is Henderson’s stock in trade; she claimed that talks involving Iran were “an odd and troubling development” in October 2010 (as a commenter pointed out, ignoring them for 30 or so years, bastards that they are, has worked beautifully, hasn’t it?). And for good measure, I give you this, in which she criticized President Obama for giving Queen Elizabeth II a “personalized iPod” without noting that the Queen had requested it.

    And besides, didn't we just get done with beating on the victim in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn business? And this tells us the latest on this guy.

    I suppose that, while I’m on this subject involving Cain (who, somehow, I don’t think is going to making any campaign commercials where he takes a long, slow look to the camera and breaks into a wide grin again anytime soon), I should also say something about the stuff with Joe Paterno and Penn State. I know there are people out there who are using this whole mess with Joe Pa’s former pal Jerry (“Oh My Freaking God How Can This Guy Not Be A Pedophile”) Sandusky to “pile on,” using football parlance, but let me just say this.

    I hope this doesn’t indelibly stain Paterno’s otherwise exemplary record as an educator and a coach, but it probably will. Because, when all is said and done, he did here exactly what the Catholic Church did for years on the abuse scandal; they “delegated” the matter and “kicked the can,” hoping it would go away.

    When that strategy actually works one day on that awful issue, please let me know. I don’t see that ever happening in this universe, nor should it.

    Update 11/10/11: Good point here about the riot of Penn State students over the firing of Joe Paterno and University President Graham Spanier, namely that, if OWS had overturned a news van, there would have been a police riot in response.

  • Next, I give you the following ramblings from John Stossel of Fix Noise here, who apparently is continuing to suffer the effects of those face slaps from wrestler David Schultz all those years ago…
    It would be nice if politicians and regulators left us alone. But they don't. They always want to do more. Recently, there have been shortages of some medicines. Cancer patients can't get drugs they need. Why not?

    One reason is that a big drugmaker shut down for a year in part to meet Food and Drug Administration rules. The FDA makes it so expensive and difficult to sell drugs that there isn't an eager pack of companies rushing to the fill the gap. The free market would provide that, but government intervention, such as low Medicare reimbursement, strangles it. So people suffer.

    Meanwhile, this tells us the following from the world of reality…
    Right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin and Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano have attacked President Obama for issuing an executive order that seeks to reduce prescription drug shortages, arguing that government regulations are the real problem. But Obama's executive order not only deals with regulatory delays but also attempts to tackle problems with the manufacturing pipeline, which analyses say is the biggest reason for the shortages.
    And as noted here, Stossel seems to make a habit out of propagandizing about the alleged ineffectiveness of government agencies.

  • Continuing, none other than Abu Gonzales poked his head out of his proverbial hole to tell us the following here…
    Last month President Barak (sic) Obama announced the United States military had accomplished its mission in Iraq and that we would be withdrawing all U.S. forces by the end of 2011. The announcement caught many of us by surprise. Certainly, our soldiers have fought courageously; and they and their families deserve our gratitude. Their service and sacrifice is beyond question. Whether the President's decision is the right one at this time, however, deserves closer examination.
    Leave it to “Fredo” not to point out that Obama is merely acting in accordance with the Status of Force Agreement signed under Abu G’s boss (and yes, Obama should have emphasized that too; also, ‘Berto, want to try using a spell check next time?).

    I guess, though, that Gonzales can be forgiven for not knowing that, since he resigned in disgrace in September 2007 and the SOFA was signed in November 2008.

  • Finally, I should take a minute and congratulate Diane Marseglia on winning re-election as a Bucks County Commissioner yesterday.

    And as far as the good news goes, that’s about it.

    Nice job, all you Democratic and independent voters who didn’t think the scandal in the Register of Wills office was reason enough to show up and vote for Diane and Det Ansinn and toss Charley (“I Have A Semi-Open Mind”) Martin; the stench was so bad that even the Bucks County Courier Times failed to endorse Martin, who was returned with Rob Loughery, thus ensuring a Repug majority.

    Bravo, all you Democrats and independents who couldn’t quite find the time to vote for Ken Seda and Ron Schmid for Lower Makefield supervisor, thus ensuring victory for Jeff Benedetto and “Dobby” Dobson and giving the Repugs a stranglehold on the LMT board of supervisors (and I will admit that the independent candidacies of Ron Smith and Kristin Tyler probably siphoned off votes that would have helped Ron and Ken, and I went back and forth on that, but I decided to at least link to the Smith/Tyler site anyway; in the end, I thought it was their right to run as independents, for better or worse).

    And worst of all, pat yourselves on the back a final time for not coming out to support Gene Dolnick and Linda Palsky for the Pennsbury School Board. Do you know who runs the board now? Simon Campbell, that’s who. Do you honestly think Steve Kosmorsky and Chris Cridge will do anything else but Campbell’s bidding?

    Get ready for increased class sizes, cutting student programs and extracurricular activities, less teacher prep time and/or time for parent conferences, and the very real possibility of a Pennsbury teachers strike. Beautiful work.

    Prepare to reap the whirlwind, you lazy fools.
  • Tuesday, November 08, 2011

    Tuesday Stuff

    (I’ll try posting again tomorrow...)

    We have some great “connecting of the dots” here by Bob Abeshouse on the Kochs and ALEC (and once again, when you need to turn to a news agency for a well-done documentary on the political and economic truth of what is going on in this country – well, you need to turn to Al Jazeera)...

    (By the way, Tim Phillips is lying his face off at about 7:40, and at about 11:15 also, thought I’m sure he’s right about spending a “substantial” amount in Wisconsin – and by the way, here is AWESOME related news! And this is pretty good too.)...

    …and for what it’s worth, the fourth Led Zeppelin album (what’s that?) debuted 40 years ago today, concluding with this tune (sorry, no video – man, that’s too long ago; no shot on “Stairway to Heaven,” people).

    Monday, November 07, 2011

    Monday PM Stuff

    Probably no posting again tomorrow, for what it’s worth – maybe some videos…

    In the meantime, I have a question for Kevin Ferris; you got the guts to stand up and take a beating with a baton for your beliefs? Didn’t think so (here)…

    …and that doesn’t even take this into consideration (K.O. talked to Scott Campbell, the victim, tonight on “Countdown”- no video yet)…

    …and “same old, same old” from “Penumbra of Angst” Willard Mitt here…

    …and yes, I’ve been on a bit of a Nickelback kick lately – could do much worse.

    Monday AM Stuff

    Here’s an item from a week or so ago that I’ve been meaning to get to (kind of a response to the latest mess from Kevin Ferris in the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday – sorry, no linkee)…

    …and here’s another vid in my “in” box – hope you enjoy.

    Sunday, November 06, 2011

    Sunday Stuff

    I may actually, FINALLY be over my technical challenges – so far, so good on that.

    Yep, Mark Fiore is a freakin’ genius all right (here)...

    ...and there’s nothing like a bit of inspiration to help us keep up the fight, is there?