Archives for: April 2009
Justice Souter to Retire
Holy Hopping "C" on a Pogo Stick
I don't know if you guys have seen Condi admitting that she was part of the conspiracy, yet, but check out this from Faux News:
Obama made one other argument Wednesday night, pulled from World War II.
"When London was being bombed to smithereens, had 200 or so detainees," he said. "And Churchill said, 'We don't torture.'"
Even though the British, Obama added, were being subjected to unimaginable risk. But as it turns out, his account is not true. British records show they used the equivalent of enhanced interrogation techniques, such as sleep deprivation and exposure to cold water, among other things, to successfully extract information from captured German spies.
Did you know that the US signed the UN convention against torture in 1988? While your here/God Reagan was President? Forty-some years after WWII ended?
Yahoo has news boards back up
Just noticed them today. Click on buzz at the bottom of the page and there they are.
Michelle Bachman is one wacky woman.
From Political Animal
By Steven Benen
'HOOT-SMALLEY'.... I'm a little late on this one -- I try to limit myself to one Michele Bachmann post a day -- but the Minnesota Laughingstock delivered a doozy of a speech on the House floor this week, which deserves all the attention it's received.
"We were led to believe that we would see great change, immediate change, and all we're seeing is a prolonged effort, because just what happened in the 1930s with FDR.
I Like Him
For my friends overseas, who may have forgotten just how "fair and balanced" Faux news really is...
...anybody who can drive the wingers this crazy can't be all bad. ;->
Smile When You Say That!
At his 100th-day town hall meeting in St. Louis Wednesday, President Barack Obama took direct aim at the anti-tax “tea party” demonstrations that have cropped up over the last month and took a veiled shot at the Fox News Channel, the cable news network closely associated with the protests.
Asked about fiscal discipline and entitlements reform, Obama seemed to be repressing a smile as he jabbed critics of his spending plans.
"Those of you who are watching certain news channels on which I'm not very popular, and you see folks waving tea bags around", Obama said, “let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security.”
“But,” Obama continued, “let's not play games and pretend that the reason [for the deficit] is because of the Recovery Act."
Dubya admin officials to be investigated
Spanish judge opens Guantanamo investigation
MADRID – Spain's top investigative magistrate opened an investigation into the Bush administration Wednesday over alleged torture of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay.
Judge Baltasar Garzon said documents declassified by the new U.S. government suggest the practice was systematic.
Garzon said he was acting under Spain's observance of the principle of universal justice, which allows crimes allegedly committed in other countries to be prosecuted in Spain.
Garzon's move is separate from a complaint by human rights lawyers that seeks charges against six specific Bush administration officials they accuse of creating a legal framework to permit torture of suspects at Guantanamo Bay and other U.S. detention facilities.
Spanish prosecutors on April 17 said any such probe should be carried out by the U.S. and recommended against it being launched in Spain. Garzon originally had that case, but ultimately it was transferred to another judge.
Now, Garzon is opening a probe into "possible material authors" of torture, accomplices and those who gave torture orders, although he does not name anyone specifically.
In a 10-page writ, he said documents on Bush-era treatment of prisoners, recently declassified by the Obama administration, "reveal what had been just an intuition: an authorized and systematic plan of torture and mistreatment of person denied freedom without any charge whatsoever and without the rights enjoyed by any detainee...."
Who else wants to contribute?
NEW YORK – The debate over torture is getting personal for two of cable TV's prime-time hosts.
After Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity made a seemingly impromptu offer last week to undergo waterboarding as a benefit for charity, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann leapt at it. He offered $1,000 to the families of U.S. troops for every second Hannity withstood the technique.
Olbermann repeated the offer on Monday's show and said in an interview Tuesday that he's heard no response. He said he'll continue to pursue it.
"I don't think he has the courage to even respond to this — let alone do it," Olbermann said.
Fox News Channel representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Add It To The List
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, April 28 (Reuters) - The Obama administration said on Tuesday it rolled back a Bush-era rule excusing oil and gas companies in polar bear habitat from special reviews designed to ensure they are not harming the animals.
The Alaska energy industry said the move could slow exploration and production activity in the state. Environmental groups applauded the decision as an important step protecting threatened species.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said they rescinded the Endangered Species Act regulation issued in December by the Bush administration, which eliminated the long-standing "Section 7 consultation" requirement for special scrutiny of any proposed activities that might harm a listed species.
"By rolling back this 11th hour regulation, we are ensuring that threatened and endangered species continue to receive the full protection of the law," Salazar said.
Arlen Specter secedes from the GOP.
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and announced today that he will run in 2010 as a Democrat, according to a statement he released this morning.
Specter's decision would give Democrats a 60 seat filibuster proof majority in the Senate assuming Democrat Al Franken is eventually sworn in as the next senator from Minnesota. (Former senator Norm Coleman is appealing Franken's victory in the state Supreme Court.)
"I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary," said Specter in a statement. "I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election."
He added: "Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."
I can't wait to see the mental gymnastics that the GOP perform to make this look like a "win".
The gibbering inbreds over at Freepeville are on it:
“Sen. Arlen Pétain, former Vichy Republican…”
“EVERYTHING IS NOW OFFICIALLY THE DEMOCRATS FAULT! YIPPEE!”
“I’m glad he’s gone. The more honest the choice gets, the better off for America. Let’s get rid of Snowe, Collins, McCain, etc., too. They are also liberals, not to be relied on when conservative issues are on the line. Better to have your friends on your side and your enemies on the other. Specter has been an enemy of conservatism for decades.”
“The purge of the RINOs has begun!”
“What a POS. Take thev other one’s with you will ya??!! We need an AMERICAN Party- now!”
“How is it that here in Texas, one of the most Conservative states in America, has 2 RINO’s for U.S. Senators, and a RINO Gov.? Sure, Perry a.k.a. Silky Pony II is playing like he’s a real tough-guy Conservative (election time); John Cornyn dusts off his cowboy hat for election time commercials - then goes right back to being a useless weak-kneed RINO - who voted for the first $700 Billion Banker Bailout Bonanza, along w/ precious Kay Bailey. Truly sickening.”
“Given the leftward shift of NH over the past decade, I really shouldn’t be talking, but there are still a few REAL conservatives left here. Too bad Specter couldn’t take Snowe and Collins with him, or as I like to refer to them in front of my Maine friends, “Obama’s Comfort Girls.” “
“Benedict Arnold. Quisling. Spector. Synonymous with TRAITOR. This SOB cares only for himself, not any party, not his country. At 74, and having fought cancer, he still has willingly joined the party of death and Communism.”
“Their dumb out of desperation. PA IS A WELFARE STATE! Their only survival at this point is to rely upon Government. It is the perfect example of what Socialism creates.”
“Good for him. Another RINO down. Long live honesty.”
“Hopefully, McCain and the rest of the leftist/globalist republicans will soon follow.”
“YES!!!! First RINO senator PURGED!!!!! HAHAHAHA!!! I think Toomey scared the death out of him!”
“This bodes ill…with Sphincter switching the Dems have 60 votes if Freaken gets seated.”
“I hope Juan McCain switches - probably to the Mexico PRI Party. I am so sick of RINOs.”
“TAKE JOHN MCCAIN AND HIS DAUGHTER WITH YOU!!!!!!!”
“The GOPers should rejoice over this. In fact, if they had any balls at all, they should have purged him and others like him from the party years ago.”
“This is not just about Democrat vs. Republican. Specter has been in the tank since days on the Warren Commission. His connections to Dulles who was fired as head of the CIA by Kennedy for the Bay of Pigs fiasco and then appointed to investigate his former bosses murder along with Specter smells. Kennedy’s assassination stopped the dismantling of the CIA which Kennedy promised just prior to his demise!”
“Dom Obama now has a filibusterer proof majority.. I wonder if it was blackmail, goodies, thuggery or just a case of sleeper cell activation.”
Pass the popcorn..
Astronomers take virtual plunge into black hole
I'm bookmarking this so I can watch the video when I'm not at work.
Simulation shows what an "infaller" might see inside a supermassive black hole
Pretty cool stuff.
This Just Came To Me
It's like a light bulb went off, or something. It's all so clear to me, now.
Anything Obama and the current congress want to do is OK. We should never question our government. If you dispute this you aren't worthy of being an American, because...
Is It Just Me?
...or is this funny?
Update: 360+ same-sex couples apply for marriage licenses; most in Polk (pronounced "poke") County.
Swine Flu and Factory Farms
Or what I've learned today are called, "confined animal feeding operations," or CAFOs . The term most used right now is the factory farm, turning livestock production more into just that; a production and not a farm. It's merely to up the profits and usually means horrible living conditions for animals and awful working conditions for low wage workers.
Well, David Kirby makes a connection that seems obvious to me, Swine Flu Outbreak -- Nature Biting Back at Industrial Animal Production? but of course it's better to hold judgment until there's evidence, right?
Follow this link...
Obama To Try To Ban Hand-Loaded Ammo
Obama wants to join an international treaty that would ban the reloading of ammunition by anyone other than a licensed ammo manufacturer.
Gun Owners of America has set up a place where you can email your Senators to oppose ratification:
Text of Treaty:
Rick Perry is an Idiot
Less than two weeks after raising the prospect of seceding from the union, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is calling on the federal government to come to his state's aid in the midst of the swine flu outbreak.
(Found on Huffpo)
Just Passing Through
I have been trudging through the swamps and lowlands of the American mind these past few days. To say that I am shocked by the things that I have encountered would, sadly, be a lie. I spent enough time going back and forth with the likes of WP in those foolish days long past to know that for some the government can do no wrong, except when they find themselves personally affected in mind or money.
Over the years, I have often referred to the similarity of approach that most Americans take to their relationship to government and their religious/philosophical faith. Even such an august assemblage as you "Tittyboarders" see our system of government as something to place an inordinate amount of faith in; and in this I include myself.
Please don't misunderstand me: I am well aware that you all view government with a critical eye and that the actions of particular politicians count for more than the letter that signifies what "team" that they strive for. To be honest, when I am most disappointed at the views that I encounter in my journeys through the political blogosphere I think of you guys. To know that there are people like you who, although you hold a multitude of views and passionately expressed, still possess a basic empathy for all men.
But to return to my original assertion: Time after time and crime after crime (for those of us willing to even acknowledge the crime or the lie) we continue to say that these actions don't represent the "real America".My question is: If we continue to violate our own laws and customs as well as international laws and mores, then at what point does the "rogue America" become the "real America"? It reminds me of when a horrible crime occurs in some small town how all the people that are interviewed always say "things like this don't happen here." or somehow blame the other, more unsavory parts of America for infiltrating their little slice of heaven on earth. The fact that it did happen there becomes a part of the reality of that place whether those who live there wish to acknowledge that or not.
The constitution is an inspiring document built of the best impulses of man by men who, even as they assembled it, fell short of its promise. No crime that, but it seems to me that we have reached the point that this Constitution has become America's Bible and like the bible it is read by few and understood by fewer still. Additionally, like the bible, it is interpreted by many to justify their preconceived notions, original intent be damned.
I have no insights to share here. I communicate with others in blogworld on a severely limited basis, but even these limited interactions make me cringe at the hatred and intolerance on display in this "land of exception". Perhaps our exceptionalism is a true and good thing, for if any other countries possessed such a toxic mix of power, fear and ignorance this world would have long since been knocked from its foundations.
The Banality of Wingnuttiness
A quick tour through the week’s headlines suggests the Republican Party is beginning to come to terms with the last election and that consensus is emerging among GOP elites that the party needs to move away from discordant social issues.
But outside Washington, the reality is very different. Rank-and-file Republicans remain, by all indications, staunchly conservative, and they appear to have no desire to moderate their views. GOP activists and operatives say they hear intense anger at the White House and at the party’s own leaders on familiar issues – taxes, homosexuality, and immigration. Within the party, conservative groups have grown stronger absent the emergence of any organized moderate faction.
There is little appetite for compromise on what many see as core issues, and the road to the presidential nomination lies – as always – through a series of states where the conservative base holds sway, and where the anger appears to be, if anything, particularly intense.
H.R. 1207. Ever hear of it?
Anyone ever hear of HR 1207? I certainly had not until today. After hearing I googled it up...lots of hits on obscure blogs and such, but no big mainstream sites.
The thing about it though, if you look at the link above, there are 55 cosponsors, R's and D's. How is this going to get swept under a rug forever when it seems to actually be picking up so momentum...will Pelosi be told to ignore it, make it go away? It should be interesting to follow.
Maybe a few letters to one's Rep would help keep the ball going....after all...Barack Obama, blah blah blah, accountability, transparency, blah blah blah.
Talk Me Down (apologies to Rachel)
Before I make a fool of myself, I thought I'd ask for opinions on the matter. Now -- before anybody mentions it -- I don't drive and don't own a car -- but not being directly affected hasn't stopped me from protesting something I disagreed with before -- so why start now.
My city's police department has a new toy -- a license plate scanner. They can scan a license plate and get a response from the computer within seconds. They're excited that they recovered $115,000 in fines in only 3 days -- and arrested folks with warrants. They claim they can use it to find fugitives -- kids who are have amber alerts out on them(I don't see how since missing children don't have license plates on their butts) -- etc. I suspect that garbage about fugitives and amber alerts is just meant to make us think it's a good thing -- so we won't object.
Anyway -- they mentioned driving through apartment complexes and scanning plates. Am I being too strict in my interpretation for thinking this is in essence searching people without cause? Using the same rationale I've read for stopping drivers to check their drivers' licenses -- driving being a privilege and it's OK to make sure a person operating a vehicle is licensed -- I might not feel as uncomfortable about it if they were scanning moving vehicles. Then again -- as long as the license plate is valid and the car isn't on a list of vehicles they're supposed to be checking -- I still don't like it. But scanning the license plates on parked cars -- potentially at the home of the owners -- seems to me to be an unwarranted search. So -- shall I raise hell -- or shall I leave it up to folks with cars?
The Gloves Are Coming Off
Two articles on Huffpo (Yeah, I know, whatta) illustrate how tired
Obama is we all are of "the party of no" and their sometime "blue dog" enablers.
In a meeting with House Republicans at the White House Thursday, President Obama reminded the minority that the last time he reached out to them, they reacted with zero votes -- twice -- for his stimulus package. And then he reminded them again. And again. And again.
America Is Just Like An Emerging Market,
America may be more like an emerging market than we realize.
That is the analysis by an increasingly vocal and influential professor at MIT, Simon Johnson. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Simon Johnson, the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, just like the emerging markets he has spent his life studying, the U.S. has created a system whereby Wall Street "oligarchs" have monopolized and cannibalized the economy. At the same time, Washington regulators have been rendered ineffective, seduced by their aura of wealth and power.
Johnson's solution is, in part, to use anti-trust laws to break up these too-big-to-fail institutions, and for regulators to intensify their oversight of the smaller banks that result.
Sounds about right, to me.
My ex-wife's brother once told me that the old people in Laos remember the gestation period of various animals this way: "A goat has four legs and a tail: Five months. A cat has two ears: Two months. A chicken has two wings and a tail: Three weeks. Etcetera."
His wife snorted. "Who the hell in Laos ever said that? You just made it up right now. What the hell do people have nine of, anyway?"
His wife snorted again. "You're crazy." She went outside, and we could hear her laughing.
What I Think
Obama was told not to prosecute the CIA, or *else*.
"Ever hear of John F. Kennedy? HE fvcked with the CIA. Don't make the same mistake."
That's what I think, anyway. I feel sorry for the guy. But I do think he's doing the best he can to alert the American people. He can't do anything by himself, anyway. I betcha they don't allow HIM to carry a gun, eh?
Another thought: I've been reading stories saying that the Bush administration "enhanced interrogation" techniques were supposedly based on interrogation tactics used in SERE training for US soldiers, and that these were based on torture techniques used by the Chinese during the Korean War.
Really? They've lied to me so many times, I don't really believe anything they say anymore.
I attended SERE training, in 1974. It was kind of rough, but not even on the same scale as I've been reading. When I was there, there were no fvcking waterboardings or unbearably long stress positions. We did get 30 minutes cramped into a box, but they told us beforehand that it would be 30 minutes. It's not like we volunteered to be tortured. The training was actually kind of fun, because we knew it was only going to be a week long, and we knew that the trainers weren't allowed to injure us in the least. We were told to be careful crossing the mountains, that's all, because a few trainees had been injured by falls, etc. "If you do get lost, we'll send out a helicopter to find you. Please, TRY not to get lost, wouldja? And be sure that any bush you grab onto to help you climb a hill is solid enough to hold you before you trust your weight on it. Otherwise you might fall, y'know?"
The pretend interrogator was actually Chinese, one who fled the Communists in '49 or '50. He didn't threaten to torture us during the interrogation. It was like a classroom. We all had to go up front in turn, and talked to the guy in front of our classmates. He demanded to know our units and names of people in our units. Then after we all had our turns telling creative lies to lead the "interrogator" astray, we criticized each other's performances, and asked the guy some questions.
Either things have changed a hell of a lot in military training, or somebody's lying.
Theme Music for the Bush White House
Houston, We Have A Solution
One for the Texans who post here...
This is Cool
I don't know if anyone has seen this, but a friend was named the BuzzFlash.com's "Wings of Justice Award" for last week. Sinfonian, went to a "Tea Party" in Pensacola, FL. While there, he got on stage and told the teabaggers that the blame for the mess we're in goes to the Bush Administration. He was booed for informing the idiots of that...
Sinf also got a shout out on Olbermann's show for his efforts.
From Sinf's website, "Blast Off":
Well, this is pretty cool.
I learned last night that I have won BuzzFlash.com's "Wings of Justice Award" for this week. They said some very nice things about me, or more accurately, about my video from the Pensacola Tea Party (although I guess they felt like they had to create yet another nickname for me, "Pensacola Jeff," which I suppose is preferable to Keith Olbermann's "unemployed blogger named Jeff"). You can go read what they had to say if you like ...
The Correct Framing
Being interviewed on Countdown, she asks a simple question with massive impact:
"If these torture techniques were really for the good of our country and were OK, THEN WHERE WERE YOU when the soldiers in a COMBAT ZONE carrying out YOUR ORDERS were prosecuted?!? How DARE YOU speak up now to defend yourself when you wouldn't defend those on the front line!"
Is Corporate Farming Really All That Bad?
PARKERSBURG, IA—Forty-eight-year-old local farmer Eli Ridley is a real pretty-boy looker who still has all 10 of his digits, sources reported Monday.
Mr. Hollywood movie star, who apparently has never once gotten his hand stuck inside a grain auger or had a ring finger pulped by a carelessly swung sledgehammer, reportedly gets the goo-goo eyes from all the waitresses at Tyler's Diner whenever he comes in to buy a cup of coffee.
"I bet it only takes him about 30 seconds to tie up his boots in the morning," said farmer Ted Barrow, gesturing with his gnarled finger-nubs. "Just look at him. Always wavin' at people and shakin' their hands without them recoiling in disgust. What a sissy."
According to locals, Ridley is so in love with his precious little fingers that he never removes the safety guards from dangerous machinery, and always thinks to shut off the PTO shafts before dismounting from his tractor. Parkersburg's very own Brad Pitt also takes his precious time and lets his combine head come to a complete stop whenever he needs to pull a rock out of it.
God forbid something happen to his 10 darling, milk-white babies, sources said.
More at the link.
One good thing going on around here: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/03/spain-wind-power-record-41-percent.php
Last year we wrote about Spain's wind power production record, which was 27% at the time. That seemed like a lot, but a week ago, Spain's wind turbines produced 40.8% of total demand, or 9,862 megawatts of power.
There's a catch, though. The previous record was 10,032 megawatts, but that was 28% of total consumption because it happened during a week day and demand was higher. So this new record is a relative record, while the previous one stands as the absolute best in electricity produced. Still, it's impressive and we hope that others will pay attention and realize that it can be done.
Spain, which along with Germany and Denmark, is among the three biggest producers of wind power in the European Union, is aiming to triple the amount of energy it derives from renewable sources by 2020....
Legal excuse doesn't work
"The timeline laid out in the report shows, however, that military and CIA officers were being trained how to conduct coercive interrogations for as much as eight months before receiving the Justice Department green light. The CIA had started conducting severe interrogations in the spring of 2002."
So the admin's "pardon" isn't applicable after all, and a new obligation to prosecute, including against those who were "chust followink orrders" has come to light.
Federal Appeals Court Rules Second Amendment Binds State and Local Governments
Could It Be Working?
Somehow, at this point, I doubt it. We'll see.
WASHINGTON — Pressure mounted on President Obama on Monday for more thorough investigation into harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects under the Bush administration, even as he tried to reassure the Central Intelligence Agency that it would not be blamed for following legal advice.
Mr. Obama said it was time to admit “mistakes” and “move forward.” But there were signs that he might not be able to avoid a protracted inquiry into the use of interrogation techniques that the president’s top aides and many critics say crossed the line into torture.
And while Mr. Obama vowed not to prosecute C.I.A. officers for acting on legal advice, on Monday aides did not rule out legal sanctions for the Bush lawyers who developed the legal basis for the use of the techniques.
Word of the Day
Main Entry: im·pu·ni·ty Listen to the pronunciation of impunity
Etymology: Middle French or Latin; Middle French impunité, from Latin impunitat-, impunitas, from impune without punishment, from in- + poena punishment — more at pain
Definition: exemption or freedom from punishment, harm, or loss
Useage: "The Bush administration committed war crimes with impunity."
One of my newer roommates, Evgenia, is a bright girl. She's a legal alien, papers in order, owns a house on the coast, and has moved to Madrid for work.
She's one of the brighter girls I've had at home, goes to the theatre, reads books, goes to an eclectic plethora of concerts and such. She speaks at least 3 languages fluently, defends herself quite well in English. She's lived in Russia, Sweden, Japan and Spain.
Yet... she's a Putanite. She's progressive as hell in most respects, she believes that people should have their safety nets, public health, pensions, the gamut of "socialist" benefits. She knows that Stalin was a beast - but one with redeeming characteristics.
The last bit was interesting, and in a recent discussion with her on terrorism and how states react to it, I was quite surprised. She strenuously thinks that it's A.O.K. for the state to spy on people... because of the "greater good".
I tried to push my libertarian agenda on her, tried to say that if you give the state an inch it can, and most likely will, take a mile. Her response? "If you do nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about".
Thus I've found a new type of rwinger - rwingers from the old commie block.
How would Evgenia be considered over there? Socially and economically on the very left-edge of the most extreme socialist fringe, but politically and even morally (her takes on movies we've seen together at home have been equally disconcerting) on the extreme end of the far right of the GOP.
Movies... example. We saw "Buffalo 66" (an indie movie, not too bad) where a fellow bets over his head on a Superbowl. A kicker misses the winning FG and he's out 10K - and the bookie (Rourke) tells him that either he gets whacked or he takes a dive for a friend of his who is in trouble with the cops. So he spends 6 years (I think) in jail, comes out desperate, and decides to go after the... kicker, who "ruined his life".
On the road he kidnaps a young girl, who goes through the typical "Stockholm Syndrome"...
Evgenia doesn't understand why the fellow would go for the failed kicker (true enough, it's not a logical reaction but it is understandable if one has empathy). Evgenia cannot CONCEIVE of the aforementioned syndrome. She has, basically, an utter lack of empathy.
Yet her education has lead her to have a system of social and economic values which are completely empathetic. She has a sense of social justice that leaves mine behind in a cloud of socialist dust.
I can only conclude that this woman, if she'd been brought up in, say, Mississippi, would be a bible-thumping nationalist with tax-cutting tendencies and a whallop of "if you can't cut it don't suck on the gubmint's teats". But a very intelligent and articulate one.
I'm half-tempted to email Jost (the sociologist that "defined" the "conservative mentality") because, unless this women is way outtahere, she bursts his bubble. Education, it seems, can have a very strong impression on how people think and in what they believe.
I lived "romantically" with one Ruskie for 7 years. Over the past two I've had 7 others living in my house, usually 2 at a time. I've met their Russian friends to the tune of perhaps 40-50 over the years. Most of them have been pretty international - but perhaps 10 of all of these have similar characteristics.
Any thoughts or observations?
Is this racist?
Seriously, which part of the Iranian's speech is untrue?
BTW, and FWIW, the Palestinians too are Semitic. Kinda ironic.
Lao People Are Entertaining
I gotta tell one more story, about Lao entertainment.
I live in a military neighborhood. I was heading to the market on my motorbike one day, and these 4-5 guys in uniform were eating and drinking under the one guy's house just a few feet from the road.
They pulled me over for some Lao Kao.
I was kind of in a hurry, actually, but it's hard not to stop, when 5 communist (I don't know if it actually makes a difference if they're communist, or not) soldiers in uniform are telling you that you should stop.
The Rude Pundit Weighs In
3. Just because you change the definition for yourself, it doesn't meant the definition's been changed.
9. No, fuckers on the right, this ain't as bad Saddam Hussein or Torquemada ... slitting the throat of your victim after you've raped them is worse than stopping after the rape. But, you know, you still did the rape.
The basic failure of unrestrained capitalism is nothing new. Here's a little story that shows just how ridiculous the "system" has been at times.
You can replace "subprime" with "tulips".
Note well that modern sceptics are of the neolib variety (believers in the "efficient market hypothesis". They write off the Tulip Bubble as they've written off every other one since.
Another Way Bush Put Us Behind The Rest of the World
BRITISH scientists have developed the world’s first stem cell therapy to cure the most common cause of blindness. Surgeons predict it will become a routine, one-hour procedure that will be generally available in six or seven years’ time.
The treatment involves replacing a layer of degenerated cells with new ones created from embryonic stem cells. It was pioneered by scientists and surgeons from the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London and Moorfields eye hospital.
This week Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical research company, will announce its financial backing to bring the therapy to patients.
The treatment will tackle age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness. It affects more than 500,000 Britons and the number is forecast to increase significantly as people live longer. The disease involves the loss of eye cells.
While the British were working to cure blindness, we were pandering to fundie nutbags.
Israel's Getting Ready
I don't know if anyone knows anyone anywhere near Isfahan. Probably not, but just in case:
When the uranium conversion facility there is bombed, it'll be very likely to release tons of toxic and caustic gasses into the atmosphere.
It'll be a "Very Bad Idea" to be downwind, whatever direction the wind happens to be blowing that day.
Demand Accountability for Torture
In response to an ACLU lawsuit, the Justice Department just released four key memos about the Bush administration's illegal torture program.
To restore America's commitment to human rights, we must demand a thorough criminal investigation.
Tell Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate the detainee abuse.
If you can't do anything else, take the few minutes to fill out a form letter and, this time, don't just look the other way when someone is torturing in your name.
Who Teabagged Whom?
It was rainy up and down the east coast, yesterday. That's being cited as a reason for low turnout. IOW, we're to believe that rain is all it takes to dampen the "patriotism" of people who were astro-turfed to complain that the middle-class tax cut they received this year isn't big enough.
If you saw a sign that said "don't send us our stimulus checks" please post it, otherwise I'll have to believe the minuscule crowds of round mouthed teabaggees weren't protesting spending, only tax increases on wealthy people like the defacto leader of the GOP, "Boss" Limaugh, and his irascible second in command Gleen "crybaby" Beck.
Speaking of "crybaby"...
I guess that since I'm around for a few days, I'd just as well give an observation or two from the old iconoclast/Ciceronian POV ("What is past is prologue").
Almost nothing that happens has never happened before, or at least virtually every event has been preceded by a similar event in the near or distant past. Current political or social strategies, economic policies, revolutions and counter-revolutions - name one and I can find a similar precedent that, not amazingly, tends to have a similar outcome.
What about the Reagan/Thatcher/Clinton revolution (yes, they go together)? That is to say, a counter-revolution fomented by a socioeconomic group that saw its hegemony breached by a popular revolution? IOW, the reaction of capital against the New Deal.
Well, the Counter-reformation immediately comes to mind. Protestants rebel against a rigid, corrupt and omnipotent church - with tremendous social, economic and political implications that went far beyond clerical celibacy and papal bulls.
But the most recent counter-reformation, the one spearheaded by Reagan, Thatcher and Clinton, also mirrors a REVOLUTION, which might be surprising to some. In many ways the conservative revolution shares a lot with leninism and maoism.
Lenin and Mao were manipulators, just as Reagan, Thatcher, Clinton and Gingrich were (and as Merkel and Sarkozy ARE). Lenin and Mao propounded "the dictatorship of the proletariat" lead by a "vanguard". IOW, the masses were not to be trusted, they had to be lead "for their own good" by a vanguard of ideologues that would "educate" the masses to follow their own will.
Ideological indoctrination through the application of monolithic propaganda.... Insistence on dogmatic acquiescence... apeal to a limited yet easily understood dogma (government bad, less taxes)... Rigid control of the media...
"Dictatorship of the proletariat"? The "two" parties that share the same neoliberal/MIC philosophy-subservience.
"Vanguard"? The corporations and thinktanks that serve them.
The rest should be easily identifiable by any board veteran.
Lenin and Mao were cynical as hell. Could it be possible that the plethora of talking heads that have been dissected on this and previous boards might be as cynical? Again, I appeal to the memory of board veterans and countless analysis of Cato claptrap and AEI fallacies.
What differentiates the recent revolution from Mao's and Lenin's (besides their respective objectives, which are not so far apart when one thinks about it) is that Lenin and Mao were merely a couple of geniuses that stood out from the crowd, while the current "vanguard" is highly professional, adept at the most modern propaganda techniques that Madison Ave. has devised, and that mass media is far more effective than mass rallies.
Food for thought, if your mind feeds on such things.
More food for thought - in another post I noted that the DNC/Obama admin is begining to emulate the ways of the conservative vanguard. Initially I bemoaned the fact that it was the DLC-types united with a neocon or two that was doing this, but reflecting on this from the perspective of the above, I begin to think that there is a danger of the DLC Dems creating their own "vanguard".
Historical perspective? The role of the Jesuits, and later, of the Opus Dei, in counteracting the liberal shade of the Counter-reformation/John XXIII's populism.
Oh well, something to discuss --- or not!
Limbaugh Attacks Obama Over Somali Pirate Shooting
Just when you didn't think the right wing couldn't get any more absurd, Drug-bo Hogbaugh is foaming at the mouth because Obama killed the pirates...
I shit thee not...
A Few More Notes Regarding the Tea Party Protests:
1. This doesn't seem quite right: The "Teabag Obama" blog offers "Proper Teabagging Instructions." And there's about ten things wrong there.
2. The same blog, which is just a damned funny read, says, helpfully and with no sense of irony, "Teabagging is for everyone." The Rude Pundit agrees. Sweet Jesus, he agrees.
3. The list of suggested signs for the events contains this call to violence: "Tea Party Today: Tar and Feathers Tomorrow."
4. Some of the truly awesome signs that have actually been held at various anti-tax protests.
US News Media Fails America, Again
Robert Parry at Consortium News more than gets it. I can't remember when I read a column that hit as many points as well as his analysis here does.
Watching Glenn Beck of Fox News rant about “progressive fascism” – and muse about armed insurrection – or listening to mainstream pundits prattle on about Barack Obama as the “most polarizing President ever,” it is hard to escape the conclusion that today’s U.S. news media represents a danger to the Republic.
By and large, the Washington press corps continues to function within a paradigm set in the 1980s, mostly bending to the American Right, especially to its perceived power to destroy mainstream journalistic careers and to grease the way toward lucrative jobs for those who play ball.
Judges say Franken is winner of Senate race
Well, it's about freaking time. From CNN.com:
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) -- A three-judge panel ruled Monday against Republican Norm Coleman in his dispute with Democrat Al Franken over who should be declared the winner of the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota.
The judges determined that "Franken is entitled to receive the certificate of election" after defeating Coleman by 312 votes.
OK, it's nice to see that non-fundies are organizizing, but it's a shame that it's the center-right that's the focus of this initiative (and with help from neocons no less):
Common Purpose: Another Cog in Obama's PR Machine
Source: Politico.com, April, 2008
Ben Smith reports on the Common Purpose Project, a new group formed to enforce message discipline among liberal organizations supporting the Obama Administration. It meets every Tuesday and brings together liberal organizations including major unions and MoveOn.org. The group has an overlapping membership with a daily phone conference run by John Podesta's think tank Center for American Progress and David Brock's Media Matters, the organizations behind Progressive Media, another part of pro-Obama PR and strategy coordination. "Unlike those other groups, however, the Common Purpose meeting has involved a White House official, communications director Ellen Moran, two sources familiar with the meeting said. It's aimed, said one, at 'providing a way for the White House to manage its relationships with some of these independent groups.' The group's founder, political consultant and former Gephardt aide Erik Smith, described it in general terms after others had confirmed its existence. ... Its political director is another former Obama aide, Miti Sathe. Part of the group's role is to enforce a kind of message discipline" and it "shares some aspects with Grover Norquist's long-running Wednesday Meeting of conservative activists, but is more focused on messaging day-to-day politics and doesn't include journalists and academics."
I wish that the focus was less DLC-under-another-name and more progressive, but a start is a start.
Limbaugh's Dirty Little Secret of Radio "Success"
Ever wonder why Rush "Boss" Limbaugh's syndicated radio show is all over the place like the proverbial cheap suit?
If you do much driving in rural areas -- e.g. between cities -- "Boss" Limbaugh's bloviations are often the only thing you can pick up on a car radio. Hey, that's what CD players are for.
Did Rush accrue hundreds of local radio affiliates across the country because his political views are mainstream? That's obviously not it. OK, so why IS his show so "popular?" Why do hundreds of stations around the country carry his show, the most widely syndicated talkfest in the country?
First drive: Chevy Volt test
I've only read the first page of this, but I'm very interested in having 2 cars from now on; an electric and a gas powered, so I'm bookmarking it this way to read it later.
Just in case Fox and those nutty right-wingers don't know that it's a verb.
What we're up against
OK, I'm an iconoclast - so I don't give a rolling fly donught shite about PC and the niceties of... well, you get the picture.
I figured it was time to take a gander at CHT's site, and lo and behold! Eureka!
Yes, I found one of the most inane posts since, well, Sours. The author, a "proud neocon", can be proud of reminding me just how b&w "thought" can resemble the depth of a lobotomized moron.
Here... I'll reproduce the tripe in its entirety:
Compare and Contrast
Democratic response to national security:
President Barack Obama's "no drama" handling of the Indian Ocean hostage crisis proved a big win for his administration in its first critical national security test.
(Of course, AP stays true to their extremely biased form and buries it behind some "bad news".)
Analysis: Obama beats first national security test
By JENNIFER LOVEN – 12 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy is showing only glimmers of life and two costly wars remain in the balance, but President Barack Obama's "no drama" handling of the Indian Ocean hostage crisis proved a big win for his administration in its first critical national security test.
Obama puppy nominee faces uphill battle in Senate
The nomination of Bo, the puppy tapped yesterday to be the Obama family pet, was called into question today as several GOP senators vowed to filibuster the animal's confirmation.
Charlie Brooker on the American News Media.
(I picked this up on Kos. Seriously funny. Especially his take on
Faux News the GOP's private news channel.)
Obama releases Reagan records
This is in my top 10. Undoing Bush's first executive order, hiding Saint Ronnie's records of lawlessness and abuse of executive power.
And we're not even 3 months in, yet.
After 9 years away from the FBI, Mulder & Skully re-unite in the movie
"X-files: I Want To Believe".
This short scene summarizes their long absence:
Black Sites Shut Down
The US has stopped running its global network of secret prisons, CIA director Leon Panetta has announced.
"CIA no longer operates detention facilities or black sites," Mr Panetta said in a letter to staff. Remaining sites would be decommissioned, he said.
The "black sites" were used to detain terrorism suspects, some of whom were subjected to interrogation methods described by many as torture.
President Obama vowed to shut down the facilities shortly after taking office.
Now that's what I'm talking about...
Obama, the ICRC Report and ongoing suppression
Following up on the latest extremist Cheney/Addington/Yoo arguments advanced by the Obama DOJ in order to shield Bush lawbreaking from disclosure and judicial review -- an episode I wrote about in detail yesterday, here -- it's worthwhile to underscore the implications of Barack Obama's conduct. When Obama sought to placate his angry supporters after he voted for the Bush/Cheney FISA-telecom immunity bill last June (after vowing the prior December to support a filibuster of any such legislation), this is what he said (h/t notavailable):
[The FISA bill] also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future. It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses.
So candidate Obama unambiguously vowed to his supporters that he would work to ensure "full accountability" for "past offenses" in surveillance lawbreaking. President Obama, however, has now become the prime impediment to precisely that accountability, repeatedly engaging in extraordinary legal maneuvers to ensure that "past offenses" -- both in the surveillance and torture/rendition realm -- remain secret and forever immunized from judicial review.
A Thing of Beauty
(I saw this on Olbermann, tonight.)
Wherein Roger Ebert rips the Loofa Man a new one...
To: Bill O'Reilly
From: Roger Ebert
Dear Bill: Thanks for including the Chicago Sun-Times on your exclusive list of newspapers on your "Hall of Shame." To be in an O'Reilly Hall of Fame would be a cruel blow to any newspaper. It would place us in the favor of a man who turns red and starts screaming when anyone disagrees with him. My grade-school teacher, wise Sister Nathan, would have called in your parents and recommended counseling with Father Hogben.
Rush admitted it, yesterday
LIMBAUGH: We're going to go to Chicago. This is Charles. Charles, thank you for waiting and for calling. Great to have you here. Hello.
CALLER: Thanks, Rush. Rush, listen, I voted Republican, and I didn't -- really didn't want to see Obama get in office. But, you know, Rush, you're one reason to blame for this election, for the Republicans losing.
First of all, you kept harping about voting for Hillary. The second big issue is the -- was the torture issue. I'm a veteran. We're not supposed to be torturing these people. This is not Nazi Germany, Red China, or North Korea. There's other ways of interrogating people, and you kept harping about it -- "It's OK," or "It's not really torture." And it was just more than waterboarding. Some of these prisoners were killed under torture.
I've monitored some of the posts lately and saw that you say that the Chinese are against sponsoring our economy "because of our social spending".
You're very wrong there. They are up to their necks in dollars, see our capitalist system collapsing from the weight of its own greed. They actually call for MORE government spending, not less.
If they are reticent about continuing to bankroll the US economy it is because they don't want to lose 2 decades of profits and a shiteload of the value of the gazillions of bucks they have in their mattresses. They don't want the US economy to fail, it would be counterproductive.
But they realize that you can't have the motor of the world's economy, a motor based on consumption (75%), with the "middle" and lower classes earning less and less every year.
Don't rely on Cato for your foreign economic outlook.
"The Fourth Rail"
It's said that Social Security is "the third rail of politics", comparing it to that electrified strip of track that means instant death to anyone who touches it. As a recent example, as bad as his handling of Katrina and war was, it could be argued that Bush's attempt to dismantle SS was the beginning of the end for him as a "popular" President.
In a country full of paranoiacs it seems that military spending, which amounts to 50 cents of every tax dollar collected, more than the next 20 nations combined, and having become unsustainable to the point that it can be argued to be antithetical to "national security", is an equally electrifying topic.
Flyover of breaking ice shelf
A vast ice shelf, which covers an area of about 15,000 square kilometres (6,000 sq miles) is set to break off from the Antarctic Peninsula.
David Vaughan, from the British Antarctic Survey, says "it is hanging on by a thread".
Scientists report in the journal Nature that the continent is warming up in step with the global average.
Is the Worst Over?
No state has been harder hit by the housing bust than California.
It has piled up more foreclosures and has endured among the worst home-price declines. The median price of a single-family home sold in February was $247,590, down 41% from 12 months earlier, according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR).
But there are signs that California's housing market may be coming out of this tailspin: Sales volume is increasing, investors are returning and inventory is shrinking.
I teach at the United Nations World Food Program Office. One of their computers has a virus, which is adware which purports to be from Microsoft. A warning keeps on popping up, saying "Your computer is being attacked by a virus. It's trying to gain your passwords and other critical information. Would you like Microsoft to clean this virus?"
If you say "yes", you have to buy something, or it won't clean it for you. If you say "no", you keep getting warning after warning. If you try to go to any anti-virus site, it warns you about the site. If you say you want to go to that site "unprotected", it will allow you to go there, but will not allow the anti-virus program to run. And the warnings pop up so often, and are so hard to shut down, it's just about impossible to use the computer.
Ass holes. I'm afraid to use my memory stick anymore, but will put any information I need to transfer to another computer onto a CD. Or, like I told my student at the UN, "I'd have to wrap that rascal with a Number One, before sticking it into YOUR computer."
("Number One", of course, is the name of the condom that they sell and pass out by the millions here in this town of about 100,000.)
As an April Fool’s joke, Car and Driver magazine posted a made-up story on its website claiming that “President Obama had ordered Chevrolet and Dodge out of NASCAR after the 2009 season.” The magazine “pulled the fake story” after it “turned into a sizzling Internet topic,” especially on anti-Obama right-wing websites.
As Media Matters notes, one person who took the joking claim seriously was Ann Coulter. In her Human Events column yesterday, Coulter wrote:
If Obama can tell GM and Chrysler that their participation in NASCAR is an “unnecessary expenditure,” isn’t having public schools force students to follow Muslim rituals, recite Islamic prayers and plan “jihads” also an “unnecessary expenditure”? Are all those school condom purchases considered “necessary expenditures”?
Schuster vs Campbell
Check out this video of David Schuster gutting and filleting John Campbell over the GOP "budget".
Boston Tobacco Party
The cigarette excise tax that tobacco companies must pay the federal government rose Wednesday by 61.6 cents per pack, or $6.16 per carton. The tax now comes to about $10.10 per carton, or $1.01 per pack.
Screw it. Until the taxes are raised on: twinkies, potato chips, soda, alcohol, driving without seat belts, polluting the water with heat (power plants) or chemicals (farms and factories), polluting the air with SO2 and CO2, marijuana, gasoline, cheap crap from China, telephone tech service from India, incandescent light bulbs...
...or anything else you can find a group of people that don't like it...
I'm not going to pay this "sin tax".
Breaking! Cheney Indicted!
I wish that was funny...