Archives for: May 2009
Successful Terrorist Attack in the US, TODAY!
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - A Kansas doctor reviled by anti-abortion groups for his work providing so-called "late-term" abortions was shot and killed in his Wichita, Kansas, church on Sunday, and police said they captured the man responsible.
Police said they plan to charge a 51-year-old man on Monday with homicide and two counts of aggravated assault in the death of 67-year-old George Tiller, who died from a single gunshot.
Tiller was shot once while serving as an usher for Sunday services in the foyer at Reformation Lutheran Church. The shooter threatened two other men at the church who tried to intervene, police said.
Is it Just Me?
Levin: Memos don't show what Cheney says they do
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says former Vice President Dick Cheney's claims -- that classified CIA memos show enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding worked -- are wrong.
The Michigan Democrat told the crowd that the two CIA documents that Cheney wants released "say nothing about numbers of lives saved, nor do the documents connect acquisition of valuable intelligence to the use of abusive techniques."
"I hope that the documents are declassified, so that people can judge for themselves what is fact, and what is fiction," he added.
I'm with Levin. Declassify the documents so we can prosecute Cheney, already.
I honestly don't care if the government's shut down until those trials begin.
DON'T Buy GM!
Unless you think they're going to go away, completely. (I don't.)
NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of General Motors Corp. fell below $1 on Friday for the first time in 76 years as the struggling automaker approached a government-imposed restructuring deadline and a likely filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Ya gotta give Bush credit for one thing; he ended the "irrational exuberance" of the 90's in a big way.
Time Out For Nature
Not all the news is bad...
WASHINGTON - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a temporary order yesterday governing development in "roadless" areas of national forests, requiring all new projects to be approved by him personally.
Vilsack's order, which will be in effect for a year, is the latest turn in an eight-year-old battle over 58.5 million acres of pristine woods. President Bill Clinton made these areas off-limits in 2001, but President George W. Bush effectively reopened some in 2005. That led to a series of court cases that ultimately replaced the national policy with a patchwork of regional rules.
Vilsack, whose purview includes the U.S. Forest Service, did yesterday what environmental groups had been urging: call a "timeout."
In Michigan, Bush defends interrogation policies
Interesting article about the unrepentant war criminal.
He repeats the neocon line, "Sure, we tortured, but it worked!"
At the bottom of the first page:
He said he abandoned his free market principles to bail out the U.S. financial industry because he was told the nation otherwise would fall into a depression worse than the Great Depression.
Dude! We TOLD you! Your DAD told you!
"Piss on you economics" doesn't work!
Go take a gander at Orange State. Lots of gay marriage diaries. Lots of diaries about the SCOTUS pick. (For the permanent record, I'm glad it was Obama and not Palin's running mate that made this nomination.)
Switch on one of the 24/7 "news" channels. Any of them. Or watch the evening news. Same sort of stuff. Gay marriage. North Korea's being a little pissant again. More SCOTUS talk. "Is Sotomayor a racist, or isn't she?" (Bullshit. Read the quote in context. D's don't like R nominees and R's don't like D nominees to the SCOTUS. End of story. Can't sell advertising with that.)
What does it take
...to get discredited as a moralizing right-wing "family values" merchant these days?
by Matt Taibbi
So step right up and buy your "I'm SEXY enough... to make you wait!" t-shirts, courtesy of the Candie's Foundation -- the pro-abstinence group whose ambassador is now America's most famous "Oh, fuck it, it feels better without the rubber" Supermom, Bristol Palin!
China Needs to Spank Her Kid
I was OOT and didn't have access, so didn't post.
I thought this was pretty good.
This may be all I need to know (pdf):
In order to counter the charge that we are “obstructionists” who will block any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court, we thought it may be helpful to pro-actively put forward a list of Republicanappointed judges who would be acceptable consensus nominees to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. This list should serve two purposes – 1) to counter the obstructionist message of the Republicans and 2) to put forth criteria for what a qualified nominee would look like.
The attached list of judges has been through an initial vetting and fit into the criteria that we believe should be the standard for any Supreme Court justice. If you would like more information about these judges’ records, please feel free to let us know and we can get that to you.
Sonia Sotomayor (2nd Circuit): Nominated by President George H.W. Bush and elevated by President Clinton.
I've had CNN on for 10 minutes and I've already heard
a raving loon Republican Ed Rollins say "obviously she'll be an activist judge..."
Cheney's speech contained omissions, misstatements
By Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel, McClatchy Newspapers Jonathan S. Landay And Warren P. Strobel, Mcclatchy Newspapers – Thu May 21, 7:10 pm ET
(Reprinted in it's entirety since Yahoo news stories disappear in 30 days.)
WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Dick Cheney's defense Thursday of the Bush administration's policies for interrogating suspected terrorists contained omissions, exaggerations and misstatements.
A Few Notes Regarding (Yesterday's) Speech(es)
The Rude Pundit weighs in:
Obama spoke (yester)day at the National Archives to say, more or less, "Stop acting like the other guy is still President, you poor, traumatized bastards."
...what Obama was doing was removing the unitary executive idea from the center of the government.
"I have opposed the creation of such a Commission because I believe that our existing democratic institutions are strong enough to deliver accountability. The Congress can review abuses of our values, and there are ongoing inquiries by the Congress into matters like enhanced interrogation techniques. The Department of Justice and our courts can work through and punish any violations of our laws."
Do you get that? President Obama is telling the Congress not to be punk ass bitches about investigating, that the legislative branch should keep the executive branch honest, that punishing crimes is what we're supposed to do.
Dick Cheney, wheezing his way through his speech, opened by talking about how he was cowering in a bunker on 9/11 and his horribly scarred psyche changed how he thought about the world. The fact that Cheney admitted that he was a PTSD sufferer and that's how he responded to the world pretty much negates everything he said after. Fuck him. He's not worthy to be called Cthulu or Satan anymore.
WASHINGTON — Congress on Wednesday sent President Obama a set of new rules governing credit card companies, completing three consumer-related measures that Democrats had raced to have signed into law by Memorial Day.
But the credit card victory came at a cost that angered some backers of the legislation: approval of an unrelated provision allowing visitors to national parks and wildlife refuges to carry loaded weapons if they are otherwise licensed to possess guns.
Congressional leaders and administration officials decided not to contest the gun measure propelled by Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, to avoid delaying credit card legislation that the White House wanted as an important symbol of the administration’s push for economic relief for consumers.
I'm going to assume that this will piss off the gun-grabbers to no end. I, on the other hand, welcome it. "You can't (satisfy) all the people all the time..."
Credit Card Industry Aims to Profit From Sterling Payers
Credit cards have long been a very good deal for people who pay their bills on time and in full. Even as card companies imposed punitive fees and penalties on those late with their payments, the best customers racked up cash-back rewards, frequent-flier miles and other perks in recent years.
Now Congress is moving to limit the penalties on riskier borrowers, who have become a prime source of billions of dollars in fee revenue for the industry. And to make up for lost income, the card companies are going after those people with sterling credit.
Banks are expected to look at reviving annual fees, curtailing cash-back and other rewards programs and charging interest immediately on a purchase instead of allowing a grace period of weeks, according to bank officials and trade groups.
Our economy, and the need for yearly "growth" it inspires, has begun to remind me of a rock rolling downhill. Big, unthinking, unmanageable, and smashing anything that gets in it's way. Take away it's ability to crush the middle class and it looks for a new target rather than alter it's seemingly uncorrectable rumble to the bottom.
Bible Thumpers and No One Else
The decline and fall of the Republican Party in recent years has been so widespread that the party has lost support among nearly every major demographic subgroup of likely voters across the country, according to a new Gallup poll.
The party lost support among a broad swath of Americans, from conservative to liberal, low-income to high-income, married to unmarried, and elderly to young.
The only subgroup in which the party saw a slight increase in support from 2001 to 2009 was frequent churchgoers.
Palin/Cheney in 2012! "Boss" Limbaugh can be their campaign manager!
Seriously, though, who's gonna take the place of the GOP? The Libertarians? How about a 3-party system for a change? Greens, Libertarians, and Democrats?
Edit: Forgot the attribution.
U.S. to unveil new policy on auto fuel standards
WASHINGTON, May 18 (Reuters) - The White House will unveil an auto fuel efficiency proposal on Tuesday to ... accelerate the timeframe for sharply improving mileage performance, industry and other sources said.
Wow. A President who can do basic math. Now THAT'S a change!
(If the above is cryptic, getting 10% better gas mileage = using 10% less fuel + putting out 10% less pollution. That's an "equal" sign and a "plus" sign. Basic math.)
(Blatant rip-off from an email I received a while back.)
This is NOT a pushover test. There are 20 questions. Average score is 12. It will help if you are over 60! This one will be difficult for the younger set. Have fun, but no peeking!
1. What builds strong bodies 12 ways?
A. Flintstones vitamins
B. The Buttmaster
D. Wonder Bread
E. Orange Juice
G. Cod Liver Oil
And He Shall Be Judged
If you've never quite grasped just how nuts our government was for the past 8 years, check this out.
You definitely don't want to miss the slide show.
Obama Can’t Turn the Page on Bush
The administration can’t “just keep walking” because it is losing control of the story. The Beltway punditocracy keeps repeating the cliché that only the A.C.L.U. and the president’s “left-wing base” want accountability, but that’s not the case. Americans know that the Iraq war is not over.
Might be worth a read if you have the time.
What are we so afraid of?
I've been harping on this, for years. The last numbers I saw had the US spending more (money we don't have) on "defense" than the next 20 nations combined. Matt Yglesias does a better job than me in this post:
US Defense Spending In Context
I’ve shown charts before showing how absurd the American defense budget looks in context. Now a new chart making the same point, but with slightly more up-to-date 2007 spending data:
As you can see, not only is the United States spending well over double the combined defense budgets of Russia and China, but America’s close allies constitute the bulk of the other big spenders. Indeed, if you add all the European countries together, they spend about 50 percent more than Russia and China combined.
The chart does it, for me.
Dick Cheney ordered al-Libi to be tortured--after the interrogation team had told his office that al-Libi was cooperating--to extract false intelligence about an Iraq/Al Qaeda connection.
One for Uzi
Israel promises not to surprise U.S. with strike on Iran
The fact that they insisted on going into Iraq, exacerbating the hatred in the mid east, making the whole world mistrust us, simply because 9/11 provided a pretext to do what they had wanted to do for years before the attacks, puts the lie to all of these excuses about our post 9/11 "mindset" leading us to be so worried about the next terrorist attack that we had to torture prisoners to keep the babies safe.
If they had cared about keeping the babies safe they wouldn't have invaded a country in the middle east which had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks, thereby giving the Islamic fundamentalists and the rest of the world good reason to believe that we had completely lost our moorings and proving everything the terrorists said about us.
And we know now that the two worst decisions of the Bush years -- torture and Iraq --- are intertwined, don't we? Check this out.
More at Digby
On the Photos
There ought to be an overwhelming presumption that the American people have the right to see the facts about what our government is doing in our name, with our money. There has to be some secrecy in the name of national security—it’s good that we don’t publish our nuclear codes or the details of the presidential security detail—but the notion that vague invocations of national interest or policy expediency should be permitted to sweep things under the rug is repugnant.
Ari Melber very nicely handled the torture question today in a way I wish more"democratic strategists" would do. On MSNBC earlier with Carlos 'n Contessa, he and Republican Joe Morton squared off over the FBI Agent's testimony on the efficacy of torture before the Senate today:
Morton: And yet there are others who would say that the waterboarding helped. It helped provide information...
Melber: But Joe, even if we put that aside and say that might be possible, there are leaders throughout the world who would say that genocide helps security, that cancelling elections helps security, that fascism helps security. At some point here the whole issue is that we have to move beyond the framework of just saying torturing someone or killing someone worked, and be bound by the rule of law.
This is so obvious to me that I can't understand why people don't say it more often. If you can excuse breaking the law to use torture to keep the nation safe, you can excuse breaking the law to do anything to keep the nation safe. That nullifies the rule of law -- and civilization.
"Taxi To The Dark Side" - Trailer
This documentary murder mystery examines the death of an Afghan taxi driver at Bagram Air Base from injuries inflicted by U.S. soldiers. In an unflinching look at the Bush administration's policy on torture, the filmmaker behind Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room takes us from a village in Afghanistan to Guantanamo and straight to the White House.
Seen This Yet?
I'd still like to see the day when Cheney's wearing an orange jump suit in court...
Hill Panel Reviewing CIA Tactics
Investigators Examining Interrogations, Legal Advice
It doesn't sound like the CIA "carried out some of these operations within the four corners of legal opinions or guidance that had been provided from the White House."
An Honest Brawl Over the Court
In fact, there is no evidence that Republicans would be nicer to an Obama nominee if Roberts and Alito had been confirmed unanimously. Nonetheless, Kyl had a point. To pretend that these judicial fights are about anything other than the court's philosophical direction is a form of willful dishonesty. It's better to be straightforward about the existence of a political struggle over the court than to manufacture phony reasons for opposing a nominee related to "character," "qualifications" or "temperament."
Liberals, who (in my view, correctly) opposed Roberts and Alito on philosophical grounds, should thus not be hypocritical themselves and deny the conservatives' right to challenge a nominee's philosophy. On the contrary, liberals should welcome a real debate -- and win it.
But this also means that such matters as a nominee's sexual preference should not be a consideration and that an authentic debate would involve ideas, not slogans -- notably "judicial activism," "legislating from the bench" and "strict constructionism."
At the very least, we should apply such terms consistently to conservative and liberal nominees. Today, judicial activism is far more the habit of conservative justices than liberals. The real danger of a conservative Supreme Court is that it will rob Congress and the states of the right to legislate on civil rights, worker rights, the environment and social welfare, just as conservative courts did from the turn of the last century until the late 1930s.
However many judges Obama appoints, they will outlast him (and probably me). After "Just Us Sunday" efforts by the ultra-right wing church groups during the Miers/Alito debacle I seen nothing to gain by pretending we have no intention of changing the makeup of the court.
That Obama Guy?
If he was my boss, I'd probably like my job better.
Check out his White House Correspondents Dinner Speech.
REGULATION VACATION CELEBRATION!
(I saw this on the front page of Kos)
Hey, this Obama guy?
He's not so bad.
Conservative religious groups are criticizing President Obama for what the Associated Press called his "muted" observance of National Prayer Day Thursday. "At this time in our country's history, we would hope our President would recognize more fully the importance of prayer," said Shirley Dobson, chairwoman of National Day of Prayer Task Force, which organizes the prayer day festivities. The Family Research Council said Obama's decision to not have a big White House prayer event constituted a "de-emphasis on prayer."
President Barack Obama's $3.55 trillion budget proposal, released on Thursday, eliminates spending for programs that teach U.S. schoolchildren sexual abstinence and shifts funds to programs aimed at reducing teenage pregnancy.
Anything that pisses off the
social conservatives holier than thou bible thumpers American Taliban fundamentalist freaks religious uber-right is alright with me.
Weasel Backer News
You know your party has hit new lows of odiousness when even a rat-eyed tax-delinquent creep who makes propaganda videos for Pajamas Media wants nothing to do with you. So congratulations, Republicans, Joe the “Plumber” is dumping your ass.
OK, that's funny.
Play him off, Keyboard Cat
A Bush administration attorney who approved harsh interrogation techniques of terror suspects advocated in 2006 that President Bush set aside recommendations by his own Justice Department to bring prosecutions for such practices, that the President should consider pardoning anyone convicted of such offenses, and even that jurors hearing criminal cases about such matters engage in jury nullification.
That advice came from John Yoo, a former attorney with the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel and author of memos that served as a legal rationale for the Bush administration's interrogation techniques. Yoo's recommendations constitute one of the most compelling pieces of a body of evidence that Yoo and other government attorneys improperly skewed legal advice to allow such practices, according to sources familiar with a still-confidential Justice Department report.
A Justice Department internal watchdog agency, the Office of Professional Responsibility, has concluded that Yoo and a second former Justice Department attorney, Jay Bybee, breached their professional legal ethics by skewing their legal advisory opinion to provide a legal rationale for allowing the harsh interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, according to a senior Department attorney who has reviewed a draft of the report. President Obama has said that the use of some of the interrogation techniques constituted torture.
There's no way we should settle for anything less than ruining these "men's" (and I use the term loosely) lives.
No charges likely over 'torture' memos
If you have money and power you can literally get away with anything in America.
The REAL Lesson of Specter the Defector
“It would be my hope that the Republican Party would turn away from the Club for Growth,” (Specter) told “Meet the Press” host David Gregory.
He accused the group, a financially influential voice for conservative ideology, of playing a significant role in an effort to purify the party’s ranks. The club has funded primary-election challengers to moderate officeholders within the party, he said, even though the new candidates will not be able to win the general-election vote.
If this comes down to a war between the "extremist base" of the two parties, I'm not sure who would win.
Are You A Twit?
I have to admit, I don't get the fascination with twitter. I'm on it as "Timbuk357" (Timbuk3 was already taken), but I haven't really used it.
Rather than "on it", I kind of like the way Stephen Colbert put it, here:
My Review of the Movie "Earth"
I should have gone to "The Soloist".
Actually, it'd probably be good if you're not like me and watch the National Geographic channel, a lot. By the end of it I felt like I could have stayed home and watched my "Planet Earth" DVDs instead of spending the 36 bucks on tickets and popcorn.
So, never mind. If you like nature shows, and haven't seen "Planet Earth" and don't watch National Geographic, go. You'll probably enjoy it.
How's that for "non-committal"?
President Obama described this vacuum well at his "100 Days" news conference Wednesday evening. Republicans, he said, "can't . . . define bipartisanship as simply being willing to accept certain theories of theirs that we tried for eight years and didn't work, and that the American people voted to change."