Sunday, August 30, 2009

Abandoning Journalism is an anagram for OLIGARH

Technically, today is Sunday. Praise be to Allah.

What you are about to watch occurred on Thursday:

As of 72 hours later, this individual is neither in a straight-jacket or a padded cell, nor is he unemployed.

Self-described conservative Andrew Sullivan's terse comment:

This Is On National Television:

What else is there to say?

80% Glibertarian, editor, and Randian prick in general, Radley Balko, reacts to this vid thusly:

Is that Darrell Hammond?

I haven’t watched Saturday Night Live in a long time, but this parody of Glenn Beck was perfectly executed.

Now I know why Bill Hicks prayed for Nuclear Holocaust within 5 minutes even if out of spite.

Anniversaries. Things you promise to commit to for more than 3 years. The proper way to display a flag. Lapel pins, also.

It was a year ago yesterday that John McCain announced his running mate and candidate for Vice President of these United States. And while driving to work, listening to her speech in my car, I actually said, aloud: "Who the FUCK is Sarah Palin?!"

That phrase was a very popular Google Search in the days that followed. She has since quit being Governor of Alaska after 2.5 years of service, and now still makes the news because of updates on her facebook page in an apparent effort to win the Presidency in 2012. Seriously. In '06, I signed a 50-month car loan. If only I could fail upwards like good ole Sarah and just up and quit paying my bills; and instead of having them repossess my car, I could look forward to the bank mailing me a check free and clear for the amount of debt I currently possessed on the loan.

Mostly via Sullivan, the internet's reaction 365 days ago:

Dan Gersten, NY Daily News:

In picking an unknown, untested, half-a-term woman governor from Alaska to be his running mate, John McCain is following in a long line of reckless men who have rolled the dice for a beauty queen. Except in this case, McCain is taking one of the biggest, boldest gambles in modern American political history.

He's betting his presidency on a naked political play for holdout Hillary supporters and other female swing voters - and hoping that a large share of these predominantly pro-choice women will ignore or overlook Palin's staunch pro-life, anti-stem cell views.

But that's just the better half of it. McCain will now have to pull off a grand slam of cognitive dissonance - trying to discredit Barack Obama as unready to be Commander in Chief while trying to pawn off the least qualified candidate put on a national ticket in our lifetime as the second best choice to lead the most powerful nation in the world.

The longer I think about it, the less well this selection sits with me. And I increasingly doubt that it will prove good politics. The Palin choice looks cynical. The wires are showing.

John McCain wanted a woman: good.

He wanted to keep conservatives and pro-lifers happy: naturally.

He wanted someone who looked young and dynamic: smart.

And he discovered that he could not reconcile all these imperatives with the stated goal of finding a running mate qualified to assume the duties of the presidency "on day one."

Sarah Palin may well have concealed inner reservoirs of greatness. I hope so! But I'd guess that John McCain does not have a much better sense of who she is, what she believes, and the extent of her abilities than my enthusiastic friends over at the Corner. It's a wild gamble, undertaken by our oldest ever first-time candidate for president in hopes of changing the board of this election campaign. Maybe it will work. But maybe (and at least as likely) it will reinforce a theme that I'd be pounding home if I were the Obama campaign: that it's John McCain for all his white hair who represents the risky choice, while it is Barack Obama who offers cautious, steady, predictable governance.

Here's I fear the worst harm that may be done by this selection. The McCain campaign's slogan is "country first." It's a good slogan, and it aptly describes John McCain, one of the most self-sacrificing, gallant, and honorable men ever to seek the presidency.

But question: If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?

And then there is Andrew's initial attraction followed quickly by his deconversion to Palin-based conservatism:

08/29/2008, 10:53 EST:

If McCain's entire argument so far has been that Obama is too untested to be president, then how can he pick a 44-year-old first-term governor of a state with 600,000 people with no foreign policy experience whatsoever?

What this means, it seems to me, is that McCain has decided he cannot win without Clinton Democrats, and this is his attempt to win them over. He has decided that he cannot win on the experience card, so he is trying to pick the change card. Palin's record on climate change is certainly impressive - and she seems a charming, capable person. She is certainly a different kind of pick for a Southern-based GOP. But McCain will be the oldest first term president in history with a history of health concerns. If America is concerned that Obama isn't ready, how could anyone say Palin is?

08/29/2008, 13:40 EST:

Not Your Traditional Republican

She named two daughters after television witches, and smoked pot when it was legal in Alaska, and inhaled. She's also very gay-friendly. It makes me like her. I'm not so sure how the most devout in the base will respond. Her Down Syndrome baby will help, I'm sure - and her decision to bring him into the world is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

08/29/2008, 22:05 EST:

A Dish reader throws some cold water on Sully's idealism:

A reader writes:
It is SO over for McCain.

He just jumped the shark so badly I'm surprised he didn't choose Tom Cruise instead.

Once the Republican talk-radio/chattering classes are finished acting happy, reality will sink in.

The Republicans that will be happy about this are the ones that have now become as disconnected from the average America as the Elite East Coast Democrats they despise (Hewitt, Limbaugh, Dobson, Hannity). They are reading America wrong and McCain is following them into the abyss.

The average Hillary voter would never support a woman like Palin. They are anathema to each other. And the average middle-class Mom is going to say, "What's a woman with children that young (and one with Down-syndrome) doing thinking that she can leave them everyday to be a Vice-President or possibly President?" Yes, she's a governor of sparsely populated Alaska now, but to be the 2nd most important person in the United States in our post-911 world is not the place for a very nice, young mother.

McCain was suffering an enthusiasm deficit before, and once the initial hype passes, the silence will be deafening. I predict a blow-out now. Gravitas was McCain's strongest asset and by choosing Harriet Myers Jr., he took the Rovian gambit too far. This will only mobilize and excite conservatives who already loathed Obama from the beginning. And even then, they will just be hiding their disappointment.

Who knows? History is rarely this smooth.

08/29/08, 22:43 EST:

His inbox must be hitting home, because he has composed and is posting a devastating react to the latest news. Only 40 minutes after Palin almost wins Gay British Conservative Intellectual Andrew Sullivan, she loses him completely, and thus, from this point forward, she is done:

Think about what the Palin pick really says about how McCain views this campaign and how he views his potential responsibilities in national security.

Think about what it says about the sincerity of McCain's own central criticism of Obama these past two months in foreign affairs.

Think about how he picked a woman to be a heartbeat away from a war presidency who hadn't even thought much, by her own admission, about the Iraq war as late as 2007.

Think about how he made this decision barely knowing the woman.

Think about the fact that the most McCain could say about his potential war-time vice-president in foreign affairs and national security when selecting her is that she commanded Alaska's National Guard as governor and has a son in the military.

Think about the men and women serving this country who have every right to trust that their potential commander-in-chief, whatever their party, would have some record of even interest in foreign policy before assuming office.

Think about how the key factor in this decision was not who could defend this country were something dreadful happen to McCain in office but how to tread as much on Obama's convention bounce and use women's equality as a wedge issue among Democrats because it might secure a few points here or there. Oh, and everyone would be surprised. And even Rove would be annoyed.

This is his sense of honor and judgment. This is his sense of responsibility and service.

Here's the real slogan the McCain campaign should now adopt:

Putting. Country. Last.

08/30/08, 12:10 EST:

A Dish Reader does a postmortem, less than 24 hours after McCain has announced his VP:
I had been reluctant to acknowledge how flawed and dead the conservative movement has become; that's over now. No more excuses, no more clinging to old visions of rational discourse and principled debate. I really have witnessed the death of conservatism and its replacement by a kind of toxic babbitry which would be merely laughable or cringeworthy if it were not also so extraordinarily dangerous.

This election year has been a series of revelations and disillusionments--the crudely ugly tactics of Limbaugh and Hannity (and--worse--their embrace by Buckley's heirs at National Review), the thinly-veiled racism and nativism of the campaign against Obama, the transparently cruel and God-hating ideology of movement Christians; but--even though dismayed by McCain's bizarre campaign--I had retained some illusions as recently as this morning. I believed McCain to be at least a patriot, sincerely concerned with issues of national security.

His nomination of Sarah Palin ended that illusion, too.

No remotely serious politician--no honest patriot--would think of placing this individual a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, however admirable she may be, however lively her biography.

Moreover, the elation on the right regarding Palin's nomination made clear to me that none of them has ever been remotely serious about national security, either. On the contrary, as the left has insisted for years, for them it really has all been about political advantage, noise and bluster and ugliness with no core of principle, no genuine strategic commitment.

The very same people who, only yesterday, insisted that Obama's resume was too dangerously thin to entrust him with the oversight of our national security, today are celebrating Palin's accession as a triumph for conservatism (evidently this is because she is hostile to both abortion and polar bears). Their hypocrisy is staggering--they truly do believe in nothing but their own entitlement to power by any means.

And I'm very much afraid I must conclude this is as true of McCain as it is of his ghastly cheerleaders, the Limbaughs and the Hannitys. Nothing else could explain the elevation of a woman so singularly unqualified in every aspect save gender.

In September 2008, Sullivan appears on Real Time with Bill Maher, and causes a stink.

07/07/09: A compilation is put together of over 30 instances of Palin lying out of her ass, most of them anecdotes which create a psych profile of an unstable personality with a disposition favorable to compulsive lying. Posted here in full, but the proof is in the links (aka even the McCain campaign knew she was full of shit):

A couple of months ago, I asked an intern to re-fact-check all of them to make sure new details hadn't emerged that might debunk some. And I also asked to get any subsequent statements by Palin that acknowledged that she had erred in any of these statements that are easily rebuttable by facts in the public record and apologized and corrected. She has not. Since this was a vast project over the last ten months, it's possible there are some nuances or errors that need fixing. Please tell us if you find one and we'll acknowledge and fix. But it has been put through the ringer a few times.

After you have read these, ask yourself: what wouldn't Sarah Palin lie about if she felt she had to?

Palin lied when she said the dismissal of her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, had nothing to do with his refusal to fire state trooper Mike Wooten; in fact, the Branchflower Report concluded that she repeatedly abused her power when dealing with both men.

Palin lied when she repeatedly claimed to have said, "Thanks, but no thanks" to the Bridge to Nowhere; in fact, she openly campaigned for the federal project when running for governor.

Palin lied when she denied that Wasilla's police chief and librarian had been fired; in fact, both were given letters of termination the previous day.

Palin lied when she wrote in the NYT that a comprehensive review by Alaska wildlife officials showed that polar bears were not endangered; in fact, email correspondence between those scientists showed the opposite.

Palin lied when she claimed in her convention speech that an oil gas pipeline "began" under her guidance; in fact, the pipeline was years from breaking ground, if at all.

Palin lied when she told Charlie Gibson that she does not pass judgment on gay people; in fact, she opposes all rights between gay spouses and belongs to a church that promotes conversion therapy.

Palin lied when she denied having said that humans do not contribute to climate change; in fact, she had previously proclaimed that human activity was not to blame.

Palin lied when she claimed that Alaska produces 20 percent of the country's domestic energy supply; in fact, the actual figures, based on any interpretation of her words, are much, much lower.

Palin lied when she told voters she improvised her convention speech when her teleprompter stopped working properly; in fact, all reports showed that the machine had functioned perfectly and that her speech had closely followed the script.

Palin lied when she recalled asking her daughters to vote on whether she should accept the VP offer; in fact, her story contradicts details given by her husband, the McCain campaign, and even Palin herself. (She later added another version.)

Palin lied when she claimed to have taken a voluntary pay cut as mayor; in fact, as councilmember she had voted against a raise for the mayor, but subsequent raises had taken effect by the time she was mayor.

Palin lied when she insisted that Wooten's divorce proceedings had caused his confidential records to become public; in fact, court officials confirmed they released no such records.

Palin lied when she suggested to Katie Couric that she was involved in trade missions with Russia; in fact, she has never even met with Russian officials.

Palin lied when she told Shimon Peres that the only flag in her office was the Israeli flag; in fact, she has several flags.

Palin lied when she claimed to have tried to divest government funds from Sudan; in fact, her administration openly opposed a bill that would have done just that.

Palin lied when she repeatedly claimed that troop levels in Iraq were back to pre-surge levels; in fact, even she acknowledged her "misstatements," though she refused to retract or apologize.

Palin lied when she insisted that the Branchflower Report "showed there was no unlawful or unethical activity on my part"; in fact, that report prominently stated, "Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act."

Palin lied when she claimed to have voiced concerns over Wooten fearing he would harm her family; in fact, she actually decreased her security detail during that period.

Palin lied when asked about the $150,000 worth of clothes provided by the RNC; in fact, solid reporting contradicted several parts of her statement.

Palin lied when she suggested that she had offered the media proof of her pregnancy with Trig to "correct the record"; in fact, no reports of her medical records were ever published; and the letter from her doctor testifying to her good health only emerged hours before polling ended on election day, even though there was nothing in it that couldn't have been released two months earlier.

Palin lied when she said that "reported" allegations of her banning Harry Potter as mayor was easily refutable because it had not even been written yet; in fact, the first book in that series was published in 1998 - two years into her first term - and such rumors were never reported by the media, only circulated as emails.

Palin lied when she denied having participated in a clothes audit with campaign laywers; in fact, the Washington Times later confirmed those details.

Palin lied when asked about Couric's question regarding her reading habits; in fact, Couric's words were not, "What do you read up there in Alaska?" or anything close to condescension.

Palin lied when she mischaracterized the "$1200 check" given to Alaskans as the permanent fund dividend check; in fact, that fund had yielded $2,069 per person, and she claimed otherwise to obscure the fact that Alaskans also received a $1200 rebate check from a windfall profits tax on oil companies - a tax widely criticized by Republicans.

Palin lied when she claimed to be unaware of a turkey being slaughtered behind her during a filmed interview; in fact, the cameraman said she had picked the spot herself, while the slaughter was underway.

Palin lied when she denied having rejected federal stimulus money; in fact, she continued to accept and reject the funds several times.

Palin lied when she claimed that legislative leaders had canceled a meeting with her to hold their own press conference; in fact, they only canceled it after being told she would not participate, and the purpose of the press conference was very different from the meeting's.

Palin lied when she announced on the news that she never holds closed-door meetings; in fact, she had just attended a closed-door meeting with the legislature earlier that day.

Palin lied when she said that former aide John Bitney's "amicable" departure was for "personal" reasons; in fact, Bitney said he was fired because of his relationship with the wife of Palin's friend, plus a Palin spokesperson later claimed "poor job performance" for his firing - without elaborating.

Palin lied when she said she kept her running injury a secret on the campaign trail; in fact, her bandaged hand was clearly visible in photographs and the story was widely talked about.

Palin lied when she claimed that Alaska has spent "millions of dollars" on litigation related to her ethics complaints; in fact, that figure is much, much lower, and she had initiated the most expensive inquiry.

Palin lied when she denied that the Alaska Independence Party supports secession and denied that her husband had been a member; in fact, even the McCain campaign noted that the party's very existence is based on secession and that Todd was a member for seven years.

Happy Sarah Palin Day!

For no reason whatsoever related to the content posted above, I feel compelled to post a video of Goldfinger's song FTN.

Also, too:

Fur-wearing fucking twat
She likes to eat dead cow
She thinks its cool to wear eyelashes of dead foxes
Cuz she thinks it hides the pounds

Shes a bitch!
Fuck her!
Fuck her!

She's a bitch!
Fuck her!
Fuck her!

Wow do I want to see this movie

It's like a Coen Bros' Project Alpha with Dick Cheney as the dupe:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Meddling with the Primal Forces of Nature

I’m currently listening to a book on tape version of Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. It’s not enjoyable at all, but it is one of the most informative and striking books I’ve ever read. Disaster Capitalists and a certain school of economists envisioned a free-market utopia based on computer models under the belief that a human-created monetary system could be considered a hard science like physics or chemistry, and they were given an opportunity time and time again to test their theory with ruinous results. The only reason it repeats is that when these economies collapse, oligarchs and vulture investors swoop in buying everything up for pennies on the dollar, and then sell to other foreign investors for billions.

Say what you want about the supposed amorality of the free market principles they advocate. This has been used to scavenge billions from Chile and Argentina in the 70s and 80s, Post-cold war Russia in the 90s, and then Iraq. The wisdom of such destructive economic policy must immediately be questioned when in the last decade with Enron, Post-Katrina NOLA, and the Housing Bubble leading to the Wall St. Crisis, these homegrown tactics are now being used on our own soil.

An example of the style of globalization-minded free market corporate cosmology can be demonstrated writ small in Klein's 2004 documentary The Take:

Even with Obama at the helm, I’m beginning to think we’re fucked.

The investor class of this nation has been devouring the seed corn.

Also, Go Huskers!

RIP Don Hewitt

from Bloomberg:

Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Don Hewitt, who created the enduring CBS television newsmagazine “60 Minutes” and was its sole executive producer for 35 years, has died. He was 86.

He died today, CBS News reported on its Web site. A spokesman for “60 Minutes” said he was diagnosed earlier this year with a tumor, according to CBS News.

Although he often said he wanted to die at his desk, Hewitt relinquished his “60 Minutes” post in June 2004 in exchange for a 10-year contract to serve as a producer-at-large for CBS News, giving him a say in the network’s news programming.

“I’m going to be the resident pain in the ass,” he told Broadcasting & Cable magazine when the deal was announced.

Hewitt joined CBS’s fledgling news operation in 1948 before he owned his first television set. He oversaw the 15-minute newscast by Douglas Edwards until it was replaced by Walter Cronkite’s half-hour program in 1963. Hewitt also produced the first television debates between presidential candidates Richard Nixon and John Kennedy in 1960.

Hewitt claimed credit for many innovations -- superimposing names on TV images and coining the term “anchorman,” to name two -- but he was most proud of “60 Minutes.” By his estimate, the program generated at least $2 billion in profits in its long run, which began when Lyndon Johnson was in the White House and has continued through eight other presidencies.

Hewitt’s greatest talent was spotting and shaping a compelling story. At “60 Minutes,” he approved story ideas, oversaw the editing and wrote the on-air promotions and teases at the beginning of the broadcast.

“Basically, Don is an editor with cold, hard judgment about what works and what will appeal to people,” veteran “60 Minutes” commentator Andy Rooney told the Los Angeles Times in 1991. “I’m always surprised at how he can look at a piece once and remember every element of it.”


Hewitt’s most public hour came in 1995, when he bowed to a CBS lawyer’s decision to kill a Wallace interview with a tobacco industry whistleblower named Jeffrey Wigand because of a possible threat of litigation.

As a substitute for the interview, Hewitt permitted Wallace to reveal on “60 Minutes” the management decision to pull the story. “That was a first -- a network-news broadcast holding its own management’s feet to the fire,” Hewitt declared in his 2001 memoir.

Hewitt later bristled over Hollywood’s unflattering portrayal of Wallace and himself in “The Insider,” a 1999 movie that essentially accused them of selling out.

Hewitt had two sons, Jeffrey and Steven, from his first marriage and a daughter, Lisa, from his second.

Played in the film by Philip Baker Hall, a chapter of Hewitt's memoir is spent dealing with the fallout the movie caused. In the end, the decisions shown in the film were the ones Hewitt went with. However, a glaringly bad call shouldn't outweigh a lifetime of talent and journalistic contribution. Full Disclosure, The Insider is one of my favortie films.

As far as what Lowell Bergman (Pacino's character) has been up to IRL, this particular episode of Frontline is a must-see.

Dog is my Co-pilot

Cute follow-up to bad news:

I went over to my ‘rents house and I did give my mom and my brother a big hug. They needed it, and my mom saw this thread, and though perplexed about the format, purpose, and etiquette of the blogosphere, she appreciates the kind words expressed by total strangers.

We all explained Maxie's absence to my 4 year old niece and then my younger brother, her father, saying,

“She was sick. She’s up in heaven now. She misses you too.”

My niece goes, “Oh, did she fly a plane up there?

Thank FSM for little girls.

P. S. Maxie was part Beagle...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Evil people pass away...

Via Radley Balko:

The remaining half of America’s great freedom-loving couple has passed away.

Yeah not so much.

Again, between the stark dichotomy of free markets vs. free people, you need to define "freedom" for clarity's sake...

After right-wing “free market” economist and longtime University of Chicago professor Milton Friedman dropped dead in 2006, it did not take long for the U of C administration to spark a minor firestorm on campus by proposing to name an economic research institute in his honor. In the 1970s Friedman and his “Chicago Boys” notoriously served as economic advisers to the bloody CIA-backed Chilean dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet that massacred 30,000 workers, peasants and leftists and imprisoned and tortured thousands more. Last year, in response to the U of C proposal to launch a Milton Friedman Institute, faculty formed the Committee for Open Research on Economy and Society (CORES), which initiated an online petition against the Institute and held a number of well-attended campus events. Over 100 professors signed a letter of protest to the administration, and the full Faculty Senate convened for the first time in a decade to debate the proposal.

It is truly an affront to working people and the oppressed around the planet that the University would attempt to honor the legacy of this man. It would be utopian to think that bourgeois universities would not name buildings in honor of sundry capitalist moguls and their academic mouthpieces. But Friedman was not simply a reactionary ideologue; his hands were drenched in the blood of the Chilean masses. In 1975, the New York Times accurately labeled him “the guiding light of the junta’s economic policy” (21 September 1975). The CIA funded a 300-page Friedmanite blueprint given to the leaders of the junta in preparation for the coup. In March 1975 Friedman himself, accompanied by his U of C cohort Arnold Harberger, flew to Chile for high-level talks with the regime to outline the economic “shock treatment” that led to the mass starvation of those who had survived the initial phase of bloodletting.

If there's an afterlife, and any justice in the Universe, Rose Friedman now joins her husband in Hell where they are eternally drowning in fire ants, 1 for every victim of the dictatorships they supported and whose life they otherwise destroyed.

Monday, August 17, 2009

RIP Maxie


She annoyed the piss out of me so often, I’d swear I hated that dog. If you took her off a leash for even a second, she’d decide to give you a tour of the most heavily wooded area around my parents’ house on the coldest or darkest days of the year by making you chase after her. And now she’s gone, and I teared up a little at work. But you were a good dog, and all you ever wanted was to be loved or petted. I hope we gave you that much. You will be missed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wingnut Prosecutor vs. Indian Willy Loman

[OT- a little closer]

New Jersey Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Chris Christie's bio as U. S. Attorney:

Putting Terrorists Behind Bars

Obscure businessman and British citizen, Hemant Lakhani, came on the radar screen of the FBI because of his desire to broker the sale of shoulder-fired missiles to shoot down American passenger jets. His independent efforts to find an arms buyer and his persistence in completing a deal that would result in a terrorist attack in the United States sealed the image of someone predisposed and motivated to follow through with terrorist acts.

Chris Christie led the team that prosecuted Mr. Lakhani, ultimately securing a conviction and putting him behind bars for the rest of his life.

Proves to be complete and utter nonsense.

This American Life completely destroys the case that this insecure dumbass could ever be a successful terrorist.

The U.S. government spent two years on a sting operation trapping an Indian man named Hemant Lakhani, whom they suspected of being an illegal arms dealer. It's one of the first cases that went to trial in the War on Terror, and one the Justice Department pointed to as one of their big successes. In the end, they got Lakhani, red-handed, delivering a missile to a terrorist in New Jersey. The only problem was, nothing in the sting was what it appeared to be. Including the missile.

Hemant Lakhani, an Indian-born British citizen, had been a salesman all his life. Clothing, rice, oil ... it didn't matter to him what, as long as he could spin a deal. Then one day, sitting in a hotel room with a gangster he happened to know, the phone rang. It wasa business friend of the gangster's, calling from America. The man on the phone was rich, Lakhani was told. Maybe he would invest in Lakhani's latest venture. So Lakhani started talking to the man over the phone. Pretty soon they set up a meeting at a hotel in New Jersey, to talk business. But when Lakhani got there, the man seemed to be only interested in buying weapons. Illegal weapons, for Somali terrorists. Lakhani, always eager to make a deal, said he can help him out. What he didn't know, is that the supposed rich business man was an FBI informant, and that he had just walked into an elaborate government sting. Petra Bartosiewicz reports.

Christie's justification is that whether he was too stupid or ignorant to be capable of a terrorist act on his own is irrelevant. What matters to Christie is motive.

Why do I get the sense that Christie would shrug off any comparison between Lakhani and any one of the shrieking Right-wing teabaggers who publically fantasize about Obama's demise? These people are incompetent, and generally not capable of pulling off any grand strategic plan, but boy do they shout with murder in their hearts.


Talking Points Memo:

Those newly released documents from the U.S. attorney firings raise a few questions about the Republican who may be his party's highest profile electoral contender this year.

That's Chris Christie, the former U.S. attorney from New Jersey, who's also leading incumbent Jon Corzine in that state's race for governor.

According to the documents, Christie's name twice appeared on informal lists, compiled by DOJ staffers, of U.S. attorneys who might be canned.

The first appearance was in a lengthy memo written by Kyle Sampson, chief of staff to Alberto Gonzales, and sent to Harriet Miers on January 1, 2006. Sampson wrote in the memo, released yesterday, that he was responding to a request from Miers about whether President Bush could fire a large number of U.S. attorneys. Sampson argued that it would be preferable to fire only a "limited number," and listed eight prime candidates, including three -- Todd Graves, Margaret Chiara, and Bud Cummins -- who did ultimately lose their jobs. Underneath these, Sampson listed some other potential choices, which he split into Tiers 1-3. In Tier 1 were five names, including Christie's. (Only one of those five, Paul Charlton, was fired in the end.)

Ten months later, Michael Elston, another DOJ staffer, sent Sampson another list, titled "Other Possibilities." Elston wrote: "These have been suggested to me by others," before listing five names, including Christie's. None of these prosecutors ended up getting fired.

In May 2007, Christie told the Washington Post, which reported on his inclusion on Elston's list, that Elston had contacted him that March to inform him of his inclusion, and to apologize for it -- an apology Christie said he refused to accept.

"I was completely shocked. No one had ever told me that my performance had been anything but good," Christie told the Post. "I specifically asked him why he put my name on the list. He said he couldn't give me an explanation."

He added: "I still to this day don't know how I got taken off the list."

None of the available evidence answers that question (or explains how Christie got on those lists in the first place).

But it's worth noting that in September of 2006 -- by which time he almost certainly had a run for governor in mind -- Christie did something that greatly pleased national Republicans: His office leaked word that it was aggressively investigating Rep. Bob Menendez -- the New Jersey Democrat who at the time was in a tight race for the Senate -- over a rental deal.

Publicly tarring Menendez was especially helpful to the GOP at the time. First, the Senate hung on a knife edge -- a Menendez loss would, as it turned out, have allowed Republicans to hang onto the chamber. Second, Republicans that fall were fending off charges that they had presided over a "culture of corruption." Any hint of evidence that the corruption problem was bipartisan could potentially be used by the GOP to change the prevailing narrative and impact races beyond New Jersey.

The repulsive analyzing the inane.

Miley Cyrus utilized a stripper pole in her performance at the Teen Choice Awards. Oh my god.

As if her washed-up parents weren't already exploiting the hell out of their daughter's youth and sex appeal. I only mention this because today, of all days, Wingnut back-bencher Laura Ingraham felt compelled to comment on this incident.

Yeah yeah, they mocked her stupidity, her idea of a trailer park, with cut-offs as the embodiment of the All-American Southern Girl. My question is this, if they're so concerned that the Health Care Reform that the Democrats are proposing will lead to Fascism, Tyrrany, and the Government sentencing sick people to death (and they are, just read her front page), then why spend two full segments talking about how stupid a 16-year old Disney Pop-star is?

That is how criticism of pop-culture is done.

Ingraham and her ilk are not to be taken seriously, on any topic. Ever. When a google search of your name reveals that you're widely known for calling people you disagree with "fat" (Al Gore, Michael Moore, Meghan McCain), you should forever be remanded to the hellish dinosaur infested wasteland known as AM radio. Enjoy your dwindling audience.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Moran for Mayor


A mayoral candidate has resurrected a controversy over Creationism at the Tulsa Zoo.

A push to exhibit the Christian story of creation at the Tulsa Zoo failed four years ago. Republican candidate for Tulsa mayor, Anna Falling, is bringing the issue front and center.

It's the same exhibit and the same arguments, but now it is given from the bully pulpit of a candidate running for mayor.

"Some may ask why this issue during a Mayoral campaign? And I say why not?" said candidate Anna Falling.

For Anna Falling, the road to city hall runs through the Tulsa Zoo. She's made her Christianity central to her platform and now the exhibit depicting the Christian story of Creationism is her first campaign promise.

Yeah, even as a non-believer, I'm sick and tired of seeing a great moral teacher like Chist disrespected.

CNBC goes looking for Town Hall Anger

From TPM:

CNBC approached Tea Party activists, looking for angry protest events that would make good television, according to a leaked email from a Tea Party discussion group. And one Tea Bagger responded by flagging an upcoming event that, he said, "should be a riot ... literally."

Yesterday, Tea Party Patriots national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin sent an email, obtained by TPMmuckraker, to a Tea Party google group. Martin told the group: "We have a media request for an event this week that will have lots of energy and lots of anger. This is for CNBC."

She then asked: "So, where are the big events this week and where can TPP best be represented on the news?"

Later that day, a Tea Bagger named Pat Wayman responded with a suggestion, also obtained by TPMmuckraker: "This one should be a riot! literally...." he wrote.

*UPDATE*: Moron acts Moronic, gets to be interviewed on TV so we can see how much of a dope she is.

Sigh, I liked this better when it wasn't purportedly "Serious" news, and it was called "Jaywalking".


Okay, Gray Hair, you feel free to sign a waiver rescinding your Medicare benefits, which are paid for by the taxes on our hard-earned labor. If not, STFD & STFU, you're wrong. And even though you lose, you win.

I mean, if the one of the claims of the website called "StopMedicare" is that "Anyone that has ever used Medicare has died or will die.", then what else can be said?

Everyone that has ever been attracted to another man or another woman has died or will die.

Anyone that has ever used a toothbrush has died or will die.

Okay, you don't want to change the companies dictating policy at all, we get that. What are you for? What do you propose?

Toby: You think we should run a counter ad.

Will: We have to.

Toby: Saying what?

Will: Oh. I don't know.

Toby: What do you mean?

Will: What do you mean?

Toby: We've been sitting here for twenty minutes.

Will: I came in to show you the spots and to tell you I think we should run a counter ad. I don't have an idea for one.

Toby: Well get one. Have an idea! Don't come in here with half a thing and not be able to – you know, after you've walked me to the brink, and say "We've got to do this, it's important, though I have no earthly idea how"! Like one of those guys who buys a big new thing but doesn't really know how to get the most out of it!

Thinking with your gut leads to talking out of your...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What the Eff, Sir?

Via TPM.

You can't be against something, until you can define it.

Here's a wingnut vocabulary test:

Please provide a short definition of the following words:






*UPDATE* II: The dumbest fucking guy on the planet today.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Idiots' America

A Sullivan Reader writes (Reprinted here in full):

Your obvious shock and dismay at the sheer angry ignorance of the health care teabaggers reiterates my largest problem with your rosy immigrant's view of America. You have often underestimated just how poisonously dangerous the American populist right is.

I don't blame you. You came to America after the rise of Reagan. Most of your life in America, you have lived under different Republican presidents who placated these folks with platitudes and campaign rhetoric. The one period when the populist right didn't feel they had a fellow traveler in charge was when Bill Clinton was elected (thanks to the reactionaries splitting their votes). You remember, no doubt, the level of crazy Clinton had to defuse and dodge, and this was a man who had the advantage of being a Southern bubba who has dealt which such people all his life.

For most of your time in America, this insanity has been muted by the success of conservative politics. Since you live in Washington, you probably saw daily the face of the successful conservative political establishment that milked the populist right, and by milking them kept their bitterness at a manageable level. That safety valve was stuffed up by George Bush's failed presidency.

So now, these people are facing their worst fears; actual change.

A political and demographic re-alignment is happening before their eyes, and they are reaching back into their old bag of tricks of intimidation, violence, and apocalyptic fearmongering. You are British, Andrew. You love this country, and we love you for it. But you didn't grow up around these folks, and you don't realize what a permanent and potent part of the American political landscape they are.

They have always been with us, the people who believed in manifest destiny, who delighted in the slaughter of this land's original inhabitants, who cheered a nation into a civil war to support an economic system of slavery that didn't even benefit them. They are the people who bashed the unions and cheered on the anti-sedition laws, who joined the Pinkertons and the No Nothing Party, who beat up Catholic immigrants and occasionally torched the black part of town. They rode through the Southern pine forests at night, they banned non-European immigration, they burned John Rockefeller Jr. in effigy for proposing the Grand Tetons National Park.

These are the folks who drove Teddy Roosevelt out of the Republican Party and called his cousin Franklin a communist, shut their town's borders to the Okies and played the protectionist card right up til Pearl Harbor, when they suddenly had a new foreign enemy to hate. They are with us, the John Birchers, the anti-flouride and black helicopter nuts, the squirrly commie-hating hysterics who always loved the loyalty oath, the forced confession, the auto-de-fe. Those who await with baited breath the race war, the nuclear holocaust, the cultural jihad, the second coming, they make up much more of America then you would care to think.

I'm always optimistic about America. We're a naturally rich and beautiful place. Every generation we renew ourselves with a watering of immigrants committed to the American dream, immigrants like you. But please, Andrew, do not for a second underestimate the price in blood and tears we've always paid here for progress.

I voted for Obama with my fingers crossed, because I knew that as the populist right lost power, they would become more extreme, more concentrated, and more violent. As to dismissing them as only a quarter or so of America, please remember that it only took a quarter or so of Americans to actively support the Confederacy.

Religion Poisons Everything - Erik Prince and the Last Crusade

Friday, August 7, 2009

And now, here's a Triceratops with a Saddle on it.

Presented without comment:

Deviant Art

If you haven't looked at Luke Chueh's gallery, go now!


To everyone who voted for the man who chose this woman to be his #2:

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Taste it.

If we were an army, and we believed that we were an army.

Melancholy, Beautiful, Nonsense.

Free Will is an illusion, like the concept of the self.

Supposedly it's one precondition leading to another along the inevitable, non-negotiable arrow of time.

Update on Blackwater

If you think HBO was degenerate in any way for airing programming with such amoral characters as The Sopranos, then exactly what does that make of the very voters that approved of government officials that granted companies like Blackwater no-bid contracts, no oversight, and billions of dollars?

What matters is the actual visual, in your mind. A person who voted for Bush in 2004 would rather read about an Iraqi child killed as collateral damage in a firefight between Marines and Sunnis, or an enlisted Airman killed driving a Humvee in print, than watch James Gandolfini act at fucking the actress playing his Russian mistress.

One of these things is make-believe. One of these things is horrible. One of these things is entertaining. You draw your own Venn diagram.

A skeptical look at insurance reform

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

To every conservative that ever clutched their pearls using the phrase "Bush Derangement Syndrome"...

...Go straight to hell. This is so fucking stupid (via Sadly):

Tucker: (taken aback) A car cake?! How come they get a car cake?!

Church: What are you complaining about, man? We're about to get a tank cake in the very next drop.

Tucker: (disappointed) You can't pick up chicks in a tank cake.

Church: Oh you know what? You could bitch about anything couldn't you?

Real Conservativism: CLAP LOUDER!

November 2008:


Released by Gallup on Monday:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Religion Poisons Everything: Arms Dealing, Murder, Mafia Envy, and Astroturf


Private Military Contractor formerly known as Blackwater, now known as XE,
implicated in murder, arms-dealing, and other Christianist ideals...

A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company's owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."


Evangelical Leaders currently with their hands on the levers of power, embracing a philosophy and theology they called "The Totalitarianism of Christ". Be leaders that people follow, Emulate people like Pol Pot, Osama bin Laden, and Lenin.

"Christianity got it wrong for 2,000 years talking about the poor, the weak, the down and out. God it turns out, wants people to focus on serving the powerful."


What is the infrastructure, the institution of Modern American Christianity, really, other than an umbrella held aloft by millions of uncritical rubes in order to shield those that exploit and profit off of faith as a cynical tool used excuse villainy and to step on those Values Voters keeping them in power?

As Andrew Sullivan said today,
Beneath the elegant philosophical language is a blunter message to George's gay fellow human beings: be straight or go away. And since when is that a practical option in the 21st century?

I repeat to conservatives: we know what you're against, in healthcare, energy, counter-terrorism, taxation, gay rights, abortion. What are you actually for? How do you intend to actually address the questions of our time and place? And if conservatism cannot do that, what use is it?

When you walk through the garden
you gotta watch your back
well I beg your pardon
walk the straight and narrow track
if you walk with Jesus
he's gonna save your soul
you gotta keep the devil
way down in the hole
he's got the fire and the fury
at his command
well you don't have to worry
if you hold on to Jesus hand
we'll all be safe from Satan
when the thunder rolls
just gotta help me keep the devil
way down in the hole
All the angels sing about Jesus' mighty sword
and they'll shield you with their wings
and keep you close to the lord
don't pay heed to temptation
for his hands are so cold
you gotta help me keep the devil
way down in the hole

Two things: the powerless defending the powerful and self-immolation. In need of some actual firefighting.

Part I: Going to the Casino and cheering for the house while playing at the blackjack table.

Part II: Someone needs a cold shower. (listen closely to the raucous gut-laughter at about 5:20)

Let me say this just one more goddamned time. Barack Hussein Obama could have been born on MARS, the fact that his mother, Stanley Anne Dunham of Kansas, never rescinded her citizenship before his birth automatically makes BHO a natural born American Citizen. Case closed. Get over it. If you disagree with his political viewpoints, that is something that can be dealt with respectfully. This birther shit, this anti-christ garbage, and this racist nonsense does nothing other than convince me that self-proclaimed conservatives are tin-foil hat wearing, paint chip eating, credulous, fucktards.

These people make me embarrassed as a thinking human to walk the same soil and share the same air.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jay Novella's "The G-Hunters"

from The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe

Religion Poisons Everything - Ad infinitum

Zeke Zimbinski gets all the girls.

Turning a commitment to God into a code of Omerta. Nonchalant fundies need to look up the word "Oligarchy".

The first amendment's statements on freedom of religion do not apply to your children. You want to cure your own diabetes or gangrene with prayer or honey, have at it. Your children aren't protected by your singular, credulous, unpredictable, anecdotal testament to personal experience.