30 April 2009

Tragedy in the Netherlands

From the NY Times:
Four people were killed and more than a dozen wounded on Thursday when a driver hurtled his car into a crowd at a parade in the town of Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, narrowly missing an open bus carrying Queen Beatrix and members of her family. Dutch officials said the man had “acted deliberately” but they ruled out links with a terrorist group.
MSNBC has some video:

A visibly shaken Queen Beatrix addressed then nation later in the day...

Your Daily Santorum

House Minority Leader John Boehner, who produced this vile new TV ad.


Quote of the Day:
I was struck by an article that I was reading the other day talking about the fact that the British during World War II, when London was being bombed to smithereens, had 200 or so detainees. And Churchill said, "We don't torture," when the entire British — all of the British people were being subjected to unimaginable risk and threat.

And then the reason was that Churchill understood — you start taking shortcuts, over time, that corrodes what's — what's best in a people. It corrodes the character of a country.
-President Obama, to ABC's Jake Tapper during last night's press conference.

This, in my opinion, was probably the most important statement of the entire press conference.

The President is right, of course. And the only way to restore our character is to prosecute those in the previous administration who sanctioned torture. Yet, that is not a step Mr. Obama - a Constitutional lawyer - is willing to take.

It boggles the mind.

The Incredible Shrinking Republican Party

Only 20% of Americans call themselves Republicans. And just 13% identify as the bat-shit crazy kind.

Obama's Third Press Conference

Even three months in, it is still such a huge breath of fresh air to see a president who is competent, intelligent, and able to answer questions without mangling the English language.

Part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, and part 5 here.

Changing Minds

Meet Brian Sims, the 2000-2001 captain of Bloomsburg University's football team.

29 April 2009

Your Daily Santorum

Rep. Virginia Foxx (Fascist-NC).

Update: Olbermann calls Rep. Fox out on her despicable rant.

'atta Boy!

The President, calling out the fascists at Fox News...

Is It Just Me?

Or is violence on the upswing in Iraq?

A Shout Out For Larry

Ok folks...it's that time again. My good friend Larry is participating in the 2009 AIDS/LifeCycle ride. Seven days, 545 miles, beginning in San Francisco on May 31, and ending June 6 in Los Angeles.

I know times are quite rough at the moment, but if you could find a few bucks to donate to the cause, Larry and his sore legs would appreciate it greatly. Every little bit helps.

His donation page is here.

His training blog is here.

Changing Minds

From the New York Times and CBS News: 67 percent of Americans now believe that gay couples should have full marriage or civil union rights.

Shitty Diddies - 1984

With lyrics like "steal a car and go to Las Vegas, ohh, gigolo pool" and "I'm on a bus on a psychedelic trip, reading murder books and tryin to stay hip," this rancid piece of crap from Billy Idol easily qualifies as one of the shittiest diddies of the 80s.

"Eyes Without a Face"

Obama's Secret Bank Plan?

Federal regulators have informed Bank of America and Citigroup that they have not passed their government imposed stress tests and that they have six months to raise more capital before the government intervenes in full.

It begs the question: Why wait? With today's news that the economy shrank by a whopping 6.1%, inaction by the government could be devastating.

Charles Hugh Smith thinks President Obama is simply playing this from a political vantage point while giving these two behemoths enough rope to hang themselves:
Imagine the uproar had Obama sought to send the bankers straight into deserved bankruptcy and eliminated their looting; he would have been thwarted and second-guessed at every turn by politcos, pundits and the ultra-wealthy Aristocracy whose perks and privileges were threatened, not to mention a Republican Party spoiling to be spoilers.

What better way to discredit the bankers than to give them plenty of rope to complete their tarnished, fraudulent "plan to save Capitalism from itself"?

...If Obama had refused to support the bailout, the screams that he was "destroying the foundation of the U.S. economy and our way of life" would have been ceaseless and deafening, for a stunned and stupefied public had failed to process what was actually happening beneath the MSM propaganda about "saving the banking system to save the nation."

Obama can now say, "I did everything you wanted." Is it a carefully craft Secret Plan or merely the fumbling results of a status quo politico? Either way, it's brilliant because it's the only possible pathway to a future not dominated by trickery, fraud, collusion, obscurity, propaganda and the looting of what's left of the U.S. Treasury and economy.
I would be more inclined to support Smith's argument if it weren't for the fact that the President's key advisers on such matters are Tim Geithner and Larry Summers.

Special Prosecutor for Torture?

Jason Leopold reports that Rep. John Conyers (Democrat-MI), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (Democrat-NY) have formally requested that Attorney General Eric Holder appoint a special prosecutor to investigate officials in the Bush administration on charges of torture.

I am not sure what Holder will do, but my immediate take on the situation is that he'll have no choice but move forward with this.

The nation and the world need him to do so.

Hurricane George

As I have said repeatedly, things are going to get worse before they get better:
[After contracting 6.3 percent in the last quarter of 2008,] the economy shrank at a worse-than-expected 6.1 percent pace at the start of this year as sharp cutbacks by businesses and the biggest drop in U.S. exports in 40 years overwhelmed a rebound in consumer spending.

The Morning News

A round-up of this morning's headlines...

-North Korea is sabre rattling again.

-Pakistan says it has retaken the town of Daggar from Talbian insurgents.

-Meanwhile, the U.S. military plans to cut off the Taliban's access to the Afghan opium crop.

-Is a war criminal the best hope for peace in the Congo?

-First confirmed swine flu death reported in the U.S.

28 April 2009

Sen. Specter (R-PA) Switches to the Democrats

Veteran Republican Sen. Arlen Specter announced Tuesday that he is switching parties, a move that would give Democrats a filibuster-proof 60 seats if Al Franken is seated in the Minnesota race.

"I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary," the Pennsylvania senator said in a statement.

"I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans," Specter said, adding that the "change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans.
He would have lost the Republican primary next year, yet there is no guarantee that he'll win the Democratic primary either. While I appreciate the fact that this switch gives the Democrats the coveted 60th senate seat, Specter will surely join the ranks of Ben Nelson (NE), Evan Bayh (IN), and Joe Lieberman (CT) as conservative-leaning independent Democrats.

Little Miss Chloe

This past Saturday, catching some morning sun at Susan and Jeff's place in Santa Barbara...

Disgusting and Beyond Vile

Memo to the Fascist Republicans who have their panties in a wad over the Department of Homeland Security's decision to investigate radical right fringe groups who recruit former military men and plot against the United States Government...THIS is why HLS is investigating:
On Sunday, lawmen still were investigating why Joshua Cartwright, a 28-year-old U.S. Army Reserve soldier with a history of violence, killed Okaloosa County sheriff's deputies Burt Lopez and Warren "Skip" York at a gun range in Crestview...

An offense report filed against Cartwright the day he died outlines an angry husband who threatened his wife, kept guns and knives on hand, was "severely disturbed" that Barack Obama had been elected president, and believed the U.S. government was conspiring against him.

Democrats Keep NY-20

Also while in Santa Barbara, Democrat Scott Murphy declared victory in New York's 20th congressional district on Friday after Republican Jim Tedisco conceded the special election to fill the seat vacated by Kristen Gillibrand, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Bea Arthur, 1922 - 2009

While I was in Santa Barbara, news broke that the legendary stage and television actress Beatrice Arthur had died. She was 86.

Brent and I started putting old episodes of "Maude" in the Netflix queue this past year, and I've been reliving portions of my early childhood watching them. My grandmother loved that series, and was an even bigger fan of "The Golden Girls." As was I.

Three clips below...

"Maude's Dilemma," in which she learns she's pregnant at age 47. Keep in mind that this episode aired before the Supreme Court handed down their Roe vs. Wade ruling. (Side notes: "Maude" was a spin-off of "All In the Family," "Good Times" was a spin-off of "Maude," and Rue McClanahan co-starred with Bea Arthur in both "Maude" and "The Golden Girls.")

Hysterical lesbionics...

And finally, an ode to recreational drug use with Rock Hudson!

(Shout out: JMG)

Back Home

It will take me a day or two to get back in the groove of things, so bear with me.

25 April 2009

10 Songs

Ten songs for your spring weekend. This week's set starts with a track from PJ Harvey's latest CD plus Lily Allen's ode to Dubya, before moving on to brand new songs from the Pet Shop Boys, Midival Punditz, and Delta Spirit. The set concludes with classic tracks from the Beastie Boys and Fleetwood Mac.

This week's playlist:
Black Hearted Love - PJ Harvey & John Parish
Fuck You - Lily Allen
Beautiful People - Pet Shop Boys
Just Dance - Lady GaGa
Dusk 'till Dawn - Ladyhawke
Squeeze Me - Kraak & Smaak
Four Sticks - Midival Punditz
Streetwalker - Delta Spirit
The Rat Cage - Beastie Boys
Talkin' to My Heart - Fleetwood Mac

The President's Weekly Address

Ok, I'm arranging to post this before it's even recorded. But if I did it right, you can view President Obama's weekly address on Saturday morning by clicking here.

24 April 2009

Getting Away

Brent, Chloe, and I are heading out of town this afternoon for an extended weekend. Unless something urgent comes up, blogging will be quite light between now and Tuesday morning. A 10 song playlist, as well as President Obama's weekly radio address, will post tomorrow.

Like Trekkies, But Paranoid

Quote of the Day:
After an eight-year run of controlling the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court, this latest election has you feeling like a rejected husband. You've come home to find your things out on the front lawn - or at least more things than you usually keep out on the front lawn. You're not ready to let go, but the country you love is moving on. And now you want to call it a whore and key its car.

That's what you are, the bitter divorced guy whose country has left him - obsessing over it, haranguing it, blubbering one minute about how much you love it and vowing the next that if you cannot have it, nobody will.

But it's been almost 100 days, and your country is not coming back to you. She's found somebody new. And it's a black guy.

The healthy thing to do is to just get past it and learn to cherish the memories. You'll always have New Orleans and Abu Ghraib.
-Bill Maher, calling the Fascist wing of the Republican Party on their shit, in an essay published in today's Los Angeles Times.


There are days when it seems middle school aged kids are the most cruel creatures on Earth...

End-of-the-Week Levity

Tickling the slow loris...

(Shout out: Maya)

Frank: DADT Will Wait Until 2010

Rep. Barney Frank (Democrat-MA), to Roll Coll:
I believe we should and will do 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' next year. We haven't done the preliminary work, the preparatory work. It would be a mistake to bring it up [this year] without a lot of lobbying and a lot of conversation.
As long as it's done before the end of President Obama's first term, I'll be happy.

23 April 2009

The Complete Failure of George W. Bush

This may be the biggest failure of his presidency. Yes, even bigger than the economic mess he left behind:
[The Taliban] attacked a Pakistani paramilitary force...just 60 miles from the capital Thursday, killing a police officer and feeding growing doubts about the government's peace deal with extremists in the area.

Militants also attacked a NATO truck terminal in the outskirts of Peshawar, the capital of the restive North-West Frontier Province, burning vehicles and sending a very visual message of their presence.
He took his eye of the ball in favor of an unnecessary war of choice, and the monsters responsible for the attacks of 9/11 still roam free, and are apparently THISCLOSE to taking over Pakistan...a country with nuclear weapons!!

May the souls of the 3,000 Americans slaughtered on that horrid morning forever haunt Mr. Bush...the worst president in the history of the United States.

Your Daily Santorum

Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell.

Just a little reminder for the fascists currently in the minority:
Obama/Biden (Democratic)
365 electoral votes

McCain/Palin (Republican)
173 electoral votes
The President won by 9.5 million votes. In contrast, the previous president of your party won his first election with a half million vote deficit and a court-mandated, anemic Electoral College tally; and his second election by a mere two million (the weakest reelection in decades) and with 286 electoral votes (the weakest reelection on that count since 1916).

Side note to Harry Reid, the Majority Leader: Grow a pair!! If these goons want to filibuster, then make them FILIBUSTER. The Senator who calls for it has to stand on the floor and speak non-stop until there are 60 votes to end it. However long it takes.

Behind the Scenes

Time Magazine's excellent photo essay of President Obama and his family during their first three months in the White House can be seen here.

Meanwhile, Pew Research shows the President with a rock solid 63% approval rating.

On the Wings of a Lie, In the Valley of Torture

Quote of the Day:
Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.

There’s a word for this: it’s evil.
-NY Times columnist Paul Krugman commenting on Jonathan Landay's report that the Bush administration was ordering torture against terrorist suspects - well before their Justice Department gave them the illegal green light - in order to create a link between 9/11 and Sadaam Hussein.

I was one of the few who refused to drink the Bush-Cheney Kool Aid during the run-up to the Iraq War. It was a lonely place, let me tell ya...friends and family, from my side of the political spectrum, refusing to get past their fear and inertia of another 9/11, believing the Bush claims of a link between Iraq and al-Qaida despite an extreme lack of evidence to the contrary.

Here were are, six years later, my assessment of the situation spot on: there was no link, there were no WMD, the Bush team proved incompetent in their management of the war. (Imagine for a minute what would have happened had it been Jimmy Carter running this war that way...Congress would have demanded his head...and gotten it!)

I blathered on and on...for YEARS...that Bush and Cheney should have been impeached over the ginning up of intelligence in order to fight a war of choice in Iraq. But I never would have guessed that they were using torture to obtain false testimony from detainees in an effort to justify their fantasy.

And yet, while I never would have guessed it, the fact that it happened doesn't surprise me all that much. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, John Yoo, Alberto Gonzles...they're all war criminals. It's that plain and that simple.

Their Republican enablers in Congress didn't have the cajones to impeach; in 2004 the American public was still spooked just enough to return the Bush administration to the White House for another four years; and despite a rather swift case of buyer's remorse, the public never really clamored for impeachment during the second term. But it's not too late to punish these evil men. They should be arrested straight away, placed in cinder block jail cells in the Hague, charged with war crimes by the International War Crimes Tribunal, and sentenced to the fullest extent of international law.

That is the only way the United States will cleanse itself of this horrible stain, and the only way to prevent a future power hungry president from doing it all again.

The. Only. Way.

Worst Recession Since Word War II

Or will this downturn become a depression?

The International Monetary Fund, in its latest World Economic Outlook:
The global downturn guarantees that countries all over the world will be hit with extraordinarily high unemployment rates. And, with the tremendous number of unemployed people comes the possibility of political unrest.

Also rising crime as millions more are forced into poverty and out of their homes.

By any measure the downturn is the deepest since the Great Depression of the 1930s. All corners of the globe are being affected.
Bank of America reported significant earnings for the first quarter of the year, the Dow Jones index took a big leap last week, and as such the government announced the economy had bottomed out, turned a corner, and was in its way back.

Don't believe it.

Those toxic assets are still on the bank books, and as long as they are there the banks are on the brink of ruin. That means credit will only be extended at a minimum, if at all, which translates into businesses without money, which leads to further unemployment.

I'm no economist. Far from it. But you can bet things will get worse before they get better.

'atta Girl!

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton lets Rep. Mike Pence (Fascist-IN) have it...

'atta Boy!

Fox News' Shep Smith goes rogue...

Oh, to be a fly on the wall when Shep is called into the office for the inevitable conversation with Roger Ailes.

Changing Minds, Part Two

The storm clouds are clearing and making way for the sun...

Changing Minds

And debunking myths...

Shitty Diddies - 1976

Despite writing and performing some of the best R&B of the decade, Capitol Records demanded some schmalzy bubble gum from this talented family. Apparently money, not quality, was the order of the day. It worked. This thing, written by Freddie Perren, went to #3 and sold well over a million copies in 1976 and 1977. As a result they were tagged as "too bubblegum," and it took the group some time to reestablish their roots as solid, respected R&B artists. Even then, they could never really shake the bubblegum meme.

The harmonies are beyond reproach, the choreography stellar, yet this is one of the more schmalzy songs of the decade...

22 April 2009

Mid-Week Brain Break

This new song from Sean Chapin is absolutely stunning. A stellar composition, and perfect for the times in which we live.

"Grand" by Sean Chapin

Little Miss Chloe

Trying to stay cool in the record breaking heat...

She hates a bath, but when I put her in a tub of cool water last night she was in heaven!

Happy Earth Day

Obama Suggests Justice Dept Investigate Torture

As I've been saying, the President's got this. He's playing chess. The rest of us are playing checkers (although it could be argued that Republicans are playing "Hollywood Squares").

The Flood Continues

From the NY Times:
A newly declassified Congressional report released Tuesday outlined the most detailed evidence yet that the military’s use of harsh interrogation methods on terrorism suspects was approved at high levels of the Bush administration.
A Washington Post story suggests the Bush administration was preparing to use torture long before their lawyers generated "memos" saying it was ok:
Intelligence and military officials under the Bush administration began preparing to conduct harsh interrogations long before they were granted legal approval to use such methods.
During the planning, an unnamed Army lieutenant colonel tried to raise a red flag, asking:
Wouldn't that be illegal?
I'm sure that colonel was escorted off the White House grounds immediately.

"We Don't Torture"

As always, leave it to Jon Stewart to sum it up and put it all in perspective...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
We Don't Torture
Daily Show
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21 April 2009

Gavin Newsom Running For Governor

The San Francisco Mayor announced his intentions earlier today. This was widley expected. I like the fact that he's running, but a few things:
1. The mayor will bring some solid credentials to the race, and will add a great deal to the debate.

2. Win or lose, his candidacy might help change minds on the issue of gay marriage. Despite those horrid ads from the Yes on 8 folks last year, Newsom has the ability to go up against anyone on their side and make a firm, solid argument in favor of marriage equality.

3. I am not committing to Newsom's candidacy at this early date. I want to see who else is running, on both the Democratic and Republican sides, as well as the third party candidates.

4. Just because he is the mayor of San Francisco doesn't mean he automatically has my support. When he last ran for re-election, he barely (BARELY) won my vote.

5. What Kos said:
You know what I'll base my vote on? Which candidate has the guts to call for a Constitutional Convention that will completely toss the current mess of a state Constitution and seek to make the state once again governable. The state is broken, and until there is Constitutional reform, nothing much can be done about it.

So yeah, rewriting the Constitution will be key. That and legalizing ferrets.

"The gays took my lunch money"


Chess vs. Checkers

Quote of the Week:
...even if you believe that the president has the duty to torture terror suspects, under the constitution, he has no legal right to do so without Congress' passage of legislation repealing the laws and treaties governing such torture. The use of torture is part of the laws of war and only Congress has the constitutional authority to "To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water."

It can't really be clearer than that...no legal authority in human history would judge the waterboarding of a prisoner 83 or 183 times in one month as anything but torture. If it were done to a U.S. soldier, would Dick Cheney refuse to call it torture? Of course not...

And so it is simply an empirical fact that president Bush broke the law and violated his oath of office by ordering the torture of prisoners.

And so Obama's refusal to investigate war crimes is itself against the law. And so torture's cancerous route through the legal and constitutional system continues, contaminating the future as well as the past, rendering the US incapable of upholding Geneva against other nations, because it has violated Geneva itself, and giving to every tyrant on the planet a justification for the torture of prisoners.

In this scenario, America becomes a city on a hill, where the rule of law is optional and torture acceptable if parsed into legal memos that do not pass the most basic professional sniff-test.

America becomes a banana republic.
-Andrew Sullivan, on President Obama's decision to hold off on any sort of tribunal that would charge the heads of the previous administration with war crimes.

Sullivan makes several very strong, very valid points. The only way to cleanse America's soul of this horrific stain would be to punish those who gave the green light to torture. The only way to assure that it won't happen again with another reckless half-wit of a president is to lock Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney (and their many minions) in a cinder block cell and throw away the key.

That said, I remind Andrew of his point a while back (I am unable to find the link) that, at the moment, the President has to be the president. He can hold back on investigations and prosecutions of his predecessors (mainly because he has to politically) while others do the dirty work for him.

It's not the best way to handle it. If I were in Mr. Obama's shoes, the previous administration would be behind bars already, with its two leaders rotting in the Hague, damn the political consequences.

But President Obama doesn't play that way. I think it would do us all well to remember that our new president knows what he's doing. While the rest of us are playing checkers, this guy is playing chess.

20 April 2009

Your Daily Santorum

The bat-shit crazies who run Newsmax Magazine.

The Dumbing Down of America Continues

Overheard Friday at Jamba Juice in Alameda, CA:
Vietamese-American Jamba Juice employee with a California sufer-dude accent: Whoa! Those are some pretty heavy accents. Where are you from?

Woman #1: Ireland.

Employee: (Giving a combination blank stare/deer in the headlights smile) Where's that?

Woman #1: (Looking at woman #2 with one of those "are you kidding me?" smiles) Ireland. It's near England.

Employee: Never heard of it.

Woman #2: Ireland? You've never heard of it? It's a country. You know...overseas.

Employee: (Three second beat, followed by...) Ohhh...yeah...Ireland. Heh! I thought Ireland was a state here in America.

He hands both women their drinks, they thank him and make their way to the exit.

Woman #1: (To Woman #2, as they walk past me and out the door) Oh, dear!

Impeach Bybee

Rachel Maddow's excellent primer on Federal Judge Jay Bybee, of the Ninth Circuit...

The New York Times editorial page on how to deal with Bybee:
[The torture] memos make it clear that Judge Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him.
As Maddow points out in her piece, Bybee authorized torture techniques pulled directly out of "Room 101" in George Orwell's 1984. His memo recognized a wicked fear on the part of the accused and then authorized use of that fear against the prisoner.

Extremely high with their hold on power, the Bush administration ignored the fact that their methods of "interrogation" would yield no usable information. When confronted with mind-numbing, debilitating torture, any prisoner will do anything to escape it - including telling his captors anything they want to hear. Overwhelmingly the information they volunteer is false.

Bush, Cheney, and Bybee wiped their asses with international law and the Constitution. And while I agree whole-heartedly that Bybee should impeached, I say go much further. Charge him with war crimes.

Shitty Diddies - 1983

After scoring a monster #1 smash in 1977 with "Star Wars/Cantina Band," and a minor hit with 1981's "The Empire Strikes Back" (#18), disco composer Meco fell flat on his face with his interpretation of the music from "Return of the Jedi."

"Ewok Celebration" barely made it to #60. That it did that well cramps the brain.

18 April 2009

American Restoration

The President's weekly address...

12 Songs

Twelve songs for your spring weekend...

Speak - Nickel Creek
Somethin' Stupid - Robbie Williams/Nicole Kidman
When I'm With You - M.E.G.
Spiraling - Keane
Electric Feel - MGMT
The Breach - Bob Mould
Too Much Ain't Enough Love - Jimmy Barnes
Georgy Porgy - Toto
Take a Bow - Duncan Sheik
Everyday - Vetiver
Undress Me Now - Morcheeba
Da Feelin' (Negghead Remix) - Nightmares on Wax

17 April 2009

End-of-the-Week Levity

Some might say Anderson Cooper should know...

And Now, Georgia

The Georgia state senate is stoking the flames of anger and violence by talking secession. Seriously people, things are spiraling out of control with these fascist thugs. It seems they are so void of ideas that their only outlet is to promote bullying and violence. At some point somewhere things are going to snap and something violent and horrible will happen. And the Republicans will only have themselves to blame.

These people call themselves "patriots," yet they are anything but. All of this shit dust is flying over the fact that they have lost two elections in a row. A true patriot accepts the fact that you win some elections, you lose others. And when you lose, you regroup, refocus your message, and take a new case to the American people. You don't threaten secession and you don't threaten the President, you treasonous cowards.

Dodd and Burris

With the Republicans continuing their downward spiral into political oblivion, the Democrats look like they could come out on top in 2010 for the third consecutive election cycle (at least as things look right now). But it could all be for naught if Senators Chris Dodd (Democrat-CT) and Roland Burris (Democrat-IL) don't bow out of their respective races.

The five-term incumbent reported raising just $4,250 from five Connecticut residents during the first three months of the year.
Burris campaign officials on Thursday released a report showing the new senator raised only $845 from January through March and had $111,032 in debts...
Like I said, the Republicans seem to keep digging their graves deeper and deeper and deeper, and at this point things look tremendous for the Democrats for the 2010 elections. However...

If the economy is slow to turn around, or if it stalls or continues to sink, the Democrats will find themselves in trouble. That means they'll need to run their strongest candidates in an effort to maintain majorities in the House and the Senate. And that means Chris Dodd (as much as I love him) and Roland Burris (not) should remove themselves from races they look sure to lose even in the best of times.

Your Daily Santorum

Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

I'd expect this sort of waffling shit from the Clintons, but from Obama? Let me be clear: DADT is wrong, and in today's climate every American who is willing to serve his or her country via the military should be able to do it. Convicts can serve, but not patriotic gays and lesbians?

16 April 2009

Well Done Mr. President, BUT...

The Obama administration released the torture memos late today, and did so with only minor redactions. Well done, Mr. President.

But that was only half the battle. Your decision not to prosecute those who carried out the torture serves as a precedent you will more than likely soon regret.

Keith Olbermann's well-parsed commentary...

Don't Do It, Mr. President

From the Wall Street Journal:
The Obama administration is leaning toward keeping secret some graphic details of tactics allowed in Central Intelligence Agency interrogations, despite a push by some top officials to make the information public, according to people familiar with the discussions.

...Among the details in the still-classified memos is approval for a technique in which a prisoner's head could be struck against a wall as long as the head was being held and the force of the blow was controlled by the interrogator, according to people familiar with the memos. Another approved tactic was waterboarding, or simulated drowning.

A decision to keep secret key parts of the three 2005 memos outlining legal guidance on CIA interrogations would anger some Obama supporters who have pushed him to unveil now-abandoned Bush-era tactics. It would also go against the views of Attorney General Eric Holder and White House Counsel Greg Craig, people familiar with the matter said.

Top CIA officials have spoken out strongly against a full release, saying it would undermine the agency's credibility with foreign intelligence services and hurt the agency's work force, people involved in the discussions said. However, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair favors releasing the information, current and former senior administration officials said.
Speaking for many of us who believe that the war crimes of the Bush administration need to be brought out into the open and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, Andrew Sullivan responds:
There are zero national security interests in keeping such information secret. The ICRC report has already detailed what was done to many high value detainees, and the methods are unequivocally war crimes, and known across the world. To directly attach such torture techniques to the specific decisions of the Bush administration merely provides accountability. No more; no less. It provides transparency.

If Obama, for some reason, decides to prevent us from seeing exactly what was done then he will achieve only one thing: he will tell the world that the US has indeed authorized and practised war crimes while simultaneously telling the world that America will not be accountable for it.

He will betray all of us who supported him to restore the rule of law. He will, in fact, merely confirm the worst fears of what was actually done while making himself an accomplice to protecting the war criminals who did it.

National security interests would only be damaged if the US were seen to be continuing the cover-up of war crimes begun by Bush and Cheney. If CIA staffers believe that covering up war crimes is integral to maintaining their morale, then we need new CIA staffers. This is not about persecuting the CIA. It is about maintaining basic political accountability for decisions and policies that were illegal, unconstitutional and immoral.

There is no compromise possible here, Mr president. Do the right thing.


...ruining the book since 1920.

There are some books that should just never be touched by Hollywood.

Sneaking In

...and calling the Fascists on their shit.

15 April 2009

Memo to the Teabagging Fascists

Homeland Security, the FBI, and the Secret Service would all like to have a word with you...

And quite frankly, this will be my final comment on the whole thing. Outside of the stupidty of the event's name, the criticisms behind today's protests are really non-issues as far as this blog is concerned. The right wing nuts who attended these rallies today aren't necessarily pissed off at their tax rates (they were quite low under George W. Bush, and on April 1 were lowered even still under Barack Obama). No, these simpletons are really just angry over the fact that the Democrats won the White House and increased their majorities in both houses of Congress. The Republican Party is decimated and void of ideas, and that irks the fascists on the far right of the party to no end. They're angry and have no outlet, thus yesterday's "teabagging" events.

Then a sign like this showed up on TV. I'm serious...the folks who were holding signs like the one above need to be investigated by the proper authorities. Protesting is one thing, but threatening to kill our elected officials - threatening to kill anybody - is quite another.

Update: They have no idea why they were there today...

Wishing all of my readers...

...a most joyous Teabagging Day!

Changing Minds

Calling the right on their shit, lie by lie by lie...

When you have time, be sure to check out this guy's blog (newly added to the "Changing Minds" section of the blogroll to the right).

Civil War II ?

Gov. Rick Perry (Fascist-TX), at a press conference on April 9th:
I believe the federal government has become oppressive. It’s become oppressive in its size, its intrusion in the lives of its citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state.

Texans need to ask themselves a question: Do they side with those in Washington who are pursuing this unprecedented expansion of power, or do they believe in individual rights and responsibilities laid down in our foundational documents.

...Texans need to stand up. They need to be heard, because the state of affairs that we find ourselves in cannot continue indefinitely...

...We think it’s time to draw the line in the sand and tell Washington that no longer are we going to accept their oppressive hand in the state of Texas. That’s what this press conference, that’s what these Texans are standing up for. There is a point in time where you stand up and say enough is enough, and I think Americans, and Texans especially have reached that point.
Gov. Perry, why now? Where were you and your fellow fascists when President George W. Bush, the man whose former office you now hold, increased the deficit to record levels? Where was your outrage when Mr. Bush took the Texas National Guard out from under you so they could patch the holes in his misguided and mismanaged Iraq War rather than assist in the rescue, clean up, and refugee problems of Hurricane Katrina? Where were the calls for sovereignty when the Bush administration made mince meat of the Constitution, or the cries of an "unprecedented expansion of power" when they started listening to the private phone conversations of your fellow Texans?

It's your party, sir, that preaches of limited government, but then has the audacity to tell people who they can marry or why the can't serve in the United States military during war time. It's your party, sir, that made America much less safe because of instructions from your president and his minions that torture was ok.

I am used to the hypocrisy of the Republican Party, but your statement of April 9th is above and beyond the normal definition.

I'm sorry, Governor. You're a traitor, plain and simple. Blather on all you want. You're on the wrong side of history. And eventually your evil ways will fall by the wayside.

Mid-Week Brain Break

Impromptu fun at the train station in Antwerp...

Shitty Diddies - 1975

Ugh! Not only did this song go to #1 (and spend five weeks there), but it was the best-selling and most played single of 1975...

"Love Will Keep Us Together" by Captain and Tennille

Hella Bat Shit Crazy

It's getting so bad, the Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning asking local police authorities to keep an eye on radical right wing extremist groups.

Ya know...that is the difference between their side and ours. We may get pissy and bitch and moan and protest, but you never heard anyone on the far left advocate violence or secession.

These right wing fucks are more dangerous than anyone on the left, they are traitors, and they're no better than Mohamed Atta and the rest of the murderous thugs who attacked us on September 11, 2001.

Election Night, Day 162

So, Republican Norm Coleman plans to appeal the Minnesota court decision that essentially named Democrat Al Franken the winner in the forever long United States Senate contest in that state.

Can you imagine if this were 2000? Before that election there was talk of a popular vote/electoral vote split opposite of how it actually happened, with Bush winning the national tally and Al Gore winning the White House in the Electoral College. Republicans were ready to go to the mat. If this is how they play, that would have been a hell of a rollercoaster ride! Acting president Dennis Hastert taking the reigns while the GOP took the election to courtroom after courtroom all the way into April!


14 April 2009

Indictment In Spain?

From the Daily Beast:
Spanish prosecutors will seek criminal charges against Alberto Gonzales and five high-ranking Bush administration officials for sanctioning torture at Guantánamo. [The six men] are accused of having given the green light to the torture and mistreatment of prisoners held in U.S. detention in “the war on terror.”
President Obama, are you listening?

Andrew Sullivan thinks "yes...but no":
Obama understands he is the president, which means that he understands, unlike his overwhelmed predecessor, that he is the president of all Americans.

He knows that indictment and prosecution of the war criminals at the heart of the last administration would appear to those cocooned from the reality of what happened as an assault on American unity and stability. That proper concern has to be balanced against the gravity of the crimes, the profound nature of the constitutional claims that underpinned them, and the necessity to uphold the rule of law. And so a process whereby the president hangs back a little, allows the evidence to slowly filter out, releases memos that help prove to Americans that what was done was unequivocally torture and indisputably illegal ... is not to be despised.

I think Obama knows what happened; and he knows that, in the end, America will have to face it. He will not defend it, but he will not be the prosecutor either. It's the long game he knows. And it's the long game that will bring these people to justice.
That's sort of been my thinking all along. But it gets really hard to be patient when you know for certain that the only way to restore the Constitution, and by extension America's reputation, is to prosecute Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and the whole damn gang to the fullest extent of international law.

A Dick Army

Quote of the Week:
We can only speculate why widespread teabagging made [Fox News Fascist Neil] Cavuto think of the Million Man March, unless he got them confused with Dick Armey. And in Cavuto's defense, if you are planning simultaneous teagbagging all around the country, you're gonna need a dick army.
-David Shuster, sitting in for Keith Olbermann yesterday on "Countdown."

I almost spit my dinner all over the table when I heard that last night.



Disgusting and Beyond Vile

Kill the non-believers?!? These fascist fucks are no better than the murderous thugs who attacked us on 9/11.

And I hate to be the one to tell them...but that kid in the video? The one with the pretty face and the tank top?

That kid is going to have one hell of a Ted Haggard problem when he grows up.

Shitty Diddies - 1976

Celebrating that old American past time, "the nooner"...
Rubbin' sticks and stones together makes the sparks ingite
And the thought of rubbin' you is getting so exciting;
Sky rockets in flight...Afternoon delight

Your Daily Santorum

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Clarence Thomas.

(And for those not "in the know," an explanation of the term "Santorum" can be found here.)

The Right Direction

President Obama yesterday lifted restrictions on travel for Cuban-Americans, eased restrictions on humanitarian donations to Cubans, and eased restrictions on U.S. telecommunications firms entering into network agreements with Cuban telecom firms in a broad range of communications services.

Steve Clemons:
Applause, applause, applause. . .for a decent set of humanitarian gestures in the US-Cuba relationship that don't actually make things worse. Obama and his team have moved us in the right direction -- and moving in the right direction on Cuba is something that rarely happens when Presidents and their advisers look at electoral maps and get nervous about South Florida.

Military Man Blasts the Fascists

Quote of the Day:
I would hope that they’re feeling a little silly today. It’s bad form. You don’t make this a partisan issue until an operation has been assessed. It’s fair game ex post facto. But during the emergency, I think that our elected leaders deserve our respect. If Glenn Beck loves his country as much as he alleges, he should hold his tongue when elected leaders on the ground are dealing with a very difficult situation.
-Andrew Exum, a fellow at the Center for National Security Studies, slamming the fascists on the far right for their unfounded criticism of President Obama during the pirate/hostage showdown off the coast of Somalia last week.

Imagine for a second the shit storm we'd be fighting against right now had Nancy Pelosi or Keith Olbermann criticized "President McCain" for making us "look weak" after only 4 days of a relatively minor crisis?!

Franken Delcared Winner in MN

But it isn't over:
The ruling isn't expected to be the final word because Coleman immediately announced plans to appeal to the state Supreme Court. He has 10 days to do so. That appeal could mean weeks more delay in seating Minnesota's second senator. After a statewide recount and seven-week trial, Franken stands 312 votes ahead.
Norm Coleman knows his chances are zero, and so does the Republican Party. The whole point of dragging this out is to keep Franken from being seated as long as they possibly can. The fascists on the right believe the longer they keep the Democrats from getting their 59th member, the easier it will be to block some of President Obama's agenda.

This little game should surprise no one. The GOP are notorious for blocking the will of the people. The 2000 presidential election and the 2003 governor recall in California are two recent cases in point.


...being that close to Glenn Beck would do this to anyone, really.

13 April 2009

Your Daily Santorum

Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck, and a couple of bubble-headed bimbos at Fox...

California Supremes...

...are you listening?

Dead Genitals

Quote of the Day:
So there it stands: a naked, pigeon-chested old man, random strands of white hair on its boney shoulders; its swollen-knuckled hands clasped over its dead genitals, looking at once forlorn and menacing, shivering with self-loathing and xenophobia, raging pathetically at its timely and appropriate defeat at the hands of Reason. Ladies and gentlemen: The Republican Party.
-Steven Weber, writing for the Huffington Post.

11 April 2009

12 Songs for a Saturday

Twelve songs for your weekend. This rather eclectic mix includes tracks from M.E.G., Ladyhawke, Bob Mould, and Bottle of Justus. Just press play and enjoy...

Dance With Me - M.E.G.
Tighten Up - The Bamboos
Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby (Rae & Christian Remix) - Dinah Washington
Oklahoma - Bishop Allen
My Love - The Bird and the Bee
Wave Goodbye - Bottle of Justus
Paris Is Burning - Ladyhawke
Life and Times - Bob Mould
It Don't Move Me - Peter, Bjorn, and John
Stand By Me - Simple Minds
Life Is Okay - Michael Johns/Brooke White
New Coat of Paint - Tom Waits

10 April 2009

Your Daily Santorum

The portly fascist from Fox News, Glenn Beck.

Teabagging Across America, Part 2

President Obama reportedly wants to tackle immigration reform this year. I suppose the fascist wing nuts will start a protest soon and call it the Dirty Sanchez.

(Shout out: Maya)

Teabagging Across America

The Republicans really are the party of Mark Foley and Larry Craig...aren't they?

Uhhh...errr...more on this conservative teabagging fetish from Rachel Maddow and Anna Marie Cox...

And more from the girls...

A Response to the Fascists

End-of-the-Week Levity

"Silence of the Lambs: The Lego Musical" (Warning...Some lyrics are NSFW.)

Shading Banking

Quote of the Day:
...the collapse of the financial house of cards has wreaked havoc with the rest of the economy, with world trade and industrial output actually falling faster than they did in the Great Depression. And the catastrophe has led to calls for much more regulation of the financial industry.

But my sense is that policy makers are still thinking mainly about rearranging the boxes on the bank supervisory organization chart. They’re not at all ready to do what needs to be done — which is to make banking boring again.

Part of the problem is that boring banking would mean poorer bankers, and the financial industry still has a lot of friends in high places...

Can they be persuaded otherwise? Will we find the will to pursue serious financial reform? If not, the current crisis won’t be a one-time event; it will be the shape of things to come.
-NY Times columnist Paul Krugman, putting into words exactly what I've been thinking these last six months.

Which is why I keep going back and forth on whether Tim Geithner and Larry Summers are the best guys to handle this crisis.

Changing Minds

The Yountville, California city council Tuesday passed a non-binding measure opposing "discrimination of any kind," including a ban on same-sex marriage.

Too bad Yountville's neighbor, Napa, rejected such a measure a few weeks back.

09 April 2009

I Heart Jon Stewart

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
I Now Pronounce You Ben & Jerry
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Bonus Daily Santorum

State Representative Betty Brown (Fascist-TX) to a Chinese-American group during a committee hearing in Austin on a voter ID bill:
Can't you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that's easier for Americans to deal with?

Barack Bush?

I am absolutely disgusted. Stunned, disappointed, and disgusted...

I am sure there are political considerations at play here. A Democratic president never wants to give the impression that he is weak on national defense; but the American people gave this Democratic president a solid majority of their vote based in part on his campaign promise to roll back the overreach of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and their team of constitutional shredders - overreach that weakened the security of our nation more than any reversal of Bush policy ever could. Moreover, I am sure there has been extreme push back from hawkish members of the State and Defense Departments, as well as the CIA and National Security Council.

All of that said, I can't seem to get my head around why this president refuses to let things take their course...why he refuses to take the steps necessary to bring the Bush administration to justice. It's the only way our Constitution can be fully restored.

Your Daily Santorum

Old Turd-Blossom himself, Karl Rove.

Raise the Bridge!

Quote of the week :
Bill, I am concerned that you have been losing touch with reality recently. Did you really say you are more powerful than any politician?

That reminds me of the famous story about Squeaky the Chicago Mouse. It seems that Squeaky was floating on his back along the Chicago River one day. Approaching the Michigan Avenue lift bridge, he called out: Raise the bridge! I have an erection!
-Chicago Sun-Times columnist Roger Ebert, in an open letter to the Fox News blowhole, Bill O'Reilly.

The Dumbing Down of America Continues

New from Fox TV:
An upcoming series titled, "Someone's Gotta Go," lets employees of a small business decide which one of their colleagues will be laid off.

...Each week, a different company lays off an employee.
How 'bout they start with themselves. I'll give them their bottom three: Employees at Fox can decide whether Rupert Murdoch, Bill O'Reilly, or Sean Hannity should go.

"Ray and Tommy"

Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign takes on fascist Maggie Gallagher of the "National Organization for Marriage"...

Shitty Diddies - 1979

Patrick Juvet was a hugely successful pop artist in his native France throughout the 1970s. He is best remembered in the U.S. for this single, a huge hit on dance floors around the nation. My first listen in 30 years leads me to wonder why it was so huge. Barry Gibb he's not!

From 1979, today's shitty diddy is "I Love America" by Patrick Juvet...

08 April 2009

Shit Storm

The Fascists are going bat shit crazy again. In the wake of Iowa and Vermont, they are planning to run this commercial in several states, mainly in the Midwest and East...

It seems, however, that none of the folks in the commercial are genuine doctors/parents/teachers. Nope. Just really bad actors. Really bad wingnut actors.

Behold the audition reel...

(Shout out: Brent, John, Joe.My.God., and Dan Savage)