30 July 2009

Your Daily Santorum

Officers Ryan White and C.M. Route of the DeKalb County, Georgia police department.

Nothin' Like a Good Night's Crazy

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Medal of Freedom to Harvey Milk

President Obama will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, to Harvey Milk at a White House ceremony on August 12. The medal will be accepted by Stuart Milk, the nephew of the late San Francisco Supervisor and civil rights activist.

Great. Fantastic, even.

But now...how about that pesky "don't ask, don't tell" thing, Mr. President.

Update: Tennis legend Billie Jean King and U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (Democrat-MA) will also be awarded with the medal.

Health Care in the Netherlands

From June 2008, Maggie Mahar and Niko Karvounis take a comprehensive look at the health care system in the Netherlands and find that the United States would do well to formulate a bill mirroring it.

Deep down I am still for universal coverage along the lines of the Canadian or British systems, but in today's political climate the Dutch system would be a pretty decent (and workable) alternative.

Read the Mahar-Karvounis piece here.

What. The. Fuck. ?!!?

29 July 2009

Your Daily Santorum

CNN's Lou Dobbs...

House Health Care Deal?

So it would seem, according to Brian Beutler.

Mid-Week Brain Break

Time lapse photography of the Manhattan Bridge in New York...

The Health Care Debate, In Perspective

An enlightening conversation between Dr. Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and candidate for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, and Wendell Potter, former communications director for the CIGNA insurance company...

Trouble on the Horizon

Some troubling signs for President Obama as we roll into summer's final month...
1. From NPR: If congressional elections were held today, 43% of voters would cast a ballot for Republican candidates while 42% would vote Democratic.

2. Two longtime Democratic Senators are targets of an ethics investigation for allegedly receiving preferential mortgage treatment through Countrywide Financial. One Senator, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, is down by a large margin in polling for his 2010 reelection. The other, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, faces voters in a rather red state in 2012, when the President is expected to run for a second term.

3. The President is losing Sullivan. On two fronts.

Terrorist Attack at the Outgames

Two explosive devices were hurled onto the track during the start of a relay at the Outgames in Copenhagen. One athlete sustained minor injuries. A suspect was arrested shortly after the incident, and a second is still at large.

Undeterred, athletes decided to continue with the relay. And the remainder of the games continue today.

Pipe Dream?

Are President Obama's assumptions on green job creation too optimistic? Steve Clemons thinks so:
...if the White House puts too many eggs in the green recovery basket, we may all be disappointed. The green sector is simply not large enough or competitive enough to be a major engine of job creation.
What Clemons doesn't do in the essay is present job creation alternatives.

28 July 2009

Guinea Pigs With Guns & Frozen Wolf Patties

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Your Daily Santorum

CNN President Joe Klein.

Thought For a Tuesday

Can we please stop calling the upcoming meeting between Professor Gates, Sargent Crowley, and President Obama the "beer summit?"

Give me a break!

Something's Gotta Give

Quote of the Day:
I quit practicing medicine in 2003 at the age of 43. Burned out. Like most doctors I went into medicine with a lot of idealism. The first half of my medical career was in the Army (they paid for my medical education). The second half was in private practice.
In the Army system, a single payer system, I was free to focus my attention on patient care, as were my colleagues. Conversations between doctors revolved around the latest medical research on how to best care for our patients. I never thought about how much money a particular treatment option for a patient would earn for me - I was paid a salary and it was the same no matter what treatment options I chose. I never had to deal with getting an insurance company to pay me for my medical services after I had already given them. I never had to argue with an insurance company after they denied my treatment plan for a patient as "medically unnecessary."

In private practice I was horrified to see how money was the driving force behind everything doctors did (do).

...Worst of all, I saw patients routinely suffer from unnecessary, expensive, and often harmful treatment interventions that were clearly chosen because they earned the most money for the doctor and the hospital.

I even had the bizarre experience of having an insurance company try to convince me to pursue a series of invasive surgical procedures in a particular patient instead of the much less expensive exercise program I had recommended because the series of surgical procedures was in their algorithm for treating the diagnostic code I had assigned the patient and exercise wasn’t.

...I agree with Dr. Krugman - there is no place for “free market ideas” in medicine - at least not if you want your doctor to actually take care of you.
-Monte Ladner, M.D., responding to a blog post by Paul Krugman.

Cheney Wanted Police State

Evidence of Cheney's war crimes pile up with each passing week. And John Yoo should be disbarred immediately. That man has no business practicing law - none whatsoever.


Lawrence O'Donnell's excellent piece on the Professor Gates story...

Bat Shit Birthers

Many of you have seen this already, but for those who haven't...

27 July 2009

Little Miss Chloe

Enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon...

Meet "Tater"

Larry and Trevor's new boy...

Team of Rivals

As I suspected, things seem to be working just fine...

Confusion Reigns

Yesterday's New York Times editorial page laid out the health care plan currently working its way around Capitol Hill. It's way too complicated, with the core of the plan being "health insurance exchanges, national or state, which would offer a menu of policies from different companies" that wouldn't even get started until 2013. The system is already complicated enough. Why make it more so?

It seems to me the only way to real reform (short of Canadian or European style universal care which doesn't have a prayer at the moment) would be to regulate the hell out of the insurance and health industries (no more denials based on pre-existing conditions, price controls on premiums, price controls on tests and hospital visits) while at the same time offering the public option for those who still can't afford private insurance.

The proposed plan seems to make the current maze a bit more difficult to navigate.

Update: Yesterday, the Washington Post published an excellent Ezra Klein essay about the current health care debate. I suggest you read the entire piece, but here is the key take away:
Just as Clinton's plan was weighed down by the impression that it would change too much, history may leave Obama's effort vulnerable to the charge that it is changing too little.

Bu-Bye Sarah

Part 1 of her incoherent speech here.
Part 2 here.

Warning: Her high-pitched babbling might just make your ears bleed.

25 July 2009

Into the Mystic

An eclectic set of twelve songs for your weekend...

1. Scratches - Debbie Davies
2. Heavy Cross - The Gossip
3. Voyager - Daft Punk
4. The Forgotten People - Thievery Corporation
5. Del Ayer - Federico Aubele
6. Southern Cross - Crosby, Stills, & Nash
7. I've Got Dreams to Remember - Otis Redding
8. Talkin' to My Heart - Fleetwood Mac
9. Summer In the City - Quincy Jones
10. We Can Make It - The Sylvers
11. Corner of the Earth - Jamiroquai
12. Into the Mystic - Van Morrison


The President's weekly address...

24 July 2009


From SF Gate:

San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly (District 6) who has often mocked his critics who do not live in San Francisco, announced today that he and his wife have purchased a house in Fairfield and that she and their two children moved there a month ago.

Daly claims he retains their old San Francisco apartment and stays there during the week, bicycling to work at City Hall, and will continue to do so until the end of his term in late 2010.

Why bother? If he finds the city he represents so unlivable that he felt the need to move to the suburbs, then why continue to serve on its city council? The residents of his district deserve better, and should demand his resignation.

"The Born Identity"

Jon Stewart, as always, brings this "birther" crap into perspective...

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End-of-the-Week Levity

"Oh my actual GAWD!" Hilarious take on "Big Brother" from the venerable French and Saunders...

Bat-Shit Crazy Felons Gone Wild

Even when presented with evidence to the contrary, even when Chris Matthews knocks him on his ass, G. Gordon Liddy, the bat-shit crazy Watergate felon, won't let this shit go...


Ok...two key points:

1. The step-grandmother Liddy speaks of is the mother of Barack Sr's THIRD wife. The President's mother being the second wife, that would mean the mother of the third wife wasn't even in the picture when Barack Jr was born, let alone present at the time of his birth (thus, the term "STEP-grandmother").

2. My birth certificate is called "Certificate of Live Birth." It was signed by the delivering doctor on my date of birth, by the county registrar six days later, and is stamped by the state's Division of Vital Records. According to the Wikipedia page on birth certificates:
In most states, this document was, and still is, entitled a "Certificate of Live Birth".
Perhaps the President no longer has the original certificate (as much as he moved around as a kid, it is a perfectly logical conclusion), but the state of Hawaii would be able to produce an official, certified copy, stamped and signed by the state registrar, that would function as the original.

My question is this: John McCain was born in Panama. Because he was born on an American Army base, and because his parents were American citizens, he was considered eligible to run for president. How would the bat-shit crazies on the right have reacted had the left questioned McCain's citizenship?

Another point: The bill being proposed by the Fascist wing of the Republican Party that would require all presidential candidates to provide a birth certificate is typical Republican bluster...yet another attempt to keep Democrats out of the White House. It seems to be in the GOP DNA. After Franklin Roosevelt won four terms, the GOP proposed (and succeeded in) amending the Constitution limiting presidents to two terms. When Ronald Reagan rode huge popularity ratings into his second term, guess who wanted to re-amend the Constitution to allow for a third?

I'll give you three guesses. And the first two don't count.

23 July 2009

Your Daily Santorum

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Fascist-TN).

Christine's Long Journey

Results from a six-year clinical study show more HIV/AIDS patients in Africa could be treated if funds were switched from expensive laboratory testing to providing more anti-retroviral drugs in local villages.

The study showed that lab tests done to monitor drug progress and side-effects do little to save lives, and that the money would be better spent dispensing the much-needed medication in far away African villages where HIV is taking a deadly toll.

An excellent report from BBC's Tom Gibb here.

Mad Max

NPR shines the light on Sen. Max Baucus (Democrat-MT) who, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, plays a huge role in the health care debate.

The problem? An obscene percentage of Sen. Baucus' campaign contributions come from the health insurance industry (only 13% of his campaign funding actually came from voters in Montana). Five of his former Senate staff members now lobby Congress for powerful drug companies like Amgen, AstraZeneca, Merck, and Wyeth. With such powerful interests controlling his purse strings, Baucus is trying to water down any health care reform bill.

Memo to Majority Leader Harry Reid: This is a huge conflict of interest. Shouldn't Baucus be recused from chairing the committee on this particular issue?

A few details on the Baucus-Insurance relationship, including a link to the NPR's audio piece, can be found here.

Long Term Residual Damage

Quote of the Day:
So, the president did his press conference to rally America. He really needs to rally Democrats on Capitol Hill. It's unbelievable that any Democrat would think that delaying passage of health care is a good political move...Some of those Democrats, especially many freshmen, owe their seats to Obama and the agenda upon which he ran. Not passing real reform is really bad politics.

The Bush years really did a number on the American people. His lies and incompetency have created the sense that we can't solve problems any more. That's part of what Obama is up against. Unfortunately, some of the Democrats on Capitol Hill seem to playing into that Bush-created mindset.
-AmericaBlog's Joe Sudbay, reminding newly elected Democrats that they are where they are because of Obama's Election Day coat tails.

The long term residual damage of the Bush years will take a long time to clean up. President Obama is the right man at the right time to get the job done, but he needs to do it in conjunction with the congress. They need to stop thinking of the politics, get on board, and work with the President to move our great country out of the morass and into a more solid, stable future.

I am not asking them to be Obama's lap dogs, and he doesn't want them to be. But rather than form a circular firing squad, Democrats who find themselves at odds with current proposals should sit down with their fellow congressional members and with White House officials, put all options on the table, and then weed through them all to come up with the best possible, passable plan.

It won't be perfect but it will be a step in the right direction, and way better than doing nothing.

As for the rest of us...we all have to be patient.

Gay and Republican

After the last three election cycles it baffles me how any gay American could identify themselves as Republican. I was floored, in fact, that the percentage of gay men and women voting for the Republican presidential ticket actually increased in 2008 over 2004 (bitter over Hillary's primary loss, I'm sure...but I digress). The Republican Party has moved so far to the right, fueled in large part by vitriolic anti-gay rhetoric, that from my vantage point gay support of most Republican candidates is on par with Jews backing Hitler.

Current TV's Nerina Penzhorn follows two young, prominent members of the Log Cabin Republicans - a candidate for state senator and up-an-coming lobbyist - to understand why it is easier for them to tell their "Republican friends they're gay, than gay friends that they're Republican."

Larry's Favorite Liberal

Yikes! Krugman liked Obama's health care press conference last night. Everybody stand back, Larry's head is about to explode!

(PS: Love ya more 'n my luggage, Lar'!)

22 July 2009

Your Daily Santorum

The bat-shit crazy daughter of that war-criminal former vice-president of ours.

Mid-Week Brain Break

A TV commercial for Durex. See if you can figure out why it is banned here in the United States (it is currently airing in Europe).

"Nice Try"

Chris Matthews hands a bat-shit birther his ass, showing Rep. John Campbell (Fascist-CA) a copy of President Obama's birth certificate and telling him to mail the certificate to the "wacko wing" of his party. Brutal...

Changing Minds...Down Under

Australia is in the middle of their own fight for marriage equality. This strong, thought-provoking ad is currently airing nationwide there...

(Shout out: Joe.)

When your faith in the human race wanes...

...something like this reassures you that there are still heros among us.

California's Government Is Fucked In the Head

I was going to post a brief mention of the budget deal reached in California yesterday (following months of impasse), only to wake up this morning to find out that the deal is in jeopardy.

Who is blocking it?

The Republicans in the state legislature, of course.

This state is truly fucked in the head.

We are staring into a deep, dark abyss at the moment. And the only thing that will save us is a new constitution. My thoughts on the matter, from earlier in the month, here.

21 July 2009

"Should your ass bleed when you sneeze?"

As always, the Daily Show puts an important political issue into perspective. This time, Lewis Black makes mince meat of the GOP talking points on health care reform...

The Summer of Our Discontent

The NewsHour's Jim Lehrer discusses health care and the economy with President Obama...

That the President's job approval rating has remained as high as it has for as long as it has is nothing short of amazing. Americans are an impatient people and want quick fixes for everything, no matter the size and scope of the problem. Mr. Obama has said time and again that the shit pile left behind by the Bush administration will take a year or two to clean up (my hunch is it will take longer than two years). But the 24-hour news cycle, in their quest for ratings, always presents a confrontational approach to government...as if the duty of running our country was a WWF wrestling match or an episode of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey."

We're in the middle of the summer of our discontent. Americans, either without jobs or scared shitless of losing them, are scaling back summer vacation plans in massive numbers, leaving them plenty of time to stew about the state of our nation. And with George W. Bush long gone, blame begins to shift to the current president.

What Americans don't understand is that there are no quick fixes to a recession as deep as the current one. You can't turn a 9.5% unemployment rate into a 5% unemployment rate on a dime. You can't clean up a mountain of shit with a shovel in just six months.

It would do us all well to remember that President Obama and his team have tried their best to put solid measures in place to fix the problem. In fact, I give them huge credit for pulling us back from the abyss. Could they have done more? Perhaps. Should they do more still? Yes, and they will. But whatever additional steps they take to repair the damage of the Bush years, this is going to take a while. The rest of us just need to come to grips with the fact that our only choice at the moment is to ride this out. (Imagine how bumpy the current ride with be with the bumbling, flailing McCain/Palin team in the White House!)

Quick fixes will only make matters worse, thus the President is working on a multi-year timetable. I've said it before but it bears repeating: While the rest of us are playing checkers, President Obama is in this for the long haul...he's playing chess.

Smells Like What?!

A well done mash-up can be fun, don't get me wrong. But this is just...well...my ears are bleeding...

Your Daily Santorum

The bat-shit crazy bitch in red...

To his credit, Rep. Mike Castle (Republican-DE) shoots her down respectfully and then moves on.

For those not in-the-know, a primer on Your Daily Santorum here.

A Drag Queen and a Midget Walk Into a Bar

From Joe. My. God.:
Mexico police are seeking two drag queens for the murders of two midget wrestlers who were found dead in their hotel room after a "drinking orgy."
The wrestlers were allegedly poisoned with eye drops.

20 July 2009

A Big, Hearty "Thank You"

Since mentioning last week's health scare, I have received over 100 emails from readers wishing me well and inquiring about my condition. To each and every one...a big, hearty "thank you."

For the record, I'm doing much better. I still have some tests to go through and a couple of follow-up appointments with my doctors, but I haven't had any significant chest discomfort since Wednesday. My general physician seems to think my heart is relatively healthy and that my symptoms were brought on by a medication I was taking combined with the extreme heat of Palm Springs. Tests scheduled for tomorrow should help him confirm that theory. I will know the results when I follow up with him and a cardiologist on Wednesday.

A complete update then. In the mean time, one more time, thank you so very much for the well wishes.

Monday Morning Levity

A roll-on-the-floor laugh riot from Bill Maher...

Whites Only

Wow...Pat Buchanan with exhibit A on why conservatives and the fascist wing of the Republican Party are out of touch, out of date, and out of ideas...

One of the key points that hasn't been presented enough in the "why did Obama nominate a hispanic female" histrionics is this: The last three appointments to the Supreme Court (Breyer, Roberts, Alito), including one by President Clinton (Breyer), have been...wait for it...brace yourselves...white men!

And the black man nominated to the court before those three? Clarence Thomas - nominated by the first Bush after less than two years as a judge. Talk about affirmative action! Where was Pat's outrage when that appointment was made? Oh, yeah...he didn't protest. That would be because Thomas was a Republican appointment and is an ultra-conservative to the point of bordering on being a fascist.

Postively Bat Shit Crazy

Bat-shit crazy, nuckin' futz, absolutely insane...

"The Class Clowns"

Quote of the Day #2:
Following the Republican Party of late has been...like watching Old Yeller die — if Old Yeller were a worm-infested feral bitch who spent the past eight years biting children at bus stops and shitting in neighborhood swimming pools.
-Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi, in an April essay that I only now discovered.

Note to self: Buy a subscription to Rolling Stone.

Update: The link only provides a two-page snippet of Taibbi's essay. I can't find the full piece anywhere. Apologies.

Disgusting and Beyond Vile

Fox News analyst Ralph Peters, discussing the capture of an American soldier by the Taliban...

Without a shred of evidence, this fuck wad accuses the captured soldier of defecting and then urges the enemy to kill him.

Had a liberal pundit said such a thing on MSNBC, Mr. Peters and his fellow goons on the right would demand that charges of treason be filed. And that is exactly what should happen here.

Hurricane George

In an effort to prevent a bankruptcy filing today, CITI Group, one of the nation's leading lenders, approved a deal yesterday allowing a $3 billion dollar loan from bondholders. It is said the loan will buy CITI time to "restructure its business model and reduce its voluminous debt load."

Still So Out of Touch

Quote of the Day:
...we have the finest health care in the world now.
-Sen. Mitch McConnell (Republican-KY), his party's leader in the Senate, yesterday on "Meet the Press."

Why, yes! And the fundamentals of our economy are strong, too.

17 July 2009

Walter Cronkite, 1916 - 2009

The quintessential newsman - the man for which the term "anchorman" was coined - died this evening. He was 92.

Blogger Break

I'm still trying to regain my bearings following last week's scare in the desert. Forgive my absence. I expect to be back in the swing of things after the weekend.

14 July 2009

A Dedication to Brent, From Moi...

"It's like I hit an oil patch at 35 and now I'm just skidding toward the grave, darling."

Happy Birthday, Sweet Man

Welcome to "Club 40."

With all the love in the world,

13 July 2009

Scare In the Desert

Well, the vacation in Palm Springs wasn't exactly what everyone was expecting. I'm short on time this morning and will give you the full lowdown later, but in short I wound up in the E.R. within hours of arriving in the desert. I started experiencing pretty significant chest discomfort and pressure in the 110-degree heat and really thought I was about to have a heart attack.

After being whisked back to a bed within minutes of arriving at the hospital, it was found my heart rate was around 96 bpm and my blood pressure was something like 140/100. Early blood tests showed no signs of a heart attack and my EKG showed normal sinus rhythm, but I was admitted for observation and additional tests.

An echo cardiogram and a stress test showed no immediate problems with my heart, and medication brought my blood pressure down to normal range.

I was released Friday afternoon and had to spend the rest of my vacation out of the extreme heat. In between a lot of napping, I managed to join the gang for a trip over to the Spa Resort and Casino to gamble, and out for a dinner or two. But still, the incident put a damper on everyone's vacation.

A big hearty thanks to Brent. He was at my side through the entire ordeal, save when I told him to get some time in at the pool. Muchos gracias as well to Beth. This trip was to celebrate both Brent and Beth's birthdays and I still feel horrible that this happened while we were vacationing. And of course one last shout out to Susan and Jeff. I know this put a damper on things and scaled plans way back, but they were troopers all week long and I appreciate it.

I have an appointment to see my personal physician this afternoon. I hope to pinpoint exactly what the problem is and get it fixed. More on my stay at the Desert Regional Medical Center (on the Frank Sinatra cardiac ward, mind you) later. In the mean time, light blogging for a day or two.

08 July 2009

On Vacation

We're off to Palm Springs for some time in the sun with friends, and to celebrate a couple of birthdays (including Brent's 40th). I will check in here if something really big happens. Otherwise, I'll return on Monday.

32 Lies

Sarah Palin is truly pathological. Yesterday, Andrew Sullivan rounded up thirty-two proven lies told by the soon to be former Alaska governor.

Click here to see the list.

My white dress is black, the sky above you is red, but I didn't tell you that my dress is black or that the sky is red.

Mid-Week Brain Break

John Mayer's exquisite rendition of "Human Nature"...

07 July 2009


A former Republican secretary of state has called President Obama a "chess master" in terms of his foreign policy. MSNBC's Alison Stewart, sitting in for Rachel Maddow, talks with Joe Cirincione about yesterday's remarkable arms agreement with Russia...

Convenience, Quality, and Affordability

Quote of the Day:
People in [France and the Netherlands] were getting precisely what most Americans say they want: Timely, quality care. Physicians felt free to practice medicine the way they wanted; companies got to concentrate on their lines of business, rather than develop expertise in managing health benefits. But, in contrast with the US, everybody had insurance. The papers weren't filled with stories of people going bankrupt or skipping medical care because they couldn't afford to pay their bills. And they did all this while paying substantially less, overall, than we do.
-Jonathan Cohn, putting into perspective the conservative complaints of the Canadian and European health care models.

Too many Americans still believe that our health care system is the best in the world. I have news for them: It's not. And the sooner they all realize that, the better.

Bill O'Reilly Is Still a Bitchy Little Cry Baby

Smoking Gun

It seems George W. Bush has finally found one of the missing WMDs in Iraq.

Fuckin' dickweed.

06 July 2009

The Foundational Question of Character

Quote of the Day:
...the one thing really key about a president is that they be steady under pressure, not rash, and not prone to spur of the moment freak outs where they just walk away from the job to go to Disneyland. A lot of nonsense gets knocked around about "character" in presidential elections. But this is the foundational question of character that really is critical. Assuming this isn't about some soon-to-pop scandal and it's really that Palin just decided on a moment's notice (look at how much preparation went into the press conference to know how long this was in the works) to up and walk away from her responsibilities, that's simply fatal for anyone's presidential chances.
-Josh Marshall, commenting on Sarah Palin's dead-in-the-water presidential ambitions.

Little Miss Chloe

Camping last week in the Redwoods...

The Gavinator?


The Return of the Teabaggers

They used our nation's birthday to protest once again against high taxes and government spending...completely oblivious to the facts that their income taxes are the lowest they've been ever, and that the administration of George W. Bush spent like drunken sailors, increasing the federal deficit to record levels.

1. (adj.) belonging to the Republican Party, the more conservative of the two main political parties in the U.S.
2. (noun) a member or supporter of the Republican Party in the U.S.
3. see 'hypocrite'

Your Daily Santorum

Alaska's favorite crazy lady, Sarah Palin. Shannyn Moore explains.

Robert McNamara, 1916 - 2009

Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, and the architect of the Vietnam War, died today in Washington, DC. He was 92.

04 July 2009

Summer Madness

Under the Gun - Supreme Beings of Leisure.
Bailamos - Fergie.
Dancing Machine - The Jackson 5.
I Can't Get Next to You - Annie Lennox.
Lowdown - Boz Scaggs.
Rev It Up - Jerry Harrison.
Stand Back - Stevie Nicks.
Rumbleseat - John Mellencamp.
Get Back (From "Love") - The Beatles.
Grand - Sean Chapin.
Criminal World - David Bowie.
The Fox - Elton John.
Going Through the Motions - Aimee Mann.
Rikki Don't Lose That Number - Steely Dan.
Time Is Running Out - Steve Winwood.
Am I a Good Man - Them Two.
Summer Madness (Live) - Kool and the Gang.
Have a safe 4th, everyone!

America's Destiny

Ok...how about a coherent speech given by someone with a brain?

Cooper Takes On Another Dim-Bulb

It seems Gov. Palin's spokesperson is as dim as she is...

Dead Fish

Watching Sarah Palin speak really is like watching a dim-bulb give a D+ high school speech. She babbles endlessly and she is incoherent.

The governor's announcement, in two parts, below...

Update: David Kurtz:
Perhaps the best part of Palin's announcement today:
Life is too short to compromise time and resources... it may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: "Sit down and shut up", but that's the worthless, easy path; that's a quitter's way out.
Quitters stick to it. Winners quit.
Update 2: Steve Benen:
She says she's "given my reasons" for quitting, in the same breath as she says she doesn't feel the need to "explain" her decision. She blasts those who take the "quitter's way out," and then quits.

03 July 2009

Palin Resigns

What the fuck?! Her term ends in less than two years. Even if she has her eyes on the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, she could at least finish the term she was elected to.

The erratic dim bulb is still freakier than ever.

Update: Jed Lewison:
She sure sounds like she's running for president. Which must mean she's a moron.
Mayor of a town of 6,000, half a term as governor of a state with a population less than that of San Francisco, and an absolutely ghastly run for VP. The coming catastrophe will at least be entertaining, if not a nightmare.

Update 2: Josh Marshall:
Okay, we're getting our first indication of what happened. It seems like a colossal sulk on Palin's part, or perhaps better to say an effort on her part to ingeniously combine anti-liberal media bias agitation with Christianist politics by portraying herself as having been crucified by the liberal media.

...this clearly happened so quickly that Palin hasn't even had a chance to come up with a coherent cover story for her resignation. Some context is probably helpful here, however. Remember that based on the public record, Palin is a wildly unethical public official, guilty at a minimum of numerous instances of abusing her authority as governor. And a lot of very damaging information has come out about her in the last few days - though mainly embarrassing information about her character rather than new evidence of bad acts. I would not be surprised if this latest round of revelations shook something else loose that we haven't heard about yet.
That would make more sense to me than resigning a year and a half short of the end of her term to run for president.

Then again, she has never made much sense, has she?

02 July 2009

Your Daily Santorum

Fort Worth police chief, Jeff Halstead.

For those not in-the-know, a primer on Your Daily Santorum here.

Gay Sailor Murdered on Base

From Joe. My. God.:
The body of an openly gay sailor was found yesterday in a guard shack outside of Camp Pendleton, a USMC base just outside San Diego. The case may be investigated as a hate crime.
You have to wonder if this is one of the reasons why President Obama is moving slowly on the repeal of DADT.

On the one hand, I can easily see an increase in anti-gay violence within the armed forces if gays and lesbians were able to serve openly. On the other hand, the only way to keep the lid on such violence is to change minds. And changing minds would require nothing short of full integration into the forces.

Quite the quandary.

In the mean time, the USMC should investigate this murder, arrest and charge the individual(s) responsible, and punish them to the fullest extent of the law.

Dump the California Constitution

So, the state of California ran out of money on Tuesday and is now issuing IOUs to pay its bills. I've lived here for nine years now and I can't remember a year in which California was not having budget problems. They were never as big as they are right now, but the problems incredibly led to the recall of Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and have kept Gov. Schwarzenegger's approval ratings in the toilet, causing him to bow out of what was an expected 2010 U.S. Senate race against Barbara Boxer.

Yes, spending needs to be controlled. Yes, taxes need to be raised. But with California's dreadful rule requiring a 2/3 vote of the legislature on budget matters (by constitutional amendment, mind you), and neither Republicans or Democrats willing to move from their respective positions, it is no wonder the state didn't go belly up years ago.

The governor and both houses of the legislature will keep running through this tiresome loop of hoop-jumping, California's citizens will keep bitching and moaning over the inability of the state government to get anything done, and they will all keep voting the imbeciles back into office.

The only way to fix the problem is to scrap the current over-amended state constitution, conduct a constitutional convention, and write a brand new document. The new constitution should give each branch of the legislature the ability to vote on budget matters with a simple majority. To give the minority party a voice at the table, a provision should be made to grant filibuster power in the state senate, and a line-item veto to the governor. More importantly, a new state constitution should require that it take more than a simple majority statewide ballot vote to amend it. A new state document should require amendments be placed with a 2/3 vote of both houses of the legislature and either 2/3 (66.66%) or 3/5 (60%) of the vote on a statewide ballot.

The current constitution has been amended over 500 times. At some point (I'd say around amendment # 100 or so), the document simply seized to exist in its original form.

So why not throw it out and write a new one?

18% Pay Hikes at the White House

I know after taking office President Obama signed an order freezing the pay of his senior staff, I also know that Mr. Obama didn't sit down and personally review the pay rates of all 486 White House government employees, but...

He would have had to sign off on them all. Sigh. When the government is hemorrhaging money (granted, for good reason...but hemorrhaging none the less), an 18% increase in the White House payroll budget just doesn't seem very responsible to me.

Unemployment Rises to 9.5%

An increase is an increase, but the rate of increase seems to have slowed this month. June's 9.5% unemployment rate is up from 9.4% last month. After several significant monthly jumps since September, a one-tenth increase, while something to be concerned about, gives one hope that perhaps (perhaps) the downturn is putting on the brakes.

Now if I just keep telling myself that...

01 July 2009

Karl Malden, 1912 - 2009

The veteran actor died today of natural causes at his home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. He was 97.

Malden is best known for his five season run on the ABC television series "The Streets of San Francisco" (1972 to 1977), as well as his role as spokesman for American Express ("Don't leave home without it.")

But the bulk of Malden's career was spent on the movie screen. He won an Oscar for his supporting role in 1951's "A Streetcar Named Desire," and appeared in a number of critically acclaimed films, such as "On the Waterfront," "Patton," and "Gypsy." And like many actors of his generation, he also appeared in a really bad movie or two.

From 1989 to 1992, Malden served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

He is survived by his wife, Mona, and two daughters.

Mollie Sugden, 1922 - 2009

The veteran British television actress, best known to American audiences as "Mrs. Slocombe" on the venerable BBC series, "Are You Being Served," died earlier today of natural causes. She was 86.

A couple of classic clips in "remembory"...

Your Daily Santorum

Former CIA employee Michael Scheuer:
The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States.

...only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them...with as much violence as necessary.

Uhh...Mr. Scheuer (and you too, Mr. Beck)...the Department of Homeland Security would like to have a word with you.

CA Gov Poll: Newsom Far Behind Brown

A new poll by JMM Research shows Gavin Newsom running far behind state Attorney General (and former governor) Jerry Brown in a Democratic primary for governor:
Jerry Brown 46%
Gavin Newsom 26%
Of course these are early numbers, so don't read too much into them. Other candidates might well emerge, and if Sen. Feinstein throws her hat in the ring, all bets are off.

Olbermann: Obama "God Damned Wrong"

Keith Olbermann's conversation with Dan Savage, yesterday...

On Paper Only

Quote of the Day:
We have 60 votes on paper only. This will help us procedurally but we're still going to have obstacles to overcome, including two sick Senators and the fact that not every Democrat is going to stick with the caucus on every single vote.
-A senior Democratic aide, commenting to Roll Call yesterday on the certification of Al Franken as the junior senator from Minnesota.

Just because Democrats have 60 members in the Senate doesn't mean they will always vote as a block. Depending on the legislation, the conservative Dems (Nelson of Nebraska, Lincoln of Arkansas, Hagan of North Carolina, Feinstein of California, etc.) may balk at legislation they deem too far left. Likewise, liberal Dems (Feingold of Wisconsin, Boxer of California, Franken of Minnesota, etc.) will vote against a conservative agenda. And that is the way it should be. I prefer our senators vote for or against legislation based on that delicate combination of their own convictions and the wishes of their constituents back home. When the Republicans were in the majority they demanded unquestioned loyalty from their caucus. The result is that they have very few moderates left in their ranks and they have become a battered and bitter minority party.

On major legislation or when Republicans are blocking something for no good reason, I hope the 60 stick together. But more than that, I would like to see the majority leader, Harry Reid, demand that any senator calling a filibuster stand on the Senate floor and talk, non-stop, until the chamber can cobble together the 60 votes to end it (or until the senator ends the filibuster of his or her own free will).

THAT is a filibuster. Demanding 60 votes for every piece of legislation based on the THREAT of a filibuster is a super-majority. There's a difference.

Legislating From the Bench

NBC's Chuck Todd calls out the conservative majority on the Supreme Court for legislating from the bench:

For all the bullshit spewed by conservatives over how liberal judges legislate from the bench, it's refreshing to hear someone from the mainstream media tell it like it is. It's really the right wing fascists who legislate from the bench under the guise of judicial opinion. The moderate and liberal justices interpret the law.

Mid-Week Brain Break

This track was written by Michael Jackson as a scathing indictment of American media and their no-holds-barred tabloid reporting. About a month before his death I included the song on one of my iPod playlists and, after giving the lyrics another listen, realized that in 2009 the song could be reinterpreted as an indictment against the conservative media establishment (Fox News in particular):
You tell me I'm wrong,
then you better prove you're right
Tired of you tellin'
the story your way,
It's causin' confusion,
you think it's okay, damn it.
You keep changin' the rules
while I keep playin' the game.
I can't take it much longer,
I think I might go insane
"Scream" by Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson...