31 March 2010

Lucy's holding the football...

And President Charlie Brown is--again--running full-tilt for the kickoff:
Reversing a ban on oil drilling off most U.S. shores, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced an expansive new policy that could put oil and natural gas platforms in waters along the southern Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and part of Alaska.
...Obama made no secret of the fact that one factor in his decision was securing Republican support for a sweeping climate change bill that has languished in Congress. But Obama has long stated his support in favor of the "tough decision" to expand offshore drilling.
How can anyone who's been paying the slightest bit of attention to the events of the past 14 months--much less the guy who's found himself lying flat on his back, staring up at the sky, time and time again--think that that part of the calculus has any chance of working out?
You're, once again, backing off a position you campaigned upon.  Chalk it up to new information, the alleged year of study, whatever you want.  After all, we complained for the last eight years about a President who was too stubborn to change course in response to evolving circumstances.  But, for the love of God, even if pandering to the GOP is, inexplicably, still part of your strategy, why publicize it?  All you're doing is positioning things so that your constituents (You remember them, right?  They're the ones who actually will support you.) not only think you took them for their votes and then threw them under the bus, but did so in the starry-eyed pursuit of bipartisanship that your opponents have commited themselves to denying?

30 March 2010

Johnnie Mac goes full Pander Bear

What part of "2,000 miles long" do these people not understand?
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), under fire from the right for not being tough enough on immigration in his Senate primary race, has called on Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to dispatch National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

In a letter sent to Napolitano's office yesterday, McCain says that rising drug violence across the border in Mexico endangers the lives of American citizens. He says the situation now calls for troops to be sent to the "southern border region."
Can't get much more "America, fuck yeah!" than trying to militarize a line spanning four states and surrounded by 12 million people.

To our servicepeople's misfortune, we've found that it's impossible to completely secure something as small as a military base with full-time soldiers who are expecting to get attacked.

Which is worse: a politician who knows better cynically offering such an obviously ineffective solution to border security or being one of the willing dupes looking for such "feels good, does little" garbage?

29 March 2010

Quote of the Day

Militia edition:
"It started out as a Christian thing." -- Donna Stone, ex-wife of David Stone, the ringleader of the "Hutaree" militia group arrested by the FBI in a conspiracy to murder law enforcement
Based in Lenawee County, Mich., the Hutaree are described by officials as an extremist group. Their Web site says the name means "Christian warrior" and claims it is preparing to defend itself for the impending arrival of the anti-Christ.
"Christian" has sure changed a lot since I was in Sunday School.

Number of wild wolverines in The Wolverine State: 0

Number of militia groups: 47

**Put in perspective, Texas leads the nation in militia groups with 57 for its nearly 25,000,000 people. Michigan's population? 10,000,000.

28 March 2010

This week in unexpected allies - Recess Appointment Edition

Yesterday, President Obama used the Congressional recess to install fifteen of the roughly six dozen appointments languishing, voteless, in the Senate as obstruction tactics have ground the approval process to a halt. As expected, Republican heads began exploding over a noncontroversial procedure they had no problem with from 2000 to 2008.

What was unexpected was how the President was seemingly reminded that he doesn't have to deal with the tantrum caucus if he doesn't want to.

With the National Labor Relations Board looking down the barrel of having 600 already-decided cases thrown out because the decisions were made while three of the five seats on the panel were vacant due to lack of Senate confirmation, noted far-left radical, Chief Justice John Roberts asked one simple question:
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: And the recess appointment power doesn’t work why?
Why, indeed.

Speak the truth, get the gate

Not exactly a new or unique experience, but conservative commentator David Frum found out first hand, this week after penning a column that dared to suggest that the GOP's "all in on 'no'" strategy on the healthcare debate may not have been the best of ideas.

Within days, Frum found himself ousted by the American Enterprise Institute, his paid--and benefit-providing--think tank gig making him a case study along the way:
What many people don’t realize about the think tank world is that the policy types who serve as modestly paid fellows do so in large part for the health coverage. In our antiquated employer-based system, middle-aged wonks simply have to be attached to a group to be insurable.

...In one stroke, David Frum has become not only the poster boy for the Republican party’s incoherent tantrums, but for the need for Obamacare itself! It doesn’t get more delicious than this.
Not sure about "delicious,"--a man with a family is still out of a paid job--but it is interesting coming from the end of the political spectrum that, just a few years ago, accused Democrats of being intolerant of dissent and initiating an ideological "purge" for not supporting Joe Lieberman's 2006 Senate run.

Now, Lieberman is an actual official; a long-tenured Senator with substantial influence capable of affecting policy, who had taken multiple positions with which Democratic voters strongly disagreed.

Frum is, essentially, a columnist who wrote one column they didn't like.

Who has the smaller tent?

27 March 2010

Saturday Shuffle

Healthy Body - Operation Ivy
And When Was Better - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Delirium of Disorder - Bad Religion
Pink Lemonade - Kittie
Eden - Hooverphonic
I'm Dancing In The Show Tonight - Ween
Unicorn Theme - Tangerine Dream
The Brazilian - Genesis
I Remember You - The Ataris
Democracy - Leonard Cohen

26 March 2010

Your Weasel of the Week: Eric Cantor

Shorter Eric Cantor (R-VA): "We only shouted 'fire;' we never said 'trample people while trying to run out of the theatre."
"I've received threats since I assumed elected office, not only because of my positions, but because I am Jewish," Cantor said. "I've never blamed anyone in this body for that. Period."
Wonder how many of Mr. Cantor's colleagues publicly characterized his position or his faith as socialism or an assault on our freedom, resulting in "armageddon" that will "ruin the country, and put seniors to death?
"It is reckless to use these incidents as media vehicles for political gain," he said. He called out DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen and DNC Chair Tim Kaine by name as those who are "dangerously fanning the flames by suggesting that these incidents be used as a political weapon."
Seems to me if these incidents death threats are coming over the passage of legislation, they are already a political weapon.

Cantor has some nerve daring to lecture anyone about what is or isn't "reckless" following the unhinged rhetoric of the past year. As if it would've taken a crystal ball to foresee that abandoning policy-based criticism for months of relentless demonization, painting your opponents as being the second coming of StalinMaoHitler who will literally kill peoples' grandparents, could have adverse effects.

Cantor's disingenuous whining about "political gain" is nothing but a dodge, a lame attempt to distract people from the underlying fact that one group's political gains are often the result of another group being held accountable for their words and actions.

Circle of life, my friends, circle of life...

Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase!
Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze!
It means no worries for the rest of your days...
Unless, of course, you run into angry hippos and lions while trying to poach animals in a nature preserve:
Poaching seems quite a bit less appealing today after an incident that occurred in South Africa. All that remains of one man, who entered Kruger National Park with the intent of illegally hunting animals, is his skull and a few scraps of clothing. After he and two companions snuck into the nature reserve under cover of night to check some illegal traps they had assembled, they were apparently ambushed by a group of angry hippos. The three men all ran in different directions, but only two made it out of the park with their lives. The third, park officials say, was devoured by lions.


What, were the hippos waiting in the preserve's parking lot, hiding behind a dumpster with a couple pieces of pipe and a bike chain?

If you sneak into a wildlife African wildlife preserve...after dark...and end up get FUBARed by the inhabitants, it was most definitely not an ambush; it was, if anything, exactly what you should've expected. If you want to talk about ambushes, let me know as soon as these hippos roll some drunk stumbling out after last call at a Bennigan's.

25 March 2010

McTantrum gets a spanking

The dust up started Monday when McCain said the healthcare reform had so angered Republicans that they would not cooperate with Democrats anymore.
"There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," McCain said. "They have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."
Gibbs responded today, comparing McCain to a six-year-old.
"I find it curious that not getting your way on one thing means you've decided to take your toys and go home," Gibbs said. "It doesn't work well for my six-year-old. I doubt it works well in the United States Senate, because we have issues that are important for his constituents and for all of America."
Good on Gibbs for not legitimizing McCain's act by pretending that stomping one's feet and holding one's breath is acceptable behavior from a grown adult. There will assuredly be all manner of feigned outrage over the "lack of respect" shown by Gibbs.  These pearl-clutchers need to be made to answer whether or not a U.S. Senator folding his arms and pouting is a position worthy of respect.

24 March 2010

Think he misses the angry progressives, yet?

This time last week, Bart Stupak (D-MI), was lamenting the "living hell" his life had become after trying to roadblock healthcare reform legislation over nonexistent taxpayer-funded abortions. The hell in question? Out-of-district calls and emails objecting to his antics, national fundraising for a fall primary challenger, not to mention:
“People saying they’re going to spit on you and all this. That’s just not fun.”
What a difference a week makes...
"Congressman Stupak, you baby-killing mother f***er... I hope you bleed out your a**, got cancer and die, you mother f***er," one man says in a message to Stupak.

"There are millions of people across the country who wish you ill," a woman says in a voicemail, "and all of those thoughts that are projected on you will materialize into something that's not very good for you."

CBS News also obtained copies of faxes sent to Stupak, which include racial epithets used in reference to President Obama and show pictures of nooses with Stupak's name.
Stupak, the Michigan Democrat whose last-minute compromise on abortion guaranteed passage of the bill Sunday, said callers have left messages for him saying, “You’re dead; we know where you live; we’ll get you.”
Real comparable, huh?

Anyone who tries to play the "there are extremists on both sides" card can kindly have a tall, frosty mug of STFU.

23 March 2010

Winning the battle, losing the war

After her Mississippi high school canceled prom rather than let Constance McMillan attend with her girlfriend, the ACLU filed suit to compel the school to restore the prom for all the students. Today, the when the federal judge hearing the case declined to force the school to hold the prom, the response from bigotville was as swift as it was expected:
GOOD! The little dy'ke did NOT deserve to win! SUCK ON IT gay supporters! You should know how to do That!

Just look at that poor girl. What boy in his right mind would want to have her?

It's sad the school had to cancel prom just because of one brat. She will figure out that her forcing everyone else to give her special attention has backfired when no one from her town will have anything to do with her. I am glad her school and town is snubbing her. She has it coming.

So she and her "girlfriend" have experimented licking split and liked it and now they want to turn their conservative little town upside down. Ten years from now she will realize she was an ash, she will be no where and she will wonder why all her old school chums distance themselves from her. She will always be known as the lesbian that destroyed prom - of course by then she will be married to Ray Bob and have four dirty little kids.

Good for the judge and the school board...but, once again, a frickin' selfish individual who doesn't understand biology spoils a once-in-a-lifetime event for the rest of her classmates.

the worst aspect of this story is that this confused young lady was in fact being used by the radical homo army to promote their agenda..

You're right-gays are dirty, dirty scum.

Then Fa'gs like YOU are Dead IF you show up!
Stay in the closet where you belong QU'EER! LOL

All I can say is, what a dirtbag. Ruining the prom for everyone else. That's pretty selfish.
Interestingly enough, this comes not from Free Republic or RedState, but from Yahoo's "Buzz" social news sharing feature which has, in short order, become a veritable cesspool of conspiracy theories, gaybashing and--in particular--virulent (and violent) anti-Muslim hysteria.

Unfortunately for them, Yahoo!'s barely literate hatemongers were so gleeful at the notion that the school wouldn't be forced to provide "special treatment" (read: "not discriminate") that they missed the much bigger picture: that this ruling is effectively a deathblow to the same intolerance they hold so dear.
The prom's still off at a Mississippi high school that canceled it instead of letting a lesbian student bring her girlfriend, but a federal judge ruled Tuesday that the district's actions did violate the teen's constitutional rights.

U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson refused the American Civil Liberties Union's demand to force the Itawamba County school district to put on the April 2 prom. However, he said canceling it did violate 18-year-old Constance McMillen's rights and that he would hold a trial on the issue.

...The judge noted that McMillen has been openly gay since she was in the eighth grade and that she intended to communicate a message by wearing a tuxedo and escorting a same-sex date.

"The court finds this expression and communication falls squarely within the purview of the First Amendment," Davidson said."
Case law is a beautiful thing, isn't it?

It's now established precedent that banning same-sex couples from school functions is a violation of gay teenagers' rights of expression. Any school--from coast to coast--that tries will find themselves in an legally actionable position and likely liable for financial damages. The bigots' illusory "victory" in Itawamba County is overshadowed by the fact that the same fight is over before it starts everywhere else in the future. Suffice it to say, the knuckledraggers were less than enthused to have their couldn't-be-more-off-base misreading of the significance of these events pointed out:
Suck it

You're just mad because you couldn't take your boyfriend to the prom.

Better watch out for that AIDS thing...

if you want to play hide the salami in another man's poop chute, that's up to you - I really don't care. The problems seem to come when gays continually want to shove their lifestyle in everyone else's face...Maybe if you tried to act less like a flamer and more like a productive member of society you'd face less discrimination.
Such a classy lot.

I always did love the sound of rending garments and gnashing teeth in the evening...

Quote of the Day

Live mic hijinks ensue at :09

Gibbs likes it.

Update 3.24.10

CBS picks up on what deserves to be meme of the week:
Another Twitter user decided to preserve the moment with a new feed called BigFnDealer. The first message left on the feed reads, "FDR had the New Deal. Truman had the Fair Deal. J-Biden's gives us the Big F***ing Deal."

22 March 2010

Quote of the Day

The grumpy old man is at it again:
"There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," McCain said during an interview Monday on an Arizona radio affiliate. "They have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."
Really, John?

In contrast to all the cooperating you've done so far?

What happens when you hitch your wagon to the crazy horse

G-Dubs' former speechwriter David Frum penned a piece about the Republicans' failure to block the health care reform bill currently getting the final once over in the House. Methinks it'll be quoted quite extensively over the next few days. Definitely worth reading the whole thing, but there are ample goodies:
Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? ...Too late now. They are all the law.

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?

I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead.
Bipartisan Barry would have done anything for the HCR bill to be a crossing-the-aisle feather in his cap. He deep-sixed drug reimportation and the public option out-of-hand. Who knows what else he would've traded. But, with visions of rabid (and I mean TRULY rabid) turnout in Novemeber, the congressional R's fell in behind the Hannitys, Limbaughs, and Becks and followed their sanctimonious, pill-popping, sobbing selves straight off the cliff.

Bon voyage.

21 March 2010

Health Care Bill Passes 219-216; the already unhinged go mad...

The circus continues at this hour with a couple more votes left to go, but, as one might expect, heads are already exploding. The filth already coming from Freeper-Land is as vile as it was expected. Before I turn in from the night, I waded into the swamp for a (very) few minutes. Here's the leader in the clubhouse from what I could stomach looking at:
"Our brave souls before us took up arms and defended what they thought was right. Many died for what they thought was right. We don't have enough of those type in this country now to organize and win a battle for the good of man. Therefore the only thing I can do now until a rebellion is organized is stop paying taxes...." -- In God I Trust

To: In God I Trust

"Careful, I’ve already had two replies pulled by mod. Nothing inflammatory, just a link to long distance shooting resource." -- optiguy
"Nothing inflammatory," indeed.

With people already explicitly calling for assassination, I guess it's to their credit that the Freeper moderators don't want to go down that path. (Or, at the very least, don't want to be able to be held accountable for the utterly unsurprising escalation in the rage-aholics whose attentions they've been cultivating all this time...)

20 March 2010

Defending the indefensible

As the sexual abuse scandal surrounding the Catholic Church and the Vatican, itself, continues to expand, Bill Donohue and the Catholic League have leapt into the fray and, unbelievably, managed to land on the wrong side:
Criticism of Catholic Church is unfair

Employers from every walk of life, in both the U.S. and Europe, have long handled cases of alleged sex abuse by employees as an internal matter.

...Indeed, the zeitgeist of the day was that rehabilitation not only works, it is virtuous...Had the Catholic Church simply tossed the offenders out, it would have been branded as heartless.

...the focus on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is far out of proportion to the attention given by the media to the sexual molestation of minors when committed by non-Catholic clergymen. According to a report by the New York Times in October, the Brooklyn district attorney's office had filed charges in 26 cases of sexual abuse involving members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.
Breathtaking, isn't it?

You *do* realize this column is nothing less than a suicide note for your credibility, don't you, Billy?

The attempt to defend the Catholic Church's decision to play "three-card molester monte" with their offending priests as being "how everyone did it" is the height of brain-dead apologism. And then to compound it with the simply audacious claim that the church would've been seen as "heartless" for ousting the guilty? I don't know about you, but I'm very curious to know at what point in the last several decades the people were such staunch supporters of giving child molesters the benefit of the doubt.

Bottom line: This was decades of sexual assault on defenseless children in parish after parish in country after country. The fact that he's now whining about what is and isn't fair and trying to respond to people's justifiable outrage with any kind of "but..." is reprehensible on its face.

Equally without merit is his grossly mendacious claim that the focus on the Catholic Church is "out of proportion. The evidence? A mere handful of cases involving the Jewish community.

As ol' Billy apparently needs reminding, there have been *thousands* of substantiated allegations against Catholic priests, not a few dozen. Given the extent of the abuses that were perpetrated upon so many, the attempt to portray the Catholic Church as any kind of victim, here, is as repugnant as it is unsupportable.

Donohue would do well to learn when silence is the best course of action before he embarrasses himself--and those who allow him to represent them--further. In fact, after this disgusting little screed, the next thing that the powers that be at the Catholic League should have him write is a letter of resignation.

If not, shame on them all.

"Patriotism" in America...

The Teabaggers sure saved the best for last in their ongoing objections to the health care reform bill:
Rep. John Lewis was called "the N-word" when he was on the floor of the House earlier today by "a heckler from the Tea Party, a protester," Kristie Grecho, a press secretary for House Majority Whip James Clyburn, said this afternoon. Another protester spat upon Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, another black Democrat, as he was walking from the Longsworth House building to attend Obama's speech. In a separate incident, Rep. Barney Frank, who is openly gay, was called "faggot," also as he was leaving the Longsworth building.
ThinkProgress attended today’s rally and spotted a sign threatening violence if health care passes. The sign reads: “Warning: If Brown can’t stop it, a Browning can,” referring to Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) and a Browning firearm.

Teabagger Browning

Because nothing says "mom and apple pie" like making sure the ni**ers and fa**ots know that bullets can solve any problems they start, right?
"I am grateful for the thousands of patriots who are storming the Capitol today protesting government healthcare and defending freedom." -- Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Setting aside the ridiculous premise that "healthcare reform" and "freedom" are opposites or otherwise mutually exclusive, back when a single entrant--not organizer, not winner--to a contest likened then-President Bush to Hitler, every democratic politician who had even heard of the organization had to condemn and repudiate the entry as if it had been offered on his/her own behalf.

I wonder when Mr. DeMint will be disavowing these "patriots?"

Saturday Shuffle

Angry Johnny - Poe
Nigga What, Nigga Who - Jay-Z
Loom/Pulse (live) - Ani DiFranco
Bye For Now - Lagwagon
I Can't Wait - The White Stripes
The World Is Full of Crashing Bores (live) - Morrissey
Hand In Glove - The Smiths
A Little Bit of Soap - De La Soul
Happy Birthday - The Birthday Party
Slippin' & Slidin' - Tito & Tarantula

19 March 2010

Way to take a stand, Nan.

Offered without comment:
She said members may be talking about various things and dismissively mentioned Stupak’s name, adding, “But right now we are just getting votes to pass a bill.”

“This bill is about health care and not about abortion," Pelosi said. “There will be no further changes in the bill.”
-- 3.19.10, 11:45am
According to a member of Congress who was briefed on the matter, Pelosi has agreed to let Stupak have a vote on his amendment either before or after the House votes to pass the Senate bill. It instructs the Senate to substitute the language in his amendment for the Senate language on abortion. -- 3.19.10, 7:30pm
Update: No deal.


18 March 2010

Time to call the WAAAAAAmbulance

Someone hand Bart a tissue:
Leading a revolt against President Barack Obama’s healthcare legislation over abortion has been a “living hell” for Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.).

The telephone lines in his Washington and district offices have been “jammed” and he’s gotten more than 1,500 faxes and countless e-mails — most of which he says don’t come from his constituents.

“All the phones are unplugged at our house — tired of the obscene calls and threats. She won’t watch TV,” Stupak said during an hourlong interview with The Hill in his Rayburn office. “People saying they’re going to spit on you and all this. That’s just not fun.”

The worst part has been the pressure from groups and individuals from outside his district on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“How’s it been? Like a living hell,” Stupak said.
Someone needs to remind Bart that he's a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, not the Michigan house. If the calls and emails are too "hellish," maybe he should step aside for someone a little less delicate.

And forget the calls. You know what else is going to be coming from outside your district, Congressman? The funding for your challenger in your primary this fall, Connie Saltonstall. I hope you enjoy that as much as you did your little turn on the national stage. Should be fun having to repeatedly and publicly explain why you threatened to deep-six health care for tens of millions over fictional funding for abortions.
The ideal outcome, Stupak said, might be for the House Democratic leadership to get the votes they need without him and for the bill to pass.

“You know, maybe for me that’s the best: I stay true to my principles and beliefs,” he said, and “vote no on this bill and then it passes anyways. Maybe for me is the best thing to do.”
I guess it is pretty ideal when your principles and beliefs don't involve any consequences for which you can be held accountable, isn't it?

A very heroic stand, there, Congressman. You're truly a credit to Michigan's 1st District.

Lessons in capitulation

Glenn Greenwald had an interesting column earlier today regarding Rahm Emmanuel's prediction that, ultimately, Progressives in the caucus would come in line behind whatever health care reform package gets put forward...thus giving Democratic leadership and the administration the freedom to simply ignore whatever concerns those progressives raised along the way.

And, of course, that appears to be precisely what is happening. In any way that matters, its the exact same game the GOP has been playing with the religious right, for years: "We'll take your votes, ignore your opinions on actual policy matters and you won't do a thing because, who else are you going to go with? The other guys?"

Greenwald called out the bill's supporters in the liberal wing of the DC chattering class as enabling the whole situation by undercutting whatever sniveleing objections they dared voice with the ultimate promise of support:
"People who signal in advance that they will accept a deal even if all of their demands are rejected will always be completely impotent, for reasons too obvious to explain."
Interestingly enough, when it comes to this White House, the exact opposite is also true:

People (Chuck Grassley, I'm looking at you) who signal in advance that they will reject a deal even if all of their demands are granted will be allowed to completely control the process.

If the progressives in Congress let themselves get rolled, it's because they're learning from the best: the guy in the Oval Office.

17 March 2010

Try'n to play me out like as if my name was Sega...

St. Patrick's waning...

16 March 2010

A Tuesday toast to Daddy Dobson

Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you:
Did Focus On The Family Board Force Dobson Out?

In February 2009, Dobson stepped down as chairman of the Colorado Springs-based group's board of directors, after relinquishing his longtime role as president in 2003. But he kept his role of host of the popular Focus radio show...Then, this past November, Dobson said on the show that the Focus board had asked him to give up the radio program in a few months time.

...In a Feb. 6 Wall Street Journal story on the changes at Focus--for which Dobson also declined to comment)--(Current Focus President, Jim) Daly said that "he has no use for the sharp personal attacks on politicians employed by Mr. Dobson. 'I don't see evil behind everything.'"
A few days late, but I did have to take a moment to raise a glass to the ousting of good ol' Daddy D. Apparently even his own people tired of his deranged tirades and attacks. Between his claim that gays will "destroy the earth" and Barack Obama posing a dire threat to family life who will protect pedophiles and prosecute pastors with the 2009 Hate Crimes Act, one wonders what took them so long.

Clearly, FOF tired of being pandered to at election time, only to have the GOP treat them like the crazy aunt in the attic when it came time for actual governance and legislation. It looks like they finally figured out that their problem was not allowing themselves to be exploited for their votes by politicians, but the fact that they were allowing themselves to be spoken for by the crazy aunt from the attic.

15 March 2010

Sleeping With The 'Baggery

The latest person to open a tent in the Teabagger sideshow?  Ginni Thomas, "an ordinary citizen from Omaha, Neb."...who just happens to be the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  So sayeth Mrs. Coke Can:
"I adore all the new citizen patriots who are rising up across this country. I have felt called to the front lines with you, with my fellow citizens, to preserve what made America great."
Interesting timing to feel so "called," don't you think? 
I'm sure it's just an amazing coincidence that Bagger-ella, here, hitched up her coach-and-four to come rushing to the ball(s) just as soon as her husband made it possible for such outfits to raise--not to mention cover "operating expenses" with--unlimited amounts of unattributed corporate cash for promoting or attacking candidates for office.
Now, Mrs. Thomas clearly doesn't decide cases.  But the appearance of possible conflicts is certainly there.  While this is a rather unique situation, surely there are standards and practices in place to ensure the integrity of the judicial process...
Law professor Gillers said that Justice Thomas, too, should be on alert for possible conflicts, particularly those involving donors to his wife's nonprofit.

"There is opportunity for mischief  (
Ya think? -- Ed.) if a company with a case before the court, or which it wants the court to accept, makes a substantial contribution to Liberty Central in the interim," he said.

Justice Thomas would be required to be aware of such contributions, Gillers said, adding that he believes Thomas should then disclose those facts and allow parties in the case to argue for recusal.

But it would be up to Justice Thomas to decide whether to recuse himself. He could not be reached for comment.

As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, Liberty Central can raise unlimited amounts of corporate money and largely avoid disclosing its donors.

Well, I certainly feel better, don't you?
Anyway, we can rest assured that Thomas' Liberty Central, Inc., is a non-partisan group.  How non-partisan you ask?
Although Liberty Central is a nonpartisan group, its website shows an affinity for conservative principles. Her biography notes that Thomas is a fan of Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, author of "Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America."

"She is intrigued by Glenn Beck and listening carefully," the bio says.
Nothing to see, here, move along.... 

14 March 2010

Teach...your children well--yes, you, and yes, YOUR children

Bill Maher is frequently hit or miss, for me. He can be pretty amusing but, particularly with matters of faith, I think he takes it too far. There isn't an institution in existence that doesn't deserve some skewering, and organized religion is no exception. However, too often it seems, he veers from addressing the abuses and failings of the institution to ridiculing the believers. That doesn't open their eyes to the flaws, it just makes them think you're an asshole.

All that said, he really hit it on the head with this week's "New Rules" segment where he takes on the Rhode Island school district decision to fire all faculty and administrators at an under-performing high school:
"...We all remember high school - canning the entire faculty is a nationwide revenge fantasy.

But isn't it convenient that once again it turns out that the problem isn't us, and the fix is something that doesn't require us to change our behavior or spend any money. It's so simple: Fire the bad teachers, hire good ones from some undisclosed location, and hey, while we're at it let's cut taxes more. It's the kind of comprehensive educational solution that could only come from a completely ignorant people."
We love accountability, don't we? As long as it's someone else's, anyway. Whenever people wax apoplectic about what their children are--or aren't--hearing in school, they make it sound as if their children are isolated, empty vessels. Listening to them, you'd think their kids exist in a vacuum, and the only time anything gets poured into their waiting, vacant heads is 8:00am to 3:00pm, Monday to Friday, September through June.

What are you doing with your kids during the other 17 hours a day, not to mention the 186 or so days there's no school, at all? Do you talk to them? Do you read with them?

Or do you tell them to cut the grass and (maybe) let them know when you'll be home?
"What matters is what parents do. The number one predictor of a child's academic success is parental involvement. It doesn't even matter if your kid goes to private or public school."
That's one thing he's not joking about.

So let's stop applauding obvious stunts like this mass firing and start applying all the talk of "bootstraps" and "not getting something for nothing" to more than attacks on the unemployed. Kids spend far more time away from their teachers than with them. Parents expecting education to be limited to those few school hours are guilty of looking for the freest of free rides. You're partners in their education; you leave it entirely up to the other side, don't complain when your lack of support has consequences.

The Heavy - How You Like Me Now?

And you thought they just sold Kias...

The studio version from The House That Dirt Built is excellent, but for the full effect, you really need to see the cracking live version they did on David Letterman, where they most definitely "blew the roof off the dump."

13 March 2010

Rome, we have a problem...

Pope knew priest was paedophile but allowed him to continue with ministry

"...The priest was sent from Essen to Munich for therapy in 1980 when he was accused of forcing an 11-year-old boy to perform oral sex. The archdiocese confirmed that the Pope, who was then a cardinal, had approved a decision to accommodate the priest in a rectory while the therapy took place.

The priest, identified only as H, was subsequently convicted of sexually abusing minors after he was moved to pastoral work in nearby Grafing."
"Identified only as H," huh? The fact that that Father Bad Touch's privacy is worth more protection now, than the children's well-being was, then, speaks volumes.
The Archdiocese of Munich...said that the decision to let him continue working in Grafing was taken by Gerhard Gruber, now 81, who was vicar general of the archdiocese.

The Vatican said that Mgr Gruber had taken “full responsibility” for the priest’s move back into pastoral work but did not comment further.

Mgr Gruber said that the Pope, who was made a cardinal in 1977, had not been not aware of his decision because there were 1,000 priests in the diocese at the time and he had left many decisions to lower-level officials. “The cardinal could not deal with everything,” he said.
Given the repercussions, I'm sure the Vatican is more than willing to let the good Monsignor take the bullet for this one, but come on:

"The cardinal could not deal with everything?"

We're not talking about some seminarian getting caught filching cash out of the poor box; this is the reassignment of a known sexual predator. (For the record, the enforced therapy stint certainly removes any "allegeds" out of that one). Even in a diocese of 1,000, we're to believe that that was the sort of decision that was left up to "lower level officials?"

Best case scenario, we have a situation where the sitting Pope was an absentee landlord for much of his career, less aware about what was happening on his watch than Mr. Furley from Three's Company. Worst case, ol' Benedict is yet another member of the Church hierarchy to be guilty of kicking the can down the road when confronted with an abusive priest.

Great choice, eh?

I was raised Catholic and am, by no means, a knee-jerk Vatican basher, which is part of my biggest problem with all of this. By perpetuating the secrecy, and compounding it with claims of ignorance and fall guy-ism, all Rome is doing is further damaging the reputations and public perception of the innocent majority of rank-and-file clergy and parochial educators who are stained by the hierarchy's decades of malfeasance.

Like the children, those individuals deserve better.

3.14.10 -- Update (courtesy Americablog):
Pope being set up over Munich sex abuse case, says Vatican

Father Federico Lombardi appeared to suggest in an interview on Vatican Radio that the pope, who also has strong links to the city of Regensburg, was the victim of a plot.

"It's rather clear that in recent days there have been people who have searched – with notable tenacity – in Regensburg and Munich for elements to personally involve the holy father in the question of the abuses," Lombardi said. "To any objective observer it's clear that these attempts have failed."

The Marion Barry defense? That's really how you want to go?

Given the egregious outcome, whether the "Holy Father" was involved at the time or whether he was not--in what can only be seen a a gross abdication of responsibility--either way, it's to his eternal shame.

No outsourcing necessary to connect those dots...

Saturday Shuffle

7 - Prince
Where Did You Sleep Last Night? - Nirvana
Danny Boy, Danny Boy - House of Pain
Ninjaman - RZA
She's Electric - Oasis
Boredom (live) - The Buzzcocks
No Earthly Good - Johnny Cash
Good (live) - Morphine
I Do Not Want This - Nine Inch Nails
Tippi-Toes - Primus

11 March 2010

Go away, go away, go away, Dixieland.

It would be lovely if stupid were surprising instead of expected:
Mississippi Prom Canceled After Lesbian Date Request

JACKSON, Miss. — A northern Mississippi school district decided Wednesday not to host a high school prom after a lesbian student demanded she be able to attend with her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo.

The Itawamba County school district's policy requires that senior prom dates be of the opposite sex. The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi had given the district until Wednesday to change that policy...

Instead, the school board met and issued a statement announcing it wouldn't host the event at Itawamba County Agricultural High School in Fulton, "due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events."
I'm sure it won't be any sort of "distraction" for this kid now that the school board has seen fit to make her a target by axing the prom for all her classmates rather than let her show up with a girlfriend. Certainly, with the calm reasoning and level heads that high school students are known for, no one will end up blaming Constance for the loss of the prom.

It really is a hatemongering two-fer: not only does the district take a position that defines "cutting off one's nose to spite one's face" in order to ensure the institutionalization of their bigotry, but they set up a teenager to face the consequences and reprisals.
"However, at this time, we feel that it (the decision) is in the best interest of the Itawamba County School District, after taking into consideration the education, safety and well being of our students."
How about "the education, safety and well being of almost all of our students?"

There, fixed that for you, Itawamba County...

10 March 2010

My other car is a 2010 Toyota Cashgrab

The latest "Possessed Prius" story made for some dramatic video, but is starting to smell decidedly fishy:
EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) — Before he called 911, James Sikes says he reached down with his hand to loosen the "stuck" accelerator on his 2008 Toyota Prius, his other hand on the steering wheel. The pedal didn't move.
...Sikes, a real estate agent, said he was passing another car when the accelerator stuck and eventually reached 94 mph.
...Neibert told Sikes after the CHP caught up with him to shift to neutral but the driver shook his head no. Sikes told reporters he didn't go into neutral because he worried the car would flip.
So this gentleman--who's been driving for possibly more than 40 years--didn't forget to shift into neutral in a panic, but decided against it because he was "worried" that going into neutral would case his vehicle to overturn.
Interesting that he wasn't so worried as to drive one-handed while bent under the dash groping around for the gas pedal at 80 or 90mph.
I'm all for corporate responsibility, but it seems to me these claims are ripe for abuse and scams.  What corroboration can there really be?  And, more importantly, how much is the American public really going to want to see?  Take this nugget for example:
The driver rolled down the window and Neibert told him to apply both brakes. Sikes said he lifted his buttocks from the seat to press the floor brake, an account backed by the officer.
There you have it.  This account is officially backed by the police.  Only one problem: what, exactly could the officer see, beyond this guy arching upward in his seat?  Seems to me one could assume the same posture with one foot on the gas and one on the floorboards.  Judging by some of the comments on this article, not too many people will care:
Look like the death of the magical queen is on the horizon... It reminds me of a very famous song..."Ding dong the witch is dead the Witch is dead...." FInally the public is exposed to the truth about TOyota something they have said they are the best at for years!!! "
The arrogance of this Company and their complete disdain for Americans is a debt that has come due.
" "Toyota for years was a leader in quality." -- Laughable! That should say, "For years Toyota was the leader in hiding their quality issues." "
From zero to Japan-Bashing in 4.2 seconds.  Be very surprised, indeed, if we don't see more and more of these...

09 March 2010

Heretic to the Church of No

Anyone else smell TeaBags burning?
Brown took to the Senate floor Tuesday to announce he would vote for cloture, or to end a Republican filibuster, on a bill extending unemployment benefits and tax credits. This, despite the fact he opposes the bill and technically the filibuster helped his cause.

"I have very serious concerns about the overall cost of the bill," Brown told the chamber, "but my vote for cloture signals that I believe we need to keep the process moving." He also said, "there has been a week of debate and allowing this bill to receive an up-and-down vote, would be a step, I feel, in the right direction."

With Brown’s help, the nearly $140 billion bill cleared the procedural hurdle on a vote of 66-34, setting it up for passage.
After kneecapping the GOP filibuster of the jobs bill last month, the point-and-click patriots out there wasted no time in making sure the apostate Brown knew their righteous rage...on the nearest social network they could reach without having to leave their La-Z-Boys.

Clearly, Brown will now have to think twice about checking his MySpace, this evening.

Best. HCR. Selling Point. Evar.

Limbaugh vows to leave country if health care passes
LIMBAUGH: ...I'll just tell you this, if  this passes and it's five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented--I'm leaving the country.  I'll go to Costa Rica.
Now, I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm sold.  Barry, Harry, and Nan need to add this one to the arsenal.

06 March 2010

Saturday Shuffle

The First Taste - Fiona Apple
You Wreck Me - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Darling Baby - The Elgins
Mania - Murder, Inc.
Metal Time - This Frequency Five
Main Theme (The Fly II) - Christopher Young
The Battle of Evermore - Led Zeppelin
Shaking the Tree - Peter Gabriel
Sloppy Drunk - Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes
So Easy - Eagles of Death Metal

05 March 2010

I didn't vote for a Card Table-in-Chief

November 2009 - Rule of law good:
"I think we have to break is this fearful notion that somehow our Justice system can’t handle these guys…

I think that it is important for the American people to have confidence in ourselves and to recognize that when people carry out venal acts like this that we are able to handle it."
-- Barack Obama

March 2010 - Rule of law optional, but we're still good:
President Obama's advisers are nearing a recommendation that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, beprosecuted in a military tribunal, administration officials said, a
step that would reverse Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s plan to try him in civilian court in New York City.

The president's advisers feel increasingly hemmed in by bipartisan opposition to a federal trial in New York and demands, mainly from Republicans, that Mohammed and his accused co-conspirators remain under military jurisdiction, officials said. While Obama has favored trying some terrorism suspects in civilian courts as a symbol of U.S. commitment to the rule of law, critics have said military tribunals are the appropriate venue for those accused of attacking the United States.
I am beginning to wonder why all the spittle-flecked Teabaggers out there continue to rave about impeaching Obama at every opportunity. At this point, there's a compelling argument to be made that leaving him in office will permit the success of every right-wing goal while still paving the way to attack Democrats for whatever happens, regardless.

When you look at what's at stake, "reversal" doesn't begin to go far enough to describe this situation. We're not talking about changing a timetable, reducing previously projected appropriation amounts, or reprioritizing one agenda item ahead of another. This is the abandonment of a process that was professed to be required--demanded, even--if we were to adhere to bedrock principles of justice and a commitment to our law. By extension, it's nothing less than an abandonment of those principles and commitments, themselves.

And it's happening due to popularity polls and political attacks from individuals committed to attacking this President, no matter what he does.

If this comes to fruition--and there's simply no real reason to doubt that it will--Obama will transcend mere weakness and reveal himself to be a man, not only bereft of spine, but of any integrity or fundamental values.

(Glenn Greenwald over at Salon did a must-read breakdown earlier today...)
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