30 April 2010

Post-partisan Poseur

It's what he does:
Obama seems to be coming very close to endorsing the view that the liberal courts of the 1960s and 1970s overreached by engaging in judicial activism. The Times describes this as the “most sympathetic statement by a sitting Democratic president about the conservative view” of the liberal courts.

...Given Obama’s previous public statements, it seems highly unlikely that he actually believes that the liberal courts overreached or that there’s an equivalence between left and right on energy issues. But Obama nonetheless feels the need to stake out a “non-ideological” middle ground on many issues for rhetorical and political purposes.
But what purposes are those? That's what makes this "need" of Obama's so thoroughly inexplicable, if not downright maddening: the utter absence of any tangible benefits from indulging it.

One of the commenters on this story offered the suggestion that this predilection is a product of Obama’s coming into adulthood during a time when antagonism towards conservatism was detrimental to one's prospects. While learned tendencies are certainly powerful, I don’t think they sufficiently explain someone persisting with a course of action that consistently fails. Again and again, Obama kisses his opponents’ rings while his supporters get a thumb in the eye.

The result?

His opponents never stop attacking while his allies’ frustration grows and their engagement wanes. The only significant policy “victories” that he can claim come, neither from bridging a partisan divide nor from going to the mat for commitments made to constituents. They came from indulging the Blue Dog prima donnas in his own caucus and counting on the rest of his Congressional majority to hold its collective nose while it voted to "win" by passing something, whatever it might be.

For him to think his approach is working of policy or public relations signifies he’s either staggeringly stupid or utterly cynical…and even the most bootlicking-est of his apologists supporters can’t say that’s what they voted for.


Still can't make this stuff up:
At 10:40AM ET on Friday, Sarah Palin made her first comment on the oil spill, posting the following on Twitter:
"Having worked/lived thru Exxon oil spill,my family&I understand Gulf residents' fears.Our prayers r w/u.All industry efforts must b employed"
 Nothing more touching than knowing someone's "prayers r w/u," am I right?

Arizona's Next Top Boogeyman


Arizona takes their national embarrassment status to Defcon 2 as the state Senate leaps into action to save the citizenry from the horror of the Tract Home of Dr. Moreau:
Arizona legislature targets 'human-animal hybrids'
The Arizona state Senate on Thursday passed a bill making it illegal for a person to "intentionally or knowingly creating a human-animal hybrid."
The bill, which passed 16 to 12, would prohibit anyone in the state from "creating or attempting to create an in vitro human embryo by any means other than fertilization of a human egg by a human sperm."
The measure would also outlaw "transferring or attempting to transfer a human embryo into a nonhuman womb," "transferring or attempting to transfer a nonhuman embryo into a human womb" and "transporting or receiving for any purpose a human-animal hybrid."
You really can't make this shit up.
I was wondering what Arizona might do for an encore after turning every Hispanic-looking citizen's life into the stuff of a bad, eastern-bloc police state nightmare, but this thoroughly exceeded my expectations.  If hard cases make bad law, then hysterical pandering to an anti-intellectual, science-fearing base makes useless law.  Not sure if you could come up with a better illustrative example of a solution in search of a problem. 
No word yet on what would constitute "reasonable suspicion" for police to take manbearpig into custody.

28 April 2010

Drill, Baby, Drill Burn, Baby, Burn

This is just getting better and better:
A new oil leak was discovered at the site in the Gulf of Mexico where a drilling rig exploded and sank, and experts now estimate that five times more has been spilling into the water a day than previously believed, the Coast Guard said late Wednesday.

However, an official from BP PLC, which leases the rig, said he did not believe the newly discovered leak has increased the amount of oil spilling into the water beyond earlier estimates. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry disagreed with his statement at a news conference and said she was relying on a new estimate from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

She said NOAA experts now estimate that 5,000 barrels a day of oil are spilling into the gulf. Officials had estimated the leak for days at 1,000 barrels a day.
And now they're trying to contain and burn off the slicks:

burn, baby, burn

Think the President might want this one back?
Obama to Open Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling for First Time

3/30/2010 — The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.

27 April 2010

Ode to Jan Brewer

In honor of Gov. Papers Please's "driving walking shopping existing while brown" law:

26 April 2010

Papers, please...

Stay classy, Arizona:
Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration into law on Friday. Its aim is to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants.

...The law, which proponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

...It requires police officers, “when practicable,” to detain people they reasonably suspect are in the country without authorization and to verify their status with federal officials, unless doing so would hinder an investigation or emergency medical treatment.

It also makes it a state crime — a misdemeanor — to not carry immigration papers. In addition, it allows people to sue local government or agencies if they believe federal or state immigration law is not being enforced.
Gee, I wonder what sort of visible evidence might elicit "reasonable" suspicion of being in the country illegally?
Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA): "They will look at the kind of dress you wear, there’s different type of attire, there’s different type of—right down to the shoes, right down to the clothes. But mostly by behavior it’s mostly behavior, just as the law enforcement people here in Washington, DC does it based on certain criminal activity there is behavior things that professionals are trained in across the board and this group shouldn’t be exempt from those observations as much as anybody else."
Yep, those illegal-y looking shoes; always a dead giveaway.

And I can't help but wonder how highly "speaking Spanish" ranks on the list of "behaviors" authorities would be trained to look for?

25 April 2010

I'm hoping for a pop-up book, myself

The over/under on the page count of this bit of piercing insight should be about 150:
Levi Johnston Writing Book on Palin

In a forthcoming New York magazine article on the Sarah Palin brand, Levi Johnston tells author Gabriel Sherman that "he is working on a memoir that would air the true story of the Palin household."
Although, if I were little more than a pop culture footnote at age virtue of nothing more than my sperm donorship...and living in rural Alaska...I might be looking for a book deal, too.

A Teabagger, in any other hue, would look dangerous

Read it:
Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.
Of course, it took all of about five commenters before accuse the author of "playing the race card"...which is nothing more than a convenient way of copping out and refusing to do what was asked at the outset:
The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white.
Because to do so with any degree of honesty, whatsoever, would be intensely uncomfortable, forcing the acknowledgment that the teabaggers' displays of "patriotism"--while legal--would not be accepted, much less cheered, coming from any other group in America's spectrum.

24 April 2010

514 chickens seems a bit steep for a colonoscopy

This is what I'm talking about (via AmericaBlog):


If senate hopefuls want to offer hallucinatory Green Acres fever dreams when attacking health care reform, there needs to be some pushback.

The fine print is my favorite part:
Your doctor may require more chickens than specified. For your convenience, we recommend bringing at least 20% more chickens than specified to any doctor's appointment. For that matter, you should have at least 1500 chickens per passenger in your car in the event of an accident, so you could just use those if you're a little short on chickens, but then be extra careful driving home from the doctor because you will have used up some of your accident chickens. Do not mail your medical chickens as payment. Please barter medical chickens in person. Chickens should be secured in your trunk or truckbed if possible. Any chickens riding in the passenger compartment on the way to the doctor must wear seat belts. Chickens should not drive you to the doctor, if you are unable to drive you should dial 911 for an ambulance. Ambulances may not accept chickens for payment, you should have at least 4 goats or an adult pig for such cases.

Saturday Shuffle

Stuck in the Middle With You - Stealer's Wheel
The Order of Death - Public Image Ltd.
Breathe - The Cult
Selected readings from Oak Mot, part III - Crispin Hellion Glover
I'm Your Man - Leonard Cohen
Fatman - The Southern Death Cult
Velouria - The Pixies
Once - Pearl Jam
Take Me to the Backseat - The Donnas
Isn't She Lovely - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

23 April 2010

Your nightmare is WellPoint's profit

This is the picture that keeps women awake at night:


And for 192,000 women every year, it's not just a bad dream.

But it's also what keeps the beancounters for the soulless monsters at WellPoint working overtime.
WellPoint Routinely Targets Breast Cancer Patients

The women paid their premiums on time. Before they fell ill, neither had any problems with their insurance. Initially, they believed their policies had been canceled by mistake.

They had no idea that WellPoint was using a computer algorithm that automatically targeted them and every other policyholder recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The software triggered an immediate fraud investigation, as the company searched for some pretext to drop their policies, according to government regulators and investigators.

...The investigation last year by the House Energy and Commerce Committee determined that WellPoint and two of the nation's other largest insurance companies -- UnitedHealth Group Inc and Assurant Health, part of Assurant Inc -- made at least $300 million by improperly rescinding more than 19,000 policyholders over one five-year period.

WellPoint itself profited by more than $128 million from the practice, and the committee suggested that the figure might be largely understated because the company refused to provide information about cancellations by several subsidiaries.
And people think that the government can't be trusted with health care?

Incompetent or not, by definition, any alternative is more trustworthy than a business that makes the calculated decision to stab loyal customers in the back after years of cashing their premium checks.

The anti-reformers moan, over and over again, how the majority of Americans are happy with their existing health coverage. While that clearly doesn't count the tens of millions of citizens lacking any coverage with which to be happy, it also overlooks the tens of thousands who will have their coverage canceled, but just don't know it yet. I don't know for certain that Yenny Hsu and Patricia Reilling counted themselves among the 70% who thought their coverage was good or excellent, but I know this: neither one thought her diagnosis would end with her collecting food stamps.
While recovering, Reilling started having trouble with her insurance. Her medication after the surgery cost $4,446 a month. But Anthem would only pay for 10 days and then no more, she recalled in an interview.

...In June 2009, she was informed that her insurance was being canceled -- just before she was about to undergo another reconstructive surgery, which she was forced to postpone. She has now gone 16 months without the necessary surgery.

As a result, she is severely disabled. The pain and discomfort often only allow her to be able to stand for 20 or 30 minutes a day, sometimes even less.
Contrary to what Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sarah Palin (R-North Batshittia) think, the Death Panels are already here. And they had 300,000,000+ reasons to pass their lethal judgment on any one of us.

21 April 2010

Who needs health care reform when you have poultry?

Sue Lowden, the prospective GOP challenger for Harry Reid's Senate seat, is certifiably insane:
"I’m telling you that this works. You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor, they would say I’ll paint your house. I mean, that’s the old days of what people would do to get health care with your doctors. Doctors are very sympathetic people. I’m not backing down from that system."
How do you "not back down" from a system that doesn't exist?

It's unbelievable that, in 2010, a serious contender for national office is responding to a broken healthcare system that must deal with tens of millions of people with hokey fantasies of rural life from 70 or 80 years ago.

The scarier thing is, she could very well win.

Reid needs to get in front of the cameras with a bag of oats in one hand, and two beaver pelts in the other and challenge people to do the same with their doctors and see how far it gets them. The fact that she's leading in all the polling proves that this folksy asininity can work unless it's exposed for the weapons grade craziness that it is.

20 April 2010

Anti-immigration zealots want Lindsay Graham to admit he's someONE they hate...

...just so they can be sure he's not being blackmailed into doing things they hate:
"US Senator Lindsey Graham is gay and while many people in South Carolina and Washington DC know that, the general public and Graham's constituents do not," said William Gheen President of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC). "I personally do not care about Graham's private life, but in this situation his desire to keep this a secret may explain why he is doing a lot of political dirty work for others who have the power to reveal his secrets. Senator Graham needs to come out of the closet inside that log cabin so the public can rest assured he is not being manipulated with his secret."

He is the lone Republican who's trying to work with Democrats on immigration reform this year.
Gheen is trying to maximize the fallout from his despicable "I need to figure out why you're trying to sell out your own countrymen and I need to make sure you being gay isn't it" attack that he launched while pandering to the Teabagging bobbleheads this weekend.

Careful what you wish for, GOP. The torches and pitchforks you're gleefully handing out can be turned on you, too.

19 April 2010

The Tea Party has nothing to do with racism, Part ∞

Teabagging Tom Tancredo is at it, again:
[Tancredo] said Americans have reached the point where "we're going to have to pray that we can hold on to this country."

As for Obama, Tancredo said, "If his wife says Kenya is his homeland, why don't we just send him back?"
Send him back to Africa?

Guess Tancredo's wistful recollection of Jim Crow voting practices was too "coded" for some people.

No, not all these folks are racists, but there's only one reason garbage like this resonates with anyone....and it sure as hell isn't anger over tax policy.

Sarah Barracuda? More like Sarah Bait n' Switch

SarahPAC -- Great at raising funds; distributing them, not so much:
Sarah Palin's House Hit List: No Money to Favored Candidates So Far
Sarah Palin put the bull's-eye on 20 U.S. House races on her Facebook page last month, but didn't donate to favored candidates in those districts during the first quarter of the year.
Although her SarahPAC took in $400,000 in the first quarter and had more than $900,000 in the bank, it gave only $7,500 to candidates between January and the end of March, plus an additional $2,000 to two other PACs. None went to Republicans in the races she targeted.
A fairly classic move.  Ring the alarm, ratchet up the hysteria, then forget all about it--not to mention whoever responded.  Sounds exactly like what the GOP does to the reigious right every other November and, in this case, there's probably a healthy amount of overlap in the people getting punked for their dollars.
None of which is to say that the Quitta from Wasilla is averse to parting with that cash, oh heavens, no:
"According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, SarahPAC spent $402,460 in the first quarter of 2010.
Almost $243,000 went to consultants...
More than $42,000 went to travel, including more than $7,300 to de-ice private planes...
The PAC spent more than $31,780 on postage and more than $25,000 on Internet fundraising.
Even photographer Shaelah Craighead (Laura Bush's White House photographer) took in more money than Sarah PAC gave to candidates, earning $11,596 for photography."
Looks like Bailin' Palin's PAC is all about "political acion," all right.
Her own. 

18 April 2010

G.I. Jokes on parade

Almond plans to have his pistol loaded and openly carried, his rifle unloaded and slung to the rear, a bandoleer of magazines containing ammunition draped over his polo-shirted shoulder. The Atlanta area real estate agent organized the rally because he is upset about health-care reform, climate control, bank bailouts, drug laws and what he sees as President Obama's insistence on and the Democratic Congress's capitulation to a "totalitarian socialism" that tramples individual rights.
Because health, environmental, and financial policy reasonably require a demonstration of armed force, right? These Barcalounger Bravehearts wear their cluelessness like a badge:
Those coming to the "Restore the Constitution" rally give Obama no quarter for signing the law that permits them to bring their guns to Fort Hunt, run by the National Park Service, and to Gravelly Point on the banks of the Potomac River. Nor are they comforted by a broad expansion of gun rights in several states since his election.
Yup, rights so thoroughly trampled that their present extent didn't even exist before the current "totalitarian" administration.

It's laughable that people who claim to be such patriotic Americans can look at their government functioning, as intended: a majority of majority-elected officials passing legislative priorities of a majority-elected president; and seeing despotism that must be confronted with a display of guns, not seven months prior to their next opportunity to elect those officials.
The brandishing of weapons is "not just an important symbol" but "a reminder of who we are," said Almond.
Indeed, it is: Morons.

17 April 2010

Saturday Shuffle

Lonesome Highway - Shane MacGowan and the Popes
Burn (Matt's Demo) - Alkaline Trio
Back Off Bitch - Guns N' Roses
Rumble in Brighton - The Stray Cats
Latin Soul Square Dance - Joe Bataan
How Does It Feel To Feel - Ride
Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones
Revolution - The Cult
Shoot You Down - The Stone Roses
Adagio (from Alien 3) - Eliot Goldenthal

15 April 2010

Black No. 1

Peter Steele (1962-2010)

Quote of the Day -- Tax Day Edition

I fully recognize that I've totally pillaged this NYT report of their Teabagger poll, but it really is the gift that keeps on giving as far as exposing the thoughts and motivations of the Teabagger masses. The "mind-numbing inconsistencies" part was too good to leave out:

(I)n follow-up interviews, Tea Party supporters said they did not want to cut Medicare or Social Security — the biggest domestic programs, suggesting instead a focus on “waste.”

Some defended being on Social Security while fighting big government by saying that since they had paid into the system, they deserved the benefits.

Others could not explain the contradiction.

“That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?” asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. “I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security.” She added, “I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.”

14 April 2010

Prison-bound Pontiff?

Can't say I'd be too upset:
Richard Dawkins calls for arrest of Pope Benedict XVI

Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

The pair believe they can exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, when he visited Britain in 1998.

The Pope was embroiled in new controversy this weekend over a letter he signed arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. It was dated 1985, when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases.
One would think that someone so concerned with the "good of the universal church" that he would punt on the defrocking of a convicted child molester would see the current value in his own resignation.

(For further reading, see "The Great Happy Vatican Death Spiral")

The Teabaggers are...pretty much who we all thought they were

The New York Times releases the most unsurprising poll, ever. The highlights please, Carnac:
The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.

They hold more conservative views on a range of issues than Republicans generally. They are also more likely to describe themselves as “very conservative” and President Obama as “very liberal.”

And while most Republicans say they are “dissatisfied” with Washington, Tea Party supporters are more likely to classify themselves as “angry.”
Must be tough going, for these folks...
Most describe the amount they paid in taxes this year as “fair.”

Tea Party supporters over all are more likely than the general public to say their personal financial situation is fairly good or very good.

Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class
Or not. Not a bad spot to be in, I guess. Wonder what happened to all that "Taxed Enough Already" business?

Anger is a pretty strong emotion, though. Wonder what it could be...
Tea Party supporters’ fierce animosity toward Washington, and the president in particular, is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich.

More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites — compared with 11 percent of the general public.

They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people.
Older, wealthier white men are incensed over the belief that policies may be overly beneficial to the poor and favor blacks, whose problems have been exaggerated (can't forget that part) all despite having no inordinate concern about losing their own economic status.

But remember, it's all about taxes and spending. Don't you dare suggest that there's anything else at work...
“I just feel he’s getting away from what America is,” said Kathy Mayhugh, 67, a retired medical transcriber in Jacksonville. “He’s a socialist. And to tell you the truth, I think he’s a Muslim and trying to head us in that direction, I don’t care what he says."

Precisely what direction would that be, Kathy? I wish she could enlighten us as to what tax bracket situation she's referring to.

Bachmann jumps on the Failure train

Noted Minnesotan hysteric, Rep. Michele Bachmann, joins the pill-popper in explicitly hoping the Obama administration fails:
BACHMANN: We're, we're, we're hoping that President Obama's policies don't succeed, exactly as you said. And of course, David Axelrod unfortunately seems to be wanting to smear people who disagree with the president.
At least Limbaugh the Hutt made the (weak) attempt to spin his statement as supporting personal failure for the President.  The Teabagger Queen specifically wants to see his policies, themselves, fail.  Her bizarre attempt to claim this is about "disagreement" shows that she doesn't even understand the words coming out of her own mouth.
In her hurry to pander to the derangement of the far-right Bachmann, like Limbaugh before her, ignores the fact that policies are implemented with, y'know, "goals" in mind...goals that are intended to help American families. 
Economic recovery, finance reform, health care reform.
Contrary to Bachmann's ignorance, these aren't points in a game that Obama, alone, will win or lose.
What she wants to see--explicitly--is American families bankrupted by continued economic decline, 30,000,000+ unable to get health care, and banks and insurance companies making money on the backs of all of them.
That's not spin and that's not smear.
It's just stupid.

13 April 2010

Oklahoma Teabaggers, GOP spoiling to fight the Feds

The Recliner Revolutionaries are getting crazier by the day:
The Associated Press reports that Oklahoma tea party leaders, “frustrated by recent political setbacks,” are working with right-wing Republicans in the Oklahoma legislature to create a new “volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.”

The founding fathers “were not referring to a turkey shoot or a quail hunt. They really weren’t even talking about us having the ability to protect ourselves against each other,” (Okla. State Senator Randy) Brogdon said. “The Second Amendment deals directly with the right of an individual to keep and bear arms to protect themselves from an overreaching federal government.”
"Frustrated by political setbacks," their reaction is, not to vote, but to grab guns.

And, precisely, how does an armed militia "defend" or "protect" anything? Picket signs? Letter writing campaigns?

These lunatics are doing nothing less than threatening federal employees with violence if they attempt to enforce laws with which they disagree. And GOP officials are on the record, meeting with and supporting these efforts.

Having failed at the ballot box, they want to try their hand at being the bloodthirsty heroes they pretend to be in their chatrooms and letters to the editor. That's who's steering the GOP ship: Overgrown children with artillery.

10 April 2010

Saturday Shuffle

Spy in the Cab - Bauhaus
Reason to Believe - Bruce Springsteen
Back to the House That Love Built - Tito & Tarantula
Fuel - Lo Pro
Maniac - Michael Sembello
It Must Look Pretty Appealing - Bad Religion
Anthem - Leonard Cohen
Girls, Girls, Girls (Unplugged, w/ The Roots) - Jay-Z
Hand in My Pocket - Alanis Morissette
Cool Jerk (live) - Bootsy Collins

09 April 2010

Who would Jesus ban and deport?

For an organization whose pride in their Christian and biblical bona fides makes a Billy Mays infomercial seem understated, the American Family Association has developed a rather interesting take on core Christ-professed concepts like compassion:
The most compassionate thing we can do for Americans is to bring a halt to the immigration of Muslims into the U.S. This will protect our national security and preserve our national identity, culture, ideals and values. Muslims, by custom and religion, are simply unwilling to integrate into cultures with Western values and it is folly to pretend otherwise.

The most compassionate thing we can do for Muslims who have already immigrated here is to help repatriate them back to Muslim countries.

In other words, simple Judeo-Christian compassion dictates a restriction and repatriation policy with regard to Muslim immigration into the U.S.
"Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." -- Mohandas Gandhi

Profiles in Turdage

Plum Line's Greg Sargent elicits George Stephanopoulos' response to criticism over his questioning the President about comments made by Sarah Palin that compared his nuclear policy to a child asking to be beaten up:
"Whatever you think of Sarah Palin, she’s a former VP candidate — and a potential challenger to President Obama — with a strong following in the GOP. She made a pointed critique of a new Presidential policy. By getting the President’s response, I was doing my job."
First of all, here's the "pointed critique" in question:
"It's kinda like getting out there on a playground, a bunch of kids, getting ready to fight, and one of the kids saying, 'Go ahead, punch me in the face and I'm not going to retaliate. Go ahead and do what you want to with me.'"
That is what Stephonopoulos, when finding himself in a one-on-one interview with the most powerful man in the world, decided to put on the short list of matters to be addressed.

Think about that:

It is Stephanopoulos' stated understanding that it is his job (as a "journalist," presumably) to solicit the President of the United States' response to what can be charitably described as an ignorant, juvenile attack from an individual with no background, whatsoever, on the policy issues at hand.

And the worst part is, he's probably right.

It is no longer the journalist's job to take a public figure's statements, see how they comport with objective facts, and follow up for an explanation if they fail to do so. The "journalist's" job is simply to pass claims along, uncritically, and, when given the opportunity (as Stephanopoulos was here) to effectively become one of the kids on Palin's imaginary playground, breathlessly sharing overheard insults in the hopes of instigating a fight.

Stephanopoulos--and Sargent, alike--justify this decision in the same, profoundly cowardly way: Palin is popular, therefore her views matter. No effort, whatsoever, is made to claim that this line of questioning was acceptable because she has relevant policy experience or even that her observation is correct, and for good reason: she doesn't and it's not.

While their "popular = newsworthy" argument might explain repeating Palin's childish attacks, it's the unspoken--but clearly evident--way that rule actually works in practice that's far more damaging: Popularity isn't just a standard, it's the only standard, utterly supplanting things like "accuracy." In the field of stenographic journalism, as practiced by Stephanopoulos and defended by Sargent, no matter how asinine or factually bereft the claim, it's presented as if it merits equal weight to the opposing view.

It's this shoulder-shrugging "What can you do? Some say this, some say that?" mentality and the resultant abdication of journalistic responsibility that keeps the decayed corpses of discredited zombie memes (Death Panels, Socialist takeovers, etc.) shambling their way through our public discourse.

08 April 2010

Quote of the Day

"I really have no response. Because last I checked, Sarah Palin's not much of an expert on nuclear issues."

"If the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff are comfortable with it, I'm probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin."
-- President Barack Obama, when asked to respond to Sarah Palin's comparison of U.S. nuclear policy to a child asking to be punched in the face on the playground.

07 April 2010

State-sanctioned murder we can believe in

No hypotheticals, no reserving rights for possible scenarios, it's now official:
U.S. Approves Targeted Killing of American Cleric

The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them, intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Tuesday.
The headlines are nothing short of breathtaking.
Obama Administration Approves Killing Of Muslim American Cleric‎

Barack Obama orders killing of US cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

US Authorizes Killing of American Cleric

US approves killing US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

Reports: US OKs radical US-born cleric for death

Muslim cleric Aulaqi is 1st U.S. citizen on list of those CIA is allowed to kill
Words like "Muslim cleric" tend to muddy peoples' thinking, but there being no way to describing this individual without eliciting knee-jerk reactions from a certain segment of the populace, I prefer the final headline, taken from the Washington Post. It's about as unambiguous as it gets:

The government can now kill a United States citizen, born right here in New Mexico, without arrest, charge, or trial, based on nothing more than what unaccountable government sources suspect him of having done.

Story after story calls it "unusual," "unprecedented," "extraordinary," etc., but no one seems to ask the crucial question:


By what authority is the President of the United States allowed to essentially cite secret evidence and unilaterally declare that a U.S. citizen is to be killed? What statute supersedes not just some, but every, last protection this man has under the law? What legal basis exists for stripping the basic rights that this government affords to murderers, spies, assassins, and, yes, terrorists?

Consider this quote, dutifully regurgitated without the slightest analysis or question by the WaPo:
"He's recently become an operational figure for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," said a second U.S. official. "He's working actively to kill Americans, so it's both lawful and sensible to try to stop him." The official stressed that there are "careful procedures our government follows in these kinds of cases, but U.S. citizenship hardly gives you blanket protection overseas to plot the murder of your fellow citizens."

According to which one?

"Careful procedures?

What are they? Who decides?

"U.S. citizenship hardly gives you blanket protection?"

Not even against being summarily executed by your own government?

The questions are so obvious that their absence should be as shocking as this revelation, itself. And yet they will remain absent and unspoken, both by Obama's reversal-embracing apologists, as well as his deranged group of detractors who see the conscious destruction of this nation's values in his every decision...until confronted with this choice that does just that.

This assassination doctrine means that we, as a nation, have not only not changed course from the last eight years, but we've followed it right off the map.

And where that leaves us is anyone's guess.

Healthcare reform brings out the domestic terrorists

(Updated and bumped)

The public frenzy that's been carefully cultivated over the last year by the opponents of the health care reform bill is continuing its--completely predictable--arc into increasingly frightening derangement following the bill's passage this week.

What began with angry confrontations and shouting down elected officials at public appearances has degenerated into open threats of violence against lawmakers and even their families:

Bart Stupak (D-MI) receives threatening phone calls and letters: “You’re dead; we know where you live; we’ll get you.”

Rep. Tom Perriello’s (D-VA) brother has a gas line tampered with after a blogger mistakenly posted his home address as the Congressman's, inviting other Teabaggers to "drop by" and confront him over his health care vote.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) received a message threatening to shoot the children of lawmakers who voted "yes" on health care reform.

Updated 3.27.10

Since there's simply no indication that these lunatics are going to abandon their embrace of threats and vandalism, I'm just adding and bumping the post as the incidents continue to pile up.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) is forced to shut down his office after receiving a written threat and an unknown white powder.

Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-AZ) received multiple death threats and warnings to "watch his back" as anonymous callers advocated bombing his office.

Updated 4.6.10

A Washington man is arrested for threatening to kill Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) for voting for the healthcare reform bill.

Updated 4.7.10

A man in California is arrested by the FBI after making dozens of threatening calls to Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), including listing her home address and exhorting her to withdraw her support if she wanted to ever see it again.

06 April 2010

Easter comes and goes, but the Vatican is still on its cross

Utterly shameless:

Vatican: There's anti-Catholic 'hate' campaign

Senior cardinals in Rome are decrying what they depict as an anti-Catholic "hate" campaign that they say is related to the fact that Benedict is leading church opposition to same-sex marriage.

Vatican Radio on today quoted Italian Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, a Holy See official, as saying the church must pardon its attackers for what he called "hatred against the Catholic church."

People: There's an anti-molester 'accountability' campaign

There, fixed it for you.

The Catholic Church's martyr pose is getting more nauseating by the day. Not content with their already outrageous indulgence of their persecution complex, now they're laying the blame for their problems, not with the child rapists they concealed and shuffled from parish to parish for several decades, but at the feet of bitter gays and their friends.

Who, as good Catholics, they are obligated to forgive for their "hatred."

Unbelievable. Such preening self-righteousness I have never seen.

The fact that these people can permit the systematic abuse of thousands of children and, not only play the victim when criticized for their horrific actions, but make a show of moral superiority in calling attention to their forgiveness of their hateful "attackers" is beyond the pale.


04 April 2010

Surging right down the drain

In a stark assessment of shootings of locals by US troops at checkpoints in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in little-noticed comments last month that during his time as commander there, "We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."

The comments came during a virtual town hall with troops in Afghanistan after one asked McChrystal to comment on the "escalation of force" problem. The general responded that, in the nine months he had been in charge, none of the cases in which "we have engaged in an escalation of force incident and hurt someone has it turned out that the vehicle had a suicide bomb or weapons in it."

Wonder if this is filed away under the winning of hearts, or minds?

It speaks volumes that it's "little noticed" when a theatre commander can admit that (through whatever sort of scenario) U.S. forces have a bad habit of shooting and killing people who were were not hostile in an area where we're desperate to keep the citizenry from siding with the enemy.

Given that the aim of this surge is to put a check on the Taliban's momentum, this sort of situation has to be considered, not just unfortunate, but an absolute failure.

Considering the type of enemy we're fighting, this isn't collateral damage or any other bloodless status report euphemism; it's nothing less than a Taliban membership drive.

03 April 2010

Saturday Shuffle

Metal Time - This Frequency Five
Sad But True - Metallica
In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
Bang and Blame - R.E.M.
Wilma's Rainbow - Helmet
Bad Medicine - Bon Jovi
Badd - Richard Cheese
Down Here - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Seamless - Grade
She's Crafty - Beastie Boys

02 April 2010

Anna Paquin: Sookie Stackhouse a Bisexual Bombshell!

All rightey: show me your hits.

Ok. Here's my experiment for the week.

The other day, after publishing a post that characterized WH press secretary Robert Gibbs' handing of John McCain's "no cooperation" temper tantrum as "a spanking," I got bizarre hits from Norway, Germany, and even China thanks to people searching "spanking."

Given that "True Blood" starlet, Sookie Stacked-house has managed to crash websites with her bisexual revelation, I'm frankly curious about exploring the power of keywords.

Maybe this way I can lure a few folks into reading about events of actual consequence.

Will keep you posted, Dear readers...

A simple "no" wouldn't suffice?

Red State's resident ranting rectum, Erick Erickson, continues to show why he's such an incredible addition to CNN's "Best Political Team." 
"I'm not filling out this form. I dare them to try and come throw me in jail. I dare them to. Pull out my wife's shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door."  -- on being asked to participate in the Census' supplemental American Community Survey
But we're not advocating violence, heavens no.  We just like talking about it.
And for the slightest provocation.
These are the things I think back on when people try to excuse the current torrent of violent rhetoric spewing forth from the right wing with dismissive talk of being able to find "extreme statements" on both sides.
It's a questionnaire for god's sake.  Who thinks it's A.) reasonable, or B.) funny to fantasize about pulling a shotgun on someone over such a thing?  I know CNN is hurting for ratings, but is it worth pandering to the beady-eyed, gun-clutching masses who think crap like this is sensible?
What's next, a designated Hutaree correspondent?

01 April 2010

April Fools

Unfortunately, not a joke:


No shotgun wedding, here. Full auto or bust, baby. Which brings us to my favorite shot from the album:

hutaree bride

Precious, isn't it? Notice they removed the magazine from the assault weapon before handing it over to the toddler.

Safety first, after all...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...