Sunday, November 30, 2008

Last day to vote

Could you do me a favor and click over to the Weblog nominations and vote for The Garlic. My friend JT would like to get in on the contest this year. Even if you voted before, you can vote again. Just click on the plus sign next to the comment.

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Cow plops on the economy

I just haven't been that motivated to blog this week. I don't know if it's because I'm in a strange place or I'm not used to using the laptop anymore or just a little burnout but the news wasn't doing it for me so I spent about four hours catching up with my rightwing blogger friends this morning. I found this at Elisson's place. It's a variation on an old theme, but I've never seen this particular version before and found it amusing and thought you might enjoy the economy as explained by cows. My favorites were:
BUREAUCRATISM
You have 2 cows. The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.

AN ITALIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows, but you don't know where they are. You decide to have lunch.

A RUSSIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

AN IRAQI CORPORATION
Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. Nobody believes you, so they bomb the shit out of you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of Democracy.
Many more at the link.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Palin: The new Paris Hilton

The Politico breathlessly announces queries for Palin rank high in search engines. I don't know why they seem so excited about it. When you yank an unknown out of the Yukon and propose making her the VP of the US, people are bound to be a little curious about who this person is, but so what? Paris Hilton still draws high search figures and everybody knows who she is already. Both share the same distinction of being famous for being famous.

Also, broad search numbers don't tell the whole story, so let's do a little comparison searching, shall we? If you just do a generic search by name only, Palin would appear to be the winner with 38,900,000 hits to Hilton's 27,500,000 but qualified searches are more revealing. In each example below, Palin's number comes first, followed by Paris.

naked: 2,310,000 - 1,430,000

sexy: 2,480,000 - 1,160,000

idiot: 2,630,000 - 1,740,000

stupid: 6,330,000 - 6,090,000

Accomplishments: 431,000 - 306,000

IQ: 760,000 - 1,060,000

smart: 6,240,000 - 7,880,000

Competent: 290,000 - 177,000

Incompetent: 499,000 - 142,000

honest: 3,630,000 - 2,370,000

lies: 5,970,000 - 3,240,000

policy positions: 727,000 - 961,000

issues: 69,100,000 - 130,000,000

Looking at these numbers one might extrapolate that searchers were more interested in Palin's body and Hilton's mind. Paris might be considered the smarter and the more honest of the two and people were more interested in Hilton's stand on the issues. Remembering Hilton's ad in response to John McCain's early slam at Obama's celebrity, one might also surmise he would have done better to invite the known celebrity of Paris to front his ticket than to have used all that capital in making Palin one. As I recall the base was ready to elect Paris after just that one ad and she was already well vetted.

So as the GOP ponders making Palin the new face of the GOP they might do well to remember that there was a time not so long ago that cable teevee was interrupting news broadcasts to announce Paris had arrived in the building. But celebrity is as fleeting as the last DWI arrest and the novelty of turkey pardons won't last forever. The only thing certain is that some will always seek for the naked and the famous. "Hillary Clinton naked" still turns up 1,750,000 hits, but the first hit asks -- would you look? If she was 25 years younger, I don't think that would be a question.

[Thanks to Crooks & Liars for the link.]

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Bush defines his legacy

This is priceless. Bush's sister interviewed him and Laura for "StoryCorps, the national oral history initiative, headed for the archives of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress." This is how Bush defined his legacy:
"How do you want to be remembered,'' sister Doro asked the president, "and what are you most proud of?

"I would like to be a person remembered as a person who, first and foremost, did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process. I came to Washington with a set of values, and I'm leaving with the same set of values. And I darn sure wasn't going to sacrifice those values; that I was a president that had to make tough choices and was willing to make them. I surrounded myself with good people. I carefully considered the advice of smart, capable people and made tough decisions.
Um, to be able to sell his soul, wouldn't he would first have to possess one? But I guess he could legitimately claim to have stayed true to his values. He will leave as he arrived, totally bereft of any empathy for his fellow man or understanding of the human condition. Assuming he doesn't do something that completely ruins us in the next 50 odd days, the truly remarkable aspect of his tenure will be that somehow, we survived it. [h/t independent perspective]

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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A very consumer Christmas

In what is becoming a Black Friday tradition, once again two people died over 'doorbuster' specials at Walmart.
The unidentified worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.

Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him. [...]

Jessica Keyes was among the shoppers. She told the Daily News she saw a woman knocked down just a few feet from the dying worker.

"When the paramedics came, she said 'I'm pregnant,'" Keyes said.

Paramedics treated the woman inside the store and then, according to Keys, told the woman:

"There's nothing we can do. The baby is gone."
The 200 or so crazed shoppers literally took the doors off the building in their rush to get that $600 wide screen TV. The store should be held criminally responsible for the deaths for creating the shopping frenzy and failing to provide proper crowd control. Sending a couple of underpaid, overworked stock clerks to hold back the mob is nothing short of negligent homicide.

Update: The latest reports say there were actually 2000 people waiting outside the store by the time it opened and they had been lining up since 9:00pm on Thursday. It was clear by opening time that crowd control would be a problem. There's no excuse for Walmart to have failed to call in more security.

Also it appears the pregnant woman thankfully did not lose her baby.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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“What do you mean ‘we,’ white man?”

Krugman has a good column today on learning the lessons of the past and applying them to the current financial crisis. I agree with him, that it probably won't happen or at least all those who are being bailed out and made all the big bucks before the bubble burst will be lobbying hard against regulation once the crisis is over and they're making money again.

I'm not an economist, hell I'm barely math literate, suffering from severe mind glaze when the subject of numbers comes up, but I was calling the housing bubble a Ponzi scheme for years, for which I endured much ridicule from the educated class who pointed to the wealth on paper as evidence I was wrong. I only wish I had been.

Krugman is right to call for reforms now to prevent future crises. I only hope President Obama is listening.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I had a great visit and a fabulous meal with the family this afternoon. Hope everyone else had or is having an equally good holiday and all your football teams are winning. I'm in a tryptocoma at this point so I'm going to have a look at the news but I'm not sure I'll make it back tonight.

Count your blessings. I'm counting mine and as bad as it is out there I'm thankful for all of you my dear friends and readers.
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Change is coming - really

I'm going to be gone most of the day for the family festivities but here's a quote from President Obama to ponder in case you missed it yesterday.
"Understand where the vision for change comes from, first and foremost," he told reporters at his third press conference in as many days. "It comes from me. That's my job, is to provide a vision in terms of where we are going, and to make sure, then, that my team is implementing."
I don't know what kind of change it will turn out to be, but for good or ill, it will be something completely different from the last eight years. Obama isn't even really President yet and he's already approached the transistion in unexpected and unprecendented ways. That's something anyway. I for one, am not quite ready to give up the hope that he will be able to bring some kind of positive transformation.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Madness in Mumbai

I don't know quite what to make of the madness in Mumbai. I was too wiped out from all the fresh air and exercise to really read anything last night and I'm still pretty foggy this morning, having slept for about 11 hours. Usually the sun coming in my window or the morning commotion of the McCompound wakes me up. The bedroom is so dark here and the hood is so quiet that I kept drifting back into dreams. From what I've read this morning, it seems nobody really knows what's going on or who is really behind it or why. The only clear fact is that it's a nightmare.

I'm sure you all have seen the news reports but I thought this was the most revealing item. Amit Varma was there, well very close by and came within minutes of being caught up in it. He has a very interesting just outside the scene report.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Housesitting

So I've been tied up most of the day getting settled into this dogsitting job I'm doing for a week. It's a good gig. The house is really nice and the neighborhood is even nicer. It's an old established development and the lots are huge. It's not a drive through neighborhood, the streets form a huge circle with some dead end spokes off one end and the houses are all different so it doesn't have that cookie cutter McMansion vibe. Fully two thirds of the land is undeveloped and is still all woods. I had a great walk with the pup earlier.

I saw and heard so many birds and at one point a single crow scolded us repeatedly for disturbing his quietude. But the best part was seeing the family of deer cross the road. Papa, mama and three youngsters. It was really grounding. I needed that.

I'm settled in now for the night in the study with a warm pup lying on my foot. It's nice to have a dog around. I'd forgotten what good company they are. He's a good old boy, very low maintainence but jeebers, he does let loose some stinky farts when he's napping.

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55 Days

It doesn't sound that long when you say it out loud, but when you consider the damage that can still be done by Bush in that short time, it feels like an eternity. I don't think there's many people who aren't ready for him to be gone -- yesterday. I've been busy all day so I'm just getting around to the news and I ran across this quote that sums up the vibe I'm feeling everywhere.
Instead, he’s spending his waning days weakening environmental rules, helping his cronies get jobs in the professional bureacracy, and preparing his pardons. What a stupid, despicable man. History can’t judge him too cruelly.
Personally, I'd rather see him judged in a court of law, but I'm not holding my breath for that.

This blogger lists some things Bush could be doing instead but as the title of his post notes, the man clearly intends to be bad to the bitter end. Heckuva legacy W.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Adding insult to injury

After all these years of being called a traitor and worse for opposing the occupation of Iraq and hearing the yowling about how I don't support the troops by agitating for its end, when I read about this abject mistreatment of our vets, I feel like beating those people with their yellow ribbon magnets.
Marine Cpl. James Dixon was wounded twice in Iraq -- by a roadside bomb and a land mine. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, a concussion, a dislocated hip and hearing loss. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Army Sgt. Lori Meshell shattered a hip and crushed her back and knees while diving for cover during a mortar attack in Iraq. She has undergone a hip replacement and knee reconstruction and needs at least three more surgeries.

In each case, the Pentagon ruled that their disabilities were not combat-related.

In a little-noticed regulation change in March, the military's definition of combat-related disabilities was narrowed, costing some injured veterans thousands of dollars in lost benefits -- and triggering outrage from veterans' advocacy groups.
This is just wrong in so many ways and it's certainly not an isolated incident. This administration, and its supporters who excuse the conduct, have cheated the veterans at every turn from substandard care to onerous paperwork that makes it nearly impossible for our vets to get the benefits they deserve. So where is the blogburst of outrage from all those who shameslessly continue to support this folly behind the safety of their keyboards?

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Supertrain to the rescue

Matt makes a good point. Supertrains could save the economy. Now that the multi-billion dollar bailouts have made us accustomed to thinking in large numbers, investing a few billion in Supertrains doesn't sound so intimidating anymore. And it does make more sense to invest in future infrastructure than failing industries when the outcome would still benefit those areas of the country that need the most help.

He's sold me anyway.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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The difference between Democrats and Republicans

When it comes to the revolving door on K Street, it's small, but nonetheless it exists:
A spokesman for the association declined to comment on the departure. So did Mr. Feehery, who now runs his own lobbying shop. But he said Republican lobbyists would always be in demand because Democrats lack the stomach to push for industry goals that go against their party, like rolling back environmental regulations.

“At the end of the day,” Mr. Feehery said, “Democrats don’t like to ask for the order” — the client’s objective.
Meaning that Democrats have a slight edge when it comes to conscience. They still take the money but at least they hestitate for a moment before selling out the interests of the people on behalf of the Corporatocracy.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Portrait of an epic failure

Is it me or does Paulson look like he's seriously considering bolting out of camera range? Or maybe he's weighing the political cost of slapping Bush upside the head for dragging him into this pathetic photo op?


[via mikevotes]

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Monday, November 24, 2008

The Bush legacy

A study in contrasts. A farmer in Colorado decided to open his unharvested field to the locals. He told a thousand people they could come and harvest the root crops for themselves for free. About 40,000 people showed up for free potatos and beets. [h/t sekmet]

Meanwhile, ABC News featured a photo array of 12 conservative women superstars wearing expensive dead rodents.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Local Heroes

What I miss the most about living in lovely downtown Northampton, MA is the people I got to know in the Happy Valley. For some reason that little corner of the world drew some of the best and most creative minds in the country. I miss that on any given day, but even more so when I run across them in the news.

Avedon pointed me to this interview with Buz Eisenberg at the Talking Dog. I got to know him well during my years at the law firm. He often co-operated on cases. He's one of the nicest people I've ever met and a great attorney who always did a tremendous amount of pro-bono work. He's representing four clients in Gitmo. I'm glad to see him getting some accolades for his efforts since I'm sure he's not making any money at it.

And although I don't really know Rachel Maddow personally, I do know her partner Susan and remember Rachel on the local Noho radio before she got the Air America gig so I feel a special connection with her and since they maintain a home in the Happy Valley I consider her a local hero there. Newsweek has a nice little profile piece on her that's worth reading.

Finally, this is hyperlocal and didn't make any actual news outside of his blog, but my pal F. Alex Johnson, of the Drunk Stuntmen, who's sort of famous for being in the award winning Young at Heart movie, just bought a house and has a great post about his first soujourn in his new neighborhood.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Bailout for Citibank

The legalized looting of the Treasury continues apace. The Fed apparently reached an agreement to guarantee $306 billion worth of Citibank's shitpile and toss them $20 billion in cash from Paulson's slush fund. And what are they going to do with the money? Send 1,000 jobs to the Philippines.
"We're investing in systems and processes, and next year we will have another 1,000 (workers)," Citigroup's country business manager Mark Jones was quoted as saying.

He added that the new jobs to be created in the Philippines would be for Citigroup's call center and financial reporting operations.
And why are they bailing out yet another corporate behemoth that outsources US jobs, yet refusing to rescue the Big 3 in Detroit, who despite their problems actually employ Americans you ask? Bob Reich has the answer.
...That's because Wall Street's self-serving view of the unique role of financial institutions is mirrored in the two agencies that run the American economy -- the Treasury and the Fed. Their job, as they see it, is to keep the financial economy "sound," by which they mean keeping Wall Street's own investors and creditors reasonably happy.

Because the public doesn't understand the intricacies of finance, it's easily persuaded that this is definition of "soundness" is the same as keeping savings flowing to the banks so that the banks can lend to them to Main Street. That's why the public and its representatives have committed $700 billion of taxpayer money to Wall Street and another $500 to $600 billion of subsidized loans to the Street from the Fed -- bailing out the investors and creditors of every major bank, including , any moment, Citi -- only to discover, at the end of this frantic and unbelievably expensive exercise, that American jobs and communities are more endangered than they were at the start.
I want to know why these thieves are going before the Fed for handouts instead of standing in front of a judge waiting for bail to be set.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Senator Al Franken

Nate Silver is the new rockstar of polling. I believe he was only wrong once since the primaries started. He's now predicting Franken will win in Minnesota by 27 votes.

If he nails this one, the rest of the pollsters may as well get out of the biz. He will have rendered them all obsolete.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bush plastered in Peru

The attendees at the Asia-Pacific summit celebrated their comity with a round of Peru's traditional drink, Pisco sours, a drink containing a hefty 2 ounces of pisco brandy. As you can see in the photo, our allegedly sober, comic commanderer quaffed the cocktail right along with the rest of the merrymakers.


The media, ever the enabler, suggests that perhaps he didn't drink it or maybe received a Shirley Temple version. I'd say this photo should put that to rest. They all look snookered.


Think I'm reading too much into it? Let's review those Olympic photos shall we? Does this man look sober to you?




The sobering thought really is to consider we still have two months to endure of this presidency and the man isn't even bothering to hide that he's sailing three sheets to the wind half of the time.

[h/t watertiger who has the recipe for Pisco sours.]

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Best theological debate -- ever



Trust me on this one. Just click over and read it. You won't be sorry.

On a more serious note, my friend Marc sent me a link to The Wisdom Book that is also worth watching if only to see how many familiar people have aged and indeed become wiser.

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Goodbye Catalexis

One can't complain. I have my friends. Someone spoke to me only yesterday. ~Eeyore

To tell the truth, I've been in denial about the death of long time Atrios commenter Catalexis. I've been checking the internet daily for an obituary or any notice of his death on the intertubes and finding none, I've been hoping until this morning that this was all a cruel troll joke or maybe some kind of elaborate ploy for him to change his identity and we would see his wry wit resurface again under a different avatar, although I admit the latter would not have been his style. But hey I was desperate to avoid reality. Having finally checked Marcellina's beautiful tribute to him today, the commenters to that post convinced me to accept his passing.

It's weird to miss someone you don't really know. As Atriots go, I'm still a newbie in the community and Catalexis didn't interact that much in the comments. But when he did, it was really measured and insightful. I always tried to respond because I thought, like his avatar, he was really smart and didn't get enough notice in such a speedy format. He always thanked me for responding. I'm glad our last exchange ended on that note.

I felt an odd kinship with him, believing we were a lot alike. As I searched the intertubes for his past, I found it was truer than I had ever suspected. I dug out his old blog(s) on the Wayback Machine and see we suffered from the same doubts and fears. In one of his first posts in 2004 he said:
I've been hanging out over at Eschaton for several months now and I have really become a fan of his and of several other bloggers and commenters there and elsewhere throughout the blogosphere. I hesitated to start my own blog (though for some stupid reason I now am trying to start up two ) for the usual reasons: I'm not an HTML whiz. Everybody else is already doing it and I'll look lame coming in late. All the good ideas are taken already. I'll say something stupid and some million+ hit wizard will link to me with "Check out this dork!"
And we both worked to find our voice and wondered if anyone cared:
OK, I think I see how Atrios does it, he doesn't try to write a whole days worth of thoughts in a single post. I need to be a bit more compartmentalized here. It sure would be nice if I had readers. Well, someday.
And we had similar self-esteem issues:
What's wierd is that it isn't that I don't have anything to say, it's just that I'm so sure everyone else is saying it better than I do and faster and to way more people. Which kind of defeats the whole purpose of a blog actually, it's..ahh no, just let that go.
I wish he hadn't died so suddenly, much less so young. I wish we could have had more time to get acquainted and mostly I wish I hadn't taken him for granted, just expecting he would always be there. It's a good reminder to seize the moment and let those you treasure in your life, know it while you can.

For those who want to let his family know what he meant to them, I see in Marcellina's comments that his Mom, Ginny, has been checking his email at catalxis@citlink.net. I'm going to write today and hope they're still checking. [graphic via]

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Quick bytes - Sound of silence edition

Yikes. All the news, such as there is, is depressing. Time for a little distraction factor linkfest. Song in my head is soothing. Those were simpler times.

Google tells me it's Rene Magritte's birthday and happy tenth to the space station. It still knocks me out how far the space program has come in my lifetime.

Your good deed for the day is to go vote for JT Duffy's The Garlic as best humor blog in the Weblogs competition.

A love letter to social conservatives. She had me at Dear motherf*ckers...

The Prime Minister of Vleeptron, in recognition of the losing team of 08, is now to be addressed as Vleeptron Dude. Rumor has it he briefly considered taking on the title That One but instead issued a really fine commemorative stamp in honor of the winning team.

You probably have seen this by now, but if you haven't and you value your free time, under no circumstances should you click this link to the live puppy cam.

When I was a young lass, some DFHs I knew built a house of recycled bottles, but it was no where near as glamorous as this Buddhist temple.

And finally, the ultimate in recycling, Carbon Copies, pencils made from the carbon of human cremains.
240 pencils can be made from an average body of ash - a lifetime supply of pencils for those left behind. Each pencil is foil stamped with the name of the person. Only one pencil can be removed at a time, it is then sharpened back into the box causing the sharpenings to occupy the space of the used pencils. Over time the pencil box fills with sharpenings - a new ash, transforming it into an urn. The window acts as a timeline, showing you the amount of pencils left as time goes by.
Comes in a very attractive wooden box. [hat tip]

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Water is the new oil

I meant to post this earlier. It looks like the next economic bubble will be water-based.
All this water-market reshaping is occurring in the midst of a global frenzy over privatization of public infrastructure -- considered to be low-risk investments -- such as roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, airports, gas, and water and sewage treatment. Water is one of the critical infrastructures, and Wall Street knows it. For Wall Street and global capital, water is also so much more -- it is the new petroleum of this century, an essential commodity to be invested, owned, controlled, and speculated upon to maximize profit.
Not a good sign that the hedge fund types are getting interested in this market. Theoretically we could live without oil, but without water -- well -- we're dead. [via]

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Palin talks turkey

Atrios already snagged the best title for this bizarre event -- Slaughterhouse Live. Palin, seeking to keep the spotlight focused on her presidential ambitions, decided to pardon a turkey yesterday in Wasilla. An occassion only notable for her awkward reading of the legalese. However, the press conference afterwards will go down in history as the most tone deaf media avail ever. I wasn't that grossed out by it, but I spent years on the farm. I think most Americans won't find it that, um, palatable. Highlights are at the link or you can see the entire lame event uncut here.

Pardoning a turkey is traditionally done by the President every Thanksgiving but if it's customary for governors to do this as well, I don't recall it being done on a wide scale. I assume she was trying to plant a subliminal message about her future presidential stature. What message she was trying to send with the staging for the avail afterwards is hard to say. Brings new meaning to the idea of tossing red meat to the base.

Of course, the best antidote to this incident is the classic WKRP turkey drop. Still makes me laugh after all these years.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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The universe works in mysterious ways

AG Mukasey collapsed at the podium last night as he was giving a speech to the Federalist Society, just as he was defending the Bush administration's use of torture. [video] The AP is reporting this morning that he's okay and he just fainted. No sign of a stroke or anything serious. Of course, I take no pleasure in his ill health and would wish him a speedy recovery on a humanitarian level but you have to admit the timing of his fainting spell was rather karmic.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

You be the judge

This is fun. Minnesota Public Radio has posted ten challenged ballots in the Franken.Coleman recount and asks you to vote on how they should be counted. I thought the voter intent was pretty obvious, as were the ones that should be rejected.

I voted with the majority every time. Try it for yourself.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Waxman in - Dingell out

Well this takes a little of the sting out the Senate's sellout on Lieberman. The House Dems skipped over seniority to make a better choice.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) will become the next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee after House Democrats voted to replace current Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.).

Waxman won 137-122 in the secret ballot vote. [...]

Waxman is considered more liberal on issues like climate change, energy and business regulation, and potentially more aggressive on healthcare. Dingell, the longest-serving House lawmaker, is close to the auto industry and autoworkers.
Good for them. The senority system is long overdue to be abolished and Waxman will be lightyears better in pushing for needed policy changes than that dinosaur Dingell. Feels like one small step towards a more responsive Congress to me.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Change we can believe in

Link redirect: To everybody who got the wrong link for the ballot challenge, Here it is.


I don't know what kind of president Obama will turn out to be. I feel confident in predicting that he will not be the raging liberal that the wingnuts promised he would but on climate disruption, he's already showing changes I can believe in.

While he's kept to his strategy of keeping a low profile under the "one president at a time" mantra, he broke out of that mold briefly to send a video address to the international delegates assembling to address the problem. These remarks give me hope that he really will hit the ground running:
He added, "Let me also say a special word to the delegates from around the world who will gather at Poland next month: Your work is vital to the planet. While I won't be president at the time of your meeting, and while the United States has only one president at a time, I've asked members of Congress who are attending the conference as observers to report back to me on what they learn there."

In a clear reference to the Bush administration's stance, Obama declared, "Once I take office, you can be sure that the United States will once again engage vigorously in these negotiations. . . . Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response."
He's promising to take the lead and try "to reduce emissions to their 1990 levels by 2020 and reduce them an additional 80% by 2050." For all the disappointments I'm sure will come, it will be refreshing to be governed by an administration where "Clear Skies" isn't just an Orwellian reference to legalized pollution.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Shunned

I'm predicting this will be the most linked to video of the day.



You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief that they don't have to be polite to him anymore.

On a related note, this is almost as sad. What if John McCain came back to work and no one noticed? That's pretty much what happened. He's lucky that it looks like Gov. Janet Napolitano will be tapped to head DHS. If she had mounted a 2010 challenge for his Senate seat, the numbers didn't look very promising.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WSJ goes pro-union

In one of those cosmic jutxapositions I just love, moments after I published a pro-union post at the Detroit News, I discovered the WSJ posted a strong pro-union editorial that acknowledges the mandate of 08 is for more liberalism in government. I love the opening grafs:
It is possible, I suppose, that the pundits are right and the public didn't really mean it when it elected a liberal Democrat president and gave Democrats even larger majorities in both houses of Congress. Maybe America really wants the same nice, reassuring, centrist thing as always.

But it is also possible that, for once, the public weighed the big issues and gave a clear verdict on the great economic questions of the last few decades. It is likely that we really do want universal health care and some measure of wealth-spreading, and even would like to see it become easier to organize a union in the workplace, however misguided such ideas may seem to the nation's institutions of higher carping.
The rest of it is just as good, if not better. As the saying goes, read it all while I get over the shock of having the WSJ not only agree with me, but make some of the same talking points.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Fast takes

Just a few quick links to items I don't have much to say about but are worth reading. I liked this video. November 18, 2008 in 100 seconds.

I think Kathleen Parker is becoming addicted to hate mail. I mean, she's just asking for it.

­This looks like it rises above pure speculation. It appears Tom Daschle will be Secretary of Health and Human Services. I never really liked the guy myself, but it would seem to bode well for progress on health care reform. Daschle did really "write the book" on it and his proposals are rather good.

In related news, Rahm Emanuel's challenge to the corporate stuffed shirts also signals that Obama is serious about health care reform. Can't come too soon for me.

And for the record, since I'm responding to rumors today, I think Hillary Clinton would make a great SoS but I don't think the media maelstrom would be worth it. As amusing at it might be to watch the wingnuts' heads explode from terminal CDS, the media elite suffer from an equal inability to report on the Clintons objectively and it would be too distracting.

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Wherein just this once, I respond to rumors

I've been studiously avoiding posting on media speculation over potential Obama administration appointments, but the rumored rise of Eric Holder as AG seems worth mentioning, not only because he would be the first black man to hold the office, but because the reaction has been so mixed.

I have to admit, having made it a point to ignore the many pseudo-scandals of the Clinton years, I don't remember much about him, but Steve Benen gives him high marks and this certainly sounds promising.
He became deputy attorney general in 1997 under Janet Reno and was viewed as a centrist on most law enforcement issues, though he has sharply criticized the secrecy and the expansive views of executive power advanced by the Bush Justice Department.
Steve also has a lot of background links supporting that view in his post. Additionally, he piques my interest in the rumors about Peter Orszag as budget director.
Orszag, who will turn 40 on Dec. 16, has been praised by lawmakers from both parties as an objective analyst with deep knowledge of the most pressing fiscal issues of the day, including health care policy, Social Security, pensions, and global climate change. He is the unusual economist who blends an understanding of politics, policy and communications in ways that wrap zesty quotes around complex ideas.
Sounds good to me but then again, pretty much anyone sounds great after eight years of incompetent cronies whose job performance was based solely on GOP loyalty.

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Perp walk for Cheney and Gonazles?


I agree with Steve. It's unlikely. Steve adds the prosecutor is a bit of a nutcase besides, but the charges of the indictment make good reading.
Cheney is charged with engaging in an organized criminal activity related to the vice president's investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds financial interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. Cheney is accused of a conflict of interest and "at least misdemeanor assaults" on detainees because of his link to the prison companies. [...]

The indictment accuses Gonzales of using his position while in office to stop an investigation in 2006 into abuses at one of the privately run prisons.
As my pal GTL notes, this is a prime case to apply RICO, but I wouldn't advise holding your breath waiting for that to happen. It would be nice though, if the matter generated some discussion on the abysmal prison conditions in America. The abuses here under privitization rival Gitmo and Abu Ghraib in the breadth of their horror.

[Graphic: Vanity Fair.]

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Ted Stevens officially defeated

I suppose it wasn't the present Ted Stevens was hoping for on his birthday, but it feels like a gift to the rest of America. The Alaskan recount process finally proceeded to the point where Democrat Mark Begich can be declared the winner of the hotly contested senatorial race. Frankly, knowing a few Alaskans personally, I can't believe it was as close as it was, meaning how embarrassing is it to vote for a convicted felon. But then again it is a red state and Stevens did have the kind of seniority that delivers the prime federal pork. I assume a lot of those voters depend on the handouts to make a living.

In any event, Begich becomes the first Democratic Senator from Alaska since Mike Gravel held the seat and we will be blessedly spared from any further speculation about Sarah Palin moving to the national stage via that route. Win - win.

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Hungry

Child hunger rose 50% in 2007 and overall 36.2 million adults and children experienced difficulty in obtaining enough basic sustenance, or as the current term in vogue puts it, suffered food insecurity. Of those some 11.9 million suffered hunger, meaning they didn't have any food at all. I feel certain we can expect the 2008 figures to be even more dismal. Yet all these 'family values' groups spent millions on promoting initiatives to discriminate against "teh gay menace." If these good Christians had a gram of real Christian charity in their souls they would have been donating to food banks instead.

On a related note, via mikevotes, I see the welfare recipients of social conservative think tanks are joining with their insider cronies in the Pentagon to launch a pre-emptive assault on social spending. The plan appears to be to build a phony narrative on the need to increase military spending for their pet projects, most of which fund advanced weapons designed to fight foes that no longer exist, in order to sabotage any fiscal reforms President-elect Obama might have for the agency and to set him up for later partisan political assaults on his policies. Essentially, they're spending billions on a plan to bleed the treasury in order to force the shredding of the social safety net and protect their own payola.

If that's not against the law, it should be. It certainly violates the rules of human decency.

[Graphic via Empty Bowls 2008.]

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pix fix


Aren't you glad we won't have to look at McCain's creepy smile for the next four years? I know I am. There's something to be said for a photogenic First Family. If you're looking for a pix fix of the Obamas, here's a nice gallery.

And don't you just love Toles? This one is perfect for the season.

Meanwhile, space exploration never fails to knock me out. Love this mysterious aurora on Saturn.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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My mama voted for Obama

My mom and I have an odd relationship. I send her cards and flowers or whatever on the appropriate occassions, but we rarely talk -- as in almost never. It's a long story and not really worth going into but my sister talks to her rather regularly and tells me that not only did Mom vote for Obama, she defended him to some wingnut at her fundie church who was railing about the false claim that he's a communist.

I don't think I've ever been so proud of her. It may be time to rethink the relationship. I think I'm going to dip into my meager funds and call her up and thank her.

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Obama on 60 Minutes

I didn't get a chance to watch this yet, so I'm embedding it here for the archives and for those who also may have missed it. That's probably a small group. I understand the show grabbed the highest ratings in nine years.


Watch CBS Videos Online

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Monday, November 17, 2008

The day the National Review died

Having sworn off its blood pressure raising prattle for several years now, I can't pinpoint when exactly The National Review started on its long, painful death spiral. Certainly, the day that Rich Lowry breathlessly posted about the starbursts in his pants when Sarah Palin winked at him was the equivalent of an acute myocardial infarction and the departure of Chris Buckley signaled the patient's condition was terminal. But I think we can pronounce it officially deceased now that its last remaining coherent writer, David Frum has left the building.

I'm no big fan of Frum's work, but he was at least marginally reality-based in his analysis. He was the last one left. The rest are the kool-aid addled kooks of the Bush water brigade, still clinging to their glory days as the media anointed arbiters of 'serious' discourse.

I won't be shedding any tears over its demise, but it is kind of weird to see it suffer such an ignominious end.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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And now there are four...

This is unexpected. Joining Senators Leahy, Sanders and Dorgan, long time cohort of Joe Lieberman, Sen. Tom Carper, a regional chair of Lieberman's failed 04 bid for the presidency, "said the Connecticut Independent should pay a price for his campaign attacks against President-elect Barack Obama." He told The Hill on Monday,"There need to be consequences, and they cannot be insignificant."

I'm still not that happy with the closed door session, but maybe this won't turn out quite the way I expected after all. I would be very happy to be wrong and see Lieberman pay some meaningful price for his choices.

Update: The Politico posts the scenario for how it will go down and quote "insider Democrats" as giving Joe good odds on keeping the DHS Committee gavel.

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I'm so proud...

My sister, Rockync, just put up her first ever blog post. I've been encouraging her to start blogging for a while now and she finally got an offer she couldn't refuse from my friends at the Swash Zone. Click on over and leave her a little welcome to Blogtopia, why don't you?

And actually, while you're over there, why not start at the top and keep scrolling. The whole seafaring crew is posting some great stuff, including our pal Capt. Fogg who is on a roll about communism.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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Cycling the news

Maybe I should have said recycling the news but either way, it's amusing to see how the media moguls make the system work. Yesterday, the Times (of London) posted a rumor about a $7 million book deal for Palin. Today, a gossip blogger at MSNBC reports it as fact. Of course it's less entertaining when they do it with important news as often happens with say, developments in Iraq. It's also useful to note that the MSNBC writer doesn't get the facts straight even in a two graf item, saying Palin "spent the last few weeks talking to just about any camera put in front of her" when she only started her unfettered media blitz a few days ago.

In any event, I don't doubt Palin is actively courting offers for any kind of "cracked door" that allows her to capitalize on her over-night celebrity. If she's really as smart as her fans think, she might consider going for a Fox commentary gig. That pays well, doesn't require any deep thinking and would allow her to use her considerable skill at lying to best advantage.

She better act fast though. I get the sense that her 15 minutes of fame are finally, blessedly, coming to an end as the novelty of unlimited press avail wears off under the assault of her vapid remarks. A quick check of google news shows nothing but a handful of rehashed stories today.

It's a lesson McCain's other instant celeb seems to be taking to heart. Joe the Plumber cancelled an appearance at a gambling conference in Vegas in order to go to Dallas to work on his ghost written autobiography. "Joe the Plumber -- Fighting for the American Dream" is due to be released on Dec. 1. That seems like a rather quick turnaround to me. Either Joe/Sam has a very short life story or they have a team working round the clock to beat his "sell-by" date.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Church and State and Proposition H8

I'm as hetero as can be, but I've been really pissed off by these anti-gay initiatives. I mean, screw those haters, every last one of them. It's taken me a while to process my anger but I got my rant on this afternoon and blasted the Detroit News with three separate posts. I was pretty harsh but I figure I'm either going to get a boatload of criticism or none at all. I suspect the latter, because I hit the so-called Christians where it hurts the most, right in the Bible. All those years of Sunday school finally paid off. I didn't even have to look anything up.

Meanwhile, if you don't feel like reading my rants, but are interested in how yesterday's protest rallies went, there are photos here, here and here. That last one also has links at the bottom to a couple of more photos and a YouTube of, I believe, the Dallas event. [h/t to Michael D. who reports from the Atlanta rally.]

On a related note, gay rights activists are organizing various boycotts and apparently there is an antigayblacklist that has the names and businesses of people who bankrolled these discriminatory initiatives. This development has thrown at least one wingnut into full pearl-clutching mode over privacy rights. TBogg and Sadly, No take him down, as only they can, with their usual lethal snark.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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Senate Dems set to screw progressives - again

I think John Cole is right. Much as I appreciate Leahy and Bernie Sanders calling for Lieberman to resign his chair, historically when Leahy fronts for our side with lofty rhetoric, it's a pretty good sign that the Senate 'leadership' is about sell us out. I think they'll let him keep it.

The secret ballot on Tuesday that will decide Joe Lieberman's fate pisses me off. I think they should go on record but I understand how politically delicate that can be and am willing to compromise on that point. I'm even willing to let Joe stay in the caucus, although it's certainly not my preference.

However, if they don't strip him of his gavel on the DHS Committee, it will be too big a betrayal to ignore. Lieberman cast his lot with the GOP two years ago and didn't look back. He actively sought to undermine the Democratic candidate and his public statements about President-elect Obama are unforgiveable. Furthermore he refused to use the power of his chair to exercise oversight over the current administration. He must suffer some consequence in the interests of accountability.

Progressives poured their hearts and their wallets into this election to give the Democrats their majority. To allow Lieberman to carry on as if nothing had happened, especially since we all know had McCain won, Joe would have joined the GOP and never looked back, would not only be a betrayal of the mandate progressives delivered to the Dems, it would be a validation of the GOP tactics that have so divided and ruined this country. Reid and the rest of the Democratic powerbrokers would do well to remember that the knife cuts both ways. What we did to the GOP in 08 can be also be done to the dead wood in our own party in 2010 and beyond.

Update: Of course the 'logic' the insider Democrats will be using is that punishing Lieberman will somehow insult moderate Americans. Glenn debunks that point nicely.

So, to recap: Moderate voters are going to rise up in rebellious outrage if the Democrats don't award a powerful Chairmanship to a Senator who espouses positions which most Americans hate; who spent the last year vigorously campaigning for the political party that, for the second straight election, got crushed; and who is widely disliked even in his own state.

And Jim Henley makes the important point that nobody but us poli-junkies are really going to care. But I would add, we're the ones that cared enough to work the GOTV efforts and pushed back hard on the false narratives. Our contributions made a difference and our influence is still growing. The Democratic establishment ignores that at their own peril.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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Making our own change

As is our wont, with the election over and the news cycle slowing to a crawl over the transition period, progressives at large and Leftopians in particular are bickering over how best to influence President-elect Obama's agenda in order to push that Overton Window to the left.

My main concern is we're focusing too much on Obama, who doesn't have any real power yet and not enough on the sitting Democrats who are still busily enabling Bush to continue his trashing of the office. But putting that aside, I'm wondering why we're not using the tools we have to make our case directly to the transition team instead of arguing with each other on the blogs. I see a lot of people making lists of priorities but what I'm not seeing is a call to send them to Obama's new website. They have a suggestion box. Why don't we fill it up? If every on-line American sent in their own list, it seems to me we could prove once and for all that America really is a center-left country.

I intend at least to send my own list in and will be posting it soon. In the interim I'm curious about what your priorities are.

Mine include restoration of the rule of law and realigning the checks and balances of the three branches of government. I want the Patriot Act repealed. It hasn't been at all effective in combatting terrorism and has been wrongfully employed in ordinary criminal cases. I want a real FISA overhaul and telecom immunity rescinded so we can find out just how widely our privacy has been breached. I want the declassification of the ordinary public documents that the Bush White House buried. I want the unitary executive theory to be refuted. I want transparency in government spending.

I want the Bush era tax breaks for the wealthy to be eliminated. I want our national infrastructure to be repaired and serious investment in alternative clean energy sources and mass transportation. I want a single payer health plan. I want the media conglomerates to be broken up. And of course, I want an end to the occupation of Iraq, the closure of Gitmo and the use of torture and secret rendition renounced and revoked.

I could go on for much longer yet, so for me, the biggest challenge is to prioritize the list. But how about you dear readers? Maybe you're better at this than I am. What are your priorities?

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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President Obama makes more history

President Obama isn't just our first black president, he's our first wired-in leader as well. While word has it he'll have to give up his Blackberry once he takes office, he'll be the first president to use the intertubes to reach out directly to Americans. He's taken the first step by putting the weekly radio address on YouTube.



They will be available on the transition site, change.gov and of course at a blog near you. His aides advise this is just the beginning of his internet outreach.
As president Mr. Obama plans to continue to use audio as well as video to deliver the weekly messages, according to his aides.

“This is just one of many ways including periodic videos with transition officials about what is happening in a given day, online interviews with experts in particular policy areas that we will use to communicate directly with the American people,” said Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the Obama-Biden transition team.
He also plans to YouTube "fireside chats" once he takes office. Smart move and the best way to bring his message directly to the people and bypass the smary narratives of the teevee media.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Palin around

I suppose he would wince to hear me say it if he could see how old I am, but I've loved Dick Cavett since I was kid watching his afternoon talk show. Time hasn't dulled his acerbic wit a bit. His Wild Wordsmith of Wasilla is the must read of the day. Here's a couple of grafs to tempt you into clicking over.
I feel a little sorry for John. He aimed low and missed.

What will ambitious politicos learn from this? That frayed syntax, bungled grammar and run-on sentences that ramble on long after thought has given out completely are a candidate’s valuable traits?

And how much more of all that lies in our future if God points her to those open-a-crack doors she refers to? The ones she resolves to splinter and bulldoze her way through upon glimpsing the opportunities, revealed from on high.
Goddess willing, those doors will be locked tight and the Great Spirit will throw away the key. I'd have to say the one bright spot in my life today was doing a google news check and discovering she was barely being covered, figuratively and literally.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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Forget the shoulder massage

It looks like Bush is going straight for the surreptitious ass grab with Merkel this time around. And what's with the guy holding his nose behind him. Do you think Bush just let loose with a beer fart or is it just the stink of day old booze oozing from his pores?

Meanwhile, did I miss the GOP memo that announced
winking
is the new wank? What is it with these people? The starbursts in Rich Lowry's pants notwithstanding, I thought the debate wink was the singlemost embarrassing and undignified political moment I ever saw in my life. Now it seems to have become the new GOP high sign.

And surely nothing says serious contender better than a bridesmaid outfit and a wrist corsage. Maybe she should have hung onto that stylist for just a little longer. [Photo credit]

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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Idiot elite media

Hard not to notice the screaming headline, Barack Obama is warned to beware of a ‘huge threat’ from al-Qaeda. The article, beyond the alarmist lede graf, goes on to say pretty much -- never mind. It's probably not that real. "Some people" are just worried about it. Mostly unnamed Bush lackeys.

But beyond the nothing really there aspect, why the hell are they warning Obama about it? There's nothing he can do unless Bush does the noble thing and resigns immediately so Obama could take over sooner. Otherwise, it's still The Deciderer's problem. Shouldn't they be warning Mr. Mission Accomplished?

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]

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Prop H8 protests

I'm late getting started today so some are probably already over by now but there are various peaceful protests scheduled in all 50 states. Click here for info. [via]

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Why I love Vermont

Bernie Saunders joined Pat Leahey today in calling for Lieberman to step down from his chair on the DHS Committee. Good for them.

I've been meaning to mention that I think the back room caucus vote sucks. I'm sick of backroom deals. They should all come forward publicly to declare where they stand. In fact, it should be a job requirement.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]
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Kill me now

Gah. The radio station I listen to in the car just switched to all Christmas carols, all the time.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News.]
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War is over (If you want it)

Shorter Insty: Yon called. We won the war. Everybody says so. And Obama and Biden are weenies for failing to acknowledge the great wisdom of teh mighty surge.

LAT: A sudden surge of attacks in Baghdad this week. 58 dead.

AP: 26 deadly bombings in the Baghdad this month, as of Wednesday, compared with 28 for all of October and 22 in September. At least 102 people were killed this month in the capital, compared with 95 for October and 96 in September, according to the AP count.

Military spokesman: "I think they're going into a political period in this country. With the power struggle ... there will be an increase in attacks."

Instaputz: This all sounds so familiar.

Me: Deep sigh.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Delayed justice would be better than none

Not being a fan of talk radio, I'll have to take Scott Horton's word that Gene Burns is one of the nation’s most popular talk radio hosts who has consistently defended the Bush administration's use of torture. Like most Americans, he apparently didn't realize how far they had gone in their pursuit of 'intelligence gathering.' He's now seen the light.

And then I saw Torturing Democracy.

And I’m afraid, now that I have seen what I have seen, that I was wrong about that. It looks to me, based on this documentary, as if in fact we have engaged in behavior and practices at Guantánamo Bay, and in these illegal renditions, that are violations of the international human rights code.

And I believe that Dick Cheney is responsible. I believe that he was the agent of the United States government charged with developing the methodology used at Guantánamo Bay, supervising it for the administration, and indulging in practices which are in fact violations of human rights.
Scott notes that the Bush administration has done its best to spike both this documentary and another called Taxi to the Dark Side. It's worth noting that neither will be aired on major broadcast stations until after Bush leaves office since the stations fear White House retribution.

One can only hope that when and if these films receive wide dissemination, Americans will step up and demand that our Congresslizards finally hold Bush and Cheney accountable for this gross violation of everything this country used to stand for.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Palin sucks up the spotlight - Updated

The media obsession with Palin continues unabated and some of the other wannabe GOP rising stars are not happy with their spotlight hogger in lipstick.
The GOP governors spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity.

One called it awkward: “I’m sure you could see it on some of our faces.”

Another Republican governor eyeing a presidential run in 2012 told CNN the event was “odd” and “weird,” and said it “unfortunately sent a message that she was the de facto leader of the party."

There has been palpable tension among some GOP governors gathered in Miami that Palin has been sucking up all the media oxygen.
Hard to explain the undue attention since one assumes the talking heads can read the polls and see for themselves that nobody outside of the rabid base is anxious to see Palin's star go supernova in 2012. I suppose the coverage still drives the ratings. It's like driving by an accident on the highway. You don't really want to look but you find you just can't help taking a peek at the wreck.

I can relate to the GOP governors' dismay. I've heard about enough from the Wasilla Wonder and I'm as ready as they are for the Palinathon to be over. Maybe the meeting between Obama and McCain on Monday will shift the spotlight for at least a day and Alaska's vapid vampire will eventually have to get back to Juneau and figure out where she's going to suck up enough revenue to keep the state running now that her oil tax windfall looks likely to be running dry. [Graphic via watertiger.]

Update: No Miss Congeniality award from the Republican Governors Association for Sarah. She was noticeably missing in the vote for the leadership posts.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Get ready to be purged Michele

Credit where it's due. Quote of the day comes from Michele Catalano posting at of all places, Pajama Media.
Community service is not a dirty word; nor is it an idea to be tossed aside because you don’t like who is delivering the message about it. Encouraging our youth to take part in something selfless is encouraging them to be better human beings. What could be better for this country?
It's the final graf in her post, Obama's Call for Community Service Is Not Marxism. The diehards in the comment section are not taking it well.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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He's back....

Well this is a bright spot on a bleak day here in the rainy south. I thought for a while he had hung up his keyboard forever, but one of my favorite bloggers is back. Check out the 25 vitally important pieces of advice passed down from the 43rd to the 44th president. I'm fond of number 21: "About once or twice a year, Putin will get all liquored up and call at 3 o'clock in the morning asking what else you see in his eyes. Just tell him the love of Jesus and hang up."

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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In Obama we trust?

The election is over and we're entering into that limboesque time zone where the holidays are approaching and the newly elected won't take power for another couple of months. Nothing much is going to happen and it's a bit too early for year end reviews so as always happens in times of a slow news cycle, Leftopia has begun to bicker.

I don't want to get too deep into the weeds about this myself, but I will say that I think it's rather silly and counterproductive to be clutching our pearls over every rumor about what President-elect Obama intends to do. It's all speculation right now. Filler for the ravenous 24/7 newsbeast and I'm in the camp that thinks we should give him some space and wait until he announces something himself before we start pushing back against imagined affronts to the progressive agenda.

And no, that doesn't mean I think we should hold back once he does, contrary to those who deride a Cult of Obama that barely exists. I'm not saying there isn't one, but it's comprised of the sort of people who are already organizing to give Obama a national holiday. I believe most who counsel patience are going to step up as soon as something real happens, and make no mistake, I fully expect our new President is going to piss us off sooner than later by going all gooey centrist.

Meanwhile, as Glenn points out, we do have Democrats in office that fully deserve some attention right now.
It is worth remembering that the Democrats who are going to exert dominant political control are the same ones who have provoked so much scorn -- rightfully so -- over the last several years, and particularly since 2006. This is the same Democratic Party leadership which funded the Iraq War without conditions (and voted to authorize it in the first place); massively expanded the President's warrantless eavesdropping powers; immunized lawbreaking telecoms; enacted the Patriot Act and then renewed it with virtually no changes; didn't even bother to mount a filibuster to stop the Military Commissions Act; refrained from pursuing any meaningful investigations of Bush lawbreaking; confirmed every last extremist Bush nominee, from Michael McConnell to Michael Mukasey; acquiesced to even the worst and most lawless Bush policies when they were briefed on them; and on and on and on. None of that has changed. That is still who they are.
And they are ones that are still in power for the next two months. I might respectfully suggest we put our energy into pushing back against their next boneheaded bows to imaginary bi-partisanship rather than waste it on projecting into the future. I believe the wingnuts have that ground well covered already.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Wall St. Welfare

If the bailout had actually, you know -- worked -- this wouldn't be so irritating.
"According to a report from financial news agency Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs, for example, has set aside $6.8 billion for bonuses, and Morgan Stanley, $6.4 billion. [...]

Gandel, who's a Money magazine senior writer and contributor to Time.com says, "Compensation should be down 70 percent but, because all this new money is coming from the government, the firms are now saying they can pay more, and so they're only going to cut bonuses by 40 percent." [...]

Even without bonuses, the mean annual salary for a securities industry employee was just under $400,000, David notes, ten times more than the average U.S. worker."
Meanwhile, unemployment claims reach new highs.

Personal reponsibility apparently only applies when we're talking about the social safety net for the working poor. No need for the privileged Wall St wealth holders to trouble their beautiful minds with such low brow concepts.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Stuck on stupid

Everybody is linking to this but it's worth repeating for the archives. Man, did we dodge a bullet when the electorate came to their senses and just said no to McCain and Failin' Palin.
BLITZER: Does that mean you want to come up with a new Sarah Palin initiative that you want to release right now.

PALIN: Gah! Nothing specific right now. Sitting here in these chairs that I’m going to be proposing but in working with these governors who again on the front lines are forced to and it’s our privileged obligation to find solutions to the challenges facing our own states every day being held accountable, not being just one of many just casting votes or voting present every once in a while, we don’t get away with that. We have to balance budgets and we’re dealing with multibillion dollar budgets and tens of thousands of employees in our organizations.
I'm still not over the horror that the GOP thought it was a great idea to make this woman a serious candidate for high office. Kevin Drum sums up this incomprehensible choice well:
...I continue to think that the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate represents the breaking of a consensual cultural barrier far more fundamental than most people realize. It’s not just that she was inexperienced (Spiro Agnew and John Edwards weren’t much more experienced than Palin when they ran for VP) but that she was — obviously, transparently, completely — uninterested in and uninformed about national policy at nearly every level. We’ve simply never seen someone so completely unmoored from the normal requirements of national office before. She was chosen purely at the level of celebrity, and an awful lot of people seemed to be just fine with that.
That's the truly frightening part. Not only did educated people who should know better support the pick, they continue to defend her even now. Brings whole new meaning to that once popular phrase in Wingnuttia, stuck on stupid.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Not over until....

In Alaska:
Begich, who was losing after election night, now leads Stevens by 814 votes -- 132,196 to 131,382 -- with the state still to count roughly 35,000 more ballots over the next week.
We partly have the secessionists to thank for that:
But depending on the final tally, America just might owe the Alaskan Independence Party -- whose candidate, Bob Bird, earned more than 10,000 votes -- a modest debt of gratitude. Last time, the AIP received about 3% of the vote; this time, Bird is clearing more than 4%, which would be one of many factors -- the greatest of which would be Stevens himself -- enabling a Democratic win.
Meanwhile in Minnesota:
The unofficial lead held by Coleman over Franken remained at 206 on Tuesday, when government offices were closed for Veterans Day. It's not clear whether that margin includes votes from all the counties, which were supposed to certify their ballots by midnight Monday.
Both sides are assembling hundreds of lawyers and observers to witness the recount. This one will be a nailbiter down to the bitter end and you can be sure some will be bitter when this is finally decided. Hope it's not us Franken supporters.

Oh, and don't forget Georgia.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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