Friday, January 30, 2009

The New Spook Sitting By The Door, Or the Man of Steele?

image thanks to The Page

Former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele has been elected as the chairman of Republican National Committee. He will be the first African-American to hold that position.

Whether Steele represents a new direction for the Republicans, or just a new version of the spook sitting by the door, remains to be seen, but I think this is just another Palin-esque move by the Republicans. Last year they picked a radically rightwing woman for their VP candidate, in an effort to pick off Hillary Democrats, being unable to see the fundamental differences between them (intelligence, experience, elocution, media-savvy, ability to pay for one's own clothing) for their similarity in gender. Picking Steele as the RNC chair means that they now have a black face to hide behind, while they attempt to promugate their plantation-era politics.

I wonder if Rush Limbaugh will make Steele call him "Massa", as he's already done to one House Repug, Georgia's Phil Gingrey?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

He Won It Fair & Square

OK! Back after a bad fibro flare-up, and I'm instituting a new feature on the blog: The Biggest Asshole Of The Day Award! I've decided to start this after watching the Repugs drop their veneer of bipartisan cooperation and reveal themselves for the assholes that they really are. And consequently, I've got a lot of candidates for the first award.

Second Runner-Up: Norm Coleman! Normie, a perennial favorite around here, gets a mention for whining about his loss to Al Franken in the recount, and for going into court in an attempt to change the election results --with no case.

First Runner-Up goes to Rush Limbaugh, who infamously said "I hope President Obama fails." I guess when you have a contract with your employer for $34 million, you don't need to pretend that you care about the average guy. Except that's exactly what Rush does every day....or, at least, he pretends to care about the stupid, uneducated white guys who make up the overwhelming majority of his audience. Way to stay a big fat liar, Rush--keep up the good work!

But the winner is......Dick Armey! Tonight on Hardball, Armey had this to say to Joan Walsh of
"I am so damn glad that you could never be my wife, 'cause I surely wouldn't have to listen to that prattle from you every day."
What a sexist, arrogant piece of shit!! On behalf of the rest of my gender, I apologize to Ms. Walsh and any other women who were offended by this jackass. But Armey's dumbass comment has won him our first Biggest Asshole Of The Day Award!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama Begins The Move To Close Gitmo

The NYTimes:
In the first hours of his presidency, President Barack Obama directed an immediate halt to the Bush administration’s military commissions system for prosecuting detainees at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Notice of the decision came in a legal filing in Guantanamo by military prosecutors just before midnight Tuesday. The decision, which had been expected as part of Mr. Obama’s pledge to close the detention camp, was described as a pause in all war-crimes proceedings there so that the new administration can evaluate how to proceed with prosecutions.

[...]The suspension had been expected because, as a candidate, Mr. Obama described the military commissions as a failure and suggested that he may decide to prosecute detainees in existing courts. The military commissions have been criticized as lacking in the basic protections of the American justice system and have been plagued by legal and practical difficulties since the Bush administration first announced its plan for prosecution in the months after the 2001 attacks.

This as the first step in closing a truly odious chapter in American history, the torture chambers at Guantanamo. It won't happen immediately, but this is the first step, and the right step, in closing the camp. Wow, a politician who keeps his promises! I'm not surprised, though--Obama is truly the right man at the right time.


The Associated Press is reporting that "the new Obama Administration (has) circulated a draft executive order Wednesday that calls for closing the controversial detention center at Guantanamo Bay within a year and halting any war crimes trials in the meantime":

Closing the facility in Cuba "would further the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice," read the draft prepared for the new president's signature.

While some of the detainees currently held at Guantanamo would be released, others would be transferred elsewhere and later put on trial under terms to be determined.

It was not known when Obama intended to issue the order. He has been a longtime critic of the Bush administration's decision to maintain the detention facility, which was opened after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

[...]The draft order calls for a systematic review of the cases of each of the detainees, to determine which among them can be released and which cannot.

"It is in the interests of the United States to review whether and how such individuals can and should be prosecuted," it says.

The facility at Guantanamo Bay has long been criticized by critics of the former Bush administration at home, as well as by other governments overseas, as a black eye for the United States. The administration established it early in the war on terror, contending that those held there were not entitled to the customary rights that prisoners in he United States enjoy, or to the protections of the Geneva Conventions that cover war prisoners.

The draft states that "the detention facilities at Guantanamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order."

Geithner: "TurboTax Did It!"

Timothy Geithner, Obama's nominee for Treasury Secretary, today blamed TurboTax for his failure to pay taxes in 2001 and 2002.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dr. Joseph Lowry's Inauguration Benediction

Wow, what a total stomping of Rick Warren's invocation. Lowry took fat Rick to school!

The point that those who Digby refers to as the Religion Industrial Complex want to avoid is that there's no need to reinvent the liberal relationship to faith. It already exists in the application of many religious teachings, in the notions of peace and justice and equality and tolerance, and in the common effort seen in the civil rights and the global peace movements. The religious right has hijacked these principles for the purposes of authoritarian extremism, and what is sometimes depicted as the "religious left" would rather accommodate those extremist views. It's a false choice.

And it didn't hurt to here a little nod to non-believers up on that platform today. For a second I actually thought I lived in a country where church and state were separate. Not bad.

Ted Kennedy Suffers Seizure, Is Hospitalized

Updating the previous post--Sen. Ted Kennedy was hospitalized today after suffering a seizure at the inaugural luncheon for President Obama:
Kennedy was at a table with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Vice President Mondale and Mrs. Mondale, and others. While at the table, Kennedy began having seizures that lasted for several minutes. As they were carrying Kennedy out of the room, he was still seizing. President Barack Obama went out of the room with him, but came back in the luncheon room.

[...]Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., the oldest member of the Senate, was so upset and distraught from what he had witnessed, that he needed to be taken out. Byrd was conscious when he was taken from the room. The two have been friends for a very, very long time.

The latest reports indicate that Sen. Kennedy is awake and answering questions .

Ted Kennedy Taken out of Inaugural Luncheon on Stretcher

MSNBC is reporting that Sen. Ted Kennedy was removed from President Obama's inaugural luncheon on a stretcher. No further details are known at this time. I pray that he'll be alright.

UPDATE: MSNBC and Politico are reporting now that both Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Robert Byrd were both stricken at the luncheon:
Ted Kennedy was taken out of the Statuary Hall luncheon after suffering an apparent seizure -- a few minutes after Sen. Robert Byrd was removed in his wheelchair under the supervision of medical personnel.

"He was there when the voting rights act passed….so I would be lying to you if I did not say that right now a part of me is with him, I think that’s true for all of us," Obama told dignitaries gathered at his Congressional lunch . "It’s a joyous time but it’s also a sobering time..My prayers are with him and his family."

Byrd was conscious and had been having trouble eating, according to a witness.

Kennedy, who underwent brain cancer surgery last year, was taken to the Rayburn room after suffering an apparent convulsion before being rushed to a hospital, House officials told our Patrick O'Connor.

President Obama's Inaugural Address

The prepared text, with thanks to SusanG at DailyKos:

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

The 44th President of the United States of America

"The work begins again, the hope rises anew, and the dream lives on." --Sen. Teddy Kennedy

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Retrospective Look at George W. Bush

LithiumCola at DailyKos:
He was an imbecile. He was a man of below-average intelligence, perhaps even slightly impaired, who mistook his own fantasy life for the good of the nation and was perfectly content to put people to a lot of trouble in order to attain both. He liked fart jokes.

[...]That, and war. There never was anything more to the man than that. Not in high school, not in college, not in failed business after failed business, not before the booze and not during the booze and not after the booze. There was nothing more than fart jokes and war.
I couldn't have said it better myself. And now, our long national nightmare is almost over. Less than fifteen hours to go!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Stupidity... hearing Larry King ask Stevie Wonder and David Patterson, consecutively, "What do you see in Barack Obama?"

Friday, January 16, 2009

Birds Of A Feather

Norm Coleman hires Nasser Kazeminy's lawyer, as the FBI closes in:
With his senatorial hopes hinging on a legal challenge to Minnesota's recount process, former Sen. Norm Coleman has reportedly turned to high-powered lawyer, Joe Friedberg, to handle his case.

[...]The list of clients that Freidberg represents includes Nasser Kazeminy, a major GOP donor and businessman who allegedly funneled $75,000 to Coleman's family. Kazeminy has been sued in Texas court for directing payments to the Senator's wife for the purpose of helping out the family financially, under the guise of insurance coverage. Coleman never reported this money on his ethics reports, and he may be under investigation by both the FBI and the Senate Ethics Committee.

That Coleman would turn to the same lawyer representing his benefactor doesn't appear to create a legal conflict of interest. But the optics -- a circle of well-connected and powerful officials doing legal and political deeds for one another -- are not great. Moreover, there are already questions swirling as to how Coleman, one of the Senate's least rich members, can afford the legal bills to mount his post-election legal challenges. By retaining a high-profile attorney who is already representing one of his chief donors, he will likely only add to the speculation.

Strib Files For Bankruptcy, Surprises No One

The Minneapolis StarTribune today filed Chapter 13:
The Star Tribune, saddled with high debt and a sharp decline in print advertising, filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition Thursday night.

Minnesota's largest newspaper will try to use bankruptcy to restructure its debt and lower its labor costs.

The filing, which was made with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the southern district of New York, had been expected for months. It follows several missed payments to the paper's lenders, and it comes less than two years after a private equity group, New York-based Avista Capital Partners, bought the paper for $530 million.

In its filing, the newspaper listed assets of $493.2 million and liabilities of $661.1 million.

Like most newspapers, the Star Tribune has experienced a sharp decline in print advertising. Its earnings before interest, taxes and debt payments were about $26 million in 2008, down from about $59 million in 2007 and $115 million in 2004.

Oh my, whatever will the local wingnuts have to bitch about, now that their beloved "Red Star" is drowning in red ink? Years and years of bitching about the so-called "liberal" bias of a paper that put a nutty rightwing columnist on its front page, supported Norm Coleman's reelection bid, and generally made an ass of itself by copying every journalistic trend for a decade, and now the Strib is going to join the Big 3 automakers and Citigroup in begging Barack Obama for a handout. Print is generally going to hell across the country--why pay for a classified ad when you can post on Craigslist for free?--but the Star Tribune seemed to make a special effort to screw up everything in sight.

And these local nutters want to complain and call the paper "Communist"? (Psst--ain't no commies 'round here anymore, Cap'n!) Get real. The paper is filing for bankruptcy because the Start Tribune sucks as a newspaper. It veers every which way politically, edits wire service articles (the main reason I stopped reading it years ago), and generally is unrepresentative of its locale. Give me a good local paper, and I'll read it. The Strib isn't it.

Preach It, Al!

Via, by way of Coates and Pam's House Blend, the Rev. Al Sharpton on Prop. 8:
"There is something immoral and sick about using all of that power to not end brutality and poverty, but to break into people's bedrooms and claim that God sent you," Sharpton told a full house on Sunday.

"It amazes me," he said, "when I looked at California and saw churches that had nothing to say about police brutality, nothing to say when a young black boy was shot while he was wearing police handcuffs, nothing to say when they overturned affirmative action, nothing to say when people were being [relegated] into poverty, yet they were organizing and mobilizing to stop consenting adults from choosing their life partners."

"I am tired," he went on, "of seeing ministers who will preach homophobia by day, and then after they're preaching, when the lights are off they go cruising for trade...We know you're not preaching the Bible, because if you were preaching the Bible we would have heard from you. We would have heard from you when people were starving in California--when they deregulated the economy and crashed Wall Street you had nothing to say. When [accused Ponzi scammer] Madoff made off with the money, you had nothing to say. When Bush took us to war chasing weapons of mass destruction that weren't there you had nothing to say.

"But all of a sudden, when Proposition 8 came out, you had so much to say, but since you stepped in the rain, we're going to step in the rain with you."

When's he's right, he's right!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Societe Generale Analyst: "A Depression Is Coming"...WTF Do We Do NOW?

The Societe Generale analyst who called the market rebound in October now says to prepare for a depression in America and the possibility that China could "implode":
In a highly bearish note, veteran cross asset strategist Albert Edwards said investors should now cut equity exposure after a turn-of-the-year rally and prepare for a rout.

He predicted that the S&P 500 index of U.S. stocks could be set for a fall of around 40 percent from recent levels.

Edwards also raised the danger of a global trade war with China.

"While economic data in developed economies increasingly reflects depression rather than a deep recession, the real surprise in 2009 may lie elsewhere," Edwards wrote.

"It is becoming clear that the Chinese economy is imploding and this raises the possibility of regime change. To prevent this, the authorities would likely devalue the yuan. A subsequent trade war could see a re-run of the Great Depression."

Sam Jones, blogging at FT Alphaville, calls Edwards' accompanying charts "frightening":

The OECD’s leading indicators are pointing to a total and swift collapse in Chinese GDP growth. Edwards produces two more graphs, using another indicator not included in the OECD’s calculations - electric power output.

And the relationship between electric power output and GDP:
If the Chinese economy collapses, or even slows dramatically, then the raison d’etre for the country’s huge FX reserves - as a sterilisation measure to dampen domestic inflation - will evaporate. With that, so will China’s US Treasury holdings. Or alternatively the Chinese could devalue the yuan.

Either way, the US will be in trouble. Treasury prices could collapse (although given the current renewed banking collapse fears, not before a significant rally has occured) and if that happens, the Fed’s yield-lowering credit easing policies will be left in tatters. As will any plans for economic stimulus packages. Hypothetically that would leave just the nuclear option: devaluing the dollar.

I read articles like these and worry. President-Elect Obama has enough problems with wingnut Republicans, Middle East upheaval, and environmental disasters already, on top of two wars and cleaning up Washington after the Bush crime family leaves town, to be facing a world-wide financial depression and the collapse of the Chinese government.

But I don't see a flaw in Edwards' figures. All the Wal-Marts in the world can't change those graph lines and trends. And Americans themselves are already in a helluva jam.

U.S. foreclosure filings jumped 81 percent last year as falling house prices, tighter mortgage lending and the longest recession in a quarter century battered property owners, RealtyTrac Inc. said.

[...]The nation lost more than 2.6 million jobs last year, the most since 1945, and U.S. stocks had their worst performance since the Great Depression.

[...]The foreclosure crisis will probably deepen this year as lenders put thousands of bank-owned properties on the market, said real estate broker Mike Novak-Smith in Moreno Valley, California, near Riverside. He said he expects one U.S. lender that he declined to identify to put 3,000 foreclosed homes on the market next month in Southern California.

“I think it will get substantially worse,” Novak-Smith, of the RE/MAX Results brokerage, said in an interview. “You’ve got people losing jobs right and left and the general business climate is bad. We’ve got an economy built on easy credit, and now it’s got to revert.”

So we're deep in debt, homeless, out of work, and we may not be able to charge any more cheap plastic crap at Wal-Mart?? Whatever will all the suburban shoppers do?--oh, right: they're living in cardboard boxes now, anyway, because the repo man took their cars. This isn't a problem for Obama, this is a job for Superman!

Oh, BTW: remember, it's OBAMA'S Recession now:
Got it? Obama OWNS the economy the day he becomes President. His fault. That growth during the Clinton years- that was due to Reagan. The bad stuff from 2000 on, that was the Clinton economy, until, of course, the 20th, when it becomes Obama’s.
So it'a all on Obama's head, come Tuesday. I pray for him. And whatever diety you worship, pray for him too...and for us all.

Global Warming?

This morning's temp was -24. Rather than make the attempt myself, I'll let Louis Black explain to non-Minnesotans what that really means:

L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace!

Roland Burris is sworn in as the junior senator from Illinois:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wingnuts Confuse Fantasy With Reality

Saw this on Huffington Post...the far-right has lost the ability to discern objective reality from a television show?! Watch and laugh:

Olbermann also made note of this the other night. What's wrong with these fools? Worse, what's wrong with their viewers, that they willingly listen to this tripe? These guys are losing it!

Monday, January 12, 2009

When Are His Fifteen Minutes Up Already?!

Joe the Plumber:
"I’ll be honest with you. I don’t think journalists should be anywhere allowed war. I mean, you guys report where our troops are at. You report what’s happening day to day. You make a big deal out of it. I think it’s asinine. You know, I liked back in World War I and World War II when you’d go to the theater and you’d see your troops on, you know, the screen and everyone would be real excited and happy for’em. Now everyone’s got an opinion and wants to downer–and down soldiers. You know, American soldiers or Israeli soldiers.

I think media should be abolished from, uh, you know, reporting. You know, war is hell. And if you’re gonna sit there and say, 'Well look at this atrocity,' well you don’t know the whole story behind it half the time, so I think the media should have no business in it."
Wingnut harpie Michelle Malkin has written "If a community organizer can be president and a Saturday Night Live comedian can be a U.S. senator, why can’t a plumber be a reporter?" Well, I'll tell you why: the community organizer and the comedian both went to Harvard (respectively, Harvard Law School and Harvard University), they both can put together a coherent sentence without syntactic errors, and they're both light-years ahead of Joe in the smarts department.

Hey, Joe, ya dumbass, guess what?--you're now a journalist, G-d help us all! So take your own advice, get out of Gaza, go home, and please disappear.

The willingness of the rightwing media to prostitute itself is truly beyond belief.

I Always Knew He Had A Plan

The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, will kickoff Obama’s inaugural festivities:
An Obama source: “Robinson was in the plans before the complaints about Rick Warren. Many skeptics will read this as a direct reaction to the Warren criticism – but it’s just not so.” Robinson has been referred to as “the most controversial Christian in the world.”
Hah! Take that, oh ye of little faith. Obama continues to defy pigeon-holing. He really did mean all that shit about listening to all sides. This man is going to surprise everyone when he's President. And I sincerely hope that Bishop Robinson dances with his partner at the inaugural ball.

Bush's Final Press Conference

Watching the last (thank GAWD!) Bush press conference this morning, I was struck by the unreality of this man. He takes no responsibility for anything that has happened on his watch. He even had the gall to say that he's had fun. FUN! The man has fucked up the entire planet, ruined everything he's touched, and he's had fun doing it?

Iraq, Afghanistan, New Orleans, the economy, national security, the environment, civil liberties, America's reputation abroad and our alliances, the political climate in Washington, respect for public office, corruption in elected officials, race relations, immigration issues, LGBT rights--the list goes on and on. We are worse off as a nation, a species, and a planet than we were in 2000. Yet Bush claimed that he chose and lead a team comprised of the best possible people, that they did the best that they could, and despite it all, darn it, they had fun.

Damn this man, and all his minions!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I Thought Something Smelled Out There...

...and it's the idea of nominating Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon-General. Paul Krugman sparked my memory:
I don’t have a problem with Gupta’s qualifications. But I do remember his mugging of Michael Moore over Sicko. You don’t have to like Moore or his film; but Gupta specifically claimed that Moore “fudged his facts”, when the truth was that on every one of the allegedly fudged facts, Moore was actually right and CNN was wrong.
I think that Dr. Gupta is a publicity-hound and, despite being a neurosurgeon, a less-than-brilliant medical reporter. I've found fault with several of his reports on CNN, particularly his story last fall on John McCain's health care plan. I thought that Gupta's reporting on McCain's ludicrous "plan" was misleading and insubstantial, and apparently, the Columbia Journalism Review agreed. Gary Schwitzer at the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism & Mass Communication has also had his problems with Gupta's independence and professionalism.

Gutpa may be a neurosurgeon, but he is not a leader in his profession; he's a celebrity, the Dr. Phil of medicine and medical reporting. Frankly, I think this is like nominating Paris Hilton for Secretary of HUD. It's based more on fame than competence, and it's a bad idea.

Looks like John Conyers agrees with me. The Huffington Post reports that Rep. Conyers "has written a letter to Democratic colleagues urging them to join him in publicly opposing the nomination of Dr. Sanjay Gupta for Surgeon General." In a letter to his fellow Democratics, Conyers, the chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, wrote:
[...] there are highly experienced medical professionals who question whether Dr. Gupta has the necessary experience or even the medical background to be in charge of some 6,000 physicians or more who work in the United States Public Health Service. Gerard M. Farrel, Executive Director of the Commissioned Officers Association, stated in the January 7, 2008 Washington Post that Dr. Gupta will certainly face a "credibility gap" because he never served in the National Health Service Corp, and furthermore, does not have the "experience or qualifications to be the leader of the nation's public health service." Clearly, it is not in the best interests of the nation to have someone like this who lacks the requisite experience needed to oversee the federal agency that provides crucial health care assistance to some of the poorest and most underserved communities in America.
C'mon, how long are we going to believe in the cult of celebrity?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Joe the Plumber to become war correspondent:
Joe The Plumber is putting down his wrenches and picking up a reporter's notebook.

The Ohio man who became a household name during the presidential campaign says he is heading to Israel as a war correspondent for the conservative Web site

Samuel J. Wurzelbacher (WUR'-zuhl-bah-kur) says he'll spend 10 days covering the fighting.

He tells WNWO-TV in Toledo that he wants to let Israel's "'Average Joes' share their story."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


The Rude Pundit breaks it down for ya'll:
When Al Franken decided to run for the Senate in Minnesota, it was as one type of crusade, to redeem the seat of Paul Wellstone, ripped away by Wellstone's death in a plane crash and then by Republican subterranean ratfuckers, who manipulated Wellstone's memorial into some kind of anti-American face fart. Franken, who has talked repeatedly about this as another kind of scar, went into the election to take down Norm Coleman, the slick as shit huckster who was elected over Walter Mondale, the Wellstone surrogate in 2002. There was redemption to be had, and someone with celebrity and name recognition and deep pockets was the person to do it.

What the election turned into was another kind of redemption for Democrats. 'Cause, see, when Franken didn't concede the tight race back in November, he finally stood up and said let's see what happens when you actually fight for all the votes cast. When he decided not to be a mensch, like Gore and Kerry did with their tails between their legs, he demonstrated that Democrats can get into the kind of bare knuckle fight that Republicans have challenged them to time and again. And win.

Yeah, Coleman might fight, but he'll lose. The Republicans are gonna be fucking pieces of shit about Franken's election, but that's what Republicans do. They'll lose, too. So now there's someone heading to DC who is a wholehearted liberal, someone who learned from 2000 and 2004, put on his brass knuckles, and said, "Let's go."
I've been angry for a long, long time, watching this sleazy, opportunistic hack, Norm Coleman, despoil Paul Wellstone's senate seat. For the duration of his term, Norm Coleman has represented only himself, not the people of Minnesota (OK, maybe he's been a good representative for Nieman Marcus and Nordstrom's, too). Normie hugged Bush tighter than a cheap suit until the polls started going against him, but by then Coleman had no record to speak of when it became time for his own reelection.

So Norm slimed Al Franken, an intelligent, good, and honest man, throughout the election season. Normie played up Al's past comedic career to prevent the spotlight from shining on Norm's own stint as resident joke and corrupt little clown in the U.S. Senate, and ran the dirtiest campaign this state has ever seen. Norm has whined and sued and sputtered ever since November 4th, but now, when it's time for him to take his own advice and not prolong this contest in the face of an undeniable win, what's he going to do? By all accounts, he's going to do what he always does: sue when he can't win honestly.

Poor Normie. You can try to delay it all you want, Norm, but Minnesota's newest senator is Al Franken. Even Harry Reid says you'll never serve in the Senate again. Move back to Long Island and get high again, Norm; or maybe you can move to Alaska--I hear they might want a new governor in a few years. Either way, just go, Norm. GTFO!

Congratulations to Senator-Elect Al Franken, a tough and tested progressive Democrat, who will help us bring back America.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Buh-Bye, Norm, Hello Senator Franken!

The Associated Press:
A Minnesota board on Monday certified results showing Democrat Al Franken winning the state's U.S. Senate recount over Republican Norm Coleman, whose lawyer promised a legal challenge that will keep the race in limbo for weeks. The Canvassing Board's declaration started a seven-day clock for Coleman, the incumbent, to file a lawsuit protesting the result. His attorney Tony Trimble said the challenge will be filed within 24 hours.
Hey Norm, do you remember saying these words?
"Yesterday the voters spoke. We prevailed," Coleman said Wednesday at a news conference. He noted Franken could opt to waive the recount.

"It's up to him whether such a step is worth the tax dollars it will take to conduct," Coleman said, telling reporters he would "step back" if he were in Franken's position.

Time to be a man, Norm. It's over. Go. You ran a scummy campaign, you lost, and now it's time to GTFOH. You've got other things to worry about, anyway, like impending corruption charges.

And hello, Senator-Elect Franken!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Say It Ain't So, Bill

Bill Richardson withdraws as the nominee for Secretary of Commerce:
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson abandoned his nomination to become commerce secretary under pressure of a grand jury investigation into a state contract awarded to his political donors _ an investigation that threatened to embarrass President-elect Barack Obama.

Aww hell, Bill, but congrats for showing the Republicans how it's done. Just withdraw honestly, and then clear your name. We need you. And damn Blago for raising an already-high bar.

Franken Ahead By 225 Votes

Yesterday, Al Franken pulled dramatically ahead in the recount of the Minnesota Senate race. Norm Coleman is now faced with the decision to either sue and contest the entire election, or to finally face reality and admit defeat. I wonder if he's both arrogant enough, and stupid enough, to try and do that. Certainly, the local and national pundits don't think he can win:

TPM Election Central:
Today's events in Minnesota make it appear that a Norm Coleman victory is now pretty much impossible -- and it just so happens to have occurred on the day his Senate term officially expired. A nice extra touch.

Election officials today counted through about 950 absentee ballots that both campaigns agreed had been wrongly rejected, completing the recount unless there is any new court intervention. The result: Al Franken's paper-thin lead of 49 votes has now jumped to 225 votes -- way beyond what most people crunching the numbers expected, based on the geographic spread of the newly-counted ballots.

The results of the additional absentee ballots give the Franken campaign continued momentum and make it more difficult for Coleman’s campaign to overturn the results in a post-recount challenge. The 225-vote margin is more than many observers expected Franken to have at this stage.

Indeed, even if some of the Coleman campaign claims regarding double-counted ballots and missing ballots were resolved in their favor, Coleman still would likely be trailing Franken.

It looks like it's just about over for Normie. Even Powerline is giving up on my favorite carpetbagger:
Given the magnitude of Franken's lead at this point, in excess of the 130 or so votes that are at issue with respect to duplicate ballots disputed by the Coleman campaign and reserved by the Supreme Court for an election contest, I wonder whether Senator Coleman may now choose not to file an election contest following the declaration of Franken as the winner of the recount on Monday.

Either way, Minnesota is down a senator today, as Coleman's term expired on Saturday. I agree with some other local bloggers that Norm should give up and concede. Norm, listen to Marshall Helmberger, and for once in your life, do the right thing!

I also agree with Chuck Schumer that the Senate should seat Al on Tuesday when the 111th Congress convenes. I make no apologies for this. I'm tired of playing pattycake with the GOP. President Obama can be the Great Conciliator--and I hope that he will be--but as for me, I plan on breaking my progressive Democratic foot off in some elephant butt, every time they try to obstruct us from rebuilding this nation. Let John Cornyn bluster; call his bluff, I say. Make him reveal the GOP obstructionist agenda right from the start. It's time to start teaching the Repugs that things have changed.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year, and WTF are They Up To NOW?

Happy New Year to everyone. I'm recovering from a total systems failure just after Xmas, and I'm presently practicing my New Year's resolution to drop Windows this year by posting this from my new Ubuntu Linux installation (v.8.10 Intrepid Ibex, for the tech-savvy out there). Screw you, Micro$oft!

Now, what the hell has been going on? In just the last five days, the Israelis have begun bombing Gaza, the Pakistanis and the Indians are tettering on the verge of starting the world's first nuclear war, Norm Coleman is whining about Al Franken all the way to the loser's box in the Minnesota Senate race, oil is back above $40/barrel, Blago had the nerve to appoint an egomanaical hack to Barack Obama's Senate seat, and Bush is still trying to lie about his record, and the GOP is still singing "Barack the Magic Negro"??--WTF?! And, oh yeah: a Muslim family with three small children was dragged off an airplane for the crime of wondering where the safest seats were, and John Cormyn can kiss my ass--Harry Reid should call his bluff.

Watch out, wingnuts, I'm back!!