Saturday, November 22, 2008

Must Reads Congressman to camp out in Capitol

Candace Gingrich: A Letter to My Brother Newt Gingrich

Michael Isikoff: Obama Considers Commission On Bush Admin Torture

Gail Collins: Time For Him To Go

Obama's Weekly Address - Nov. 22, 2008

Music Break! Tower of Power

What Is Hip?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Palin's Post Pardon Preposterousness

The Governor of Alaska pardoned a Thanksgiving turkey at a Wasilla turkey farm yesterday. She decided to conducted a post pardon interview just outside the farm. The thing is, she was standing in front of a slaughtering trough. It would be bad enough if she hadn't known about it, but when the cameraman asked if she was okay with the background, she reportedly replied, "No worries."

I've watched this video three times now and still haven't heard a word Sarah Palin said during the interview because 1- I originally thought it was gobbling turkeys and 2-because of what's going on in the background. (Warning: graphic images)

Follow along starting at the 1:55 mark:

"Oh! Well this was, this was neat. I was happy to get to be be invited to participate in this and, uh, you know it it- for one, you need a little bit of levity in this job, especially with so much that has gone on the last couple of months that has been so, uh, political obviously that it's nice to get out and, and do something to promote a local business and to, uh, just participate in something that isn't so, uh, heavy handed politics that, uh, invites criticism. Certainly we'll probably invite criticism for even doing this too, but at least this was fun."

Don't know how much fun it was for the turkeys.

Mukasey Collapses... the middle of a speech.

Huffington Post: Mukasey's was noticeably shaking during his speech before he collapsed shortly before 10:20 p.m. EST. His security detail called 911. Mukasey was on the stage for 10 minutes being attended to by his FBI detail before medics arrived, according to a Justice Department official who was there. Mukasey was still breathing at the time, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to talk to the media.

An FBI official said Mukasey got stuck on a word during his speech to the conservative legal group, repeated it several times and then "went down hard."

I hope he's okay and I don't mean to be flippant here, but I wonder if the word was "waterboarding"?

UPDATE (11am):
TPM: A spokeswoman says that Attorney General Michael Mukasey is doing better and that he apparently fainted during a speech, with no signs of a stroke or heart problem.

Maybe he was just drunk?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Too Much Hillary

It's been a week since it was leaked that the Obama transition team was looking at Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State. It's been the Hillary and Bill Show ever since. Bill will drag her down. Doe she want the job? Maybe she wants to be the next "Ted Kennedy" of the Senate. Hillary is torn on making a decision. Bill will do whatever it takes in the vetting process for Hillary. Blah, blah, fucking blah!

Proof positive that at least for the media, Hillary Clinton serves as more of a distraction than anything else. MSNBC even took Tucker Carlson out of mothballs to weigh in on the issue just now. Tucker Carlson! Didn't he have his show cancelled for a reason? If I didn't care what Carlson had to say when he had an hour each weekday, why would I care what he has to say now? But that's the thing. EVERYONE on the MSNBC payroll has beaten this whole Clinton/Sectretary if State thing to the point that they have to bring in Tucker Carlson to add his two cents. That's the equivalent of jumping the shark.

There is no news until Clinton makes a decision. Move on.

Waxman Unseats Dingell - UPDATED

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) has beaten Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) for the Chairmanship of the House's Energy and Commerce Committee by a vote of 137-122. This is big.

Dingell was always a thorn in the side of Democrats when it came to Detroit and tougher CAFE standards. He is about three months away from being the longest serving House member in the history of Congress. Looks like there was some bitter infighting with this committee, with Dingell seeking a final two years as Chairman and Waxman refusing to wait another term to take over the seat.

"Our nation faces many challenges, including the climate crisis, and Congressman Waxman understands that we can't delay in taking on these issues," said Karen Wayland, legislative director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

She also paid tribute to the outgoing Mr. Dingell, saying the group recognized his contribution on toxics, endangered species and other environmental issues.

UPDATE (11/21/08 1:05am):

Jane Hamsher: This is a huge defeat for the Blue Dogs, who have become the primary recipients of the massive corporate donations which used to flow to the Republicans. They were were hoping to use Dingell as a roadblock to keep any meaningful change from happening with regard to issues under the Committee's jurisdiction -- telecommunications and health care, energy and environmental protection, interstate commerce and consumer protection.

Though she never took a public position, nobody has any doubts that Nancy Pelosi orchestrated this.

This week the Senate voted to remain an exclusive club of self-protection and entitlement by letting the corrupt Bush enabler Joe Lieberman keep his gavel, but the House voted for progress.

Anyone who thinks that other members of the House aren't soiling themselves over this huge blow to the traditional system of seniority and entitlement hasn't been paying attention.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Clive Barnes Dies At 81

The only reason to read The New York Post is now gone.

Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg News: Clive Barnes, the avuncular and quotable critic who covered New York's theater and dance scene for more than 40 years, died early this morning in Manhattan at Mount Sinai Medical Center. He was 81 and recently had been diagnosed with liver cancer.

His death was confirmed by the New York Post, where Barnes had served as chief drama and dance critic since 1977.

Time To Shop At Lowe's

Home Depot Founder Bernie Marcus:

"If a retailer has not gotten involved with this, if he has not spent money on this election, if he has not sent money to Norm Coleman and these other guys," Mr. Marcus said, apparently referring to Republican senators facing tough re-election fights, then those retailers "should be shot; should be thrown out of their goddamn jobs."

I will now make a 64 mile round trip drive to the Lowe's in Farmingdale, Long Island for my building supplies and tools rather than shop at the Home Depot that is walking distance from my house. Thanks, Bernie Marcus.

T Minus 62 Days

"We thought we were protected forever from trade policy or terrorist attacks because oceans protected us."

- Santiago, Chile, November 20, 2004 at the APEC Summit

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's A Good Day To Be A Democrat

Everyone is freaking out. Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State? Joe Lieberman's not gone after what he did? What the fuck?! Change, my ass! I didn't sign up for this shit... Or did I?

Just stop and think about it for a minute.

Barack Obama ran on a message of change. A message of hope. But how can we hope to change if we don't rise above the partisan bickering and political infighting that has ravaged our democratic process for so long? Am I expecting Obama to select John McCain for a cabinet position? No. But I wouldn't be surprised if he did.

For once we chose a politician who is already making good on the promises he made while on the campaign trail, but we've been so used to disingenuousness and disappointment, we don't know how to react. We don't know what to make of this person who does what he said he would do.

Lee Stranahan:

...I don't like Joe Lieberman. I was disgusted by Hillary's campaign. And I couldn't be happier with Obama's decisions.

You see, I took all that talk about new politics seriously. In speech after speech, Obama said we had to move past "the smallness of our politics" and he didn't single out the Republicans. He didn't say the smallness of their politics. The smallness has been in both parties and it's turned our political system into a decades long episode of Crossfire where angry and self-righteous adherents shout at each other across an infinite abyss because they are both totally convinced of the righteousness of their own positions.

With these early pre-Presidential decisions, Obama is showing confidence in the idea that he ran on; that America was ready for not just new policies but for a whole new approach to governing. It's the biggest possible change I can imagine.

It's not just good politics. It isn't some clever move. It's what those better angels Obama kept mentioning look like. No wonder it's confusing to so many people of all ideological stripes.

Bob Cesca:

Seriously, now, it's probably not a good idea to totally lose our shpadoinkle every time an Obama announcement rubs us the wrong way -- at this point, there's no need to turn everything into some kind of spasmodic "he's betraying us!" red alert. Disagreements with the administration are bound to happen, but it's also important to keep an eye on the larger narrative thread. Where's he going with this? What's the strategy? Meanwhile, I can think of a long, long list of Republican crazy to prosecute, too.

So in a word: chill.

Jamison Foser:

...we're likely in for yet another round of media snark about the supposed conflict between campaigning on "change" and then hiring Clinton alums.

This is absurd.

...[T]he suggestion that hiring Clinton administration alums is inconsistent with "change" is dependent upon the belief that the Clinton and Bush administrations were identical. Nonsense.

...If the media chatterers want to claim that Obama isn't making good on his promise of "change," they're going to have to do better than simply pointing to the hiring of Clinton administration alumni.
And on that last point, where do you suppose Obama would pick his cabinet from? Preferably whoever he chose would need the requisite experience for the job they would be asked to do, and when was the last successful Democratic administration again? Oh, yeah, the Clinton Administration. Not to say that he's solely going to pick from old Clintonites. You don't see James Carville and George Stephanopolous running around with the Obama entourage, do you?

Think of it this way: Obama asks Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State and the "more of the same" crowd goes ballistic. These same people are saying that Bill Richardson should've been asked. Uh, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Bill Richardson work for the Clinton Administration? Is that "more of the same"? Don't fall for the media dictating the narrative, what is change and what is more of the same. The media is looking for ratings and what better way than to create controversy?

A very intelligent friend of mine and I were having a debate on Obama and the choices he's made so far, between the FISA compromise vote, some of his possible staff choices, etcetera, but on this particular day he was angry about the extensive application form that you'd have to fill out in order to be considered for an interview for a place on the Obama staff. After a spirited talk, he said, "I guess I've been against something for so long, I'm having a hard time and forgotten what it's like to be for something."

And that's it in a nutshell - there will be disappointments along the way as Barack Obama plays more towards the center than we'd like if his administration is to get anything done. If being an extremist worked, we'd be talking about President-elect Dennis Kucinich (don't get me wrong - I love you, Dennis). But Bob Cesca is right. We need to take a step back, take a deep breath and chill for a bit. Let's try and reserve our judgment at least until the man is in office for a little while.

Adding - and by the way, another reason to be a happy Democrat today? Mark Begich has beaten Ted Stevens in Alaska. Go directly to jail, Ted. Do NOT pass Go. Do not collect $200.

Another Piece Of The Puzzle

NBC News confirms that Eric Holder has been offered and accepted the job of Attorney General for the Obama Administration.

There was speculation that the Obama transition team ran it by the Hill first in order to receive assurances that this confirmation would go through smoothly. Erc Holder was acting AG during the Clinton Administration after Janet Reno stepped down when he signed off on the Presidential pardon of Marc Rich.

Lieberman Retains His Position - UPDATED

I am not the least bit surprised.

The secret-ballot vote was 42-13.
Lieberman is losing his chairmanship on an environmental subcommittee.
A slap on the wrist. He'll be gone in 2012 anyway - they don't like him too much in Connecticut anymore. We'll see what transpires before then.

UPDATE (4:20pm): I'm torn on this one. Those of you who have read my previous posts probably already know that.

No one wanted to see Lieberman's balls cut off more than I did. Hell, if they'd asked I would've sharpened my knife and gone down to DC to do it myself - and paid for my own airline ticket for the pleasure. But we have to look at a few things:

1 - Obama's perceived power would have been undercut tremendously if the Senate had gone against his wishes even before he gets into office. Remember that Obama was the first one to say he hoped Lieberman would remain in the caucus.

2 - Lieberman is on thin ice and according to Evan Bayh, he can be removed from his Committee chairs at any time. So one wrong move, and they gut him like a gefilta fish.

3 - Lieberman is a man without a state. He'll be gone in 2012 if not before due to defection or some other such shit. He betrayed his constituents and they're not going to want him back. In the meantime, the Democrats have four years to prop up and back someone to run against Holy Joe in 2012.
Lieberman's job approval was down to 36 percent. With numbers like that, Lieberman only has one choice for the next four years. He has to move to the left, and he has to do it fast. Given his vulnerability with the Connecticut voters, it wouldn't surprise me if Joe Lieberman turns out to be among the strongest allies Barack Obama has in the U.S. Senate.
I think he'll die a slow, painful, insignificant death in the Senate soon enough (metaphorically speaking of course, for those reading this post from the NSA - Hi guys!).

Is Lieberman In Or Out?

Today is the day that the Senate votes by secret ballot to determine the fate of Holy Joe Lieberman and his Democratic Committtee Chairmanships.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT): "Every senator will have to vote the way he or she believes they should. I am one who does not feel that somebody should be rewarded with a major chairmanship after doing what he did. I never ask people, well you must vote for this person or that person. Everybody has to make up their mind. But I felt that some of his attacks that he was involved in against Senator Obama -- whom I did support... I was one of the very first in the Congress to support him -- I thought they went way beyond the pale. I thought they were not fair, I thought that they were not legitimate. I thought that they perpetuated some of these horrible myths that were being run about Senator Obama. I would feel that had I done something similar that I would not be chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee in the next Congress."

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND): "As a chairman of one of our significant committees in the Senate, not just going off and supporting a presidential candidate of the other side but also criticizing the candidate on our side, and also involving himself in a couple of senate races on the other side. The question is, is that acceptable? The answer is no."

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ): "He was on the wrong side of the rope line. It is a decision that is hard to comprehend."

Howard Fineman: "Interestingly, people like Dick Durbin who is the first Democrat in the Senate -- the first Senator, and from Illinois, to support Barack Obama -- is really loaded for bear about Lieberman, he wants to kick Lieberman off that Chairmanship. Chuck Schumer, the head of the Campaign Committee likewise."

It's time to put up or shut up. I've been disappointed so often by the Democratic Party's bluster but lack of action that I'm really not expecting anything different this time. The 60 vote filibuster proof majority is a red herring - Lieberman has shown his colors and I tend to believe that he will lean toward the right side of the issues, and by "right" I don't mean "correct." He'll keep his chairmanships and continue to piss off the Democrats in the Senate and everyone else that wanted him gone.

But I do hope Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) is right: "...if he does retain his chairmanship, we still exert oversight over him and control over him. He doesn't have the ability to just do whatever he wants. The caucus still has the right to remove him from that position at any time if he starts going off on some kind of tangent.
So I simply think it maximizes the chances of getting progressive policies a better outcome if we have a Joe Lieberman, who is a little reticent, who apologizes for the things that he said that were way over the line, and instead is trying to do the right thing, instead of an embittered Joe Lieberman or a Republican replacement who will not be with us any of the time.

...You've got to remember, we have the right to change chairmen at any time during the session, and you know, we would expect him to conduct himself in that capacity, as someone who was supportive of the administration..."

Perhaps for fear of actually losing his position in the caucus, Lieberman will play nice, in which case keeping him on with the threat of throwing him to the curb if he gets out of line may work in the Democrats' favor. What's that saying? Keep your friends close and your meshugenahs closer.

Monday, November 17, 2008

David Frum Quits National Review

Ooooh, he's scared.

... David Frum, a prominent conservative writer who enmeshed himself in a minor dustup during the campaign by turning negative on Governor Palin, is leaving [the National Review]. In an interview, he said he planned to leave the magazine, where he writes a popular blog, to strike out on his own on the Web. ...

"I am really and truly frightened by the collapse of support for the Republican Party by the young and the educated," he said.

Maybe the very reason for the collapse in support is because of the education of the young. I, other other hand, am frightened of the prospects of a David Frum website.

(H/T HuffPo)

Huffington Guest Hosting On Maddow

It looks like Rachel Maddow might be taking a well deserved day off or two. Arianna Huffington is going to be guest hosting The Rachel Maddow Show tonight on MSNBC at 9pm EST. Boy, if the right wing nutballs were calling MSNBC lefty-liberal-pinko before, I wonder what they're going to say about Huffington as a guest host?

T Minus 64 Days

"This thaw -- took a while to thaw, it's going to take a while to unthaw."

- On liquidity in the markets, Alexandria, La., Oct. 20, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Holidays Indeed

Looking for that eye catching Christmas decoration to put on your front lawn that will be the envy of the entire neighborhood? Then look no further than this wonderful treat from American Family Association.

Let Your "Light" Shine For Christ This Christmas Season!

Looking for an effective way to express your Christian faith this Christmas season to honor our Lord Jesus? Now you can.... with the "Original Christmas Cross" yard decoration.

...Decorate this holiday season with the Original Christmas Cross to remind your friends, family, neighbors, and all who drive by your home, office, or church of the real meaning of Christmas.

Because nothing says "Peace on Earth, good will towards men" like having a five and a half foot burning cross in front of your house.
(H/T Bob Cesca)