Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Reinfather

Merry Freakin' Christmas.

Pallin' Around With Drug Dealers - UPDATED

It seems Bristol Palin is marrying into a family whose future* mother in law is a cyrstal meth drug dealer.

The mother of Levi Johnston, the Wasilla teenager who is the father of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter's unborn child, was arrested Thursday on drug charges.

The Anchorage Daily News reported Friday that Sherry L. Johnston, 42, was arrested by Alaska State Troopers at her Wasilla home and charged with six felony counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance.
So, using Sarah Palin's guilt by association logic, it seems she's been pallin' around with drug dealers in her hometown of Wasilla, the crystal meth capital of Alaska. And this on the day before Bristol's due date.

If it's a girl, I hope they name her Crystal. I guess it's the thing to do up there considering Levi's mom was named after his grandmother's favorite cooking wine.

(*Levi Johnston and Bristol are still not married.)

UPDATE (10:10pm): Thanks to commenter Chris for bringing this to my attention. It seems that Sherry Johnston's drug arrest is oxycontin related, which means that Rush Limbaugh will most likely vigorously defend her to his death, which in my opinion can't come soon enough. Still doesn't change the fact the Miss Wasilla is pallin' around with drug dealers.

Must Reads

Robert Parry: Obama v. Washington Mythmaking

Amy Goodman: Workers laid off, execs paid off

Marjorie Cohn: Cheney Throws Down Gauntlet, Defies Prosecution for War Crimes

The Rude Pundit: Tubby the Preacher Says That, Because He Fucks Women, "I Have Fewer Broken Hearts. I Have Less STDs"

Doctor Biobrain: The Shoe Rebellion

Obama's Weekly Address - Dec. 20, 2008

T Minus 31 Days

"It's a time of sorrow and sadness when we lose a loss of life."

- Washington, DC, December 21, 2004

Friday, December 19, 2008

Lieberman Did What Now?

Looks like the slap on the hand might have pointed Holy Joe Lieberman in the right direction. Well, at least he's actually doing something as Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

In a letter to the Office of Personnel Management, the Connecticut Independent demanded information about the outgoing president's "eleventh-hour transfers of political appointees to career government positions."

"At the end of each Administration, there are always concerns that political appointees may improperly convert to career positions," writes Lieberman. "The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently provided a briefing to Committee staff on the process of converting Executive Branch employees from non-career to career positions, often referred to as 'burrowing in.' While I appreciated the information provided at the briefing, I am requesting additional information to ensure that every request to burrow in is transparent, fair and equitable, and free from political influence."
Could Lieberman actually be doing his job and overseeing the Bush administration's abuse of power? Holy check and balances, Batman!

The Rick Warren Debate

I haven't posted much yesterday and today because I've been doing a lot of reading at where Bob and fellow poster Lee Stranahan have been having a vigorous debate regarding the decision to have Rick Warren give the invocation at Barack Obama's inaugural ceremony.

If you care to take a trip over there, I'm sure something will strike a chord.

Mark Felt Dies at 95

NY TIMES: W. Mark Felt, who was the No. 2 official at the F.B.I. when he helped bring down President Richard M. Nixon by resisting the Watergate cover-up and becoming Deep Throat, the most famous anonymous source in American history, died Thursday. He was 95 and lived in Santa Rosa, Calif.

...Mr. Felt played a dual role in the fall of Nixon. As a secret informant, he kept the story alive in the press. As associate director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he fought the president’s efforts to obstruct the F.B.I.’s investigation of the Watergate break-in.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Music Break! Mel Tormé & Judy Garland

The Christmas Song

The Rick Warren Issue

Yesterday it was reported that Rick Warren was chosen to give the invocation at President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration. At first I thought it was a joke or a misreporting.

Surely there are better choices than the anti-choice Rick Warren who compared abortion to the Holocaust. There must be a better pick than the anti-gay rights Rick Warren who, athough admitting that divorce is a bigger threat to marriage than gay marriage, still compared it to incest and pedophilia while hiding behind the excuse of the "redefinition" of marrige (which is fodder for a completely different post altogether). The man who said that stem-cell research is "non negotiable" for Evangelicals when deciding on their presidential choice couldn't be the guy that Obama chose to speak at his inauguration, could it?

It looks like it is true, and for a moment I felt a little better after reading this:

...the decision to get involved with Saddleback was actually not Obama's. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, run by the House and Senate, put together the program for the swearing-in ceremony. Congress, not Obama, invited Warren...

What the hell is that all about? Great, so Obama doesn't have a choice on who gets to give the invocation at his own inauguration ceremony?

Or does he? Why is the New York Times online reporting it this way a full day later?

Barack Obama has selected the Rev. Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor and author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, a role that positions Mr. Warren to succeed Billy Graham as the nation’s pre-eminent minister and reflects the generational changes in the evangelical Christian movement.

...Mr. Obama’s inauguration program, for Jan. 20, was announced Wednesday by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Celebrations.

Inauguration programs follow a traditional outline but also allow a president-elect to put his stamp on the proceedings and set the tone for his administration.

The choice of Mr. Warren, pastor of a megachurch in Orange County, Calif., is an olive branch to conservative Christian evangelicals. Mr. Warren is an outspoken opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage — litmus-test issues for Christian conservatives. In fact, his selection set off a round of criticism by gay rights groups angered by his support for California’s ban on same-sex marriages.

So did Obama decide on Warren or what is decided for him? Did the "release" of this information precede Obama's knowledge of it in an attempt to corner him into accepting the program? And why haven't we heard a statement from the transition team? Or is the quesiton even being asked - too much Blagojevichin' to worry about Warren, you know.

I have mixed feelings about this. If this is a political game to placate the Religious Right and try to win them over, then it won't work. Even though Obama did get twice the number of votes from young Evangelicals that Kerry received in 2004 he still received about 25% of their vote overall, the same as Kerry. The other issue I fear is the "what have you done for me lately" effect. Sure, the Religious Right will tolerate Obama... for about as long as Warren's invocation lasts. But unless he's going to do a 180 on Pro-Choice and stem-cell research, I don't think he'll gain any new supporters, and he'd certainly lose more than he'd gain.

On the flip side, what does the choice of Warren say about what Obama or the Democratic party thinks of it's Progessive supporters. Right now, they are majorly pissed off about the Warren issue.

"My blood pressure is really high right now," said Rev. Chuck Currie, minister at Parkrose Community United Church of Christ in Portland, Oregon. "Rick Warren does some really good stuff and there are some areas that I have admired his ability to build bridges between evangelicals and mainline religious and political figures... but he is also very established in the religious right and his position on social issues like gay rights, stem cell research and women's rights are all out of the mainstream and are very much opposed to the progressive agenda that Obama ran on. I think that he is very much the wrong person to put on the stage with the president that day."


..."Pastor Warren, while enjoying a reputation as a moderate based on his affable personality and his church's engagement on issues like AIDS in Africa, has said that the real difference between James Dobson and himself is one of tone rather than substance," read a statement from People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert. "He has repeated the Religious Right's big lie that supporters of equality for gay Americans are out to silence pastors. He has called Christians who advance a social gospel Marxists. He is adamantly opposed to women having a legal right to choose an abortion."


..."Let me get right to the point," Joe Solomnese, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a harsh
letter to the president-elect, "Your invitation to Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration is a genuine blow to LGBT Americans."

Does someone get to review what Warren will say in his invocation before the event? Will he insert some unapproved passage and take a shot at the LGBT community? Will he compare Pro-choicers to Hitler? Probably not. But there's always that slim chance...

To those who aren't especially religious (including yours truly), does it really matter? Just because Warren is there doesn't mean Obama is all of a sudden adopting Warren's policy views. And I think we're pretty safe to assume that Obama is still in favor of the separation of church and state. Otherwise, we should just be pissed off that there is an invocation and a benediction to begin with. We should be angry that religious observance is part of the inauguration ceremony at all, shouldn't we? Or is that just a formality and therefore okay?

We take what we want out of the words of these people, don't we? If we are in agreement with them, it is of a secular nature. If we happen to disagree with something, it's based on their religious beliefs and don't pertain to us. Yes, Warren has said some pretty shitty things, but that's not to say he hasn't done any good. And let's not forget that Rev. Joseph Lowery, who was a founding leader of the Civil Rights Movement will be there as well. Does Lowery's benediction cancel out Warren's invocation? Does it supercede it?

And finally, maybe in Barack Obama we really did get someone who is doing what he said he would do.

Lee Stranahan:

Apparently, Barack Obama meant what he said about our politics being too small for our problems.

...I don't understand how anyone who listened to Obama during the campaign would be shocked that Obama lets Warren give the invocation. It's vintage Obama. It does not signal agreement with Warren's political positions, some of which are clearly at odds with Obama's. Warren isn't making policy or even giving a sermon. He's saying a prayer and then possibly dancing later at some inaugural parties. If anything, it's the possibility of this dancing that should be deeply troubling to all Americans.

...Rick Warren felt some of this same heat when he invited Barack Obama to speak at his church on World Aids Day. Conservatives railed against Warren for legitimizing Obama. People with different political opinions aren't supposed to come together in anything but a shouting match.

...There's something bigger at play here and you can't say Obama didn't warn you. He talked about reaching out, about expanding our politics and that crazy bastard actually meant it. Nobody on the left or right quite knows what to make of it. We want to cram Obama into our old, divisive, two toned ideological and political frame and if he doesn't fit, we'll attack him too. Attacking is what we're used to doing.

But in the long run this new politics benefits us all. Ironically, it benefits the minorities and marginalized and ill-treated the most. I know this may be hard for many to see right now but the truth is that this sort of symbol is what America needs. Not seeing just Warren on stage or just Lowery but seeing both of them of there at once.

Obama said it in the abstract time and again during the campaign. Now he's showing us. Seeing the things that Pastor Rick Warren and Reverend Joseph Lowery have in common is more important than seeing the things that separate them. America needs to see that. It's a step down the road where a majority of us see the things that straight Americans in love want are the same things that gay Americans in love want, too.
Lee Stranahan is a better man than I. My first instinct is definitely not "do unto others." I think I eventually get there most of the time, and not so quickly. But I do agree with his idea that attacking is what we are used to doing, so maybe we should keep an open mind about things. Case in point, now it seems that the Religious Right is angered over Warren's participation in the inauguration.

So who knows? Maybe he'll back out, although I doubt it. Just as I doubt Obama would change his mind about having him there.

UPDATE (12:20pm): Obama press conference where he is asked about the Warren choice.

(H/T Paddy)

Also, more Stranahan:
If opposing same-sex marriage but being on record for equal rights is homophobic then Obama, Clinton, and Edwards are all homophobic. I can think someone is wrong about gay marriage without calling them a homophobe. Throwing around that word doesn't help and it's generally unprovable.

UPDATE II (3:10pm): Thom Hartmann. Wow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sock and Awe!

Now you too can pretend to be an Iraqi journalist and throw a size 10 at George W. Bush's head!


But if you feel like sending a shoe to Dubya, why don't you send a pair here instead?

Today's Morning Joke™ Dumbass Quote

Joe Scarborough on the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme (paraphrasing): "I'm not saying that there isn't blame to go around on all sides, but the Democrats and Barney Frank had no oversight. And Chuck Schumer is basically running Wall Street from Washington, DC."

As if this scheme to bilk $50 BILLION from unsuspecting investors only took place in the last two years of a Congressional Democratic majority. And of course, Schumer should have seen this immediately after the $700 billion financial bailout.

By the way, I only heard this while flipping on Morning Joke™ for about 30 seconds. I have a bet with myself that they're going to say something ridiculous on this sorry excuse for a show within the first minute of my TV going on, and I haven't been disappointed yet.

Joe Scarborough: Douchebag of the Day.

T Minus 34 Days

"See, without the tax relief package, there would have been a deficit, but there wouldn't have been the commiserate - not commiserate - the kick to our eceonomy that occurred as a result of the tax relief."

- Washington, DC, December 15, 2000

Monday, December 15, 2008

Evil Incarnate

Well, not too much blogging for me today. Spent the day with the little Mrs. , running errands, trimming the tree (that's sounds nasty) and attending a friend's Christmas party. Got home and caught up on some TV. Needless to say, I was cable news free for the day - good thing too, I needed to clear my head.

But the one thing I did hear is that the King of the Douchebags, DICK Cheney said something to the effect of "even if we knew there were no WMD, we would have gone into Iraq anyways, because that's how I roll, motherfuckers!"

I haven't even looked up the direct quote, so I'll search for it now. Be right back... in the meantime, you can hum The Girl From Ipanema to yourself while waiting.


Okay, I'm back. So basically, it looks like Cheney was disagreeing with a Karl Rove quote while he was playing Salvage the Bush Legacy.

Former White House Adviser Karl Rove said last week that if pre-war intelligence on the Iraqi WMD programs had been accurate, the United States likely would not have entered the war. But asked about Rove’s comment during an interview with ABC News Monday, Cheney said “I disagree with that.”
Then he goes on with the same old story; some such shit about Saddam Hussein still having "the capability to produce weapons of mass destruction. He had the technology, he had the people, he had the basic feed stocks."

Uh, why is this news? We all know that it was bullshit then, it's bullshit now, but somehow it's being fed to us as if this is some revelation. There is no new news about Cheney saying we still would have invaded Iraq even if we knew they didn't have WMD, because... well, we did know that there were no WMD. And we went in anyway. And it's because Cheney is an evil, evil demon. I'm starting to believe that he's not really human. He's evil incarnate.

It was all a money grab. That's all it ever was - privatize the military and get your corporate friends the overinflated government contracts, have them do a shitty job, leave the place worse off than when you went in, say it wasn't your fault, rinse and repeat. And don't forget to bleed the Treasury dry in the process. The $700 billion TARP bailout was the final slice across the throat to bleed out the country before riding off into the sunset with boatloads of cash.

UPDATE (12/17/08 12:35am): Anyone in public office who says "So what?" in a conversation as a rebuttal ought to be tarred and feathered. I thought he was just an imbecile, but I've come to realize that even Bush was smart enough to know the Devil when he saw it, and went along for the ride anyway.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Boot To The Head! Shoes Thrown At Bush During Iraq News Conference

I just caught this in passing but it looks like an Iraqi reporter went apeshit during a joint news conference in Iraq with George W. Bush and Nouri Al-Maliki and threw his shoes at the President. Both shoes misssed as Bush ducked. Video to follow as soon as I can find it.

UPDATE: Here's the link to the BBC video. No embedding yet.

So, I know that lame duck Georgie has been phoning it in for the last couple of months, but where the fuck was Secret Service? The guy got two shoes off! And the President? Impressively quick for a dry drunk.

UPDATE II: You gotta love Think Progress. Looks like Dana Perino took a shot in the eye from a microphone during the melee.

UPDATE III: Here's the Fox report. Better video, although I could've done without the last line of commentary. (The best quality video for viewing is the BBC link above.)

UPDATE IV (9:10pm):
George W. Bush regarding the shoe incident:

"So what if the guy threw his shoe at me?" Bush told a reporter in response to a question about the incident.

"Let me talk about the guy throwing his shoe. It's one way to gain attention. It's like going to a political rally and having people yell at you. It's like driving down the street and having people not gesturing with all five fingers.

It's a way for people to draw attention. I don't know what the guy's cause is. But one thing is for certain. He caused you to ask me a question about it. I didn't feel the least bit threatened by it."
It never occured to him that this guy might have just as easily thrown a knife or a grenade. I'm not so sure of the security of the Green Zone in Iraq, but if Secret Service agents couldn't stop this guy from throwning not one, but two shoes, I'm going to venture to guess that reporters entering the Green Zone are probably not as thoroughly screened as they should be. I'm going to assume that after they enter the borders of the zone, they're going to have a false sense of security and not be on their toes.

George W. Bush: Douchebag of epic proprotions.