Saturday, January 10, 2009

Must Reads

NY Times Op-Ed: Not A Company Man

Susan Cornwell: Few speak out for Palestinians in U.S. Congress

Paul Krugman: Romer and Berstein on Stimulus

Bob Cesca: The Myth of Bush As The Hero of 9/11

John Dean: The Damaged Institution of the Presidency, How the Obama Administration Intends to Restore It, And What We Can Expect from New OLC Head Dawn Johnsen

Obama's Weekly Address - Jan. 10, 2009

T Minus 10 Days

"You took an oath to defend our flag and our freedom, and you kept that oath underseas and under fire."

- Washington, DC, January 10, 2006

Friday, January 9, 2009

Dana Perino on The Daily Show

I would say that this is pretty much a softball interview by Stewart but I love the needling that he gives Perino at every turn.

The Final Insult? US Abstains in UN Cease-Fire Vote

I know that the "real" final insult of George W. Bush will be the pardon list we'll get on his way out the door, but I couldn't help but lump this into the same category because really, everything he's doing these last few weeks is all just one big slap in the face.

At the United Nations, fourteen nations approved the Security Council resolution urging a[n Israeli/Palestinian] cease-fire, with the United States abstaining. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States abstained, which left it unclear how a cease-fire would be enforced, because it wanted to see whether mediation efforts undertaken by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt would succeed. The United States did not veto the resolution because Washington supports its overall goals, she said.
They fucking abstained in voting on a cease-fire?! They wanted to wait on Egypt's mediation efforts? I don't EVER want to hear another conservative dickwad like Rush Limbaugh or crack whore like Ann Coulter EVER malign Obama again for voting "present" while in the Illinois State Senate.

This abstention, this non-vote, this "present" vote was a tacit admission by the Bush administration that whatever Israel does is fine by us. I hope that the incoming Obama team would be decent enough, human enough to vote in the affirmative should a situation like this come up again. But that's hard for me to imagine because to this point, the only voice in all of Congress that has been outwardly critical of Israel's disproportionate attack in Gaza has been Dennis Kucinich.
...Kucinich likened the Israeli attacks on Gaza to its war with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in 2006. In both cases, he said, civilian populations were attacked and “countless innocents” were killed or injured.

“All this was, and is, disproportionate, indiscriminate mass violence in violation of international law,” Kucinich said in a statement. “Israel is not exempt from international law and must be held accountable.”

...Kucinich said the perpetrators of attacks against Israel should be brought to justice, but that Israel “cannot create a war against an entire people in order to attempt to bring to justice the few who are responsible.”

...Kucinich said in his statement that he had sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requesting an independent inquiry. He said the attacks on civilians represented collective punishment, which he said was a violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
It's really a shame that Dennis Kucinich isn't taken more seriously throughout the country. Instead of asking policy questions of the Congressman, the talking heads would rather find out if he's seen UFOs.

Also read:
Kucinich, January 8: Bush Administration Ignores Humanitarian Crisis - Israeli Military Prevents Emergency Ambulance Care for Four Days

Music Break! Jamie Cullum

Congratulations to Jamie Cullum on his Golden Globe nomination for his composition on the Gran Torino soundtrack.

T Minus 11 Days

"More Muslims have died at the hands of killers than - I say more Muslims - a lot of Muslims have died - I don't know the exact count - at Istanbul. Look at these different places around the world where there's been tremendous death and destruction because killers kill."

- Washignton, DC, January 2004

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Obama Speech on Economy

I just tuned in to MSNBC and it looks like everyone's waiting on the egde of their seats for President-elect Obama to give "a major speech on the economy." Chris Matthews is wondering why Obama can give a great written speech but isn't as articulate when answering questions in a news conference setting.

Really. Tweety? As compared to whom? Need I say more?

I'll update as I get more.

11:32am - Here's the speech in a nutshell. We know we're going to spend more money and we'll increase the deficit in the short term, but if we don't do anything, we'll continue to lose jobs and precious time.

Obama then laid out the list of programs to rebuild jobs in the private sector.

He also said it's time for Congress to stop dragging their feet. They'll need to work long hours, night and even weekends to get this package done. And there was a reiteration of downplaying adding earmarks to this bill. This bill is not the time for pork.

Video and/or transcript to follow.

11:38am - MSNBC: Obama: Pass stimulus or recession lasts ‘years’
President-elect warns the downturn could become ‘dramatically worse’

11:43am - NY Times: Obama to Warn of Costs of Inaction on the Economy

12:05pm: Video of the speech.

12:08PM - Motherfuckin' Mitch McConnell with his "mob museums and water slides" bullshit line again. God, I hate that asshole. And he'd like to see the stimulus package be given to the states as LOANS. I don't claim know anything about economics, but if most states are working in deficits already, what the fuck good does that do?! I really wish these fuckwads had been a little more concerned about budget deficits these last 8 years and not just the last two months.

T Minus 12 Days

"Keep good relations with the Grecians."

- The Economist, 1999

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Why Ann Coulter Is Still Insane (Yet another chapter in a never ending series.)

Poor Matt Lauer. He's got to deal with crazy Ann Coulter after she was rescheduled on The Today Show. For the second straight day, the conservative crack ho battles with herself in trying to get a word in egdewise, interrupting herself in an attempt to predict when Lauer would interrupt her.

I think she may have had an issue when younger of constantly being interrupted, or constantly told to shut her cakehole at the dinner table, to the point of refusing to be interrupted and being paranoid about it in adulthood.

Matt Lauer, like most other interviewers trying to tackle the impossible, just gives up on attepting to have a real discourse or debate and just reads the questions from his cards without a care about the answer, hoping Harry Smith would run onto the set and stab him in the temple with the pen he was contemplating using on himself only yesterday.

The Leon Panetta Thing (The post where I tell Diane Feinstein and Harry Reid to shut the fuck up.) - UPDATED

It seems that Senator Diane Feinstein (D[INO]-CA) must have been travelling to a different country to get some kind of stem cell procedure done in order to grow the spine she was missing these last few years. Why else would she say something like this about Obama's choice of Leon Panetta to head the CIA?

"My position has consistently been that I believe the agency is best served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time."
Really, Senator Feinstein? Then why say this back in 2004 after George W. Bush nominated Porter Goss for the same position?

"I believe the President should have the prerogative to appoint who he wants to be the DCI..."
Oh, right. It's because the President was a Republican, wasn't it? And we all know that Democrats in Congress are so used to bending over and taking it in the ass that it was only natural that you say something like that.

And you dared let your ego get the better of you and have a hissy fit. When Bush nominated Porter Goss for the same position you thought Goss' credentials were fine. Then Goss himself said he wasn't qualified for the position. (Why he accepted is another story.) So why should you really be kept in the loop as to who is nominated? You've proven that sometimes credentials don't make someone good at their job.

Jay McDonough: Both Senators Feinstein and Rockefeller had ranking positions on the Senate Intelligence Committee and were completely ineffectual at stemming the abuses of the Bush Administration and, in fact, in most cases sided with the Administration on key policy issues. It was just a week ago that Vice President Cheney confided they had shared information about the Administration's illegal surveillance programs with key Democrats (this, most certainly, included Sen. Rockefeller) and those Democrats advised Mr. Cheney the programs should continue and the Congress needn't be involved.
Well, I'm weally sorry you got your wittle feewings hurt by not being informed initially, but get the fuck over it. Take your hurt feelings, and your Donna Reed motherfuckin' hairdo and your fucking FISA vote and get the fuck outta here. You too Jay Rockefeller, you fat fuck.

We've all been worried about obstructionist Republicans, but it looks like the real problem might actually be Democrats who feel they can't be pushed around anymore... by a new Democratic president who has vowed for more transparency than ever before. Does this make any fucking sense?!

Now Majority Capitulater Harry Reid is all of a sudden become Captain Opposite Man, insisting that there was no way in hell he was going to seat Roland Burris to Obama's vacant Senate seat... unless of course Reid copped out and would seat him if he had the proper credentials; and he didn't bother trying to seat Al Franken for fear of a Republican block. And yet, he says this about his relationship with the President-elect:

Reid stated, "I don't believe in the executive power trumping everything... I believe in our Constitution, three separate but equal branches of government."
"If Obama steps over the bounds, I will tell him. ... I do not work for Barack Obama. I work with him," he said.
'Atta boy, Harry. Good thing you followed you own rules for the last two years when you blocked every move Bush made and called him out when overstepping his bounds; stopped him in his tracks when he thought he was above the law with all those signing statements and.... oh, wait. Nevermind. You didn't do any of that did you? You caved, didn't you? And now we can expect six more years of caving to the Republican minority... well, a minority at least until the Democrats blow it again and Republicans regain control of Congress.

Fuck cloture votes. Until Reid makes the Republicans actually filibuster something they're opposed to and not pee in his pants with just the threat of a filibuster, I'll apologize and take it all back. Until then, Harry Reid can shut the fuck up too, that worthless shit.

UPDATE (1/8/09 10:25am):

Politico: The Majority Leader thinks former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens shouldn't face jail time for his seven-count federal conviction last year, telling our Manu Raju, who was also in the room, "My personal feeling, you guys, I don't know what good that [would do]... He was a real war hero too, you know. He's been punished enough."

Punished enough? Please explain the punishment, Senator Reid. Please explain how Stevens didn't understand the procedure when he was recorded saying that the worst that can happen to him is a fine and a little jail time. Please explain how he didn't understand the rules changes. He's a goddamn Senator, for fuck's sake! If he doesn't know the rules, then he shouldn't fucking be there. I was always taught that ignorance of the law is not an excuse. I guess that is unless you're a member of the US Congress, of course.

And by the way, I think that it's a pretty big fuck up to get your home renovated for free. He didn't know there was something wrong with that? And what a fucking disgrace that the US Senate thought it appropriate to give a convicted felon a standing ovation on his last day there. That was a goddamn embarrassment.

Yeah, like I said, Reid needs to SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.

(H/T Bob Cesca)

Obama's Weekly Address - Jan. 3, 2009

My apologies for not posting this last Saturday.

Sanjay Fucking Gupta?! - UPDATED

Who's Obama going to pick to head the National Weather Service? Al Roker?!

President-elect Barack Obama has offered the job of surgeon general to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the neurosurgeon and correspondent for CNN and CBS, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

Apparently this guy has the credentials, I mean, he's a fucking neurosurgeon for Christ's sake, but let's not forget the attack on Michael Moore. Does Gupta think that our health care system, or more to the point, the insurance system that has our health care system by the balls doesn't need a makeover? Is he going to be the right face for universal health care?

Paul Krugman has more.

(H/T Crooks & Liars)

UPDATE (6:30am): It has been leaked by a Fox senior aide that the Obama team has asked American Idol judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson to head up the National Endowment for the Arts. None could be immediately reached for comment, although the Fox aide who spoke on the condition of anonimity said that Cowell hated the idea, Abdul loved it and Jackson thought it was a little pitchy, but it was "aight, dog."

There is still no response from the Obama team to the rumor that the position of Secretary of Agriculture was offered to Bobby Flay.

T Minus 13 Days

"I'd rather have them sacrificing on behalf of our nation than, you know, endless hours of testimony on congressional hill."

- Fort Meade, Maryland, 2002

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jeb Bush Not Running

Jeb Bush has released a statement saying that he will NOT run for the Florida Senate seat to be vacated by retiring Senator Mel Martinez in 2010. Statement to follow.

UPDATE (4:31pm): Jeb Bush: "While the opportunity to serve my state and country during these turbulent and dynamic times is compelling, now is not the right time to return to elected office."

That would be code for, "George has so fucked up the Republican Party and the Bush name, to the point of Viriginia and Indiana going BLUE for fuck's sake, there would be no point for me to make an ass out of myself and become the only Bush to lose an election after my dumbass of a brother sat in the Oval Office for eight years wondering how they constructed curved walls."

Why Ann Coulter Is A Freakshow

All you have to do is watch (I know it's painful but watch). I'm sure Harry Smith was sitting in his chair wondering A) why CBS didn't think about cancelling Coulter's appearance B) why his producers hate him so much and C) how quickly he would die if he stuck his pen through his temple rather than listen to one more word from the conservative crack ho. Just watching Smith squirm in his chair and basically treat Coulter like the nutball she is, albeit with kid gloves, is worth sitting through the video.

The really sad part is that even when given a chance - and Smith lets her rant on and on - Coultergeist still sounds like she's trying to get a word in edgewise when not being interrupted.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Tom Delay was a victim?! Joe McCarthy was a victim?! How crazy can one person be? But of course, this is what Coulter does. She makes the most outrageous statements one can possibly make to cause a stir and sell books. There is no such thing as bad publicity, especially when it comes to Coulter.

Jon Stewart 2009

First good slam of the New Year by Jon Stewart directed at New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg regarding the Israeli response in Gaza (video): "Let me just phrase it for you in something that will bring it home: If you're in your apartment and some emotionally disturbed person is banging on the front door screaming,'I'm gonna come through this door and kill you,' do you want us to respond with one police officer, which is proportional, or with all the resources at our command?"

Stewart: I guess it depends if I force that guy to live in my hallway and make him go through checkpoints every time he has to take a shit. But then again by removing him by force, as long as you really believe that there'll be no more crazy people left in New York, (using McCain "Dick Fingers") okay.

Where In the World Is Vicki Iseman?

Oh, there she is... and she's suing the New York Times for defamation.

A Washington lobbyist on Tuesday sued The New York Times for publishing an article that she says suggests she once had a romantic relationship with 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

The lawsuit, filed by lawyers for Vicki Iseman in a Richmond, Virginia, federal court, seeks $27 million in damages.

It claims that Iseman, a lobbyist at the firm Alcalde & Fay, was defamed by the Feb. 21 article and that she suffered damage to her reputation as well as to her emotional and mental health.

Okay, I have no problem with someone who believes they have been publicly defamed to sue. But what the fuck took so long? Why is this suit coming TEN MONTHS after the article? If I remember correctly, no one, NO ONE, could find this woman as she apparently went into hiding after the article was published. We couldn't even find a fucking current photo of her and still can't. All we got was this.

And now she's deciding to sue for $27 million?! I'm sorry, but if there was a time to do this, it was February 22, 2008 - the day after the article came out - a sign that she wasn't going to take this shit and was going to vigorously defend herself. Instead, she did her best impression of Greta Garbo*. If she had nothing to hide, why go into hiding? And I'm not going to accept the argument that it would have been a distraction from the presidential race. I'll dismiss that faster than you can say Rev. Wright. That's a bullshit excuse.

There ought to be a statute of limitations on stupidity.

* - Rumor has it that John McCain dated Greta Garbo in high school.

Music Break! Pat Metheny & Michael Brecker

What Do You Want?

T Minus14 Days

"I'm thrilled to be out here in the bread basket of America because it gives me a chance to remind our fellow citizens that we have an advantage here in America - we can feed ourselves."

- Stockton, California, 2002

Monday, January 5, 2009

Topsy-Turvy World - UPDATED

I think I've just fallen into Alice's rabbit hole. I'm watching MSNBC's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and to my astonishment, Pat Buchanan is condemning Israel's airstrikes in Gaza while David Shuster and Harold Ford, Jr. are arguing the Israeli side and blaming Hamas.

I think my head is going to explode.

I hope someone has video soon. If not, I'll attempt to put some up myself.

UPDATE (8:22pm): Here's the video in which Pat Buchanan is awesome... yeah, I know!

Mob Museums and Water Slides

Mitch McConnell is such a fucking pussy. They've just come out of a meeting with Obama after discussing the economic stimulus package that PE Obama is proposing, and this fuck-o just said (paraphrasing),"As far as the spending portion of the economic stimulus package brought forward by President-elect Obama, we need to make sure it's not for mob museums and water slides." Can't these fucking assholes think for themselves just one time instead of looking at their right wing talking point crib notes?! Jesus Fucking Christ!

And now Whiskey Boy Boehner is slurring something about "Democrat colleagues." It's DEMOCRATIC, FUCKWAD. I'm all for trying to work in a bipartisan fashion, but if these motherfuckers don't start showing mutual respect to the other party, I'm gonna take a bat to someone's head.

Ugh, now cross-eyed Ron Christie is going to say something stupid. I can't even watch. Here it comes... earmarks. I'm waiting for him to say mob museums and water slides.

This Burris Thing Has "Suck" Written All Over It

NY Times: Even as Senate leaders continued to challenge his appointment to the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, Roland W. Burris headed to Washington on Monday, setting the stage for a public showdown on Capitol Hill.

In a news conference at Midway airport in Chicago before his scheduled 2:20 p.m. flight to Baltimore, a defiant Mr. Burris told reporters that he was not concerned about the fact that the Illinois secretary of state, Jesse White, has rejected the paperwork that would officially send Mr. Burris to the Senate.

“Why don’t you all understand that what has been done here is legal?” he said. “I am the junior senator from Illinois, and I wish my colleagues in the press would recognize that.”

He later added, “This is all politics and theater, but I am the junior senator according to every law book in the nation.”
My question is: Why did Patrick Fitzgerald blow the Blagojevich thing out of the water without being completely prepared? He has now filed a 90 day extension for possible indictment of Blagojevich and nothing will happen before the original January 9th deadline.

It doesn't help that although Burris is taint free, he's acting like a bit of an asshole. I also hope this doesn't become a racial issue for those types of opportunists. I don't give a shit that Burris is black and some think that an African-American "deserves" the seat.

Israel's Gaza Strike Timing

Scott Shane has written a very interesting analysis on the timing of Israel's strikes in Gaza that have continued for 10 days despite UN officials urgently calling for a cease-fire.

Many Middle East experts say Israel timed its move against Hamas, which began with airstrikes on Dec. 27, 24 days before Mr. Bush leaves office, with the expectation of such backing in Washington. Israeli officials could not be certain that President-elect Barack Obama, despite past statements of sympathy for Israel’s right of self-defense, would match the Bush administration’s unconditional endorsement.
Now, everyone has been making a big deal out of Obama's statement that there is only "one president at a time" as if perhaps he should stage a coup and take office early to deal with the current administration fucking up as many things as possible during its last days in office. Speaking about future plans to deal with the economic crisis during the transitional period is one thing, but speaking on foreign policy affairs and confusing who actually speaks for the US during a critical time is something else. That's why this one statement - the final one in the article - kind of pissed me off.

Martha Joynt Kumar, a political scientist at Towson University who studies presidential transitions, said Mr. Obama’s predicament exemplified the treacherous weeks between election and inauguration, and the way inspiring visions inevitably give way before unexpected events.

“On a campaign, you control what you talk about and when you talk about it,” Ms. Kumar said. “When you begin governing, you have to respond to what happens in the world.”

That's right, Kumar. "When you begin governing." And that happens January 20th, not one day before.

Senator Al Franken!

MINNEAPOLIS (REUTERS) -Democrat Al Franken will be declared the winner of the tight U.S. Senate contest in Minnesota, emerging from a ballot recount with a slim margin over Republican Norm Coleman, state officials said on Sunday.

But the party of smaller government wants the courts to continue to intervene until something falls in their favor. Remember 2000?

But Coleman, the incumbent, has asked Minnesota's supreme court to require that a few hundred additional absentee ballots be included in the recount -- and he could then ask the court to investigate the contest all over again.

...Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, [who's job it was to oversee the recount process] said unless the supreme court acts on Coleman's request and orders more ballots to be counted, he will reconvene the state's Canvassing Board on Monday to certify Franken as the winner of the November 4 contest.

Even so, Coleman's campaign said it will likely challenge the result, which would require the state supreme court's chief justice to appoint three judges to investigate its claims.
Now of course you know that the wingnuts will be calling this a "stolen" election because... well... because every eligible vote was counted! Plus they need a new weekly thing to bitch about. But the fact is that if the Minnesota Supreme Court becomes involved and overturns the hand recount required by the state in an election this close, it will be the exact opposite. Franken will be the one who'll have gotten robbed. It makes you wonder what these last four years would have been like had John Kerry stuck to his "every vote must be counted" rhetoric and become President in 2004.

Franken is supposed to be certified at 2:30pm this afternoon, with Republican Senators vowing they will not seat him and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is asking Coleman to concede.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say, "Congratulations, Senator Franken."

T Minus 15 Days

"And if you're interested in the quality of education and you're paying attention to what you hear in Laclede, why don't you volunteer? Why don't you mentor a child how to read?"

- St. Louis, MO, January 5, 2004

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Richardson Withdraws Commerce Sec Nomination

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, tapped in December by President-elect Barack Obama to serve as secretary of Commerce, has withdrawn his name for the position, citing a pending investigation into a company that has done business with his state.

"Let me say unequivocally that I and my Administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact," he said Sunday in a report by NBC News' Andrea Mitchell. "But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process."
My guess is that this is much ado about nothing. I can't believe that Bill Richardson was involved in a possible play for pay scandal, but it does show the type of person he is by withdrawing his name with the prospect of the investigation taking months.

T Minus 16 Days

"I didn't grow up in the ocean - as a matter of fact - near the ocean - I grew up in the desert. Therefore, it was a pleasant contrast to see the ocean. And I particularly like it when I'm fishing."

- Washington, D.C., Sept. 26, 2008