Saturday, January 17, 2009

Must Reads

Obama's Weekly Address - Jan. 17, 2009

T Minus 3 Days

"I'll be glad to talk about ranching, but I haven't seen [Brokeback Mountain]. I've heard about it. I hope you go - you know - I hope you go back to the ranch and the farm is what I'm about to say."

- Manhattan, Kansas, January 2006

Friday, January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth Dies at 91

NY TIMES: Andrew Wyeth, one of the most popular and also most lambasted artists in the history of American art, a reclusive linchpin in a colorful family dynasty of artists whose precise realist views of hardscrabble rural life became icons of national culture and sparked endless debates about the nature of modern art, died Friday at his home in Chadds Ford, Pa. He was 91.

Music Break! Warren Zevon

Lawyers, Guns and Money

BREAKING NEWS! Plane Still Landed on Hudson River

There were still no fatalities. Pilot Chesley Sullenberger is still a hero. Unknown co-pilot is... not? Mainstream Media decides to forego actual breaking news for 24 hour coverage of yesterday's news.

Bush's Farewell Address (Or "Thank You for Wasting 13 Minutes Of My Time That I'll Never Get Back")

Listening to George W. Bush speak for what I pray will be the last time when I watched his farewell address last night brought me back to 4th grade, and the memory of giving a speech on what you did during summer vacation in front of the class.

T Minus 4 Days

"If you're a younger person, you ought to be asking members of Congress and the United State Senate and the president what you intend to do about it. If you see a train wreck coming, you ought to be saying, what are you going to do about it, Mr. Congressman, or Madam Congressman?"

- Detroit, Michigan, 2005
Four days left!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Joe the Plumber PWN3D By Rick Sanchez

Heh, heh.

(H/T C&L)

Secretary of State Clinton

Hillary Clinton was confirmed by a vote of 16-1. The one nay vote, Senator David "Diaper Man" Vitter(R-LA). And he voted by proxy. He didn't even have the balls to show up. Maybe he was getting his taint Handi-Wiped by a hooker.

Holder: "Waterboarding Is Torture"

Eric Holder has started his Senate Confirmation Hearing as Attorney General Designate and Sen. Patrick Leahy's first question was Holder's stance on waterboarding. He responded unlike Alberto Gonzales and Michael Mukasey that indeed, waterboarding is torture.

Tune in if you can.

10:40am - Sen. Arlen Specter is now grilling Holder on the Rich pardon. I have a feeling there's going to be some kind of trend going on here.

T Minus 5 Days

"This is still a dangerous world. It's a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mential [sic] losses."

- Quoted in Financial Times, January 2000

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ricardo Montalban Dies at 88

NY TIMES: Ricardo Montalban, the Mexican-born actor who became a star in splashy MGM musicals and later as the wish-fulfilling Mr. Roarke in TV's ''Fantasy Island,'' died Wednesday morning at his home, a city councilman said. He was 88.

Douchebag of the Week: Ron Christie

I've always thought Ron Christie was a complete idiot not so much for lack of intelligence, but for the fact that he could spew GOP talking points without a care in the world as to their validity. Yes, I know that's his job, but people should beware of those who can so easily talk bullshit... but I suppose that guys like Christie have to believe what they say to a point, else not be convincing. I do have to admit however, that he has been pretty laid back over the last few weeks while waiting for the inevitable to happen on January 20th. Christie was eating crow and surprisingly taking it like a man.

And then yesterday he couldn't take it anymore and just lost it. On Hardball with Chris Matthews, Christie was defending, or rather rewriting, the Bush legacy and took umbrage at Eric Alterman's characterization of George W. Bush being a liar (6:35 mark).

And then incredibly, after Matthews asked him about the 2004 election and there was crosstalk asking why Bush didn't defend Kerry, a veteran who served with honor unlike Dubya himself, there Christie was in all his lazy-eyed glory defending Bush and separating him from the swiftboating of John Kerry in 2004, when he gave us this little gem:

"You name once instance where the Swift Boaters lied." (10:03 mark)
Alterman does a nice job of giving Christie an instance of a Bush lie, but by that time, Christie is on to the question of the Swift Boaters and refuses the answer, complete with grade schooler comments like "nice try" and "I'll give you an 'E' for Effort."

Republican Strategist Ron Christie: Douchebag of the Week.

T Minus 6 Days

"I speak plainly sometimes, but you've got to be mindful of the consequences of words. So put that down. I don't know if you'd call that a confession, a regret, something."

- To reporters, Washington, DC January 14, 2005

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bush Legacy: The Madness of King George XLIII

We all know he was and is sorely lacking. The delusional press conference yesterday proved that George W. Bush's skewed view of what has transpired during his eight years in the Oval Office... or perhaps I should say seven years in the Oval Office and one year at his Crawford ranch, flies in the face of logic and facts. The video below is proof positive that Bush is completely deranged, has no clue of the damage he's done to the safety, security and moral standing of the country and shows in a microcosm the blunder that was the Bush Administration.

And now comes word that even in what was hopefully his last press conference (barring his farewell address this coming Thursday), White House interns were used as seat fillers in the Press Briefing room after much pomp and circumstance of "Standing Room Only" warnings.
The White House had high expectations for yesterday's final, historic news conference. "ONE CORRESPONDENT PER ORGANIZATION," proclaimed the bulletin sent to reporters. "STANDING ROOM ONLY FOR NON-SEAT HOLDERS." But when the appointed hour of 9:15 a.m. arrived, the last two rows in the seven-row briefing room were empty, and a press aide told White House interns to fill those seats.
I was wondering who was was applauding as Bush left the podium. Now we know.

(H/T Bob Cesca)

Joe the Plumber Becomes Joe the Reporter

Just when you thought it was safe to flush your toilet, it backs up and out comes the stink and sewage and Joe the Plumber. Sam "Joe" Wurzelbacher, who made an ass of himself during the presidential campaign is now making an ass of himself playing war correspondent for the conservative website

His interviewing skills are atrocious, he can't think of a question to ask someone who's just given him a tour of a warehouse of catalogued spent shells recovered from bombing sites and then goes off on the media saying they shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a war zone... while he's playing reporter in a war zone! He'd rather watch war film trailers "like they did in World War I and World War II" to garner support for the troops before watching Marley and Me while stuffing his face with Jujyfruits™ instead of having real reporters report the real news.

Why does anyone keep taking this attention whore seriously?

T Minus 7 Days

"Then you wake up at the high school level and find out that the illiteracy level of our children are appalling."

- Washington, DC, January 2004

Then you wake up from having passed out after your last bender at the White House level and find out the illiteracy level of our president are appalling!

Appalling indeed.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Henderson, Rice Voted Into Hall of Fame

Congratulations to Rickey Henderson on his first ballot selection into Baseball's Hall of Fame, and to Jim Rice on his 15th and final try.

Rice wasn't a favorite of the press in general but despite the pettiness of the sports writers, finally was accepted. His career is deserving of the Hall of Fame. Henderson is probably the best leadoff hitter in baseball history. He was a likable but flaky player, referring to himself in the third person and notorious for not knowing some of his teammates' names.

There's a story I heard (I can't remember where so I can't give credit) regarding former ballplayer and teammate John Olerud and Rickey on the 1999 New York Mets. Olerud used to wear a helmet in the infield at his first base defensive position, and was questioned about it by Rickey.
"Hey, O-lee," said Rickey. He gave everyone nicknames. "Why do you wear a helmet when you're on the field?"

"Well, when I was a kid I had a head injury," responded Olerud. "My mom made me promise to wear a helmet even when I was fielding. I got used to it and still do it to this day."

"That's funny. When I played in Toronto, someone on that team did the same thing," Rickey said.

"I know," said Olerud with a quizzical look. "That was me."

Rickey Henderson and John Olerud were teammates on the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays.

Well That Was Fast!

Obama Asks Bush For Bailout Funds

By 10am this morning, George W. Bush was ending his final news conference as President. One particular quote drew my attention.

The reporters got matter-of-factly down to business, asking during the 45 minute session whether he would make any move in his last week in office to request the second half of the $700 billion bailout from Congress, but he demurred, suggesting that it is most likely that the new Congress will deal with the new president on that matter.
“I don’t intend to make the request unless he specifically asks me to make it,” he said, speaking of President-elect Barack Obama.
By 11:28am, Dana Perino made this statement:
This morning, President-elect Obama asked President Bush to formally notify Congress, on his behalf, of his intent to exercise the authority under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act to access the last tranche of $350 billion in funding for Treasury programs addressing the financial crisis. President Bush agreed to the President-elect’s request. We will continue our consultations with the President-elect’s transition team, and with Congress, on how best to proceed in accordance with the requirements of the statute.
Bang! And just like that, what to me (and I may be over analyzing it) sounded like a challenge to Barack Obama to take over the reins became a resounding answer from the incoming President to just do exactly that, and thank you for opening the door - Obama gets the ball rolling on the remaining $350 billion in TARP funds eight days early.

I haven't seen any press reaction to this yet. I'll turn on my TV now for see which pundits are calling this move "presumptuous."

T Minus 8 Days

"You know when I campaigned here in 2000, I said, I want to be a war president. No president wants to be a war president, but I am one."

- Des Moines, Iowa 2006

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Palin 2012... Pretty Please? - UPDATED

This week saw the debut of a 9½ minute video tease of wingnut John Ziegler's "documentary" on Sarah Palin called Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected. Normally, I wouldn't spend much time on something like this because as his interviews display, Ziegler is a fucking nutjob who can't answer questions without sneering, guffawing and having an accusatory paranoid tone, answering questions with questions and comparisons of who he considers adversaries, while calling his interviewers "jokes" and telling them to go fuck themselves.

Although his documentary has yet to be released, I'm venturing to guess that this is Ziegler's attempt to be Sarah Palin's Leni Riefenstahl. In all fairness I am including the full YouTube video released by Ziegler and even though it may be hard to sit through, you really should watch to get the whole gist.

According to Ziegler, he interviewed Palin for approximately 50 minutes, which means about 20% of it is in his YouTube release. It's no surprise that Ziegler is trying to show Palin in the best possible light, and inferring that all of her faux pas were a misinterpretation by the evil liberal media and that she is always taken out of context. He even calls it "character assassination." And yet what I find so fascinating is that even though this was probably the best person to interview Palin, the statement from the Palin camp after the YouTube release was the following:

Governor Palin Says to Media, "There You Go Again"
January 8, 2009, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin today expressed dismay at continuing efforts in the media to take her comments out of context to create adversarial situations.
Ironically, the latest media eruption concerning the governor came out of an interview she gave to a filmmaker who is creating a documentary on distortions by the national press.
Gov. Palin gave the interview Monday as one of many voices contributing to the film "Media Malpractice...How Obama Got Elected," concerning the performance of the media last fall. The filmmaker posted excerpts from the interview on, which then led to misleading reports in the press.
Particularly troubling was a post on titled, "Palin: Media Goes Easy on Kennedy." The headline inflames the governor's quote in the transcript, in which she answered a question about media treatment of the prospect that Caroline Kennedy would be appointed to the U.S. Senate: "It's going to be interesting to see how that plays out and I think that as we watch that we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of what her candidacy may be."

“I was not commenting at all on Caroline Kennedy as a prospective U.S. senator, but rather on the seemingly arbitrary ways in which news organizations determine the level and kind of scrutiny given to those who aspire to public office,” Gov. Palin said today. “In fact, I consider Ms. Kennedy qualified and experienced, and she could serve New York well.” ...
Read the rest of the press release here.

The Governor claims media bias in her Caroline Kennedy answer (5:50 mark) but if she wants to accuse someone of spinning, it was her own documentarian that put her answer into context with the question, "Did media 'class bias' cause a Sarah Palin/Caroline Kennedy double standard?" No one put these words in her mouth: "I think that as we watch that we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here also..." which infers that the evil liberal media will go/has gone easy on Kennedy as opposed to how they treated Palin.

She doesn't mention the fact that being next in line for the Presidency as the running mate of a 72 year old cancer survivor is perhaps a little different and maybe deserves more scrutiny than being appointed one of one hundred Senators, or that perhaps there was more interest in finding out who Sarah Palin was than Caroline Kennedy since it is Kennedy who's been in the public eye her entire life. But I guess that's that "context" thing. Maybe the context we're all missing will be in Ziegler's unreleased footage which he rabidly uses as a defense against critics of his own edited YouTube video.

But ultimately, this new interview and insight into Sarah Palin makes it look like she just can't bring herself to accept any responsibility for her campaign performance. Charlie Gibson played "gotcha journalism" when Palin didn't know what the Bush Doctrine was. Her initially botched Couric interview is Couric's fault because Palin couldn't answer a simple question about what she reads to keep updated on news. Her subsequent Couric interviews that proved she was much better orating a snarky speech off a teleprompter than she was thinking on her feet were the fault of the McCain campaign for insisting she continue to do one of the few interviews she was allowed to do when not sequestered from the media. She attacks the media for using "bloggers" as a source for news items, but uses said bloggers herself when claiming that Barack Obama makes it a habit of "palling around with terrorists", that he started his political career in the living room of William Ayers and casting doubts about Obama's American citizenship and religion. According to Palin, the obvious media bias against her is because she was on the Republican Party ticket (except for Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck and Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham... ad infinitum) and it would have been the exact opposite had she run as the Democratic VP choice. Although, how you choose to run in complete opposition to your own ideology is another story.


There is a tone in Democratic circles that Sarah Palin would be dangerous for her opposition if she were to run in 2012. Unhinged pundits see her and think she's the cat's meow and had it not been for Palin, McCain wouldn't have gotten the bump he did after the Republican convention, but they refuse to admit that had it not been for Palin's divisive hate speech, McCain wouldn't have nose dived* the way he did after the convention bump.

But I say Sarah Palin in 2012? Bring it on. The conventional wisdom with the few remaining rational members of the Republican Party are that they have to rebrand and re-evaluate their message. They have to become a party of inclusion as the times have changed and their base becomes smaller because let's face it, whitey ain't gonna be the majority for much longer. But if the hard right wing conservatives prop up Palin for a 2012 run, and for some strange reason the Palin 2012 talk won't go away, it will only serve to further fracture a hobbled Republican party and render them irrelevant.

No matter who the face of the 2012 GOP candidate is, the fact is that 45% of the population will vote for them. They could have put up a pet rock against Barack Obama in November and they still would have gotten 40% of the vote. But there are a few voters out there who actually care about the issues, and reaching them is the pivotal point in any election cycle. Politicians like Tim Pawlenty understand this. Politicians like Sarah Palin do not.

Judging by Palin's answers in this little video snippet provided by a conservative ally, I have to say that it doesn't strike me as if she learned anything from her '08 run and is in denial about her shortcomings. If this continues, she'll think that she doesn't need to learn anything or try new tactics - why try to learn something if you think you're always right and think you've always been wronged? She may have pulled something over on small town Wasillans with her rambling, incoherent sentences as long as there's a wink attached to the end of them, but if it didn't work for the nation in '08, I seriously doubt it'll be a hit in 2012.

* McCain's "fundamentals of the economy are still strong" gaffe didn't help, but Palin wasn't 100% free of culpability either.

UPDATE (1/12/09 1:40pm): From Geoffrey Dunn:
While much has been made of the Kennedy and Couric comments, there was a troubling remark, largely overlooked, that Palin made about Barack Obama that was a flat-out, blatant lie--a typically Palinesque twisting of the truth intending, once again, to turn her into a victim and to make Obama & Co., along with the media, appear to be hypocrites.

Here is Palin's latest Big Lie:

"When I heard Barack Obama state in one of his interviews on national television that his wife was off limits, meaning, family's off limits-- you know, 'Attack me, I'm the public official, come after me, I can handle it and we'll duke it out if need be, but family's off limits'-- I naively believed, OK, they respected that in him and his demand for that to be adhered, naively believing that must apply to all of us, right? But it didn't apply."

While Obama did say that he found attacks on his wife "unacceptable," he also very boldly and emphatically stated that Palin's family was also off limits when asked a question about Bristol Palin's pregnancy:

"I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people's families are off limits, and people's children are especially off limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Governor Palin's performance as governor, or her potential performance as a VP. And so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories."
He wasn't protecting simply his own family with that assertion, he was also protecting Palin's. And Palin lacks the basic grace, integrity and human decency to acknowledge Obama's gesture. And then she twists the truth to make Obama seem selfish and the media unfair.

And what about her claim that Obama's wishes were "respected" about his own family? The right-wing press went after Michelle Obama relentlessly and so, too, did the McCain campaign. None other than Cindy McCain went after Michelle for comments she made about finally being proud of her country:

"I don't know why she said what she said. Everyone has their own experience. I don't know why she said what she said, all I know is that I have always been proud of my country."

That seemed a little off-base coming from someone born with a silver-spoon in her mouth and who not only served as her husband's connection to the Keating Five Scandal, but then later stole drugs from her own nonprofit organization to sustain her drug habit. But make that charge she did.

And the right continued to attack her through the campaign--from Michelle Malkin to Ann Coulter. Anyone who claims otherwise is wallowing in duplicity.

So here again, Palin utterly distorts reality, fails to acknowledge Obama's gesture, doesn't acknowledge what her running mate's wife said about Michelle Obama, and turns herself, yet again, into a political victim. Where is Ann Coulter calling Palin on her self-victimization? The silence is deafening.