Saturday, February 21, 2009

Must Reads

Gareth Porter: Obama Nixed Full Surge After Quizzing Brass

Robert Parry: Obama's 'Seven Days In May' Moment

The Rude Pundit: Michael Steele Ain't Frontin'

Kathy Griffin and Vet Dogs

Last night, I had the pleasure of taking the wifey to the sold out Kathy Griffin concert at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden. Though I rarely watch My Life On The D-List, Wifey's a fan and I do enjoy an occasional episode when I have a chance to catch it. Griffin was on fire as usual and we had a great time.

But the reason for this post was to bring up As we were walking in, there was a table set up for this amazing organization helping injured Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans by providing guide dogs and service dogs free of charge. The training for each dog costs approximately $55,000 and there are currently 80 veterans on the waiting list to receive a dog. This a non-profit organization with no funding from the government.

To find out more information, go to . You can donate here.

Obama's Weekly Address - Feb 21, 2009

The quickest and broadest tax cut ever

I think the White House is finally starting to listen. Change the framing. All but three Republicans voted against the largest tax cut ever!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Great Twitter Experiment

You'll notice a new widget on the right side of my page I've titled, "Tweeting Thoughts." I don't know what can of worms I'm opening with this Twitter thing, and I'm not expecting people to follow my every move, nor am I using Twitter for that purpose. My main intent is to use this application to quickly jot down a thought electronically when the thought just isn't big enough for a fully expanded post. It'll also give me access to my blog when I'm not near my laptop or desktop.

Of course, if you choose to follow me on Twitter, I won't mind.

In the meantime, the look might change occasionally as I experiment with The Twitter. Right now, I have no idea what I'm doing since I'm the type to rip open the box and start playing with gadgets before actually reading instructions.

Tweet! Tweet!

The "NO" Party

Who knew Groucho Marx was clairvoyant in summarizing the Republicans in the 111th Congress within a one minute song?

(H/T GDAB commenter bibimimi)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

NY Post Issues Classic Non-Apology Apology

The New York Post has issued the typical apology in which those who were offended were at fault for the tasteless editorial cartoon printed in yesterday's edition.

Wednesday's Page Six cartoon - caricaturing Monday's police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut - has created considerable controversy.

It shows two police officers standing over the chimp's body: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," one officer says.

It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.


But it has been taken as something else - as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism.

This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.

However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past - and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback.

To them, no apology is due.

Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon - even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.

First Bling-Bling, Now Hip-Hop?

Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Steele?

Is Michael Steele the Chairman of the RNC or a marketing strategist for Sean Combs?

Newly elected Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele plans an “off the hook” public relations offensive to attract younger voters, especially blacks and Hispanics, by applying the party's principles to “urban-suburban hip-hop settings.”
Off the hook? Hip-Hop? What's next? Is Steele going to make his party start using "Dy-no-mite!" as the new GOP catchphrase?

Douchebag of the Week: Rick Santelli

Obviously this douchebag doesn't even understand the premise of President Obama's foreclosure rescue plan let alone understand that sometimes you have to help your fellow man in order to save the yourself instead of constantly looking at the bottom line. I don't expect this asshole to make an apology when the economy turns around, just take credit for manipulating the markets with their bullshit reports when they start bouncing back. God bless Wall Street, right Rick?

Douchebag of the Week: CNBC's Rick Santelli

from commenter "steve" at the GDAB:

This really encapsulates the Republican attitudes that got the country into the mess it's in. If people lose their houses, if they lose their jobs and can't get health insurance, if they can't feed or shelter their families, it's because they're stupid losers and they don't deserve those things.

But if a bank is failing because of horrible management, throw money at it because "they're too big to fail." How fucking illogical is that?!

Political Suicide

It's amazing to me that some of these insane Republican Governors would even fathom the idea of refusing federal aid for their states to make political hay. South Carolina's Mark Sanford has been the most vocal when it comes to the recovery bill.

“We’re moving precipitously close to what I would call a savior-based economy,” Sanford also said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
...“That is quite different than a market-based economy where some rise and some fall but there’s a consequence to making a stupid decision,” Sanford said after pointing to the powers granted to the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve to help deal with the current economic crisis.
I wonder if Sanford will make the "stupid decision" of letting his state starve instead? Hell, he waited until the last possible second before asking for money to shore up unemployment benefits in the state with the third highest unemployment rate at 9.5%, so I wouldn't put it past him.

But we all know that in general, Republicans are hypocrites.

Sanford: "Being against it doesn't preclude taking the money."

Lindsey Graham on CNN after being asked if South Carolina should take the money: “I think that, yes, from my point of view, I — you don’t want to be crazy here."

Is it just me or is this like force feeding a baby to eat his beets? We know it's good for them, but they turn their heads and make a stink and cry and moan and wail because they don't like the taste of what's best for them.

I say, let them drink the political hemlock. If they seriously think that threatening to refuse money based on some set of misguided principles, or touting the funds they got in the bill through amendments they then voted against are going to help them in their upcoming campaigns, go right ahead and jump off that cliff. I'll be the one playing the pipe as they leap off the egde.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Louie Bellson Dies at 84

NY Times: Louie Bellson, a crisp and dazzling drummer who worked with many of the major figures of the swing era and a gracious entertainer who made frequent appearances at the White House and on “The Tonight Show,” died on Saturday in Los Angeles.

WHAT THE FUCK?! - NY Post Editorial Cartoon Way Off Mark

Rupert Murdoch's New York Post strikes again. Sean Delonas and whoever the editor was that thought this editorial cartoon was worthy of printing should be fired immediately.

There is absolutely no way that this racist cartoon can be explained away. If your first instinct was that cartoonist Delonas was comparing President Obama to a chimp, and a dead chimp shot by police no less, then no other explanation is necessary. I'm all for free speech, but this is beyond tasteless.

Sam Stein has more.

UPDATE (2:05pm):

From Fraulein in the comments:

I keep thinking that our illustrious media can't shock me anymore, but somehow they manage to keep doing it.

Jumping on this soapbox will make me sound 100 years old, but I'm going to do it anyway. In my day as a newspaper reporter (early/mid-1990s) we approached our jobs with a certain sense of ethics. We tried to air all sides of a story, to the extent that this is ever possible, and one rule we most certainly never broke, at least at the unremarkable suburban newspaper where I worked, was the one about not gratuitously insulting your readership. I would argue that by running such a viciously racist cartoon, the Post has attacked not only Obama, but most of its readership. It's attacked not only blacks, not only Obama supporters, but every one of its readers who don't consider themselves violent racists. Which one would hope is most of them (even though this is the Post we're talking about...)

Firings are the least of what's required to address this kind of systemic disregard for the principles of journalism. Unfortunately, I think the very issue is that it IS systemic. Across the board, from major newspapers to the execrable news weeklies (I'm looking at you, Newsweek) to the sewer of cable news, the ideals of a true free press died out long ago.

As news consumers, it's our job to call out the media on this kind of bullshit every time it happens. It's the only way they're ever going to learn how intolerable this kind of thing is.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The G-rift... uh, Gipper

Yesterday, Annette said in comments (regarding Saint Ronnie's #10 position on C-SPAN's All-Time Muthuh-Fuckin'ist Prez-nits list):
I still haven't figured out Reagan.. What the heck did he do that was so great?? I just wish someone would tell me that. Cause I sure don't remember anything.
To which I replied:
I've often wondered the same thing. I've never been able to point to one tangible good to have emerged from that snake-oil salesman's tenure, and much bad, so it has been a continuing source of annoyance tinged with rage to always see Reagan and his legacy treated as some manner of axiomatic good in our national discourse. Naturally, this situation has been by design, but the mandarins of our national media would never acknowledge that.

I once asked my Texas Rethugli-bot, FOX News zombie dad why he had such a glowing love for Saint Ronnie of the Ray-Gun and he told me that it was because he made Americans feel good about their country again. Of course my dad gets teary-eyed to the treacly strains of Lee Greenwood screeching out "Proud To Be An American", so I have always thought his analysis suspect. Since all those dirty fucking hippies (DFH's), queers, uppity wimmin-folk and assorted scary brown people had spent the better part of 20 years making the corrupt, racist, hypocritical white guys running the country for the previous two centuries feel bad about themselves, I guess we should have expected some blowback for demanding, you know, some fealty to the spirit if not the letter of our founding principles -- bad as such things had proven to be for white, male privilege.

At the end of the day, I suspect, it was really all about what it has always been about since Reagan sold his particular brand of toxin as an elixir to a coalition I have deemed "The Stupid, The Deluded and The Corrupt" (h/t to Atrios) -- Good is whatever pisses-off liberals.

And then today Fred Kaplan at (unknowingly) gives me an assist by unqivering a few arrows of his own into the Reagan mono-myth:
[Reagan] was, in fact, a babbling nut job who was lucky that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, a genuine reformer desperate for Western assistance, was on the receiving end


At their first one-on-one talk, Gorbachev tried to talk substance, but Reagan kept telling interminable anecdotes and anti-Soviet jokes, leading Gorbachev at one point to mutter, "On boltayet yeshchyo" ("He's babbling again")


And yet the real dirty secret about Reagan — the one that Republicans would rather not remember or, in many cases, never knew — is that, at heart, he had no stomach for war and detested nuclear weapons.


In his first term, from 1981-85, Reagan escalated East-West tensions, spoke in bellicose rhetoric, and jacked up military spending to 30-year highs. This is the Reagan whom Republican chieftains worship and insist that all subsequent presidents emulate. But in his second term, which coincided with Gorbachev's rise to power, Reagan flipped, making dramatic diplomatic overtures to Moscow and accepting equally dramatic proposals in turn.

Few remember, but many of the Republicans who now tout Reagan's accomplishments pummeled him at the time for "betraying" his followers and their Cold War ideology.
Funny how the arm-chair warriors and draft-dodging He-Men of the Rethugli-goon Party have all chosen to ignore the mediocre and frequently embarrassing truth about Saint Ronnie of the Ray-Gun and instead create the hero myth of their dreams, a patron saint of sanctimony, criminal greed and profitable war-mongering, a noble ideological warrior to challenge the Democrats' most-hallowed FDR and neutralize that lefty legacy, to sweep away the bitter after-taste of the long string of crooks, degenerates and losers they'd fronted since, well, since they ceased to be the Party of Lincoln somewhere towards the end of the 19th century.

Well, they got their man and we've never been the same.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Case of the Moondays

While Mr. & Mrs. Carl are going three sheets to the wind on Jesus Juice out on "Lawn Guy-Lint" I thought I'd check in and see how things are here in the O-Mania HQ. Look around, see how everyone's doing. Nothing really amiss, I see.

OK, cool. Well, we do have certain standards around here we have to maintain. Since our advanced (possibly terminal) case of Bush Derangement Syndrome compels us to find at least one news story about #43 a week and then highlight it with a generous dollop of East Coast urban hipster elitist snark for humorous effect, here's the news story:

C-SPAN 2009 Historians Presidential Leadership Survey

WASHINGTON — Just days after the nation honored the 200th anniversary of his birth, 65 historians ranked Abraham Lincoln as the nation's best president.

Former President George W. Bush, who left office last month, was ranked 36th out of the 42 men who had been chief executive by the end of 2008, according to a survey conducted by the cable channel C-SPAN.

Bush scored lowest in international relations, where he was ranked 41st, and in economic management, where he was ranked 40th. His highest ranking, 24th, was in the category of pursuing equal justice for all. He was ranked 25th in crisis leadership and vision and agenda setting.

In contrast, Lincoln was ranked in the top three in each of the 10 categories evaluated by participants.

In C-SPAN's only other ranking of presidents, in 2000, former President Bill Clinton jumped six spots from No. 21 to 15. Other recent presidents moved positions as well: Ronald Reagan advanced from No. 11 to 10, George H.W. Bush rose from No. 20 to 18 and Jimmy Carter fell from No. 22 to 25.

This movement illustrates that presidential reputations are influenced by present-day concerns, said survey adviser and participant Edna Medford.

"Today's concerns shape our views of the past, be it in the area of foreign policy, managing the economy or human rights," Medford said in a statement.

After Lincoln, the academics rated George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman as the best leaders overall. The same five received top spots in the 2000 survey, although Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt swapped spots this year.

Rated worst overall were James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, William Henry Harrison and Warren G. Harding.

The survey was conducted in December and January. Participants ranked each president on a scale of one, "not effective" to 10, "very effective," on a list of 10 leadership qualities including relations with Congress, public persuasion and moral authority.
Here's "The List":

And here's the snark:

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Long Island Wine Country

I've lived in New York my whole life and have only driven through the vineyards on Long Island once. So since the wifey and I are winos, we decided to do a little bed and breakfast "weekend" and check out the local wineries at the end of the north fork of Long Island.

Hopefully, Armadillo Joe and Fraulein will mind the store while we enjoy a little quiet time, eat some good food and get inebriated on some fine wine. I'll be back Tuesday evening provided the world doesn't end before then.