Saturday, June 6, 2009

Farewell, Princess

posted by Armadillo Joe

Mrs. Joe & I had to put our dear, beloved Feline Joe (AKA "Cote," sounds like "Cody") to sleep on Friday. She was quite old, at least 17, though now the vet is telling us (based on her teeth and the condition of her skin & hair), that she could be as old as 20. Since she was a rescue from a shelter, mere days before she was to be "destroyed," we'll never really know.

She'd had a rough life on the street before the ASPCA got her -- she had one fang in her mouth and at least five BB's embedded in her skin. She was also the runt of her litter -- at her heaviest, she weighed no more than six and a half pounds. The fact that she was at least six or even eight years old by the time she made it to the shelter, despite her diminutive size, showed that she was a tenacious survivor, a rough and tumble, street-brawling alley cat capable of handling other cats and dogs six times her size and weight. Yet paradoxically, she had the sweet and magnanimous disposition of a creature so confident in her own strength and toughness that it would never occur to her that it was something in need of proving. She was loving and generous to human house-guests and other cats, alike. A friend of mine describes his long-time girlfriend, who is very pretty and from working-class Brooklyn, as "a switch-blade and a skirt." I liked to think of Cote that way, too: a beautiful girl who could handle herself in a street fight.

I don't remember meeting her, though. I was not yet in the picture when Mrs. Joe had rescued her a couple of years before we started dating, but by the time she and I were married, the three of us were definitely a family. For eight happy years, in two different apartments, her favorite "activity" was to sit on my chest (also her favorite sleeping spot, other than a sunny windowsill) and stare lovingly at Mrs. Joe. We called her our "grumpy old lady" because she would scold us when the food was late or the litter dirty and our "dog-cat" because she always greeted us at the door, no matter how long we'd been gone - minutes or days. When we scooped her up in our arms as our typical greeting, she always reached up to pull our faces to hers. She was the best kind of pet, a loving, wonderful companion.

However old she may have been -- 17 and perhaps older -- she suffered from the usual host of old-cat health problems, ranging from blood clots to kidney trouble, and in April she had a stroke that affected her hind legs. The vet was pessimistic, we thought it was all over then, but she wasn't ready to go. She bounced back after a week of steroids and fluids, again alert and spry, her eyes as bright and cheery as ever. But a week ago, she began to sleep more than usual and when she didn't greet us at the door Tuesday night or Wednesday night, and her formerly robust meow was reduced to a meager croak, we knew the time had come.

She had simply grown tired of living. Her nine lives were used up, it was her time. We all knew it. It turned out to be massive kidney failure, with numbers the vet described as being off the charts.

I sat with her Thursday morning in our living room (she'd slept on me all night) and I held her frail and failing body to my chest. She was reduced to a tiny wisp of a thing, barely three pounds now, a weakened, limp rag doll. I wept and said my goodbyes. Later that morning, I left the house to run an errand and Mrs. Joe had her time alone before taking Cote on her final trip to the vet's office.

It was 10:30 Friday morning, dreary and wet, at the vet's office on Manhattan's Upper West Side. She went quietly, nestled like an infant in the crook of Mrs. Joe's arm. As the sedative entered her bloodstream, her eyes widened and she looked up quisitively at her mommy. She let out one plaintive mew, barely-audible. Her eyes then clouded over and she relaxed against Mrs. Joe's bosom. Soon enough, the sodium pentobarbital finally did what an early life of abandonment to a marginal existence on the street, countless fights with cats and other animals, five BB's fired by some sociopathic miscreant, a stint in an ASPCA shelter under threat of extermination and a debilitating stroke had all failed to do: her tiny chest slowly ceased to rise and fall and our dear little kitty was gone.

Wine and tears flowed freely the rest of the day.

Must Reads

Greg Mitchell: 'NYT' (Finally) Issues Corrections on Botched Front-Page 'Gitmo' Story

Mark Morford: Nice try, Dick - Your mumbled, half-assed support of gay marriage, Mr. Cheney? Not a chance

Charles M. Blow: Pot, Meet Kettle

Jeff Biggers: Rep. Hechler to President Obama: Time for a Harry S. Truman Moment in the Coalfields

Steve Rendall: Glenn Beck Is No Howard Beale

Robert Reich: How Pharma and Insurance Intend to Kill the Public Option, And What Obama and the Rest of Us Must Do

President Obama's Weekly Address - June 6, 2009

President Obama Calls for Real Health Care Reform

Friday, June 5, 2009

But It's Not About Racism (The National Review Cover Edition)

TPM: As part of a cover package called "The Wise Latina," the folks over at the conservative National Review--apparently flummoxed by the very idea of a "wise Latina"--have caricaturized the Puerto Rican-descended Sonia Sotomayor as an Asian Buddhist.

Good times.

Also featured on the cover in the current issue: "Jonah Goldberg On His Critics." That better be a long article.


Elie Weisel's Remarks at Buchenwald

Pretty powerful stuff.

Man Charged with Threats against Obama

Posted by Fraulein

This kind of thing scares the shit out of me. It's good to see that the Secret Service is on top of it. I hope they catch the guy soon...

Federal prosecutors have charged a man with making threats against President Barack Obama after he allegedly told a bank employee in Utah he was on a mission to kill the president.

What The Fuck?!

Fox Nation really needs to consider talking to their graphics department. Eh, who am I kidding? I know it's done intentionally. I'm no expert, but even I can do a 180° flip on simple photos. Especially when the photos are guns pointing at heads of black government leaders.

(H/T Crooks & Liars)

Merkel Has Obama's Back

NY TIMES: Mr. Obama was speaking at a press conference after meeting here [in Dresden] with Chancellor Angela Merkel, who praised the president’s speech in Cairo, saying it offered a “new beginning” for relations between the United States and the Muslim world.

...Mrs. Merkel called Mr. Obama’s words an “ideal basis” to pursue peace efforts [in the Middle East].

It seems that Chancellor Merkel has Obama's back as opposed to just a few years ago when Dubya "had her back" in the mighty clutches using his python forearm strength.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

President Obama - The Cairo Speech

A New Beginning

MSNBC will be repeating the full speech today at 12pm EDT. You can read the transcipt here (PDF).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

But It's Not About Racism (The Piñata Edition)

Someone should remind the general anti-Sotomayor population that she's not Mexican.

Rush Limbaugh Stands By His Convictions


LIMBAUGH: If I could be convinced that Sonia Sotomayor might be the biggest hope for overturning Roe v. Wade down the line, then I might be persuaded to look at her nomination in a different light... She would be the sixth Catholic on the Supreme Court. … She’s a Catholic, a devout Catholic, she hasn’t got a record on [abortion] … I can see a possibility of supporting this nomination if I can be convinced that she does have a sensibility towards life.
This is the same Rush Limbaugh (ugh, imagine if there were more than one?) who called Sotomayor a racist, insisted that her nomination be withdrawn and called for GOP opposition.

Apparently in Limbaugh’s view, when judges allow their religious backgrounds to directly influence their rulings in ways conservatives view favorably, it’s blind justice. When judges remark that being a minority can give individuals perspective on the impact of their rulings, it’s racism.

On This Date...

posted by Armadillo Joe

Two years ago, Steve "Gilly" Gilliard died. He was one of the mightiest of the early proto-bloggers, a New Yorker, a journalist and military historian and a die-hard Mets fan. I never met him, but the blinding, gotta-wear-shades intensity of his writing inspired me to start blogging myself and much of my blogging style continues to draw inspiration from -- but could never remotely hope to match -- his unapologetic incandescence. His blog was the first place I ever posted a comment or even got into an exchange with another commenter. No one in the lefty-blogosphere, except perhaps the dark, billowing, poetic clouds of electric prose of driftglass, comes even close to replicating Gilly's wit, ferocity and exacting historical detail.

To this day, his dismantling of Rudy "9/11" Ghoul-iani stands as one of my all-time favorite blog posts.

This is what I wrote over at my original old blog on the day I read of his death:
Steve Gilliard of The News Blog has died. He's been sick for a while, and I have thought for these last few months of his illness that he would be pulling out of it sometime soon, but today it got the better of him. As you can see on the left, The News Blog is on my blogroll. He's one of my online heroes, and his methods and style have been a guide and inspiration for this blog. His fierce tone and unapologetic argumentation have seemed to me for the three years I've been reading The News Blog the way liberals should be approaching discourse with a disingenuous and petty right wing. He gave no mercy and he expected none.

He was also a New Yorker. As Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake wrote this afternoon:
He was very much affected by the experience of 9/11 and resented those who wanted to appropriate it for their own purposes, and didn't think that anyone who wasn't there that day could ever understand what it was like to have their whole existence shaken in such a profound way. Like many New Yorkers, he felt quite proprietary about that day and it very much shaped who he was and fueled his passion for blogging. He'd spent most of the morning grumbling online at those he felt could not possibly know what they were talking about.

Steve was unique, and it struck me as odd how someone could be such a pragmatist and a purist at the same time. He was eloquent, fierce, irascible, passionate, brilliant and brave.
I never met him. I had hoped that at some point I could build enough street cred as a blogger to eventually meet up with one of my fellow New York bloggers, even though he is the King of All New York City Blogosphere and I have a readership of about three (and a half). Now I won't get the chance to invite him to a Mets game to talk about politics and military history. That makes me sad.
He was even, to my knowledge, the first blogger to be profiled in the New York Times -- albeit posthumously -- as part of their end-of-year wrap-up for 2007. I reprint it here in its entirety:
Steven Gilliard Jr. | b. 1964
Invisible Blogger
Published: December 30, 2007

The sidewalks of Harlem’s main thoroughfares are wide and inviting, and in the 1960s the kids playing “boxball” shared the asphalt squares with some of the greatest orators in creation. The most famous spot for speechifying was the “Speakers’ Corner” outside Lewis Michaux’s bookstore on 125th Street, where Malcolm X delivered his lectures on race and politics. On weekends or after work, fathers took their boys down to the corners in Harlem to watch any number of would-be firebrands engaged in emotional debate over Vietnam or the state of race relations or Bobby Kennedy’s political future.

Steve Gilliard was born into this Harlem and took it all in, but he wouldn’t find his voice on the corners. He was quiet, bookish, overweight. He won entrance to an elite high school, where he passed his time reading obscure military histories, then studied history and journalism at New York University. He found his true calling, though, on the Internet. In 1998, when he was 34, Gilliard joined a new site called, whose blogger-reporters chronicled the misadventures of the new high-tech work force, and there he discovered his own kind of incendiary oration. It was by the dim light of a computer screen, rather than on the sunlit corners of Harlem, that Gilliard took to expertly excoriating the moneyed establishment.

By 2003, Gilliard had become one of the first official “guest bloggers” on Daily Kos, then on its way to becoming the most influential of the new liberal political blogs, where he informed his indictments of the Iraq war with detailed references to the British occupation of Mesopotamia. Eventually he created his own site — “Steve was a big personality, and it was clear he needed his own stage,” Daily Kos’s creator, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, later wrote — and became one of a small group of early political bloggers with his own devoted following (and a self-sustaining, if modest, income from ads). On Gilliard’s “News Blog,” along with the partisan attacks on Republicans that made him a hated figure on the conservative blogs, he specialized in applying history to the present day, which made him an unusual and distinctive voice. In 2004, he banged out a remarkable 37-part series, the equivalent of about 200 typed pages, chronicling the foibles of European colonialism.

Though Gilliard, unlike many bloggers, always used his real name, few readers knew much about him. They didn’t know, for instance, that at age 39 he had open-heart surgery to repair an infected valve. They didn’t know he lived alone in a small apartment in East Harlem. And, although Gilliard often wrote about race and alluded to his own perspective, a lot of readers never realized he was black. In the incident that brought him the most infamy, Gilliard acidly attacked Michael Steele, the black Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland in 2006, as a traitor to his race. Black conservatives like Steele infuriated Gilliard, who couldn’t understand how any African-American could support a party that exploited racial prejudice. “I’s Simple Sambo and I’s Running for the Big House,” read Gilliard’s caption, below a doctored photo of Steele as a minstrel. Only after the post earned him headlines in major newspapers and recriminations from politicians of both parties did a lot of readers come to understand that a white man hadn’t written it — although, for Gilliard’s critics, that hardly made it less offensive.

The paradox of Gilliard’s existence is a familiar story on the blogs, where people often adapt avatars that are more like the selves they imagine being. Online, he was vicious and uncompromising. In person, Gilly, as his close friends called him, was reserved and enigmatic. His writing at times betrayed a sense of loneliness and dislocation. In 2000, after seeing the movie “High Fidelity,” he posted on a melancholy reflection on life as a geek. “Geeks live in an eternal conflict between their love of topic and love of people,” he wrote. “I wonder if people substitute fascination with things they can control over things they can’t — other people. You start to wonder if you’ve created a world so limited that you can’t really reach beyond it.” He lamented that he didn’t know what it was to “wake up naked in a strange bed,” but, he wrote, “at 35, I’ve figured out that this is it, at least for now. Anything I do, any life I make, is going to revolve around words and computers and strange, bright people.”

It was a life both short and loud. What began with a bad cough just after Valentine’s Day became a spiraling infection that ravaged Gilliard’s vulnerable heart and kidneys, and he spent most of his last four months hospitalized. The identities he kept separate for most of his 42 years collided in the days after he died; the few dozen mostly white bloggers who came to Harlem for the funeral saw for the first time the stark urban setting of Gilliard’s childhood, while his parents and relatives groped to understand what kind of work he had been doing at that computer and why scores of people had come so far to see him off. They must have been confused when Gilly’s online pals, sickened by the way some right-wing bloggers were gloating over his death, advised them not to disclose where he was buried, out of fear that someone might deface the site. The grave, like Gilliard himself, is known only to a few.
I was glad he didn't live to see the Mets collapse in September of 2007. And 2008. I can only wonder what he would have made of the new stadium and the new stadium for that other team from New York. I wonder what he would have made of Michael Steele's rise to prominence. I wonder what he would have made of Barack Hussein Obama.

The obit failed to mention that he hated the Yankees even more than he loved the Mets. So, as driftglass writes in his memorium of Steve at C&L: "...of course, Eff the Effing Yankees. Now and forever."

Speaking of Racism...

... I was just speaking to my midwestern caucasian friend and asked him if he'd seen the first clip that everyone was touting from Monday night's Conan O'Brien debut on The Tonight Show. Here's the clip if you haven't seen it.

Big laughs and applause. It was all over the news the next day. Conan taking a shot at Vice President Biden. I thought it was very funny. And then I thought some more. No one including myself realized that it was a racist joke. Because the butt of the joke was Vice President Gaffe-a-Minute, no one picked up on the racial overtones of the joke.

Think of it this way: what if the nominee was an African-American woman and the Biden voiceover said, "I like fried chicken... and grits... and okra... and watermelon. How many baby daddies do you have?"

I know I may be overanalyzing here, especially in light of the word "racist" being thrown around and used against Judge Sotomayor, and that the subject of ridicule was Biden. But when you stop to think about it,there's a difference between being overly sensitive for the sake of political correctness and being completely desensitized. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

But It's Not About Racism (The Pat Buchanan Edition)

BUCHANAN: Well I, again in that Saturday piece, she went to Princeton. She graduated first in her class it said. But she herself said she read, basically classic children's books to read and learn the language and she read basic English grammars and she got help from tutors. I think that, I mean if you're, frankly if you're in college and you're working on Pinocchio or on the troll under the bridge, I don't think that's college work.

Amanda Terkel: Buchanan has long claimed that Hispanic immigrants are resistant to learning English and has said that it would be easier for them to "assimilate" if they did so. When writing about Mexican immigrants in 2006, Buchanan said that in contrast to Italian immigrants, "millions of Mexicans are determined to retain their language and loyalty to Mexico." Similarly, he has also said that "the road to culture is language" and "they want to keep their Spanish language."

So basically, Buchanan yells when Hispanics are allegedly unwilling to learn English. However, when they make an attempt to do so, he mocks them as being dumb.

You should watch the entire video for more crap like she's an affirmative action activist and belongs to La Raza a "radical group" advancing the Hispanic agenda. Remind me again why Buchanan is considered relevant?

In Which I (probably) Make An Unpopular Choice

posted by Armadillo Joe

But a predictable one. I have been critical of Obama, for the most part, for simply being a centrist -- though to be clear I am not surprised by his centrism fetish because I knew what I was buying when I voted for him. And, further clarification, I am not blaming Obama for what happened to Dr. Tiller, not by a long-shot, but apologizing for a DHS report warning of right-wing violence is exactly the kind of centrist capitulation by the Obama Administration which I think is not just innocuously convenient, but is actually dangerous. If we ever needed a more unambiguous object-lesson that being a frog on the scorpion's back or a frog squished in the center of the road, it is the assassination of Doctor George Tiller.

We can draw a lesson from this horrific situation. The lesson is this:
Choose. A. Side. They have.
Cultivating a fetish for centrism has been a ploy by the Rethugli-goons since the days of Nixon's Southern Strategy to force the center of gravity in American politics to the right and it has worked beautifully, but in some arguments "middle ground" is a mirage that will only lead the pathetically gullible among us morally astray; the torture "debate" is Exhibit A. The abortion "debate" is Exhibit B through...

Either women have control of their own bodies, or they are mere baby-pods owned by the state and leased to the males in their families. The other side so thoroughly hates the idea of female self-determination that they are willing to kill to suppress it; indeed, they just did. The GOP has been playing with fire on this issue for decades, hoping they could use just a touch of authoritarian evil for short-term electoral gain with no eye to the future, and now we reap what they have sown.

Which is why Obama must speak out more forcefully. His centrism is not noble, it is politically convenient. Says a commenter at AMERICAblog:
Obama's push for understanding and for a mushy centrism is giving aid and comfort to the enemy, the extremists on the right. Prop 8 succeeded in part because of his "leadership" which empowers bigots. It's, "Hey, if Obama can be against gay marriage and be OK as a Democrat and a black man, then so can I." Or, "If Obama can oppose abortion, then that is a pretty legitimate point of view." As we have discussed before here and elsewhere, relating to the media, there just are NOT two legitimate sides to every social issue. Obama needs to choose and to lead. He is the President for God's sake and he must use the bully pulpit to bully, to lead on significant social issues not to cop out. Neutrality supports the status quo and is thus the right wing position.
My sister and I traded text messages on Sunday morning, just as the news was breaking about Tiller's assassination. Her Master's thesis was about the language of the abortion debate and her conclusion was basically that we can never, ever reach an accommodation on this issue because we are literally not even speaking the same language. Obviously, the particulars are more complicated than that, but this is a blog not an academic journal. The abortion debate is very, very important to her. And she summed up the zeitgeist this way:
Its starting again. We gain power they start shooting us.
Choose a side, Mr. Obama. They have declared war on our side and it has now broken into the open. We need your leadership. The fate of the soul of this nation depends on it.

Can Tiller's Family Sue O'Reilly?

Posted by Fraulein

This is what I want to know: when there is video evidence of Bill O'Reilly's film crew following and ambushing the late Dr. George Tiller--twice--is that enough grounds for Tiller's family to bring a civil suit against O'Reilly for contributing to the fanatical atmosphere that led to Tiller's murder? (This of course in addition to all the other times O'Reilly went on TV foaming at the mouth about Tiller and late-term abortion, implying that women just love to have abortions for fun.)

If not, why not? Seriously?

By the way, among the many outrageous things about this whole situation is the idea, beloved of right-wing blowhards like O'Reilly, that any woman would have an abortion towards the end of her pregnancy without a damn good reason. I guess it's theoretically possible, but as a mother I can tell you it's extremely hard to believe anyone would do this on a whim. For many of Tiller's patients, the choice was between having an abortion, even at a very late stage of pregnancy, or giving birth to a baby with horrific deformities and/or grave illnesses that would cause the baby to die a painful death within hours, days or weeks. The amount of anguish such a decision would cause the mother can't possibly be imagined by anyone as ignorant as O'Reilly. It is this very type of thorny situation that the "pro-lifers," so enamored of their fantasy world where all babies are born whole and perfect, refuse to admit is the reason for many of the abortions performed in this country.

And until we come to terms with this reality and seriously address the domestic terrorism in our midst, we can't even come close to making any progress on the abortion issue in this country.

Chris Matthews and Pissant Criticism

I wrote about this yesterday because it struck me as ridiculous that the RNC apprently still thinks it's campaign season and continues to come out with almost daily inane messages trying to knock President Obama down a peg. Maybe to get him down to a 60% approval rating. I'd leave it alone but I can't help submitting this Chris Matthews video where he nails Bush, the RNC, and Michael Steele.

"Pissant criticism." BANG! "Nincompoop anti-intellectualism." POW! Chris is fun to watch when he gets his dander up.

Commenter Annette also wrote about Air Force One and that any plane the President is on is AF1. My response was that calling the gulfstream they took to New York City "Air Force One" was a deliberate attempt to confuse their non-thinking, knuckledragging followers into picturing the large jet that the President usually uses to invoke outrage of waste. I wasn't wrong.

They even used the AF1 flyover photo-op that was criticized by most and caused the resignation of the director of the White House Military Office, Louis Caldera. Keep it up, you classy Republicans.

Well That Settles It

posted by Armadillo Joe

We can now withdraw from Iraq and apologize to every household we've bombed on the way out. I presume Darth Cheney and his snorting, chuckling sidekick -- Chimpy McLies-A-Lot -- will now go door-to-door across America and beg forgiveness from every military family they've wrecked.

OK. Go on. Get started. I'll wait.

(via HuffPost)

Cheney: "There Was Never Any Evidence ... Iraq Was Involved In 9/11"

Conscienceless sociopaths have been running this country for the last eight years.

Morning Joke™ (The We Hate Socialism Edition)

So, I thought I'd tune in to Morning Joke™ which I rarely do anymore and see what they were talking about. I guessed it would either be abortion or the GM bankruptcy. DING! DING! DING! I'm a winner! There's Erin Burnett talking about the market being up 200+ points yesterday.

Here's part of the exchange (paraphrasing):

Mike Barnicle and Scooter: So the markets liked this GM bankruptcy news apparently.

Burnett: Well, the government owns more now, so that's a good thing, right?

MB & Scooter: NO!

EB: (snarkily) Oh, right. Right. Hey, would you guys buy a small Pinto-sized car?

MB & Scooter: NO! NO!

EB: Oh, because that's what GM says it's going to make.

Scooter: We're big boys, we don't fit in those cans.

Pinto-sized cars? Well, if the Santelli financial media is going to characterize the new GM product as a piece of shit car that can explode when rear-ended, then yeah, no one will buy them. I'm not suggesting that they should be a propaganda machine for the automakers, but maybe they shouldn't be a propaganda machine for the "fiscal conservatives" either since I don't think that group really exists.

Now, Doucheborough is debating Eugene Robinson on the merits of the stimulus package in full snark while simultaneously plugging his book, saying he thought the money was not being well spent. And it's not about the amount, because if they had come out with a $2 TRILLION package that was more targeted instead of the "sugar high" that we got, he might not have been critical about it.

He's got a point. There are those who don't think that the stim package was big enough. But to suggest that he wouldn't have opposed it or criticized it is just laughable. I have to stop watching now because I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Frank Schaeffer on Rachel Maddow

I sat around today thinking of the murder of Dr. George Tiller, about his pro-life murderer and how I felt about it. As I've said before, pro-life does not mean pro-abortion, but that nuance gets lost on many not so clear-minded thinkers (or non-thinkers as the case may be.) I didn't want to haphazardly put down some words in the heat of the moment as I tend to do on occasion. Not on this subject.

Then I caught Frank Schaeffer on The Rachel Maddow Show and I felt that he said what I feel better than I could have said it, so I'll let him have at it.

By the way, Bill O'Reilly is some piece of work, huh? What an abhorrent human being.

Another Blog Post I Wish I'd Written

posted by Armadillo Joe

...but I didn't and even if I had it wouldn't have turned out this good. Written by Anne Laurie, the newest bomb-thrower over at John Cole's place, she rides the wave of righteous personal fury at the assassination of George Tiller and uses that momentum to carry her into a berserking rage that mercilessly pierces the heart of the haters and let's the puss and bile ooze out.

The opening salvo goes something like this:
If President Obama were my personal “change agent”, he’d have announced that the National Guard would now recruit gynecologists to serve as abortion providers in those parts of America—which would be most parts of America—where domestic terrorism and religious extremists keep American women from accessing medical services which are not only legal but supported by the majority of Americans. And he’d add that the National Guard would also be protecting the facilities where those gynecologists worked, with the intention of prosecuting all lawbreakers to the full extent of the anti-terrorism statutes.
She goes on to advocate for forced-ectopic pregnancies for all anti-abortion men and describes the whole membership of the movement to which they belong as The Womb Bigots, a field-guide to which she is helpfully compiling even as you read this post (first entry: Bingo Ladies Gone Bad).

Go read the whole thing.

The "I'm So Wrong, I Shouldn't Be Allowed To Speak" Quote of the Year

“Why would the Department of Homeland Security single out groups like pro-life supporters when they should be focusing on identifying and apprehending the real terrorists – like al-Qaeda – groups that have vowed to destroy America? This characterization is not only offensive to millions of Americans who hold constitutionally-protected views opposing abortion – but also raises serious concerns about the political agenda of an agency with a mandate to protect America.”

- Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the Ameican Center for Law and Justice on the DHS issuing a right wing extremist report.


RNC: "As President Obama prepares to wing into Manhattan's theater district on Air Force One to take in a Broadway show, GM is preparing to file bankruptcy and families across America continue to struggle to pay their bills," the GOP said. "Have a great Saturday evening -- even if you're not jetting off somewhere at taxpayer expense."

I'm waiting for them to figure out the cost of security and gas every time President Obama decides to go out to lunch for a burger.

Hey, douchebags, he's the fucking President. Security is what is required especially in light of right wing extremism and domestic terrorism. I'm too lazy to do it, but it's only a matter of time before someone exposes this latest hypocrisy and finds a story of former President Bush taking Air Force One to a rodeo and tractor pull or some monster truck rally. Besides the fact that the RNC got their facts wrong again (as usual):
The president and first lady Michelle Obama flew to New York from Washington on what a White House press pool report called a Gulfstream-type plane, rather than one of the larger craft that serve as Air Force One, Politico reported.
The Obamas also reportedly paid for their own tickets and dinner. When the hypocrites figure out how much taxpayer money was spent on Bush's 900 vacation days with Air Force One flying to Crawford, TX practically every weekend, then maybe they'll see a little perspective. Until then, they should remember that Obama is president, he won the election and unless they have something of substance to say, they should just shut the fuck up.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Worst Mistake

I know this is well known among rational people, but I'd thought I'd post it anyway, just in case some non-thinkers happened upon my blog.

Richard A. Clarke, Washington Post: The Trauma of 9/11 Is No Excuse

...The first response [the White House] discussed [after 9/11] was invading Iraq. While the Pentagon was still burning, Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld was in the White House suggesting an attack against Baghdad. Somehow the administration's leaders could not believe that al-Qaeda could have mounted such a devastating operation, so Iraqi involvement became the convenient explanation. Despite being told repeatedly that Iraq was not involved in 9/11, some, like Cheney, could not abandon the idea. Charles Duelfer of the CIA's Iraq Survey Group recently revealed in his book, "Hide and Seek: The Search for Truth in Iraq," that high-level U.S. officials urged him to consider waterboarding specific Iraqi prisoners of war so that they could provide evidence of an Iraqi role in the terrorist attacks -- a request Duelfer refused. (A recent report indicates that the suggestion came from the vice president's office.) Nevertheless, the lack of evidence did not deter the administration from eventually invading Iraq -- a move many senior Bush officials had wanted to make before 9/11.

...The Bush administration's response actually undermined the principles and values America has always stood for in the world, values that should have survived this traumatic event. The White House thought that 9/11 changed everything. It may have changed many things, but it did not change the Constitution, which the vice president, the national security adviser and all of us who were in the White House that tragic day had pledged to protect and preserve.

Digby has more.

Despite all of Cheney's attempts at redemption and the ongoing conservative insistence that their policies "kept the country safe" the truth is that they behaved hysterically and irrationally after the attacks and reinforced every bad American stereotype in existence. Because of their blindered conservative worldview, they simply assumed that anything that had been done by someone other than the airbrushed version of Ronald Reagan had to be wrong and that anything other than schoolyard bully tactics were a form of weakness.

It's true that 9/11 did present an opportunity. America could have shown mature and intelligent global leadership. But it didn't. It behaved like a wounded adolescent giant, its leadership carrying on with "bullhorn moments" and talk of wanted posters and playing cards while an irresponsible media entertained the masses with war porn.

It was an embarrassing --- and dangerous --- display. If there was ever a time for the leadership of this country to play it cool it was then. And they failed the test in almost every way. Good for Richard Clark for calling them out on this.


posted by Armadillo Joe

I've often argued at this site and in other forums that we lefties should be more afraid of the capacity for violence on the Right, a capacity I just don't think we share here on the Left, especially as the pendulum swings back and they lose power, money, influence and status.

Breaking news this morning:

George Tiller shot to death at Wichita church

The Wichita Eagle

WICHITA - George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death this morning as he walked into church services.


Tiller has long been a focal point of protest by abortion opponents because his clinic, Women's Health Care Services at 5701 E. Kellogg, is one of the few in the country where late-term abortions are performed.

Protesters blockaded Tiller's clinic during Operation Rescue's "Summer of Mercy" protests during the summer of 1991, and Tiller was shot by Rachelle Shannon at his clinic in 1993.

Tiller was wounded in both arms, and Shannon remains in prison for the shooting.
This is only the beginning.