Saturday, July 4, 2009

Music Break! Jimi Hendrix

The Star Spangled Banner

(H/T Andrew Sullivan)

Must Reads

The Declaration of Independence

The Progress Report: The New 'Judicial Activism'

NY Times Editorial: Firefighters and Race

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard: No Justice Today at Guantanamo

Digby: How It Happens

Susie Madrak: Compare and Contrast: A Woman With Pneumonia Goes to The Local Clinic

Bob Cesca: Time for President Obama to Throw Down Against the Corrupt and Spineless

Steve Benen: A Pattern Emerges...

Joe Conason: Suddenly, a Trillion Dollars Is Too Expensive?

Paul Krugman: That 30's Show and Secrets of the WSJ

Armadillo Joe recommends...

Matt Taibbi: Goldman Sachs is reeling under public pressure

Andrew O'Hehir: The un-American way of life

James Wolcott: Sarah Palin Taunts John McCain with Her Runaway Caboose

Happy Independence Day!

Don't forget to take a few minutes out of your day of sun, fun and barbeque to read the Declaration of Independence and think about what it means to you, and why we celebrate this special day.

President Obama's Weekly Address - July 4, 2009

On the 4th of July, Overcoming America’s Challenges


Friday, July 3, 2009

Bigot Fail

"English-Only" Conference Banner Misspells "Conference"

Palin Resigning

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive."

Former GOP vice presidential candidate, former Ms. Wasilla Pageant winner and current (at least for now) Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has called a press conference today to announce her resignation from said office in a few weeks.

"I'm not seeking re-election," Palin told a news conference at which she said she would transfer authority to Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell.

...Palin said her decision came after much "prayer and consideration." She did not want to waste time on "political blood sport" and cited public criticism of her actions and her family since the 2008 campaign.
And she should know about political blood sport.

So here's my layman's analysis:

Sarah Palin is obviously preparing for a 2012 run at the GOP nomination. If you gave Palin the benefit of the doubt, it would make sense for her not to leave the state of Alaska in the lurch replacing a re-elected Governor with the Lieutenant Governor just a few months into her term to run for President.

But if you're a cynic, to run for a second term in a state where your approval ratings have dropped approximately 25-30 points in the last 8 months and the very possible chance that you can lose that election just before seeking the presidential nomination would be politically suicidal.

I'm guessing it's the latter. Although I don't know who gave her the advice that she would be "out of sight - out of mind" should she truly believe that criticism will escape her if she's not holding office. All she has to do is open her mouth for that to continue.

Sarah 2012? You betcha!

UPDATE (9:45pm): Freak. Show.

And the crowd of tens politely applauds while trying to decipher what the fuck she just said.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Health Care: It's Not About Money (Part 3) - UPDATED

posted by Armadillo Joe

So, this one is for commenter Ed Darrell who seems to have appeared out of nowhere, fully formed, and armed to the teeth with smarts and all kinds of intellectual ammo to smash the wingnuts into oblivion, even the super-keen smart ones. In the comments to my last post, he came swooping in with all kinds of info and expressed an interest in reading the entirety of the exchange with the guy on Facebook. So, I am hereby obliging.

BTW, Ed, I note from your profile page that you live in Dallas. I grew up in the Dallas area and the particular wingnut in question is a high-powered corporate attorney who I went to high-school with and who still lives in Dallas. So, Ed, you can imagine the particular brand of insular corporatized arrogance that represents.

And while we're at it, Ed, who are you and where did you come from? Please feel free to comment all you like. And that goes for the rest of you, as well.

For all you other Blog-O-Maniacs, unless you are interested in a long, tedious and blood-pressure averse blog post, what follows is a tough and not terribly rewarding slog. I only edited the names out to protect the not-so-innocent and the order of a few specific posts for clarity. No words have been added or subtracted.


Rereading the thread this morning, I realized that who is whom may not be all that clear. The first commenter is another attorney friend of mine who also lives in Dallas and knows the doofus from later in the thread. She is nice enough, and book-smart, but also has that sort of smug sanctimony one finds in someone who has never really wondered where money for food or rent will come from. Her comments are in green. Mine are in blue. Corporate doofus is in red. All others are in purple.

Happy reading.

You posted a link to a news story
June 26 at 9:20am.

Armadillo Joe would like to point out that if you think actual elected members of Congress will be the ones working on making this country's new health care policy, you haven't been paying attention.

NPR: Turning The Camera Around: Health Care Stakeholders

When 22 senators started working over the first health-care reform bill on June 17, the news cameras were pointed at them -- except for NPR's photographer, who turned his lens on the lobbyists. Whatever bill emerges from Congress will affect one-sixth of the economy, and stakeholders have mobilized more


Lawyer friend #1 at 9:42am June 26
Ok, not all lobbyists are bad. Lots of healthcare company lobbyists, but also JDRF and American Heart Association and so on.

Armadillo Joe at 10:22am June 26
yes, that's true. Advocacy for a position is a necessary part of the American system of representative government.

And further, I'm sure even the biggest villains in that room also still love their spouses and children. The problem isn't with any one individual lobbyist's personal morality or professional ethics. The problem is the system itself, wherein the money to buy the access to affect policy is made by engaging in the very practices the policy-makers should be seeking to end.

Put less abstractly, the health-care industry is bloated and ineffective and a great many people make their personal fortunes in the ensuing chaos, which makes them the moral equivalent of war-profiteers. Those profits are then spent in defense of furtherance of the very system in need of reform.

Which is why we never get health-care reform.

Lawyer friend #1 at 10:36am June 26
Ok, so who has a better system?


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Have You No Sense of Decency?

"The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama Bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States."

-Michael Scheuer

Isn't that something? Michael Scheuer, along with other neocons and wingnuts care about our country soooo much, they would prefer to have Osama Bin Laden, Mr. Wanted Dead or Alive, the man wanted for the 9/11 attacks, they'd prefer to have him commit another attack, possibly killing thousands of Americans in the process, just to further their warped, twisted agenda.

These are the 'Country First' people. These are the people with 'Support the Troops' magnets on their cars. These are the Birthers, the Palin supporters, the Joe the Plumber fans.These are the people that wanted to bomb Iran before they wanted to save Iran's tainted election in the name of democracy.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think any other, ANY OTHER talk show/news show host would allow a statement like that to go unchallenged, let alone agree with it. When does the hysteria end? When does Glenn Beck realize what's over the top? When does he realize what's over the line and what stops being useful discourse?

I know these are all rhetorical questions, because scumbags like Glenn Beck, and Neil Boortz, and G. Gordon Liddy and Michael Savage don't care about decency. Rats like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity worship the Almighty Dollar and could care less what they read off their faxed talking points. To them, it's like a little kid armed with a magnifying glass and watching the reaction of the anthill population after causing a little havoc. They're above it all. Whether they believe in their own bullshit or not, it doesn't affect them.

When do network executives realize it's NOT okay to yell fire in a crowded movie house?

Times Square Tea Party Fail

Imagine my surprise when blocks of 7th Avenue were blocked off for yet another demonstration in Times Square. Iran election? Iraq troop withdrawal? Michael Jackson tribute? No. It was a Tea Party.

Here's a quick pic from my phone.

Maybe about 100 people? Looks like more signs than teabaggers. Here's the rest of the avenue.

Looks like the police had a fairly easy time with crowd control. TEA PARTY FAIL!

Health Care: It's Not About Money (Part 2)

posted by Armadillo Joe

Just like
last week, I'm still arguing with that guy on Facebook. Here's the latest exchange:
corporate lawyer/former high-school debater:

When you were talking about the economics, you dropped the inflammatory rhetoric and the ad homs. When you got back to the moral arguments, you started shouting and accusing again. Why is that?

Whether the US government should adopt a single-payer system for health care is not a moral issue, it is a public policy issue. It's an economic question: how much should the gov't tax people, and how much should it pay for their health care?

If you have a single-payer system, then the government will still have to make decisions about what to pay for and how to apportion the money it spends on health care. People who can't afford to pay for additional coverage still suffer and die in systems with government as a single-payer. You seem to imagine that if the gov't is paying, then everyone will get all of the care that they need, but when pushed on that you say you don't imagine everyone will get cradle-to-grave care for everything that affects them. You can't have it both ways.

The unavoidable fact is that resources are scarce, which means decisions must be made about how to apportion them. I get that you want to have the government raise taxes (or borrow money today, then raise taxes on future generations) and use more money on paying for health care. That's fine. I disagree with you that this is the best public policy, or that it will even have the great results you imagine.

The point about DDT is simply this: I think it is bad public policy to ban DDT when it could be used to effectively eliminate malaria-carrying mosquitos and thereby save hundreds of thousands of lives annually. You disagree with me. I don't think that this disagreement makes you an amoral, parsimonious tree-hugger.

The language of morality shouldn't apply because it obscures and inflames the debate. It should be possible to disagree about how governments should spend and regulate without attacking the character of those who disagree.

Armadillo Joe:

Shouting? Ad hominem? Please. This is a spirited exchange of ideas. If I was shouting - I'D BE USING ALL CAPS.

That said, however, please refrain from trying to bait me by disingenuously including a flashpoint like DDT, because we both know that a debate over its use has raged across the political spectrum for decades. Inserting a reference to it is not value-neutral, it is a red-herring that deliberately chums the water.

Also please, stop attaching claims I've never made to my viewpoint via hedging phrases like "you seem to imagine..." then attacking that characterization instead of the specific claim I advance: the definition of a straw man argument. As much as you may wish that I had claimed everyone would get ALL the care they EVER need in life from cradle-to-grave if only the stoopit gov't would just pay for it, because that would be easier for you to rebut, I never did. I'm not a hippie-dippie moonbat imagining a world with no possessions, pining away for a money-free utopia.

Yes, people suffer and die and single-payer will not end that. I'm not trying to have anything both ways. I never claimed that universal coverage was a panacea but a government safety-net can moderate that suffering for the purpose of social stability and distribute the burden of the costs to promote the general welfare. And furthermore, I ask you, how is government bureaucrat making decisions about apportionment any different or worse than the current collusion of income-based rationing with insurance company bureaucrats operating under a steep financial disincentive to provide effective care? Any amount of nationalized health-care -- however mediocre for those who need to use it -- is still 100% better than no care at all and has proven elsewhere in the world to be better than the uneven, unfair, inefficient, often dangerous and grossly expensive system we enjoy now.

France spends half of what we do per capita on health-care and they not only get universal coverage for that money, but also cheaper drugs, lower infant mortality rates and greater life-expectancy. Those who want more coverage (and can pay for it) do so and almost everyone in France so chooses, which has resulted in a robust and very profitable private health-care sector parallel to and largely integrated with the public one. However, those who can't pay anything at all at least have a third option besides death or economic ruin when faced with mounting medical bills. The social instability engendered should that kind of human suffering metastasize should be easy to imagine.

And, finally, you dismiss the use of moral language as obscuring and inflammatory, but I posit that as long as the debate remains a dry, measured exchange of policy prescriptions -- as though we're debating a change in library hours at a town council meeting rather than mitigating preventable suffering -- we ignore to our peril the deeper structural inequities in American life as embodied in our broken health-care system. Moral language clarifies the stakes, whereas your framing of the issues -- trying to make it about nothing more than policy and economics -- obscures the deepening supremacy of this issue in so many American lives.

Policy and economics are but tools, means to an end. Morality is the impetus.

Thus, what you characterize as impugning the character of the opposition is in fact a reaction to complacency -- whether from apathy or smugness or fear or parsimony -- in the face of overwhelming evidence for action.

Pina Bausch Dies at 68

NY Times: Pina Bausch, the choreographer and exponent of the Neo-Expressionist form of German dance known as Tanztheater, died Tuesday in Wuppertal. She was 68.

The Wuppertal Dance Theater in western Germany, where she had served as director, announced the death. It did not give the cause, but said Ms. Bausch’s "unexpectedly fast" death came five days after a cancer diagnosis, the Associated Press reported.

The Rite of Spring

Karl Malden Dies at 97

LA Times: Karl Malden, one of Hollywood's strongest and most versatile supporting actors, who won an Oscar playing his Broadway-originated role as Mitch in "A Streetcar Named Desire," died today. He was 97.

Tweet of the Day

The Pandemic of Stupid (Part Three: The Michele Bachmann Edition)

Minnesotans should be completely embarrassed having this moonbat represent their state. Michele "Armed and Dangerous" Bachmann's latest conspiracy theory involves the evil Barack Obama and the use of information in the upcoming 2010 Census.

Now the Census, for those that don't know, has been around since Thomas Jefferson in 1790. A Founding Father. But that doesn't matter to Bachmann. She's convinced these personal questions are an invasion of privacy and doesn't know what the evil government (the government she is a part of) would do with such vital information like her phone number. Because we all know it's impossible for the government to get that information unless provided by the customer. The telecom companies would never surrender than kind of vital info.

Well, Michele, the U. S. Constitution (Article I, Section II) requires that there be a census every ten years in order to apportion the seats in the House of Representatives among the states. That would be to assure idiots like Bachmann have a job. Census information is also used by federal, state and local governments to assess needs and allocate funding, by academics to study the changing population, by individuals to trace their genealogy, and for many other purposes.

Besides the fact that you are subject to prosecution if you refuse to answer census information and Bachmann insisting she will not comply with the census next year, the killer is this little nugget: she is upset that they ask for all this very personal information, but don't ask if you are an American citizen. Listen to the MENSA conversation between Bachmann and Sean Hannity.

Really? Is there no question in the US Census asking if you are an American citizen? Surely that has to be an oversight, and an egregious one at that. Could Bachmann be correct? ...Of course not.

Section 3: Page 18, Question 8

Of course, Bachmann also brings ACORN into the mix, just one of over 250 organizations used by the government in compiling information of over 300 million people. I always knew that some ultra-conservatives righties were nuts when they were in power, but now that they're out of power they are freaking out and coming out of the woodwork faster than the zombies in Night of the Living Dead.

Here's Stephen Colbert's take on the Census (Thanks to Annette for the video).

(H/T GottaLaff)

UPDATE (3:30pm): Rachel Weiner: Michele Bachmann's Cenus Opposition Worries GOP

Three Republican congressman have publicly chastised fellow Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) for declaring that she would not fill our her census form.

"Boycotting the constitutionally mandated Census is illogical, illegal and not in the best interest of our country," said Reps. Patrick McHenry (N.C.), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) and John Mica (Fla.), members of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives in a statement Wednesday.

...Roll Call reports that the three congressmen approached Bachmann privately and asked her to stop the boycott. They went public because Bachmann "appeared unfazed by their request."

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fact Grenades

I've never experienced shell shock, but besides the pain, I can only imagine it's something like what Steven Spielberg depicted in Saving Private Ryan*. If I remember correctly, this happens twice to Tom Hanks during the movie; once towards the beginning of the movie during the beach invasion and once towards the end. An explosion takes place nearby, the shock wave causing temporary deafness, disorientation and confusion.

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski felt that shell shock today when Chuck Todd tossed a fact grenade into the MSNBC Morning Joe set. Bringing up the Supreme Court reversal on the Ricci case and how it would play with the Sotomayor nomination, Todd stated the obvious which had been pretty much ignored by the mainstream media: the fact that the conservative judges on the bench overturned the decision which had been based on legal precedent and created a new rule to overturn the decision. Some would call that "judicial activism" or "legislating from the bench." The very thing conservatives were accusing Sotomayor of doing when she ruled on legal precedent. Funny, that.

Watch the carnage as Joe's & Mika's heads explode with the realization that the "activist" judges we actually face are the conservative ones on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Boom! goes the dynamite! The stunned silence from Joe and Mika after Todd makes his point is priceless. Mika even calls Todd "adorable" - who the fuck knows what that's supposed to mean. And Joe Scarborough, caught with his pants down, proclaims that he'll just let it go because he didn't know if it would take him half hour or an hour to debate Todd's analysis. Hint: If it takes you 30 to 60 minutes to rebut someone's statement, you're probably wrong and just making shit up. Nice try, Joe.

The post traumatic stress disorder from Todd's fact grenade is probably going to reveal itself in a disjointed rant or two in tomorrow's telecast from the gang at Morning Joke™.

* 4:58 mark.


Franken makes 60 votes. Get your spineless Democrats in order, Senator Reid... that includes you.

Reality check... I know the magic number 60 is more symbolic than anything else. Think about it. Sixty senators in the "Democratic" Caucus means the inclusion of Joe Lieberman, Arlen Specter, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Diane Feinstein, Evan Bayh and the list goes on. We know that Democrats don't march in lockstep like the distinguished douchebags on the other side of the aisle, but the thought of "60" looming in the feeble brains of the GOP is more of a psychological effect than the reality of having to deal with Blue Dogs, GOP converts and two Independent members (one a former DINO, Lieberman, and a true Indy who is more of a Democrat in Sanders).

Still, it's nice to have something to rub GOP noses in.

It Only Took 238 Days

Senator Al Franken

The unanimous 5-0 decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court declaring Franken the winner also contained language that politely stated the Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty should not hesitate to sign the certification of the election.

...Pawlenty had indicated as late as Monday that he was willing to certify Mr. Franken as the winner once the state’s highest court decided the recount and Mr. Coleman’s battle. On CNN on Sunday, Mr. Pawlenty said: “I’m prepared to sign it as soon as they give the green light.”

A 5-0 unanimous decision sounds like a green light to me. Will Norm Coleman now do the right thing and not appeal to SCOTUS? I'm not so sure he's that smart.

UPDATE (4pm): Coleman concedes! Congratulates Al Franken as state's new Senator. Respects Minnesota Supreme Court's decision although does state he "also thought it was important to stand up for enfranchesing thousands of Minnesotans whose votes weren't counted like others' were."

UPDATE (4:40pm): Fox had this waiting in the can and couldn't wait to use it.

Stay classy, Foxies. The Star Magazine of cable news.

(H/T GottaLaff)

Cartoon Break! Three Little Bops

Check out the credits - Stan Freberg and Shorty Rogers.

Clash of Cultures (It's not what you think)

posted by Armadillo Joe

via Yglesias, proof that Obama Derangement Syndrome is not just a problem for the mouth-breathing knuckledraggers in wingnut comment threads over at LGF or Town Hall, but also at America’s Shittiest Website™ by one of Teh Right's premier "intellectuals".

My friends, this is a very real phenomenon:

"Perhaps people who are busy gushing over the Obama cult today might do well to stop and think about what it would mean for their granddaughters to live under sharia law."
Words fail me.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Madoff Sentenced To 150 Years

It's a shame the 71-year old he probably won't even serve one tenth of that.

NY Times: In pronouncing the sentence — the maximum he could have handed down — Judge Denny Chin turned aside Mr. Madoff’s own assertions of remorse and rejected the suggestion from Mr. Madoff’s lawyers that there was a sense of “mob vengeance” surrounding calls for a long prison term.

“Objectively speaking, the fraud here was staggering,” the judge said. “It spanned more than 20 years.”

Supreme Court Overturns New Haven Firefighter Reverse Discrimination Case

The vote was 5-4. Is anyone surprised?

NY Times: WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court ruled Monday that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.

New Haven was wrong to scrap a promotion exam because no African-Americans and only two Hispanic firefighters were likely to be made lieutenants or captains based on the results, the court said Monday in a 5-4 decision. The city said that it had acted to avoid a lawsuit from minorities.

...In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the white firefighters "understandably attract this court's sympathy. But they had no vested right to promotion. Nor have other persons received promotions in preference to them."

Justices Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens signed onto Ginsburg's dissent, which she read aloud in court Monday.

Another important note to ponder for those opposed to the Appellate Court decision in which Sotomayor was involved was that according to Pete Williams reporting on MSNBC just now, "the Supreme Court did announce a new rule today, one that was not available to [Sotomayor] at the time."

A new rule for the purposes of overturning the decision... which is perfectly acceptable, but will be immediately tossed aside by the right in order to further malign and discredit Sotomayor's nomination.

Stenographers to Liars

posted by Armadillo Joe

Considered against the backdrop of the kerfuffle between Nico Pitney and Dana Milbank this week (appropriately covered by Broadway Carl's DBOTW yesterday), Dan Froomkin's firing makes perfect sense. The big, fat, well-trained and meekly compliant traditional media is accustomed to strolling the cocktail party circuit in Washington D.C. like some roly-poly dog at a suburban pool party trolling for scraps off the grill. They fear anything that threatens to muss up that really cozy deal they've got for themselves wherein they unquestioningly re-print the lies of those in power in exchange for "Access" which gives them the panache to be blow-dried media celebrities which gets them on the list to receive the lies which they re-print, etc...

Now, whether those lies bore out or not, whether they proved correct or not on a factual level (to say nothing of the underlying rightness and wrongness on a moral level) was less important than taking all possible measures not to upset the very lucrative, reputation-enhancing apple cart. So Milbank gets his knickers in a twist because a DFH (a blogging DFH, popular with the rabble) gets to speak with the president over a room full of people who have scraped and bowed and crawled through shit to be among the soulless but powerful chosen few. All that guy ever did was talk to a people in Iran, collect sources, do his homework and act like he was a journalist or something. He never actually ate a cocktail weenie at any cozy little Washington parties, so he's just a nobody and a show-off who won't play ball.

And the Dirty Fucking Hippie Dan Froomkin (I mean, hell, look at the guy) simply never wanted to play ball either, which was fine when the captain of the red team was in the White House because Froomkin got to be a sop to all his fellow DFH's on the Inter-Webs while Very Important People went about the Very Important Business of Running The World.

But even after one of his moonbat lefties took the White House and all those DFH's invaded Congress, he continued to have -- you know -- standards, evenly applied, as though he had proved right about torture and Iraq and the economic meltdown and the domestic surveillance and all those Establishment-types had been proven wrong. Over and over and over again.

Hey, man, your guy's in office now -- ease up, OK? You're making us look bad.

So he had to go. And he does go. He goes out in a blaze of glory.

And he names names:
I started my column in January 2004, and one dominant theme quickly emerged: That George W. Bush was truly the proverbial emperor with no clothes. In the days and weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, the nation, including the media, vested him with abilities he didn't have and credibility he didn't deserve.


The ensuing five years and 1,088 columns really just fleshed out that portrait, describing a president who was oblivious, embubbled and untrustworthy.

When I look back on the Bush years, I think of the lies. There were so many. Lies about the war and lies to cover up the lies about the war. Lies about torture and surveillance. Lies about Valerie Plame. Vice President Dick Cheney's lies, criminally prosecutable but for his chief of staff Scooter Libby's lies. I also think about the extraordinary and fundamentally cancerous expansion of executive power that led to violations of our laws and our principles.

And while this wasn't as readily apparent until President Obama took office, it's now very clear that the Bush years were all about kicking the can down the road – either ignoring problems or, even worse, creating them and not solving them. This was true of a huge range of issues including the economy, energy, health care, global warming – and of course Iraq and Afghanistan.

How did the media cover it all? Not well. Reading pretty much everything that was written about Bush on a daily basis, as I did, one could certainly see the major themes emerging. But by and large, mainstream-media journalism missed the real Bush story for way too long. The handful of people who did exceptional investigative reporting during this era really deserve our gratitude: People such as Ron Suskind, Seymour Hersh, Jane Mayer, Murray Waas, Michael Massing, Mark Danner, Barton Gellman and Jo Becker, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau (better late than never), Dana Priest, Walter Pincus, Charlie Savage and Philippe Sands; there was also some fine investigative blogging over at Talking Points Memo and by Marcy Wheeler. Notably not on this list: The likes of Bob Woodward and Tim Russert. Hopefully, the next time the nation faces a grave national security crisis, we will listen to the people who were right, not the people who were wrong, and heed those who reported the truth, not those who served as stenographers to liars.

It's also worth keeping in mind that there is so very much about the Bush era that we still don't know.
Will somebody hire this guy, please?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Douchebag of the Week: Dana Milbank

President Obama's press conference last Monday afternoon apparently ruffled the feathers of Washington press insiders when he called on The Huffington Post's Nico Pitney for a question regarding Iran. Anyone following Pitney on a regular basis knows that he has spent the last two weeks trying to contact Iranian protesters on the ground through various technological means, like Twitter and Facebook.

When called upon, Pitney asked, "I wanted to use this opportunity to ask you a question directly from an Iranian. We solicited questions on tonight from people who are still courageous enough to be communicating online. And one of them wanted to ask you this: Under which conditions would you accept the election of Ahmadinejad? And if you do accept it without any significant changes in the conditions there, isn't that a betrayal of -- of what the demonstrators there are working to achieve?"

Pretty pertinent question, don't you think? Well Dana Milbank didn't. In fact, Milbank probably didn't even hear the question because he was so incensed that a mere blogger would be called upon instead of, well the Washington Post's Dana Milbank for example, perhaps to ask about President Obama's bathing suit paparazzi photo again. Titillating.

Milbank immediately took to his blog after the press conference and inaccurately "reported" the exchange between Pitney and the White House and spent the rest of the week trashing President Obama and his "staged" press conference, while Pitney continued the work of a real journalist getting as much information as possible from sources literally on the streets of Iran.

Staged press conferences, Dana? How quickly we forget Jeff Gannon. Or is that James Guckert? How quickly we forget the cabal of Fox reporters and conservative pundits doing the bidding of the Bush White House; an exclusive little group including the repugnant Neil Boortz and the crying lunatic, Glenn Beck.

Pitney then appeared on CNN's Reliable Sources, in an apparent "pre-arranged, staged" ambush flanked on either side by Milbank and the Washington Times' Amanda Carpenter, to accuse him of "collusion" with the White House, but Nico held his own, called Milbank out on his bathing suit silliness and slapped the whiny little bitch into next week.

According to multiple sources, at the end of the segment Milbank leaned in to Pitney and said, "You're such a dick." Perhaps if Milbank would do some actual journalistic work instead of the equivalent of a political gossip column for a newspaper who's credibility is continually fading (see: Dan Froomkin firing), maybe he'll get called on to ask a question. As long as it's not: "President Obama: Boxers or briefs?"

The Washington Post's faux reporter, Dana Milbank: Douchebag of the Week.

Adding... I would be remiss not to remind readers of the staged news conference conducted by FEMA during the California wildfires in October of 2007, and this dipshit Milbank is seriously going to call Pitney a staged White House plant? Fuck you, Dana.