Saturday, August 1, 2009

Is There Anything Sarah Palin Won't Quit?

Just days after officially stepping down as governor of Alaska, former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is dropping out of an advertised speaking engagement in Simi Valley...
It was on Thursday that Palin’s spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton made public the news of the decision not to attend the event via Palin’s Facebook page.
Up to 900 people were expected to attend the event at $100 a ticket for members and $150 for non-members, but media had been barred from the occasion.
It's bad enough that Palin left her state in the lurch after declaring herself a lame duck and resigning, but is this what she meant when she said she was "willing to call an audible and pass the ball when it's time so the team can win"? She's running out of balls to pass after being passed over herself by Clear Channel for a possible radio show, and polls showing her Alaskan brethren aren't too happy with her point guard decisions.

Via Wonkette: "Facebook! She fucks these people over via Facebook. She’ll probably take Bristol out of her will via Twitter."

Now comes rumor of Todd and Sarah possibly divorcing. Is there anything Sarah won't quit?

UPDATE (9:10pm): Palin, or her spokesperson Meg Stapleton, has denied the divorce rumor... via Facebook!!! Maybe she should quit that.

Must Reads

Joan Walsh: "Beer summit" won't stop racists like Limbaugh

d r i f t g l a s s: When Harry Met Crazy

Glenn Greenwald: More detainee victories and what a majority of Congress tried to do and GE's silencing of Olbermann and MSNBC's sleazy use of Richard Wolffe

Bob Herbert: Anger Has Its Place

Danny Schechter: AS OBAMA’S SUPPORT ERODES, THE RIGHT IS RESURGENT - Will Progressives Respond To The Attempt to Overthrow The President?

David Sirota: Health Care Tyranny by 13 Obstructionists

Gore Vidal: America the Great ... Police State

Frank Rich: Small Beer, Big Hangover

President Obama's Weekly Address - August 1, 2009

This Economic Storm Will Pass

Corazon Aquino Dies at 76

NY Times: Corazon C. Aquino of the Philippines, who was swept into office on a wave of “people power” in 1986 and then faced down half a dozen coup attempts in six years as president, died Saturday in Manila, her son said. She was 76.
Her son, Senator Benigno S. Aquino III, known as Noynoy, said in a statement that she died at 3:18 a.m. She learned she had advanced colon cancer last year and had been hospitalized in Manila for more than a month, he said. The cancer had spread to other organs, he added, and she was too weak to continue chemotherapy.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Keep It Up, Lou Dobbs

Lou Dobbs' fanning of the Birther flames aren't doing much for his ratings.

Mr. Dobbs' first began reporting on Obama birth certificate conspiracy theories on the night of Wednesday, July 15. In the roughly two weeks since then, from July 15 through July 28, Mr. Dobbs' 7 p.m. show on CNN has averaged 653,000 total viewers and 157,000 in the 25-54 demo.
By contrast, during the first two weeks of the month (July 1 to July 14) Mr. Dobbs averaged 771,000 total viewers and 218,000 in the 25-54 demo. In other words, Mr. Dobbs' audience has decreased 15 percent in total viewers and 27 percent in the demo since the start of the controversy.
Arguably, interest in cable news has slumped across the board since early July when attention over Michael Jackson's death was still at a fever pitch.

But, that said, Mr. Dobbs' ratings over the past two weeks, during the height of the "birthers" controversy, are also down significantly compared to his overall numbers during the second quarter of 2009 when he averaged 769,000 total viewers and 222,000 in the 25-54 demo.

In summary, if Mr. Dobbs' affinity for "birthers" is a ratings ploy, it's a pretty ineffective one.
Although his birther bullshit has calmed down a little after getting a cease and desist e-mail from the CNN president, he continues the lunacy on his radio program.

Dodd Has Prostate Cancer

NY Times: Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the 65-year-old five-term Connecticut Democrat, has early stage prostate cancer, which he plans to announce at a news conference Friday afternoon in Hartford, according to an aide to the senator.
Mr. Dodd’s condition was caught extremely early, through regular screening, and he will probably use the upcoming Senate recess to undergo surgery, the aide said.

Going For Broke

posted by Armadillo Joe

Heading into the August recess with substantive health-care reform hanging by a very thin thread, I think Gary Kamiya at sees the lay of the land very clearly:

Politics is the art of compromise, but on some issues compromise is a recipe for failure, and this is one of them. By treating single-payer as if it were too politically radioactive a term to bring up, he made it so.

The fight to reform healthcare was always going to be brutal. America's market-driven system is the last, atavistic remnant of our myth of exceptionalism, and for right-wingers still enraged over the New Deal, defending it is a holy cause. Of course Obama knew this, and as on virtually every subject, his centrist and "realist" instincts told him to go slow and tread lightly. But what Obama seems to have failed to realize is that the lunatic right was going to paint him as a fanatical communist, unreconstructed racist and evil, non-citizen Muslim no matter what he did, so he might as well get his money's worth and embrace the genuinely progressive politics that he seems, deep down, to actually believe in.

The unfortunate thing -- which could turn out to be a tragedy if he fails -- is that Obama had, and still has, an almost unprecedented opportunity to effect real changes in the nature of American society. The right was on the ropes when he took office, and he let it escape.


The American people elected Obama to change our politics and our country for the better, not be a hapless, "bipartisan" whipping boy...

Jon Stewart Asks John Bolton: "Who Wouldn't You Bomb?"

The douchiest thing I've heard uttered in a long time.

John Bolton: "There's not that much difference between me and the people who want a world where no government has nuclear weapons. There's not much different. I only want one government to have nuclear weapons."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
John Bolton
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

Quote of the Day

It’s almost immoral what they are doing... Of course they’ve been immoral all along in how they have treated the people that they insure with pre-existing conditions, you know, the litany of it all... They are the villains in this,” Pelosi said of private insurers. “They have been part of the problem in a major way. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening. And the public has to know that. They can disguise their arguments any way they want, but the fact is that they don’t want the competition.”

- An angry Nancy Pelosi the day after formally delaying the vote on the health care bill

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Aww... That's A Shame.

No radio show for Sarah?

... Clear Channel Broadcasting, the country’s biggest radio conglomerate, has already turned Palin down because of fears that she wouldn’t be able to "hold forth for three hours a day."

It's all for the best. She probably would have quit after the second hour anyway because she loves radio so much.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Serious Fox News

You'd think that after fighting in the Middle East for the last seven years, the serious news people at Fox News would know that the country we overthrew that is surrounded by six countries, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the country that we are helping "democratize" is not Egypt.

Dear Fox News Graphic Department: Here is a map of the Middle East. Study it. Egypt is actually on the lower left with that 3,000 mile river called the FUCKING NILE running through it. What you labeled "Egypt" in your pathetic excuse for a map is actually Iraq.

(H/T Media Matters)

Franken Slams Supreme Court

During his statement in support of Judge Sonia Sotomayor and his vote to approve her to the Supreme Court, Senator Al Franken defined the real meaning of "judicial activism" and pointed to the current Supreme Court as an example. It's times like this that I wished more Senators spoke with such conviction for what is right rather than what is advantageous to their party.

Things I Know

Posted by Fraulein

It's comforting to know there are at least a few ironclad certainties in life. (Aside from the obvious ones like death and taxes.) One such immutable fact is that when some grandstanding, faux religious, holier-than-thou, sanctimonious prick of a politician gets caught having an affair, that sanctimonious prick politician will be a Republican.

This highly honorable guy, Tennessee State Sen. Paul Stanley, evidently believes no public funds should go to organizations like Planned Parenthood, since "unmarried people shouldn't have sex." Married guys diddling interns half their age, however--well, that's a different story.

Lest anyone pipes up to ask me how this is different than Bill Clinton's little intern problem--well, you never saw Clinton getting on his high horse demanding the unmarried stay celibate, did you? And if I were in the mood for a little wager, I'd be willing to bet that Sen. Stanley had plenty to say about Bill Clinton's foibles back in the day. Just like all the other GOP horndogs. Remember Henry Hyde? Newt Gingrich? Classy guys all.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The GOP Cockroach Scurry

I find it amazing that elected officials are so afraid of reporters with cameras, they literally run away as fast as they can. Mike Stark (of HuffPo and FDL) is the light switch that makes these GOP roaches run for cover. And all because they don't want to be on official record as supporting the Birther Movement, yet giving it credence by saying there may be something there.

And Rep. Thaddeus "I'm focused on health care issues" McCotter actually introduced a resolution to get President Obama to officially apologize to Cambridge Police officer Sgt. James Crowley. A fine use of time for the state of Michigan and their tax dollars.

Posse Comitatus, Schmosse Comitatus

John Yoo does it again.

Jonathan Turley: The debate continues to rage this week over the push by Vice President Dick Cheney and others to have former President George Bush deploy active military units in a suburb of Buffalo to arrest a small group of men who were suspected of supporting terrorism (here). Nor (sic) surprising, Bush officials went to Berkeley law professor John Yoo to tell them that (surprise!) the President was not bound by the Fourth Amendment or federal law if he unilaterally declared the operation to be a national security matter. Yoo and his former colleague conclude that “the president has the legal and constitutional authority to use military force within the United States to respond to and combat future acts of terrorism, and that the Posse Comitatus Act does not bar deployment.” I discussed the controversy on this segment of Countdown.
It's becoming clearer every day how the Bush administration, or more specifically the Dick Cheney wing of the White House went out of their way to disregard the law in their eight years in office. These stories are coming out only 6 months after they've left. Can you imagine the really heinous skeletons in the closet that we may never know anything about?

O'Donnell Blasts Sgt. Crowley

Calls President Obama's "Stupidity" Comment On The Mark

Judiciary Committee Approves Sotomayor

Well, the Democratic members did, anyway. The vote was 13-6. The lone Republican yea vote was cast by Lindsey Graham.

The Beer Summit

It's no Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin.

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge police officer James Crowley will have their beer at the White House with President Obama on Thursday night at 6:00 pm ET.
Things are going to go really bad if Crowley shows up with a case of Colt 45 Malt Liquor or a couple of 40's of Old English 800.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Jon Stewart Eviscerates Bill Kristol

I have always thought that even though Bill Kristol has been wrong about basically everything he's ever predicted, it's because he can't help but be disingenuous in an effort to promote the conservative agenda. But after his most recent interview on The Daily Show, I just think he's a fucking moron.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bill Kristol Extended Interview
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

I wonder if Stewart thought, "Hmm... it's a slow day today. Who shall I feed on? I know! Bring me the head of Bill Kristol!"

Light Blogging Today


Sunday, July 26, 2009

On Life in a Growing Police State

posted by Armadillo Joe

Been busy the last few weeks, so not holding up my end of the blogging bargain very well at this'n here site, but I wanted to check-in real quick with something that has stuck in my craw all week.

Henry Louis Gates should sue the shit out of the Cambridge PD and Obama should not have apologized for saying they behaved stupidly. Since the days of Goldwater and Nixon, "law and order" has been a crypto-fascist cudgel (along with "strong national defense" and "family values") the GOP has used to bash the licentious girly men of the Democratic Party into meek apology, not to mention the dog-whistle language of veiled racism that specific phrase has thanks to Tricky Dick and his evil minions. Officer Crowley was wrong. Further, I would posit that he acted wrongly knowingly and with malice-aforethought. What did he do?

From Mark Kleiman at The Reality-Based Community blog (bold-faced sections are mine):
No one who is familiar with law enforcement can miss the significance of Crowley's report. As so often happens with documentary evidence, a person seeking to create a false impression spends lots of time nailing down the elements he thinks will establish his goal, but forgets about the larger picture. Under color of law, Crowley entered a residence to investigate a possible break-in, and after his probable cause had evaporated, he continued to act under color of law, but without any justifiable purpose. And he covered it up with false charges. Figuring that his best defense was a criminal charge, Crowley did what bad cops do. He decided he would look better if Gates looked worse.


Sgt. Crowley's report almost certainly contains intentional falsehoods, but even accepting his account at face value, the report tells us all we need to conclude that Crowley was in the wrong here, and by a large factor.

The crime of disorderly conduct, beloved by cops who get into arguments with citizens, requires that the public be involved. Here's the relevant law from the Massachusetts Appeals Court, with citations and quotations omitted:
The statute authorizing prosecutions for disorderly conduct, G.L. c. 272, § 53, has been saved from constitutional infirmity by incorporating the definition of "disorderly" contained in § 250.2(1)(a) and (c) of the Model Penal Code. The resulting definition of "disorderly" includes only those individuals who, "with purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof ... (a) engage in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior; or ... (c) create a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor.' "Public" is defined as affecting or likely to affect persons in a place to which the public or a substantial group has access.
The lesson most cops understand (apart from the importance of using the word "tumultuous," which features prominently in Crowley's report) is that a person cannot violate 272/53 by yelling in his own home.

Read Crowley's report and stop on page two when he admits seeing Gates's Harvard photo ID. I don't care what Gates had said to him up until then, Crowley was obligated to leave. He had identified Gates. Any further investigation of Gates' right to be present in the house could have been done elsewhere. His decision to call HUPD seems disproportionate, but we could give him points for thoroughness if he had made that call from his car while keeping an eye on the house. Had a citizen refused to leave Gates' home after being told to, the cops could have made an arrest for trespass.

But for the sake of education, let's watch while Crowley makes it worse. Read on. He's staying put in Gates' home, having been asked to leave, and Gates is demanding his identification. What does Crowley do? He suggests that if Gates wants his name and badge number, he'll have to come outside to get it. What? Crowley may be forgiven for the initial approach and questioning, but surely he should understand that a citizen will be miffed at being questioned about his right to be in his own home. Perhaps Crowley could commit the following sentences to memory: "I'm sorry for disturbing you," and "I'm glad you're all right."

Spoiling for a fight, Crowley refuses to repeat his name and badge number. Most of us would hand over a business card or write the information on a scrap of paper. No, Crowley is upset and he's mad at Gates. He's been accused of racism. Nobody likes that, but if a cop can't take an insult without retaliating, he's in the wrong job. When a person is given a gun and a badge, we better make sure he's got a firm grasp on his temper. If Crowley had called Gates a name, I'd be disappointed in him, but Crowley did something much worse. He set Gates up for a criminal charge to punish Gates for his own embarrassment.

By telling Gates to come outside, Crowley establishes that he has lost all semblance of professionalism. It has now become personal and he wants to create a violation of 272/53. He gets Gates out onto the porch because a crowd has gathered providing onlookers who could experience alarm. Note his careful recitation (tumultuous behavior outside the residence in view of the public). And please do not overlook Crowley's final act of provocation. He tells an angry citizen to calm down while producing handcuffs. The only plausible question for the chief to ask about that little detail is: "Are you stupid, or do you think I'm stupid?" Crowley produced those handcuffs to provoke Gates and then arrested him. The decision to arrest is telling. If Crowley believed the charge was valid, he could have issued a summons. An arrest under these circumstances shows his true intent: to humiliate Gates.
Obama, by walking back from the word "stupid", has legitimized the poo-flinging monkeys of the GOP who leap on the faintest quiver of "disloyalty" to supposed attacks on 'murrican hee-roze not from a genuine sense of offense, but from a sleazy desire to drum up votes via political theater performed within the carefully-constructed narrative (a narrative our nation's media buys and sells hook, line and sinker) of the Republicans as the Daddy Party -- the strong disciplinarian, the hard-hearted, steely-eyed protector of the nation's honor -- and the Democrats as the Mommy Party -- the profligate coddler, too soft-hearted and full of "love" to make the hard choices that keep us safe, both from threats foreign and domestic. Of course, the narrative is bullshit, but it still frames our national discourse and the true measure of raw GOP power, even after the godawful nightmare of eight years of Bush-as-GOP-apotheosis, even after the drubbing they've taken in two consecutive elections, even after every buck-fuck nuts, crazy-as-a-shithouse-rat, hare-brained scheme for reinforcing our calcifying corporatocracy for the sake of Amerikkka Inc.'s bottom-line and old-money's trust funds (with the added side-benefit of protecting white privilege generally, no matter the social status) which all got passed off as a fresh, new "ideas" has finally, fully been utterly discredited and flushed down the historical toilet, even after These United States finally elected a man to the most powerful office in the land who within the living memory of over half the electorate would have been killed for even attempting to exercise his right to vote in vast swaths of this country (most of which represent the GOP's current base of power, BTW)... even after all of that the true measure of the GOP's latent, pervasive raw power is that Barack Hussein Obama has to apologize for calling "stupid" the actions of a thin-skinned white cop who can't take being righfully challenged on over-stepping his authority by a understandably upset black man.

Evidently, in America today, it's a crime to disrespect a police officer, even after he's disrespected you. Gates is lucky he wasn't tasered, in which case being disrespectful could be a death-sentence.

Watch what you say to the po-leese.

Douchebag of the Week: Michael Karolchyk

Boy, was there a plethora to choose from for this week's DBOTW honors! But who to pick, oh the pressure.

I could choose Dick Cheney's evil spawn, Liz for picking at the birther movement scab with a quote that has nothing to do with the birth certificate conspiracy theory. "People are uncomfortable with a president who is reluctant to defend the nation overseas" said the succubus.

I could choose Lou Dobbs, who although stating he thinks President Obama is a US citizen, continued to stoke the crazy flames and posed that Obama could be "undocumented." Even after CNN president Jon Klein sent out a "shut the fuck up" e-mail calling the birther story dead, Dobbs continued to give it air time.

I could choose retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters for suggesting that captured soldier Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl be killed by the Taliban if he had indeed deserted to save us all "a lot of legal hassles and legal bills." Way to support the troops, Ralph.

But my choice for Douchebag of the Week honors goes to Michael Karolchyk. In case you missed it, Karolchyk was a guest on Neil Cavuto's sorry excuse for a show sporting a "No Chubbies" t-shirt and calling new Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin "obese," claiming she is 60 pounds overweight because she's "lazy" and really, shouldn't someone promoting health look the part? Maybe Karolchyk wanted the job?

Let's compare resumes, shall we?

Dr. Regina Benjamin: Founder and chief executive, Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic, Bayou La Batre, Ala., 1990-present; chairwoman, Federation of State Medical Boards, 2008-09; president, Medical Assn. of the State of Alabama, 2002-03; trustee, American Medical Assn., 1995-98; diplomate, American Board of Family Practice; fellow, American Academy of Family Physicians.¹
Named one of the “Nation’s 50 Future Leaders Age 40 and Under” by Time magazine.
Honored with the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights in 1998.
According to the New York Times article highlighting her nomination and achievements, Benjamin made house calls after her clinic was flooded as a result of Hurricane Georges in 1998. Hurricane Katrina destroyed her clinic, and she mortgaged her own home to rebuild it. The clinic was again destroyed — this time by fire — and Benjamin appealed to donors across the country to raise enough funds to rebuild.²
Michael Karolchyk: CEO of Denver's Anti-Gym (NSFW), a fitness club with an emphasis on getting clients in shape for sex: "With live DJs, cage dancers, and our elite co-ed Ravish Room, Anti-Gym boasts the hottest facilities and clientele in Denver."
The Anti-Gym was raided by the IRS in January, its assets seized and shut down, according to the CBS affiliate in Denver.³

But to get a real flavor of what Karolchyk is all about, his profile in the Denver web-magazine 5280 is a must read. What a fine, upstanding citizen. And what an outstanding job for Fox News to have this "expert" appear on a regular basis.

Michael "No Chubbies" Karolchyk: Douchebag of the Week.

¹ LA Times: Profile Dr. Regina M. Benjamin
American Association of University Women

Music Break! Eddie Daniels