Saturday, February 20, 2010

Must Reads

Bob Cesca: Happy Anniversary, Recovery Act

Gail Collins: The Wages of Rages

Christopher Brauchli: Republicans - Good Government's Friends

Barnabe F. Geisweiller: Hate 2.0

Glenn Greenwald: Terrorism: the most meaningless and manipulated word

John Cassidy: Tea Party U.S.A.: It’s Still the Economy, Stupid!

President Obama's Weekly Address - February 20, 2010

Premiums, Profits, and the Need for Health Reform

Friday, February 19, 2010


Yesterday, a man named Joe Stack was so filled with rage at the government and the IRS in particular, he decided to burn his house down and fly a plane into an office building housing an IRS office in Austin, Texas.  It takes a special kind of crazy to be so angry about being taxed (as is everyone else in the country) that you'd kamikaze into a building.  That showed them, huh?

I just have one, simple question: What if someone with the same exact gripe against the government did the same exact thing, but instead of a name like Joseph Stack, it was Yusef Mohammed Abdul-Salaam? You think that the crazies would be calling it a terrorist act?  How soon would they be on their soap box blaming President Obama and a Democratic majority who is weak on terrorism?

Kathryn Grayson Dies at 88

NY Times: Kathryn Grayson, the petite singer and actress whose operatic voice and campus-sweetheart beauty embodied the glamour of Hollywood movie musicals in the 1940s and ’50s, died Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 88.


Seems President Obama has been killing too many terrorists according to the MENSA members at CPAC.

"Why have executions increased?" asked Viet Dinh, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and one of the authors of the USA Patriot Act. Dinh complained that "the president and vice president expound this fact as a fact that they are actually successful in war."
"That doesn't mean I think they are not illegitimate," he added. "No, we have every right to kill the other side's warriors. But at what cost? When we do not have an effective detention policy the only option we have is to kill them before we can detain them. And if we don't detain them, we don't know what they know and what they are up to."
Over the course of the last week or two, the military had taken out or arrested to leaders in the Taliban and has them in disarray in Afghanistan. But now that it's not a Republican president making the calls, somehow Obama is doing it wrong. I thought the Democrats were weak on terrorism. So why is it that these morons at the CPAC conference are cheering at this ridiculous notion that we're "killing too many terrorists"?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rudy's Henchman Goes Down

NY TIMES: Bernard B. Kerik, a former New York police commissioner who rose to national prominence, was sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to eight felony charges, including tax fraud and lying to White House officials.
Under the terms of a plea agreement reached in November on the eve of his trial, the prosecution and the defense recommended that Judge Stephen C. Robinson sentence Mr. Kerik to 27 to 33 months in prison. But the judge departed from the sentencing recommendations, giving Mr. Kerik a longer sentence.
“I think it’s fair to say that with great power comes great responsibility and great consequences,” Judge Robinson said. “I think the damage caused by Mr. Kerik is in some ways immeasurable.”
How much damage would Kerik have caused if the Bush administration went with this mook to head the Department of Homeland Security at Rudy Giuliani's recommendation?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sarah Palin's Tea Party Convention Check Clears

Asked what her advice would be to conservatives as the November elections approach, Palin first lavished praise on the Tea Party movement, calling it "a grand movement" and adding, "I love it because it’s all about the people."
But she quickly pivoted to the broader question of whether the Tea Party movement might successfully field its own candidates in national elections, and on that point she sounded far from convinced.
"Now the smart thing will be for independents who are such a part of this Tea Party movement to, I guess, kind of start picking a party," Palin said. "Which party reflects how that smaller, smarter government steps to be taken? Which party will best fit you? And then because the Tea Party movement is not a party, and we have a two-party system, they’re going to have to pick a party and run one or the other: ‘R’ or ‘D’."
Shorter Palin: Thanks for the hundred grand, suckers. Now vote Republican because you aren't a real party. And even though every time the so called "smaller government, fiscal conservative" Republican Party has NEVER, EVER come through with smaller government and fiscal conservatism whenever we were in power, we think you're so fucking stupid, you'll fall for the bullshit again, you betcha!

It's Called C-SPAN, Douchebags

Regarding the jobs bill:

The top two Republicans in the House sent a letter Wednesday daring their counterparts — Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer — to engage in a public discussion over ways Congress can provide a boost to the economy.
..."Clearly, we need a different approach to developing legislation that will get Americans back to work," Republican leader John Boehner and party Whip Eric Cantor wrote to Pelosi and Hoyer. "Therefore, in the interest of complete transparency on the single most important issue of the day for most Americans, we ask that you join us for an open discussion so that we can begin to change a process that has not only polarized this Capitol building but this country as well."
Televised debates in the House of Representatives? Gee, where have I seen this before? Oh yeah, it's called C-SPAN you fucking assholes!

Newly Revealed Clinton Assassination Attempt

Looks like maybe Bill Clinton had Osama bin Laden in his sights for more than one reason.

Former President Bill Clinton came within minutes of being assassinated in the Philippines by terrorists controlled by Osama bin Laden, a new book has revealed.  
...The foiled attack came during Mr Clinton's visit to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in the city in 1996. 
At one point during his stay, he was scheduled to visit a local politician, his route taking him across a bridge in central Manila.
But as the presidential motorcade was about to set off, secret service officers received a "crackly message in one earpiece" saying intelligence agents had picked up a message suggesting an attack was imminent.
The transmission used the words "bridge" and "wedding" – a terrorists code word for assassination.
The motorcade was quickly re-routed and American agents later discovered a bomb had been planted under the bridge.
The subsequent US investigation into the plot "revealed that it had been masterminded by a Saudi terrorist living in Afghanistan – a man named Osama bin Laden".

Why Is The Senate Broken?

Steve Benen knows:

As much as I'm sympathetic to the vice president's entirely accurate concerns [in regards to his statement: "I don't ever recall a time in my career where to get anything done, you needed a supermajority, 60 out of 100 senators.... I've never seen it this dysfunctional."], his omissions make all the difference. For viewers who don't know what filibusters or cloture votes are, they're thinking, "There's a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress. If the system is broken and dysfunctional, maybe it's Democrats' fault."
Except, for anyone interested in reality, that assumption couldn't be more wrong. If legislation received up-or-down votes in both chambers -- the way Congress operated for the better part of two centuries -- the system would work quite well and the dysfunction that drives everyone crazy would largely disappear.
Biden, in other words, needs to name names -- Republicans broke the American legislative process. They did so deliberately, during a time of crises, because they're desperate to undercut the Democratic majority, regardless of the consequences. The GOP's tactics have no precedent in American history, and violate every democratic norm that keeps our system moving.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Suck On It, Cheney

NY Times: The Taliban’s top military commander was captured several days ago in Karachi, Pakistan, in a secret joint operation by Pakistani and American intelligence forces, according to American government officials.
The commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, is an Afghan described by American officials as the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the American-led war in Afghanistan started more than eight years ago. He ranks second in influence only to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s founder and a close associate of Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mullah Baradar has been in Pakistani custody for several days, with American and Pakistani intelligence officials both taking part in interrogations, according to the officials.
It's stories like these that make Dick Cheney look even more foolish than he already does when criticizing the current administration in the "war on terrorISM" on the Sunday show circuit. In one year, the Obama administration has done more to root out anti-American extremists in Afghanistan than the Bush administration had done in the previous seven.

Whether you agree with the increase of troops and our presence in Afghanistan is another issue entirely, but Cheney misinforming the public and never letting go of his fear mongering ways on a seemingly endless basis, makes him look stupid, petty and out of touch with what's actually happening. All to stay in the public eye until his memoirs get published in the next year.

Monday, February 15, 2010

So Much For The "Do Nothing" Congress

A great point was made this morning by Bob Cesca about the unprecedented amount of obstructionism that has occurred since Democrats took over the majority in Congress in 2007 and the "dig your heels into the ground" GOP mentality since President Obama took office. And yet, the President's success rate in Congress on roll call votes is higher than any in presidential history since the stat has been taken, while facing the highest obstruction in history.

The new CQ study gives Obama a higher mark than any other president since it began scoring presidential success rates in Congress more than five decades ago. And that was in a year where Obama tackled how to deal with Afghanistan, Iraq, an expanding terrorist threat, the economic crisis and battles over health care.
...A major reason for Obama's record high score this year: Democrats took away a significant number of seats from Republicans in the 2006 and 2008 elections, resulting in big majorities in the House and Senate for the president's party.
But Sarah Binder, a congressional analyst at the Brookings Institution, says there's another key reason he scored so well. She says he only took an official position on issues that were really important to him — those that he knew he had a very good chance of winning.[*] He picked his battles carefully.
"He can do that because he's been in the Senate, his staff has been in the House and he understands the process here. They are consummate congressional insiders in understanding how this works," Binder says.
Now that's not to say I believe that the President shouldn't push harder for what he wants and hold his hand out in the interest of "bipartisanship" less, but just to point out that the mainstream media meme claiming the President can't close the deal (which started while campaigning against Hillary Clinton) or wingnuts who claim "we need more than a charismatic guy with a teleprompter" is just plain bullshit.

Also, when looking at overall job approval ratings for President Obama, which currently stands at 53%, there's been an uptick in February since he started fighting back and being more vocal about what he wants and calling out Republicans who are blocking every move with filibusters, holds and in most cases, just flat out stupidity.  So when you hear "the American people have spoken" and they don't want this or that as proven by polls, I think the more telling sign is the frustration with the President not because the don't believe in his policies, but because the think he should fight back harder for his agenda.

*Sarah Binder contradicts herself - does Obama take sides when he knows it's an easy win or when it's an important piece of legislation? I personally believe it's the latter.

Adding... My point here wasn't to suggest that the Congress is doing a bang up job (clearly they can be doing much better) but only to point out the Democrats are not doing as horribly as we're led to believe by most reports. There has been some major, positive legislation passed in President Obama's first year in office, despite the Party of No.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cry Me A River, Joe

Give me a break.

Joe the Plumber is no longer a fan of either Sarah Palin or John McCain, it seems.
Joe, also known as Sam Wurzelbacher, told an audience in Pennsylvania this week that McCain "is no public servant."
"McCain was trying to use me," Wurzelbacher said, according to public radio correspondent Scott Detrow. "I happened to be the face of middle Americans. It was a ploy.”
"I don’t owe him s—," Wurzelbacher continued. "He really screwed my life up, is how I look at it.”
In fact, Wurzelbacher's dislike for McCain is so strong that he no longer supports Sarah Palin simply because Palin will campaign for McCain's re-election.
As for Obama: "I think his ideology is un-American, but he’s one of the more honest politicians. At least he told us what he wanted to do."
You wanted your fifteen minutes, despite lying about the plumbing business, despite owing back taxes, you went on the road with the Mavericks, you tried writing a book (or at least using a ghost writer) and went on a failed book tour and played war correspondent with Pajamas Media.

And McCain ruined your life? You sleep with dogs...

Seriously, Harold Ford?

If you want to run for Senator of New York, being that you've lived here all of four years, wouldn't you think that the first thing you would do is make sure your tax records are in order? Not Harold Fold.

Ford claims to have moved to New York three years ago, and says paying "New York taxes" makes him a New Yorker. But his spokeswoman confirms to Gawker that he's never filed a New York tax return — meaning that he's never paid New York's income tax, despite keeping an office and a residence in New York City as a vice chairman of Merrill Lynch since 2007: "He pays New York taxes and will file a New York tax return in April for the first time," Ford's spokeswoman Tammy Sun told Gawker. "He will file all necessary personal disclosure and tax forms that candidates are required to file if he chooses to run." (According to Sun, Ford admitted to the tax dodge yesterday at a press availability in Albany, but we can't find any news accounts mentioning the remarks.)
Wouldn't this also mean that if he's filing Tennessee taxes and therefore claiming it as his "primary" residence, he's not eligible to run in New York? I suppose by filing in New York in April for the first time makes that point moot since there is no minimum time requirement one must live in a state for eligibility, but what does it say to the constituents whose votes Ford wants to garner?