Archive for February 1st, 2007

Not So Impressive Without His Bulldozer…

And now, your moment of zen…

On Tuesday, President Bush popped in for a surprise visit to the Sterling Family Restaurant, a homey diner in Peoria, Ill. It’s a scene that has been played out many times before by this White House and others: a president mingling among regular Americans, who, no matter what they might think of his policies, are usually humbled and shocked to see the leader of the free world standing 10 feet in front of them.

But on Tuesday, the surprise was on Bush. In town to deliver remarks on the economy, the president walked into the diner, where he was greeted with what can only be described as a sedate reception. No one rushed to shake his hand. There were no audible gasps or yelps of excitement that usually accompany visits like this. Last summer, a woman nearly fainted when Bush made an unscheduled visit for some donut holes at the legendary Lou Mitchell�s Restaurant in Chicago. In Peoria this week, many patrons found their pancakes more interesting. Except for the click of news cameras and the clang of a dish from the kitchen, the quiet was deafening.

“Sorry to interrupt you,” Bush said to a group of women, who were sitting in a booth with their young kids. “How’s the service?” As Bush signed a few autographs and shook hands, a man sitting at the counter lit a cigarette and asked for more coffee. Another woman, eyeing Bush and his entourage, sighed heavily and went back to her paper. She was reading the obituaries. “Sorry to interrupt your breakfast,” a White House aide told her. “No problem,” she huffed, in a not-so-friendly way. “Life goes on, I guess.”

What I wouldn’t give to have been there to see that; to see the priceless look on Dubya’s face as it gradually dawns on him that he is not, in fact, universally loved. That he does not bestride the earth like a colossus. That outside of his realityproofed 24-7 Republican bubble, most people think he’s just a stupid, annoying git. I bet he’s still trying to process it. (“They musta been in shock. Yeah, that’s it, they were paralyfied by mah radiance and decisiviness!”)

(h/t Mercury Rising)

4 comments February 1st, 2007 at 10:25pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Politics,Wankers

Froomkin’s Festival Of Wankery

Just too much blood-boily goodness in White House Watch today, so I’m going to try to hit multiple highlights here:

It’s become accepted journalistic shorthand to say that the previous NSA [warrantless] spying program no longer exists, having been replaced by a new program that meets court muster. But as I first noted in my January 19 column, that’s certainly not the way Bush himself sees things. In an under-the-radar broadcast interview, Bush put it this way: “Nothing has changed in the program except for the court has said we analyzed it, it is a legitimate, it is a legitimate way to protect the country.”

And yesterday, in an interview with members of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, Bush continued in that vein.

Today’s lead Wall Street Journal editorial states that “we’ve been critical of Mr. Bush, notably on his decision to abruptly change gears and subject his NSA warrantless wiretap program to judicial review. So we asked why he had made that decision after 13 months of insisting that those wiretaps were a Presidential prerogative?

“‘Scrap the program’ is not accurate,’ he insisted. ‘The program exists. And now we’ve had a program ratified by the judiciary which is going to make it easier for a future President to have this program in place. . . . It had nothing to do with diminution of Presidential authority. It had everything to do with getting a second branch of government to support that which I have done.'”

Wow. So not only does Dubya basically say that the top-secret FISA court ruled that wireless wiretapping was cool with them, so he can keep on doing it, but the Wall Street Journal actually scolds him for even letting them rule on it in the first place. Just amazing. This is probably a good time to mention once again that those warrants can be obtained retroactively 72 hours after the initial wiretap. The only way the warrant requirement can be a hindrance is if you have no grounds for one.

Okay, moving on… From an interview on Fox News with Neil Cavuto:

Cavuto asked: “How do you think the troops would feel about a President Obama?”

Bush: “Oh, I don’t know. He ain’t — look — he hasn’t got elected yet. He ain’t even got the party’s nomination either. He’s an attractive guy, he’s articulate, I’ve been impressed with him, I’ve seen him in person, but he’s got a long way to go to be president.”

Okay, I can maybe let the “articulate” thing slide as not provably a racist codeword here, because the fact is that Obama is not just “articulate for a black guy” – he’s the best speaker in the Democratic party this side of Bill Clinton, and it would be strange not to make some mention of that. But as if to underscore the point, the Leader Of The Free World, the Most Powerful Man On Earth, uses “ain’t” not once, but twice in the two sentences immediately before it. Makes you right proud, don’t it.

But this, I think this is my favorite of them all, the Wanker Di Tutti Wankers moment:

Asked about federal disaster response by Cavuto, Bush had this to say:

“I think the federal bureaucracy responded pretty quickly for Katrina — and New York. We set up the funds, we put people in place, the monies were spent, the monies were distributed.” He shrugs. “And where there is — I mean, I’m confident there’s some places where the money’s been slowly spent, and we’re constantly listening to members of the Congress to make sure that we are able to free monies that the bureaucracy is, you know, withholding money or slowing up the expenditure of money.

Yes, that’s right, it’s all the mean ol’ bureaucracy’s fault. The Mighty Decider wants nothing more than to move heaven and earth to restore New Orleans and Trent Lott’s porch to their former glory and then some, but that damn bureaucracy keeps getting in the way. (Hey, remember that time when he charmingly dismissed that EPA global warming study as “that report put out by the bureaucracy”?) You can practically see the little Grover Norquist imp perched on his shoulder when he spouts this crap. Side note: How long before he “accidentally” “mispronounces” the name of his opposition as “the Bureaucrat Party”?

Unfortunately, I’m still not done…

U.S. News reports that “Democrats on Capitol Hill are increasingly concerned that President Bush will order air strikes against targets in Iran in the next few months or even weeks. . . . Democratic insiders tell the Political Bulletin that they suspect Bush will order the bombing of Iranian supply routes, camps, training facilities, and other sites that Administration officials say contribute to American losses in Iraq. Under this scenario, Bush would not invade Iran with ground forces or zero in on Iranian nuclear facilities. But under the limited-bombing scenario, Bush could ask for a congressional vote of support, Democratic insiders predict, which many Democrats would feel obliged to endorse or risk looking like they weren’t supportive of the troops. Bombing Iran would also take attention away from the troubled situation in Iraq and cause a rally-round-the-president reaction among Americans, at least for a while.”

Attention Democrats: Voting in favor of starting a second third, even bigger war and occupation when we can’t even handle the ones we’ve got would be, um… what’s the word I’m looking for here… stupid. Half of you got railroaded into okaying the invasion of Iraq, and now you own a piece of that fiasco, to the point where the Lamont Uprising had to shame you into even making it a campaign issue last year. What possible reason would you have to want to own any piece of a war against Iran, which is far larger and more powerful than Iraq? You don’t seriously believe that it’s going to be a glorious victory you wish you had endorsed, do you? Not with this gang of incompetents in charge, commanding a broken army.

Skim skim skim… Surge… Libby… Aspens… A-ha!

Michael Abramowitz and Lori Montgomery write in The Washington Post: “President Bush acknowledged Wednesday that there is growing income inequality in the United States, addressing for the first time a subject that has long concerned Democrats and liberal economists.

“‘The fact is that income inequality is real — it’s been rising for more than 25 years,’ Bush said in an address on Wall Street. ‘The reason is clear: We have an economy that increasingly rewards education and skills because of that education.'”

Yes, of course. CEO’s make a gajillion* dollars a year solely because of their superior education. Everyone who doesn’t make a gajillion dollars a year must be uneducated and stupid. Like me.

And since no Festival Of Wankery would be complete without the Second Family, here we have Mary Cheney explaining what a baby is:

Katharine Q. Seelye writes in the New York Times: “Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, for the first time yesterday publicly defended her decision to become pregnant and asserted that same-sex couples were equally capable of raising children as heterosexual couples.”

Cheney “gestured to her middle — any bulge disguised by a boxy jacket — and asserted: ‘This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate by people on either side of an issue. It is my child.'”

Okay, fine, whatever. All I want is for your baby and your sexual orientation to get the exact same level of respect from conservatives and Republicans as they give to all other gay couples and their children. My preference would be for them to embrace and accept all gays as full and equal citizens under God and the law, but failing that, they should at least be consistent.

*All dollar figures in metric gajillions.

February 1st, 2007 at 07:40pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Democrats,Iran,Katrina,Politics,Wankers

…But Even If I Did, It Would Be Totally Okay.

I’m wondering just exactly what approach the Bush administration is going to take toward Conyers’ hearings on presidential signing statements.

Obviously, they are vigorously asserting that the signing statements are perfectly legal and well within the scope of presidential authority. Personally, I might go along with a First Amendment argument that the president is free to doodle whatever meaningless nonsense he wants on a new law, but it doesn’t actually signify anything other than the evolution of his delusions and mania.

But it also looks like the White House is denying that the president has ever actually acted on any of his signing statements, which I find very interesting. On the one hand, they claim that the president has full authority to exempt himself from any law he chooses, but on the other hand, they claim that he has never actually taken advantage of that exemption. I’m no lawyer, but this suggests to me that they are well aware of just how shaky their legal ground is. If they were truly confident of the president’s imperviousness to law, they would have no compunction about saying that he does so on a daily basis, because they would have no reason to fear any legal repercussions. Or, alternatively, perhaps it is their political ground that’s shaky, and their fear is of political repercussions.

In either case, whatever they may say, the administration acts like they know the signing statements have very questionable legal merit.

February 1st, 2007 at 06:37pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Politics,Wankers

No Such Thing As A Free Luntz

Master Scribe Robert Novak spins us Frank Luntz’s Sad Tale Of Woe:

Pollster Frank Luntz for the past decade has issued warnings to his fellow Republicans that they did not want to hear, but never has he been so out of touch with them as he is today. “The Republican message machine is a skeleton of its former self,” Luntz told me. “These people have no idea how the American people react to them.”

…While Luntz views 2006 election defeats as ominous portents, the party’s congressional leaders see only transitory setbacks and now dwell on bashing Democrats.

Like those of Cassandra of ancient Troy, Luntz’s prophecies of impending disaster have been both accurate and disregarded. Republicans have never been very comfortable hearing critics in closed conferences. He is not invited to such meetings today. “They do not want to hear the truth,” Luntz told me. While truth-telling is celebrated by Republican reformers such as presidential front-runner John McCain [BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!], it is a decidedly minority view in the GOP.

(…)

“The Republican Party that lost those historic elections was a tired, cranky shell of the articulate, reformist, forward-thinking movement that was swept into office in 1994 on a wave of positive change,” Luntz wrote. He went on to say that the Republicans of 2006 “were an ethical morass, more interested in protecting their jobs than protecting the people they served. The 1994 Republicans came to ‘revolutionize’ Washington. Washington won.”

[Luntz] often has worked for the media and made comments too harsh for the ears of reclusive Republicans. He has clashed frequently with Rep. John A. Boehner, the Republican leader of the House who stifled ethics legislation last year when he was still majority leader.

Boehner, elected chairman of the House Republican Conference when the party took control in 1995, tried then to keep Luntz from addressing closed-door meetings but was overruled by Speaker Gingrich. When Luntz warned publicly in October 2005 of rejection by voters in 2006, he was forced to deliver an abject apology before he could speak at a retreat of House Republicans held at the Library of Congress. After seven straight years on the program, Luntz was kept off last week’s 2007 session at Cambridge, Md., by Boehner.

(…)

Indeed, Luntz is not alone in his gloomy prognosis. Republican pollster Bill McInturff believes his party “underestimates” the 2006 outcome and thinks the outlook for Republicans is as dangerous as it has been “at any time since Watergate.” Sen. Jim DeMint, a reform Republican from South Carolina, says the newly minority Republicans are like the Israelites yearning for the fleshpots of Egypt[!!!]. The question is whether the party will heed warnings or follow the route of its leaders, who mainly want to trash Nancy Pelosi.

Poor, heroic, truthtelling Frank Luntz, shut out of the halls of power by the little men who cannot appreciate his vision. I weep.

Novak doesn’t explicitly frame it as such, but this really sounds like a disagreement between Luntz and Rove, with Rove pushing Republicans to continue sliming and attacking Democrats, and Luntz urging them to focus on selling their destructive policies with misleading language. It certainly does sound like a difficult choice to make, but Luntz and Novak believe the Republicans have made it.

Personally, I don’t see any reason to expect Republicans to pick one strategy over the other. They’re not mutually exclusive, so there’s really no reason Republicans can’t lie about themselves and their opponents at the same time.

Additional Thoughts:

o Luntz didn’t mind the strategy of relentless insult and attack when his idol, Newt Gingrich, was the premiere practitioner of it.

o How often do you see the word “fleshpots” in a Robert Novak column? (No, on second thought, please don’t tell me.)

o Be sure to click on the link to see the alarmingly retouched photo of Frank Luntz provided by… Frank Luntz.

o If anyone wants to orchestrate a steel cage deathmatch between Luntz and Rove, please let me know, and I will dedicate myself to raising whatever funds you need.

February 1st, 2007 at 02:16pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Republicans,Wankers

NaiveYork Times

In today’s NYT lead editorial:

…[M]ore threats and posturing are unlikely to get Iran to back down. If Mr. Bush isn’t careful, he could end up talking himself into another disastrous war, and if Congress is not clear in opposing him this time, he could drag the country along.

Teeheehee! They’re so cute sometimes.

2 comments February 1st, 2007 at 12:22pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iran,Media,Politics,War

What’s Going On?

A sample of Linda Perry’s early work.

In today’s NY Daily News Gatecrasher column:

Songwriter-producer Linda Perry is sometimes credited with “creating” Pink, and helped propel Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani and James Blunt to superstardom.

But the pop kingmaker can’t find a front woman for a new album’s worth of songs she has written in the voice of a black lesbian.

“The process has been a real struggle,” a source tells us. “She has been auditioning all hot black lesbians to sing her songs, but is having absolutely no luck at all.”

Perry, who fronted ’90s band 4 Non Blondes, wanted to create a “racier” kind of artist, says the music insider.

Related: How much better would “American Idol” be if it were just black lesbians?

This could just be an insider doing Perry a disservice, but this project sounds awfully cynical and exploitative to me. If it were Linda Perry saying, “I want to tell the black lesbian’s story, which is underrepresented in today’s (and yesterday’s) music,” that’d be one thing. But this sounds a lot more like, “Black lesbians are Teh Hawt!!! All the kewl kids will want to buy black lesbian music!” to me. Again, maybe Perry is thinking the former and Teh Hawtness is the only frame of reference that Gatecrasher’s source has.

Related: Almost anything would make American Idol better. Personally, I would watch it if it was a competition to find the worst singer in America. Hell, I might even compete – my acapella rendition of the original Star Trek theme is spectacular.

UPDATE: I have just been informed that, as I suspected, Linda Perry is not, in fact, a black lesbian. More like a half-Brazilian lesbian. So that kinda tips the scales a bit further towards the more cynical interpretation for me.

3 comments February 1st, 2007 at 11:35am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging,Music,Quotes

OMG!

Chuck Norris has two speeds: Subbing For Hannity, and Kill.

(h/t MyDD)

4 comments February 1st, 2007 at 07:52am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Monday Media Blogging,Politics,Republicans

R.I.P., Molly Ivins

Dammit.

Why is it that ours always seem to die young, and theirs always seem to live forever?

1 comment February 1st, 2007 at 07:49am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized


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