Archive for March 22nd, 2008

Obama Denounced By Expert On Intolerance

Oh, this is just beautiful.  The opening paragraphs of a Guardian hit piece on how Rev. Wright has thoroughly destroyed Barack Obama’s political career:

Listen for a few minutes to Joey Vento, owner of a south Philadelphia institution that serves gut-busting sandwiches through a takeaway hatch, and the scale of Barack Obama’s problems become apparent. Obama is having the worst week of his campaign. It is, some believe, a week that threatens his chances of becoming president.

“That minister, that was terrible, all his sayings. He’s preaching hatred,” Vento said. “The thing I didn’t like about Obama; you’re telling me for 20 years you been going to that church and you never heard that?”

Vento, 68, was speaking about Obama’s former pastor and spiritual adviser, Jeremiah Wright, whose sermons have been aired repeatedly on US television denouncing the US as racist.

Joey Vento, Joey Vento… cheesesteaks… Now why does that sound so familiar? Oh wait, now I remember:

The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations held a public hearing Friday to address a controversial sign at the popular Geno’s Steaks that has garnered worldwide attention.

The hearing was scheduled after allegations were made accusing Geno’s Steaks of discrimination for posting a sign that reads: “This Is America. When Ordering Speak English.”

Geno’s owner Joey Vento said it is “free speech” and defended his policy during Friday’s hearing.

“This country is a melting pot, but what makes it work is the English language,” Vento told the commission during a hearing that lasted more than six hours….

Oh yeah, he’s the perfect guy to interview about hate speech.

1 comment March 22nd, 2008 at 08:51pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Immigration,Media,Obama,Politics,Racism,Republicans,Wankers

Dick McCain

In an attempt to elevate the discourse here at Multi Medium, I offer up for you some of my favorite excerpts from John McCain’s Dickipedia entry:

In the late 1980’s, McCain became one of the “Keating Five.” Some have noted that this sounds like a band. And to the extent that taking payoffs from corrupt savings and loans officials, passing legislation that deregulated the industry and destroyed thousands of lives, and intervening in the investigation of said corrupt savings and loan officials is like playing music, then, yes, they were a band. A very good one.

(…)

According to one classmate, “being on liberty with John McCain was like being in a train wreck.” It is unclear what being with McCain during his presidency would be like for the nation. Unfortunately, America has no direct experience from which to draw with a president who was a temperamental son of a distinguished military man and who in college was a temperamental fuckup who liked to party. What could possibly be so dangerous about that?

(…)

But in February of 2007, even though he had become the presumptive GOP nominee for president, McCain had still not secured the enthusiastic support of right-wing goons and thugs whose sexual inadequacy has manifested in an extreme love of torture. This group is also sometimes referred to as “The Republican Party.”

Therefore, when an Intelligence Authorization Bill came to the Senate floor that would require the intelligence community to abide by the same standards contained in the Army Field Manual, which bans waterboarding, McCain was faced with a choice: make a principled stand consistent with his avowed opposition to torture, or cowardly choose to abandon his principles and suck-up to the right-wing goons and thugs who sexual inadequacy has manifested in an extreme love of torture. McCain chose the latter.

As many whose views of foreign policy are not influenced by sexual inadequacy have noted, aside from the moral reason to not engage in torture, another is the reasonable conclusion that making practices like waterboarding legal also makes it much more likely that other countries will engage in the same practices on American prisoners of war. McCain’s son Jimmy is, in fact, in the Marine Corps. On February 14th, 2007, Jimmy returned from Iraq, meaning that McCain’s son is now safe from the increased danger of being tortured that McCain’s cowardice has placed other U.S. troops under.

(Interesting timing there, eh?)

The saddest part of the entire [Keating Five] situation, even more sad than the 21,000 mostly elderly people who had their entire life savings completely wiped out, was that it brought the appearance of conflict upon Senator McCain. As McCain said, “The appearance of it was wrong. It’s a wrong appearance when a group of senators appear in a meeting with a group of regulators, because it conveys the impression of undue and improper influence.”

And what a terrible impression that can be. Almost as terrible as working your ass off your entire life, little by little putting enough money away for retirement, and then right before retirement finding out your life savings has been robbed from you and instead of working to try to get your money back, your own senator is busy trying to quash the investigation.

(…)

Rightly sensing that he had disgraced himself in the Keating Five scandal and that this would hinder his chances to fuck up the country as a hotheaded, dangerously unstable, pandering, angry, very old president, McCain set out to launder his reputation. Since the Keating Five scandal had shown him to be a financially sleazy insider, the way McCain chose to rehabilitate himself was campaign finance.

(…)

The [McCain-Feingold] effort paid off for McCain, and in just a few years the press corps, whose short-term memory falls somewhere between that of a household cat and the Rhesus Macaque monkey (Macaca mulatta), native to Afghanistan, northern India, and southern China, hailed McCain as a good government and campaign finance reformer.

How effective was the act in reducing the influence of money in politics? The answer can be found in a simple experiment that anybody can do. Try it yourself: just say the following phrase out loud: “Hey money, I want you to stop influencing politics!” There, you have now had more influence in diminishing the influence of money in politics than the “Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002…”

(…)

Most Washington journalists have a deeply internalized sense of self-loathing. They see themselves as cowardly, flaccid, ineffectual, impotent wimps. In this, they’re not entirely wrong. They have always secretly admired the asshole jocks who used to push them around in high school. The journalists would console themselves with the soothing affirmation that the assholes were not as smart as they were. They were right, of course, but still, deep down the journalists secretly admired the assholes.

Along comes John McCain — an asshole, but an asshole who is nice to them, an asshole who comes to back of the plane and jokes around with them and doesn’t make them feel unmanly. Why, sometimes, it seemed as if McCain really liked them. A few years of this, and suddenly McCain’s not a temperamental, dangerously unstable asshole, he’s a “maverick.”

(…)

McCain spent the years of the first and second Bush administrations making self-congratulatory shows of “independence” from the Republican party and cultivating the weakling press to keep up his image as a “maverick.” It was in these years that McCain laid the groundwork for what would be the classic McCain pattern: speak out against bad people when it doesn’t matter, cowardly cave in when it does matter.

(…)

McCain considers “national security” to be one his strengths. Given the fact that he has yet to be right about any single fact regarding Iraq when it counted, this should tell you something about his prowess in domestic matters….

…McCain was asked about possible military action against Iran. His response was to sing Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran to the melody of the Beach Boys’ song “Barbara Ann.” Though this was widely criticized at the time, it should be noted, however, that deciding foreign policy based on punning lyrics to Beach Boys songs could not, at least, result in a worse situation than the one the United States finds itself in today.

(…)

The fact that McCain, an unstable, angry old asshole, would find himself coasting to the nomination says much about the rest of the field he was facing. His two main rivals were Mitt Romney, a comically soulless toady whose religion, Mormonism, was once thought to be his weakness but turned out to be the only consistent fact about him, and Rudy Giuliani, who is, according to scientific studies, the most dangerous and insane man ever to run for president.

Those are just the highlights. There’s lots more good stuff in there, believe me.

4 comments March 22nd, 2008 at 06:12pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: McCain

Another Republican Who Speaks For Me

First Lincoln Chafee, now Mickey Edwards:

I do not blame Dick Cheney for George W. Bush’s transgressions; the president needs no prompting to wrap himself in the cloak of a modern-day king. Nor do I believe that the vice president so enthusiastically supports the Iraq war out of a loyalty to the oil industry that his former employer serves. By all accounts, Cheney’s belief in “the military option” and the principle of president-as-decider predates his affiliation with Halliburton.

What, then, is the straw that causes me to finally consign a man I served with in the House Republican leadership to the category of “those about whom we should be greatly concerned”?

It is Cheney’s all-too-revealing conversation this week with ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz. On Wednesday, reminded of the public’s disapproval of the war in Iraq, now five years old, the vice president shrugged off that fact (and thus, the people themselves) with a one-word answer: “So?”

“So,” Mr. Vice President?

Policy, Cheney went on to say, should not be tailored to fit fluctuations in the public attitudes. If there is one thing public attitudes have not been doing, however, it is fluctuating: Resistance to the Bush administration’s Iraq policy has been widespread, entrenched and consistent. Whether public opinion is right or wrong, it is not to be cavalierly dismissed.

(…) The decision to go to war… — to send young Americans off to battle, knowing that some will die — is the single most difficult choice any public official can be called upon to make. That is precisely why the nation’s Founders, aware of the deadly wars of Europe, deliberately withheld from the executive branch the power to engage in war unless such action was expressly approved by the people themselves, through their representatives in Congress.

Cheney told Raddatz that American war policy should not be affected by the views of the people. But that is precisely whose views should matter: It is the people who should decide whether the nation shall go to war. That is not a radical, or liberal, or unpatriotic idea. It is the very heart of America’s constitutional system.

In Europe, before America’s founding, there were rulers and their subjects. The Founders decided that in the United States there would be not subjects but citizens. Rulers tell their subjects what to do, but citizens tell their government what to do.

If Dick Cheney believes, as he obviously does, that the war in Iraq is vital to American interests, it is his job, and that of President Bush, to make the case with sufficient proof to win the necessary public support.

That is the difference between a strong president (one who leads) and a strong presidency (one in which ultimate power resides in the hands of a single person). Bush is officially America’s “head of state,” but he is not the head of government; he is the head of one branch of our government, and it’s not the branch that decides on war and peace.

When the vice president dismisses public opposition to war with a simple “So?” he violates the single most important element in the American system of government: Here, the people rule.

Amen to that. Bush and Cheney have completely forgotten – or completely dismissed – the Constitution’s fundamental premise, which is that the president is not the king or the boss of all Americans, but rather the other way ’round. And look at how well that’s worked out for us.

(h/t dakine)

3 comments March 22nd, 2008 at 04:05pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Iraq,Politics,Polls,Republicans,War

Americans Tell Cheney To Go Cheney Himself

Well, this is not exactly a surprise:

In contrast to Vice President Dick Cheney’s dismissive attitude toward Americans’ dissatisfaction with the Iraq war, a recent World Public Opinion poll found that 81 percent of Americans believe that “when making ‘an important decision,’ government leaders ’should pay attention to public opinion polls because this will help them get a sense of the public’s views.’” Moreover, in a sharp rebuke to White House press secretary Dana Perino’s recent claim that Americans only “have input every four years” regarding policy matters, the poll also found that “94 percent say that government leaders should pay attention to the views of the public between elections.”

Dick Cheney’s response: “So?”

March 22nd, 2008 at 03:12pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Iraq,Politics,Polls,Wankers,War

Universe Commemorates Arthur C. Clarke’s Passing

This is pretty incredible timing:

NASA has detected the brightest cosmic explosion ever recorded — a massive burst of energy 7.5 billion light years away that could be seen with the naked eye from Earth, the space agency said.

The explosion, a gamma ray burst older than Earth itself, was monitored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Swift satellite and shattered the record for the most distant object seen without visual aid.

“No other known object or type of explosion could be seen by the naked eye at such an immense distance,” said Swift team member Stephen Holland of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

“If someone just happened to be looking at the right place at the right time, they saw the most distant object ever seen by human eyes without optical aid.”

Gamma ray bursts are among the most violent phenomenon produced in the universe. NASA described them as the most luminous explosions since the “Big Bang.”

(…)

The explosion seen Wednesday “blows away every gamma ray burst we’ve seen so far,” said Neil Gehrels of Goddard Space Flight Center.

Gamma ray bursts occur when huge stars use up all their fuel and their core collapses, forming black holes or neutron stars that release bursts of gamma rays, ejecting particles into space at nearly the speed of light and generating afterglows.

The burst, named GRB 080319B, was among a record four bursts detected by Swift on Wednesday, the same day of the death of prolific science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke who wrote “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

“Coincidentally, the passing of Arthur C. Clarke seems to have set the universe ablaze with gamma ray bursts,” said Swift team member Judith Racusin of Penn State University.

Even the universe mourns Arthur C. Clarke’s death, by catastrophically blowing up four stars at just the right time so their gamma rays would reach Earth on the same day Clarke died. That is a lot awesome.

3 comments March 22nd, 2008 at 02:05pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Books,Coolness,Science


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