Archive for April, 2009

A Modest Proposal

So, as I understand it, the Voting Rights Act may be in trouble:

[T]he Voting Rights Act… among other things, requires a federal judge or the Department of Justice to “pre-clear” any changes to voting procedures in parts of the country that have a history of excluding voters on the basis of race.  White racists who try to exclude minorities as minorities have to justify their decision to do so, and their plans are frequently thwarted by the good folks in the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.

If early reports from yesterday’s oral arguments in the Supreme Court are accurate, however, that may soon be changing.  Apparently, the five conservative justices are upset that the Voting Rights Act singles out a handful of largely southern states, while allowing states like Michigan and California to escape supervision under the pre-clearance provisions—so they look ready to strike the whole thing down.

If the problem is that southern states are being singled out when there are racists everywhere, how is that an argument for eliminating the VRA entirely?  If the conservative justices are so worried that northern racists are getting away with murder, then why not simply expand the pre-clearance requirement to all states?  I mean, their objective is to eliminate racially discriminatory election laws, right?


5 comments April 30th, 2009 at 10:56pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Elections,Judiciary,Politics,Racism,Republicans

Headline Of The Month

“Georgia candidate doesn’t think past sex with mule will hurt his chances for Governor”

No, seriously:

When you’re a reporter, you occasionally have to ask uncomfortable questions of someone. In this case, I landed an interview with the Georgia Creator’s Rights Party candidate for governor, Neal Horsley, who is running on the secessionist platform. During the course of my research, I stumbled upon the fact that Horsley had screwed a mule. (Horsely originally fessed up in an Esquire article, which was picked up by Alan Colmes.) At that point, the campaign, the crusade, everything else kind of takes a backseat to the fact that he screwed a mule.


Here’s a snippet of his confession on Alan Colmes:

NH: “Absolutely. I was a fool. When you grow up on a farm in Georgia, your first girlfriend is a mule.”

AC: “I’m not so sure that that is so.”

NH: “You didn’t grow up on a farm in Georgia, did you?”

AC: “Are you suggesting that everybody who grows up on a farm in Georgia has a mule as a girlfriend?”

NH: It has historically been the case. You people are so far removed from the reality… Welcome to domestic life on the farm…”

Colmes said he thought there were a lot of people in the audience who grew up on farms, are living on farms now, raising kids on farms and “and I don’t think they are dating Elsie right now. You know what I’m saying?”

Horsley said, “You experiment with anything that moves when you are growing up sexually. You’re naive. You know better than that… If it’s warm and it’s damp and it vibrates you might in fact have sex with it.”

Yep. There was no way we weren’t going to ask about that one….


“We’re talking about the mule now?”

Yes, he says. The mule.

“A small mule?” I ask.

“No, a full grown mule,” he says. “She loved me, though.”


“All I had to do was give her an ear of corn.” He laughs again. “She was a [prostitute] mule.”

….The kicker is, as soon as I was done she pissed all over me. It was embarrassing. I never told anyone that before.”


Not only that, but Horsley has had sex with men. He was in the Air Force, it was a cold night, yadda, yadda, yadda, he had sex with him, ahem, the way he did the mule. “It was gross,” he says.

Really? He hadn’t described the mule that way.

“I’ve [screwed] a watermelon,” he says. And that’s just for starters. He’s had sex with just about everything it’s physically possible to have sex with, and some that isn’t. “How many times have I masturbated in my life?” he asks. Now he’s 65 and orgasm-free for two years (his wife finally divorced him — too much “drama”, she said). “The bottom line is, I never treated it as if it were not a sin.”

Ho. Ly. Crap.

Also, he is willing to kill his own son to secede from the United States.  What’s not to like?

(h/t Phoenix Woman)

April 30th, 2009 at 10:24pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Republicans,Weirdness

When The Nazis Do It, It’s Not Illegal

Wow, Condi sure had an eventful Monday at Stanford…

Awesome.  A few more visits back to Stanford and she’ll have a legacy to rival Dick Cheney’s, and her “husband” will be in prison.

1 comment April 30th, 2009 at 09:30pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Racism,Republicans,Wankers

Great Moments In Republican Messaging

This is absolutely hilarious:

ANNOUNCER:  (Disclaimer) Hello, this is Jack.
I’ve recorded this message on behalf of the National Republican
Senatorial Committee located at 425 2nd St, Washington, DC or
202-675-4260 to help you welcome your newest Democrat Senator, Arlen

We wanted to make sure that we properly introduced him to you.  Former President George W. Bush said this about Arlen Specter.

PRESIDENT BUSH:  I’m here to say it as plainly
as I can, Arlen Specter is the right man for the United States Senate.
I can count on this man – see that’s important. He’s a firm ally when
it matters most.  I’m proud to tell you I think he’s earned another
term as the United States Senator.

ANNOUNCER: Now here is Senator Specter on important issues to Labor and Democrat interest groups.

SEN SPECTER: I will not be an automatic 60th
vote. And I would illustrate that by my position on employee’s choice
also known as card check. Uh, I think it is a bad deal and I’m opposed
to it and would not vote to invoke cloture.

“Hi, Pennsylvania!  We’re the Republican Party.  Arlen Specter agrees with us on almost everything.  Is that the kind of senator you want to represent you?  Vote against Arlen Specter… because he votes with us.”  And if they really want to screw him over, they should get Bush and Cheney to go campaigning for him.

Man, I wish I could have been at the meeting where they asked, “How can we make the fact that we suck and everyone hates us work in our favor?”

April 30th, 2009 at 08:36pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Photoblogging,Politics,Republicans,Specter

No! Really?

This can only be good for Republicans!

The AP obtained partial results from a GOP poll that showed Republicans “are widely viewed by the public as less competent than Democrats to handle issue ranging from health care to education and energy.”

“Democrats were favored by a margin of 61% to 29% on education; 59% to 30% on health care and 59% to 31% on energy. Congress is expected to consider major legislation later this year in all three areas.”

“Democats were also viewed with more confidence in handling taxes, long a Republican strong suit. The only issue among nine in the survey where the two parties were rated as even was in the war on terror.”

Wow, no-one could have anticipated that FUCKING UP EVERY SINGLE THING YOU TOUCH might have an adverse effect on perceptions of your competence.

And while that last sentence may sound like a bit of a silver lining, remember that terrorism is supposed to be the one issue that the GOP totally owns, and they’re tied with the Democrats?  The Republicans are so screwed right now, and they have no-one but themselves to blame.  Not only was their flagship administration criminal and incompetent, but they chose to completely abdicate their responsibility to rein in that criminality and incompetence.

Chickens, meet roost.

(h/t Phoenix Woman)

April 30th, 2009 at 07:59pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Politics,Polls,Republicans,Terrorism

You Might Be An Unprincipled Hack If…

…Even David Broder doesn’t buy your I-did-it-all-for-the-centrism narrative:

But much as Specter’s decision reflects an increasingly serious weakness in the Republican Party, there is no escaping the fact that it is also an opportunistic move by one of the most opportunistic politicians of modern times.

The one consistency in the history of Arlen Specter has been his willingness to do whatever will best protect and advance the career of Arlen Specter.

In 2004, when some in the GOP caucus challenged his elevation to the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Specter assured them that he would not use the post to block any of President Bush’s Supreme Court nominees. And despite his sometimes liberal record, he voted for both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

Just a few weeks ago, when he was still calculating how he might survive a Republican primary against Toomey, he announced that — despite his friendship with labor — he would not support the so-called card check legislation that is the No. 1 priority of the unions.

This is the man who now has the strongest claim upon the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania.

Specter has been welcomed to the Democratic Party by President Obama and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, the most influential Democrat in Harrisburg. That makes it unlikely that Specter will face any serious challenge in next year’s Senate primary. And, if his health holds up, he will be a strong favorite against Toomey in the November election.

So, once again, Specter is likely to reap political rewards from his maneuvering. But the Democrats should be open-eyed about what they are gaining from his return to his original political home.

Specter’s history shouts the lesson that he will stick with you only as long as it serves his own interests — and not a day longer.

Broder is giving D-Arlen entirely too much credit – he won’t even stick with the Democrats now that he is one.  His defection may be a messaging disaster for the Republicans, but it’s going to be a practical disaster for the Democrats.

1 comment April 30th, 2009 at 06:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Republicans,Specter,Wankers

The Law And The Government Are Supposed To Be On The Same Side

Yet another example of why the Bush administration was morally and ethically repulsive:

Karen Greenberg’s book, Least Worst Place, gives us a very compelling answer. It’s found in a passage in which Will Taft (who emerges from all of this as a minor hero who genuinely believes the values that he articulates) relays a discussion he had with John Yoo. He didn’t understand why there was such ferocious pushback against the Geneva Conventions–why not just accept and live with these standards? America had done so for fifty years. The room got quiet, and Yoo said, “We have an Article 17 problem.”

That was a key point. Article 17 says, “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war,” and John Yoo and the others did not want to have to agree to that. Taft understood what was going on, and he fought back. The State Department team wrote a memo calling Yoo’s opinion “seriously flawed” and “fundamentally inaccurate.” They were saying that John Yoo’s lawyering was incompetent.

But we learn from Greenberg’s book that there was a point to all of this. Yoo’s analysis of the law was dishonest. It was driven by a need to get a certain result–to introduce a system of torture of the prisoners. He was intent on twisting the law to get all the restrictions out of the way.

Good-faith opinion writing? I think not.

The whole purpose of the OLC is to tell the administration what it legally can and cannot do, not act like a mob lawyer finding loopholes or concocting bogus rationales for whatever sordid things the boss wants to do.  If (I repeat, IF) we still had functioning mechanisms for accountability, Yoo and Bybee’s legal malpractice would have exposed Bush and his inner circle to the risk of some serious jailtime.

The OLC is supposed to rein in the administration’s criminal impulses, not enable them.

April 30th, 2009 at 05:53pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Prisoners,Republicans,Torture

If You Like Scaring Yourself…

Check out this post by Sara Robinson about how the right-wing extremists are working themselves into a frenzy over President Obama and his Islamosocialist plot to take away all our guns and money and give them to lazy minorities.  I really hope she’s wrong and reading too much into what they’re saying and doing, but I sure as hell wouldn’t bet on it.

I do think she’s right that if they start retreating into heavily-armed compounds, it’s going to get ugly fast.

It’s pretty long (and you should read the whole thing), so I’ll jump right to the conclusion:

[T]he most likely case is that vast majority of the folks now drunk on right-wing hate talk will ultimately sober up just soon enough not to follow the movement’s emerging leaders down this road. But, if the 1990s were any guide (and the DHS report seems to think that they are), there will also be a small but significant fraction of hardcore right-wingers who will zoom right through the flashing red lights and ride all the way to the bloody end. Without the moderating influence of the saner voices among them, they’ll quickly turn violent — and we could be in for an interesting few years before it all burns itself out.

And, in the end, it probably will burn itself out. In the 1990s, the violence escalated up until the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 — an event so gruesome and dramatic that it discredited the movement even among its own followers. Tim McVeigh’s capture and execution also scared tough-talking movement leaders with the threat of real consequences. And so that round ended.

What we’ve seen the past 100 days strongly suggests that, to at least some degree, we will be going there again. The right wing long ago accepted a foundational narrative that justifies violence. Now, the leaders of the movement are inciting their followers to take many (if not most) of the intermediate steps that signal a group actively gearing up for violence. From this point, it’s only a short slide to further separation, disengagement, and finally confrontation. What we’ve seen so far has been intense and surprising — but we should also recognize it as the first warning gusts of a rapidly gathering storm.

Well, that’s certainly something to look forward to.  If we are fated to live through a bout of scary violent right-wing craziness, I hope we at least get the silver lining of a discredited conservative movement, forcing the Republican Party to start coming back from the fringe.  Not going to hold my breath, though.

April 30th, 2009 at 11:37am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Republicans

Wait… What?

Did Pat Buchanan just get on Chris Matthews for bigotry?


April 30th, 2009 at 06:55am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Racism,Republicans,Sexism

No-One Could Have Anticipated…

Hey, guess what!  Senate Democrats don’t like being leapfrogged by someone who’s only been a Democrat for a day:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) deal to allow Sen. Arlen Specter to retain his seniority after he switches to the Democratic Conference has not been received well by senior senators in the party.

Several Democrats are furious with Reid for agreeing to let Specter (Pa.) keep the seniority accrued over more than 28 years as a Republican senator. That could allow him to leap past senior Democrats on powerful panels — including the Appropriations and Judiciary committees.

“I won’t be happy if I don’t get to chair something because of Arlen Specter,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who sits on the Appropriations Committee with Specter and is fifth in seniority among Democrats behind Chairman Daniel Inouye (Hawaii), Sens. Robert Byrd (W.Va.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.) and Tom Harkin (Iowa). “I’m happy with the Democratic order but I don’t want to be displaced because of Arlen Specter,” she said.

One senior Democratic lawmaker told The Hill that the Democratic Conference will vote against giving the longtime Pennsylvania Republican seniority over lawmakers like Harkin, Mikulski and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) when they hold their organizational meeting after the 2010 election.

Specter was elected in 1980, and under his deal with Reid would jump ahead of all but a few Democrats when it comes time to dole out committee chairmanships and assignments.

“That’s his deal and not the caucus’s,” the senior lawmaker said of Reid’s agreement with Specter.

The lawmaker requested anonymity because the issue of Specter’s seniority is “a sensitive subject.”

I would love to see the Democrats leave D-Arlen high and dry with less seniority than Roland Burris.  Better yet, I’d love to see some of them so pissed off that they back Sestak or Torsella in the Democratic primary (Hey, if he gets voted out, seniority is kind of a moot point, right?).  Of course, I’m pretty sure Harry would view that as an inexcusable breach of party discipline – far worse than voting against cloture or campaigning against the Democratic presidential candidate in a general election.

April 29th, 2009 at 11:15pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Specter

Why Dick Durbin Will Never Be Majority Leader

You’ll never get ahead saying uncool things like this, dude:

And the banks — hard to believe in a time when we’re facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created — are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.

Something tells me Durbin is not a popular guy right now.  Well, except maybe with his constituents.  But who cares about them, right?

April 29th, 2009 at 10:40pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats

Just When You Think They Can’t Get Any Lower

Virginia Foxx is determined to win the hotly contested title of Most Stupid, Evil and Crazy Republican, Michele Bachmann be damned:

The [Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes] bill was named after a very unfortunate incident that happened, where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of robbery. It wasn’t because he was gay. The bill was named for him, the hate crimes bill was named for him, but it’s, it’s really a hoax, that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills.

So I guess when his killers told the cops they killed him because he was gay, they were trying to cover up the fact that they just wanted his money.  Makes perfect sense to me.

Matthew Shepard, just another great big hoax – like the Holocaust, or the moon landing.

April 29th, 2009 at 10:05pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Republicans,Teh Gay,Wankers

Twit Of The Day

Shorter Anne Schroeder Mullins: I am incredibly shallow and I want my cocktail weenies.

This is why I hate the media so very damn much.

April 29th, 2009 at 09:31pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Wankers

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Accountability

Cory Doctorow is talking about something completely different (police brutality in the UK), but his central argument is eerily applicable to the situation here in the US:

Transparency means nothing unless it is accompanied by the rule of law. It means nothing unless it is set in a system of good and responsible government, of oversight of authority that expeditiously and effectively handles citizen complaints. Transparency means nothing without justice.


Transparency on its own is nothing more than spectacle: it’s just another season of Big Brother in which all the contestants are revealed, over and over again, as thugs. Transparency on its own robs as much hope as it delivers, because transparency without justice is a perennial reminder that the game is rigged and that those in power govern for power’s sake, not for justice.

Sure, it’s great that Obama’s DOJ released all those torture memos, but it’s terribly demoralizing when he continues to show pretty much zero interest in pursuing investigations and prosecutions even after the depth of BushCo’s depravity has been exposed.

Sure, he may yet bow to pressure, or Holder may choose to do the right thing, but enforcing the law and protecting the Constitution is not something that our government should have to be forced into kicking and screaming.  I mean, it’s kind of their job, after all.

April 29th, 2009 at 08:54pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Books,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Obama,Politics,Prisoners,Republicans,Torture,Wankers

Poll Of The Day

Shorter American people: How can we miss you when you won’t go to jail?

That George W. Bush Presidential Library is going to need one hell of a theme park attached to it.

April 29th, 2009 at 08:23pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Politics,Polls

More Travel Photoblogging

More photos from the road.
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Semi in the fog and wet.

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There’s something you don’t see every day.

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Our driver’s glasses.

April 29th, 2009 at 11:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

The Weekly World News’ alien sophisticate MYGAR offers tips on the ten best places on Earth for an alien traveler to visit:

Venice.  Hotels in the submerged portions of the city have been set up for water breathing life forms and are some of the best in this section of the galaxy.

Teotihuacan.  If you can travel through time, their restaurants in 40 bc were beyond delight.  And don’t forget to take in a ball game, even if you know who wins its fun to watch.  Even the contemporary ruins of this once glorious civilization are still a marvel and worth the trip.

Dixie County Florida.  Florida’s gulf coast is home to some of the planet’s best beaches.  Off the shore of Dixie Country Manatees gather each spring for poetry readings and philosophical debates that outsiders are welcome to attend.

Tempe Arizona.  Hyperdrive drag racing over the Arizona desert has been a tradition here for decades.  See the best of the best compete for bragging rights.  New laws have made it more difficult to harass the local population with probing.

Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  All Hail the retired empress of the Tulurgian Empire!  Since abdicating her throne some 40 years ago the former Empress has passed the time as a country and western singer and opened a self-styled theme park.  The funnel cakes are so good, you won’t care they’re made of people.

Thessaloniki, Greece.  Snorkel with the Kraken off the shores of this Mediterranean isle.  Enjoy dinner on a restaurant patio overlooking the cliffs where the local Sirens perform nightly.

London, UK.  Like most advanced life forms in the galaxy we all know the prophecy of what will happen to this great metropolis in 2012.  Book a space now to see the fireworks!

Dubai.  Due to a well concealed zombie outbreak no one else is here now.  And someone needs to stay in all those new hotels.

King William Island, Northern Canada.  Big game hunters will want to catch the Tuunboq, a giant snow monster which can eat humans whole.  Enjoy the psychic enhancing effects of being near the magnetic north pole.

Atlantis.  Due to a slumping economy visiting this sunken kingdom has become easier than ever.  Although some will claim that it has become overrun by the tourist market, a recent downturn in their economy has forced a great deal of scaling back and family owned businesses are making a comeback.

I still have some vacation days left…

April 29th, 2009 at 07:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News

More Torture Than Not

Well, that makes, like, one Republican in Congress who’s semi-rational on torture – or at least, that’s what I thought at first:

Rep. Don Manzullo apparently disagrees with his GOP colleague John Shimkus on the issue of “enhanced interrogations,” according to the comments he made an interview with WGN Radio’s John Williams this morning. Listen to this particular exchange, in which the Rockford Republican acknowledges — after Williams recounted the case of Abu Zubaydah — that “apparently waterboarding doesn’t work” (WGN has posted full audio of part one and part two of the interview).

Later in the interview, when asked by Williams whether waterboarding consitutes torture, Manzullo responded, “It’s more torture than not.”

It’s all downhill from there, though:

But Manzullo and Shimkus still agree on one crucial and disturbing point: Those in the Bush administration who authorized torture should not face any legal repercussions for their actions. Manzullo justifies his position using a variety of rationales, none of which hold up to much scrutiny.

For example, after admitting that waterboarding is torture, Manzullo tells Williams that he doesn’t think any laws were broken:

WILLIAMS: So you don’t think there were any U.S. laws or any international laws that we should look into. Nothing went wrong here? No laws were broken?

MANZULLO: Probably at this point, not.

WILLIAMS: You’re kidding?

MANZULLO: Probably.

WILLIAMS: You’ve read, I’m sure, the torture memos. You don’t think any laws were broken?

MANZULLO: It depends upon whether or not you think that the enemy combatants come under the Geneva Accords. …. That in itself there is a split of legal opinion.


This here is my favorite part:

Yet while Manzullo acknowledges that waterboarding “doesn’t work,” he doesn’t seem convinced that we should stop torturing. As you can hear in the first clip posted above, he erects an elaborate hypothetical in which a school locked and filled with 500 students is set to be bombed in 30 minutes and a person with knowledge of the school’s keys is in custody. “That,” he tells Williams, “would be a very unusual situation where anything goes in order to exact the codes and stop that slaughter.”

Damn.  Someone watches waaaay too much 24.  Since when do terrorists do anything remotely resembling that scenario?  “Exact the codes”?  WTF?

April 28th, 2009 at 10:19pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Republicans,Terrorism,Torture

Eli’s Obsession With The, Uh, AOL Search

On the first page of search results for naked movie stars atrios.

Um, is there something I should know?  Geez, I’m so out of the loop these days.

April 28th, 2009 at 11:15am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Eli's Obsession With The Google

Wanker Of The Day

Mike Huckabee:

“We need fiscal sanity in government,” Huckabee writes. “Congress is truly spending like John Edwards in a beauty shop (sorry I couldn’t resist.)”

Hahaha!  Edwards is a great big sissy!

I thought Huckabee was supposed to be branding himself as one of the few Republicans who’s actually a decent, likable guy who can appeal to people outside the mean-spirited conservative base.  And yet here he is, trying to be Ann Coulter Lite, taking shots at a guy who’s pretty much completely irrelevant now.  Stay classy, Huck!

1 comment April 28th, 2009 at 07:09am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Edwards,Huckabee,Quotes,Teh Gay

Quote Of The Day

From John Yoo’s Dickipedia entry:

Having devoted his life to the common dick practice of redefining words to mean something different and more convenient, Yoo, during the course of one business day, redefined “acceptable behavior for a civilized nation” to “pretty much anything up to the reenactment of an Eli Roth movie.”

That. Is. Perfect.

(h/t watertiger)

April 27th, 2009 at 09:20pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Prisoners,Quotes,Republicans,Torture,Wankers

Catch Of The Day

Turns out even Ronald Reagan’s DOJ thought waterboarding was illegal.

During the Reagan Administration, the Department of Justice prosecuted a Texas sheriff and three deputies for waterboarding suspects to obtain confessions, and won convictions. The sheriff was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and the deputies to 4 years.

So, conservatives… if Ronald Reagan is infallible… and he was anti-waterboarding…

You can’t even argue that waterboarding is okay for obtaining intel but not confessions.

April 27th, 2009 at 08:18pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Prisoners,Republicans,Torture

Monday Media Blogging – Nerd Power Edition

This is really quite extraordinary – Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” as performed by obsolete computer equipment:


(h/t Engadget)

April 27th, 2009 at 11:31am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Republicans Objectively Pro-Pandemic

As always, Republicans place politics and posturing over the public good:

When House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who has long championed investment in pandemic preparation, included roughly $900 million for that purpose in this year’s emergency stimulus bill, he was ridiculed by conservative operatives and congressional Republicans.

Obey and other advocates for the spending argued, correctly, that a pandemic hitting in the midst of an economic downturn could turn a recession into something far worse — with workers ordered to remain in their homes, workplaces shuttered to avoid the spread of disease, transportation systems grinding to a halt and demand for emergency services and public health interventions skyrocketing. Indeed, they suggested, pandemic preparation was essential to any responsible plan for renewing the U.S. economy.


Dr. Anne Schuchat, the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Interim Deputy Director for Science and Public Health Program, explained to reporters on Saturday that, because the cases that have been discovered so far are so widely spread (in California, Kansas, New York, Ohio and Texas), the outbreak is already “beyond containment.”

That’s unsettling.

To many Americans, genuinely scary.

Not faked-up, politically-self serving scary, like the arguments former White House political czar Karl Rove advanced in February to frame opposition to the stimulus package Obey crafted in the House.

Rove dismissed Obey’s proposals as “disturbing” and “laden with new spending programs.” He said the congressman was peddling a plan based on “deeply flawed assumptions.”

Like what?

Rove specifically complained that Obey’s proposal included “$462 million for the Centers for Disease Control, and $900 million for pandemic flu preparations.”


Famously, Maine Senator Susan Collins, the supposedly moderate Republican who demanded cuts in health care spending in exchange for her support of a watered-down version of the stimulus, fumed about the pandemic funding: “Does it belong in this bill? Should we have $870 million in this bill No, we should not.”

Even now, Collins continues to use her official website to highlight the fact that she led the fight to strip the pandemic preparedness money out of the Senate’s version of the stimulus measure.

The Republicans essentially succeeded. The Senate version of the stimulus plan included no money whatsoever for pandemic preparedness. In the conference committee that reconciled the House and Senate plans, Obey and his allies succeeded in securing $50 million for improving information systems at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

But state and local governments, and the emergency services that would necessarily be on the frontlines in any effort to contain a pandemic, got nothing.

Did Rove, Collins and their compatriots want a pandemic?

Of course not.

They were just playing politics, in the exceptionally narrow and irresponsible manner that characterized the Republican response to the stimulus debate – and that, because of Democratic compromises in the Senate, dumbed down the plan President Obama ultimately signed.

So, in other words, Republicans pushed to sabotage and weaken a vital government function, and the Democrats caved in and let them.  Wow, that never happens.

2 comments April 27th, 2009 at 07:16am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Healthcare,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

And How’s That Working Out For You?

Once again, it appears that the Republicans have outsmarted themselves, as two of their bright ideas have only managed to make them look even more obnoxious than before, if such a thing is possible.

Remember their Cunning Plan to keep Al Franken out of his Senate seat indefinitely by having Norm Coleman drag out his appeal process to, like, forever?  Even Republican voters are fed up with that one:

A strong majority of Minnesotans think that the election and post-election recount and trial were properly conducted; a strong majority of Minnesotans think that Senator-elect Al Franken won fair and square; a strong majority of Minnesotans want Coleman to concede and release the Senate seat he is holding hostage.  Only about one-quarter of Minnesotans – the dead-enders – think that Coleman won and that he should press on with his appeals.  The will of the voters, for which Coleman keeps saying that he is fighting, is clear in its desire for Coleman to concede and allow Senator-elect Franken to be seated so that Minnesota can again enjoy full representation in the U.S. Senate.  Help put pressure on Coleman to concede by joining the One Dollar a Day to Make Norm Coleman Go Away effort.

And how about the tea parties, those outpourings of Teh Populist Rage against Obama and his Islamosocialism?  Yeah, they sure kicked his ass with those:

Analyzing the polls Post TeaParty shows Obama’s Approval has either been steady or has increased, right and wrong track significantly better and the GOP has either declined or are still in the same sorry state.


Obama,s approval April 15-17   61%

April 22-24   66%…

Fox News         March 31-01    58%

April 22-23    62%

Pew Research     03/31- 04/06   61

04/14- 04/21   63%

ABC/WaPo         03/26 – 03/29   66%

04/21 – 04/24    69

Right/wrong track
Right      Wrong     No opinion

4/24/09          50        48        2
3/29/09          42        57        1
2/22/09          31        67        2…

b. The Republicans in Congress

Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
4/24/09         30          64            6

2/22/09         38          56            6

c. How much confidence do you have in [ITEM] to make the right decisions for the country’s future – a great deal of confidence, a good amount, just some or none at all?

Republicans in congress

Grt deal/Good amt-   —- Some/None —-

4/24/09   21                    78

1/16/09   29                    69

The most devastating part of this poll ROFLMAO!!

There is a warning sign for the GOP in the new poll: 21 percent of those surveyed said they identify as Republicans, the fewest to do so in a Post-ABC poll in more than 25 years. Last fall, Democrats outnumbered Republicans at the polls by the biggest margin in network exit polls going back to the 1982 midterms.

Stuart Rothenberg,s take on the “Party of no” chances in 2010

there are no signs of a dramatic rebound for the party, and the chance of Republicans winning control of either chamber in the 2010 midterm elections is zero. Not “close to zero.” Not “slight” or “small.” Zero.

And now the conservative base wants the GOP to Embrace The Crazy. Good luck with that, guys – that’s obviously just what the American people want.

3 comments April 26th, 2009 at 09:51pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Politics,Polls,Republicans

So What?

So Gallup is doing another poll on whether or not the American public supports criminal investigations of the Bush administration’s justification and use of torture.

But should it really matter?  I mean, since when should public opinion determine whether the rule of law gets upheld, whether criminals get held accountable?

And conversely, how dare conservatives and concern trolls like Broder proclaim that any investigations or prosecutions would be politically motivated?  If they’re so confident that the Bush administration did nothing illegal, shouldn’t they welcome the chance to clear their names?  And if they’re not so confident, are they once again admitting that they place partisan loyalty above respect for the law?

April 26th, 2009 at 02:26pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Media,Politics,Polls,Prisoners,Torture,Wankers

Maybe It’s Because I’m A New-Yorker-In-Exile…

…But this just inexplicably cracked me right up.

Where Is Train?

Poor train.

(From Superpoop)

April 26th, 2009 at 11:34am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

This Surprises… No-One.

Hey, remember BillO’s ambush producer Jesse Watters?  The one who stalked and harassed Amanda Terkel for committing the unpardonable sin of repeating his boss’s nasty she-was-asking-for-it comments about a rape victim?

Turns out he can’t take it:

Watters makes a living startling enemies of his boss Bill O with a video camera and coming back with embarrassing footage that O’Reilly pretends is “news.” But in an act of pure weeniness Watters refuses to discuss his work with anyone. We thought we had a good chance of finding him leaving his house for the office this morning, but not everyone can be a stalker extraordinaire like Watters.

A tipster has passed on info (or misinformation!) from a source inside Fox that says Watters is at his desk, and that his wife—a Gawker fan, according to a different tipster—is quite worked up over the visit.

Apparently his wealth of experience in stalking  people has made him quite expert in evading ambushes himself.

There appears seems to be some disagreement over whether what Watters does can be considered “ambushing” – mostly between Jesse Watters and… Jesse Watters.

(h/t News Hounds)

April 25th, 2009 at 01:05pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Republicans,Wankers

They Write Letters

Some gems from the NYT letters page:

And don’t tell me it’s not torture because the military does it to train our forces. A willingness to impose harsh conditions on ourselves voluntarily cannot justify imposing those conditions on an another involuntarily.

Further, the reason the military uses the techniques on our soldiers is to prepare them for torture by an enemy. Would we say use of those techniques on our own forces by the enemy is not torture?


The debate about aggressive interrogation techniques like waterboarding now centers on their effectiveness.

It is frightening to think that we, a nation that has long believed that principle mattered and that human rights applied to all, would now be open to assuming that such values need not apply when we are frightened or at risk.

Has it all been a fiction? Are there no lines that we, as a nation, will not cross no matter the cost to us? If every value is negotiable depending upon circumstance, we have no true values.


You quote the letter [by McCain, Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham] as saying, “Moving in such a direction would have a deeply chilling effect on the ability of lawyers in any administration to provide their client — the U.S. government — with their best legal advice.”

That seems counterintuitive. Would not such prosecutions ensure that in the future lawyers did give their best advice, not legal fictions that served the whims and wishes of their client, the United States government?


1 comment April 24th, 2009 at 07:36pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Prisoners,Quotes,Republicans,Torture

Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

This week’s quote is from The Rage: Carrie 2:

Large furry animals crawl on my face when I sleep.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s cats…


1 comment April 24th, 2009 at 11:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

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