Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Frank Rich

Assures us the Democrats are not unraveling over the silliness of flag pins, Pastor Wright, nor bittergate, and that McBush should be careful not to get complacent:
Mr. McCain is not only burdened with the most despised president in his own 71-year lifetime, but he’s getting none of the seasoning that he, no less than the Democrats, needs to compete in the fall. Age is as much an issue as race and gender in this campaign. Mr. McCain will have to prove not merely that he can keep to the physical rigors of his schedule and fend off investigations of his ties to lobbyists and developers. He also must show he can think and speak fluently about the domestic issues that are gripping the country. Picture him debating either Democrat about health care, the mortgage crisis, stagnant middle-class wages, rice rationing at Costco. It’s not pretty.

Last week found Mr. McCain visiting economically stricken and “forgotten” communities (forgotten by Republicans, that is) in what his campaign bills as the “It’s Time for Action Tour.” It kicked off in Selma, Ala., a predominantly black town where he confirmed his maverick image by drawing an almost exclusively white audience.

The “action” the candidate outlined in the text of his speeches may strike many voters as running the gamut from inaction to inertia. Mr. McCain vowed that he would not “roll out a long list of policy initiatives.” (He can’t, given his long list of tax cuts.) He said he would not bring back lost jobs, lost wages or lost houses. But, as The Birmingham News reported, this stand against government bailouts for struggling Americans didn’t prevent his campaign from helping itself to free labor underwritten by taxpayers: inmates from a local jail were recruited to set up tables and chairs for a private fund-raiser.

The Democrats’ unending brawl may be supplying prime time with a goodly share of melodrama right now, but there will be laughter aplenty once the Republican campaign that’s not ready for prime time emerges from the wings.

I'm ready to laugh!







crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Monday, April 28, 2008

But your love won't pay my bills

In the news today:
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and the government of President George W. Bush were to blame for the U.S. financial crisis, Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz said in a magazine interview.

"This man (Greenspan) has unfortunately made a lot of mistakes," said former World Bank chief economist Stiglitz, according to a preview of the interview to be published on Monday in profil magazine.

"His first one was to support all the tax cuts which were introduced under Bush -- they didn't stimulate the economy very much ... This task was then transferred more towards monetary policy, though then (Greenspan) created a flood of credits with low interest rates," Stiglitz was quoted as saying.

That Greenspan is a tool, totally in the pocket of big money and the corporatocracy, is hardly new. Only a mindless supply-sider could defend cuts in taxes for corporations and the über-wealthy as benefiting the whole of America.

But thegood news is, oh wait, there isn't any good news:
Stiglitz said Bush's government was also to blame.

"I reproach them, that the economy was not as resilient as it could have been due to the ongoing tax cuts and the huge costs incurred by the war in Iraq," he was quoted as saying.

He said it was a myth that Europe could decouple itself from the United States.

"Especially the weak dollar will continue to hit the European economy hard, because it will make it much harder to export," he said.
Greenspan: bastard.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Daddy, What'd'ja Leave Behind For Me?

Daddy, What'd'ja Leave Behind For Me?

Silence is golden, but my eyes still see

‘Day of Silence’ Spurs Protest
A one-day school boycott is urged to counter support for bullied gay students

Some conservative groups are urging parents to keep children home from school today if their fellow students will be taking part in the annual Day of Silence observation.

Thousands of middle- and high-school students across the nation, including some in the Triangle, plan to take a vow of silence today to bring attention to the bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students.
But this year, a network of local and national conservative groups is calling for a boycott. They claim that allowing some students to be silent in class will not only promote homosexuality, it also will disrupt education.

“If you’re not going to be educated that day, why let them go to school?” said Bill Brooks, executive director of the N.C. Family Policy Council, one of the groups encouraging parents to consider taking their children out of school today.
Groups such as the American Family Association have developed forms for parents to use to argue that their children should get an excused absence if they boycott school today.
Matt Wight, principal of Apex High School, said he has heard from parents who have asked why the school is participating. He said he has explained to them that it’s a student-sponsored event.

“My sense is people are getting misinformation and it’s being manipulated into being a school-sponsored event,” Wight said.

But Creech said it doesn’t matter whether the event is student sponsored. He said a school is complicit if it allows students to remain silent.
This year’s Day of Silence is in remembrance of a 15-year-old California student who was killed by a classmate in February because of his sexual orientation.
Creech said such activities normalize homosexuality.
Isn't it just like these christofascists to reject Jesus' teachings to complain about students' silent protest regarding the bullying and murdering of their fellow students for being gay.

One would think silent students could make for a more positive educational experience, but nooooo, these morons insist that any school that actually allows students to be silent is advancing a homersexual agenda.

Hypocritical bastards.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Sitting in the Dock of the Hague

With groveling apologies to Otis Redding and a shaking fist at Steve Bates who got the song and the idea stuck in my head....


Sittin' in the mornin' sun
I'll be sittin' when the evenin' come
Watching the lawyers roll in
And then I watch 'em roll away again, yeah

I'm sittin' in the dock of the Hague
Watching my poll numbers slide away
Ooo, I'm just sittin' in the dock of the Hague
Wastin' time

I left my home in Texas
Headed for the Capitol Hill
'Cause I've had preznitshal elections
And everything wuz gonna come my way

But I'm just gonna sit in the dock of the Hague
Watching evidence pile day by day
Ooo, I'm sittin' in the dock of the Hague
Wastin' time

Look like nothing's gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can't do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I'll remain the same, yes

Sittin' here resting my bones
And this loneliness won't leave me alone
It's three or four countries I bombed
Just to make this dock my home

Now, I'm just gonna sit in the dock of the Hague
Watching my life roll away
Oooo-wee, sittin' in the dock of the Hague
Wastin' time


crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Update: It needs this picture:


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Oh, deep in my heart I do believe, we shall overcome someday

Pam works with a 20-something black woman, who has recently become politically aware.

She tells Pam (3rd party paraphrase):
When Obama first started running, her parent's generation said "Not gonna happen, they will never let a black man run". They, of course, being the white establishment.

The black community thought highly of the Clintons, but Hillary and Bill are rapidly flushing that down the drain.

Now that's Obama's a shoe-in for the nomination, the same folks are saying that if it doesn't happen, if somehow Hillary gets it, the disappointment will set race relations back a long way.

It would be easy for those of us with far less melanin to say they should get over it, aren't things much better for blacks now? It would also be stupid, since to deny that institutionalized racism still exists would be to ignore all the evidence.

For this, along with many other reasons, I hope Hillary finally reads the writing on the wall and drops out, sooner than later.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Suicide is painless, it brings on many changes

VA Hid Suicide Risk, Internal E-Mails Show

In San Francisco federal court Monday, attorneys for veterans' rights groups accused the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs of nothing less than a cover-up - deliberately concealing the real risk of suicide among veterans.
The charges were backed by internal e-mails written by Dr. Ira Katz, the VA's head of Mental Health.

In the past, Katz has repeatedly insisted while the risk of suicide among veterans is serious, it's not outside the norm.

"There is no epidemic in suicide in VA," Katz told Keteyian in November.

But in this e-mail to his top media adviser, written two months ago, Katz appears to be saying something very different, stating: "Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among veterans we see in our medical facilities."

Katz's e-mail was written shortly after the VA provided CBS News data showing there were only 790 attempted suicides in all 2007 - a fraction of Katz's estimate.
And it appears that Katz went out of his way to conceal these numbers.

First, he titled his e-mail: "Not for the CBS News Interview Request."

He opened it with "Shh!" - as in keep it quiet - before ending with
"Is this something we should (carefully) address … before someone stumbles on it?"

Last November when CBS News exposed an epidemic of more than 6,200 suicides in 2005 among those who had served in the military, Katz attacked our report.

"Their number is not, in fact, an accurate reflection of the rate," he said last November.

But it turns out they were, as Katz admitted in this e-mail, just three days later.

He wrote: there "are about 18 suicides per day among America's 25 million veterans."

That works out to about 6,570 per year, which Katz admits in the same e-mail, "is supported by the CBS numbers."
In related news:
In 2005, for example, in just those 45 states, there were at least 6,256 suicides among those who served in the armed forces. That’s 120 each and every week, in just one year.

Dr. Steve Rathbun is the acting head of the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department at the University of Georgia. CBS News asked him to run a detailed analysis of the raw numbers that we obtained from state authorities for 2004 and 2005.

It found that veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 than non-vets. (Veterans committed suicide at the rate of between 18.7 to 20.8 per 100,000, compared to other Americans, who did so at the rate of 8.9 per 100,000.)

One age group stood out. Veterans aged 20 through 24, those who have served during the war on terror. They had the highest suicide rate among all veterans, estimated between two and four times higher than civilians the same age. (The suicide rate for non-veterans is 8.3 per 100,000, while the rate for veterans was found to be between 22.9 and 31.9 per 100,000.)
Obviously, aside from the song lyric at the top of the post, suicide isn't painless. For an individual to commit, or even attempt, suicide they have to be in overwhelming pain. And the individual doesn't care whether it's physical or mental. And the pain inflicted on their families is probably worse.

Even taking into account the difference between civilian and military, age 20-24, suicide rates are still more than double what the Pentagon currently reports as 'deaths from combat.'

If you kill yourself because of what you've been thru in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, you are, and should be listed as, yet another death in Bush's War on Terrer (© Bush 200X)

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm a F-A-N-A-T-I-C, Fanatic; I rep Christ till I D-I-E, Fanatic

George Santayana- "Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."

Via Think Progress:
Condoleezza Rice mocks Sadr as a coward.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice mocked anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as a coward on Sunday, hours after the radical leader threatened to declare war unless U.S. and Iraqi forces end a military crackdown on his followers.”[...] VetVoice’s Brandon Friedman notes that this echoes Bush’s “Bring ‘em on.”
That's rich coming from Rice who has to sneak into Baghdad unannounced for a six hour tour and still has to duck and cover several times in the Green Zone during her stealth visit.

Just like her boss has to sneak in and out, and her boss's boss has to sneak in and out of Iraq.

Oddly enough, the Iranian president announces his visit ahead of time and is actually greeted with hearts, flowers and a Red Carpet and speaks inside and outside of the Green Zone.

And in related news:
U.S. and Iran find common ground in Iraq's Shiite conflict
It's hardly an original thought, but CondiLiar's challenge to the second most powerful faction in Iraq smacks of Bush stating "Bring 'em on"

And we all know how that turned out when he made that speech in July 2003.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

They even watched.


JUAN GONZALEZ: And Alberto Gonzales’s trip to Guantanamo, could you talk about that?

PHILIPPE SANDS: Well, I’ve spoken for the first time, or at least people I’ve spoken with have for the first time now become publicly identified as closely involved. Diane Beaver was the lawyer down at Guantanamo. Mike Dunlavey was her boss. General Hill was the commander of United States SouthCom based at Miami. I’ve spoken to all three of them, and both Diane Beaver and Mike Dunlavey, who have largely been scapegoated by the administration, described to me the visit that Mr. Gonzales made, accompanied by Mr. Addington, who’s Vice President Cheney’s lawyer, and Jim Haynes, who is Rumsfeld’s lawyer.

They came down. They talked about interrogation techniques. They apparently even watched an interrogation or two. I was told that the driving individual was Mr. Addington, who was obviously the man in control. And I was told in particular by Diane Beaver that she was quite fearful of Mr. Haynes, and she also shared with me that Alberto Gonzales was rather quiet.
I've it before and I say it now, these members of Bush's cabal were into torture. It made them feel like they could shock and awe the world with their mighty and powerful ... military and bombs.


Hard to push how mighty and powerful we are when all this war has shown is how craven and cowardly these creeps actually are.


If we can't bring ourselves to do it, let there please be one brave European country who can take our war criminals to the Hague!


Because torture is always immoral.

Even the military knows this:
The former head of interrogations at Guantánamo Bay found that records of an al-Qaida suspect tortured at the prison camp were mysteriously lost by the US military, according to a new book by one of Britain's top human rights lawyers.

Retired general Michael Dunlavey, who supervised Guantánamo for eight months in 2002, tried to locate records on Mohammed al-Qahtani, accused by the US of plotting the 9/11 attacks, but found they had disappeared.

The records on al-Qahtani, who was interrogated for 48 days - "were backed up ... after I left, there was a snafu and all was lost", Dunlavey told Philippe Sands QC, who reports the conversation in his book Torture Team, previewed last week by the Guardian. Snafu stands for Situation Normal: All Fucked Up.

Saudi-born al-Qahtani was sexually taunted, forced to perform dog tricks and given enemas at Guantánamo.

The CIA admitted last year that it destroyed videotapes of al-Qaida suspects being interrogated at a secret "black site" in Thailand. No proof has so far emerged that tapes of interrogations at Guantánamo were destroyed, but Sands' report suggests the US may have also buried politically sensitive proof relating to abuse by interrogators at the prison camp.

Other new evidence has also emerged in the last month that raises questions about destroyed tapes at Guantánamo.
We need to see accountability, responsibility, justice. We need to see impeachment.


crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Monday, April 21, 2008

Will the election in Pennsylvania actually reflect the votes?


House GOP Leaders and White House Deliver Blow to Verifiable Election
After a year of consideration, the House today unexpectedly failed to pass in a streamlined process a bill that would have authorized funding for states to replace paperless electronic voting machines in time for the presidential election in November.

"Our voting systems are in shambles, and seven months before we choose our next president, the White House and House Republican leaders today delivered a blow to secure elections and the ability to conduct meaningful recounts," said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. "The United States is spending billions of dollars to build democracy overseas, yet our own Congress turned its back on the workings of our own democracy."

At stake is Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008. The bill had been placed on the House "suspension" calendar, meaning it needed two-thirds support to pass. Democrats and Republicans last week had reached agreement and passage was expected today.

Then the White House at the eleventh hour issued a statement urging the House to vote against the bill. And, in an unexpected move, Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI), the ranking member of the House Administration Committee, and Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the minority whip, also came out against the bill.
Gee... could it be that if all the votes actually are counted, Republicans lose? Is that why they resort to all those illegal activities like ... oh, preventing people from actually voting as in caging, phone blocking, mocking women voters, losing voters' ballots, failures in programming and protection of the electronic voter machines, preventing recounts, declaring there was Democratic voter fraud when there was none (it's called projection)?

Remember what Paul Krugman said about Republicans:

The Republican Party’s adherence to an outdated ideology leaves it with big problems. It can’t offer domestic policies that respond to the public’s real needs. So how can it win elections?

The answer, for a while, was a combination of distraction and disenfranchisement.
Do you really think the Republicans are going to let the Democrats get their way this time?

Will they make sure it will be Hillary that runs against McCain because she might lose?

Remember what Greg Palast said:
BuzzFlash: You’re having incredible success with the new expanded paperback edition of Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans -- Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild. Of course, the electronic voting machines and how they function is a very significant issue, but your specialty has really been how the Bush/Rove GOP political machine keeps persons who are likely to vote Democratic or Independent from voting.

Greg Palast: Yes. People ask me: Are they going to steal the 2008 election? No, they’ve already stolen the 2008 election. We still have a chance of swiping it back, but the reason I’ve expanded and put out the new edition of Armed Madhouse is to tell you how they will steal in 2008, and what to do about it.
Just a heads up. Just because they've gutted the Treasury, ruined the economy, sunk us neck-deep into the quagmire of two un-winnable wars, destroyed the Constitution.. even with all that, these Republicans who hate government still think they should govern.

And they will continue to steal elections to prove it.

Update at Bradblog:
This Tuesday's crucial contest will be primarily run on 100% faith-based, Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen or push-button) e-voting machines across the state. There will be no way to determine after the election whether the computers have accurately recorded, or not, the intent of those voters who voted on them. As VerifiedVoting.org summarizes the crucial contest, it "will be essentially unrecountable, unverifiable, and unauditable."

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Thank you for being a friend

(Gratuitous video of awful Sean Hannity)

Is someone's past an issue in electability? I dunno, let's ask Barack Obama about his close personal friend William Ayers:
The first article in the mainstream press linking Obama to Ayers appeared in the London Daily Mail on February 2. It was written by Peter Hitchens, the right-wing brother of the left-wing firebrand turned Iraq war supporter, Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens cited the Ayers connection to bolster his argument that Obama is "far more radical than he would like us to know."

. . . The only hard facts that have come out so far are the $200 contribution by Ayers to the Obama re-election fund, and their joint membership of the eight-person Woods Fund Board. Ayers did not respond to e-mails and telephone calls requesting clarification of the relationship. Obama spokesman Bill Burton noted in a statement that Ayers was a professor of education at the University of Illinois and a former aide to Mayor Richard M. Daley, and continued:
Senator Obama strongly condemns the violent actions of the Weathermen group, as he does all acts of violence. But he was an eight-year-old child when Ayers and the Weathermen were active, and any attempt to connect Obama with events of almost forty years ago is ridiculous.

In other words, not so much. But what about a connection between a Fox talking head, and a certified Neo-Nazi (from Cernig @ Newshoggers):
Alongside the 30 marchers from the Michigan-based National Socialist Movement was Hal Turner, rightwing white-supremacist radio host.
One speaker railed against illegal immigrants and shouted, "White America, your option is with us." Another, introduced as radio host Hal Turner, said the group was "part of a much greater movement" that was "willing to play hardball" to fight illegal immigration. He warned that if Congress did not solve the problem, the movement would assemble in "minority areas" of U.S. cities and "clean house."

. . . Turner was recently the subject of much blogging when he contradicted Fox radio host Sean Hannity, who had said he didn't know Turner at all:

I was quite disappointed when Sean Hannity at first tried to say he didn't know me and then went on to say that I ran some senate campaign in New Jersey. In fact, Sean Hannity does know me and we were quite friendly a number of years ago.

Nice. I know Hannity isn't running for office, although Turner has tried to before. But does anyone even care about trying to report news? Clearly Fox and Hannity don't. Gaaaaaaaad! Just about makes my head explode.

One man, one vote -- step into the future

I usually try to avoid posts that start off like "Republicans are Bastards!" because I know this can piss off otherwise sensible people. Like Ron Brownstein, who writes this crap in his new book: "The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partizanship Has Paralyzed Washington And Polarized America":
Offering both sweeping analysis and intimate detail drawn from exclusive interviews with top officials and strategists in both parties, The Second Civil War captures the currents that have carried America to today's dangerous impasse, from little-understood changes in congressional rules that made it easier for parties to enforce discipline and discourage compromise to the rise of special-interest pressure groups to a vastly changed media environment that has become much more vicious and much less serious.

...little-understood rule changes, special-interest pressure groups? From such a normally smart guy, this is brazen dishonesty. To not state immediately that the rule changes were created by the Republican dominated Congress, and that the special-interest were, until the last 3 years, all Republican dominated, is deceitful, and is meant to picture some bi-partisan D.C. where Dems & Repubs sing Kumbaya while drinking cognac and smoking Cohibas with David Broder.

But that's not important right now. Because Republicans are bastards. As my friend Brad Friedman reported last week:
Today the House GOP members managed to block Congressman Rush Holt’s emergency voting bill with a 239 – 178 vote; a 2/3 majority was required for passage. It is unknown at this time what the next move will be. Maybe an all-out ban on DREs? The bill would get nowhere but it would bring the Election Integrity Community back together.

So? Blocking Democratic sponsored legislation has become reflex to the Republicans of today.

Rep. Rush Holt (D-I'd change my name), who sponsored the voting bill, explains at VoteTrustUS:
Rep. Rush Holt (pictured at right) today strongly criticized House members for blocking legislation – the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008 (H.R. 5036) – that would encourage states to conduct verifiable elections by converting to a paper ballot voting system, offering emergency paper ballots, and conducting hand-counted audits. Two weeks ago, the same legislation passed the House Administration Committee with bipartisan, unanimous support, including from some of those who voted to block the bill’s passage today.

“This bill would represent a real step forward in our effort to protect the accuracy, integrity and security of the November elections,” Holt said. “The bill that the House leadership scheduled for a vote today is the same one that passed two weeks ago without the objection of a single Committee member. There is no reason why this should be a partisan issue but the Republicans evidently have chosen to make it so. The White House issued a statement opposing the bill and 176 of 203 Republicans voted that way”

. . . Holt noted that the main objection to the bill was, according to Republicans, its cost.

So there you have it. GWBush says "No" and suddenly moderate Republicans vote against their own best interests. WTF are they afraid of, what power can this lame duck still wield?

As I started off this post, I pointed out that I don't like to make blanket statements. So I won't say Republicans are bastards. I'm sure some were born legitimately, not all were spawned by Satan.

But I can say safely that there is an essential difference today between Republicans and Democrats that didn't exist when I was a kid watching the Army-McCarthy hearings in the '50s: Republicans vote for Party first, Nation second. Party above national interests. Party above even self-interest. Party first.

Know what? They are bastards.

Imaginary [numbers], never disagree

Edward Lorenz has shuffled off this mortal coil.
Edward Lorenz, father of chaos theory, dead at 90
For the vox populi I'll just mention he's responsible for the phrase 'butterfly effect.'

What it was really about was 'Sensitive dependence on initial conditions' and the inherent non-linearity of natural systems.

Professor Lorenz lived about as long and as best any human can expect, but still I mourn his passing. I think it's because learning about chaos theory and fractals taught me to have faith again.

I still don't believe in religions, or go to any church, or believe in an anthropomorphic god, but I have faith.

My faith comes from the knowledge that entropy doesn't rule. I agreed with Einstein, "God does not play dice with the universe", but I was as uncertain as Heisenberg.

Then chaos theory and fractals taught me that Joseph Ford was right "God plays dice with the universe, But they're loaded dice."

Rest in peace Professor Lorenz.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lord have mercy on this land of mine, We all gonna get it in due time

We watched "A Conversation About Race" this morning on MSNBC (transcript here). This show followed the documentary "Meeting David Wilson".

In the Conversation, The Doll Test came up:
The Clarks' doll experiments grew out of Mamie's master's degree thesis and yielded three papers between 1939 and 1940. They found that Black children often preferred to play with white dolls over black; that, asked to fill in a human figure with the color of their own skin they frequently chose a lighter shade than was accurate, and that they viewed white as good and pretty, but black as bad and ugly. They viewed this as evidence of internalized racism caused by stigmatization.

How awful is this? Watch this and find out:

This is just horribly, cripplingly sad. One of the people on the "Conversation" panel was the wonderful Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, who had this to say about the Doll Test:
Legacy. When we talk about legacy, we're talking about an accumulation of time and history that works either for or against a particular consciousness of the people. And when we see America, when we see that, the internalized self hatred that you don't even think a doll that looks like you, that reflects your images are beautiful but beyond that, there is a moral assessment there, too.

What is the bad doll? What is the evil doll? And it's also associated with the darkness, the Dark Continent, the dark child, the dark person that I see in the mirror and so we begin to perform the pathology and act the self hatred.

There's a term called "soul murder" and one of the things slavery did, Orlando Patterson, a sociologist talks about social death, the walking dead, people who are physically alive but internally their spirits have murdered. And I think what we have to do here is to revive them. We have to bring them back to life and what you have to do is to educate at home. It's very critical that parents begin to transmit the virus of self-confidence. That's number one.

Barack Obama's speech on Race after the Clinton tried to ratchet up the Rev. Wright controversy was a good step toward discussing the topic in a rational and modern way. As good as it was, however, he had to be cautious, as too many white people would still be upset today that a Black person just won't 'get over it' or 'move on'.

Thankfully, Dr. Dyson has no such constraints:
I think that Martin Luther King Jr., 34 years old, invoked a vision of America that he said was deeply rooted in the American dream and what he did is narrate that dream against the backdrop of the nightmare and I think film interrogates some very serious issues that are resonant in not only African American life as Tom has indicated, but should be taken seriously as Brother Barnicle said in the mainstream.

And I think that it's incumbent upon us to deal seriously and honestly and openly with the issue with race. But let's be honest. Most of us can't. When we saw the rift, for instance, with the Jeremiah Wright comments, a Howard University graduate and a brilliant preacher, when he made those comments, it ripped the veil from many white Americans who had no idea that they had kicked out in politics the black church so that they subordinated their theology to their politics, began a black church which then became preoccupied with the conditions under which black people could be free, using their religion as a prism through which to view the landscape.

And finally, what's interesting, I find that Brother Wilson's film and the question the ended with especially provocative, because I want to flip the script a little bit. Dubois said this, "People come to me all the time and ask what does it feel like to be a problem?" He said, "We have two warring ideals, two unreconciled strivings locked in one dark body whose dogged strength alone kept it from being torn asunder."

So I don't want to just simply ask the question, "What's wrong with black people?" We can look at the history of white supremacy, social injustice economic inequality and see that the hostility of American culture in one sense in terms of race has worked against the flourishing and proliferation of good social, stable societies for African American people.

The question we have to ask, what's wrong with the pathology of a people that would demonize human beings who otherwise have no other interest but living in existence and I think that's right.

And Tim Wise, also on the"Conversation" panel, followed with this:
When the producers did the pre-interview with me, probably like many of us up here, they asked me the question, what's wrong with black folks? And I thought what in the world are you asking me that question for. The question for me as a white man is exactly the one that Mike just brought up, which is what is wrong with the dominant culture?

My answer, sort of tongue and cheek to what's wrong with black folks to the producers was nothing that the end of white supremacy won't stop. And what I meant by that is that the system of white supremacy is at the root of both the internalized oppression and internalized inferiority complexes that some black and brown folks manifest.

But it is also, and this is important, at the heart of the internalized superiority that many of - I've been white a long time, you and Mike, a little bit longer, and in that period of time, what we all know is that we, those of us in the white community, exceptions duly noted, have been the ones who haven't wanted to have this conversation.

It's like having a book club with people, some of whom have read 400 pages and the rest of us have read the preface and now we're supposed to get together and have a conversation. And that conversation ends up sounding like this. Why can't we have white history month? Right? Which is absurd because we have several. They go by the tricky names of May, June, July, August, September and any other month that we haven't designated and so this is the problem.

Now, we as white folks have if we are willing to go back to it. A tradition of allied ship (ph) with black and brown peoples. We have a tradition of resistance in the abolitionist struggle, in the civil rights struggle. It is time for those of who are white to decide we're going to be in this skin, and we have no control over that, or whether we're going to be of this skin. We are in it, we are not of it, we are made of more than that and better than that and the question is can we stand shoulder to shoulder with black and brown folks, have this conversation, take ownership of our piece of it as they take ownership of theirs.

Back to the Doll Test, that this happens today in this country is a shame equal to any other in American infamy. Does anysensible person even have to ask why Rev. Wright said "God damn America!"?

Here's Nina Simone singing Mississippi Goddam:

Ain't that America, for you and me

(Video from Jeralyn at Talk Left)

Economic signposts: In 1967, I had completed my first year of college.

I worked part-time for $1.35/hr, which was $0.10 more than minimum wage of $1.25. Gas was $0.21/gal. My Mom & Dad bought their current house for $27,900.

Proportions: Gas = 17% of minimum wage. House = 22,300 x minimum wage.

Today, CA minimum wage is $7.50, and gas in our area is $3.86/gal. Mom's house is worth (according to Zillow.com) $600,ooo.

Proportions: Gas = 51% of minimum wage. House = 80,000 x minimum wage.

That's progress, just in the wrong direction.

Friday, April 18, 2008

This road is filled with Heartache

Chris Gaffney(on accordian) & The Hacienda Bros.

Guest post from reader Amy Bianco:

Chris Gaffney- An Appreciation

We lost two great musicians yesterday, Danny Federici and Chris Gaffney. Both were significant talents in American music, but the one who may not be mentioned on CNN is Chris Gaffney. I did not know him personally, but I feel that I do know part of him through his music, wonderful recordings and the great live performances I got to witness. There will be many loving tributes to the facts of Chris Gaffney’s life, some cold and hard, like his not achieving more “commercial” success; some glowing and warm, such as the great admiration and affection that he and his music engendered. For me, a huge music fan, what I will remember is his soulful singing of honky tonk shuffles, rhythm and blues favorites and rollicking rockers. His phrasing was perfect and heartfelt, earned from decades of hard work throughout the bars and concert halls of the Southwest and beyond.

His seminal album, Road to Indio came out in 1986 and showcased his raucous blend of rock, honky tonk and norteno styles. He followed this album with Chris Gaffney and the Cold Hard Facts and Mi Vida Loca in the early 90’s. I saw him perform at SXSW back then and became an immediate fan. It was disappointing that he was not able to parlay that great sound into more success, as the “Americana” movement, which had been around for a couple of decades already, had not yet found its format name and platforms nationally, something that would eventually happen through satellite radio.

Chris would go on to become one of Dave Alvin’s Guilty Men, where he added a wonderful spicy element to their sound with his great singing, guitar and accordion. He continued to play with Dave, eventually forming the Hacienda Brothers with Dave Gonzalez. In this incarnation Chris seemed to be in an excellent place creatively. The musical mix is similar to the Cold Hard Facts, but now there’s satellite radio and the Internet which make his music accessible to thousands (at least). His songwriting, which had always been witty (“don’t let love tear apart what lust has brought together”) and sometimes very pointed, as in 1968, had now found a perfect outlet.

The Hacienda Brothers hit a groove with its roots in the Bakersfield sound, as in their Americana favorite What’s Wrong With Right. In concert they’d then slip right into a killer version of a classic soul number such as Dan Penn’s Cry Like a Baby or Cowboys to Girls by Gamble and Huff. At least we will always have these recordings and a new one scheduled to be released early this summer. If you aren’t familiar with Chris Gaffney’s music, give it a try now; with such an early loss of a great talent, it’s one way his art can continue.
Believe me; I won’t ever be able to drive Highway 10 between Phoenix and LA again without humming The Road to Indio (even though it’s about for the way from Yuma):

This road is a highway
A highway to Hell
And if you’ve been on this road
I know you know it well
This road is filled with heartache
This road is filled with luck
This road is filled with local high school heavy metal trucks
I’m on the Road to Indio
I got no where else to go sir….

Amy Bianco
Scottsdale, AZ

Steve: I knew of Chris, as he had many friends out here in L.A. that I also know, but I never got to meet him. Talent finds many ways to succeed, not all involving money. Sometimes the best success is having people love your work.

Here's a link to the otherwise Right-wing OC Register's tribute to Chris:
Chris Gaffney, the Orange County singer-songwriter whose country and roots rock-tinged music earned him a small but fervent following in barrooms and concert halls around the world, died Thursday after a brief battle with liver cancer. He was 57.

For years, Gaffney gigged constantly around Orange and Los Angeles counties, playing the Swallow's Inn in San Juan Capistrano with his band the Cold Hard Facts on a Saturday night, then moving up the highway to the Blue Café in Long Beach for a show on Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Mind Is Going...I Can Feel It...

Huma, Huma, Give Me Your Answer Do

I am so, so tired of deliberately created 'confusion' over the meanings and subjective nuances of clearly stated words, used by the media-go-round and their political supplicants as a cudgel with which to bludgeon recalcitrant thinkers into line with pre-approved sentiments.

Jesus never said, "Turn off your brain and follow me or my self-proclaimed interpreters blindly"...And neither would any 'leader' worthy of a moment's prudent consideration.
Yet every day comes a stridently insistent reduction in logic as the inexorable triumph of gauche style over plodding substance continues.

Moronic nonsense like bowling abilities, long-irrelevant personal associations, and what one's pet sky-pilot says are held up as valid rationales for not voting for a candidate, proffered by people who can't even be bothered to research policy statements to arrive at a reasonable conclusion of merits.

'Oh please, bring me every salacious tidbit you can to further my titillation, but spare me the factual adult discourse - you know I cannot bear that' - Useful fools who can't be troubled to do a dime's worth of research that might contradict their cherished shopworn notions of politics, civilization, and life in the universe.

The ability to charm the diamonds off a rattlesnake is a wonderful, if oft-abused skill, but it is in no way commensurate with the ability to govern, well or otherwise...Or, for that matter, to be prescient enough to surround oneself with qualified personnel and actually listen to them and input their consensus into the social experiment that one seeks to nurture.

Neither, for that matter, are efforts designed to prop up the hoary myth of American exceptionalism, such as flag pins - to those who so vociferously insist that only by wearing a flag pin can one be deemed a true patriot, I want to ask you this:

A loaded gun is jammed into your mouth, and the trigger is cocked back. The holder of the weapon says to you "Take that pin off, or I'll blow your brains out'.
There is no doubt as to your assailant's intentions. The trigger will be pulled if you do not submit.

Are you any less of a patriot to comply, and if so, why?
Is your life worth 80 cents worth of glass and metal, or does it have a more intrinsic value than that?
Would true patriotism be diminished without the outward expression?
...And does wearing such a pin excuse the unpatriotic and treasonous acts of others, shielding them from unwanted criticism?

Consider, perhaps a more sensible course - Vote for a leader whom you will then task yourselves to holding accountable for the duration...not someone whom you believe to be stupider than yourselves so that you can indulge in a fantasy of superiority, or the dubious allure of a fear merchant with dreams of Empire.

Thank you

'Cause I love my cable TV, yeah

We didn't watch the debate. We would have watched the Angels' game, but instead we went to visit a friend whose husband died unexpectedly Monday; very sad.

But plenty of other people watched the debacle, and Walter Shapiro at Salon had a pretty depressing take:
Broadcast to a prime-time network audience on ABC and devoid of a single policy question during its opening 50 minutes, the debate easily could have convinced the uninitiated that American politics has all the substance of a Beavis and Butt-Head marathon. If the debate was a dress rehearsal for the Oval Office, then the job of a 21st-century president primarily consists of ducking gotcha questions. As Obama rightly complained, deflecting a fatuous question about his seeming reluctance to don an American-flag pin, "This is the kind of manufactured issue that our politics has become obsessed with and, once again, distracts us from ... figuring out how we get our troops out of Iraq and how we actually make our economy better for the American people."


First, this gotcha journalism is tawdry and teen-age, and any so-called journalist who thinks it's part of their job needs to go back to J-school. Is this all that's left of the legacy of Murrow and Cronkite, and other lions of our formerly great press?

Second, we, the politically active and aware public, need more from you. We're as smart as you, and we can analyze these stupid gotcha issues, and dispose of them quickly. We need questions that matter on more specific Iraq policy, economic plans, health care proposals. One of these people is likely going to be the next President of the U.S., not middle school student body president. Please treat them, and us, with respect.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

She's the sickest thing in this world

My friend Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films has a new video out, highlighting the horrible things done and said by a woman once talked about for high elective office:

Her idiocy is increasingly more transparent, and regarding her viability as a VP candidate, well, I would love it if McCain chose her, she would be so easy to pillory.

Of course, McCain would never allow a woman to hold power that might exceed his own. A woman is OK when she brings money to the marriage, but still is only a c*nt when he's pissed off. I shudder to think what racist epithet he might use against Condi if she made him mad.

He might even call her an elitist.

Now tell me

Which one is an elitist and which one truly understands Americans?



crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

It's a mistake, it's a mistake

Official Says Fraud Loophole Was A ‘Mistake’

The Bush administration inadvertently exempted foreign contracts in Iraq from fraud oversight, a top administration official said Tuesday, resulting in a loophole that Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., said could have protected private firms that steal taxpayer money.
The administration removed the single paragraph exemption on Monday, hours before a House panel convened a hearing to question officials about its origin and to debate legislation introduced by Welch to close the loophole and punish fraudulent contractors.
The White House opposes the measure, saying proposed regulations would implement the same requirements as the legislation.

The Professional Services Council, a trade association that represents more than 300 contractors, like Blackwater Worldwide and KBR, for the former subsidiary of Halliburton, strongly opposes Welch’s legislation.
And in related news:
Fraud Loophole Documents Delayed

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Bush administration has delayed delivering documents to Congress explaining how a multibillion-dollar loophole exempting overseas work from scrutiny was slipped into a rule intended to crack down on fraud in government contracts.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Caption Contest

If you're the winner you get a year's free supply of SteveAudio!

My humble offering: "Shovel faster Laura, it's getting deep in here!"

UPDATE:We have a wiener!:
'Poor Miss Beasley, shouldn't have gotten in front of drunk Dick on a duck hunt - I hope she had time to apologize to him'


"Um, where did we bury that 8-ball?"

Bush: "What? More casualties in Iraq? My arms are already tired from the first 4000. How many more of these things am I going to have to dig?"

Laura: No, I DON'T find it funny you gave Barney a whole bottle of Ex-Lax!

Oh, $hit! Don't dig too deep! This is where we buried Jimmy Hoffa!
Uh, Laura, how tall did you say you were, uh I meant are, how tall ARE you?!
Are you sure we can dig this deep enough to bury all those missing e-mails?
You haven't told Barney his time is up have you?
Well, another "undisclosed location" for cheney, but let's try to keep him there this time.
I'll be damned! Is there really a head underneath that powdered wig?
Dig faster! Pelosi is coming for lunch and I promised I'd bury her ass!
Bill Arnett

And the number one caption prize goes to Ramona!

Finally proving useful at something, Bush digs his own grave.

Thanks Ramona, you win a free supply of SteveAudio & VidiotSpeak for a year!

Second prize goes to Bill Arnett for multiple snarkalicious entries.

Everyone else gets an honorable mention.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Now we get to the point

It only took five years and thousands of dead:

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Oil giants Chevron Corp. and Total have confirmed that they are in discussions with the Iraqi Oil Ministry to increase production in an important oil field in southern Iraq.

The discussions are aimed at finalizing a two-year deal, or technical support agreement, to boost production at the West Qurna Stage 1 oil field near Iraq's second-largest city of Basra.

Chevron and Total confirmed their involvement in the discussions in e-mails received Saturday by The Associated Press.

"Chevron is interested in helping the Iraq government's objectives to develop its oil and gas industry," Chevron spokesman Kurt Glaubitz said in an e-mail. Total spokeswoman Lisa Wyler confirmed the French company's involvement.


The Iraqi Oil Ministry has said it is also negotiating with Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC, ExxonMobil Corp. to increase crude production in four other fields and under the same agreement.

Iraq has the world's third-largest oil reserves, totaling more than 115 billion barrels. Iraq's average production for February was 2.4 million barrels per day and exports averaged 1.93 million barrels per day.

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ain't that what you said, ain't that what you said, ain't that what you said

Can we just stop? I mean, can we just STOP!!

Barack Obama said some people in the electorate are bitter. Imagine that.

Lots of conservatives are bitter because John McCain is their nominee.

Obama said some people vote issues that have no bearing on their best interests because they are frustrated.

Conservatives are frustrated because their elected politicians don't do anything about pet issues like abortion (see Bush, George H. W & George W.)

Obama said some folks fall back onto bogeyman fear, and blame "others" for their problems.

Conservatives find bogeymen everywhere, including browned skinned folks from anywhere.

And finally, Obama said McCain is out of touch. He said Hillary is out of touch too, but as of now, I officially don't care to comment on anything hillary or her surrogates say. And say, Bill, 1997 called, they want their 65% approval back.

When a politician says something so breathtakingly obvious that the only thing the Traditional Media can add is the spin and crap coming from Drudge, Norquist, Rove and McCain, they have failed. They have been framed out of relevance.

My friend Oliver Willis has the best re-cap:
America’s tired of the distortion and game-playing by the right wing noise machine, and its pretty sad the failing Clinton campaign felt they needed to jump on this (perhaps it had something to do with the coverage of President Clinton bringing back the phony Bosnia story).

One wonders where all this media concern about elitism was when John McCain was raising millions of dollars in the home of a British Lord.

Oh, that’s right. He’s a Republican. And he’s THE John McCain.
Obama wasn't dissing rural folks, that's what the Republicans do. Does anyone think Americans from every economic and social strata aren't bitter? Except, you know, wealthy Republicans with record tax cuts.

Obama's passioned rebuttal to his critics (YouTube at top) is noteworthy for its defiance, and sticking to his point: People are indeed bitter, unhappy, and don't trust politicians to care about them. And yet some, many of us seem to believe in Obama.

He says right stuff. I hope he does right stuff when he gets the chance.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Drumbeats of War ... again

US President George W. Bush yesterday warned Iran that if it refused to stop arming and training Shia militia in Iraq then "America will act to protect our interests and our troops".

Iran Top Threat To Iraq, U.S. Says

Iran Fighting Proxy War in Iraq, US Envoy Says

U.S. patrol craft fires flare over Iranian boat

Do satellite photos show Iran ballistic missile facility?
I guess Cheney didn't get the memo
Cheney: If U.S. Withdraws From Iraq, Al Qaeda Would ‘Acquire Control’ Of Country’s Oil Resources

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Just a thought

I'm no economist, but it seems to me if you want to solve the foreclosure crisis then give the money to the homeowners to help them pay their mortgages, not to the mortgage holders. The lenders still get their money, the people get to keep their homes, which keeps their neighborhoods viable, which allows them to pay their property taxes, which keeps their schools viable, etc, etc, etc.

Let's try 'trickle up' for a change, I'm calling it the 'for want of a nail' approach.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Moore Music

The night I worked with them I was just blown away by Keb Mo' & band. He could play Chicago, delta, slide, finger picking blues like ringing a bell! His band was so awesome everything almost mixed itself. He did a solo set in the middle that brought the house down and then the band came back and we rocked (blused) the night away!

Keb Mo' was the last best show I personally ran sound at. What a way to go out, huh?

Please pardon this personal rant: On that night I was working for the PA company and Keb was traveling w/o his own engineer so I got to do the honors. And it was an honor. He and the band were so professional and gracious, we all got along great. The sound check was smooth and I was blown away by the music even then.

After that it became a engineer's nightmare. The soundman for the opening act, (the act was some 16 year old white kid playing 'blues' that was getting airplay but who shall remain nameless), insisted on having access to the 31 band EQs and the freakin' CROSSOVERS! When I diplomatically said 'what, are you crazy!?' the boy wonder's dad/manager got involved trying to throw his weight around. The club manager got involved, my boss was called ... and all this wasting of precious soundcheck time resulted in doors being held for an additional 1/2 hour while the crowd waited outside.

End result: My EQ stayed in place, the Xovers stayed the same and junior had a hurried 15 minute sound check with an unprepared and insecure soundman and then had to deal with a hostile crowd 45 minuted later.

Kids, let this be a lesson to you; If you're the opening act you just can't expect to have that much say in things. If you're the musician(s), play your ass off and soon you'll be headlining. If you're the engineer ... well let's just say a good engineer can make a good recording with a Tascam 4 track, a bad engineer can't make one with a 64 channel SSL.[/rant]

How does it feel?

How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

How does it feel to be the excuse for Bush to continue the war? How does it feel to keep soldiers in the war zone until they slowly go mad or die? How does it feel to be leg-chained to the worst administration in US history and know your name and face will be forever linked with them in the history books?

How does it feel?


I know how I feel just listening to you two.

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Well they tell me of a pie up in the sky

This is what McCain calls 'unmistakable progress':
Five years after fall of Baghdad, all-day curfew is imposed

The fifth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad and the toppling of the statute of Saddam Hussein – a symbol of US victory and might – was marked yesterday by death and destruction across the country and an admission from the White House that projected troop withdrawals would have to be delayed.
The exact number of casualties of the Iraq war remains unclear in a state which continues to be close to anarchy. More than four million people, many from the intelligentsia who were supposed to rebuild the country, have fled abroad and Baghdad, a city with a shattered infrastructure, now has more than two million internal refugees who have fled from fighting in other parts of the country.

Yeah, and about that whole statue toppling business; Remember how is was proof that we were being greeted as liberators? Remember this glorious footage that was broadcast around the world?

Well in case you didn't know, the whole thing was a staged media event by the military. Marines surrounded the empty square, sealed it, let in some pet Iraqis and journalists, hooked up a tank and brought 'Saddam' down. Here's what really went down:

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Listening for the new told lies

My blog friend Batocchio over at Vagabond Scholar has a lengthy piece up today thoroughly unpacking and dissecting McCain's Hundred Years in Iraq™ statement:
There's a fair amount of chatter about John McCain's comment about staying in Iraq for "100 years." Mostly, it's liberals taking him to task for it, and conservatives defending him and claiming he's being taken out of context. The mainstream media was slow overall to focus on the statement, and then mostly joined the conservatives, without pressing McCain beyond a certain point. It's been encouraging that several liberal blogs have delved into the issue, but far too many mainstream media outlets and media watchdogs haven't bothered in their "fact checks" to examine essential context for McCain's remarks. McCain's rhetoric demands a closer look, but it's also crucial to examine his entire Iraq policy.

There's more, so much more. Batocchio takes on McCain's overall war policy, his history of flip-flopping on issues, including those related to Iraq, his framing of any U.S. withdrawal as "surrender", and other acts of idiocy.

Here's the complete video:

It's not a pretty picture. Here are some other selected bits:
McCain keeps bringing up South Korea, Japan, and “commitments” in other parts of the world, but these are false equivalencies that do not address the situation in Iraq. As the questioner tries to point out, our troops aren't being killed on a daily basis in South Korea, Japan (or Germany), so McCain’s comparisons are inapt at best, disingenuous dodges at worst.

. . .
His website touts a ”No Surrender Tour.” Frankly, it’s juvenile language reminiscent of many a right-wing screed, and disappointing coming from McCain. To whom exactly would we be surrendering? Surely not to the Iraqis. We’re occupying their country, supposedly to help them and their supposedly sovereign government. Does McCain mean Al Qaeda, perhaps? Since he’s said this elsewhere, it’s the most likely explanation. But since the millions of Iraqis would never let the much smaller extremist group Al Qaeda “take over” Iraq, that’s not a realistic threat, and since Al Qaeda is mostly in Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan, occupying Iraq specifically makes no sense for addressing that threat either.

. . .
The National Security Network has a post detailing how ”McCain's Rhetoric Doesn't Reflect Reality.” While it’s a valuable post for challenging his current claims about Iraq, what I find most striking is looking at McCain’a record over the past ten years. Consistently, he’s been extremely aggressive, arguing at times for military action against Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Iran, and Syria. He also opposed peace efforts in Northern Ireland. Additionally, he’s consistently mocked war opponents and foreign leaders working for diplomatic solutions.

This is an amazing piece of work, please go read the whole thing.

Over the Flu Music Club

I've been a might under the weather for the last few days, but today I'm

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hmm, where have I heard this before?
Senior Al-Qaeda Commander Believed to Be Dead

Al-Qaeda's chief operational planner is believed to have died late last year in a remote part of Pakistan after contracting a fatal illness, a U.S. counterterrorism official said Wednesday.
Oh yeah, I remember:
It was not the first time that Masri has been reported dead. In January 2006, Pakistani officials said he and three other senior al-Qaeda officials perished in a missile attack by a Predator drone in the village of Damadola, near the Afghan border.
Please note the "Al-Qaeda's chief operational planner is believed to have died late last year" part. The timing of this news release seems suspicious.

And speaking of suspicious timing:
Bush weeps while presenting Medal of Honor

The presentation, which took place as Army Gen. David H. Petraeus offered an Iraq update on Capitol Hill, was a reminder of the very human cost of a war in which more than 4,000 American servicemen and -women have died since 2003.
Leaving aside the crocodile tears, the timing of the ceremony just happened to be in the middle of Gen. Betrayus grilling before congress ... and the networks cut away to show poor georgie crying.

The White House knew when the testimony was scheduled and deliberately exploited the heroic death of this Navy Seal to distract the media from the testimony of General Petraeus, and the media, as always, fell for it. 'Look, over there, it's something shiny!'

And what was Petraeus main point?
"I have repeatedly noted that we haven't turned any corners," Petraeus said. "We haven't seen any lights at the end of the tunnel. The champagne bottle has been pushed to the back of the refrigerator.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The drunken politician leaps upon the street where mothers weep

Our blog buddy Cliff Schecter has a new book out. And as Atrios said, Cliff makes Republicans cry. From Cliff's website:
But I’ll explain to you why you should buy this book:

1) With our two candidates beating the %&$&$ out of each other, this book will place the focus back to where it belongs: McCain. If you guys help it fly off of Amazon, it will receive the attention it needs, and then McCain will be held accountable.

2) It’s only $10! I mean c’mon, what can you get for less at Amazon, except a pair of Dick Morris’s used socks?

3) My kid needs diapers

4) If you like me on tv against Republicans, this book’s selling many copies will make sure I am on tv more and can make the arguments against him that need to be made.

5) It’s only $10!

6) I am releasing the newsworthy bits of this book through our Progressive Media. That is a choice I made with my publisher. It is how we grow it. Buying this book will show this is a strategy that can work.

I also collaborated with members of our media on this book, most notably blogger Bob Geiger helped create two chapters of this book with his unmatched knowledge of the Senate.

7) McCain would be a very, very dangerous man to have in the Oval Office. This book can perhaps be a part of stopping that.

There you go, the 7 best reasons I can think of. So please folks buy the book. Buy many! Email your friends about it! Threaten them if they don’t buy it….well, maybe not that. We’re not Republicans, after all.

Here's the link to buy the book at Amazon, I'm getting it right now.

Thanks, Cliff!!

By the way, here's über-Conservative Pat Buchanan on why McCain is unfit for the job:

China Takes a Shot at the Olympics

via Americablog

Actual Chinese Olympic logo:

How China got their logo:


This is how the 4th estate perpetuates spin:
Obama foreign policy claim stirs controversy

Barack Obama has long argued that he has shown better foreign policy judgment than his remaining presidential rivals, specifically in opposing the Iraq war.

But at a fund-raiser in San Francisco over the weekend, he reportedly made the case that he has more foreign policy experience as well -- a claim getting a lot of blowback from presumptive Republican nominee John McCain and Democratic contender Hillary Clinton.
Obama never claimed more experience, as the quote from the Huffington post in the article proves:
"I think a lot of people assume that might be some kind of military thing to make me look more commander-in-chief-like. Ironically, this is an area -- foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain."
Not experience, knowledge and understanding. and I think this is arguably true.

Hillary voted for the war. John McCain wants more war. They have more experience, but less understanding or knowledge. Especially McCain who has lied and flip flopped over and over about Iraq. And when he wasn't lying or flip flopping he was proving his ignorance.

But all you're going to hear is that Obama 'claimed to have more experience.' Just another manufactured controversy from the beltway media that would rather report on haircuts and cleavage and can't be bothered to get anything right.

Monday, April 07, 2008

I Sense a Pattern

Drug Makers Near an Old Goal: A Legal Shield

For years, Johnson & Johnson obscured evidence that its popular Ortho Evra birth control patch delivered much more estrogen than standard birth control pills, potentially increasing the risk of blood clots and strokes, according to internal company documents.

But because the Food and Drug Administration approved the patch, the company is arguing in court that it cannot be sued by women who claim that they were injured by the product - even though its old label inaccurately described the amount of estrogen it released.

This legal argument is called pre-emption. After decades of being dismissed by courts, the tactic now appears to be on the verge of success, lawyers for plaintiffs and drug companies say.

The Bush administration has argued strongly in favor of the doctrine, which holds that the F.D.A. is the only agency with enough expertise to regulate drug makers and that its decisions should not be second-guessed by courts. The Supreme Court is to rule on a case next term that could make pre-emption a legal standard for drug cases.
The court already ruled in February that many suits against the makers of medical devices like pacemakers are pre-empted.
What Bush et al have done is deliberately gutted the FDA and had their political cronies overrule agency scientists. The previous commissioner appointed by Bush, Lester Crawford, had to resign just 2 months after confirmation because of lying and conflict of interest.

The commissioner Bush appointed before him, Mark McClellan, was former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's brother, whose main work was in economics.

These are not people who you want deciding whether anything they let a drug company do is legal thereby removing the companies from all liability. Especially since the political hacks have a record of overruling the actual professionals.

This approach isn't isolated to the FDA, this has been a constant approach by Bushco in all sections of the Executive.

From the FAA not inspecting airplanes and allowing them to fly, even with known deficiencies, to the EPA ignoring the Supreme Court, to the DOJ asserting unconstitutional powers to the White House, (of course all these roads lead to the White House), asserting they have the right to ignore laws, ignore international treaties and ignore the Constitution.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Yoo who?

Steve Bates of The Yellow Doggerel Democrat has the timeline and lists of torture memos and statements that puts Yoo right up there with the Nazi apologists and enablers.

Anyone for the Nuremberg Defense?
The Nuremberg Defense is a legal defense that essentially states that the defendant was "only following orders" ("Befehl ist Befehl", literally "order is order") and is therefore not responsible for his crimes. The defense was most famously employed during the Nuremberg Trials, after which it is named.
Yoo really did want to please his overlords, didn't he?

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery