Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pardon? What pardon?

Bush pardoned a guy named Robert Toussie, and then took it back (can you IMAGINE how much that sucks if you're Robert Toussie?) See, Toussie's father had contributed to the Republican party, and Bush thought there might be the appearance of impropriety.

So, in Bush world, pardon a guy who is related to someone who contributed to your party has the appearance of impropriety - but pardoning your own Vice-President's chief of staff doesn't?

Oh, yeah - that makes LOADS of sense.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"History will note that the point of the Constitution is that the ends don't always justify the means -- and that nowhere in the document can be found the phrase 'so what?'" - Eugene Robinson

We have our allies back

I will never, until the day I die, understand why the Bushies thought it was a good idea for America to antagonize her allies. But they pursued antagonism as though it was part of a grand master strategy. "Look how clever we are - we've pissed Europe off! Isn't that GREAT?" And that's the sort of thing where the people doing it don't seem to just have wrong opinions: they seem flat insane.

But this is an example of WHY it's actually a good thing to have some friends in the world.

Guantanamo prisoners may head to Europe
Several countries consider taking detainees after Bush leaves White House

European nations have begun intensive discussions both within and among their governments on whether to resettle detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a significant overture to the incoming Obama administration, according to senior European officials and U.S. diplomats.

The willingness to consider accepting prisoners who cannot be returned to their home countries, because of fears they may be tortured there, represents a major change in attitude on the part of European governments. Repeated requests from the Bush administration that European allies accept some Guantanamo Bay detainees received only refusals.

The Bush administration "produced the problem," Karsten Voigt, coordinator of German-American cooperation at the German Foreign Ministry, said in a telephone interview. "With Obama, the difference is that he tries to solve it."

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's time to bury laissez faire

Thus spake Arianna:

The collapse of Communism as a political system sounded the death knell for Marxism as an ideology. But while laissez-faire capitalism has been a monumental failure in practice, and soundly defeated at the polls, the ideology is still alive and kicking.

The only place you can find an American Marxist these days is teaching a college linguistic theory class. But you can find all manner of free market fundamentalists still on the Senate floor or in Governor's mansions or showing up on TV trying to peddle the deregulation snake oil.

If a politician announced he was running on a platform of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" he would be laughed off the stage. That is also the correct response to anyone who continues to make the case that markets do best when left alone.

It's time to drive the final nail into the coffin of laissez-faire capitalism by treating it like the discredited ideology it inarguably is.

In a comprehensive piece on what led to the mortgage crisis and the subsequent financial meltdown, the New York Times shows how the Bush administration's devotion to unregulated markets was a primary cause of our economy to ruin. But the otherwise fascinating piece puts too much focus on the "mistakes" the Bush team made by not paying attention to the warning signs popping up all around them.

"There is no question we did not recognize the severity of the problems," claimed Al Hubbard, Bush's former chief economic adviser. "Had we, we would have attacked them."

But the mistake wasn't in not recognizing the "severity of the problems" -- the mistake was the ideology that led to the problems. Communism didn't fail because Soviet leaders didn't execute it well enough. Same with free market fundamentalism. In fact, Bush and his team did a bang-up job executing a defective theory. The problem wasn't just the bathwater; the baby itself is rotten to the core.

Cokie wins!

She no doubt deserved it, but I think I preferred Chris Matthews finding it very troubling that Obama ordered orange juice.

Shop at Wal-Mart, get your credit slashed.

This guy got his credit limit cut despite a perfect payment record because American Express didn't like where he shopped.

See, OTHER people who had bought things there had bad credit histories. Doesn't that make LOADS of sense?

And Republicans kiss the asses of these credit companies, swear that they can do no wrong, and think we should hand them our national sovereignty, and let THEM make the rules for US.

We live in VERY hard times

Last week, Beetle Bailey had a mention of the horrors of war.

This week, Archie takes on the bad economy.

How can I put this?

When ARCHIE starts taking on social issues - we are in deep shit.

If you say so, Dick

WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday vigorously defended the White House’s use of broad executive powers during the last eight years, saying he believed that historians would ultimately look favorably on the Bush administration’s efforts to keep the nation safe.

The frightening thing isn't that the poor failure is hoping that Future Historians will declare that shit smells like flowers, the frightening thing is that he flat out claims that there is no limit to Executive Power during wartime.

And, of course, we no longer need Congress to declare war. We've fought the last FOUR wars without Congress declaring one of them.

So all a President has to do is go to war - unilaterally - and he instantly assumes the powers of a dictator, according to Cheney.

That's frightening. And it's frightening that we actually had such a fascist as our Number Two (no pun intended) for eight years.

Caroline Kennedy is a celebrity

So say the New York Republicans:

Caroline Kennedy, who has placed her name in contention as a replacement for Sen. Hillary Clinton, was slammed by New York Republicans who view her as a "celebrity" without the qualifications necessary to function in Congress.

1) I hope Paterson doesn't pick her for a Senator. She really DOESN'T have the qualifications, and just has her name.

2) I have NO PATIENCE with people who chose Sarah Palin as a Vice-Presidential candidate saying somebody ELSE is unqualified and just a celebrity.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

o-KAY, then

Unlike Bush's usual incoherent babble, this time he actually said what he meant to say:

"I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system," Bush told CNN television, saying he had made the decision "to make sure the economy doesn't collapse."

Bush's comments reflect an extraordinary departure from his longtime advocacy for an unfettered free market, as his administration has orchestrated unprecedented government intervention in the face of a dire financial crisis.

"I am sorry we're having to do it," Bush said.

But Bush said government action was necessary to ease the effects of the crisis, offering perhaps his most dire assessment yet of the country's economy.

"I feel a sense of obligation to my successor to make sure there is not a, you know, a huge economic crisis. Look, we're in a crisis now. I mean, this is -- we're in a huge recession, but I don't want to make it even worse."

Notice that there isn't even a HINT that maybe those "free-market principles" were simply WRONG in the first place. Faith-based ideology can't be wrong. Corporatism is Bush's actual religion, and there are few things stupider than treating an economic idea as a religion.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Phat Tacks

This is making me dislike Paterson, too:

Governor Paterson proposes 'Obesity Tax,' a tax on non-diet sodas

ALBANY - A can of Coke could soon cost New Yorkers more than just calories.

Gov. Paterson, as part of a $121 billion budget to be unveiled Tuesday, will propose an "obesity tax" of about 15% on nondiet drinks.

This means a Diet Coke might sell for a $1 - even as the same size bottle of its calorie-rich alter ego would go for $1.15.

Aside from the fact that I'm generally opposed to "sin taxes" enyway, this is just STUPID. Doesn't Paterson realize that some people are skinny? What, is a skinny guy supposed to drink diet soda or get charged more? What about people who struggle to keep their weight up? They get penalized? Obesity is a problem, but is NOT something where one size fits all.

Carolin Kennedy wants to be a Senator

Personally, I'm not sure what to think New York State Governor Paterson: so far he seems like a non-entity. But I'll probably be judging him on this nonsense. Sorry, Caroline: your father was great; your uncle was great. You need a bit more that just a last name to be a Senator, though. At least, I hope so.

Obama won

Seriously: today it's official. The electoral college - that bizarre shadowy group that does the voting for us about whom we know nothing - actually voted yesterday.

It will actually become Officially Official on January 6th, when Congress experiences an Epiphany and actually counts the votes.

And then it will become Officially Officially Official on January 20th at the inauguration.

What fun.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Senate to Middle Class: Drop Dead

From Michael Moore:


They could have given the loan on the condition that the automakers start building only cars and mass transit that reduce our dependency on oil.

They could have given the loan on the condition that the automakers build cars that reduce global warming.

They could have given the loan on the condition that the automakers withdraw their many lawsuits against state governments in their attempts to not comply with our environmental laws.

They could have given the loan on the condition that the management team which drove these once-great manufacturers into the ground resign and be replaced with a team who understands the transportation needs of the 21st century.

Yes, they could have given the loan for any of these reasons because, in the end, to lose our manufacturing infrastructure and throw 3 million people out of work would be a catastrophe.

But instead, the Senate said, we'll give you the loan only if the factory workers take a $20 an hour cut in wages, pension and health care. That's right. After giving BILLIONS to Wall Street hucksters and criminal investment bankers -- billions with no strings attached and, as we have since learned, no oversight whatsoever -- the Senate decided it is more important to break a union, more important to throw middle class wage earners into the ranks of the working poor than to prevent the total collapse of industrial America.

We have a little more than a month to go of this madness. As I sit here in Michigan today, tens of thousands of hard working, honest, decent Americans do not believe they can make it to January 20th. The malaise here is astounding. Why must they suffer because of the mistakes of every CEO from Roger Smith to Rick Wagoner? Make management and the boards of directors and the shareholders pay for this.

Of course that is heresy to the 31 Republicans who decided to blame the poor, miserable autoworkers for this mess. And our wonderful media complied with their spin on the morning news shows: "UAW Refuses to Give Concessions Killing Auto Bailout Bill." In fact the UAW has given concession after concession, reduced their benefits, agreed to get rid of the Jobs Bank and agreed to make it harder for their retirees to live from week to week. Yes! That's what we need to do! It's the Jobs Bank and the old people who have led the nation to economic ruin!

But even doing all that wasn't enough to satisfy the bastard Republicans. These Senate vampires wanted blood. Blue collar blood. You see, they weren't opposed to the bailout because they believed in the free market or capitalism. No, they were opposed to the bailout because they're opposed to workers making a decent wage. In their rage, they were driven to destroy the backbone of this country, not because the UAW hadn't given back enough, but because the UAW hadn't given up.

It appears that the sitting President has been looking for a way to end his reign by one magnanimous act, just like a warlord on his feast day. He will put his finger in the dyke, and the fragile mess of an auto industry will eke through the next few months.

That will give the Senate enough time to demand that the bankers and investment sharks who've already swiped nearly half of the $700 billion gift a chance to make the offer of cutting their pay.

Fat chance.

Michael Moore

Friday, December 12, 2008

Unfit to serve

The Illinois Attorney General is requesting that the Illinois Supreme Court declare Blago-whatever-the rest-of that-unpronouncable-name-is "unfit to serve," which would strip him of his powers, and prevent him from appointing a Senator.


What a totally repulsive asshole.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


"An Obama job approval rating of 79 percent -- that's the sort of rating you see when the public rallies around a leader after a national disaster. To many Americans, the Bush administration was a national disaster." - Bill Schneider

Ask Obama a question

President-elect Obama has set up a webpage where anyone can ask a question. It is currently for the transition team, and will be extended to the administration. In addition, there is a way for users to RATE the questions. I doubt he'll answer every one - he'd never do anything else - but it would seem to be difficult for him to NOT answer questions that have a high rating.

It seems to be a rather daring thing to do, and speaks well of openness and self-confidence. Can you IMAGINE Bush - who needed EVERYTHING scripted - doing this?

Here's to transparency.

Obama: The Blagman should resign

Good. Now say it louder.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Here's some information from a kos diary that's very interesting:

The governor, accused of seeking cash for the political appointment of Obama's Senate replacement, is not a close associate of the President-elect. Indeed, in the affidavit, Blagojevich called Obama a "motherfucker" for wanting him to appoint an official that the governor either did not like or wouldn't receive money from. Local news reports, meanwhile, suggest that it was Obama chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel who blew the whistle on the governor.

Read the whole thing.

Good riddance. And the liberal media.

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges on Tuesday, including trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by fellow Democrat President-elect Barack Obama, federal prosecutors said.

While Obama has long distanced himself from the governor -- who has been under investigation on other issues for months -- Blagojevich's arrest was likely to be an embarrassment to the president-elect, who takes office on January 20

In the first place - how the HELL could this moron think he wouldn't get caught? I mean, you can't try to sell a SENATE SEAT and just tell two of your friends. There must be dozens of people you have to let know about it. So how the hell could he expect to keep it a secret? Good Riddance, Corrupt-And-Stupid.

And notice this: "While Obama has long distanced himself from the governor...Blagojevich's arrest was likely to be an embarrassment to the president-elect."

If he's "long distanced" himself from the guy, why would it be an embarrassment for him?

Because the right-wing will try to MAKE it one, and the "liberal media" will repeat whatever the right-wing says, maybe?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Why am I not surprised?

To find out that the Chairman of the South Carolina GOP belonged to a racist club?

And mind you, the guy is campaigning for leadership of the WHOLE GOP:

State GOP chairman Katon Dawson, who is campaigning to lead the national Republican Party organization, has resigned a 12-year membership in a whites-only Columbia country club.

Dawson said last week his continued membership at Forest Lake Club could become a distraction to his efforts to help win elections for Republicans in South Carolina.

He resigned Monday as The State pursued an article on his membership in the club and his role in an internal push to admit African-Americans as members.

The nearly 80-year-old Forest Lake Club — whose deed has a whites-only restriction — has no black members, said four club members. They asked not to be identified because the club does not discuss its membership.

He JUST RESIGNED because he thought it would make his push to lead the GOP problematic. He SAYS he's been opposing it since August - four months ago. He's been a member for 12 years.

"Whites only" clubs?

Seriously - those still exist?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Obama is promising to roll out the most extensive public works projects since Eisenhower. Roads, bridges, schools, internet, and increasing energy efficiency. And create jobs while doing it.

That isn't an idea whose time has come; it's an idea that's LONG overdue.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Scratching the poll itch

BTW, when you hear the incessant whining from the usual suspects over Obama's cabinet picks, you can always just point out that 75% seem to approve.

The remaining ones, no doubt, are largely made up of nutjobs who STILL think Bush did a good job.

And who did they THINK he was going to appoint? A bunch of Illinois State Senators? Can you IMAGINE the screaming?

All the World's a Court

1998, Bill Clinton signed the Rome Statute which founded the International Criminal Court (ICC), establishing an International Court to deal with acts genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

In 2002, Bush "unsigned" it.

Currently, almost every nation in Europe belongs to the ICC. We don't.

Our company in refusing to join? China, Russia and India. Good folks, eh?

Roger Cohen thinks that getting back in should be a top priority for the Obama administration.

Of the many issues that have soured relations between Europe and the United States under the Bush administration, few have been as poisonous as America’s refusal to join the world’s first permanent war crimes court here. The snub has been seen as a symbol of U.S. contempt for the rule of law....

Only by aligning America again with international law can the damage inflicted on America’s image and appeal by the Bush administration be undone.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Bush is moving to the city

The AP says the first lady’s press secretary confirmed Wednesday that the couple are purchasing a home in Dallas.

We always knew that the Crawford "ranch" was phony PR. This just confirms it.

O Freedom

Odetta died.

When teenage kid from Hibbing, Minnesota named Robert Zimmerman heard Odetta sing Buked and Scorned - he sold his electric guitar and bought an acoustic.

This is cool

World's oldest living animal discovered after he is pictured in 1900 photograph

As a photograph it looks fairly unremarkable - a tortoise nibbles at the grass in front of a Boer War prisoner and guard.

But the pictures helps to mark the reptile as the oldest animal on the planet.

Jonathan, the tortoise, is believed to be 176-years-old and was about 70 at the time the black and white picture was taken.

He was photographed during the Boer War around 1900, and his life has spanned eight British monarchs from George IV to Elizabeth II, and 50 prime ministers.

It was taken on the South Atlantic island of St Helena, where Jonathan still lives today, along with five other tortoises David, Speedy, Emma, Fredricka and Myrtle, in a plantation.
This rare picture of a Boer war prisoner snapped on the remote island of St Helena, has shed light on one of the planets oldest living inhabitants Photo: BNPS.CO.UK
Jonathan, the tortoise, still alive today Photo: BNPS.CO.UK

The previous oldest tortoise was widely thought to be Harriet, a giant Galapagos Land tortoise, who died in 2005 aged 175 in Australia.

Despite his old age, locals say he still has the energy to regularly mate with the three younger females.

A spokesman for the island's tourist board said Jonathan is owned by the St Helena government and lives in the specially built plantation on the governor's land.

He said: "Jonathan is the sole survivor of three tortoises that arrived on St Helena Island in 1882.

"He was already mature when he arrived and was at least 50-years-old.

"Therefore his minimum age is 176-years-old. He is the oldest inhabitant on St Helena and is claimed to be the oldest living tortoise in the world.

"He lives in the grounds of Plantation House which is the governor's residence with five other tortoises who are much younger than him.

"Apparently he remained nameless for the most part of his residence in St Helena until he was named by Governor Sir Spencer Davis in the 1930s.

"He feeds on the grass of the main paddock.

"Jonathan is still very active despite his age and adores attention, he is a real poser.

"He seems to be sightless in one eye, but does not let that slow him down."

It is thought Jonathan, from the species Testudinipae cytodira, was brought to St Helena from the Seychelles as a mature adult in 1882.

His remarkable existance has come to light after the photograph was discovered as part of a collection of Boer War images taken by a man named L.A. Innes who had a studio in the British overseas territory's capital Jamestown.

The pictures were recently sold at auction for #4,000 by Andrew Smith and Son auctioneers near Winchester, Hants.

Further investigation by the auctioneers revealed the tortoise in the picture was Jonathan who was still alive.

St Helena has a population of more than 4,200. Its greatest claim to fame came when Napoleon was exiled there in 1815.

He was held prisoner there until his death in 1821 and is buried there.

Another tortoise, Timothy, who was a ship's mascot in the Crimean War, died at his home at Powderham Castle, near Exeter, Devon, in 2004, aged 160. The castle's Rose Garden had been his home since 1935.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Desperate for a legacy

Even if it means phonying up the facts

"The biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq," Bush said. "I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess."

Awww. He wishes the intelligence had been different.

He cherry picked to get a pre-determined result.

Remember? Joe Wilson and Scott Ritter told us that there were NO WMDs. So Bush exposed Wilson's wife as a CIA agent and invented discredited claims of pedophilia to attack Ritter.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Ain't it nice?

Hillary Clinton. Robert Gates. Janet Napolitano. Three picks. None of them cronies. None of them Yes People. None of them ideologues. Yes, I'm a bit leerry of Gates, but it may have been smart not to change horses in mid-stream during a war, so I'll withhold judgment. But Obama is obviously willing to appoint people who DISAGREE with him, as long as they are smart, pragmatic, experienced and are willing to place country before party.

That's a BIG change.

And in the neocons-gone-insane department...

Bill Kristol thinks torturers should get the medal of freedom.

I hope Bill Kristol keeps getting a forum, just so people keep being made aware, again and again, of just how bonkers these people are.

Holy crap, it's Hillary

I was waiting for the rumor to turn out to be just a rumor. But:

To make it possible for his wife to become the top U.S. diplomat, the officials said, former President Clinton agreed:

-to disclose the names of every contributor to his foundation since its inception in 1997 and all contributors going forward.

-to refuse donations from foreign governments to the Clinton Global Initiative, his annual charitable conference.

-to cease holding CGI meetings overseas.

-to volunteer to step away from day-to-day management of the foundation while his wife is secretary of state.

-to submit his speaking schedule to review by the State Department and White House counsel.

-to submit any new sources of income to a similar ethical review.

For the Big Dog to agree to all that, getting the job must have been very important to both him and Hillary. They're supposed to announce Obama's appointments officially within the next half an hour.