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Sunday, May 31

Dr. George Tiller, RIP

You may not know the name.

I certainly didn't until today.

Dr. Tiller practiced medicine in Kansas, which from the start is probably not a good idea. With the statewide moratorium there on thinking, science and modernism, I think witch doctors are the major medical practitioners.

Anyway.

Dr. Tiller performed abortions; specifically, late-term procedures and only if there was a compelling medical reason such as the mother's life being in jeopardy. His clinic even had a chapel so that the fetus' passing could be mourned.

That cut no ice with the anti-abortion domestic terrorists in this country of ours. They protested outside the clinic, bombed it in 1985, shot him twice in 1993. They've regularly vilified him on Bill O'Reilly's and Glenn Beck's disgusting 'shows,' and they've threatened to kill him repeatedly.

Well, someone finally got to him, killing Dr. Tiller as he was in church.

Some fine Christian terrorist pulled a Pazzi on him.

Shot him dead. In church.

This "Christian," this hateful little animal, is a domestic terrorist. Yes, I said it, and I'll shout it from the damned rooftops.

Of course, Operation Rescue and the other front groups for these domestic terrorists offered the usual mushmouthed 'condemnations,' even though they support killing doctors and have done everything but put the gun in the killer's hand.

And you know what?

I agree wholeheartedly with The Rude Pundit. It's perfect.

A Sad Day

Can you imagine being in church on a Sunday morning and a crazed right wing extremist walks in, terrorizes you and other parishioners and brutally murders a doctor who allegedly performed abortions?

Good thing that the Dems caved and withdrew the report that suggested right wing christians might use the abortion issue to commit acts of terrorism and murder.

President Obama outraged by slaying of abortion provider George Tiller

Oh gee, guess what? O'Reilly targeted Dr George Tiller many times. Read about it.

Friday, May 29

Pigs On Sotomayor

KKKarl Rove suggested that Judge Sotomayor's judicial decisions are led by "emotion."

Sean Hannity quoted only the bad things that anonymous attorney's had to say about Sotomayor overlooking the good things. He selected quotes like “aggressive,” “out-of-control,” and, “nasty”

Tom Tancredo described La Raza as "a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses."

Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes argued “that she’s one of those who has benefited from affirmative action over the years tremendously.” He went on to suggest that everyone who goes to Princeton graduates with some sort of cum laude... what a tool.

RNC Chairman Michael Steele suggested that she hadn't distinguished herself in the appeals court. But conservative law professor Eric Posner examined the data of Sotomayor’s record and found that she “may well be one of the top appellate judges in the country.”


Biggest pig of them all (and criminal) G. Gordon Liddy said "I understand that they found out today that Miss Sotomayor is a member of La Raza, which means in illegal alien, “the race.” And "Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when she’s menstruating or something, or just before she’s going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then." I hope she goes through menopause while she is judge and has one of his friends before her.

Lush Bimbo compared Sotomayor nomination to nominating David Duke. Asshat.

Professional (not anymore) commentator Pat Buchanan referred to Sotomayor as "that woman" and is called on to apologize. Gosh they hate women at MSNBC, don't they?

A FoxNews.com article falsely claimed that the Supreme Court has never affirmed the outcome and reasoning of an opinion written by Judge Sonia Sotomayor. In fact, in Empire Healthchoice Assurance, Inc. v. McVeigh, the court affirmed Sotomayor's majority opinion and its reasoning.

Fox Nation baselessly claims Sotomayor "Wants to Ban Guns"

Oh good lord, need I go on? What a bunch of tools are white conservative men with microphones.

What Did Judge Alito Have To Say About His Take On Immigrations Cases?

Why he said almost the same thing as Sonia Sotomayor when he was being questioned by the Senate. I don't recall the media going ballistic over this. Do you?

ALITO: Senator, I tried to in my opening statement, I tried to provide a little picture of who I am as a human being and how my background and my experiences have shaped me and brought me to this point. … And that’s why I went into that in my opening statement. Because when a case comes before me involving, let’s say, someone who is an immigrant — and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases — I can’t help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn’t that long ago when they were in that position. [...]

And that goes down the line. When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account.
You can watch it here.

What's So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding?

Cheney, as usual, is dead wrong

From: Former military interrogator says torture cost hundreds ‘if not thousands’ of American lives
“Torture does not save lives,” Alexander said in his interview. “And the reason why is that our enemies use it, number one, as a recruiting tool…These same foreign fighters who came to Iraq to fight because of torture and abuse….literally cost us hundreds if not thousands of American lives.”

Moreover, Alexander avers that many — as many as 90 percent — of those captured in Iraq said they joined the fight against the United States because of the torture conducted at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

“At the prison where I conducted interrogations,” Alexander said, “we heard day in and day out, foreign fighters who had been captured state that the number one reason that they had come to fight in Iraq was because of torture and abuse, what had happened at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.”

“Cheney,’ said Alexander, ‘fundamentally misunderstands the way America is viewed around the world,” a reporter who reviewed the video wrote Tuesday. “The American principles of freedom and democracy are cherished in the Muslim world and the idea, at least, of America is still a seductive one. But it is the behavior of the Bush administration at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and secret prisons around the globe that undercuts that image, allowing Al Qaeda to make the argument that America isn’t what it stands for.”

“One of Al Qaeda’s goals, it’s not just to attack the United States, it’s to prove that we’re hypocrites, that we don’t live up to American principles,” Alexander said. “So when we use torture and abuse, we’re playing directly into one of their stated goals.”
And it makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

Debunking Right Wing Talking Points on Sotomayor

From Think Progress
The La Raza line is the latest right-wing attack on Sotomayor. Right-wing groups have been waging war against La Raza since the 2006 immigration rallies. Conservatives, including Rep. Charles Norwood (R-GA), claim the group “supports racist groups calling for the secession of the western United States as a Hispanic-only homeland.” The right-wing blog Stop The ACLU calls La Raza “an anti-white extremist group.”

These attacks — promoted by Drudge — are only going to escalate. Of course, the characterizations are wildly false. La Raza is the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization that focuses on such nefarious issues as “civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health.” Used to these attacks, La Raza has a long fact-sheet debunking the unhinged claims of the right, including pointing out that “La Raza” translates as “the people,” not “the race,” as the right wing suggests.

Tancredo echoed a popular right-wing myth, claiming the group’s slogan is “All for the race, nothing for the rest.” When ThinkProgress asked a La Raza spokeswoman, she replied, “No. That’s very much incorrect.” In fact, the true slogan is “Strengthening America by promoting the advancement of Latino families.” A far cry from Tancredo’s egregiously false, race-based characterization.

Thursday, May 28

Obligatory Friday Sex Post

Brought to you as a public service:

The Mouse that Roared

And I don't mean the delightful movie starring Peter Sellers in a triple role, either:



I'm talking about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (a/k/a the DPRK, or North Korea).

A few days ago the DPRK busted out into the ranks of the Big Boys by detonating a nuclear device in the 10-20 kiloton range, which is about what we dropped on Japan and is the standard size if you want to nuke a city. How many more arrows they might have in the quiver is unknown to me, and if anyone else knows they're keeping it under their hats. My best guess (based on a published report that the DPRK had about 70 kilograms of bomb-grade fissionables) is about ten.

Still, ten 1945-era Mark II devices can raise a lot of havoc when fitted to short- or intermediate-range missiles (provided, of course, they've been sufficiently downsized). When your primary targets are right on your border or a loud shout across the Sea of Japan, that's about all you need, really.

So there's a great deal of viewing with alarm at the latest screeds from Pyongyang. The spokesmen for Little Kim have stated that they will fire upon any ship that dares stop and search one of their freighters, that South Korea's joining in a Proliferation Security Initiative is tantamount to a declaration of war, and that they will no longer abide by the 1953 armistice agreement that ended the Korean War.

All in all, a rather bellicose series of threats. The DPRK has the second-largest army in the neighborhood, right behind China, so the United States and South Korea have their troops on alert, as do the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.

Needless to say, every square inch of North Korea is probably being fed into targeting computers for cruise missiles as I write this. If the Korean People's Army (KPA) comes over the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, we can expect a very nasty conflict. Seoul is the closest large city and well within range of the KPA's artillery and missiles.

Why are they doing this? I hear people asking.

Well, let me have a go at it.

A State Department analyst has suggested that the saber-rattling and the nuke test were all for domestic consumption, as a clique of generals are posturing for dominance in the event Little Kim dies or steps aside in favor of his youngest son, Kim Jong Un. Jong Un is reportedly Kim's successor, although how his older brothers feels about this is unreported but is easy to assume.

Another reason might be that the sanctions imposed are hurting the DPRK to such an extent that the military and political hierarchy feel that it is better to die on one's feet rather than live on one's knees. That is a very dangerous mindset, people.

A third reason might be that they are trying to convince the other powers in the neighborhood (including their biggest friend, China) that they have to be respected and treated like adults at the bargaining table. This is a nation-sized version of Wee Man Syndrome, where a small person will attempt to bully bigger people to show that he's unafraid of them.

Considering the size of the DPRK and the fact that Little Kim is about five feet tall (he wears platform shoes), this is not outside the realm of possibility.

And right now, everyone's waiting to see if that other platform shoe will drop.

WWJD?

Obama blocked the release of new photos out of Abu Ghraib that depict rape and sexual abuse against prisoners. It was reported a few years ago that abuse of prisoners was systemic and the orders came from the executive branch. This was not the work of a few bad apples. General Taguba who issued the original report has more:

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who in 2004 investigated and wrote a report on allegations of detainee abuse in U.S. prisons in Iraq, has confirmed the existence of graphic photographs depicting the following:

–An American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner.
–A male translator apparently raping a male detainee.
–A female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.

Other photographs depict sexual assaults on prisoners with a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube, according to the Telegraph story.

The still unreleased photos relate to abuse alleged to have taken place between 2001 and 2005 in Abu Ghraib and six other prisons. Taguba, now retired, supports Obama’s decision to block the release of the photos, which Obama had previously said would be released according to a court ruling in support of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU.

“These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency,” Taguba told the Telegraph. “I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one and the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them, and British troops who are trying to build security in Afghanistan.

“The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it,” Taguba said.
Also from the Telegraph:
Maj Gen Taguba’s internal inquiry into the abuse at Abu Ghraib, included sworn statements by 13 detainees, which, he said in the report, he found “credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses.”

Among the graphic statements, which were later released under US freedom of information laws, is that of Kasim Mehaddi Hilas in which he says: “I saw [name of a translator] ******* a kid, his age would be about 15 to 18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn’t covered and I saw [name] who was wearing the military uniform, putting his **** in the little kid’s ***…. and the female soldier was taking pictures.”
How come the American christians aren't up in arms about this?

anti-gay ad blitz begins in NY today

The Mormon funded National Organization for Marriage group that reared its ugly head in California to fight Proposition 8 will run 30 second ads in NYC and Albany to warn of the social consequences if NYS allows gay marriage. They don't exactly say what the consequences will be and to date, I have yet to hear how gay marriage will ruin my life as well as millions of other married peoples lives. As a heterosexual married person I would have to say that in fact in won't matter to me. What WILL matter to me is if bigotry take precedence over human rights.

Am I afraid that my husband will leave me and marry a man? It's more likely that he would leave me and marry another woman. Interestingly it specifically states in the bible that divorce and remarriage is wrong and that god would not recognize remarriage unless the other spouse is dead. Divorced christians always ignore that part, don't they?

The NOM group is concerned that their right to be against gay marriage is being violated. No it's not. They can still be bigoted homophobes in church and their homes. They don't have to marry people of the same sex.

I hope and pray that gay marriage becomes legal in NYS and that the bigots fail. I will be quick to remind anyone against this bill who purports to be a christian or is a member of a minority group to stop and think about what hypocrites they are.

Wednesday, May 27

Let the Talking Points Fly

Oh baby, the conservatives are out of their minds over Obama's choice of Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court judge. Remember, conservatives are terrified of women... especially smart ones. Personally, I think there will be too many Catholics on the Supreme Court, but it appears that she has a good record and I support her.

Faux News, ABC News and other conservative corporate media enterprises have taken a quote from Sotomayor out of context and are blasting it over the airwaves. The cons are saying that Sotomayer suggested that Latina or Latino judges are better than white male judges, but she was speaking specifically about race and sex discrimination cases. They left that part out. Now they are saying she's a racist as if racists aren't already on the Supreme Court.

What's hilarious is that conservative media outlets are challenging Sotomayor's intelligence. She graduated at the top of her class in Princeton. Those same pundits lauded Sarah Palin's alleged intelligence. Sarah Palin is an idiot.

The other hilarious talking point is that she's an "activist" judge. Do these pundits realize how many conservative activist judges are on the Supreme Court right now? Activist doesn't automatically mean "liberal." Sotomayor isn't exactly a liberal either. But truth doesn't come easy for conservatives. They will twist anything to suit their needs.



UPDATE THURSDAY; Read a great article at the Daily Howler.
THE THIRTY-TWO WORDS! A cult is trumpeting 32 words. How should smart people respond?

Tuesday, May 26

Supreme Choice

Breaking:
It is being reported that Obama has selected Sonia Sotomayor as Supreme Court Justice.


We already know that the GOP plans to fight anyone that Obama suggests... let's see if they can do it without demeaning Sotomayor for being a woman.

Monday, May 25

Land of the Free, Home of The Brave

Only in America would something like this be a headline:

Liberty University shuts down Democratic Party club.
Apparently Democratic values are not the same as conservative Republican values. Wouldn't you love a list of their values?

More here at WaPo. Liberty U is Jerry Falwell's school. Duh.

Sunday, May 24

Breaking News

The AP is reporting that North Korea has detonated a nuclear weapon in the northeast of their country. CNN reports a Richter 4.7 earthquake in that same region (which is consistent).

Stand by for confirmation and estimated yield.

pigs

Pelosi may or may not have known about waterboarding and she may have lied about it, but she didn't order it, she's a politician for god's sake and no one expects her to be 100% honest. (Gosh if I had believed for one second that Obama was the second coming, I'd be devastated right now and freaking out. But I'm not.)

If it wasn't enough for the RNC and the GOP to go after Pelosi for possibly covering up their criminal activity, they have lowered themselves to equating the Speaker of the House with James Bond's Pussy Galore, but referring to her as Pelosi Galore. Now that's low. Why not just call her a cunt? That's what they're thinking. They can't debate. They can only demean. I'm not sure that the RNC even has a clue how obvious it is that they are terrified of women. When they try to use humor they fall terribly short... but humor has never been a strong point of a conservative.

Amazingly there hasn't been a backlash from female Republicans over this. They seem to be oblivious to the fact that their men are afraid of them too.... take the hint, ladies.

The bitch in me is thinking of launching a campaign against Newt Gingrich that reduces him to a bathroom joke.

Tangent: Do you have any conservative relatives? At family get togethers do any of them ever try to be funny? Isn't it the most pathetic thing you've ever witnessed?

A Week's Worth of Weirdness

For starters, let's go to the top of the news. Former Vice-President and Supreme Douchenozzle of the Bushite Junta Dick Cheney has been making the rounds of all and sundry, holding forth on the efficacy of nearly drowning people in an effort to extract information. The Dick, as always, has ulterior motives - he's shopping a book deal, and trying as hard as he can to poison any potential jury pool in the event the justice system mans up and starts prosecuting.

He even went so far as to offer a rebuttal (on slim evidence, as even the CIA contradicts him) to President Obama's speech at the National Archives, a venue that had the chattering classes of the Right braying that Obama's trying to destroy the Constitution.

Where were these assholes the last seven years, I have to ask.

Anyway, rightist radio DJ Mancow - well, here's the video. We report, you decide:



Paying attention, Sean Hannity?

***

Further along in the news, a guy was getting ready to jump off a bridge in China when a 66-year-old man broke through the police lines, walked up to the guy, shook his hand -

And pushed him off the bridge.

No one's dead; the erstwhile jumper fell onto a partially-inflated cushion, and the pusher was arrested.

***

Used to be the prevailing wisdom about Komodo dragons was that their bites killed not by poison, but through the toxic bacteria in their mouths. Komodo dragons, the largest lizards in the world, eat mainly dead and rotting things and they don't floss, so the theory had some credence.

Well, that theory's been exploded.

It's been reported that the dragons aren't just the biggest lizards in the world, but are also the largest venomous lizards in the world.

You learn something new every day.

Saturday, May 23

Would the alarmists please cut the crap now?

The supposed plot to blow up a synagogue in NYC turned out to be bogus. Who would have guessed? Um... everyone except the fear mongering politicians.

Hang In There

Dear Kean Elementary:

God bless you for the beautiful radio I won at your recent senior citizens luncheon. I am 84 years old and live at the Sprenger Home for the Aged. All of my family has passed away. I am all alone now and it's nice to know that someone is thinking of me. God bless you for your kindness to a old forgotten lady.

My roommate is 95 and has always had her own radio, but before I received one, she would never let me listen to hers, even when she was napping.

The other day her radio fell off the nightstand and broke into a lot of pieces. It was awful and she was in tears. Her distress over the broken radio touched me and I knew this was God's way of answering my prayers.


She asked if she could listen to mine, and I told her to kiss my ass.

Thank you for that opportunity.

Sincerely,
Agnes Baker

Thursday, May 21

Jesse Ventura Takes On Hannity

Oh man, this is good.

Whoopie Calls Glen Beck a "lying sack of dog mess"

Homina homina homina

More Fear Mongering

The Rude Pundit isn't afraid of having Gitmo detainees here in the US. I don't feel threatened either. It's not like we have any successful prison breaks from maximum security prisons. The Dems and Republicans have made it political but they fail to realize that closing Gitmo may restore our standing in the world. The hubris in DC is more frightening than locking up potential terrorists in an American prison.

Meanwhile, even if some terrorist explodes a dirty bomb in an American city, will those affected have enough medical coverage to pay their medical bills?

Speaking of medical bills... this is one GOP talking point to thwart any talk of overhauling health care: "It will lead to the gov't setting standards instead of the doctor who really knows best." And people buy it! Hey if you don't have any health care at all, anything is better. Or you could have really shitty health insurance like I have. I had to pay over $30,000 for a life saving operation this year because my insurance company didn't want to hear about it. Furthermore, no one is trying to make it so that no one has a choice. Right now our employers and insurance companies make the choices. They exist to make a profit. How can we trust that?

Tuesday, May 19

More on Bush's Religious Crusade Against Muslims

Yesterday I posted a story about the US Government using biblical prophecy in Rumsfeld's war correspondence. I was shocked but not that shocked because if you'll recall, at the beginning of the war on Iraq, a lot of apocalyptic language was being used by the president and his cronies. Last night I happened to be watching Keith Olbermann, which is rare, but I wanted to see if there was anything on the news about it. A Baptist minister, The Rev. C. Welton Gaddy was on as Keith's guest. He gave one of the most theologically sound explanations of why this was so very very wrong. Please watch.

hat tip Firedoglake

UPDATE: Religion Dispatches has a great piece up which goes on to explain how the biblical verses used in the Bush era apocalyptic intelligence updates are taken out of context (as if you didn't suspect that already.)

fear of a warm planet

New Scientist has a piece on what could happen to populating patterns, relocation of civilization, 'culling' of the human species, et al.
 
And all one needs to do is raise temps by 4 Celsius, add water, and stir.
 
Is it sensationalistic?  Well, I think we're actually beyond that since this climate change situation is well under way.  I personally think the sensationalism is necessary if it gets people's attention.
 
Anyway, here's the link to How to survive the coming century.  There's stuff in here that I agree with, and other stuff I'd call bullshit on from the get-go.  (One commenter quipped that some actual survival tips might've been helpful, and darned if that isn't a good point.) 

Monday, May 18

in other news, the Himalayas are melting

Which is to say, the glaciers are melting.  We knew that, right?  I think there's something up with no one talking about this, but everyone's seen a polar bear adrift on a piece of ice, looking lost.  The Alps are melting as well, but let's read Vandana Shiva's commentary on the Himalayas, for today.

Today's Good Read

America, Religious Values and the Death Penalty; Or, If it Was Good Enough for Jesus and Socrates...

The United States is still using the logic of vengeance in enforcing the death penalty, and it is the only Western country within its primary coalitions to do so. When did it start? How can it end? What is wrong with us?

We share the death penalty with such notable countries as Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea, and Myanmar. Isn't that nice? The US is the only western country in NAFTA and NATO that employs the death penalty.

let's get our money outta the Caymans...

...for starters.
 
This has to be an extremely conservative figure, the "...$1.9 trillion in bank deposits in the Caymans--money actually invested in the United States and other countries but invisible to the IRS..." quoted in the article here from David Cay Johnston originally published in The Nation.
 
Anyway, if we can get this money back where it belongs, and the taxes paid which are currently being dodged, we might be able to afford a social safety net.  Man, perish the thought.
 
 

AP Economic Stress Index

Check your county on this interactive map.

They acted like they really believed that God would support the war on Iraq


According to this story at RawStory.com, Bible quotes adorned covers of top-secret Rumsfeld intelligence reports

Rummy was kissing up to Bushie who loved his Bible quotes. And it's no small wonder that so many knuckleheads supported the clusterfuck that was the War on Iraq.

"Less than one month after U.S. and coalition forces invaded Iraq in March 2003, a “Worldwide Intelligence Update” reached then-President Bush with the following quote on the cover of the briefing, above photos of jubilant Iraqi crowds in newly liberated Baghdad: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him…To deliver their soul from death.”

One week earlier, on April 3, 2003, another of these reports reached Bush, and its cover contained a passage from the book of Proverbs: “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”"
You can see the covers at GQ's slide show. Sheesh. Scary stuff, folks.

See also Frank Rich's take on this.

Sunday, May 17

I'm just saying...

Obama was greeted by protesters at Notre Dame's commencement only because he is of the pro-choice opinion... no peep about the military industrial complex, the US' complicity in the torture issue, military tribunals, his flip flops... nope.... not a peep. And why oh why do the so called religious people expect the government to do their bidding? If you can't get your point across in the pews, then there is something deeply wrong with your message.

Musical Interlude

I don't care what anyone thinks... American Idol has offered one of the most talented singers I have ever heard: Adam Lambert. Not only is he absolutely adorable with a beautiful smile, his voice has a haunting and beautiful quality that I simply cannot resist. From beautiful ballads to Robert Plant, he's the real deal. I have an official crush on Adam and I don't care!


RNC Chairman Michaele Steel is a big fat idot

From Steele's speech at the National Rifle Association's "Celebration of American Values" (hahahahaha) in Phoenix.
"Whenever they can, wherever they can, the Democrats want to take away the rights of law abiding citizens to own and purchase a gun - a right that is guaranteed under the United States Constitution. ...

"It is ironic, to say the least, that at the same time Democrats in Congress are threatening to deny Americans their second amendment right to own a firearm and defend their families and homes, they are considering bringing terrorists like 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other Al Qaeda detainees to our communities once the President follows through on his campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay. ...

"In April, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano - former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano - approved the release of a report warning that 'rightwing extremists' concerned about government restrictions on the right to own firearms are prime candidates for conducting violent acts of domestic terrorism. Not only is this silly, it is sad. ...

"Now let's pause for a moment...Everything I've just discussed is what the liberal Democrats are able to do with control of two branches of government. Before the end of President Obama's first term it is entirely possible that liberal Democrats could control every lever of every branch of government. ...

"Supreme Court justices hold lifetime appointments. That is why it is imperative that President Obama take his time and search for a nominee with the wisdom and grounding to interpret the laws of our great nation - not one who will have a knee jerk desire to 'empathize' with the concerns of Americans. Sounds like instead of another Judge Roberts, the President is looking to put Doctor Phil on the Court. ...

"There is no doubt that the President is under extreme pressure with this decision. Liberal groups who escorted him down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day are looking for a bit of payback. ... They want a young, activist, left-wing justice who will leave a liberal legacy long after the Obama administration is over. Obama is considering including politicians, not judges, among his short-list of Supreme Court nominees. We don't need a justice on the Court with an ideological agenda."
No, we don't need another ideologue on the bench, that's true. Bush gave us plenty of them.

Another Obama Flip Flop

It’s official: Military tribunals will return, says Obama
President Barack Obama has revived Bush-era military tribunals for top Guantanamo Bay terror suspects that he once branded a “failure,” but proposed new rules on evidence and detainee rights.

Rights campaigners reacted angrily, warning the move would prolong the “injustice” of the war on terror camp, days after Obama dismayed some backers by deciding to oppose the release of photos of Iraq and Afghan prison abuses.

“This is the best way to protect our country, while upholding our deeply-held values,” Obama said in a written statement Friday, outlining his reasoning and a set of reforms to the military commissions.
Sounds like Dick got to him.


Tuesday, May 12

Seeking signs of religious life among the non religious

You may or may not be "religious" but you may have had a truly religious experience while listening to music. I know that I've had moments of transcendence at rock concerts.

Music is much more than what you hear. It inhabits and alters the body, but at the same time has the potential to create disembodied, nonmaterial bonds among individuals that tie them together in memorable, often ritually appealing ways. It is a definitively social and somatosensory experience that can, in some cases, bind American communities together through a shared sense of the sacred, achieved during extraordinary moments of transcendence and regeneration—like those often reported by participants in the revival-like, religious atmosphere of momentary collective musical communities found in jazz clubs, rock shows, and raves, to name only a few. From Sacred&Profane: Wilco Worship and the “Churn” in American Religion

Monday, May 11

could this be swine flu?

I have the flu. I haven't clogged up Kaiser Permanente's advice nurse hotline in a fevered panic, to go through symptoms, or otherwise made a spectacle of myself.

Nope. When in doubt, just stay the heck at home and get into bed.

Been in bed off and on for about 2 days now. Drinking tea, dosing on wondrous medicaments like Thera-Flu and Nyquil, and getting plenty of sunshine puttering in my garden when my energy allows it.

If this is indeed THE swine flu, the one that Obama set the 'let's save the pork industry' tone on when he referred to it as H1N1 or whatevertheheck, it's not too bad. But that's because I don't have a compromised immune system, keep relatively healthy and active, and try to get as much sleep as I can day to day.

I'm all for renaming this bug '3 Critters Flu', or how about the 'Three-Way Flu'? The WHO seems to be backpedaling on whence it came, and trying to not trace it to shitty feedlot management (Smithfield is real big in eastern Europe, as well as North America, and I'm sure they have their jaundiced eye on lots of other regions to exploit), so you know something is rotten in Denmark.

I mean, within the first week that it made the news, the genes were traced to pigs, chickens and humans, were they not? Eh. Maybe that's been revised, but deep down I think the lefty bloggers (me among them) called it when it first made the news.

Where did I get it? Well, who knows. I'm going to take the Joe Biden theory of contagion, however, and extrapolate a bit, because I ride public transportation to and from work five days a week, and it's a train with poor ventilation. And people are pigs in public, and don't cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough. Nothing new there. If I am standing on a train platform, and the dude to my left sneezes, and I can literally see the spray in the air as the sun shines through it and creates a rainbow, it is not rocket science to deduce that I am probably going to inhale some of those droplets if I cannot swiftly exit stage right.

The Senators Laugh

From PeaceTeam.net:
How many police does it take to silence the voice of the people?

That's a question a despot might ask in a totalitarian police state. But this week the Senate Finance Committee thought it was a hilarious joke as they ejected one brave activist after another, for protesting that not even one spokesperson for single payer health care was being allowed to sit at the hearing table. Yes, Senator Max Baucus (MT), who had preemptively declared that consideration of a single payer option was off the table, actually joked "We need more police." [1:58 on video] And the rest of the Senate panel just laughed their heads off.

Senator Chuck Grassley (IA), the ranking Republican, not to be outdone in his contempt for the people, then asked if there was "somewhere they can watch it on television [2:05 on video]," which elicited additional hearty guffaws. Yes, what a wonderful entertaining show that would be, the spectacle of the will of the people being excluded while corporate special interests, like butchers, carve up our pocketbooks and our bodies.

It's time for the U.S. Senate to get the message that we the people are not just a joke to be laughed off. Why is it that not ONE senator on that committee has the integrity to stand up for a even handed debate of health care issues? Why should any of them be elected to public office ever again?

This one click form will send your personal message to all your government representatives selected below, with the subject "Put Single Payer Health Care On The Table Now." At the same time you can send your personal comments only as a letter to the editor of your nearest local daily newspaper if you like.



"Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of the colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. Each time a person stands up for an idea, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, (s)he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
-- Robert F. Kennedy

Saturday, May 9

I NEVER felt the need to kill any of the conservative bastards

John Aravosis at Americablog is right. As much as we loathed Bush, Cheney and the right wing pundits, you didn't hear people on the left threatening to kill any of them.

A CBS golf pundit... yes a fucking golf pundit.... wrote in an article
"[I]f you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it ... there's a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death."
(Of course I think he is saying what he would do if given the chance.) It's no wonder that ammo manufacturers can't keep up with the demand with irresponsible journalism like that being peddled to the ignorant 20%.

You didn't read about lefties buying guns to protect themselves from the bushista crime family. We just want to see them tried and sent to prison where they belong for all their crimes against humanity. Politicians on the right and the supposed "left" which is really the middle aren't going to touch the crimes with a 10 foot pole.

Turn on the TV or the radio these days and you hear of death threats towards moderate politicians. The ignorant people who listen to hate media are so ill informed that it would be laughable if it wasn't such a serious problem. These people are well armed. Is that the real America-- Psychos with guns? The GOP has a cranky, tantrum throwing, dramatic media monopoly and people buy it! Even people who would benefit from progressive values!

Only one handful of politicians have progressive values today. You don't see a whole lot of progressives on the television media or on the radio. You hear from Democrats here and there but a lot of them are GOPers in disguise. I am not holding my breath that any great strides in human decency are going to take place in the near future... not from our government.

Friday, May 8

It's HERE! The Long Wait Is OVER!

No, I'm not talking about the new Star Trek movie (although I plan on descending into the Critic's Dungeon this weekend and judging it for myself).

Readers of this blog will remember this trailer, posted back in February.

Well, dear readers, the wait is over!

The First (possibly unnatural) Act of the story The Giant Gnat of Sinatra is now posted online to amuse, mystify, outrage and offend unsuspecting readers!

Enjoy!

Homophobia Trumps National Security

Right after 9/11 the military discharged 9 Arab translators for being gay (Don't Ask, Don't Tell). Since 9/11 the military has fired 58 Arab linguists for being gay. The first gay linguist under the Obama administration was just fired it is being reported. He is a West Point graduate and has fought in Iraq.

While campaigning, Obama stated, “We’re spending large sums of money to kick highly qualified gays or lesbians out of our military, some of whom possess specialties like Arab-language capabilities that we desperately need.”

Hmmm. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, that he hoped to “push that one down the road a little bit.”

Experts have thought that one of the reasons the US wasn't able to thwart the terrorists on 9/11 was because of the shortage of Arab linguists.

I'm your typical New Yorker.

I have never been to the Statue of Liberty. In fact the closest I ever got to it was on a drunken boat trip when I was a senior in college. Mostly I just look at it from the Verazzano Bridge. (I've never been to Niagra Falls either.)

Maybe this year I will go to the Statue of Liberty because the crown is being reopened for the first time since 9/11 for tourists (not terrorists) on July 4th. I'll have to wait until tourist season is over because only 30 visitors/hour will be granted entrance to the crown and I am impatient.

If you're visiting NY this summer and plan to go to the Statue of Liberty, be sure to get there early (and email me in advance so we can meet up.)

Hmmmm

"We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. "
--U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, U.S. representative to the International Conference on Military Trials, Aug. 12, 1945


From Raw Story
Democrats were routinely briefed on Bush torture techniques, document shows

The CIA has leaked a devastating document detailing the dates and explicit details of secret Congressional briefings in which members of Congress were told of the Bush administration’s torture techniques and when they had been used.

The document is explicit (PDF here). Most damningly, perhaps, is its description of a meeting held between CIA staff and then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss and now-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which shows that Pelosi was briefed on the Bush Administration’s torture techniques in 2002 — even though she’s publicly said she was never told about the use of waterboarding.

Equally striking, however, are the volume of the briefings that have been conducted on the CIA’s interrogation practices since 2002. The document runs ten pages, with up to four briefings a page.

Briefings given to Democrats are of particular significance because the party has been the most vocal about the Bush Administration’s torture practices. Apparently, however, they had known about the practices for years. At least 19 Democrats were briefed about the techniques in detail by end of 2006.

Those briefed earliest on the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” included Pelosi, Goss, Rep. Jane Harman, then-Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), Sen. John Rockefeller (D), Sen Patrick Roberts (R-KN) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL).

On Sept. 6, 2006, the CIA briefed the full Senate Intelligence Committee, excluding Sen. Ron Wyden (D-WA), who did not attend. According to the document, “Significant details of EITs were provided in this briefing to include mentions of waterboarding, diet manipulation, nudity, walling, and stomach slap.” EIT is shorthand for “Enhanced Interrogation Technique.”


UPDATE: The CIA chart does not specifically mention the use of waterboarding at that briefing.

Thursday, May 7

The New Republican Party Theme Song



I’m My Own Granpaw (With Diagrams!) - Courtesy Ray Stevens

Obama Ends National Day of Prayer Event at White House

Obama will not host evangelicals in the WH today. Plus, if you are religious, you pray every day anyway. Don't you? You certainly don't need your government to tell you when you should pray.

Young People Less and less religious

ABC News reports that record numbers of young Americans do not attend church. It skyrocketed to about 40% while in the past it was only about 10%.

One of the explanations makes perfect sense:

"...they grew up in a period in which being religious meant being politically conservative, especially on social issues."

Putnam says that in the past two decades, many young people began to view organized religion as a source of "intolerance and rigidity and doctrinaire political views," and therefore stopped going to church.
Church goers are increasingly being associated with conservative bigots. I started noticing it in the 1980's. This is a reason why many adults I know don't attend church anymore and don't want to be associated with any religion. Those of us who actually grew up with 'Christian values' wonder what happened to them and why hating gays and banning abortion are the only issues of the day.

Quien es mas macho?

What do you make of this? Everyone is asking if this proves that Republicans in the south are not patriotic?


Wednesday, May 6

another reason why the GOP is hopelessly out of touch with reality

Recently House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) announced the creation of the House GOP American Energy Solutions Group (so you know that must be a joke and a half) and he appointed Michele Bachmann (r-Mn) to the group to come up with energy solutions. What does Bachmann think of global warming?
“The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It’s all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax.”

Boehner also appointed Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) who debated Chris Matthews yesterday. Pence argued that he isn't anti-science but in the meantime he doesn't believe in global warming, stem cell research or evolution. I'm sure he is first on line for the latest technology or medicine.
PENCE: Well let me tell you. I think the science is very mixed on the subject of global warming, Chris.

Q: Then why should your party believe you’re going to get serious about it, if you say the science is mixed?

PENCE: Yeah, it’s a fair question. But look. I’m all for clean air. I’m all for clean coal technology. I’m sure reducing CO2 emissions would be a positive thing.
I don't believe in clean coal technology. It simply doesn't exist. Evolution is a fact, not something you choose to believe in or not. God help us, the GOP House is fucked up.
PENCE: Uh, do I believe in evolution? I embrace the view that God created the Heavens and the Earth, the Seas and all that’s in them. The means that he used to do that, I can’t say, but I do believe in that fundamental truth.

“Did you take biology in school?” asked an incredulous Matthews. “If your party wants to be credible on science, you gotta accept science. … I don’t think your party is passionately committed to science, or fighting global warming, or dealing with the scientific facts we live with.”

“Tell me what you really think, Chris,” Pence retorted. “This anti-science thing is a little bit weak.”
What. A. Maroon.

Scientists ponder a "Churchill Gene"

One in ten of you have a gene that helps you create great works or solve immense crises after consuming alcohol. The rest of us get morose. Who were the worlds greatest drinkers?

Tuesday, May 5

Can't Make Up This Sh*t

Anti-abortion extremist, Neal Horseley who proudly admitted to Alan Colmes in 2005 that he lost his virginity to a mule is running for governor of Georgia! Read more.

The Sarah Palin of the Lower 48 (or maybe even worse)

Oh good lord, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota is at it again, this time using a fake prayer supposedly used by George Washington at his inaugural address to bash Obama. Here are the details.

She has a history of playing politics with actual facts.

Check out Michelle Bachmann Madness if you can't get enough of this wacky broad.

India's Internet Porn Star

And yes, it's a cartoon.

Very True

SOME PEOPLE ARE TOXIC AVOID THEM.
This is a subtext of number one. There was in the sixties a man named Fritz Perls who was a gestalt therapist. Gestalt therapy derives from art history, it proposes you must understand the ‘whole’ before you can understand the details. What you have to look at is the entire culture, the entire family and community and so on. Perls proposed that in all relationships people could be either toxic or nourishing towards one another. It is not necessarily true that the same person will be toxic or nourishing in every relationship, but the combination of any two people in a relationship produces toxic or nourishing consequences. And the important thing that I can tell you is that there is a test to determine whether someone is toxic or nourishing in your relationship with them.

Here is the test: You have spent some time with this person, either you have a drink or go for dinner or you go to a ball game. It doesn’t matter very much but at the end of that time you observe whether you are more energised or less energised. Whether you are tired or whether you are exhilarated. If you are more tired then you have been poisoned. If you have more energy you have been nourished. The test is almost infallible and I suggest that you use it for the rest of your life.


From a speech by Milton Glaser in London, 2001

Put your pants back on, honey

A proposed amendment in the Massachusetts state House would rule that people over 60 and some people with disabilities would be incapable of consenting to erotic photograpy... and that would include taking a nude photo of your consenting spouse if he or she is over 60. Read more

Monday, May 4

It's the 21st Century - Where are the Flying Cars!?

Here ya go!
These pictures were taken at the Sun-n-Fun Airshow, held in Lakeland, Florida back in April. The sporty little abortion you see is the Terrafugia Transition, a road-capable aircraft.

I'm very glad that I got some people in the shot, to give you a sense of its scale.

The aircraft engine also provides the power for the road wheels. The guy hawking it told me that its wings can unfold in about 30 seconds, and it's currently under view by both the FAA and the Department of Transportation for air and road certifications.

It's only a two-seater, with very few amenities and no cup holders that I could see. No telling what the gas mileage might be.

But you have to admit it's a sporty little guy, although I can't help but look at it and think of this.

Pizza

The Republican Party of the United States has a minor problem.

They lost two tough elections, the 2006 bi-election and the Presidential election of 2008, the latter by an Electoral College margin of more than 2 to 1. Latest opinion polling indicates that 70% of the country favors President Obama's policies, with the GOP lagging at a dismal 22%.

What's a party to do?

Simple!

Have a pizza!

A group of the Bum-of-the-Month Club rejects who pass for Party Establishment (Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, et.al.) gathered at a pizza joint at a Northern Virginia mini-mall to talk to people and find out from them what needs to be done to fix the Party and bring it back into a nationally-based organization.

I say "nationally-based," as the latest electoral demographics show that the greatest strength of the GOP is now based in the states of the Old Confederacy. Which, if you savor the rich and mellow taste of irony, is indeed an amazing state of affairs.

Pizza is regarded by some as comfort food, rich and flavorful and just what some people need to make them feel better. And that's just what these Party Stalwarts and apparatchiks got - comfort food.

A few of the people who spoke to the assembled bigwigs expatiated upon high taxes (they're against them), education (with one young man asking Jeb Bush why it's even necessary to go to school when you can learn all you need from Rush Limbaugh), and big government (against it). And, of course, how much they dislike President Obama.

Perhaps Northern Virginia was the wrong place to start looking for actual, solid advice about rebuilding the Republican Party.

But I don't think Jebbie the Hutt and the Mittbot were there to learn anything new. They were there to hear their own preconceptions validated, and to have their own positions reinforced.

They were there for comfort food.

fair is fowl and fowl is fair

(And dry cured, even).
 
Taking one step further in my quest to have more control over what I consume and the terms of it, I followed the instructions in Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn's "Charcuterie" to make duck prosciutto.
 
I'd read about duck prepared this way this well over a year ago, back when Ghosttown Farm was known as the Your City Farmer, and Novella was recounting her 30 days of eating so local as to eat only what came from her yard ('100 yard diet').  Including the ducks she raised, and rabbits.  At the time I thought, Hell's bells, I could do that. 
 
"So, Sara... why duck?"
 
Mostly, it's about food preservation and learning new kitchen crafts.  If I ever raise ducks (I'll have chickens next month), it'd be good to have some novel means of preparation under my belt.  Secondarily, I'd like to learn how to dry cure sausages, and this is a gateway to that.  Why sausage?  Well, it's what you make with cheap cuts and leftover odd bits, and a little goes a long way.  And now that I'm paying for a house, I'm living cheaper. 
 
I've never been a serious carnivore, mind you, so it's not like I'm going to raise a pig in the yard and butcher it.  To be honest, having chickens is as much about composting my kitchen scraps faster and having the weeds and bothersome bugs nibbled, as it is about the eggs and eventually a pot of chicken soup.  It'll be nice to just rake out the litter from the pen and toss that into the compost pile, supplementing my current regimen of digging a compost pile in the yard that takes months to break down, eh.  Chickens are part of my biointensive gardening scheme.   
 
Quacking prosciutto...
 
I took one Muscovy duck breast, plopped it into a dish of kosher salt and then covered with more kosher salt, wrapped the dish and it went into the fridge for 24 hrs.  Next day, I rinsed off the salt, observed the texture was much changed (more leathery), patted it dry, ground some pepper over both sides, wrapped it in a clean dinner napkin (can't find the cheesecloth, which is probably with the cheese molds in a box somewhere in the garage, still packed), and hung that on a clothes hanger with some clothespins.  It is currently 'curing' in the front closet, which is the coolest spot in the house.  For a week.  Apparently, what is supposed to happen next is the moisture will evaporate, and I'll have something left over which is decidedly stiffer, but not yet jerky.
 
And just to show that it's not all carnage or curing meat at my house, I spent the weekend weeding, and planting.  And digging up agapanthus that's probably been in the ground since the house was built in the 50s.  Broke my shovel on that, in fact.  One of the mother bulb masses was as big as a soccer ball, ay caramba!
 
The following have been planted outside:
2 dozen sunflower seedlings (giant mammoth or some hyperbolic such)
2 dozen corn seedlings (rainbow Inca)
1 dozen Telefono peas
 
Seedlings waiting to be planted, after I use the cultivator and mix in composted manure:
tomatoes, eggplants, cukes, melons, pattypans, pumpkins, more peas, beans (7 varieties), artichokes, cabbages, cauliflowers, onions, leeks, chard
 
Cue up Pete Seeger :)

Overblown?

Something like 14,000 people died from the flu annually* since January, but that's not considered an epidemic. Heaven forbid there's a flu strain that is alleged to begin in Mexico and the world is on high alert. Meanwhile Mexico's economy is taking a nose dive.

People are so panicked that it's almost a comedy. In Bakersfield, Calif., none of the 188 patients (a record) who arrived at the emergency room had symptoms that met the criteria to even be tested. according to the NY Times

So far there have been 7 deaths from the "swine flu" and none of them happened in the US. Maybe too many people read Stephen King's "The Stand"?

*correction

Sunday, May 3

Happy 90th Birthday Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger and his music were a great influence on my song writing, banjo playing and world outlook throughout my life. In fact, I learned to play the banjo from a Pete Seeger banjo book and accompanying record about 30 years ago. It didn't dawn on me until today that my dad would have been 90 this week too had he survived.



Saturday, May 2

Excellent Point By Glenn Greenwald on Torture

Perhaps the GOP ought to go back and read the treaty that their god, Ronald Reagan ratified in 1988. It's a far cry from what the right advocates today and Reagan's treaty is now something being touted by the far left. Who knew? Today the GOP and many churchgoers would dispute Reagan. Many of these idiots are devoted to the TV show 24.

Convention Against Torture, signed and championed by Ronald Reagan, Article II/IV:
No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture. . . Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law.
The views that Ronald Reagan not only advocated, but signed a treaty compelling the U.S. to adhere to, are ones that are now -- in the view of our dominant media narrative -- the hallmarks of The Hard Left: torture is never justified; there are "no exceptional circumstances" justifying it; it must be declared to be a serious criminal offense ; and -- most of all -- the U.S., as Ronald Regan put it, "is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution." Reagan's explicit view that the concept of "universal jurisdiction" permits signatory nations (such as Spain) to prosecute torturers from other countries (such as the U.S.) is now considered so fringe that it's almost impossible to find someone in mainstream American debates willing to advocate it. Excerpt from Glenn Greenwald at Salon
See also Rice may have admitted to conspiracy, former Nixon counsel says
Released FBI Memo Documents Bush Ordering Torture
Abu Ghraib Guards Say Memos Show They Were Scapegoats
Torturing for America
Glenn Beck Defends Wanting To Pull Out Fingernails And Peel Skin Off With A Cheese Grater

The Clinton Bubble - by Robert Scheer

TRUTHDIG


Has Timothy Geithner ever had lunch with a non-megamillionaire who has lost his job or home because of the banking meltdown? I ask that question after reading the list of the treasury secretary’s luncheon dates when he was head of the New York Federal Reserve, a list that the government was forced to provide in response to a lawsuit.

During those years when he was supposed to be supervising Wall Street, he supped most often in the top-echelon dining room of some bank or at the home of one of the financial moguls who created the mess that has now bankrupted billions throughout the world. One of his frequent luncheon buddies was Sanford I. Weill, who as chairman of Citigroup lobbied successfully for the reversal of key regulations that dated back to the New Deal era. That change permitted Weill’s oligarchy to become “too big to fail.”

Another preferred dining companion was Robert Rubin, who as Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary pushed through Weill’s favored deregulation—a disastrous “reform” that lies at the heart of the current mess—and who went on to become chairman of Citigroup, where he presided over a downfall of the company that required a $45 billion taxpayer bailout. Geithner had worked for Rubin at the Treasury Department, and it was Rubin who got him his job at the New York Fed and hooked him up with Barack Obama.

Geithner has since pushed the Obama administration to approach the banking crisis not in response to the needs of destitute homeowners but rather from the side of the bankers who are seizing their homes. Instead of keeping people in their homes with a freeze on foreclosures, he has rewarded the unscrupulous lenders who conned ordinary folks.

He still wants to give more money to Citigroup, which has just been found woefully short of cash by Treasury’s auditors, and has not stopped Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and some other big banks ostensibly under government influence, and indeed sometimes ownership, from recently ending their temporary moratoriums on housing foreclosures. Geithner has been in the forefront of coddling the banks in the hopes that welfare for the rich will trickle down to suffering homeowners, but that has not happened.

As The New York Times revealed this week in a devastating exposé of Geithner’s record: “An examination of Mr. Geithner’s five years as president of the New York Fed, an era of unbridled and ultimately disastrous risk-taking by the financial industry, shows that he forged unusually close relationships with executives of Wall Street’s giant financial institutions. His actions, as a regulator and later a bailout king, often aligned with the industry’s interests and desires, according to interviews with financiers, regulators and analysts and a review of Federal Reserve records.”

Most revealing was the Times’ discovery that Geithner shocked a meeting of top government officials, convened by then-Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson to deal with the financial crisis, when “[h]e proposed asking Congress to give the president broad power to guarantee all the debt in the banking system. … ”

Now I know that the conventional wisdom among Democrats is that the Clintonistas were wildly successful in running the economy when they had their turn, and that Rubin and his protégés Lawrence Summers and Geithner deserve a lot of the credit. But that view is dead wrong. The seeds of the current economic chaos were planted in those years, in which Wall Street lobbyists were given everything they wanted in the way of radical deregulation, and hence was born the madcap world of credit swaps and other unregulated derivatives.

The result was a Clinton bubble, which saw the rise of a new superrich class that vastly skewed income distribution in favor of what was termed the “working rich” by Emmanuel Saez, who deservedly just won the top prize for young economists, the American Economic Association’s John Bates Clark Medal. Members of the “working rich” are well represented in the top 1 percent of income “earners,” who, according to a study by Saez, “captured about half of the overall economic growth over the period 1993-2006.” The record is clear that from the first year of the Clinton reign, the new class of superrich, including many Wall Streeters, benefited as much as the other 99 percent of the nation’s population did from the policies that Clinton put in place and George W. Bush accelerated.

To add salt to the wounds of those left out of the bubble, the Clinton administration summarily ended the federal poverty program in the name of a so-called welfare reform that “devolved” programs for the poor to the tender mercy of the states. The meanness derby between the cash-strapped states is on, and the poor, a category that includes a growing number of folks who only recently were judged “middle class,” are abandoned.

What is involved here is an extreme case of government-condoned “moral hazard” offering outrageous compensation to the superrich for screwing up royally. Where is the socially conscious Obama we voted for? E-mail him and ask.





Friday, May 1

Churchgoers more likely to back torture of suspected terrorists: poll

Why does this not surprise me?

Ya know something? Christians have to be the biggest scaredy cats on the planet. They are also the least tolerant of others. I know what they are supposed to believe and they certainly don't act like it, do they?

closure

The nutritional psychiatrist warned me that when I put down the food, the booze, the cigarettes, the caffeine, the antidepressants, the sugar and the diet soda dozens of emotions that I had been stuffing away with these substances would start to surface and I would have to face my demons and deal with my self loathing behavior. So I put down all those substances and am left with just me. Horror of horrors.

I would most likely have to face those who hurt me deeply and begin to forgive them. Forgiveness doesn't mean that what they did to me was alright. It would be an exercise in freeing myself from the pain and the hurt once and for all and moving on. I could do it without confrontation or not.

Me being who I am, I am not one to let things go without confrontation. I need closure.

So my goal for the merry month of May is to forgive myself for allowing myself to enter and remain in destructive relationships with selfish people, learn from it and to somehow forgive them too. Only then will I be able to move on and find peace in my life.

Have you ever seen one like this?
















It's a baby panda, you pervert!



hat tip to tali