Thursday, December 31, 2009
What is it about December 31st that spurs fantasies of self-reform? Is it too much food and drink? Seasonal exuberance? Lunacy induced by crowds?
Every December, otherwise rational people make resolutions meant to transform them into organized, addiction-free souls with clean houses, healthy bodies, wholesome relationships, perfect children, and career paths soaring to the top -- the same vows they made last year and the year before that.
Can our resolutions endure past January 1st? Can we make it to year's end without ripping up our lists?
AGREEMENT entered into this ___________ (Date) by Husband and Wife (jointly called "Couple").
WHEREAS, New Year's Eve is coming and Couple feel compelled to make some vows:
NOW, THEREFORE, Couple make the following New Year's Resolution Agreement:
Happy New Year, Mad.
Many would say it is not right to wish ill on anyone. That we should take a christian approach and forgive our enemies, but I am not a christian. I am hoping, despite the best efforts of the cardiac staff that his heart is screaming "FUCK YOU RUSH!" as it does a Palin on him and quits. One less enemy of the United States.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
To put it simply: this President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action. Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country. And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President.
Shorter: "Dick Cheney, please go hunting with yourself."
Thanks to Mr. Aravosis for the link.
I will assume there'll be a switch so you can turn it off...
HONOLULU — President Obama was told Tuesday about more missed signals and uncorrelated intelligence that should have prevented a would-be bomber from boarding a flight to the United States, leading the president to declare that there had been a “systemic failure” of the nation’s security apparatus.
One of the problems that allowed 9/11 to happen persists. The fuckers still aren't talking to one another or ignoring shit that matters as unimportant because it came from 'them, not us'.
Two officials said the government had intelligence from Yemen before Friday that leaders of a branch of Al Qaeda were talking about “a Nigerian” being prepared for a terrorist attack. While the attacker was not named, officials said it would have been evident had it been compared to information about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian charged with trying to blow up an American passenger jet on Christmas Day.
Compare notes? What a concept! Yeesh.
Please go read the rest.
In the aftermath of the attempted Christmas airplane bombing, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is unrepentant about his hold on President Obama’s nomination for the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the division of the Department of Homeland Security that handles airport security. Obama nominated Erroll Southers — a former FBI special agent, the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department assistant chief for homeland security and intelligence, and the associate director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events — to run TSA in September. Southers’ nomination was approved by two Senate committees, but DeMint has placed a hold on Southers “in an effort to prevent TSA workers from joining a labor union“:
I never saw a picture of Chief Southers until yesterday, but can you spot another reason why Demint doesn't want this guy?
I think perhaps a smart, educated, experienced, competent black cop as head of the TSA does not fit Deminted's throwback view of the correct direction for our country to take. Cops are supposed to be white and protect us from them. They're also to be used to quell union industrial action and protect the money men from the great unwashed whom they exploit in the quest for profit. A black man must never be made equal to a white man, let alone be elevated above white men in any organization.
Best man for the job be damned. In the batcrap right, equality ("race mixing") = socialism and must be suppressed in favor of the old order of white supremacy. Of course he's not supposed to say that, but anti-unionism is Repug policy and will have to do.
More on Demint's hold at McClatchy.
Mogadishu - A man tried to board a commercial airliner in Mogadishu last month carrying powdered chemicals, liquid and a syringe that could have caused an explosion in a case bearing chilling similarities to the terrorist plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner.
So...airport screeners are doing a better job in Somalia than in Amsterdam? Since they caught the guy, it couldn't possibly be Obama's fault...probably why we didn't hear about it 'til now.
... That raises the question of just exactly what the Bush administration did the past seven years to put a system in place to stop these explosives from coming on planes ...
The most recent figure I've heard is we've spent $42 bln on aircraft security since 11 September 2001. At this point, a mosquito shouldn't make it onto a plane undetected, let alone some nut with a bomb.
The upside is, for the Christmas season, the guy's nuts were roasted so, thankfully, he won't be able to breed if he ever gets out of jail alive.
So let’s set our flux capacitor to January 7, 2002, just days after Richard Reid snuck a shoe bomb onto a plane and see Jonah calling for Tom Ridge’s head on a platter. Oh dear. Not a word about shitcanning anyone in the Bush administration. Instead we have Jonah making the deliriously insane argument that the Reid incident is an argument for racial profiling because had Reid been an Arab named Mohammed racial profiling might have kept him off of the flight from Paris. No seriously.
And for a bonus, Ted "Dixie Chick me (if I actually made money off my music anymore)" Nugent is running his yap again.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
... You see, Diane, waving around a piece of paper purporting to be 'evidence' doesn't mean shit. Were we (the U.S. and U.K.) still in control of the moral high ground, it might mean something ...
WASHINGTON, Dec 28 (IPS) - U.S. intelligence has concluded that the document published recently by the Times of London, which purportedly describes an Iranian plan to do experiments on what the newspaper described as a "neutron initiator" for an atomic weapon, is a fabrication, according to a former Central Intelligence Agency official ... [my ems]
And you wonder why Mr. Ahmedinejad had such a smug look on his face during the interview?
Some say the greatness of "Avatar" lies in its lush visual grandeur, the sheer madhouse spectacle, the revolutionary eye candy that only $300 million in computer graphics and 10 pounds of psilocybin mushrooms can buy.
Let's just say it outright: This is a movie about alien porn. It's about the great, timeless, hypererotic white man fantasy of the Other. Inhabiting it, having sex with it, becoming it, moving inside it, running and leaping and fighting and taking spectacular risks just before falling into a bed of florid vines with your significant -- and incredibly hot -- alien companion to fondle her tail as the planet smiles in happy bioluminescent munificence all around you.
Let me be clear. I don't mean "hot" in the typical sci-fi sense. The Na'vi are not cheeseball pneumatic fantasy creations, the males all bloated, vein-popping muscle-bound meatheads and the females sporting Volkswagen-sized breasts and giant firedragon swords and asses from here to Lara Croft. They are not the generic, infantile, 10-year-old boy-lost-at-Comic-Con kind of hot. Not completely, anyway.
No, this is adult hot. Kinky hot. Exoticism wrapped in virile prowess slipped into a giant sheath of sexy blue lizardleather. It would appear that James Cameron and his nefarious crew of kinkhounds probed every nook and cranny and orifice of Freud's extraterrestrial fantasy handbook to invent the dreamiest blue lustcreature imaginable. Yes, this is a movie about fetishism.
Jane Hamsher ruffled some feathers last week when she forged a temporary alliance with Grover Norquist to call for an investigation of Rahm Emanuel’s activities at Freddie Mac. She also warned us about Treasury’s plan to raise limits on government backing for Freddie and Fannie. She was too late to stop the latter; in fact, Treasury stuffed the fattest, slush fund stocking in history on Christmas Eve. I don’t know if Rahm is guilty. He looks guilty as hell, though that goes for pretty much everyone in that fetid swamp. But the biggest uproar to come from Ms. Hamsher’s activities seems to be the rending of garments and gnashing of teeth that comes from purity betrayed.
So maybe Ms. Hamsher is going to come away from this with cooties, but you know — if you really stop to think about it — that the fundamental problem facing this nation is that two corrupt institutions manage to keep the American people divided against each other. There will always be real differences, and i seriously doubt that Jane Hamsher is going to start calling for bathtub violence against the government. I’d be greatly surprised if she started writing on the benefits of conservative neo-liberal economic policy. She’s no traitor to anyone or anything. Freedom, as you well know by now, is not free; the price is eternal vigilance and the willingness to do what’s right, even when it isn’t the easy thing or the politically expedient thing.
I would like to hold Norquist's head under water in the same dirty bathwater he wants to drown the government in, but since I'm a gentle Librul who doesn't believe in outright murder except in a few cases, only until he craps his knickers. That said, sometimes you have to make a deal with the devil to try and get something done, and when it's done you can kill him.
Here are Jane's charges against Emanuel.
It appears that Jane is shovelling shit against the tide, but when she's involved I wouldn't bet the farm on the tide.
Almost forgot - Jane with cooties? I'm aroused...
Raw Story, with video:
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow believes she has found the smoking gun proving Republicans' hypocrisy on health care and the budget deficit: an admission by Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch that, during the Bush administration, "it was standard practice not to pay for things."
"Every single Republican opposed the health reform bill when it was voted on on Christmas Eve, and that includes the 24 Republicans who voted for George Bush's Medicare prescription-drug expansion in 2003," Maddow said on her show Monday night. "Now that expansion in 2003, unlike the reform bill that's being currently debated, added tens of billions of dollars to the deficit. And this makes for some awkward politics, because many Republicans are citing worries about the deficit as their reason for voting against health reform now."
Some Republicans say they don't believe the CBO's projections that the health care overhaul will pay for itself. As for their newfound worries about big government health expansions, they essentially say: That was then, this is now.
Project Obama Fail had not begun at that time and the wildly successful Project Bush Fail was just getting up to speed.
If you see a bicycle rocketing backwards in the next day or so, it'll just be Hatch backpedalling. Telling the truth, however inadvertently, is considered a political gaffe in Repug Beltwayistan. This oughta be good!
Department of Homeland Security Issues Terrorist ID Cards
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) - In the wake of the Christmas Day airline terror attempt, the Department of Homeland Security today said it was instituting a bold new series of security measures, including issuing an official "proof of terrorism" I.D. card.
"All potential terrorists must have the terrorist I.D. card in order to be barred from boarding," said Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano. "If you want to get on the no-fly list you'll need a completed application and the $25 fee."
The Homeland Security chief said that her department would continue to crack down on the primary threat to air safety: shampoo.
"We will be looking out for shampoo like never before," she said. "If you want to smuggle it on board, you had better hide it with your bomb-making supplies."
Makes ya proud to be an American, don't it?
If you add in Africans (as you must by this logic) that's about half of the global population right there. But then how do we know that some guy named Bob isn't a Muslim? Or that some young woman named Samira isn't a terrorist? It gets really complicated. The only profiling that will really work is to not let anyone in the US at all and to require all US citizens to wear designations on their clothes to indicate which religion they are. Anything short of that just won't get the job done.
Alternatively, we could invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.
A conservative wet dream.
Monday, December 28, 2009
According to the New York Times, Wal-Mart can give employees "demerits" that can lead to termination if they call in sick! We think the real demerits should go to Wal-Mart for their bad sick days practices, which risk making the public sick and their employees sicker. Give Wal-Mart a "Demerit Badge" today!
A Pennsylvania Walmart Supercenter videotaped employees and customers in a unisex bathroom, several former and current Walmart employees alleged in a lawsuit filed this week.
Several employees discovered an "off-the-shelf" video camera in a store bathroom March 31, 2008, according to the court filing. The unisex bathroom, which also served as a changing room, was used by employees and customers. Customers and employees were not notifed of the surveillance, according to the court filing.
Walmart said two workers were responsible for the camera.
"Two associates were terminated for placing a camera in an associate dressing room bathroom," Walmart spokesman Greg Rossiter said. "When store management learned of the camera, it was immediately removed."
The company declined further comment.
According to the court filing, the camera was installed by Walmart's loss-prevention unit.
The camera was used to monitor employees for possible theft and it is unclear how long the surveillance took place, McLain said. None of the plaintiffs, however, were accused of stealing from the store.
A store manager acknowledged the existence of the surveillance camera only after employees produced a photo of the camera, McLain said.
Monitoring employee theft? The camera was in the fucking TIRE DEPARTMENT! Yeah, when I worked as a tire man, I always snuck tires out in my shorts! Maybe they were just swiping the really cool little green valve caps that signify nitrogen instead of air in the tires. Yeesh.
Three of the plaintiffs were terminated after complaining to store management about video surveillance, McLain said.
They fired the guys who did it and the the guys that did something about it. It's a Repug thing.
Let's face it, if James Cameron had made a movie with the Iraqi resistance as the heroes and the U.S. military as the enemies, and had set it in Iraq or anywhere else on planet earth, the packed theaters viewing "Avatar" would have been replaced by a screening in a living room for eight people and a dog.
The Na'vi people of "Avatar" are very explicitly Iraqis facing "shock and awe," as well as Native Americans with bows and arrows on horseback. The "bad guys" in the battle scenes are U.S. mercenaries, essentially the U.S. military, and the movie allows us to see them, very much as they are right now in 177 real nations around the world, through the eyes of their victims.
Rob Kall at OpEd News suggested that we make flyers to hand out at theaters following screenings of "Avatar." Having now seen the film, I think he's right. Here's a flyer (PDF).
There’s little doubt that I personally stand a much greater risk of dying from a (frustration induced) heart attack in an airport security line than of being killed in a terrorist attack. The recent failed attack on Northwest Flight 253 doesn’t change that.
And, for the most part, we are fairly accepting of these inevitable risks of life. Not so, however, for terrorism. As to it, the acceptable level of risk often seems to be regarded as zero — something that is in reality, of course, impossible to achieve. Yet, in this quixotic quest to ensure total safety we have spent more of our money, bended more of our national principles and created more discomfort for ourselves and others than has been true in the cases of numerous much more likely risks to our safety.
And here we go again with new security measures in response to the attack on Flight 253 — measures destined to make air travel even more miserable than it already is. Will they make us safer? I’m no expert, but mark me down as dubious. But even if these latest assaults against our air travel sanity will provide some small measure of increased security, that still leaves the question of whether they will be worth the cost.
That’s a question we as a society need to be asking more often. Obviously, we must take all reasonable steps to keep ourselves safe, but the line between what is reasonable and what is unduly destructive of other interests and values couldn’t be any thinner. The threat of terrorism is likely to be with us for as long as anyone reading these words is alive, a risk that will provide endless opportunities for fear induced limitations upon our freedom and comfort. And whatever the Obama Administration does, rest assured, it won’t be nearly enough for the alligator brains of the far right.
From the link:
BUFFOON WATCH.... Some have wondered this year if, in the case of a deadly terrorist attack, Republicans could bring themselves to put patriotism over party, and rally behind a president they disagree with.
I think we're getting a sense of the answer.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) said Sunday that it is fair to blame the Obama administration for the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit on Christmas Day.
Not quite 48 hours after a Nigerian man -- who got a visa to enter the United States from the Bush administration -- unsuccessfully tried to kill Americans, Pete Hoekstra, one of Congress' more offensive buffoons, is going on national television to blame the Obama administration.
I know I shouldn't be surprised, but this is nauseating.
Let's be clear. First, the Obama administration's record on counter-terrorism is very impressive. Second, Pete Hoekstra's record on national security issues is so ridiculous, it's hard not to point and laugh. And third, Hoekstra's attempts to exploit an attack that failed is almost certainly motivated by an effort to impress right-wing primary voters in advance of his gubernatorial campaign, making his attacks against the president cheap and disgusting.
What an embarrassment.
When a candidate like Hoaxtra has nothing, he can always fall back on Project Obama Fail and maybe convince enough morons to keep him on the gravy train.
SPECIAL EDITION: THE DECADE IN IRONY, 2000-2009
I guess the irony is that the decade actually began in 2001 and has a year to go.
Bush Win Inspires Average Students
Presidency not out of reach for those with poor grades, police records, money.
U.S. Wants to Dump 77,000 Pounds of Nuclear Waste 90 Miles from Las Vegas
Many argue that's not close enough.
Middle Class Losing Health Insurance
But problem is temporary – middle class rapidly vanishing.
Army Asks Congress to Raise Top Recruitment Age from 35 to 42
Lower bottom IQ score from 42 to 35.
Alberto Gonzales to Remove Covering From Breast of Statue In Dept. of Justice
Orders all statues stripped, piled on top of each other in lobby.
Republicans: No Reason to Probe Bush Administration Use of Torture
There was no oral sex involved.
Obama Proposes Huge Stimulus Plan
To get Americans borrowing again.
Brooks support for single-payer comes late in the health care reform debate. Both houses of Congress have passed reform bills which Brooks says he can't support. "I oppose it. It's a close call for me," said Brooks. "My preferred option is to give consumers choice."
Be nice if the little twat spoke up when it counted.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
The king taxed the peasants to poverty while the royals were exempt from paying any. Reason? Unjust tax codes were a design of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. That was the “targeted tax-cut” which invariably became law. “He who hath the gold maketh the rules.”
The Dark Ages was the birthplace of “Trickle-Down Economics.” The caste system was embraced, the church was simply a ruling arm of the monarch, and slavery was legitimatized by the religious righteous.
Republicans constantly decry labor’s “class warfare,” but this is the real war being waged across America. The cultural war is basically a derivative of class warfare – where the ruling class has employed white evangelicals to do their bidding: divide and conquer.
During the Dark Ages, wealth was exclusively inherited, not earned. The legal system was purchased like a commodity resulting in juryless trials, military tribunals, pronouncements by a king acknowledged as sovereign and commissioned by God to rule as if the voice of Providence Himself, executive orders usurping representation, taxation without representation, etc. Anyone disputing the monarch’s sovereignty was designated a traitor and summarily executed, tortured or banished to dungeon. These were the markings of the Dark Ages. Are they not similar to contemporary Republicanism so glaringly demonstrated during the Bush years?
Once again, the Army decided to side with the same contractor that has overcharged them for feeding our troops, electrocuted our forces due to faulty work, and exposed them to human sewage through their inability to even get a building properly plumbed.
Glad to see we're still supporting the Cheneys.
Link thanks to Cookie Jill.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Promote Your Page Too
I put the Facebook badge in the right sidebar so you'll have it when this post works down the page.
Note: Click on the "Discussions" tab. I intend the page to have some healthy debates going on there.
Emmylou is introduced by the late John Hartford and the ubiquitous Jerry Douglas plays dobro.
Thanks to WellExxxcuuuseMeee.
A Northwest Airlines passenger landing in Detroit on Friday tried to blow up the flight but the explosive device failed, two U.S. national security officials said.
The passenger, who was traveling on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam was being questioned Friday evening, according to one of the officials, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing.
One of the reasons I like cruise vacations. Generally, I only have to fly one way. Can't deal with all the security bullshit anymore.
Friday, December 25, 2009
The woman was as guilty as sin of the crime of adultery: the penalty for the offense, death by stoning, was clearly established. So what was Jesus Christ’s response?
“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.”
Talk about a bleeding heart liberal!
Now, to be fair to the alligator brains out there who have somehow managed to construe words like these to constitute an endorsement of intolerance, vengefulness and greed, I should probably note that there’s some controversy over whether this particular story belongs in the Bible. It wasn’t in the earliest versions of the Gospel of John, apparently having been added later.
So, perhaps the alligator brains are relying, instead, on less disputed examples of Jesus Christ’s teachings. This for example:
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Let me see if I’ve got this straight. The test of being a good Christian is generosity toward the underprivileged. Strange. I mean, what’s that got to do with the prosperity gospel?
Come to think of it, wasn’t this the same man who overturned the money changing tables, declaring: “Get these out of here! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”
Hasn’t he heard of the divine right to unfettered and unregulated markets?
You know, if I didn’t know better I’d have to say the man sounds like a card carrying . . . liberal.
Wow. Whoever would have thought there’d be a whole holiday set aside celebrating the birth of history’s most famous liberal?
We'll get to the PR stunt the world's been paying for for two thousand years come Easter.
Thanks to LovingPinkLibra, Canuckistan.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
1. Everybody has a video camera these days. You cannot escape!
2. Take a cab or use a designated driver. Don't try to walk home. Somebody'll step on yer fingers. Don't ask me how I know this.
Every family has a crazy uncle at the Christmas family get-together. I fulfill this function for Mrs. G's family by being the only sane one. Everything's, er, relative, I guess. Heh.
Thanks to tiffanyann5152
And a recommendation: If you're in the NYC area this Christmas (especially if you have kids), go see The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center.
Tchaikovsky - Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy
All the best from the Brain family.
Thanks to Montag for reminding me about The Nutcracker.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
If yer stuck for a gift idea for me, I need some brazing rod. It's been very cold here and I need to do a little repair work on my brass monkey.
Just to show that I have the proper Xmas spirit, here's some lovely carols:
At the other end of the scale, last in happiness – is New York state.
As if to illustrate the problem, residents attending a meeting Wednesday in rural Queensbury unleashed their anger and cynicism at a state government they described as corrupt, self-dealing and too quick to increase taxes. It was a tirade that had one lifelong resident saying he was ready to flee "this stinkin' state."
I'm going to fucking work ...
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Reacting to nightmare stories of passengers trapped on planes with no food, no water and overflowing toilets, the U.S. Transportation Department told airlines Monday they will soon have to allow passengers on domestic flights to get off if their planes are stuck on the tarmac for more than three hours.
Violations will bring a fine of $27,500 per passenger, the department said.
The new federal rules, which take effect in 120 days, will also require that airlines provide food and water for passengers within two hours of a plane being delayed on a tarmac and to maintain working restrooms.
The airline industry said, without enthusiasm, that it would comply with the new rules. It said one unintended consequence could be more canceled flights.
"The requirement of having planes return to the gates within a three-hour window or face significant fines is inconsistent with our goal of completing as many flights as possible. Lengthy tarmac delays benefit no one," Air Transport Association chief James May said in a statement.
Shorter: What?! Food? Water? Toilets? For fucking passengers? Who the hell are they? Damn those Liberals!
That's good, but one wonders what other amendments might be in the catchall Defense Appropriations Act of 2010 that might not be quite as good that they're not talking about very loudly.
Verse-Case Scenario by Tony Peyser
"Yeah, you helped get us elected and
We've compromised lots but buck up.
This is the way politics really is. If you
Don't like it, please shut the f!#k up."
When you don't like something is not the time to STFU. It's the time to pour it on.
Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has won the dubious honour of telling the biggest political lie of the year.
A panel of experts ruled her claim the Obama administration was planning to introduce "death panels" was chosen as the most misleading statement of 2009.
See the list of candidates here. The Repugs and batcrap right lie so much I'm surprised it wasn't a lot longer.
Greatly expanded post on the ramifications of the 'death panel' lie.
Shorter: The bitch has no shame and her easily misled people believe that shit and she knows it.
Diane Sawyer and ABC News this week:
"Respectable lady," [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad said, "this approach has failed... raising the stick of sanctions and then saying let's negotiate. It has failed. It's over. It's not repeatable." Ahmadinejad rejected evidence that Iran is working on a neutron initiator, a device which has no civilian uses but is the trigger for a nuclear weapon. It was first reported in the Times of London which cited an internal Iranian document. The plans for a neutron initiator has been described as the "smoking gun" that allegedly proves Iran's nuclear program is intent on building a bomb.
When Sawyer asked the Iranian president if he wanted to see the document, he waved it away.
"No, I don't want to see them at all. I don't," he said. "They are all fabricated bunch of papers continuously being forged and disseminated by the American government." White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod told ABC News the accusation that the U.S. fabricated documents was "nonsense."
You see, Diane, waving around a piece of paper purporting to be 'evidence' doesn't mean shit. Were we (the U.S. and U.K.) still in control of the moral high ground, it might mean something, but after this:
The Niger uranium forgeries refers to forged documents initially revealed by Italian Military intelligence. These documents purport to depict an attempt by the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq to purchase "yellowcake" uranium powder from Niger during the Iraq disarmament crisis.
On the basis of these documents and other indicators, the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom asserted that Iraq had attempted to procure nuclear material for the purpose of creating what they called weapons of mass destruction, referred to as WMD, in defiance of the United Nations Iraq sanctions.
Any credibility we might have had was flushed. Any 'documentation' we produce now has as much worth and use as toilet paper.
Let me posit this to the folks who now claim Iran is the next big, bad, bogeyman: Were there a limited (while destroying the better part of a city is a horror, in the big scheme of things it is nothing compared to what the Soviets could have done) nuclear detonation in the U.S. (or some other western nation, Israel included) by a terrorist group, don't you think, if Iran's (or North Korea's) complicity was determined, Iran (or North Korea) would be a smoking hole in the ground? Don't you think all those ICBMs we have stashed underground in the Dakotas and Montana and SLBMs on subs would be on their way minutes later? We kept the Soviets in check for 50 years with that threat; do you think the Iranians don't understand that little fact of life?
Listen to me, it's one thing for some retard on the street to blow himself up in a bus or in a market. There are more than enough of them to go around but do you think the Grand Ruling Council of Iran, or Mr. Ahmedinejad himself, are willing to martyr themselves? Of course not; they enjoy their power too much. If they gave a nuke to a terrorist, there would be nothing left; no nation to rule over, no holy sites, and certainly no Council. Don't you think we have their GPS coordinates programmed into at least one missile crew commander's console? I'll bet a paycheck they aren't willing to risk that, just as the Soviets weren't.
Iran's nuclear ambitions are just another tool used to scare the population into compliance, as 9/11 was, as Iraq's yellowcake was, nothing more.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Hell has officially frozen over. After more than a decade of hyper-partisanship and knee-jerk, reactionary opposition to the other, the entire political spectrum of Meet the Press's roundtable panel--Markos Moulitsas, Joe Scarborough, Ed Gillespie and Tavis Smiley--all agree on one thing: the health-care reform bill sucks. There's the vaunted bipartisanship Obama sought.
Video too. Go read the comments.
It's past time for McSoreloser to retire to Arizona and rock on the porch. His wife has enough money that he can afford somebody to change his drool buckets.
It’s fashionable, at least among polite company, to break Republicans into two groups: first, the fringe-nutcase-teabagger-birther types and; second, the "establishment Republican Party." There is increasing compelling evidence, however, that this separation is wholly artificial.
Last night Tom Coburn provided the latest — and perhaps most obnoxious yet — example of this:
At 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon — nine hours before the 1 a.m. vote that would effectively clinch the legislation’s passage — Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) went to the Senate floor to propose a prayer. "What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can't make the vote tonight," he said. "That’s what they ought to pray."
It was difficult to escape the conclusion that Coburn was referring to the 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) who has been in and out of hospitals and lay at home ailing. It would not be easy for Byrd to get out of bed in the wee hours with deep snow on the ground and ice on the roads — but without his vote, Democrats wouldn’t have the 60 they needed.
If there is a God who hears the prayers of his flock, one suspects he wasn’t all that happy with Coburn’s suggestion. I mean, imagine you’re God, and prayers are flying in, one after the other, at the speed of light:
From Jessie in Mobile: "God, my wife . . . I’m sorry to be so emotional, but we have a son . . . he’s only eight. Anyway, she needs an operation for cancer and she’ll need lots of expensive medicine. The thing is . . . my wife and I both have other medical problems and we couldn’t get insurance after I was laid off. I don’t know what we’re going to do. Please God . . "
From Senator Coburn’s followers: "Lord, please let Senator Byrd die so there won’t be 60 votes for health care reform."
Yeah, I bet that last one was well received.
In some respects this bill stinks (e.g., no public option). But man the opposition to it on the right stinks so much worse.
Whatever you think about praying, praying for the demise and suffering of others is despicable. And typical of phony religionists.
Windy City Watch, with video:
I call on the distinguished gentleman from Illinois, Senator Durbin to take his foot out of Sen. Coburn's ass
Today the pride of Springfield, Illinois, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), called out Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) on the United States Senate floor for asking that the American people pray that a US Senator not be able to make it to the late night/early morning vote on health care reform. Despite Durbin's request that Coburn come out on to the Senate floor to explain his comments, the cowardly Senator from Oklahoma went into hiding.
Massive Snowstorm Paralyzes East Coast
Forces millions to stay home and watch it all on their 72" HDTV flat-screen TVs with surround sound and maybe order a pizza.
"Snowed in" ain't what it used to be. Heh.
By 2050, Whites Will Be in the Minority
Country expected to become less uptight.
Historic Healthcare Bill Nears Passage
For first time in history insurance companies will be required by law to accept billions in new profits.
Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the shameless sellout.
Teen Attitude on Harmful Effect of Marijuana “Softening”
Experts blame facts.
US healthcare reforms backed by Barack Obama passed a vital vote in the Senate , clearing the way for a bill to be passed before Christmas.
In the early hours a procedural measure to block Republican delaying tactics was passed in a 60-40 vote, with unanimous Democrat backing.
The vote all but assures the passage of healthcare reforms through the Senate, a feat that eluded generations of Democrats.
Well, the Senate passed something, more or less. Let's see what happens to it in conference with the House.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
At first blush, dropping a Ritz-Carlton in the middle of the Tahoe National Forest - the land of mountain bikers, ski bums and "Hoss" Cartwright - seems a lot like wearing a ball gown to a country barbecue.
Not really. The R-C is at Northstar-at-Tahoe, a very upscale ski area and community. My first winter job here was as a bus driver over there. I learned how to drive in snow with 36 passengers. If they only knew. Heh. The driving instruction was pretty much "Don't scrub the ski racks off and try to hit something cheap". I remember dropping people off at their (mostly) second homes, which today go for about a $million dollars, which they call 'cabins'. I've always wondered what those folks did to other people that allowed them to have second homes that cost as much as my whole block. I swear the traffic light there is rigged to take precedence over the traffic on SR 267 when a rich person wants to go somewhere.
Oh, the mountain bikers there pay to use the ski lift to ride up, the ski bums there are the employees, who are also used as guinea pigs in ski school ("Point 'em downhill and go. The rest of you watch what not to do." Do not ask how I know this. The ski lessons were free.), and Hoss is dead.
The hotel chain is the poster child for swanky (take a wild guess from where the word "ritzy" originated) and is typically associated with people who order from menus without prices and who never open a car door for themselves.
Ain't life a bitch! Sigh.
Enjoy the rest of the article, but here's the money shot, at least to me:
If the roads are good, drive back into Truckee for less Disney-fied nightlife, including live music. Watch the ice.
It's a slippery road from the lush life back to reality.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
It’s not the bill progressives hoped for. But it’s the bill that can pass, now.
And here’s what happens if a bill isn’t passed now: Democrats lose seats — maybe a lot of seats — in the 2010 midterms. A weakened President Obama wins reelection, maybe - but even that isn’t certain. No way he has the votes for another try at health care before 2015. Quite possibly, there isn’t another chance until 2021.
Some people say that we should throw it away and start over; is this what they have in mind? Because that’s the reality of what would happen.
We can come back to this. Progressives can push for bigger subsidies; stronger exchanges; a reinstated public option; stronger cost controls. Some of these things can be done through reconciliation. Having this bill in place will make it easier, not harder, to do these things than having passed nothing.
I’m not happy — this is too flawed a bill for joy — but I am relieved (or will be once I’m sure that Joe Lieberman isn’t going to pull a double-cross). You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need.
Unfortunately, I think he's right, dammit. Please read it.
Old locomotives are like old motorcycles - you can see what makes them work and there's nothing subtle about them.
Emmylou on the Beatles song, from a Lowell George Benefit concert in 1979. Poor video quality but thought worth sharing as rare to see Emmylou performing this song live.
Brian Ahern, Emmylou's then husband on guitar.
Thanks to 1000Magicians, UK.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Note to Todd: Build yerself a snow ramp pointed west. Get way the hell back and aim yer champeenship-winnin' snow machine at it and punch it! Maybe you can make it to Russia.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
California's population grew less than 1% in the last year, the slowest growth rate in more than a decade as migration to the state barely kept up with the significant number of people leaving, according to state Department of Finance data released today.
Across the state, natural increases rather than migration accounted for the largest source of population growth. Los Angeles County, for instance, lost more people than it gained through migration but grew slightly to 10.4 million people from July 2008 to July 2009 because births outstripped deaths.
Now if we can just get deaths to outstrip births...
Maybe we can put something spermicidal in such water as we have left.
Glenn Beck offered listeners a rather unique version of U.S. Constitutional history on his radio show Tuesday.
In response to a question from an African-American caller, Beck defended the original "Three-Fifth Clause" in the Constitution, which deemed African-Americans to be "three-fifths of all other persons."
Beck's interpretation of the motives of the Founding Fathers for writing the three-fifths clause is highly curious, as it did ultimately serve as a key Constitutional justification for establishing African-Americans an unequal and thus holding them as slaves.
His assertion that Founding Fathers cleverly designed the clause to set the stage for the abolition of slavery is also a dubious version of history.
This is not the first time that Beck has made controversial comments about the Constitutionality and justifications for slavery.
To paraphrase one of the King Henrys in regard to Thomas Becket, "Will no one rid us of this turbulent racist cretin?"
Mr. Galbraith said in an interview that he discussed but never actively promoted the idea of persuading Mr. Karzai to leave office.
Heh. 'Persuaded' as in the way we persuaded one of our Presidents of the Republic of Vietnam, Ngô Đình Diệm, to leave office?
Hey, whatever works. Maybe it'll work this time...
WIESBADEN, Germany — Overseas military customers ordering gifts online from certain retailers might get an unpleasant surprise when shipping and handling fees are tacked on at the end of the purchase.
Those same customers might be most surprised to find that retail giant Walmart had the biggest markup.
On a $120 purchase, Walmart.com charged $10.35 to ship to an APO address, compared with $2.10 to a stateside address. For most items, Amazon.com charged the same to ship to an APO address as a stateside address. And Target offered shipping on a $120 purchase to an APO address for less than to a stateside address.
But Earl Small, the postmaster at Wiesbaden Army Airfield, said that the shipping and handling charges have nothing to do with the military postal system or the U.S. Postal Service.
According to Small, when companies ship to APO addresses in Europe, the order is shipped to New York, after which the Department of Defense picks up the tab to get the package to an APO address.
On Walmart.com, the company says shipping costs will be higher to APO addresses due to higher transportation costs.
“There is no higher transportation costs,” Small said. “Companies are abusing the system and making a killing.”
Charging deployed service people for costs the taxpayers actually pay. Pretty similar to their stance on health care for their lowest-paid employees.
W**-M*** has a consistent M.O., in the absolute criminal sense, in the pursuit of profit. 'Support the Troops!' by cheating them. It's the American Way.
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) - The United States Senate today unveiled details of its health care plan, tentatively called CompromiseCare™:
* Under CompromiseCare™, people with no coverage will be allowed to keep their current plan.
* Medicare will be extended to 55-year-olds as soon as they turn 65.
* You will have access to cheap Canadian drugs if you live in Canada.
* States whose names contain vowels will be allowed to opt out of the plan.
* You get to choose which doctor you cannot afford to see.
* You will not have to be pre-certified to qualify for cremation.
* A patient will be considered "pre-existing" if he or she already exists.
* You'll be free to choose between medications and heating fuel.
* Patients can access quality health care if they can prove their name is "Lieberman."
* You will be entitled to natural remedies, such as death.
The "men" of the current moment, have lost to the "mice" of history. They must now not make the defeat worse by passing a hollow shell of a bill just for the sake of a big-stage signing ceremony. This bill, slowly bled to death by the political equivalent of the leeches that were once thought state-of-the-art-medicine, is now little more than a series of microscopically minor tweaks of a system which is the real-life, here-and-now version, of the malarkey of the Town Hallers. The American Insurance Cartel is the Death Panel, and this Senate bill does nothing to destroy it. Nor even to satiate it.
... Many have been whining that Obama is not leading on healthcare reform, he is leading, just not in a direction I would like. I wanted conservative arm-twisting, but it's liberal arms that are red and sore today.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Fixing shit is what I do, and I do it well. Everything from lawnmowers to jet engines, I can figure out what's wrong with it and make it work correctly, or let you know it's beyond hope. All except our political system. I wouldn't have a clue of where to start. This health care "reform" process shows me it's pretty well beyond hope.
Athenae has a great post up this morning about the clusterfuck this process has become:
We don't care who had to give what to get what, out here in the world where it's cold and we're broke. We don't care how important this is politically to anybody, or why what we were promised -- fixing a broken health care system -- has now been watered down to an expansion of the current health care system we're required to subject ourselves to. We don't care that some conservative Democrat had to explain it to his district, or somebody somewhere pissed Joey Lieberman off by calling him a dick on her blog so there motherfuckers eat it for breakfast and lunch, or that Harry's trying really hard, or Obama never promised this or that or the other thing.
We just want them to FIX IT and not make us a party to their unending bullshit.
And that's all it is; political posturing, playground finger-pointing, and the only people losing out are the folks who need real reform most desperately.
The U.S, Senate is nothing but a bunch of spoiled brats who want to protect their positions; what the average American needs be damned. Had any of them any principles, their reelection would be the last thing on their minds. It seems the only 'work' they do is to kill time between campaigns.
The talking point now is that "some Americans being covered is better than none" and I call that bullshit. In this day and age, when every "western", industrialized nation has single-payer, or something very close to it, and even some Third World toilets have better health care options than we do, the health care 'debate' we're having in this country is nothing more than disgraceful. Every American should be covered, from birth until death, by a not-for-profit health system that knows no equal anywhere in the world. Instead we are given a bag of shit and we're supposed to feel grateful.
The America of the 21st Century is the land of, by, and for corporate interest and the 300 million of us be damned. "Just vote and shut up, and take what we give you" is the way of life now. Be happy with whatever crumbs that fall from the giant's lips that you're able to grab. Can't get enough? Petition charities to give you a handout, that's the American Way. Large portions of our population can't afford to get sick, are one hospital visit away from financial ruin, and we call ourselves "the greatest nation in the world"? We should be ashamed of ourselves.
I don't know what the answer is. I don't know how we can fix this system where the moneyed hold the reins of power and refuse to consider anything but their own interest. They're not in it to carry out the will of the majority of their constituents but the will of those who give them the majority of their campaign funds. The system has to change but those who can effect change are quite happy with what we have.
What to do? I don't know, short of revolution, but too many are still too comfortable for that to happen. At least with a car, I know what it will take to repair whatever is wrong. It might cost a lot, the thing might be beyond hope and cheaper to scrap and get another, but at least I can tell a customer what his options are. In our political system, we only have two, criminals or incompetents, and choosing either one or the other will not fix what is broken. Neither wants to fix it because then all of them would be on the unemployment line. Politics should be a calling, not a career and these people have made a career out of enriching themselves to the detriment of those they're supposed to represent and protect. They've given us a shit sandwich while they eat prime rib.
"The Greatest Nation On Earth" has become nothing more than a failed empire and a sad irony.
"Please get involved again in Afghanistan" is a request to the Russians that would be about as attractive to Moscow as if the Chinese had asked us for help with their little border war with Vietnam in the late `70s and early `80s. Either that, or the sound that the Muscovites are hearing now is laughter emanating from the Kremlin.
Howard Dean says ‘Kill the Senate bill!’
This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate. Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill.
Dean’s call for invoking the reconciliation process may give cover to Senate progressives who are having to swallow hard to accept the legislation as it appears it will be crafted. While reconciliation poses formidable challenges to the Senate Democrats, the primary concern is that following such a path would necessarily push the the debate into next year, something the White House is dead set against.
The WH is dead set against it because a)it has other things to do, like continue to un-fuck-up the Bush years and, b) it's an election year in a coupla weeks and Dems are going to take a bath unless the electorate comes to its senses, which it won't, and elects even more Dem senators to give them the overwhelming majority I wish they had now.
Killing the bill and starting over might be a good idea but it means a failed Obama presidency and the Repugs win. It ain't in the cards.
Looked at from the narrow lens of health care policy, there is a reasonable debate to be had among reform advocates over whether this bill is a net benefit or a net harm. But the idea that the White House did what it could to ensure the inclusion of progressive provisions -- or that they were powerless to do anything about it -- is absurd on its face. Whatever else is true, the overwhelming evidence points to exactly what Sen. Feingold said yesterday: "This bill appears to be legislation that the president wanted in the first place."
Suck it, Progressives. You were sold out from the gate.
Sen. Bernie Sanders says he is "not naive" and expects to lose, but the Senate on Wednesday will debate for the first time in American history a proposal to create a single-payer, Medicare-for-all health care system, according to statements from the Vermont independent's office.
Under Sanders' amendment, the single payer system would be regulated and funded by the federal government through a payroll tax and an income tax, but it would be administered by the states. The amendment starts from the premise that health care is a human right, and that every citizen, rich or poor, should have access to health care, just as every citizen has access to the fire department, the police, or public schools, supporters say.
"In my view, the single-payer approach is the only way we will ever have a cost-effective, comprehensive health care system in this country," says Sanders.
Grrrrr. Gee thanks, Bernie. We know that.
Maybe the so-called health care legislation we're going to get will be so bad that single-payer will look a lot better after a while. Perhaps shortly after the nation is flat broke and destitute and Lieberman's clients have all the money.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Thanks to YubaNet.
*Apologies to damn near everybody:
Thanks to MikeB43.
Go read this:
We are overwhelmed, yes, by tale upon tale of the sadness and horror brought on by this country's willful neglect of its citizens because we need to please some mad god of capitalism. And because we need to soothe the vanity of politicians, like Joe Lieberman.
Lieberman's gotta be punished, or they gotta get rid of Reid. There's gotta be consequences for Lieberman. He's gotta lose his Homeland Security committee chair, maybe even be ejected from the caucus. He's gotta be publicly defiled. If there was any kind of justice right now, Lieberman should be locked in a glass room with the ghost of Lyndon Johnson. Motherfucker would be on his knees after five minutes, begging to give LBJ a rim job for mercy's sake.
Or, instead, Lieberman should be forced to eat the body of Jacqueline Kelly. He should have to taste her diseased organs and mutated cells. He should have to stare at her dead face as he ingests her faded skin and deteriorated muscle. And if he can't do it on his own, he should have her bones shoved down his throat until he fucking gags. Then maybe he'll understand that we're not talking about abstract numbers of people dying. We're talking about real corpses.
Some of the nearly 300 'comments':
Republicans: When they aren’t proving that their brains don’t work, they’re showing that the hearts don’t either.
someone let Mikey near a microphone again didn’t they?
How do we create jobs?
r: Cut taxes
How do we increase gov’t revenue?
r: Cut taxes
How do we make health care affordable?
r: Cut taxes
How do we cure cancer?
r: Cut taxes
How can the Cowboys win in December?
r: Cut taxes
How can Tiger remain faithful?
r: Cut taxes
All equally viable answers to the questions.
In the "Huh?" dept., incomprehensible but clever:
swedes are socialist.
therefore, a viking named obama krugman begat the global warming hoax by awarding the nobel prize to algore, and using acorn as a cat’s paw to force the banks to let minority welfare recipients buy million-dollar south beach condos.
and if that’s not perfectly clear to you, you’re obviously a fascist!
I actually scrolled down the rest of the way and speed-read the comments. Took about 5 minutes. They started to degenerate into back-and-forth left v right arguments about the economy, sometimes reasoned, sometimes not, and it got personal to an extent. Kinda like ol' SouthKnoxBubba days, only not as intelligent.
Kinda went off on an odd tangent there.