Here's the next one.
Buddy Miller and Emmylou Harris perform on the Lido Deck of the Carnival Victory as we sail away from Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Buddy Miller and Emmylou Harris perform on the Lido Deck of the Carnival Victory as we sail away from Ocho Rios, Jamaica
AUSTIN — If they liked him any more, maybe they’d take away his parking space, too.
The Texas House Friday voted to drain most of GOP Gov. Rick Perry’s office budget and instead spend the money on community mental health crisis services and veterans’ services.
The move, which came during House debate on a $178.4 billion proposal for the two-year period starting Sept. 1, immediately drew a reference to Perry’s recent comments about Texas’ ability to secede from the union. The comments have drawn national attention and some lawmakers’ ire.
McCain Campaign Manager: Religion Could Kill The GOP
"If you put public policy issues to a religious test, you risk becoming a religious party," Schmidt declared. "And in a free country, a political party cannot be viable in the long term if it is seen as a sectarian party."
The remarks came in a passionate, roughly 20-minute speech before the Log Cabin Republican's national convention, in which Schmidt laid out the case for a far more open party -- one which did not consider gay marriage to be a "litmus test" issue. And while he made it a purpose not to offend social conservatives -- they "remain an indispensable part of the Republican coalition," he said -- Schmidt did not hide his concerns that religion had become the predominant thread of the GOP.
Looking beyond the issue of marriage, Schmidt's diagnosis of the GOP's ills was fairly ominous. "Our coalition," he declared, "is shrinking and losing ground to segments of the population that is growing, whether it is with suburban voters, working class, college educated voters, Hispanics, or left handed Albanian psychics, the percentage voting republican has declined precipitously."
Skimming the ocean of news effluvia, trying to make sense of the beauty and the pain, the sacred and the profane, whipsawing between the agony and the ecstasy like a bipolar ferret in God's own meth lab of love.
Trying to work out where the following stories fit in the Grand Continuum. Can you help?
SWF Seeks Love, Redemption, Jell-O Shots
In our perverse, celeb-crazed culture, there's really only one surefire way to redeem your reputation as a young, alcoholic, borderline insane, wannabe Jew/lesbian tabloid queen who trashed her once-promising film career in favor of hopping in and out of rehab until about 2017, at which point she will marry Stephen Baldwin and devote her life to a very creepy version of Jesus that you should never, ever pray to.
In related news, Pope Benedict XIV recently celebrated his 82nd birthday by releasing a new children's book. Contrary to rumors, "Gary, the Scary Gay Pagan Condom" will not be a pop-up book.
Search: Erotic Lesbian Fine Art Jesus Butt Photography
Upshot: Total frothing extremist gibberish. Secession! Guns! Teabagging! Tears! Fascism! Limbaugh! The right-wing punditry frying itself to a panicky crisp like a giant KFC Family Bucket of frustration! Absolute genius, Mr. President.
In related news: porn, masturbation, iPods, beer, TV, CollegeHumor.com, US Weekly, comic books and general overall slacking report being "totally relieved" to be off the hook for a change. "Hell yeah, it's all Facebook's fault!" exclaimed Ohio State sophomore Dave "The Rave" Filbert's giant skull-shaped bong.
Indeed we must, Mr. President. And the forces of which you speak are the ones lingering — with pervasive stench — from the previous administration. Far more than a criminal stench, Sir. An immoral one. One we cannot let be re-created.
Yesterday, thousands of poor and middle-class people were manipulated into helping rich people keep more of their money. It's sort of like going to a Yankees game, but without the souvenirs.
What is stunning is that yesterday's Tea Party protests were based on a demonstrable, factual lie. It wasn't about interpreting something or opinions. No, what people were protesting was actually a falsehood. They were played for suckers while they thought they were saving democracy. It was a bait and switch, man, a con game that was more dishonest than sidewalk three-card monte.
The whole day was filled with Fox-fanned falsehoods, starting with the whole acronym the protests adopted after "teabag" became the subject of mucho deserved mocking. "Taxed Enough Already" presupposes that taxes will be raised. And it seems that the tea partyers simply think that Barack Obama is lying to them when he says that the taxes for the vast, vast majority of Americans are lower under his plan. (On his radio show, Alan Colmes was screaming at callers who kept insisting that Obama was raising taxes for everyone.) The protests were against some fantasy administration, a sandwich of fascism on a socialism bun covered in a secret sauce of tyranny. It's like prayer: you can't really prove that it matters, but, hey, someone told you it was a good idea to do it, so down on your knees you go.
But it's not just the concept of being "taxed enough" that was a chimera. The Fox "news" hosts built the day around a fantasy America, as if we were all in a 1950s elementary school history class being force-fed the long-disproved myths of the nation.
How goddamned simple-minded this whole tea party thing was. How divorced from reality. What a waste of time, of energy, of paper and ink. All it succeeded in doing was propping up some egos, giving understandably frustrated people a place to misdirect their anger, and allowing there to be an hour of TV that featured Ted Nugent, Penn Jillette, and Janine Turner, like Hell's Tonight Show.
Blindfolded and handcuffed, the man crouched on the ground, surrounded by Afghan soldiers and their U.S. Marine mentors. He had been found with insurgent propaganda and a Taliban flag and had a bruise on his shoulder — the kind the Afghan soldiers recognized from their days of carrying AK-47s while fighting Soviet forces more than 20 years ago. He said he was an illiterate shepherd, but he had a notebook full of writing. He claimed never to have visited Pakistan, but his mobile phone was filled with Pakistani numbers. Most likely, he was an insurgent. But the U.S. service members let him go. "You can't prosecute a guy for having a bruise," explains Howell. "We have to abide by rule of law." The village elders like to joke that the Americans may be infidels, but at least they are honest infidels. If a cow gets caught in a mortar attack, the soldiers pay for it. The hope, says Howell, is that such examples of transparency will eventually be emulated by local leaders. "The locals are justifiably frustrated with the corruption in their government. That has got to change."
Long before the U.S. arrived in Afghanistan, the Korengal was relatively rich. It wasn't farming that sustained the area's residents; the rocky hillsides grow few crops. But a lucrative trade in the region's cedar forests funded satellite-TV dishes and fancy four-wheel-drive trucks. Local lore holds that the fight with the Americans began in earnest when the U.S., acting on a tip from a rival tribe, dropped a bomb on the lumber mill of a local chief, killing some of his relatives and leading to a campaign of vengeance.
That's one reason failure in Afghanistan is not an option. An Afghan businessman adds another. He lived through the resistance to the Soviets in the 1980s, only to see the U.S. abandon Afghanistan when they left. Another betrayal, he thinks, could produce the same blowback that helped lead to 9/11. "If Afghanistan is sold out again," he says, "you would be basically giving 60% of the nation into the hands of the people who want to destroy the West. And I can tell you that these young Afghans are ingenious, they are creative and they know how to use computers. I can guarantee you that they will find infiltration routes into the U.S. and Europe within four years. There won't be another chance for the West to get it right."
Texas Governor Rick Perry (nicknamed Governor Goodhair by the late, great and much missed Molly Ivins) has apparently suggested that Texas might just decide to secede from the union. It seems that Perry, who faces a strong primary challenge from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and is thus trying to snuggle up to the extreme right wing nutcase caucus (a/k/a the Republican base), is fed up — FED UP, I SAY! — with Washington placing conditions on the money it sends to the states, and he’s not going to take it anymore!
The response to this suggestion from the left, so far, has actually been somewhat favorable. Both Michael Tomasky and Matt Yglesias seem inclined to let Texas go if it wants. As both note, the departure of the Lone Star State from the union would move the political balance in the United States decidedly to the left.
Besides, one can hardly help but be intrigued by any suggestion that would result in both Karl Rove and George W. Bush having to get a visa in order to enter the country. If Homeland Security does even a half-assed job, we should never have to see either one of them here again.
On a serious note: one has to wonder just how low the Republican Party will have to fall before some semblance of sanity returns. Because the really sad thing here, of course, isn’t that the governor of one of America’s truly great states (its contemporary politics notwithstanding) is willing to engage in this sort of insanity, but the fact that doing so, for a Republican, is now good politics.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
|Tempest in a Tea Party|
One of the things that emerged in the run-up to the Tax Day Teabaggings is that the Tea Party participants helpfully opened the door to allowing everyone to think about their movement in terms of a sex act, common to prisons, which in turn gave rise to some wonderfully detailed bawdy talk and punny double entendres on the teevees. And this was a great, good thing, indeed! And yet, surprisingly, not everyone has managed to find the joy in this! Take the Washington Times' Amanda Carpenter, who has a big old sad about it:
"I'm not offended by it. I expect it. They have responded to popular sentiment across the country by acting like kids on a playground," said RedState's Erik Erikson, who just days ago was earnestly speculating that Levi Johnston and his sister were in an incestuous relationship. As in, STRAIGHT UP BONIN' AND TATTOOIN' ONE ANOTHER, WITH SEX.
Anyway, my great big heart is moved with pity for all of you who cannot enjoy these racy jokings, which, unless you actually enjoy parsing the prion-addled political mind of this movement -- is the only pleasurable product these tea parties have offered anyone.
Also, if you aren't a fan of things like the Maddow/Cox back-and-forth, be warned: you REALLY won't appreciate this article in Detour Magazine, entitled, "Protest Taxes By Stuffing Your Balls Into Sam Wurzelbacher's Mouth."
In a village 6 hours from Peshawar, it is the first time that the new deputy leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, has been filmed.
Arriving in an American Humvee his men have just captured in an attack on a NATO convoy, he tells the cameraman, “If America continues bombing the tribal areas… and martyrs innocent people…then we are compelled to attack them.” He also sends a message to Islamabad: “If the Pakistani leaders and army maintain their stance… then we will take control of Peshawar and other cities.”
This is no empty threat. The war has already arrived in the capital and Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi.
The state education system in Pakistan has virtually collapsed, leaving more than 1.5 million children studying at schools like this one. Sitting down to be interviewed, Shaheed explains what Sharia Law has taught him about women.
“The government should forbid women and girls from wandering around outside,” he says calmly. “Just like the government banned plastic bags -- no one uses them any more -- we should do the same with women.”
Leaving Karachi, the reporter tries to make contact with the Taliban leadership in the tribal areas. She wants to talk to the men who are recruiting children from these religious schools for suicide operations.
After lengthy negotiations, she meets with Qari Abdullah, who makes no attempt to hide his face.
“We never used to fight against Pakistan, because we thought the Army were Muslims,” he tells her. “But when they started bombing us, we had to do jihad against them.”
When she asks him about using young children to carry out such attacks, he replies:
“Children are tools to achieve God’s will. And whatever comes your way, you sacrifice it.” He then reveals that he recruits children as young as 5, 6, and 7 years old.
Coming to the end of her bleak journey, Obaid-Chinoy reminds us that there are 80 million children in Pakistan, many of them living in poverty. If the militants continue to expand their war and to recruit children freely, as they do now, then Pakistan may soon belong to them.
What’s next? The Great Dirty Sanchez-In of 2010? A Million Man Felch? (Insert Rusty Trombone joke here).
[...] Beck has an audience that’s been trained that the rich are not appropriate targets for anger, unless of course they’re Hollywood liberals, or George Soros, or in some other way linked to some acceptable class of villain, to liberals, immigrants, atheists, etc. — Ted Turner, say, married to Jane Fonda.
But actual rich people can’t ever be the target. It’s a classic peasant mentality: going into fits of groveling and bowing whenever the master’s carriage rides by, then fuming against the Turks in Crimea or the Jews in the Pale or whoever after spending fifteen hard hours in the fields. You know you’re a peasant when you worship the very people who are right now, this minute, conning you and taking your shit. Whatever the master does, you’re on board. When you get frisky, he sticks a big cross in the middle of your village, and you spend the rest of your life praying to it with big googly eyes. Or he puts out newspapers full of innuendo about this or that faraway group and you immediately salute and rush off to join the hate squad. A good peasant is loyal, simpleminded, and full of misdirected anger. And that’s what we’ve got now, a lot of misdirected anger searching around for a non-target to mis-punish… can’t be mad at AIG, can’t be mad at Citi or Goldman Sachs. The real villains have to be the anti-AIG protesters! After all, those people earned those bonuses! If ever there was a textbook case of peasant thinking, it’s struggling middle-class Americans burned up in defense of taxpayer-funded bonuses to millionaires. It’s really weird stuff. And bound to get weirder, I imagine, as this crisis gets worse and more complicated.
I know I should be happy that they are trying to eat their own, but Boss Limbaugh really does make Jabba the Hut seem like a decent soul.
Leave aside the obvious qualifier that former employees of the Bush administration -- which projected, among other things, Madovian annual returns on the Iraq War while arguing that we could improve Social Security by anchoring its benefits to the stock market -- are uniquely unsuited to the task of identifying and offering solutions to policy problems.
After decades of denying the facility's existence, five former insiders speak out
"We couldn't have told you any of this a year ago," Slater says. "Now we can't tell it to you fast enough." That is because in 2007, the CIA began declassifying the 50-year-old OXCART program. Today, there's a scramble for eyewitnesses to fill in the information gaps. Only a few of the original players are left. Two more of them join me and the Slaters for lunch: Barnes, formerly an Area 51 special-projects engineer, with his wife, Doris; and Martin, one of those overseeing the OXCART's specially mixed jet fuel (regular fuel explodes at extreme height, temperature and speed), with his wife, Mary. Because the men were sworn to secrecy for so many decades, their wives still get a kick out of hearing the secret tales.
A few years ago, with little fanfare, the United States opened a base in the horn of Africa to kill or capture Al Qaeda fighters. By 2012, the Pentagon will have two dozen such forts. The story of Africa Command, the American military's new frontier outpost.
Ethiopia's Meles regime, which American Central Command officers describe as "xenophobic to the core," was going into Somalia last December whether the Americans approved or not. The recently installed Somali Council of Islamic Courts, with its loose talk of getting back another star point in its flag (otherwise known as Ethiopia's Ogaden region), simply had to go. As it happened, the Americans, who had been quietly training the Ethiopian troops for years, did approve.
In fact, Centcom was very eager for the operation. Most press leaks made it sound like our main targets were a trio of Al Qaeda senior operatives responsible for bombing American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania a decade ago. But the real story is one of pure opportunism, according to a knowledgeable source within the headquarters: "There were three thousand foreign fighters in there. Honestly, nobody had any idea just how many there really were. But we wanted to get them all."
When the invading Ethiopians quickly enjoyed unexpected success, Centcom's plan became elegantly simple: Let the blitzkrieging Ethiopian army drive the CIC, along with its foreign fighters and Al Qaeda operatives, south out of Mogadishu and toward the Kenyan border, where Kenyan troops would help trap them on the coast. "We begged the Kenyans to get to the border as fast as possible," the Centcom source says, "because the targets were so confused, they were running around like chickens with their heads cut off."
"We could have solved all of East Africa in less than eight weeks," says the Centcom source, who was involved in the planning. Central Command was extremely wary of being portrayed in the media as Ethiopia's puppet master. In fact, its senior leaders wanted to keep America's participation entirely secret. The goal was for Ethiopia to get all the credit, further bolstering America's controversial but burgeoning military ties with Meles Zenawi's increasingly authoritarian regime. Proud Kenya, still visibly nervous from the 1998 embassy bombing, would have been happy with a very quiet thank-you.
It was a good plan. And it was leaked to the press almost as soon as it started.
Those involved in the Central Command operation suspected two sources: 1) somebody in the Office of the Secretary of Defense who couldn't wait to trumpet their success to bitter personal rivals in the State Department, or 2) a dime dropper from our embassy in Kenya who simply couldn't stand the notion that the Pentagon had once again suckered State into a secret war.
He tells the story of a primary school deep in the Muslim village of Bargoni where all the girls would drop out once they hit puberty. In Africa, the impulse would be to think: AIDS, birth control, clerics bearing down. But it was something far more prosaic. When I had first arrived inside the wire at Camp Lemonier, I'd seen a portable toilet labeled "Muslim female." The girls at the school were forced to quit at puberty because strict Islamic practice says that males and females can't share the same bathroom once girls come of age. McKnight and his crew offered a simple fix: HOA would build the school a bathroom just for girls.
The impact was immediate. For the first time, girls stayed in school, parents were happy, mullahs were satisfied, local leaders immensely gratified. Word got around: "The Americans did this!" McKnight's eyes well up as he remembers.
Kinetics is what the military does. Iraq is a quagmire because kinetics is all we planned for. But in this new time, on this continent, the military also builds latrines for girls. That simple act might someday keep trigger pullers out of this village.
"I don't need to go back to Florida and my inner-city school," McKnight says. "I've got it all here. It feels just like home."