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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Transformational Media

Once Rupert Murdoch got his hands on the Wall Street Journal, I knew it wouldn't be long until something like this happened. appears The Journal’s New York section is ready to throw itself into the dirty underbelly of the city’s nightlife!

The Journal has hired Marshall Heyman, a freelancer from Los Angeles who worked at W magazine, to shepherd the new coverage, sources said.

The section is expected to cover parties, nightlife, high society and events, sources said.

The WSJ had already gotten pretty wretched - they did hire Karl Rove after all. Now, it's likely to become nothing more than fish-wrap like Murdoch's other paper the New York Post.

Does anyone actually remember when the WSJ was a reputable news source?


Seems that a lot of liberals/progressives didn't read the whole NY Times piece about the Obama administrations plans to lift a moratorium on off-shore drilling.

Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border.

The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said. But large tracts in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska — nearly 130 million acres — would be eligible for exploration and drilling after extensive studies.

People are under the assumption that the platforms are going to be built tomorrow and that Obama is caving to conservative demands. This is simply not true.

The only place that is already a definite for a platform to begin operating is off the coast of Virginia. The remainder of the areas are to be explored to see if they are even viable.

While this does create the illusion of a conservative victory, I'm seeing this as just a perfect example of an over-reported topic that ultimately confuses people rather than make any clear point - though the Times piece does include all the relevant information.

To me, this seems more like a carefully calculated chess move on the part of Obama. With the administration's energy bill coming up, this will likely appease some Republicans while others will remain skeptical. I'll like to see how many GOP members vote against this proposed drilling plan.

It's your move conservatives.

Storytime With Sarah ( Update )

Seems that Fox"News" believes that Palin is ready to with her own show.

Sarah Palin will kick off her new Fox News series with one of the most diverse guest lineups in memory: LL Cool J, Toby Keith, and Jack Welch.

The three very different guests will speak to Palin for her inaugural episode of "American Stories" on April 1st.

According to Mediaite, "the show will 'focus on a range of such stories including a Marine Medal of Honor recipient who gave his live to save his comrades.' But also there will be the celebrity guests – a very broad range of celebrity guests."

But will she use a teleprompter? A script? Will it be improv?

This will more than likely be the true test of Palin's range ( or lack thereof ) since she's not going to have Hannity or O'Reilly to hold her hand. The show hasn't even aired yet and there's already a problem with it.

Fox lifted interview I gave in 2008 to someone else & R misrepresenting to public 2 promote Palins Show

And the spin on this is already in full swing at Mediaite

So Palin’s special on Thursday at 10pmET is called Real American Stories (here’s a preview), and although it is the premiere episode, the concept of “Real American Stories” is not new for Fox News. It began as a website back in July 2008 – a website, it is important to note, that is owned by Fox News.

Well the website is still there, as is the interview LL Cool J did for it.

But here's an aspect of this that I have a bit of an issue with.

The very concept that one story more than another makes it a "real" story from an American isn't a new concept to conservatives, as they are want to claim that certain people are "real" Americans while the rest of us are left to wonder what makes us not "real". But do we really want to be classified as "real" by the likes of Palin and Fox"News"?

Another aspect of this is that promos for the show suggest the only guest to actually be worthy to sit down face to face with Palin is Toby Keith. Seems that LL and Jack Welch just get clips played of their stories. Does this really surprise anyone?


Laffy at The Political Carnival has reports thta Toby Keith was never contacted by Fox"News" about the show or the use of old interview footage.

I wonder if they'll respond to Keith the way they did to LL?

This is all being set up like it's going to be an elaborate April Fools joke.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sleeper Hit Of The Year?

It's a bit early to tell, but just try and absorb this.

About time the guys that brought us Sexy Beast ( a vastly under appreciated film, mind you )something new. And what a fucking powerhouse cast!

Taking Away What They Use

Larry King had on two Tea Baggers recently to discuss their utter joy at the thought of a repeal of Social Security.

Think Progress has more highlights.

Considering that many Tea Baggers are retirees that rely partially on Social Security payments, and that the Baby Boomers are starting to draw, I personally don't think that it's in their better interest to repeal it. They'll certainly talk about it all day long, but when faced with a partial loss of income, they would turn on this idea in a heartbeat.

And while some with argue that Social Security is going to start going into the red soon, it does put off an air of an unsustainable program. But rather than reform the program, conservatives - ever eager to slash and burn at will - would rather do away with the program or "privatize" it. And considering how the stock market tanked in 07, and had Bush gotten his wish from 04, it doesn't take a Nobel laureate economist to see what would have happened.

Ambushing Al

I've watched this a couple of times and I have come to realize that people like Jason Mattera aren't really journalists or authors, but simply second rate hacks that have a camera and a unique set of talking point.

This clip was featured over at Fox"Nation" recently and was allegedly there to show that Franken is somehow an unhinged liberal that treats his staff and "reporters" like trash.

The only problem with this poorly constructed thesis is that it shows Al attempting to answer the questions and Mattera using the tried and true tactic of firing off as many inane questions and accusations within a 60 second period in order to muddy the discussion - hence Franken's "you need to shut up" bit.

It's easy to see how people can become so easily frustrated with rank amateurs like Mattera, who's pimping his book about how people that voted for and support Obama are somehow "zombies", and the completely nonsensical questions they ask.

KingOneEye over at Daily Kos brings up an interesting point.

So now we see that Breitbart and his ward are just as opposed to safe schools and nutritious foods as they are to preventing child abuse. But I have to admire his tenacity. After making an ass of himself over the non-existent jungle gyms, Mattera plowed ahead with a complaint about language in the bill that provides new mothers with reasonable breaks for breast feeding. I thought Republicans were supposed to be the "family values" party. Not that they ever actually supported family values, but they have long sought to pretend that they did. But here the truth is revealed as Mattera berates Franken for supporting a bill that permits new mothers to care for their infant children.

I'm not of the mind to admire anyone's "tenacity" when it comes to wasting the time of people like Franken. Like it or not, people like Mattera should realize that he's not anywhere near the dim-witted comic that they pretend he is. And also, the shear ignorance that Mattera uses to base his questions on is beyond laughable. Are conservatives really this upset that a mother will have time to pump breast milk for her baby? Not only that, but so what if there is money set aside for a playground. Would conservatives rather kids play in the street?

This is all standard fare today - conservatives pretending to be journalists and running up to members of Congress with a mic and some really bizarre and ultimately pointless questions. No wonder Franken expresses his complete disinterest in Mattera's premise.

I will offer this caveat - his staffer that tried to push Jason away wasn't helping the situation at all. It's people like that that feed the conservative ideal that liberals love to silence them.

Last Night On Countdown

The tragical history tour.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I know this has been reported before, but really, how many of these people are out of work? How many of these people get Social Security benefits? How many of these people utilize government assistance? And why, while groups like Code Pink and most of the anti-war movement are largely ignored and marginalized as freaks of the highest order, are the Tea Baggers given such credibility withing the media as to warrant non-stop coverage.

Sure, Olbermann rightly takes the piss out of them nightly, but for fuck sake, when are Americans going to wake up and realize that these people are no better than your average nut job on the street corner that pantomimes with guitar with no strings and sings about how the giant spaghetti monster is coming for us?

Stripping Away At Credibility

A brief one this morning, as I have some work to attend to.

Seems that conservatives are doing damage control in light of revelations that RNC funds were used at a "bondage club" party recently.

I'm not going to delve into the "was Micheal Steele there or not" aspects of this, as no one has provided conclusive proof that he was or wasn't. But the reality of this should be pointed out - RNC funds were used at a place where most conservatives would not admit ever frequenting.

And while there will always be blame placed on one person for instances such as this within the Republican realm, one has to wonder who ok'd the funds for this, who else was there, and why would they be there in the first place.

It's been pointed out before that conservatives are the largest consumers of pornography, so this really doesn't come as that much of a surprise to me. What is interesting is that the nature of these expenditures are being largely ignored by those that claim "sexual deviance" is amoral and unacceptable.

Chalk this up to another whitewashing of reality from the members of the GOP.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Selective Editing

Conservatives are all abuzz today about Norman LaBoon.

And while they are right, that this guy is certifiable, they are ultimately framing this man and the narrative of his actions to somehow show that he's a left-wing extremist, they are missing the plot on this completely.

....LeBoon just so happens to be a Barack Obama donor. Somehow I doubt that’ll be part of any headlines.

There’s some confusion about whether the LeBoon in the videos is LeBoon “senior” or “junior” (or even whether a “Norman LeBoon Jr.” exists) and it’s not clear whether the “Norman LeBoon” of Philadelphia listed in the campaign finance disclosure database that JWF links is the same one charged by the FBI. But point about the double standards taken.

In any case, this dude seems certifiably loony and dangerous — no matter which political candidates he may or may not have supported. Glad the FBI took it seriously. Period.

Nice one Malkin, accuse him of being an Obama supporter and then follow it up by stating that it may be someone else with the same name. Typical.

Here's the part that they can't admit, as it completely blows there thesis out of the water. LeBoon made threats against Obama too.

Love Will Tear Them Apart, Again

With my sincere apologies to Joy Division for hinting at a line from one of their classics in order to illustrate how some on the Right are clawing at each other over Palin's endorsement of McCain, it should be pointed out that this was coming and these people should have seen it.

So much for intellectual honesty and actually holding your supposed political icons accountable.

I'll preface this piece with the fact that I read HotAir almost every day. Not for any form of intellectual stimulation or notion that I will find something of intrinsic value within the bandwidth that they consume, but because it's a pretty good window into how the modern conservative views the socio-political landscape - through the can't angles and fish-eye lenses of Malkin worshiping prattle heads.

Ancillary characters CK Macleod and MadisonConservative are taking what appear to be opposing points of view in light of Caribou Barbie's endorsement of John McCain against lunatic-fringe, birther, J.D. Hayworth.

A side note, anyone notice that he looks a lot like this guy?

The posts themselves aren't what is so fascinating about the debate within the conservative movement in regards to Palin choosing McCain over Hayworth. After all, if Palin was seen cavorting with anyone other than McCain, much less a completely unhinged, vacant-eyed, birther like Hayworth, she would loose enough political capital that it would likely damage not only her future aspirations for office - if there are any - as well as her standing as a Fox"News" pundit.

And while some would argue that the later would more than likely remain the same, I would have to agree. After all, Fox will do anything to make Sarah happy and her image spotless.

To really get a sense of where people that post on HotAir are coming from when it comes to McCain, they primarily see the man the way Michelle Malkin does - laud his service to the country just enough so that you don't come off as some anti-military hack and then completely trash him on everything else. But what both sides of the argument are missing is that fact that they have no real grasp of who Palin is.

She's not the strong conservative that many claim her to be and she most certainly isn't backing McCain because she completely disagrees with Hayworth. Anyone remember her old "palling around with terrorists" talking point from 08? That's pure Tea Bagger if there ever was one. And while it is true that she likely feels a sense of obligation to supplicate the man that catapulted her to stardom, is it really McCain that's getting played here or is it Palin? I'm not going to say that McCain is above using Palin's gimmicky nature a second time around - because he almost has to to even be seen as valid within his party now - but one would think that conservatives would be able to see past that now. Once you know that plot of the film, it kind of gets boring. But look who we're talking about.

In the end, people like Rush Limbaugh will come to her defense ( as was discussed in the comments section ) and Palin will be seen as some avenging angel come to aid the conservative movement while the reality of it all is that their ideology is literally tearing them apart.

Of Books, Back Scratches, And Media

A recent email sent out by Chairman Micheal Steele as part of offical RNC message shows that there really isn't a difference between the RNC and Fox"News".

Dear XXXX,

I wanted to let you know that I just finished reading Sean Hannity's new book, Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama's Radical Agenda. As they so often do, Sean's words left me energized for November and even more committed to making the gains necessary to bring the Obama agenda to a halt.

In the book, Sean does more than just tell us why we need to defeat the Obama Agenda. He also gives us a blueprint for getting it done. I cannot recommend it enough -- and I'm confident that, like me, you will be ready for the upcoming elections with a renewed commitment.


Michael Steele
Chairman, Republican National Committee

Normally, when a prominent conservative writes ( or has written for them ) a new book, there are several bulk purchases made to pass out at conventions, to give away free when you join sites like, and to over inflate actual sales so the book will debut at #1 on the NYT Bestseller List.

And while Steele's email certainly urges to recipient to read Hannity's latest offering, there really isn't a direct call to purchase the book. Still, to have a piece of propaganda clearly and loudly supported by the RNC, a book that was penned by one of the loudest voices on Fox"News", you get the sense that Steele and the RNC aren't exactly trying to hide the fact that Fox is their preferred "news" organization.

But who is actually taking the lead in this situation? Does Fox"News" work for the RNC, or do they work for Fox?

What Do They Want

Think Progress notes the continued irony that has weaved itself into the Tea Bagger movement.

If these people really do love The Constitution as much as they say, wouldn't they be pleased that Obama is a Constitutional scholar? Also, what does Palin believe gives you the qualifications for being "Commander And Chief"? Is Obama somehow missing these attributes? Palin likely doesn't believe these words ( that's she's reading from a script, mind you ) they just sound pretty.

Defending The Church

I knew it wouldn't take long for religious zealot and lunatic-fringe "Catholic" prattle-head Bill Donohue to respond to the recent revelation that The Pope is implicated in a cover-up of the sexual assault of deaf children.

The rash of stories about priestly sexual abuse in Europe, especially in Ireland and Germany, has put many Catholics on the defensive. They should not be. While sexual molestation of any kind is always indefensible, the politics surrounding this story is also indefensible.

Employers from every walk of life, in both the U.S. and Europe, have long handled cases of alleged sex abuse by employees as an internal matter. Rarely have employers called the cops, and none was required to do so.

I'm guessing Donohue must have been in a coma when females teachers are arrested for sexual assault on their students, as it was highly publicized and was a major topic of discussion within the conservative realm.

Why, for example, are the psychologists and psychiatrists who pledged to "fix" abusers treated so lightly? After all, employers from the corporate world to the Catholic Church were told over and over again that therapy works and to give the offender a second chance.

Indeed, the zeitgeist of the day was that rehabilitation not only works, it is virtuous. That such advice was wildly oversold can now be agreed upon by almost everyone, and that is precisely why it smacks of politics to deny how strongly held the rehabilitative ideal was. Had the Catholic Church simply tossed the offenders out, it would have been branded as heartless.

No. The church would have been seen as taking a very harsh, and moral, stance against the molestation and rape of children. From not only my perspective, but that of a plurality of people within both the religious and secular worlds, but the Catholic church has a rich and storied tradition of protecting those that have sexually assaulted children.

No one is foolish enough to believe that simply having a pedophile recline back on a couch and tell his life story to a psychiatrist is going to prevent this from ever happening again. So to essentially claim that it is the fault of the behavioral sciences field - in essence claiming you were duped into letting these priests to stick around - is further proof that the Catholic Church lacks that ability to take responsibility for their membership.

The hyper-concentration on the Catholic Church is not by accident. The Church preaches an ethic of sexual restraint -- a profoundly countercultural idea -- so when a priest fails, it's tempting to highlight it. Human nature being what it is, that's understandable. But it's also immoral. Quite frankly, if sexual abuse is wrong, it should not matter what the identity of the abuser is. Selective justice is the highest form of injustice.

Donohue, more so in this piece than just about anything else he's ever written or spoke, is basically telling everyone that the Catholic Church should not be put under any type of scrutiny. He wants you to laud the accomplishments of the church, but when it comes to something like sexual abuse, then we aren't supposed to speak of it. But we do, because the church ( and not just Catholics ) set themselves up as institutions of purity and spirituality.

Why is this man defending the molestation and rape of children?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Send Him Out On A Rail

Don't you just love how conservatives stifle free speech.

I'm kind of curious as to what this guy said that pissed these people off. Granted, McCain isn't a darling of the Right anymore - after all, as some of you may recall, Glenn Beck calls him a "progressive" - and Palin can pretty much cover herself in runny, green, baby shit and sacrifice a puppy on live TV while Ted Nugent provides backing music and Republicans would call it some of the most compelling television ever.

While there will likely be conservatives across the country that will point to this as proof that Palin can stand her ground against a voice of opposition, she really doesn't have anything in the way of value to offer to the modern socio-political landscape. What precisely was this guy supposed to "stick around and learn".

And while he seemed to be willing to leave, it also looked to get a little physical for a moment. So much for conservatives being willing to listen to the opposition and not trying to censor anyone. When was the last time you saw someone literally dragged out from an Obama rally?

Is there a conservative out there ready to claim that this was a hoax, some kind of plant? Let's say that this guy was a Democrat. It really wouldn't do their cause any good if they were seen physically throwing this guy out, would it? And if this was all staged, it doesn't make McCain or Palin look any better either.

Racist Payoff

This is just really pathetic. Once again, C-List conservative blogger La Shawn Barber uses her temporary duties over at Malkin's corner of the internet to use racial tensions to attack liberal/progressives. She, like most of the Right this week, are claiming that there is absolutely no proof at all that there were racial epithets used at the recent Tea Bagger shout-fest in DC.

Nothing shuts down the debate like relaying third-hand stories about some conservative calling somebody a ni**er. Accuse now, ask questions later.

But this is where her piece takes a turn into conservative idiocy.

You’ve read the news stories. According to reports, Tea Party protestors called Congressman John Lewis a ni**er last weekend as he and other lawmakers walked through the crowd. Is it true? Has the allegation been corroborated? Andrew Breitbart is offering a cash reward for proof.

And he’s upped the ante.

Breitbart’s offered to donate $10,000 to the United Negro College Fund for proof that someone used the epithet. I wonder if UNCF would accept the cash.

Because we all know that paying off blacks in America makes it ok to use the N-Bomb.

Seriously, are we supposed to take Barber and Brietbart seriously?

Why doesn't he just contribute to the UNCF already?

The bottom line is that there will never be enough conclusive proof for people like La Shawn Barber or Andrew Brietbart. Their "proof" is that since no Tea Bagger will come forward and claim they heard anyone called a n****er that THAT is the penultimate signifier that there is no racial animus within the conservative movement.

Friday, March 26, 2010


No blogging until tomorrow. I have much to do and little time to accomplish it. I will be on Twitter to discuss the days events for a while, so feel free to join me there.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Recently, I had a piece up about Ann Coulter that referenced how Michelle Malkin was defending her.

I was wrong.

Though the piece was on Malkin's website, the blog was actually written by C-lister La Shawn Barber. And while Malkin likely advocates defending hate-speech, this piece could have easily been written by her.

O Rly, Orly? Ya Rly!

I didn't know that Orly Taitz was a dentist too!

Seems that she's using that angle now to file papers against Obama, adding it to her continued "birther" suit.

The challenge comes in the form of an amended complaint in a Birther case in district court in Washington, Taitz v. Obama, that challenges the president's citizenship.

Along with raising the specter of death panels and charging that Obama, as an illegitimate president, does not have the right to sign the health bill into law, Taitz writes in the new section of the complaint, titled, "VIOLATION OF COMMERCE CLAUSE AND OF PLAINTIFF'S RIGHTS TO GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT AS A DOCTOR OF DENTAL SURGERY UPON DEFENDANT'S IMMINENT SIGHNING OF THE HEALTH BILL"

She goes on to allege that she would be subjected to multiple, undo, lawsuits. That's right, the woman that has filed more legal papers against the Obama administration than just about anyone is afraid she'll get sued. Oh, the irony.

Here's another thought. I'm wondering about Taitz's skill-level as a dentist, because if she doesn't understand how to fill out a simple document then I certainly don't want her putting sharp objects in my mouth.

All The Way To The Top

Seems that The Pope knows a little more than he's willing to discuss.

Five years ago he sent out an updated version of the notorious 1962 Vatican document Crimen Sollicitationis - Latin for The Crime of Solicitation - which laid down the Vatican's strict instructions on covering up sexual scandal. It was regarded as so secret that it came with instructions that bishops had to keep it locked in a safe at all times.
Cardinal Ratzinger reinforced the strict cover-up policy by introducing a new principle: that the Vatican must have what it calls Exclusive Competence. In other words, he commanded that all child abuse allegations should be dealt with direct by Rome.

I'm having a harder and harder time reconciling how anyone can be Catholic. Not just in light of this revelation about The Pope, but about how they are so divided when it comes to healthcare reform.

I know that priests touching the alter boy in the cloak room and The League of Bishops opposing healthcare legislation aren't intrinsically linked, but think about this - Catholics are more concerned with preventing healthcare reform than they are stopping the abuse of children. It's very odd way to present yourself, especially if you're a highly regarded religious institution like The Holy Catholic Church.

Shifting Accountability

This spin is so preposterous it almost borders on clinical psychosis.

So it's not the Tea Baggers fault that there is racism, vandalism, death threats, and homophobia - it's the Obama administration?

Let me see if I can follow Beck's "logic".

Once again using the tried and true conservative tactic of "these people are RADICALS" and the widely discredited "Obama and Ayers were the best of friends" - coupled with a healthy dose of Beck's newfound love for Jesus and Biblical scripture - we are literally seeing accountability removed from the Tea Bagger realm. Following Beck's thesis to it's end, if there is an act of violence perpetrated by anyone on the Right, they aren't the ones to blame, it's the Democrats.

It's all an elaborate plot, you see. It's what "they" - The Man - want the Tea Baggers to do. It's all so clear now. Please.

This may be a bit far reaching, but I'm getting the sense that Beck is realizing that his inflammatory rhetoric and fear mongering are catching up to him. The only problem is that he's got a show on a network that demands ratings success over fact-based analysis. It's like when a person lies. Most times they will create a bigger lie to cover up for all the little lies they told. This keeps spiralling outward until the lies are so big and preposterous that it all eventually comes crashing down on the person. Beck is dangerously close to that end. The unfortunate part is that he's not going to be the only person damanged from his lies and distortions. Someone is going to get hurt. And I can guarantee it won't be the Obama administration holding the weapon.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Distortion Of Biblical Proportions

Beck's been on a theological kick since Rev. Wallis called him out on his mistakes, but this little bit here has me wondering.... long is it going to be before a rabid Beck fan tries to kill the President ( or anyone in his administration for that matter ) because Beck claims his life is in danger?

Pre-Existing Lies

Fox"Nation" has this as a headline right now, and it appears to be a blatant, bold-faced, lie.

ObamaCare will not protect children with pre-existing health conditions from being denied health coverage -- not until 2014. This despite endless talking points and promises to the contrary, the Associated Press reports:

Under the new law, insurance companies still would be able to refuse new coverage to children because of a pre-existing medical problem, said Karen Lightfoot, spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the main congressional panels that wrote the bill Obama signed into law Tuesday...

Full protection for children would not come until 2014, said Kate Cyrul, a spokeswoman for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, another panel that authored the legislation. That's the same year when insurance companies could no longer deny coverage to any person on account of health problems.

Obama's public statements have conveyed the impression that the new protections for kids were more sweeping and straightforward.

But that's not what the law clearly says.

Prohibits health insurers from excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions for children. Effective six months after enactment, applies to all employer plans and new plans in the individual market. (This provision will apply to all people in 2014).

So children with pre-existing conditions CANNOT BE DENIED COVERAGE from insurers starting 6 months after the bill is signed into law.

And it's not just highlighted by Fox"Nation", the Associated Press is actually reporting this. Why are people reporting that which is clearly NOT in the language of the law?

Am I reading this wrong myself? I keep re-reading it and it's pretty clear to me that kids that have pre-existing conditions will be covered starting 6 months from now.

Can't Touch This

How are all the loyal Bushies going to spin this?

Did you see it? Kind of hard not to. At the :15 Bush wipes his hand off on Clinton's shirt after shaking a Haitian's hand.

And while Think Progress rightfully points out that Bush has a pretty severe aversion to germs, this just sends the wrong message. After all, how many people that saw it happen know that Bush is known to grab a healthy serving of hand sanitizer to his palms after shaking someone's hand?

Bush is really out of his element in this relief effort. Come to think of it, he was pretty much out of his element while he was occupying the White House. Kind of makes me wonder how he cleaned up after fisting the average American for 8 years.

It's Come To This

It's starting to get ugly. But we knew this was coming.

No one was inside when the brick was hurled through the Democratic Patry Headquarters on University Avenue. Attached was a note quoting conservative Barry Goldwater: “Exremism [sic] in defense of liberty is no vice”. [...]

[Rep. Louise] Slaughter has been at the center of the push for reform. Last Thursday she received a chilling recorded message at her campaign office. “Assassinate is the word they used…toward the children of lawmakers who voted yes.”

The FBI is now investigating.

The death threat business was almost expected, but threatening a child is just beyond the pale. What happened to conservatives compassion for kids? Well, I suppose that only applies to their OWN children.

And now there's this:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And John Cole has it right on as always.

The next plan for these clowns is to march on Washington on 19 April (the anniversary of Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing) with their guns to… well, you know why they are doing it, because you have a working brain. No doubt, however, it is time for another thought piece at Reason on the myth of right wing violence (prefaced, as always with “Other than Oklahoma city, the abortion murders, the Atlanta Olympics… what have the Romans done for us?”). Because remember- it is just a coincidence that gun nuts, militia movements, and angry mobs are on the rise. It has nothing to do with the fact that Clinton Obama is President and Republicans are whipping people into a froth on a daily basis.

I mean, what can wrong, right. Angry, right-wing, nutjobs ( with guns this time ) that aren't distancing themselves from threats to kill children. The exponentially increasing insanity amongst conservatives is literally going to get someone killed. Regardless of your political affiliation, no one needs to get murdered over any of this.

The Home Of American Values ( Updated )

One has but to take a glimpse at the Fox"Nation" website and you will find a veritable treasure-trove of fringe conservative "values" - racism, ignorance, and hate.

Recently, Ann Coulter had a speaking engagement in Canada and was confronted a young Muslim girl. The exchange was typical Coulter, and the ensuing comments on the Fox"Nation" website were equally as disgusting.

-------Enter Michelle Malkin, often known for her own particular style of race baiting, is now defending Coulter against allegations that she was somehow "threatened" by the University in an email.-------


Malkin did not write the piece defending Coulter. This was authored by Malkin's proxy, La Shawn Barber. And while the content is obviously allowed to remain on Malkin's site, I feel it's safe to assume that she is willing to defend Right Wing hate-speech.

Houle [ provost at the University of Ottowa ] urged that Coulter exercise “restraint, respect and consideration” in her speech to the students. Houle added, “Our domestic laws, both provincial and federal, delineate freedom of expression (or ‘free speech’) in a manner that is somewhat different than the approach taken in the United States. I therefore encourage you to educate yourself, if need be, as to what is acceptable in Canada and to do so before your planned visit here…Promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges.”

This is something that most people don't realize. Canadian laws protecting speech are much different that American ones, so it almost seems like Coulter agreed to give the speech in order to promote hatred and actually invite charges to be brought upon her. This is a tactic that people like Coulter love to use - push the envelope enough until you technically break the law and then play the victim card.

So why is it that people like Malkin, Coulter, and Fox"Nation" not only advocate hatred of minorities in America ( not just Muslims, mind you ) but actively defend and distort the reality that racial animus plays a much broader roll in the Tea Bagger movement?

Perhaps they are too embarrassed to admit that people like this are much easier to spot within the Tea Bagger realm.

Coulter's Ottowa engagement was subsequently cancelled, so let the pity-party start.

Conservatives like to pretend that they hold some moral high-ground, that they have all the answers to all of life's little inconsistencies and problems. From a realistic perspective, it's the conservatives that end up causes most of the problems in the country right now. From pure obstructionist tactics in government, to literally altering history, to ignoring and denying science, and doing their best to ensure that women's bodies are legislated into the Stone Age, conservatives are not to be trusted. Their every word and action should be questioned. But they certainly do have a well funded home at Fox, don't they?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Who's Coming Here?

Today I checked my StatCounter ratings and noticed that I had 31 returning visitors and over 600 unique visitors?

Why don't you guys comment? I mean, I don't bite. I do challenge silliness and ignorance - just as any other blogger of my stripe would do - but with so many people visiting today, one would think that I would have gotten at least a few comments.

But alas - nothing.

I hope you took something away after you visited though.

Last Night On Countdown

And Keith makes his return.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Perhaps it was just me, but I noticed a little more grey in Keith's hair last night. I wouldn't doubt if it were true, after all he's been through lately.

That aside, Olbermann's intimate knowledge of how healthcare works and the how insurance companies we have to deal with operate, it's comments like these that the GOP and the mouth-agape rage monkey's like Michelle Malkin, Ed and Allah at Hot Air, and pretty much all of Fox"News" love to mock. It would be far too easy to say that they do it because they are "afraid" of Olbermann ( a favored tactic of their own when defending people like Beck and Limbaugh ) but I honestly believe they do it because his words make sense.

After all, conservatives make a living ( and a great sum of cash ) by contorting, rearranging, and molesting reality.

The Alleged "Will" Of The People

Far be it from me to put myself on the same playing field as Nate Silver, but I have to say that I have been talking about this same thing for months now.

Reasonable minds can come to the conclusion that the bill is bad policy, and people are also 100 percent within their rights to believe that the bill might be bad for them for self-interested reasons (if they make greater than $200,000 per year and would be subject to the increase in the payroll tax, for instance.)

With due respect.....the debate over health care is not playing out like the one in elite circles of public opinion, in which Ezra Klein and I represent the pro-bill coalition......As this month's tracking survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation makes clear, there are a lot of beliefs the public has about the bill which are objectively wrong.

This can be true with any poll. It's all based on your source of information. Take this for example.

What proof does he have to make these claims? None, actually. But considering the fact that Limbaugh has a really big microphone and millions of people listen to him that apparently lack the ability to do any sort of fact-checking, reading, or are incapable on independent thought ( ever wonder why his drooling fanbase are called "Ditto-Heads"? ) then you begin to see how this "Will of the people" meme takes shape.

The same is true for people that only read the ghost-written dribblings on Sarah Palin's Facebook page. You need to verify your source.

Misinformation and disinformation have poisoned the healthcare debate almost as much, if not more than, the initial campaign for Barack Obama prior to his election. But, just as in that case, most Americans have the ability to see through the fog to the truth. So if you're buying into this notion that 73% of Americans don't want the healthcare reform that is literally inches away from completion, you might want to think twice about where you are getting your information.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Justifying The Tea Baggers

Elizabth Hasselbeck is at it again. This time, she tries to excuse racism, homophobia, and spitting on people - seriously.

( h/t to Laffy at The Political Carnival )

I'll address Hasselbeck's "Bribed, Bullied, and Shut Out" talking point in a second.

Here's what's troubling about her incessant prattling. She is actually defending using racial slurs, homophobic rhetoric, and using saliva as a weapon - period. I know that some may see her intent otherwise, but you don't say "oh, people are so upset and sometimes people have to do these things" because you want to defend a failed ideological stance. Does she not understand what is really going on within the context of not only healthcare reform, but how the average Tea Bagger views Obama? Apparently not.

Now, as far as the "Bribes, Bullying, and Shutting Out" goes, I have this to offer - no one has been bullied, that's just a clever talking point that works well within the idea that Obama was a Senator from Chicago and - as we all know - everyone from Chicago is a gangster.

Secondly, I would offer that no one has been bribed either. Politicians are elected to assist their constituency. To put it another way, they are quite literally elected to bring home the metaphorical "bacon" - get it, bacon, pork? Yeah. So when someone like Ben Nelson gets a nice deal for his people, this isn't some new tactic used by the Obama administration - this is politics.

And as far as anyone being shut out, how does that benefit healthcare reform at all? By that, I mean that if you shut someone out, you're not going to get a vote. It's in your better interest to get as many votes as you can. Considering that Republicans are in the minority, and Hasselbeck is one of the "pretty girls" that waves the GOP flag higher and faster than most, It's rather disingenuous that she would be complaining about being shut out. The Republicans shut themselves out by opposing literally everything Obama and the Democrats want to try.

The reality of this is that there is racism, homophobia, and vitriol within the conservative movement - period, case closed. And attempting to justify it only makes it and you look worse.

Repeal At Your Own Risk

The talk on this is dominating the corners of the internet today. But before Republicans bet the metaphorical farm on this, they might want reconsider their options.

First, and foremost, in order to do something of this magnitude successfully, they would need a 2/3 majority in the Senate. Hate to break it to them, but that's not mathematically possible right now.

Secondly, and this really should be part of the initial thoughts of Republicans, is that they need a plan to put in action should they pull off the near impossible task of repealing this. What are the voting populous going to think when all these improvements that have already started get pulled away? Are they going to have legislation equal to or superior to replace it with? My guess is not at all. Honestly, I wouldn't call that a guess, I would say it's an iron-clad guarantee.

Third, there are already Republicans saying it's over already for the GOP.

Frum, actually sounding like a voice of reason within the party, makes the very valid point that Republicans - ever eager to find someone to blame - are going to start looking at who within their party caused this to happen. The Tea Baggers are going to go after the more moderate voices within the GOP while it could turn out the the Tea Baggers could no longer find themselves in the good graces they once enjoyed. Considering the current socio-political climate though, I'm going to say the later is a bit of a long shot. But this doesn't remove the fact that Republicans do tend to get caught up in finger-pointing and completely miss the plot.

Will Republicans get so mired in their desire to place blame that the repeal process gets pushed aside? My guess is they will try to do both and the healthcare reform bill will still be law come 2012. The GOP has proven to the American people that they can't take on two tasks at once. How are they going to repeal, campaign, come up with their own healthcare plan, AND find a scapegoat within the party all at once?

I say let the games begin.

Grasping For Straws

You can already tell that conservatives are digging for ways to invalidate any portion of healthcare reform they can, and as quickly as possible.

Allahpundit over at Hot Air pulls a clip from Andrew Breitbart and Naked Emporer News to attempt to illustrate some hypocrisy on Obama's part regarding the Executive Order aimed at proving their would be no federal tax dollars used to subsidize abortions. this clip from Breitbart and Naked Emperor News discusses signing statements and not executive orders, it’s hard not to equate the two.

Actually, it IS hard to equate the two, as there is the absence of context as well as them being completely different beasts. But, let's look at his wrap-up.

More to the point, though, this EO will never have any effect. As a host of actual Constitutional authorities have already made clear, any court challenge will wind up with the government forced to obey the law Congress passed and the President signed for the same reasons Obama states in this clip.

What Allah is leaving out is the very reality that the anti-abortion language was already in the bill that was voted on last night. The EO was simply reinforcing language already present. So, if there is a court challenge over the EO, I'd be very interested to see how those opposed to the EO set up their case.

And if you're brave enough, and don't mind giving them the hits, take a gander at some of the 5000+ comments over at Fox"Nation". While Allah and his droogies at Hot Air at least attempt to have a thin veneer of intellectual integrity to their end of the debate, it's all "end of the world" machinations at the "Nation".

The Myth Of The Centrist Nation

In which Kathleen Parker has no idea what her nation is about.

Approximately 70 million strong, these are America's new homeless class, people who are equally disgusted with both traditional parties and the special interests that control them. They're all ages, sexes, races, ethnicities, though younger Americans are crowding the front rows. Of those born after 1977, 44 percent identify as independent.

Independents as a group outnumber either party, in other words. Yet, given the hyperpartisanship that began under George W. Bush -- and has accelerated during President Obama's first year, thanks in large part to the enabling mechanism of the Internet -- one would think that America were divided into hard left and hard right.

We're not. We're a vast middle, slightly right-of-center nation. How is it that so many feel so disenfranchised by so few?

Who are these mysterious "independents"? That all depends on who's doing the polling. While we will likely hear about "independents" and how they relate to conservativism in America from the likes of Fox"News" and Rasmussen, those people are largely Republicans wearing a slightly less funny-looking hats. There are no "independents" within the TeaBagger movement, they are all card carrying, party-line voting Republicans, no matter what they or anyone tells you.

Conversely, true "independents" ( if there are any anymore ) either don't vote at all or lean more the way of Bernie Sanders - at least that's how I've always read it.

You can really gauge where the nation ( at least the voting populous ) is at whenever we elect a new President. We've been clearly divided between strict left/right ideals since the 2000 election. I don't think anyone can argue with that. But the subtle nuance of midterm elections do give off an air of swaying back and forth between the catagories every two years, though it's a bit disingenuous to claim that the nation makes any sort of radical shift or is completely neutral at those moments. Then again, I might be wrong.

One factor to not ignore is how we as Americans have gotten our information for the better part of the last 10 years. The Internet and the 24hr news networks have completely changed the political landscape to where it's completely impractical to call us a "centrist" nation. While Democrats are more prone to edge towards "centrist" ideals while still holding firm to ideals on both sides of that median signifier, it is in stark contrast that we see Republicans edging further and further to the Right every year. I don't think that's been made any clearer than after Obama's win over John McCain. Republicans completely lack any ability to be "centrist", it's just not in their genetic make-up.

But this is what makes this whole notion that Kathleen Parker, Fox"News", or me tell you what direction the nation is headed and what our real identity is. It all depends on your definition of "center". Think about where Bill O'Reilly's center is. It's most certainly to the Right of me and probably to the hard left of Glenn Beck - even though you won't hear either of them admit it. And that's why no one will ever be able to truly gauge who we all are and how to properly classify us, even though I have done my best to at least analyze the scene as I see it.

Considering the events of the past year, we are more divided than at any other time in my 30+ years. We are, despite reports to the contrary, a nation that desires change. Those of us that are opposed to it should probably check our sources before making a decisive answer. Then again, those that are pushing for that change shouldn't be so timid as to confront misinformation. In the end, we are going to have to live with the fact that we will never be "centrists", holding hands, singing songs, and finding common ground of everything.

Get Ready For More Of This

John Boehner in all is faux righteous indignation.

You start to realize that conservatives are more pissed that they didn't get this done first. Not only that, but the rank hypocrisy regarding the procedural politics is so blatantly obvious, even the amateur political spectator can pinpoint the bullshit.

I'm actually surprised he didn't start crying and throwing papers around.

HCR Day 1

Well, it wasn't a pretty process and not everything that I wanted to be in is in ( public option and rate regulation for starters ) but it's at starting point and as soon as Obama signs this, some good will have already begun that wasn't there. But guess what else is going to get started, or at least amp up to the Nth degree?

Complete, unchecked - and more than likely largely unchallenged - conservative hysteria.

Did anyone catch Tom DeLay on Geraldo last night? He was waving his pocket Constitution around and practically foaming at the mouth. Micheal Steele called in and was boasting that he is forming a group to impeach Pelosi. God only knows what Limbaugh and Beck are going to talk about on the radio today, but I'm certain there's going to be plenty of talk about communisitic, Nazis, with fascist, totalitarian plans for medical rationing facilities that euthanize babies at a reduced price to the consumer.

Since when is the "Alex Jones" mentality so widely accepted?

It's going to be an interesting ride, get ready.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Just Words, For Now

And while provocative signage at protest rallies is nothing new, I'm starting to think that signs like this are a signifier of something much more severe to come.

No one can deny that these people are completely and utterly ill-informed when it comes to not only healthcare, but a variety of issues that they didn't seem to have a problem with prior to Barack Obama's election. The bile that seeps from every orifice of a Tea Bagger isn't something to take lightly. Someone is going to get hurt, or worse, before this is over.

And Starting For The Defense Pt. II

In which we find Michelle Malkin using her "love" for the American military to defend "Freedom Alliance" and Sean Hannity. Turns out that she's really missing the point on this and should use her "journalistic" skills to dig deeper into this - you know, like she does when she attacks children.

Recently, a story that has been around for nearly three years, has finally gained traction within the conservative realm, and blogger and passionate conservative Debbie Schlussel has rightfully pointed out that Sean Hannity and "Freedom Alliance" are using the image of the American military to steal money from concert-goers.

This has not set well with conservatives that want to use the military as a shield ( and we know what they say about shields ) so they are claiming that this story has been completely and thoroughly debunked. Too bad this isn't true. Let's that a look at the source cited and the reality behind it.

Malkin dives headlong into the shallow end of the pool from the start:

I had the honor of speaking at one of Oliver North’s Freedom Alliance events in 2002 about immigration and national security. While there, I met Shannon Spann, the widow of American hero Johnny “Mike” Spann — the 32-year-old CIA officer and former Marine Corps artillery specialist who was the first American killed in action during our war on terrorism in Afghanistan. Spann was killed in a prison riot where Jihad Johnny Lindh, the American Taliban, was captured. Spann had interrogated Lindh prior to the revolt; Lindh chose to hide the riot plans from his fellow American. Spann died in the violence. His family recounted his bravery after a visit overseas to the fortress where he died...

You see, plenty of flag-sucking and "look how much I love a soldier" she uses right in the first paragraph. It's disgusting how this woman presents herself. If she's so honored to be part of this country, then why isn't she fighting the Taliban herself? Certainly, this would be a question posed to those on the Left, but I feel that Malkin should answer this as well, considering the way she continually molests the corpses of our soldiers.

She continued her hamfisted defense of "Freedom Alliance" by pointing out that just because they honored a dead soldier that THAT is one of the signifiers that should absolve them of any wrong-doing.

But here is where her piece really gets good:

My Fox News colleague and friend Sean Hannity has devoted countless hours helping the Freedom Alliance — which has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator – raise money for the dependent children of American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have been killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. The charity funds scholarships to students who have lost a parent on the battlefield in Persian Gulf War, the 1983 terrorist bombing of the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, and terrorist attacks on the USS Cole and the Pentagon. Sean has hosted Freedom Concerts across the country and helped raise millions for troops and their families...

And while Malkin offers up the "star rating" of this group, the numbers don't seem to jive with what the "Freedom Concerts" are intended to do. And while I am not the best person to analyze the numbers on this, they don't really seem to reflect the image that Malkin is presenting - an organization that is more about helping people than turning a profit. Anyone that knows how to properly break down the dollar figures linked, please do so and I will gladly update this diary accordingly.

But the juice in Malkin's lemon comes with this portion:

Unhinged smear-mongering spread on the Internet today — and it has been swiftly and definitively debunked and deconstructed.

Her "debunked" and "deconstructed" theme comes from non-other than "Freedom Alliance". Am I the only one that recalls conservatives complaining that ACORN had an internal review done to clear their name of any wrong-doing. So why is Malkin so eager to laud "Freedom Alliance" for taking part in the same action?

Instead of taking that route, let's examine this "debunking".

Freedom Alliance’s press release today stated categorically that they have “never provided planes, hotels, cars, limos, or anything else to Sean [Hannity] … to be clear Sean pays for all his own transportation, hotels, and all related expenses for himself and his family and friends and staff.” We are satisfied that this is true.

It is true that Freedom Alliance spent $60,000 on aviation services in 2006, but there is no evidence that this was for Sean Hannity’s benefit, and it seems unlikely that the money was used to lease a Gulfstream 5. Rates for G5 aircraft average around $8,000 an hour. $60,000 would not buy much at that rate.

We have also been able to confirm that Sean Hannity has no operational control over the organization. Nor is he even a member of the group’s board.

So what have we got? "Freedom Alliance" says that this isn't true, but can't provide any actionable information that Hannity pays for his own trips other than their own word. That's like saying you didn't take a cookie form the jar when there are 8 missing and expecting your mother to take you at your word.

And then there is the "aviation expense" line that uses the example of how much it costs to lease a G5. Who said that Hannity ( or anyone ) used a G5? He could have flown business class, or had another type private jet. I'm sure that Hannity has his travel standards, but there is nothing in the "Freedom Alliance" response that proves unequivocally that the claim made by Schlussel isn't true.

This next piece almost made me puke.

FrumForum has intensively investigated Freedom Alliance’s 990 Forms, which have been submitted to the IRS and checked by an independent auditor.

Debbie Schlussel alleges that only $1 million of the organization’s $8.8 million in revenue was going to soldiers and scholarships in 2008. This figure is the product of a misleading and selective reading of the organization’s tax forms.

The numbers that Schlussel cite refer to direct financial transfers to individuals – that is, if there is a direct grant that Freedom Alliance gives to a soldier. This does not include all the positive work that doesn’t involve a direct grant.

Freedom Alliance also spends money on non-cash benefits for military families, involving things like taking soldiers to sporting events and sending care packages to troops.

The highest paid employee earned $152,000 in 2006. The second highest paid employee earned $83,000. In 2007, Freedom Alliance spent about $1 in $7 on salary and benefits.

Total staffing costs may seem high, but they are not out of line with what is spent at many other charities. For example, the Armed Services branch of the YMCA spent about $1 in $2 on salaries and benefits in 2008.

Because we all know that buying a ticket to watch the Cubs get their asses spanked is on par with sending a child to college. The later claim that the Armed Services branch of the YMCA is disproportionately large seems to be somewhat misplaced. Does "Freedom Alliance" think that military personnel are over-paid?

Let's continue.

Schlussel is unhappy with “the fact that in each year’s tax returns soldiers described as having brain trauma injuries, multiple amputated limbs, and severe burns over most of their bodies get a few hundred bucks each from Freedom Alliance and in almost every case, no more than $1,000.”

However, this accusation is much weaker when you examine the Department of Defense regulations regarding donations to active duty soldiers.

According to the DOD Joint Ethics Regulation, gifts with a value of over $1,000 must go through a lengthy bureaucratic process which involves ethics officials. Calls to the Department of Defense confirmed this point.

What becomes clear is that there is a bureaucratic process to get approval from an ethics official, and that the costs of working through the bureaucracy for this purpose may want to be avoided by a charity, especially one that is working in a lot of other areas.

Schlussel also decries Freedom Alliance donations of less than $1,000, complaining for example that Freedom Alliance only gave $200 to a serviceman who lost both legs and his left arm. FrumForum has determined that lower-value grants like these are approved for specific purposes, often requested by a DOD case officer. This applies to cases where, for example, a serviceman may need a bus ticket home to visit his family.

The sums may seem small, but a soldier who is already receiving a government benefit may greatly value an airline ticket that goes above and beyond the Department of Defense’s budget.

Sure, the soldier may be receiving assistance from the government, but if he looks like the poor soul from Metallica's One video, I'm pretty sure that an economy-class ticket from Baghdad to Scranton isn't going to make his family feel any better when they see "Freedom Alliance" spending all this money to bring Billy Ray Cyrus to St. Louis to play some hackneyed songs for people like this.

These statements might as well read like this: We didn't want to fill out that extra form so we would pocket the balance. And the "Freedom Alliance" cash register goes "CHA CHING"!

After all, nothing says "patriot" like sending your disfigured son/daughter home on the cheap and reminding them to watch Fox"News".

Schlussel complains that “167 students got an average of just $4,803.89 each in tuition. With the amount this charity raises, these kids should all be getting a free ride paid for by Freedom Alliance.”

The scholarships that she is referring to are considered and approved annually, meaning that a freshman can qualify for about $20,000 over four years.

Further, $4,800 covers more than a year’s tuition at an average Catholic private school and a substantial portion of tuition at many colleges. For example, it nearly covers a year’s tuition at the University of Georgia ($4,900), and covers about a third of a year’s tuition at the University of Michigan ($11,600 for freshmen, $13,000 for upper-classmen).

Overall, Freedom Alliance raised $2.1 million for scholarships in 2008. About $800,000 of that went to scholarships for that year. Schlussel claims that the remainder, “$1,238,636 – all of which was supposed to go to scholarships for these kids of the fallen – went to Freedom Alliance.”

FrumForum was able to confirm with Freedom Alliance that the $1.2 million that Schlussel cites did not go into the general Freedom Alliance revenues, but instead to the organization’s Scholarship Trust Fund.

Why didn’t Freedom Alliance spend all of its $2.1 million on scholarships that year? Considering your average active duty combat soldier is in his mid-20s, many fallen soldiers have children that are not of age to go to college. Saving a substantial part of funds is simply good planning – the process of funding children of the fallen will continue for fifteen to twenty years. The organization’s trust fund now stands at around $15 million.

This part really get my rage at near rolling boil. They might as well be saying that since your kid isn't of "college age" that you and your family don't count. But even though they offer the final "we're holding the money for your kids until later", where's the guarantee that they are going to be able to use that money for school? Why isn't this deposited into t savings account for the child so that it can accrue interest, to grow? Am I the only one that thinks 6 month old Shelly or Steven are going to get screwed on this deal?

In the end, I don't think there is a clearer picture of how people like Hannity, North, and Malkin are using the military for their own gain. It's beyond disgusting and further proof that these people are a disgrace to the country and the human race.

Ill-Informed Electorate

Not enough good can be said about Chase Whiteside.

Did you see the woman with the Scott Brown t-shirt? How's the "shot heard 'round the world" working out for you Tea Baggers now? Interesting ( to use the hottest Fox"News" word these days ) that he's suddenly absent from the airwaves of late.

This video clearly refreshes the memory that the Tea Baggers have no clue what's going on.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Beck's War On Church Continues

Beck is going to end up stepping on the wrong toes before this is all over.

And Fox"News" is now funding a smear campaign against Rev. Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners. Need anymore proof that Beck is completely off the rails?

Clearly Beck knows that he doesn't stand a chance of winning this debate about the proper application of Christian principles to the public square on Scriptural or theological grounds. And he clearly has no intention of following St. Paul's command, found in Ephesians, that Christians "not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice." No, sir. Beck is on a mission to discredit and destroy the pastor who dared to question him ... and he's using FOX staff and resources to do so.

FOX needs to be called to account for this. They need to explain how a news organization can possibly justify funding an opposition research effort that has the stated purpose of destroying the credibility of an American pastor?

Does FOX agree with Beck's statements and command that Catholics, Protestants, and Mormons leave their churches? Will FOX allow Beck to continue to use staff and FOX airtime to conduct his promised week-long campaign to discredit Rev. Wallis? Will they continue to let him use their resources to launch Twitter and blog posts attacking Rev. Wallis and attempting to discredit the power of social justice?

I'm interested to hear what fellow Fox"News" employee and former pastor Mike Huckabee has to say about Beck's current conspiracy theory run amok.

Not being particularly religious myself, I did grow up in a devout, Southern Baptist, home and the very idea of "social" and "economic justice" is very much grounded in Biblical teachings. And having read the Bible myself, I find it very troubling that Beck actually still have an audience after this stunt.

Conservatives love their religion almost as much as they love Fox"News". I'm getting to the point where I think they are confusing the two.

Cashing In

Seems that Sarah Palin is going to get a reality show and potentially get a big payday in the process.

Sources say A&E Networks and Discovery Communications want to acquire Palin's project, which focuses on the ex-governor giving a guided tour of her native Alaska -- visiting fishing boats and taking a trip to a gold mine, to cite a couple of examples. Mark Burnett is executive producer of the project, whose working title is "Sarah Palin's Alaska."

A&E Networks hasn't officially put in a bid for the show, but sources indicate that the company is interested in the project for several of its brands -- A&E, History or Lifetime.

But here's the kicker:

The former vice presidential candidate is asking for between $1 million and $1.5 million per episode, a hefty amount for a first-year cable series.

And while the Huffington Post headline for this calls the program "Sarah Palin's Alaska", I have to question whether that is going to be the title of the show or not - as Palin pretty much sent a big "fuck you" to the entire state last year when she quit as Governor. Not only that, and if that is the real title of the show, which procuder(s) did she have to pay off in order to get the show titled after her. It's not your state lady, it's "the people's state" - to borrow a phrase from your once favorite Massachusetts Senator.

But the money thing really bothers me here.

Who in the hell does Palin think she is to allegedly demand such an absurd amount of cash per episode. Does this woman's sense of entitlement know no bounds? Likely not, since you have to literally pay her if you want to stand next to her.

Here's an exit question: If Palin uses the money raised by this program ( if it even airs ) to fund her political career, is this protected under the Citizen's United ruling?

The Cost Of Freedom

I've pointed out before that Sean Hannity's alleged "Freedom Concerts" aren't exactly what they seem. Now, conservatives are catching up to this blatant use of the troops for partisan, political, gain.

...less than 20%–and in two recent years, less than 7% and 4%, respectively–of the money raised by Freedom Alliance went to these causes, while millions of dollars went to expenses, including consultants and apparently to ferret the Hannity posse of family and friends in high style. And, despite Hannity’s statements to the contrary on his nationally syndicated radio show, few of the children of fallen soldiers got more than $1,000-$2,000, with apparently none getting more than $6,000, while Freedom Alliance appears to have spent tens of thousands of dollars for private planes. Moreover, despite written assurances to donors that all money raised would go directly to scholarships for kids of the fallen heroes and not to expenses, has begun charging expenses of nearly $500,000 to give out just over $800,000 in scholarships.

Huffington Post has picked up on this story that I initially saw over at Daily Kos over 2 years ago. What's taken people so long to actually tackle this issue?

Conservatives love to use the military as a stick with which to beat people into submission so they don't have to defend their own ideological failings. And Sean Hannity has got a lot of people in on this - namely Oliver North - and they are all complicit in using the lives of not only American soldiers but of their families as well.

Let's see how the other "troop loving" conservatives take on this issue. Malkin, Morrissey, Allahpundit - I'm looking at you three in particular.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Verse Pt IV

This one is titled "Down From The Hospital On The Hill"

The light from your window
Casts a broken line
Down the stairs
That jagged finger
Toward the cellar door.

A faded photograph
Rests quietly
On the floor -
Tattered edge
Like a child’s hand
Curled up
Gesturing for help

The air is filled
With dust
Like a million
In the light
Against the stairs.

This house
Vacant some 10 years -
Paint cracking
Small chips fallen
On the hardwood floor -
Seems alone
Longing for the footfalls
Of children
The sounds of their laughter

Outside in the grass
Some two feet tall
The wind threatens
To carry the house
Into another time
To lay beside you
In that faded photograph

Stop Picking On Him

Seems like someone has bitten off more than they can chew.

The fight has taken a toll on his wife, who has disconnected the phone in their home to avoid harassment.

“All the phones are unplugged at our house — tired of the obscene calls and threats. She won’t watch TV,” Stupak said during an hourlong interview with The Hill in his Rayburn office. “People saying they’re going to spit on you and all this. That’s just not fun.”....Stupak said he didn’t anticipate how big the abortion issue would become during the healthcare reform debate, nor did he figure to find himself a household name.

“I’m a little surprised,” Stupak said.

The worst part has been the pressure from groups and individuals from outside his district on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“How’s it been? Like a living hell,” Stupak said.

Didn't anticipate? Is he this bloody dim or is he just looking for some sympathy? He knew full well what he was doing and he was loving all the attention he was getting, so to suddenly throw up your wife as a shield from criticism from people is what most conservative would find not only unacceptable but shameful.

And that's what makes Michelle Malkin's "aw, come here you poor little thing" move all the more surreal.

Stupak is complaining that calls, emails, and faxes are pouring in from outside his district and they are quite mean-spirited at times. This is not some new phenomenon taking place, as the Tea Baggers use this tactic daily. I don't condone physical threats, but you get people's emotions up about a very serious issue, there's going to be some blow-back.

Unintended Examples

Seems that Peter King better bone-up on his history.

"I look back 20 years ago in the square in Prague... when tens of thousands showed up there and they shook their keys peacefully and they took over their country and they achieved their freedom back again," he said. "If you can keep coming to this city, fill up the congressional offices across the country but jam this city. If you can get on your cell phones, and get on your Blackberries and your email, and ask people to keep coming to this town. Storm this city, fill up Washington D.C., jam this capital so they can't move. And if tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of you show up, we will win. We will defeat this bill and you will have your liberty back."

It was known as the "Velvet Revolution", and that's how King is telling the Tea Bagger to respond to healthcare legislation. But here's the interesting part about what happened to the citizens after the overthrow of actual Communist leaders - they got Universal healthcare.

James Cameron Is Apparently Satan.

No, really.

If Avatar is the most Satanic film he's ever seen, I'm curious as to what he would have to say about Cannibal Holocaust.

But here's something to think about. His abstract thesis of "spirituality" and "God" seems to be a bit misplaced. After all The Na'vi are very spiritual people. Within the context of the film, they seem more akin to what Christians are supposed to be. They worship a mysterious, invisible, deity. They have a Church ( you know, that really big tree they were all gathered at ). And that Church scene reminded me a great deal of the crowds at a Benny Hinn gathering. So to claim that there is some anti-christian imagery within the characters and actions of the Na'vi is a bit odd.

Of course, in order for a sermon like to to stick in the minds of the congregation, you have to connect it to some pop culture phenomenon. It makes a great deal of sense to me, even though the end result is complete nonsense.

The idea of "the world" being evil and attempting to destroy your Christian "values" is another misplaced metaphor, as the Army and mining company in the film are attempting to destroy the Na'vi's holy place. I'm not entirely sure that Driscoll was making that connection or not, as he started to meander so much that it was no longer even a semi-cogent point.

I did think it was interesting how he started to walk all this back towards the end. Gotta be able to maintain access to all those Devil loving film locations in LA, right?

The Fox And The President

This interview is a perfect example of why Obama hasn't gone on Fox"News" more since he became President.

*sorry for the poor video quality, as I can't get the Fox"News" video to embed*

Baier was doing his best to get in as many conservative talking points disguised as questions and really didn't let Obama give as precise and answer as he wanted. At one point, this all felt like a "Do you still beat your wife?" sit-down.

Naturally, conservatives are calling this a magnificent failure on Obama's part, but they are largely ignoring the complexity of healthcare reform and all that goes into making it a reality. And that's exactly why Obama was answering the way he was.

For over a year now, conservatives have been demanding that Obama meet their standards for giving an answer to their too oft moronic assertions. And they never let him answer - and Baier followed that tradition quite well. The interview was as predictable as you could get as far as that aspect is concerned.

Obama wanted to explain things a thoroughly as he could. All Baier wanted to do was try and paint him into a corner by throwing out as many idiotic conservative talking points as he could as quickly as possible and muddy the discussion to the point where it would play well for Fox"News" shows like Hannity, Beck, and O'Reilly and give Limbaugh some fodder for his next show.

Ultimately, Obama handled it fairly well. It's just too bad that he wasn't able to give a complete answer. This was nothing like the Baier/Bush interview where he just sat back and let his buddy "W" drone on and on without challenge.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Verse Pt. III

Wrote this in the span of about 10 minutes. I'm more pleased with this one over last night's offering. No title as of yet.

Through the dense fog of concrete
Acidic raindrops
And steel
I can still touch that smooth
On the opposite side of the road
And see our flesh
Was still tight against our bones.

A tiny cottage rests
Near the crossroads
Up from an abandoned theatre
Where we once spoke
Of pictures
And laughed at how
Our hearts weren’t so young.

We had pressed a path
Through tall blades of grass
Beside an empty alleyway
And silent.

The absence of breath
And bare feet beside my steps
Make that alleyway colder
As seasons shift
Unable to make the stars run
On my own

Any ideas for a title?

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