We are the 99%

December 31, 2008

Housekeeping for 2009

Hopefully, you've noticed that we changed our header. We've had George W. Bush at the top in one form or another since day one of this blog. He's loomed over this blog as he's loomed over the world (reigning down destruction and failure). But he'll be gone in 19 long days so it's time to say:

Good riddance to bad rubbish

We've also updated our blogroll. In addition to putting some blog links out to pasture under the heading "Retired Local Blogs" we've also added a few:
Local:

414 Grant Street
http://414grantstreet.blogspot.com/


CP's Slag Heap
http://www.pittsburghcitypaper.ws/gyrobase/Section?oid=oid%3A41056&category=oid%3A41825

(On the off chance you don't know; the "CP" is both for City Paper and Chris Potter.)

Gab Bonesso
http://gabbonesso.com/

The Bag of Health and Politics
http://thebagofhealthandpolitics.wordpress.com/
(Been meaning to add this for ages.)

The Blog of Burgher Jon
http://burgherjon.blogspot.com/



National:

Corrente
http://www.correntewire.com/

(I'm sure they'll keep tabs on Obama.)

Feministe
http://www.feministe.us/blog


Glenn Greenwald
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald

James Wolcott
http://www.vanityfair.com/online/wolcott

(But only because I once served jury duty with his wife, Laura Jacobs, and we were sequestered. OK, I'm kidding about the "only" part.)

TalkLeft
http://www.talkleft.com/


NOTE: As always, additions to the blogroll are based on making my life easier in getting to what I want to read.
I'd like to also take this space to link to some recent funny local postings around the Burghosphere that you may have missed:
  • Lady Elaine's 12 Days of Pittsburgh Christmas at View From The Burghchair

  • Anthony's 2009 Predictions at Tunesmith & Anthony

  • Pretty much everything The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat has written for the last three days. (Mayor's Office Reopens After "Santa Incident", "Open Season" Declared on Feral Municipalities, New Years Resolutions, and Pittsburgh City Council Greenlights New "Webisodes")
  • And, maybe the best national blog post of the year:

    The House That Jack Built
    by Stirling Newberry at The Agonist

    I'll close this post with M.I.A.'s Paper Planes video. Even though it came out in 2007, it pretty much sums up the McCain/Palin Campaign's underlying theme:

    Fear "The Other" (Undercover Terrorist Immigrant)


    .

    The GOP's Finest Hour

    From the Washington Times (It's an "Exclusive" doncha know):
    Republican Party officials say they will try next month to pass a resolution accusing President Bush and congressional Republican leaders of embracing "socialism," underscoring deep dissension within the party at the end of Mr. Bush's administration.

    Those pushing the resolution, which will come before the Republican National Committee at its January meeting, say elected leaders need to be reminded of core principles. They said the RNC must take the dramatic step of wading into policy debates, which traditionally have been left to lawmakers.

    "We can't be a party of small government, free markets and low taxes while supporting bailouts and nationalizing industries, which lead to big government, socialism and high taxes at the expense of individual liberty and freedoms," said Solomon Yue, an Oregon member and co-sponsor of a resolution that criticizes the U.S. government bailouts of the financial and auto industries. Republican National Committee Vice Chairman James Bopp Jr. wrote the resolution and asked the rest of the 168 voting members to sign it.

    Bush a "socialist"?

    Questions? Comments? Remarks? Drop me an e-mail.

    UPDATE: From Ol' Froth
    Remember, conservatism can never, ever fail. It can only be "failed" by leaders who don't embrace true conservatism. So, all of conservatisms failures aren't due to flawed policy, but flawed execution.

    Weren't these people cheering Bush just prior to the election?
    UPDATE: From Clyde
    I am apt to look at anything the RNC does through very jaundiced eyes, and so it is with this maneuver.

    Here's my thought. The GOP knows that the economy is going to continue to tank well into the coming year...and perhaps for years to come. Thus, this is their typical CYA move; "You see, the bailouts did nothing! They were just a waste of taxpayers money!" Of course, according to who you talk to, they may ultimately be right, but their purpose here is not to seek clarity, but to fix blame.

    They are desperately looking for a "hook," a new wedge issue which they can use to help "rebuild" the party around. If the economy doesn't get any better, they believe they'll be in the position to blame EVERYTHING on the Democrats.

    ACTION ALERT: Contact Allegheny County Council

    Back in November we urged our readers to contact Allegheny County Council members to voice their support for an ordinance that would prohibit discrimination in Employment, Housing and Public Accommodations based on characteristics including sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. At that point, twelve (out of 15) Council members had signed on as cosponsors of the ordinance.

    Now, three members of County Council have withdrawn their support of the legislation. Those members are:
  • Matt Drozd, District 1, mdrozd@alleghenycounty.us, 412-350-6525

  • Michael Finnerty, District 4, mfinnerty@alleghenycounty.us, 412-350-6540

  • James Ellenbogen, District 12, jellenbogen@alleghenycounty.us, 412-350-6580

    (Click here for the Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents post that lists the neighborhoods that comprise County Council Districts 1, 4 and 12.)
  • According to Sue at Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents, the flip-flop by the above councilors can be attributed to Diane Gramley of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania (OMG check out their website and the references to "The Homosexual Agenda"). Ms. Gramley -- and we're pretty sure she hates to be called "Ms." -- isn't even an Allegheny County resident. We're also guessing by the alerts on the AFA website as to which stores are not "Christmas-friendly" that she's a pray-away-the-gay type.

    So what can you do?

    1) Contact all members of Allegheny County Council to let them know that you support the ordinance (You can bet your rights that the other side already has).

    2) Attend the Big Queer Rally Set for Saturday, January 10th in Oakland (more info here).

    3) Attend County Council's upcoming public hearing to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in the Allegheny County Human Relations Act. That hearing date is set for January 15, 2009.
    .

    December 30, 2008

    RIP Freddie Hubbard

    Aw, damn.

    From the AP:
    LOS ANGELES – Freddie Hubbard, the Grammy-winning jazz musician whose style influenced a generation of trumpet players and who collaborated with such greats as Sonny Rollins, died Monday, a month after suffering a heart attack. He was 70.

    And something from a while ago:


    Questions? Comments? Remarks? Drop me an e-mail.

    Blagojevich to Appoint Former IL AG Roland Burris to Obama's Senate seat

    From the Huffington Post:
    Citing unnamed sources, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday that Blagojevich plans to appoint 71-year-old former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris. Senate leaders have said they will not seat anyone Blagojevich names.

    Blagojevich has scheduled a 3 p.m. EST news conference. His spokesman Lucio Guerrero declined to say what the Democratic governor plans to discuss.

    .

    Pittsburgh City Council District 2 Special Election

    You have until January 5th to register to vote in the Pittsburgh City Council District 2 Special Election to fill Dan Deasy's seat if you're not already registered. The election will be held on February 3, 2009.

    There will be four names on the ballot:
  • Theresa Smith, Democrat
  • Chris Metz, Republican
  • Georgia Blotzer, a Democrat running as an independent
  • Brendan Schubert, a Democrat running under Schubert for Council
  • In the interest of full disclosure, I've been paid by the Georgia for Council campaign to create and maintain her website:

    www.georgiaforcouncil.com


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    McAuliffe Brings Home the Bucks (and wants mine too)

    From yesterday's Washington Post:

    Now, after spending much of his adult life soliciting donations for others -- most notably, former president Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) -- McAuliffe is considering using those prodigious skills and extensive contacts for himself, as a candidate for governor of Virginia. McAuliffe's potential candidacy has created what Michael Toner, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, calls "the perfect fundraising storm."
    From my email inbox today:

    Subj: Terry's Big Decision
    Date: 12/30/2008 1:03:03 AM Eastern Standard Time
    From:
    dorothy@terrymcauliffe.com
    To:
    lupinaccim@aol.com
    Sent from the Internet (Details)

    Dear Friends,

    My husband has a big decision to make, and we would like you to be a part of it.

    As you may know, Terry's been contemplating a run for governor of Virginia for some time now. And over the past few weeks, he's visited every single region in the Commonwealth, initiating a conversation with fellow Virginians about the challenges facing our state. He'll make a final decision about whether to run for governor in early January.

    That decision will be based in large part on what kind of enthusiasm is out there for his candidacy. And there's no better way to gauge enthusiasm for a political candidacy than by measuring how many people are willing to invest in it - even at the smallest levels.

    So if you believe that Terry would make a great governor, I'm asking you to show your support by making a $5 contribution so that Terry knows where you stand.

    Please Make a Contribution Before December 31st - Even as Little as $5.

    http://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/8102/p/wfc/donation/public/?donate_page_KEY=3 6

    Terry and I moved to Virginia nearly 20 years ago, and together we are raising five children here within a wonderful community of friends like you.

    I know Terry better than anyone. I know first-hand about his lifelong commitment to helping all families reach the American Dream, and his determination to keep the Commonwealth that he loves on the cutting edge of innovation and job creation in tough economic times. I also know that Terry would make a great governor, but whether he pursues this path will depend in large part on you.

    Please Make a Contribution Before December 31st - Even as Little as $5.

    http://wfc2.wiredforchange.com/o/8102/p/wfc/donation/public/?donate_page_KEY=36

    Sincerely,

    Dorothy McAuliffe

    This e-mail was sent and paid for by Friends of Terry McAuliffe, PO BOX 778, McLean, VA 22101 (USA). To receive no further e-mails, please click here or reply to this e-mail with "unlist" in the Subject line.
    Questions:

    1) Damn, am I on everyone's list?

    2) How many seconds do you think it will take me to unsubscribe from this one?
    .

    Media Coincidences - You Gotta Love 'Em!

    The same day we learn that Governor Palin's daughter Bristol gave birth:

    Bristol Palin gave birth to her much-anticipated baby son on Sunday, People.com reported this evening.

    The first grandchild of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston, weighing in at seven pounds, four ounces.

    When it was announced shortly after Gov. Palin was named John McCain's running mate that her teenage daughter was expecting, it triggered national debates on teen pregnancy and marriage, abstinence education, the VP vetting process, the privacy of political families and, well, just about everything.

    Bristol Palin is 18, as is her boyfriend of three years, Levi Johnston, a former high school hockey player. Both have dropped out of high school -- she to complete her diploma through correspondence courses, People reports, and he to become an apprentice electrician, he told the AP this fall. They have said they plan to marry in 2009. (Johnston's mother Sherry was arrested earlier this month on felony drug charges for allegedly selling OxyContin.)

    (Side note: both of these crazy kids are High School drop outs and his mother's been arrested on drug charges. Just imagine the hand-wringing and tooth-gnashing from the self-appointed guardians of our culture in God's Own Party if this bunch had been Democrats - "Oh what will we tell the children??")

    We also learned yet again that Virginity Pledges just don't work. In fact, they can lead to more pregnancies and more STDs:
    Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a study released today.

    The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.

    What will we tell the children??

    Questions? Comments? Remarks? Drop me an e-mail.

    UPDATE from the Bramster:
    I had this conversation a lot during the election -- basically, why don't social conservatives see the hypocrisy, or at least the futility, of being anti-sex ed, anti-contraception, anti-choice and pro-shame and then let their children get knocked up and their lives upended like this on a regular basis? Some people expected social conservatives would turn on Palin as a bad mother (why wasn't she around the house to make sure her daughter didn't become a whore?) or turn against social conservatism as daft and futile.

    My thoughts on this were always, of course not!!! It's easy to be pro-shame, pro-ignorance and pro-hatred of "young whores", yet be totally embracing of everyone who fail to live up to their strict conservative standards, and whose lives get totally upended. In fact, it's a badge of honor. Although Ozzy and Harriet are still held up as the only righteous way to live, they can look at a family like the Palins and think, "Hey, they're total hypocrites -- just like me! They failed to raise their kids right and now their family is all messed up -- just like me!" The point isn't actually to live up to high moral standards -- only to be self-righteous towards everybody and force them to try. The fact that it doesn't work and causes dropouts and worse doesn't matter. I knew it'd make them more sympathetic.
    UPDATE from Fillippelli the (Wannabe) Cook:
    Shocking that these don't work, eh? Undoubtedly, this will mean that those creepy daddy and his little girl virginity balls will only increase in popularity.
    UPDATE from Laurie Mann:
    Like I've been saying, Bristol Palin is the poster child for abstenance-only education. And is sounds like her baby's other grandmother is the poster-child for drug abuse.

    The Year In Review - From Jib-Jab



    Questions? Comments? Remarks? Drop me an e-mail.

    December 29, 2008

    To infinity and beyond

    Because I've seen this show before and I know the plot and I know the story never ends.

    From Huffington Post:




    Glenn Greenwald @ Salon:
    Opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute are so entrenched that any single outbreak of violence is automatically evaluated through a pre-existing lens, shaped by one's typically immovable beliefs about which side bears most of the blame for the conflict generally or "who started it."
    Hilzoy @ Washington Monthly:
    One of the many things that makes the Israeli/Palestinian conflict so utterly dispiriting is that it's impossible to think of anything good coming of any of this. Worse than that, it's hard to imagine that even the people involved think anything good will come of it.

    What, exactly, do the Palestinians lobbing rockets into Sderot think they will accomplish? That the Israelis will look about them and say: Holy Moly, I had no idea this place was so dangerous!, and leave? Do the Israelis think: even though we've bombed the Palestinians a whole lot, and it's never done much good before, maybe this time it will be different! Maybe Hamas will say: heavens, this is a pretty serious round of attacks; maybe we should just sue for peace -- ? Or what?
    Cernig @ Newshoggers:

    Indiscriminate unguided rocket attacks on civilians and indiscriminate but deliberately targeted airstrikes on civilian infrastructure are both wrong. Collective punishment is collective punishment and is morally wrong no matter the relative intensity by which both sides pursue it or what has gone before in the way of provocation. Wrong (Strength 2) + Wrong (Strength 5) cannot ever = Right (Strength 7). All you can say is that one is less wrong but still ultimately morally reprehensible. You then (if you have any intellectual or moral integrity) have to open yourself to debate about how you weigh the relative wrongness of actions without retreating to strawman charges of anti-semitism or anti-arabism.

    .

    December 28, 2008

    Jack Kelly Sunday

    This week, Jack Kelly turns to poetry, Rudyard Kipling's The Gods of the Copybook Headings, to be exact, to illustrate our current economic crisis.

    I thought this most curious as a few months ago another columnist, Roger Cohen of the New York Times, also used the same poem to illustrate our current economic crisis.

    Huh. What are the chances? Well post hoc ergo propter hoc and all that, so I'll assume the two are unconnected.

    Not only that, but the poem's already made the rounds of local conservative pundits. Here's Jerry Bowyer from almost exactly 7 years ago describing the exact poem:
    For those who do not know, a “Copybook” is the British equivalent of America’s McGuffey readers; they were used to improve penmanship, as English children would copy the heading on each page (which consisted of some wise saying) repeatedly below.

    The poem was written near the end of the first World War, a war which shattered the belief that fashionable thinking could prevent war and conflict. The “Gods of the Marketplace” that Kipling refers to are not Free Markets, but Government. This poem talks of the enduring nature of those old wise sayings, and the morals they instill that remain constant when all trends and fads of thinking have faltered.
    Anyway, Jack quotes:

    "We were living in trees when they met us. They showed each of us in turn, that water would certainly wet us, as fire would certainly burn. But we found them lacking in Vision, Uplift, and Breadth of Mind, so we left them to teach the gorillas, while we followed the March of Mankind ...

    "With the hopes that our world was built on, they were utterly out of touch. They denied that the moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch; they denied that wishes were horses, they denied that a pig had wings; so we worshipped the gods of the Market, who promised these beautiful things ...

    "In the Carboniferous Epoch, we were promised abundance for all, by robbing selected Peter, to pay for collective Paul. But though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, and the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: 'If you don't work, you die.'

    "... And after this is accomplished, and the Brave New World begins, When all men are paid for existing, and no man must pay for his sins, as surely as water will wet us, as surely as fire will burn, the Gods of the Copybook Headings, with terror and slaughter return."

    No poetry scholar, I, so I'll have to fumble my way through the piece as best I can. Whether the "Gods of the Marketplace" are Free Markets or Government or whether the metaphor is a deeper one is certainly a worthwhile debate. One that's not necessary to go into here.

    In any event, Kipling's point seems to be that the Copybook Headings are a realistic view of things (i.e. "common sense") while the Gods of the Marketplace promise all things, however attractive, that run counter to reality (that the moon is made of the cheese Stilton).

    Interesting that Jack now sees the value of common sense. Where was it when he was using Newsmax.com as a "news" source? Or World Net Daily?

    I wonder what Jack would think of this Kipling quote. Here goes:
    If any question why we died,
    Tell them, because our fathers lied.
    Do I need to fill in the blanks? 4,000+ troops dead. Lies from the administration. Where was Jack's adherence to common sense then? And wasn't Jack Kelly worshipping the Gods of the Market who promised such beautiful things as "the troos being welcomed as liberators" or "the war will pay for itself" or "Saddam has WMD."

    Interesting time to change Gods, Jack.

    Questions? Comments? Remarks? Drop me an e-mail.

    UPDATE: From Ed Heath:
    I spent some time (on my blog) writing about how Jack Kelly tries to indict the Democrats, but his complaints about the way things are seem to miss the fact that the Republicans have been in charge for some time. He accuses America of having been on a thirty year bender (perhaps referring to how credit cards became available nationwide in 1978). But that accusation sweeps in Carter, Reagan, both Bushes and Clinton as having failed to protect us from ourselves.

    I wonder if “gods of the marketplace” does not refer to both the government and industry that seem so wrapped up together. I don’t know what the state of regulation was in Kipling’s day, but maybe Kelly showed more wisdom than it seems in invoking the Kipling poem. Certainly we have just gone through a period where Wall Street heavily invested in the housing market (as we all know). I don’t remember whether the housing market was already called the “housing bubble” in the waning days of the Clinton Administration, but certainly early in the Bush administration we all knew housing prices would stop rising sometime relatively soon (it did seem improbable to think they would actually fall, at least early on). Yet banks and mortgage brokers continued to sell mortgages, with less and less due diligence and more and more complicated set ups (adjustable rates with teasers, no interest, etc). Wall Street picked up the mortgages and turned around and sold them as securities. All this happened because even though individually Wall Street people knew better, collectively the pressure from stockholders, mangers and competitors meant that either you hung in and did more than other Wall Street people, or you lost your job to someone who would. And instead of steeping in and putting on the brakes, the government allowed Wall Street (and its campaign contributors) to continue this way, with occasional attempts here and there by individuals to complain. Chuck Hagel tried somewhere around 2006, John McCain signed onto Hagel’s bill (which probably doomed it, as McCain did annoy the Republican leadership sometimes) and Obama had (possibly among others) sent a letter to, I believe, Ben Bernanke, at some point. But mostly our government in the last eight years played along, up to the end.

    Still, I don’t think Kipling’s prescription of simple truths and aphorisms are a panacea. They might be a place to start, but we need a steely eyed realism that recognizes market pressures and steps past them. We need to have regulators that will tell banks and other institutions that issue mortgages that they have to follow the rules. Which means we need a President that will appoint treasury secretaries who will hire tough professionals as inspector’s general. We need a Congress that will use consumers’ groups to write laws to regulate the financial industry, instead of using industry lobbyists. We need a Congress that recognizes that any entity that provides a mortgage needs to be regulated, not just banks (and banks need to actually be regulated). We need a Congress that will pass those laws, and behave sensibly in conference sessions to reconcile House and Senate versions. But we need the laws not to strangle the banks and mortgage shops, just rein them in. In other words, Congress needs to recognize that Wall Street is under pressure to make money, and Congress needs to grit their teeth and tell them they can’t make too much money. And if that’s what Jack Kelly means, then I am with him. But if (as it seems) he just means that we have made a mistake in electing Barack Obama, then I say that Kelly is as fooled by the gods of his marketplace as anyone he accuses.

    December 26, 2008

    The US Geological Survey Is In On The Global Warming Hoax!

    That's the only conclusion one can come to when faced with their most recently released report.

    Indeed, look at the brazenness of the con-job they're trying to pull off. From the Washington Post:
    The United States faces the possibility of much more rapid climate change by the end of the century than previous studies have suggested, according to a new report led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

    The survey -- which was commissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and issued this month -- expands on the 2007 findings of the United Nations Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change. Looking at factors such as rapid sea ice loss in the Arctic and prolonged drought in the Southwest, the new assessment suggests that earlier projections may have underestimated the climatic shifts that could take place by 2100.

    What? No discussion about the "debate" surrounding whether "global warming" is actually taking place? I mean Senator Inhofe (R-KA) has collected the names of hundreds of economists (plus a few television meteorologists) that have said something skeptical about climate change so we all know there's major dissent in the scientific community. And we all know Global Warming is a hoax because Las Vegas had got snow a few days ago.

    Indeed, from the report's Executive Summary:
    There is no clear evidence to date of human-induced global climate change on North American precipitation amounts. However, since the IPCC AR4 report, further analysis of climate model scenarios of future hydroclimatic change over North America and the global subtropics indicate that subtropical aridity is likely to intensify and persist due to future greenhouse warming. This projected drying extends poleward into the United States Southwest, potentially increasing the likelihood of severe and persistent drought there in the future. If the model results are correct then this drying may have already begun, but currently cannot be definitively identified amidst the considerable natural variability of hydroclimate in Southwestern North America.
    But it's raining outside RIGHT NOW! Isn't that enough to prove that the scientific projections of future severe droughts hundreds of miles away is a complete and total fabrication of international leftist propaganda designed to impose a One World Socialist Order?

    Sheesh, those environmental wackos - what else do they want?

    Questions? Comments? Remarks? Drop me an e-mail.

    Post-Gazette Turns to the Pittsburgh Mayoral Race

    Rich Lord surveys the field and names names of those who might be willing to take on Lil Mayor Luke including: Carmen L. Robinson, Doug Shields and Republican Kevin Acklin.

    The article also gives us more insight into Robinson's campaign and has Shield's take on Ravenstahl's popularity (or lack thereof).

    You can read it here.
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    And Is This A Surprise?

    From CNN:
    Seventy-five percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Friday said they're glad Bush is going; 23 percent indicated they'll miss him.
    And:

    The poll indicates that Bush compares poorly with his presidential predecessors, with 28 percent saying that he's the worst ever. Forty percent rate Bush's presidency as poor, and 31 percent say he's been a good president.

    Only a third of those polled said they want Bush to remain active in public life after he leaves the White House. That 33 percent figure is 22 points lower than those in 2001 who wanted Bill Clinton to retain a public role.

    Not only that, but:
    A new national poll suggests that almost a quarter of Americans think that Dick Cheney is the worst vice president in American history.

    Twenty-three percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday say that Cheney is the country's worst vice president, when compared with his predecessors.

    An additional 41 percent feel that Cheney is a poor vice president, with 34 percent rating him a good number two.

    Depends on how you define "number two" I guess.

    Questions? Comments? Remarks? Drop me an e-mail.

    Man V. Food: The Pittsburgh Edition

    Part 1:


    Part 2:


    (h/t to Matt H)
    .

    A musical interlude

    From A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All, Stephen Colbert, Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, John Legend, Feist and Elvis Costello (who has been eaten by a bear ) join together to sing one of my favortite songs and you can view it here.
    .

    In Case You Missed It


    Dahn-tahn this morning.

    December 25, 2008

    R.I.P. Eartha Kitt


    Kitt made anti war statements in Johnson's White House, was on Nixon's Enemy List and did numerous benefit performances for HIV/AIDS organizations.

    Rest in Peace Eartha Kitt.

    Washington Post obituary here.
    .

    Merry Christmas from 2 Political Junkies!

    .

    .

    December 24, 2008

    MERRY CHRISTMAS

    For my Christian friends. The text, of course, is from Luke:


    --Dayvoe, your friendly neighborhood agnostic blogger.

    December 23, 2008

    Rick Warren, From The Other Side

    It's good, every now and then, to peek into the wingnut press to see what obsesses our friends in the Red State tin-hat league.

    From World Net Daily - a condemnation of Pastor Rick Warren for agreeing to give the invocation at the upcoming inauguration.

    Joseph Farah, founder and CEO of World Net Daily, begins with a bang:

    I'm writing to share my profound and abject revulsion at your agreement to offer the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama as president Jan. 20.

    I understand you want this to be a time of "healing" for our nation. I understand you consider Obama to be your "friend." I understand your desire to bring "civility" to our society.

    However, when we read the Bible, we see there are times for men of God to stand up to leaders, like Nathan did to King David, and confront them with the absolute truth of God's word and His laws. That's what all Christians should do when confronted with leaders embracing evil.

    Abject revulsion? Embracing evil?

    The issue? Abortion of course.

    Farah wants civility but he doesn't see his own place in the coarseness of it all. He goes all the way with his criticisms:
    I understand your yearning for civility.

    I yearn for it, too.

    But civility begins with the understanding that we are all made in the image of God. It begins with the rejection of the shedding of innocent blood. It begins with the church standing boldly upon its absolute convictions in the Word of God and in His laws.

    I'm sure you would not want to invoke God's blessing on the inauguration of a figure like Adolf Hitler, whose rise to power brought the destruction of millions of lives.

    Ah, the Hitler argument - from a man who "yearns for civility" in our public discourse.

    Pure wingnut.

    Questions? Comments? Remarks? Drop me an e-mail.

    UPDATE From Jason:
    I really enjoyed this post (cough)... it was two direct bible quotes away from being a Fred Phelps diatribe. THESE people drive me nuts. Our President-elect simply chose someone to speak at his inauguration, albeit religiously. While I’m not a big Rick Warren fan due to his stance on gay marriage, I will not go around vilifying him because he has different beliefs. If guys like Joseph Farah want to tell the news, fine, but he is an influential person, like it or not, and certain people will believe his “news.” People feed into this stuff. The more I hear from guys like this including Fred Phelps, it makes me wonder if THEY are not the ones with mental illnesses and not the LGBT (myself included).
    Update From Ed Heath:
    I took a quick look and sure enough, Joseph Farah supports the death penalty. As he said in your quote of him, he is against the shedding of innocent blood.

    At best, like that Prop 8 video said, Farah is picking and choosing which parts of the bible he wants to advocate. Now I can understand both sides being angry with both Rick Warren and Barack Obama over the inauguration prayer thing. Personally I think both sides will in fact benefit, opponents of Prop 8 will get to air their grievances again, while followers of Rick Warren will take a fresh look at Obama. But I think the radicals on all sides would be advised to try to calm down. Obama is likely to do this sort of thing again. And in the long run we may all draw a bit closer. But along the way those who expect Obama to hew closely to some party line are in for some hurt feelings. Better get used to it.

    December 22, 2008

    Hello! Post-Gazette! Where are you?


    I know that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -- like many in the print media -- is somewhat busy trying to navigate rough waters, but no stories on Lil Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's announced challenger, Carmen L. Robinson? Not a single mention?

    I also acknowledge that this is the first mention of Ms. Robinson at 2pj, but we do have an excuse: It's not our JOB to report the news.

    If Ms. Robinson's entry into the fray is not news than why have all these print, television news and blogs reported on Robinson's intention to run:
    Pittsburgh Tribune Review 12/5
    Pittsburgh Tribune Review 12/6
    WTAE 12/10
    WPXI 12/10
    Pittsburgh Hoagie 12/10
    The Busman's Holiday 12/10
    The Blog of Burgher Jon 12/16
    Progress Pittsburgh 12/18
    The Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society 12/19
    Pittsburgh Hoagie 12/19
    The Pittsburgh Comet 12/19
    And of course, the now defunct The Burgh Report
    So I ask again: Where's the Post-Gazette on this story?

    If you -- unlike the P-G -- are interested in Carmen Robinson, you can sign up for her mailing list at her preliminary website: http://www.carmenformayor.com or follow her on twitter @ http://twitter.com/Carmen4MayorPgh

    An African American, Hill District resident, feminist woman running against Lil Mayor Luke surely must be some kind of trifecta in terms of belonging to groups that Lil Lukey has snubbed (now if only she had also litigated against Lamar Advertising).
    .

    Noted with Pleasure

    Bush now has less than a month left in his presidency.

    Just plain stupid, willfully ignorant or lying their butts off?

    Three recent Media Matters stories

    First up: Lou Dobbs spin on global warming:

    Despite overwhelming evidence of human-caused global warming and warnings by experts that short-term weather conditions are not evidence for or against its existence, Lou Dobbs said during the introduction of his December 18 CNN show: "And tonight, unusual winter storms are dumping snow in unusual places across Western states, and a huge snowstorm is headed toward the Northeast. This is global warming?" During his segment on the issue, moreover, Dobbs hosted Heartland Institute senior fellow and science director Jay Lehr without disclosing that Heartland receives funding from the energy industry and without challenging Lehr's assertions that "[t]he last 10 years have been quite cool" and that "the sun" -- rather than humans -- is responsible for recent climate change.
    Next: Rick Warren's lies about Prop. 8 (and Ann Curry's lousy reporting):

    During her December 19 Dateline NBC report on Rev. Rick Warren, after noting Warren's support for California's Proposition 8 -- which amended the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage -- co-host Ann Curry reported that "Warren says he joined the fray out of a concern that if Proposition 8 wasn't passed, pastors would lose their right to preach about the biblical definition of marriage." Curry then added, "But many constitutional experts say that fear was totally unfounded, and gay rights leaders saw Warren's stance as an infringement on their civil rights." As Media Matters for America documented, while previewing her interview with Warren the day before, Curry uncritically reported that Warren "was worried that this Proposition 8 would prevent him from getting up on the pulpit and speaking out against same-sex marriage," echoing the falsehood that had Proposition 8 not passed, members of the clergy could have been restricted in what they could say in the pulpit and could have been forced to perform same-sex marriages.
    Lastly: They take on Chris Mathews' long record of biased and offensive "reporting" and general mendacity:

    Chris Matthews' interest in the Pennsylvania Senate seat currently held by Republican Arlen Specter raises the possibility of something that is all too rare among the nation's media elite: accountability.

    It has long been clear that if we applied to journalists who cover politics the standards they purport to apply to politicians -- truthfulness, judgment, being in touch with regular Americans, and so on -- many of them would fare quite poorly.

    [snip]

    None of this has ever seemed to get Matthews into much trouble with his bosses at MSNBC, who are reportedly interested in keeping him around after his contract expires next year. But if he runs for the Senate, with no record to run on other than years of television transcripts, he may soon find that Pennsylvania voters are less indulgent of his cheerleading for Bush, his near-constant ridicule of Democrats, and his frequently offensive treatment of women.

    .

    Hitchens on RIck Warren

    In case you missed it, Christopher Hitchens, our favorite "drink-sodden ex-Trotskyist popinjay", has chimed in on President-elect Obama's decision to ask Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the inauguration.

    Hitchens, of course, does not like the decision as can be seen in the coda of his argument:
    But if we must have an officiating priest, let it be some dignified old hypocrite with no factional allegiance and not a tree-shaking huckster and publicity seeker who believes that millions of his fellow citizens are hellbound because they do not meet his own low and vulgar standards.
    Now I can move backwards and explain that last sentence. From the top:

    It is theoretically possible to make an apparently bigoted remark that is also factually true and morally sound. Thus, when the Rev. Bailey Smith, one of the deputies of the late Jerry Falwell, claimed that "God almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew," I was in complete agreement with him. This is because I do not believe that there is any supernatural supervisor who lends an ear to any prayer.

    In the same way, if someone publicly charges that "Mormonism is a cult," it is impossible to say that the claim by itself is mistaken or untrue. However, if the speaker says that heaven is a real place but that you will not get there if you are Jewish, or that Mormonism is a cult and a false religion but that other churches and faiths are the genuine article, then you know that the bigot has spoken. That's all in a day's work for the wonderful world of the American evangelical community, and one wishes them all the best of luck in their energetic fundraising and their happy-clappy Sunday "Churchianity" mega-feel-good fiestas. However, do we want these weirdos and creeps officiating in any capacity at the inauguration of the next president of the United States?

    Hitchens points out that Warren views things much the same way:
    It is a fact that Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., was present at a meeting of the Aspen Institute not long ago and was asked by Lynda Resnick—she of the pomegranate-juice dynasty—if a Jew like herself could expect to be admitted to paradise. Warren publicly told her no. What choice did he have? His own theology says that only those who accept Jesus can hope to be saved. I have just missed the chance to debate on CBS with one of Warren's leading allies and defenders, the Dallas preacherman who calls himself Dr. Robert Jeffress. In the opinion of this learned fellow, even though Mitt Romney "talks about Jesus as his lord and savior, he is not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity."
    We've all read the good Reverend's views on homosexuality:
    WARREN: The issue to me, I'm not opposed to that as much as I'm opposed to redefinition of a 5,000 year definition of marriage. I'm opposed to having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.

    BELIEFNET: Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married?

    WARREN: Oh , I do.
    God does not hear the prayers of Jews, Mormonism is a cult, "Gays getting married" is equivalent to incest, pedophilia and polygamy.

    There's one more thing. When asked, "Do you believe Creation happened in the way Genesis describes it? He answered:
    If you're asking me do I believe in evolution, the answer is no, I don't. I believe that God, at a moment, created man. I do believe Genesis is literal, but I do also know metaphorical terms are used. Did God come down and blow in man's nose? If you believe in God, you don't have a problem accepting miracles. So if God wants to do it that way, it's fine with me.
    So glad about that.

    I'll let the popinjay have the last word:
    As Barack Obama is gradually learning, his job is to be the president of all Americans at all times. If he likes, he can oppose the idea of marriage for Americans who are homosexual. That's a policy question on which people may and will disagree. However, the man he has chosen to deliver his inaugural invocation is a relentless clerical businessman who raises money on the proposition that certain Americans—non-Christians, the wrong kind of Christians, homosexuals, nonbelievers—are of less worth and littler virtue than his own lovely flock of redeemed and salvaged and paid-up donors.
    Question? Comments? Remarks? Drop me an e-mail.

    December 21, 2008

    Jack Kelly Sunday

    I'm not sure what to write about Jack Kelly's column this week as I am not really sure what it's about. He starts with an abrupt turn into 20th century history. In all honestly, at this point I'm not sure what's going with the Nazi reference:

    As the economy worsens, the attention of Americans is drawn inward. So this is a good time to remember that if it hadn't been for the Great Depression, Adolf Hitler never would have become ruler of Germany.

    In the German parliamentary elections of 1928, the Nazis won less than 3 percent of the vote, and just 12 of the 608 seats in the Reichstag.

    After the U.S. stock market crashed in 1929, our government called in the loans it had made to Germany, throwing Germany into depression. Unemployment there rose from 1.5 million (10 percent) in 1928 to 5.5 million (30.1 percent) in 1932.

    Hard economic times radicalized the German electorate. The Nazis won 230 seats in the Reichstag in the election of July 1932, nearly a hundred seats more than the second-largest party.

    Huh? I'm not very smart so I may be missing the significance of the above. Nazism is bad, the Depression was bad and the latter contributed to the rise of the former. I get it. But why plunk that history story at the beginning of this column? That's the part I don't get.

    Anyway, Jack continues:
    Though the U.S. economy has suffered serious harm, our competitive position in the world actually has improved, because most other nations are suffering more than we are, wrote Ricardo Hausmann, director of Harvard's Center for International Development, in Britain's Financial Times Monday.

    "The financial meltdown has translated into a sudden stop in capital flows to emerging and developing countries, which threatens to destabilize their growth, their financial systems and their government accounts," Mr. Hausmann said.

    Well hip hip horray! Things are worse elsewhere! I am sure that's great news for the 10.3 million unemployed or the 28 million on foodstamps.

    But this is where things get confusing. The rest of Jack's column is about the financial damage being felt across the globe. For instance:
    The collapse of oil prices is having a devastating impact on our enemies in Iran and Venezuela, and our sometimes enemies in Russia.
    And so on.

    I think I found my way through Jack's rhetoric. Jack's point, I think, is that we should really sbe tempering our schadenfreude because this economic crisis, like the Great Depression, might give birth to another Adolf Hitler. To which I have to go, Huh? We're experiencing schadenfreude? Who? Why? Where? I want names. Cause I'm not seeing it.

    So with the possible exception of Ricardo Hausmann, if no one is given to schadenfreude then why should we bother with the rest of Jack's column?

    Indeed, why should we ever?

    Questions? Comments? Remarks? Drop me an e-mail.

    UPDATE: This from Ed Heath:
    My take on Kelly's point is that he wants to be seen as prescient. Kelly believes we are going to be taken advantage of by enemies around the world. In Kelly's world, Clinton the Democrat was taken advantage of by Somali warlords, and also bears responsibility for 9/11 (Bush was hamstrung by Clinton's shoddy foreign policy). Now as you say Kelly reaches back to blame FDR (who is now seen as a model for Obama) for the rise of Nazi Germany. Then he snaps back to the present and shows us exactly how he thinks Obama will fail. Kelly doesn't actually care how the American people think (except when they agree with him), he wants us to know that the childlike Obama and his childlike followers aren't up to meeting these challenges, that the evil geniuses in Iran, Venezuela and Russia will exploit Obama's wide eyed innocence and we will all be bowing down to them (except the militias Jack Kelly will unite and take command of, or sumpin').

    December 20, 2008

    From The President Elect



    Transcript can be found here.

    Why is science so important?

    Some highlights:
    Because the truth is that promoting science isnt just about providing resources - its about protecting free and open inquiry. Its about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. Its about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when its inconvenient - especially when its inconvenient. Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. That will be my goal as President of the United States - and I could not have a better team to guide me in this work.
    Now WHO do you think he was referring to there??

    Questions, Comments, Remarks? Drop me an e-mail.

    Uh-Oh.

    From Time:
    ...top Bush administration officials could soon face legal jeopardy for prisoner abuse committed under their watch in the war on terror.

    In early December, in a highly unusual move, a federal court in New York agreed to rehear a lawsuit against former Attorney General John Ashcroft brought by a Canadian citizen, Maher Arar. (Arar was a victim of the administration's extraordinary rendition program: he was seized by U.S. officials in 2002 while in transit through Kennedy Airport and deported to Syria, where he was tortured.) Then, on Dec. 15, the Supreme Court revived a lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld by four Guantánamo detainees alleging abuse there—a reminder that the court, unlike the White House, will extend Constitutional protections to foreigners at Gitmo. Finally, in the same week the Senate Armed Service Committee, led by Carl Levin and John McCain, released a blistering report specifically blaming key administration figures for prisoner mistreatment and interrogation techniques that broke the law. The bipartisan report reads like a brief for the prosecution—calling, for example, Rumsfeld's behavior a "direct cause" of abuse. Analysts say it gives a green light to prosecutors, and supplies them with political cover and factual ammunition.
    While it would be SO NICE to see the "Donald Rumsfeld per-walk", however:
    Constitutionally, Bush could pardon everyone involved in formulating and executing the administration's interrogation techniques without providing specifics or naming names. And the pardon could apply to himself. Such a step, however, would seem like an admission of guilt and thus be politically awkward.
    We'll see.

    Questions? Comments? Remarks? Drop me a line.

    Annoucement

    I've decided to run a little experiment.

    It seems that the signal-to-noise ratio on this blog has gotten a little too recently so I've decided that on my posts (Maria is free to do as she pleases) I won't be using comments any more.

    Instead, there'll be a "mailto" link like this one:

    dayvoe@gmail.com

    at the bottom of each.

    You want to post a comment? Drop me an e-mail. If it's on topic and reasonable, I'll post it (even if I disagree with it). If it's wingnut crazie, I won't.

    If you have a problem with that, you're more than welcome to start your own blog.

    Let's see how it works.

    December 19, 2008

    In Case You Missed It,

    Here's Tony On Rick Warren. He begins:

    One day, someone who doesn't believe in God is going to be elected president of the United States. When that happens, I, for one, will be a very happy Christian.

    By the time the inauguration rolls around, a non-religious president would probably do something radical with the time currently allotted to preachers and religious leaders.

    Such a president would be free to assign the preacher's traditional slot to a speaker who isn't encumbered by doctrinal biases or culture war baggage. Imagine the possibilities.

    Wouldn't it be nice to hear from an American -- even one who hasn't been to a church or synagogue in decades -- deliver a pithy, but memorable speech about what it means to be an American in perilous times?

    That day, I'd be one happy snappy agnostic. Tony ends with:
    Still, Rick Warren isn't all bad. Conservative evangelicals despise him for his relatively liberal stances on environmental stewardship, global poverty, combating HIV/AIDs and his openness to traditionally liberal social justice causes.

    He's considered a theological lightweight by anyone who has actually listened to one of his sermons. Rick Warren has more in common with the speakers down at the Rotary Club than the fire and brimstone preachers who made Calvinism America's unofficial civil religion for a while.

    Take comfort, all ye liberals and progressives, in the fact that Barack Obama is using Rick Warren as much as Rick Warren is using him. This is all about politics -- it isn't a meeting of the minds.

    Go read the rest. You'll be glad you did.

    Noooooooooooo!

    As much as I miss the recent departure of local blogs like Teacher. Wordsmith. Madmen, The Burgh Blog (PittGirl), The Conversation, Pittsburgh Pist-Gazette and others, I really mourn for the loss of The Burgh Report.

    When I wanted to read about local Pittsburgh politics it was my first stop, and my second and third . . .

    I have no insight as to why they closed shop. I do know that The Burgher had to, at least, take a break and was looking for someone to cover for him/her, but the fact that the archive is now gone and that video final blog post leads one to believe that the anonymity of The Burgher may have been threatened.

    But who knows? Not me.

    All I know is that it is damn hard to keep up a blog consistently for years -- even a group blog like The Burgh Report.

    And, Bram: You are forbidden from closing up shop.

    I'm also glad that the Post-Gazette's Early Returns has stepped up their game.

    Damn, this sucks.
    .

    December 18, 2008

    Happy Belated Birthday Beethoven

    December 16th is usually regarded as the birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), composer of 9 great symphonies (the ninth, of course, being the greatest), the Appassionata and Moonlight sonatas (among many many others).

    The birthday passed a few days ago unnoticed on this blog - to my utter and complete shame and embarrassment.

    For that I apologize, for even badly played Beethoven is worth many times good soup. Here, listen to some good Beethoven. Lenny conducting the Egmont:


    Some famous quotations about Beethoven.
    • He was a Titan wrestling with the Gods.
    • There are and always will be thousands of princes, but there is only one Beethoven.
    • Everything will pass, and the world will perish but the Ninth Symphony will remain.
    Yea, yea, I know. He's a dead white guy. But he was an amazing dead white guy.

    Huh?

    What the...heck happened to the Burgh Report?

    Have they, like Pittgirl and Chad Hermann before them, taken their collective marbles and gone home?

    Does this mean we have to face another week of great public weeping and gnashing of teeth over how bland and dull the Pittsburgh blogosphere will be from now on?

    But it's Christmas!

    P-G Updates

    Things are happening on the Boulevard of the Allies. First the cost of the P-G.

    From the Trib:

    Pinched by higher costs and lower revenue, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette raised its daily newsstand price 50 percent and offered another round of job buyouts to its newsroom employees.

    The newspaper raised the newsstand price to 75 cents from 50 cents for its editions Monday through Saturday. The increase was effective Dec. 15 at all retailers and coin-operated boxes. Prices did not change for Sunday editions or Post-Gazette subscription prices.

    "The pricing action was necessary due to continually rising costs of raw materials," according to a memo to employees.

    P-G marketing director Tracey DeAngelo noted the price increase was the newspaper's first since 1995, when a weekday issue cost 35 cents.

    Again for the record, I am not related to Tracey DeAngelo. And then:

    To further cut costs, the Post-Gazette expanded a job buyout offer to all 195 newsroom workers, who have until Dec. 31 to accept. An earlier offer drew 23 takers by the Dec. 12 deadline but was made only to the 100 or so whose age and P-G tenure totaled at least 70.

    The newspaper's latest job buyout was "slightly less generous" in its lump sum and health care coverage, said an official with the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, the union representing newsroom workers, who added that a second offer had been expected.

    And this from the Pittsburgh Business Times:

    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is seeking to extend “voluntary separation agreements” to all its employees who are represented by the Pittsburgh Newspapers Guild.

    That includes approximately 200 newsroom employees who work at the newspaper as reporters, editors, photographers, artists and other support staff.

    Thursday, Guild president R.J. Hufnagel emailed guild members at the PG announcing a meeting Thursday night about the plans, which come only a week after the company reached buyout agreements with 22 guild members negotiated by the union and the company.

    Times are getting tougher on the Boulevard of the Allies.

    The Trib's Public Disservice

    In an editorial today, our good friends on DickieCougarMellonScaife's Editorial Board blabber on (again) about how Global Warming, how there's still a debate about it and it's first casualty is "the truth."

    This time starting from this AP article.

    It's always interesting to see how the Trib describes something and then compare it to (stealing a phrase from Kant) the thing in itself. Here's the core of the editorial:

    "Global warming" is "a ticking time bomb that President-elect Obama can't avoid," Mr. Borenstein writes.

    "The 10 hottest years on record have occurred since (Bill) Clinton's second inauguration," he continues.

    "Global warming is accelerating," he adds.

    "Time is close to running out," he warns.

    We wonder if Borenstein has caught his breath yet.

    Four hypotheses that many credible scientists dispute are presented as fact. There's nary a mention in the AP's story that the debate over "global warming" has heated up as more and more indicators suggest planetary cooling.

    And with no real support, the story states as a fact that the cooling trend "actually illustrates how fast the world is warming."

    It's that last sentence that sends the wingnut to do a spit-take with their ovaltine.

    How can a cooling trend illustrate how fast the world is warming, they ask incredulously. Doesn't it show how crazy this whole hoax is the follow up question. The answer, of course, lies in what the Trib's editorial board leaves out. If they were to take a look at the last two paragraphs of the article, they'd see the this:
    Mother Nature, of course, is oblivious to the federal government's machinations. Ironically, 2008 is on pace to be a slightly cooler year in a steadily rising temperature trend line. Experts say it's thanks to a La Nina weather variation. While skeptics are already using it as evidence of some kind of cooling trend, it actually illustrates how fast the world is warming.

    The average global temperature in 2008 is likely to wind up slightly under 57.9 degrees Fahrenheit, about a tenth of a degree cooler than last year. When Clinton was inaugurated, 57.9 easily would have been the warmest year on record. Now, that temperature would qualify as the ninth warmest year.

    That's how a "cooling trend" can be evidence for how fast the world is warming. It's a tenth of a degree cooler than the previous year and even with that cooling trend it's still warmer than 1992.

    But to hear the Trib tell the tale, the tree-huggers in "teh Democrat Party" have convinced everyone that the sky is falling - the truth be damned. But did you happen to catch this little bit of news a few months ago? From the Washington Post:
    U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that global climate change will worsen food shortages and disease exposure in sub-Saharan Africa over the next two decades, creating operational problems for the Pentagon's newest overseas military command.
    The truth be damned.

    December 17, 2008

    Time's Man Of The Year


    Not much of a surprise.

    More On Pintek

    A few questions:

    In their discussions leading up to his triumphant return to KDKA's airwaves, I wonder if the good folks AT KDKA asked Mike Pintek about this:
    On The War Room With Quinn & Rose, guest host Mike Pintek opened the show by saying, "You need to know that Barack Obama is a monster and a liar who would be very much at home in Communist China, where killing babies is an industry." Pintek went on to claim that Obama "believes so firmly in abortion, he is so radical in his support for abortion and infanticide that he believes that if a woman chooses abortion, she's entitled to a dead body no matter what."
    Or this (linked to from yesterday's post):
    On The War Room With Quinn & Rose, guest host Mike Pintek echoed right-wing websites in questioning the authenticity of Sen. Barack Obama's birth certificate, claiming: "I still keep wondering about his birthplace and his birth certificate. I'm still not convinced that he actually was born a natural-born citizen."
    Or about how Pintek thinks Global Climate Change is a hoax and is not above spinning the news (aka "lying") to "prove" it.

    My understanding is that he's taking the 7-10 slot on KDKA. If that's the case then who's taking Night Talk?

    December 16, 2008

    Wow How Odd That Sounds

    During a recent Press Conference:
    "My administration will value science," [President -Elect] Obama said, in what sounded like a pointed reference to his predecessor. "We will make decisions based on facts."
    So odd to have the Commander-in-Chief that's a member of the Reality-Based community. The guy with his finger on the nukular button actually values science.

    I think I have to sit and ponder this a while.

    Just say no

    Governor Patterson of New York doesn't want you to do coke Coke.
    .

    Changes At KDKA Radio

    From the ever-reliable Adrian McCoy:
    News/talk KDKA-AM (1020) will shake up its programming schedule in the new year, and bring back a voice familiar to the station's regular talk show listeners.
    It's a good news/bad news thing. First the good news:
    The changes displace current noon-to-3 p.m. host Kevin Miller and evening host John Steigerwald, who were both let go and are now off the air here.
    And now the bad:
    The station announced yesterday that starting Jan. 5, former KDKA talk host Mike Pintek will return to the station to host an evening talk show weeknights from 6 to 10 p.m.
    I wonder if Mike Pintek is still "not convinced" that President-Elect Obama is a US Citizen. I wonder if KDKA asked him.

    Quick Hits

  • Cheney: Obama Will "Appreciate" Our Expansion Of Power
    Once he's in power he will become a mad Constitution-destroying douche just like me!

  • Bush's Interior Department Interfered With Scientific Work To Limit Endangered Species Protections
    Science? We don't need no stinkin' science!

  • NFL excludes women from retiree health talks
    "[W]omen being present could impede the discussion" (even though they are the wives and caregivers of player who are too ill to speak for themselves).

  • Big lefty blogs not thrilled with Caroline Kennedy run lobbying for appoinment to NY Senate seat
    - Jane @ Firedoglake: "I guess she'll take entitlement for a thousand, Alex."
    - Kos @ Daily Kos: "When you're rich and come from a political family, and are heir to American royalty, you can apparently dispense with dealing with pesky voters by simply ringing up the governor."
    .
  • December 15, 2008

    Yep - It's Official

    From the AP:

    In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the 538 electors performed a constitutional process to legally elect Democrat Barack Obama the 44th president.

    More than 131 million voters cast ballots — the most ever in a presidential election. But Obama's election is not complete until Congress tallies the outcome of Monday's Electoral College vote at a joint session scheduled for Jan. 6.

    Monday's voting was largely ceremonial, the results preordained by Obama's Nov. 4 victory over Republican Sen. John McCain. Obama won 365 electoral votes, to 173 for McCain. With every state reporting, all the electors had cast ballots in accordance with the popular votes in their states.

    But wait! Isn't Hussein Obama ineligible for the Presidency? Wasn't he born in Kenya like Ambassador Keyes says? Isn't it obvious that the birth certificate is a (bad) fake?

    Or isn't that all just total and complete BS?

    "I don't know what his beef is"

    By now, I'll assume you've all seen the video of an Iraqi reporter throwing his shoes at President George W. Bush during a press conference in Iraq, but did you catch Bush's interview afterwards with ABC News' Martha Raddatz following the incident?




    Here's a transcript of part of it:
    Raddatz: It's also considered a huge insult in this world, the sole of a shoe, throwing a shoe.

    Bush: I guess. Look they were humiliated. The press corps, the rest of the Iraqi press corps was humiliated. These guys were just besides themselves about, they felt like he had disgraced their entire press corps and I frankly, I didn't view it as, I thought it was interesting, I thought it was unusual to have a guy throw his show at you. But I'm not insulted. I don't hold it against the government. I don't think the Iraqi press corps as a whole is terrible. And so, the guy wanted to get on TV and he did. I don't know what his beef is. But whatever it is I'm sure somebody will hear it.
    Ignoring Bush's ridiculous attempt to try to spin the humiliation part, it's this bit that's the real insanity (and it came after the heat of the moment):

    "I don't know what his beef is."

    Oh, I don't know, off the top of my head I can come up with one or two or a million or so reasons:


  • Iraqi war death estimates range from 151, 000 to over one million. And, who knows how many more wounded and mutilated.

  • At a bare minimum, ...at least one out of every seven Iraqis has had to flee his or her home due to the violence and chaos set off by the Bush administration's invasion and occupation of Iraq.

  • A new report on the American-led reconstruction of Iraq that depicts "a $100 billion failure" characterized by "bureaucratic turf wars, spiraling violence and ignorance of the basic elements of Iraqi society and infrastructure" and which was crippled by Pentagon planners before the war even started as they were "were hostile to the idea of rebuilding a foreign country."
  • You can see the interview here. It starts around the two minute mark (after the truly stupid CNN post game style coverage:


    He really can't leave soon enough.
    .

    December 14, 2008

    Whah?

    I was out shopping with my wife and so I missed this:


    My first question: Where the hell was the Secret Service? Someone throws something at the President of the United States and there's no swarm of security protecting the president? And then the guy throws something else?? Where was the security on that guy?

    CNN has the story. In it we find this paragraph:
    Throwing shoes at someone, or sitting so that the bottom of a shoe faces another person, is considered an insult among Muslims.
    Gee, is there a culture on the planet where throwing a shoe at someone is a show of affection??

    I don't care that this involves the worst president ever. I don't care that that journalist was looking to insult the worst president ever. He's still president (and the worst ever) and the Secret Service is supposed to be on guard when stuff like this happens.

    Right?

    Jack Kelly Sunday

    Let's get the important stuff from Jack Kelly's column out of the way:
    U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald went to great lengths to make it clear that Mr. Obama is not a subject of the investigation into the charges for which Mr. Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday. Mr. Obama, moreover, had to be heartened by the obscenity with which Hot Rod described him in a taped telephone conversation Nov. 11, which made it clear that the Obama camp would offer Mr. Blagojevich nothing but thanks if he appointed the candidate Mr. Obama preferred to succeed him, Valerie Jarrett. [emphasis added]
    Actually USAttorney Fitzgerald said this:

    At one point, [Blagojevich] proposed a three-way deal -- that a cushy union job would be given to him at a higher rate of pay where he could make money.

    In exchange, he thought that the union might get benefits from the president-elect, and therefore, the president-elect might get the candidate his choice. I should make clear the complaint makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever -- his conduct. This part of the scheme lost steam when the person that the governor thought was the president-elect's choice of senator took herself out of the running. But after the deal never happened, this is the governor's reaction. Quote, "They're not willing to give me anything but appreciation. Bleep them," close quote. And again, the bleed (sic) is a redaction.
    My best guess (and this is ONLY a guess) is that the Governor said, "They're not willing to give me anything but appreciation. Fuck them." It could have been, of course, "To Hell with them" but "Fuck them" just sounds more "Chicago" doesn't it? Especially when the complaint says on page 63:
    ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.”
    Note to the historians, I think that's the most obscenity I've ever used on this blog.

    It's interesting to watch the right wing noise machine try to tie Blagojevich to Obama. Especially when the term "motherfucker" is thrown around so much.

    By the way, this is not the first time Jack Kelly's written about USAttorney Fitzgerald. Here he is in June of '06:
    Mr. Fitzgerald is a sloppy prosecutor who rushes to judgment, and then has to backtrack, charged Washington, D.C., lawyer Clarice Feldman.

    In one recent high-profile case, Mr. Fitzgerald's staff mistakenly sent 16 cartons of classified documents to attorneys for the terror suspects he was prosecuting, she said.

    In another, Mr. Fitzgerald charged the victim in a financial fraud case instead of its perpetrators.

    "Fitzgerald is good at creating elaborate facades which tart up the ramshackle huts to which they are affixed," Ms. Feldman said. "Once those facades are removed, it is obvious the cases behind them are rickety."

    True to form, Clarice Feldman isn't just a "D.C. lawyer. She also writes for the conservative website "The American Thinker." Maybe Jack should have mentioned that back then.

    But back to the column.

    Jack weaves:
    But how does this differ materially from Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., killing a tax bill after the CEO of a company that would have been adversely affected donated $1 million to the Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service at the City College of New York?

    And how does it differ materially from the pardon President Bill Clinton issued to fugitive financier Marc Rich after Mr. Rich, through his ex-wife, contributed massive sums to the Democratic Party and to the Clinton library?

    Yet Mr. Rangel is still chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and Eric Holder -- who was excoriated by a congressional committee for his role in granting the Rich pardon -- is Mr. Obama's attorney general-designate. Rod Blagojevich is just the tip of a very large iceberg, one that encompasses local, state and national governments.

    We've fact-checked Jack on Marc Rich before. He continually fails to mention that Marc Rich's attorney was that darling of the right - Scooter Libby.

    As for Representative Rangel, Jack seems to indicate that nothing's going on that he's "still chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee." But did you know that there's an ethics investigation going on?

    Yep:
    Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in a statement just released by her office, said a House ethics committee investigation into Ways and Means Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) will be completed by early January 2009, which is officially the end of the current 110th Congress.

    “In September, I called on the House ethics committee to look into issues raised by news reports on Chairman Rangel. This followed up on the chairman’s own request for an investigation by the committee," Pelosi said in her statement.

    “I have been assured the report will be completed by the end of this session of Congress, which concludes on January 3, 2009. I look forward to reviewing the report at that time."

    Not that Jack would have ever told you - no, he wants you to think that Rangel's getting a pass and that it's all one big left wing conspiracy.

    But the point is clear - for the right wing noise machine, even if there's no evidence, they're gonna be pounding away at this.

    For the record, if Blagojevich is found guity (and it looks real real bad for him right now) throw the motherfucker in jail.

    Sorry this is so short today, my friends - going Christmas shopping with the wife.

    Post-Gazette Buyout Update

    From our friends at the Trib:

    About two dozen newsroom employees at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette accepted buyouts on Friday from the newspaper, which floated the offer to cut costs.

    Had fewer than 18 agreed to forfeit their jobs, management might have resorted to layoffs, a union official said.

    The Post-Gazette offered to buy out about half the employees in its 200-person newsroom in mid-October. Workers who accept will receive one year of salary and one year of health care coverage, plus an option to buy two more years' coverage. Eligible are those whose age plus years of P-G service equal 70 or more.

    The P-G has a shorter blurb that says roughly the same thing:
    Twenty-three newsroom employees of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette accepted a voluntary severance package offered by the company as a cost-cutting move. The buyouts were offered in October to about 100 members of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, the union that represents about 200 writers, editors, photographers, artists and other newsroom personnel. Some of those who took buyouts may continue to do freelance work for the newspaper. "We are saying goodbye to some of our colleagues and friends, but we are also taking inspiration from them," said David Shribman, executive editor.
    No word yet on who those 23 are.

    Update: Smizik took the buyout.