We are the 99%

April 30, 2010

Rejected Bush Book Covers

Rejected as having "not enough gravitas":







Deemed too "dark":







Yesterday...

Yesterday was Duke Ellington's birthday.


Coincidentally, yesterday these folks also had birthdays:
  • Jerry Seinfeld (1954)
  • Kate Mulgrew (1955)
  • Daniel Day-Lewis (1957)
  • Michelle Pfeiffer (1958)
  • Eve Plumb (1958)
  • The guy who played Furio Giunta on The Sopranos (Frederico Castelluccio, 1964)
I confess I can't get my head around the fact that Catwoman and Jan Brady were born on the same day.

But mostly it was Duke Ellington's birthday.


Happy Friday!

Friday Morning Música Post

Good morning, Pittsburgh! I'm sending México Americano by Los Lobos out to the folks from this comment thread.


(And, anyone who hasn't read The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat's take on Arizona's new immigration law should.)

April 29, 2010

Sestak fires back

Until today, we've just had Rep. Joe Sestak's introductory ad, but he's firing back at some of Sen. Arlen Specter's (PA - RD) negative ads -- specifically the one that criticize Sestak's military service. One might call Specter's ads a study in "swiftboating."

Here's Sestak's new ad:


And, here's the text of a speech which Sestak delivered at American University last night.

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the day when Specter switched parties from Republican to Democrat. Curiously, Specter marked the occasion by stating:
"Well, I probably shouldn't say this," Specter told Colby Itkowitz of the Allentown Morning Call. "But I have thought from time to time that I might have helped the country more if I'd stayed a Republican."

VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD!!!

I wonder if our good friends on the other side of the aisle, flushed as they are in the afterglow of ACORN-related "voter fraud", will even mention the voter registration fraud that's being alleged in their own corner.

From The Orange County Register:
Petitioners prowling parking lots and community college campuses tricked dozens of young Orange County voters into registering to vote as Republicans, an Orange County Register investigation has found.

The con occurred at the end of January and the beginning of February at places like Cypress College and Golden West College, and outside of discount stores like Wal-Mart and Food 4 Less. It appears to be the same kind of voter registration fraud that engulfed Orange County four years ago and landed eight signature gatherers in jail.

Since mid-March, at least 99 written complaints have been submitted to state elections officials by Orange County residents who say they were registered to vote Republican without their consent. The Register found an additional 74 voters who said they were duped or coerced into registering to vote as a Republican by signature gatherers who initially asked them to sign petitions for causes like legalizing marijuana, fighting cancer or cleaning up beaches.
Seems that the mechanics of this fraud are frighteningly familiar:
The voters are all residents of the 34th State Senate District in central Orange County, where the Republican Party has high hopes of ousting incumbent Democrat Lou Correa in the fall. Unlike the Democrats, the California Republican Party has a controversial policy of paying signature gatherers who sends them new GOP voter registration cards and the Republicans are offering as much as $8 for each new GOP registration in that district.

Many believe the $8 "bounty" gives petitioners an incentive to commit fraud.
And:
The Republican Party isn't likely to benefit from this scheme because many of the voters contacted by the Register said they don't vote Republican. The only beneficiaries appear to be the signature gatherers themselves.
Still. If it happened to ACORN it's a "Democrat Party" scandal.

But when the fraud is perpetuated for the Republican Party? When will we hear the outcry?

Anyone? Anyone? Beuller? Bueller?

Exactly how many birthdays does Lil Mayor Luke have each year?

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak sent seven invitations (on March 10th, March 29th, April 7th, April 9th, April 16th, April 19th, and April 21st) to Public Safety Director Michael Huss to speak to City Council's snow task force and each one went unanswered.

We figure he must have had a pretty good reason to ignore them all. Prior engagements? Maybe he was busy partying out of town on those days with Lil Mayor Luke -- just like he was when Pittsburgh got hit with Snowpocalypse back in February.

Of course we actually know that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Huss have actively discouraged (ordered?) city officials not to meet with Rudiak's snow emergency task force (cause, you know, Lukey is conducting his own investigation...of himself).

Fortunately, Councilor Rudiak takes her job seriously and has the huevos to carry out her mission. So she issued a subpoena to compel Huss to appear before Council under her authority according to the Pittsburgh City Charter:
§ 808. SUBPOENA POWER.
In any case where an elected official, officer, or unit of government has the power to conduct public hearings the elected official, officer or unit of government shall have the authority to issue subpoenas for the attendance of witness and to compel testimony and the production of documents and other evidence. The subpoena shall issue in the name of the City and shall be signed by the elected official, officer or presiding officer of the unit of government. Any witness who refuses to obey a subpoena, or who refuses to testify under oath or affirmation, may be cited for contempt in any Court of Common Pleas having jurisdiction.
Rudiak stated in a press release yesterday, "One of the biggest problems during the snow storm was a lack of communication and coordination between government offices. If we can't communicate about an emergency, how can we be expected to communicate during an emergency?"

Huss' response? Via the Post-Gazette:
Mr. Huss later said he'd be happy to appear before council and will bring the police, fire and EMS chiefs with him.

He said he never objected to a public discussion of the matter but didn't believe a "closed-door" session with Ms. Rudiak would benefit the public or improve emergency response.

Mr. Huss said he'll attend the council meeting even though city Solicitor Dan Regan concluded the subpoena was invalid because it came from one council member instead of the whole body.
Uh-huh. Yeah, right, whatever. Damn straight you'll show up.

Councilor Rudiak had a more gracious reply (than mine) to Huss' new spirit of "cooperation" (via another press release):
"I am heartened with the Director’s decision to finally meet with us, and I look forward to speaking with him about how we can better protect our City, our employees and our residents in a future emergency."
But, she also had an excellent question:
"The real question is why we must resort to a subpoena to speak with our own Emergency Management Director. We should all be able to share ideas and information in a productive and objective manner."
You'd think...

April 28, 2010

Pittsburgh City Councilors Walk The Line

Via Jennifer England:


Natalia Rudiak


Doug Shields

Bruce Kraus


SEIU cafeteria workers (Local 32BJ) at the University of Pittsburgh are striking against Sodexo for "higher wages, lower cost health care and the ability to organize the 150 other Sodexo workers on campus."

According to England's tweets UFCW23, Pittsburgh Faith Impact, Pittsburgh United, Pennsylvania Communities Organizing for Change (PCOC) and others were also in the house...or on the street as it were.

Act to Stop New Waste Coal Plants in PA

Via Randy Francisco and PA Sierra Club:
Two proposed waste coal plants in Pennsylvania should have their permits invalidated.

Tell PA Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) Secretary Hanger to pull their permits!

Robinson Power Company allowed construction at its Beech Hollow Plant to lapse for over 1.5 years, and as a result, Secretary Hanger deemed its air permit invalid. We are pleased that the PA DEP denied the air permit that would have allowed Beech Hollow Plant to emit 1,701,314 tons of global warming pollution every year.

No construction has taken place over 1.5 years at two other proposed waste coal plants. Both the proposed River Hill plant in Centre County and the Wellington Plant in Greene County should be held to the same standards.

Tell DEP Secretary John Hanger it's time to pull these permits too.

These two proposed waste coal plants would emit 4,604,574 tons of global warming pollution every year, along with harmful levels of soot and smog pollution, which can worsen asthma and cause other respiratory illnesses. The denial of these permits would also allow Pennsylvania to begin to focus more attention on the development of clean renewable energy sources, like solar and wind that can secure our energy future and create more jobs for Pennsylvanians.

Take action to protect Pennsylvanians from the pollution these plants would spew.

We hope the PA DEP puts an end to these dirty coal proposals and moves beyond the use of coal by expanding the use of renewable sources like wind and solar energy.

Arizona Travelogue

Fact-Checkin The Trib

In today's Tribune-Review, on it's celebrated editorial page, we read this:
It's repugnant when known terrorists get more favorable legal treatment than the soldiers who defend the United States against them. That injustice has been dealt a well-deserved blow.

Two of three Navy SEALs facing charges after an al-Qaida thug allegedly got roughed up -- he suffered a bloody lip -- have been cleared of any wrongdoing by a U.S. military court in Iraq. A third SEAL goes on trial on Monday. The trio reportedly sought military hearings instead of reprimands to clear their names.

The charges were lodged by a repulsive terrorist who had been regarded as a high-value military target. Authorities say Ahmed Hashim Abed plotted the grisly 2004 murders of four military contractors in Iraq, then saw to it that their bodies were dragged through the streets, burned and hanged from a bridge in Fallujah.
Any reader of this blog would know that it's never as Scaife's braintrust presents it. And this case is no different.

To braintrust, this case is yet another example of how terrorists get more favorable treatment than the "known terrorists" they're fighting. And after reading this editorial are you not under the impression that those three SEALS were being tried for merely "roughing up" that terrorist? And that the trial's all about the terrorist's bloody lip? And the charges are based on the only word of a terrorist?

Now - take a look at this. Major General Charles Cleveland is the guy in charge of the case. He recently received a letter from Representative Dan Burton (R-IN) who presumably made some of these same wingnut misstatements. To which Major General Cleveland replied:
Regrettably it appears that your perception of the incident is based upon incomplete and factually inaccurate press coverage. Despite what has been reported, these allegations are not founded solely on the word of the detainee, but rather, were initially raised by other U.S. service members. Additionally, the alleged injuries did not occur during actions on the objective, as is also being widely reported in the media. A medical examination conducted at the time the detainee was turned over to U.S. forces determined that his alleged injuries were inflicted several hours after the operation had ended, and while in the custody and care of the U.S. at Camp Schweidler's detainee holding facility.

While the assault and resulting injury to the detainee were relatively minor, the more disconcerting allegations are those related to the Sailors' attempts to cover-up the incident, particularly in what appears to be an effort to influence the testimony of a witness. All of these allegations were fully investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).[emphasis added.]
As always the cover-up is more serious than the crime. The Major General continues:
Discipline and integrity are primary factors that make our U.S. Special Operators such an effective fighting force. The abuse of a detainee, no matter how minor, creates strategic repercussions that harm our nation's security and ultimately costs the lives of U.S. citizens. I must ensure that the service members under my command abide by the laws passed by Congress and follow the lawful orders of their superior officers. When there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offense has been committed, and that a specific individual in my command has committed that offense, it is my duty to take appropriate action to not only ensure justice is done, but also to maintain good order and discipline.
With military service comes honor. The Trib, by continuing the conservative media's spin, dishonored the service it was looking to defend.

April 27, 2010

Reiland Gets It Wrong. Again.

I was too late to blog on this yesterday. As they say (and they DO say this, don't they?) no time like the present.

I've blogged on Ralph Reiland before and it's pretty safe to say he's in his element at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

He sets-up:
Here's the way Pulitzer winner Eugene Robinson, an associate editor and columnist for The Washington Post, recently described the tea party movement:

"The overhyped tea party phenomenon is more about symbolism and screaming than anything else. A 'movement' that encompasses gun nuts, tax protesters, devotees of the gold standard, Sarah Palin, insurance company lobbyists, 'constitutionalists' who have not read the Constitution, Medicare recipients who oppose government-run health care, crazy 'birthers' who claim President Obama was born in another country, a contingent of outright racists (come on, people, let's be real) and a bunch of fat-cat professional politicians pretending to be 'outsiders' is not a coherent intellectual or political force."
Then he goes about to debunk (or so he thinks) Robinson's generalization.

First by saying that he was at a local tea-party rally and it didn't resemble at all what Robinson wrote. Hmm - do you see the logic error there? It's pretty obvious, as he's comparing a specific event to a generalization about a great deal of events. Now if Robinson was talking about the specific rally Reiland attended, Reiland might be onto something. But as it is, this is completely beside the point.

Then Reiland pulls out a old chestnut of a wingnut argument:
Second, one could hardly say that the "tea party phenomenon" has been "overhyped," except in a negative way by the mainstream media and by establishment politicians. Right from the start, Nancy Pelosi warned that tea partyers were Nazis because she saw a picture of a swastika at an event.
Except that she didn't refer to "tea partyers as Nazis" did she? Here's what Newsmax.com (hardly a liberal voice) said in August.

To a question about the legitimacy of the opposition to health care reform:
“I think they are Astroturf . . . you be the judge,” Pelosi answered. “They’re carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare.”
That's it.

As we pointed out last August when we discussed this image from one of last summer's health care protests:

We wrote:
By crossing out the swastika, what do you think the protester was saying? She was protesting against what she saw as Nazism - in the health care plan. She was calling the plan Nazism.

And yet it's charged that Pelosi is calling the protesters Nazis, when in fact...it's the protesters who are calling the health care plan Nazism.[emphasis added]
And what do you think Reiland does? He does the same thing:
There were a few swastikas and Hitler pictures (plus some occasional pictures of hammers and sickles and Lenin and Che), but those were anti-Nazi, anti-totalitarian and anti-communist expressions -- examples of the threat to individual liberty from overblown government and overreaching politicians.
Take a close look. He's saying the protests were warning of some coming Nazi threat. It's the overblown government and overreaching politicians who are acting like Nazis. People like Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. But in wingnut world that means that Pelosi was calling protestors Nazis.

But Reiland really blows his wad on this:
On the "birther" part, that's not my issue. But if it was me and millions of people thought I was a foreign interloper, a pinko from Kenya, I'd just produce the original birth certificate.
Sorry Ralph. But that makes you a birther.

In the end Ralph Reiland projects his own logical inadequacies onto Eugene Robinson:
Robinson concludes by saying that "American public opinion seems to have become an unguided Weapon of Mass Suspicion." In fact, that's exactly what Robinson has done in his ridiculing of the tea party movement. He's allowed his suspicions to distort his objectivity and destroy his credibility.
Given everything above, whose objectivity is distorted and whose credibility has been destroyed?

I'd say the birther who can't understand the difference between a generalization and a specific event.

April 26, 2010

Jack Kelly Sunday

It's been a while, my friends. So let's get right back into it. Here's a short note on Jack's most recent.

In this week's column at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jack Kelly does his usual - this time projecting manufactured sins onto "thin-skinned liberals."

With his first rhetorical gesture we know the level of spin:
What a difference an election can make!

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism, we were told by leading liberal pundits and Democratic politicians from Jan. 20, 2001 to Jan. 19, 2009. According to these worthies, there were few more noble ways to express dissent than protest demonstrations, which were frequent during the Bush administration.

Their attitudes have changed since Jan. 20, 2009. Today, some criticism of the president is "borderline sedition," said Time columnist Joe Klein. It could lead to another Oklahoma City bombing, warned former President Bill Clinton.
Huh. No mention of what all those protests were about way back when. The illegal war? The illegal domestic surveillance? The illegal torture? Nope. Jack spins them all to just "dissent and protest demonstrations."

Now what about Klein's "borderline sedition." What's that all about? Recently there's this:



Though you'll note a few things. First he doesn't say "borderline sedition" that comes from this piece at Time.com.

There, Klein was pointing out two United States Republican Senators (Coburn and Inhofe) who prayed for the death or incapacitation of a Democratic Senator in order to derail a vote on Health Care reform as well as this from Coburn:
"The crisis of confidence in this country is now at an apex that has not seen in over 150 years, and that lack of confidence undermines the ability of legitimate governance," he said. "There's a lot of people out there today who...will say, 'I give up on my government,' and rightly so."
Klein explains what he's getting at when he calls it "borderline sedition":
This is borderline sedition. Coburn--who had a friendly relationship with Senator Barack Obama--is saying that giving up on the U.S. government is justified. This helps stoke the hatred of those extremists who see Barack Obama's presidency as illegitimate. It also comes dangerously close to incitement to violence. It certainly deletes Coburn from the list of those who can be considered loyal to the most important American ideals. He should clarify what he means by these statements--and apologize for his hate speech, immediately.
And you'll note that Klein wasn't discussing any criticism of Obama. The sedition Klein was writing about was any attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the government itself.

The more recent sedition quote from Klein said this:
I did a little bit of research just before this show - it's on this little napkin here. I looked up the definition of sedition which is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. And a lot of these statements, especially the ones coming from people like Glenn Beck and to a certain extent Sarah Palin, rub right up close to being seditious.
Thing is, brother Jack must've missed Klein's followup:
On the Chris Mathews Show Sunday, I said that some of the right-wing infotainment gasbags--people like Glenn Beck etc.--were nudging up close to the edge of sedition. This has caused a bit of a self-righteous ruckus on the right. Let me be clear: dissent isn't sedition. Questioning an Administration's policies isn't sedition. But questioning an Administration's legitimacy in a manner intended to undermine or overthrow it certainly is.
Kinda undermines Jack's whole case, don't it?

April 24, 2010

The Trib, Global Warming, And The Facts

As usual whenever the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's editorial board writes about climate change, the facts rarely if ever interfere with the discussion. Today's no different. Take a look:
Given all the absurd assumptions about man-made "global warming," it was inevitable someone would suggest that recent earthquakes and now Iceland's ash-belching volcano might have some correlation to climate change.

And yet such nonscientific nonsense from the media -- surely they must know of the science they speak -- draws believers to the church of global warming much like a carnival sideshow attracts local yokels.

In an interview with CNN senior State Department producer Elise Labott, NPR's Diane Rehm raised the question of "human involvement" in recent geologic calamities. To which Ms. Labott eagerly played the global warming card, given all the "wacky weather ... that's just a microcosm for what's happening around the world."

Except no one has proven that extreme weather is linked in any way to greenhouse gas emissions (although CO2 always gets blamed -- except when temperatures plummet). Now the same climate changes above ground might somehow affect the movement of Earth's tectonic plates and/or magma flow miles below?

Even in his best doomsday mode, Ozone Al Gore would have trouble selling that pitch. Yet some bloggers are buying this bilge, likening the scenario to a horse that swats flies with its tail.

Indeed. This is precisely the stuff of global warming that draws flies.
Let's start first with the Diane Rehm show. As usual, the Trib selectively quotes in order to spin. Here's the audio. And at about 41 minutes in we hear:
Caller from Newbury Ohio: Good morning. This is a thought question. The Icelandic eruption caused me to think. We have all these earthquakes - at the south pole, in China, in Haiti like all over the globe. And big earthquakes. And I am wondering if the amount we have extracted from beneath the surface over the centuries of oil and coal and all the other materials, has disrupted our balance.

Diane Rehm: We do wonder what's going on. How to explain mother nature and whether there is human involvement in all of these eruptions, earthquakes, storms.

Woman's voice: And how much global warming has a role in it. You know we've seen a lot of wacky weather here in Washington but that's just a microcosm for what's happening around the world and how much is climate change is contributing to earthquakes and volcanic ash. It's a really good question.

Non-British Man's voice: It's interesting that the authorities have assured us that this recent spake of earthquakes not caused by any man made factor but I get the feeling more and more that we don't really know. And what we're learning about climate change is that we didn't really know and we're learning more and more about the role that humans play in it.

British man's voice: They're certainly coming thick and fast but historically they've come thick and fast before. But if I were recording this program in California I think I'd be getting nervous.
Hardly the most scientific of discussions, let's be honest. But they still are just asking the question. And while it seems silly to wonder whether something happening (and it is happening, no matter what Scaife's braintrust tries to assert) above the surface of the planet could possibly have anything to do with events occurring beneath that surface, there, in fact, is some evidence pointing in that direction. Take a look:
This may just be the start of it. For vulcanologists are warning that there may be more, or bigger, Icelandic eruptions – like the one that has shut down air traffic in Europe for days – over the next decades as the world heats up. They say that melting icecaps, by taking a great weight off the surface, are likely increasingly to free magma from deep underground.
How?
“Global warming melts ice and this can influence magmatic systems”, Dr Freysteinn Sigmundsson, of the Nordic Volcanological Centre at the University of Iceland, told Reuters. “Our work suggests that eventually there will be either somewhat larger eruptions or more frequent eruptions in Iceland in coming decades.”

Dr Carolina Pagli, of Leeds University, agrees. Her research suggests that rocks cannot expand to turn into magma when they are under the kind of high pressure exerted by being under an icecap. But, she says, “as the ice melts the rocks can melt because the pressure decreases.” And Prof Andrew Hooper, an expert on Iceland’s volcanoes at Delft University adds that as the ice sheets shrink, “we should expect more frequent voluminous eruptions in the future.”
But what do these people know? They're just scientists. Anyway, they do point out that the eruption in Iceland probably doesn't have anything to do with melting ice caps. The ice cap it was under was too small to exert the pressure they were talking about.

Then there's the part about how no one's "proved" the link between more CO2 in the atmosphere and more extreme weather patterns. Someone should tell that to the State of Washington's Department of Ecology:
Recent climate modeling results indicate that "extreme" weather events may become more common. Rising average temperatures produce a more variable climate system. What can we expect with weather changes? Localized events could include
  • windstorms
  • heat waves, droughts
  • storms with extreme rain or snow, and
  • dust storms.
What creates more extreme weather?

Carbon dioxide (CO2) from cars, industries and power plants trap heat near the earth's surface. More heat means more energy. Adding so much energy to the atmosphere creates the potential for more extremes.
Or the British Government:
Rising Temperatures and the Greenhouse Effect

Climate change causes extreme weather and temperature rises


The scientific community agrees – climate change is happening and human activity is almost certainly the cause. In the last 100 years the Earth has warmed by 0.74°C (and by 0.4°C since the 1970s), meaning that global sea levels have gone up, glaciers and sea ice has melted, floods and droughts are on the increase, and heatwaves are worse. Moreover, we are committed to further unavoidable climate change from this past rise in temperature, including further sea level rises for centuries to come.
So. When you look back at what Scaife's braintrust writes, it seems kinda silly, huh?

Yea, I know - again.

April 23, 2010

Anyone Remember This?

From Baptist Press:
Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger enjoyed a magical season in 2004, going from third-string signal caller to NFL Rookie of the Year by leading his team to 15 straight wins and within one victory of the Super Bowl.

But what wasn't as well known is how the young player used his newfound pro football platform to share his faith in Jesus Christ.

"Sometimes you're handed an opportunity to speak that you don't even know you're going to have. Only God could have brought me from third team as a rookie to a starter and Rookie of the Year," he said.
And:
One unique opportunity for Roethlisberger came midway through the season when he had the Steelers on a winning streak after taking over due to injuries to the quarterbacks ahead of him. Before a game, he wrote the initials on his armbands, "PFJ," for Playing For Jesus.

The NFL promptly fined the rookie an undisclosed amount for violating the league's uniform dress policy, but Roethlisberger said that wouldn't stop his witness.

"I had to be a little more careful after that, but I'm always going to express my faith. Guys express all kinds of products here in the league, so I'm going to keep expressing my faith," he said about the previously little-known incident.
And so I have to wonder what PFJ stands for now. Anyone want to weigh in? Feel free.

April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Today's the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Here's a short video on its history:



(h/t to Pittsburgh City Councilor Bill Peduto)

April 21, 2010

We're All In The Twilight Zone Now

You're travelling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination and wingnuttery. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the Twilight Zone!

Submitted for your consideration: one Sue Lowden, a Senate candidate who believes the solution to a lack of insurance is to barter with your doctor -- chickens for checkups if you will -- and she's the one ahead in the polls in the Twilight Zone.
Our next offering concerns the Georgia state legislature. They held hearings on a bill to ban involuntarily implanting people with microchips and got more than they bargained for when one witness told them how she already had a chip in her. She testified that it was implanted by the Pentagon in her "vaginal-rectum area" and her coworkers can set it off by using their phones in the Twilight Zone.
Finally, we have the curious case of a Muslim woman in the state of Maryland who wanted to foster a child. But after a home visit, her application was denied because, as a Muslim, she doesn't allow pork in her home and that would interfere with the "personal rights of the child" in the Twilight Zone.

It Ain't Easy Being Dan

It's all well and good being anti choice and not so benignly neglectful of LGBT issues when you're a Democratic politician in Southwestern PA, but take a campaign statewide and you're going to need to, say, broaden your horizons -- especially if you're running in a Democratic primary against real progressive Joe Hoeffel and pro choice Anthony Hardy Williams.

Onorato vs. Wagner is pretty much a wash on social issues, but Dan faces two more liberal candidates from the East so he's dancing as fast as he can and leading ever more to the left and ever more Big D Democratic (notice how his ad tag line is "The Democrat for Governor").

Dan's pretty much an unknown quantity in the rest of the state so he's taking advantage of the chance to reinvent himself.

Even here in the Burgh, Dan has gone all gay friendly (having a gay advisor donate a sound system for an LGBT group's endorsement meeting and helping to pack the vote, etc.), but now the abortion issue is coming back to bite Danny Boy on the ass.

As Chris Potter notes here, Dan was invited to the Americans for Christian Traditions in our Nation (ACTION) forum as a "pro life" candidate. Originally Onorato was sending a representative, but after Joe Hoeffel called him out on it, suddenly any participation by the Onorato campaign disappeared down the rabbit hole. (Nice going, Joe!)

By May, we expect Dan to be flashing peace signs and sporting a MoveOn button, then of course, a hard swing to the mighty right if he wins the primary.

PA politics right on schedule...

More On Arlen's Attack Ad

Yesterday the OPJ wrote about a blogpost at Potter's Slag Heap.

Potter's post described a new attack ad by Arlen Specter:
Not for nothing is Arlen Specter known as a fierce campaigner. This morning, I caught his latest attack ad (viewable here) on Democratic rival Joe Sestak.

The ad refers to Sestak as "No-Show Joe," citing some 127 votes he's missed in Congress. (Team Specter has even helpfully crafted a Web site on the matter.) It also attacks Sestak at the very heart of his campaign -- by challenging his military service.

Specter's ad notes that Sestak, a three-star admiral in the U.S. Navy, was removed from a command post for creating a "poor command climate."
It is a pretty sleazy attack, if you ask me.

In any event, with a little digging, we find a little more to this story. From a blog at the NYTimes, we find a link to this piece at the Philadelphia Inquirer where we read:
In 2001, as a two-star admiral, he was assigned by his mentor Adm. Vern Clark, the top officer in the Navy at the time, to revamp the Navy for the future. Clark and Sestak believed in a more nimble, sleeker Navy to fight terrorism. Sestak scoured the budgets and proposed deep cuts to the fleet, using computer technology to link fewer ships more effectively.

The plans struck fear around the E-Ring, where Sestak was also earning a reputation for driving his 100-member planning staff hard. He would show up sometimes at 4 a.m. and stay until 9 or 10 p.m. He was infamous for calling staff meetings at 9 p.m. on Friday and demanding that everyone return by 10 a.m. Saturday.

In July 2005, Adm. Mike Mullen, now Obama's Joint Chiefs chairman, took over as the chief of naval operations and, on his first day, relieved Sestak of his post, citing "poor command climate."

Clark, in an interview, said he now worries he did not do enough to protect his protege.

"He did what I asked him to do; I wanted straight talk, and this put him in the crosshairs," Clark said. "People are going to say what they want to say, but he challenged people who did not want to be challenged. The guy is courageous, a patriot's patriot."

Indeed, the Navy is slowly moving toward a smaller fleet, as Clark and Sestak envisioned.
That's what was meant by "poor command climate" I guess.

Arlen's a sleaze - there, I said it.

April 20, 2010

And, in the "Anybody But Another Ravenstahl" Race...

...or as some refer to it the "PA General Assembly District 20" race, Lady Elaine interviews Democratic primary candidates Tim Tuinstra and Mark Purcell.

Specter gets ugly (no surprise here)

And the negative campaigning is on!

Chris Potter @ Slag Heap posts on Arlen Specter's new TV ad (view here) on air now:
The ad refers to Sestak as "No-Show Joe," citing some 127 votes he's missed in Congress. (Team Specter has even helpfully crafted a Web site on the matter.) It also attacks Sestak at the very heart of his campaign -- by challenging his military service.
Meanwhile, Sestak may finally start airing ads today according to PoliticsPA with this being the first one:


If you'd like to judge Sestak for yourself, he's back in town at today's Equal Pay Rally (details here).

Palin & Bachmann are actually twins!

BlueGal has has the goods at Crooks and Liars here.

We've poked around and found further photographic evidence:

More Sloppy Work At The Trib

This time from someone who (as he is an academic) should know better.

Oh, and there's a little tribbing going on as well - but more on that in a minute.

Ralph Reiland, associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University, writes this in today's Pittsburgh Tribune Review:
Here's the news from The New York Times last Wednesday, the day before Tax Day: "Forty-seven percent. That's the portion of American households that owe no (federal) income tax for 2009. The number is up from 38 percent in 2007."

Given that jump among no-pays in just two years, it won't be many days before the majority of American households are taking out more than they're putting in when it comes to income tax monies.

And by paying zero, what's their incentive to keep from pushing for more spending on every federal boondoggle that's funded by the income tax, no matter how wasteful or crooked the project? To better feather their own nests, why shouldn't they all be riding around with "Raise the Income Tax" bumper stickers on their cars?
But when we go to the Times we find that Reiland's quoting a column and not the news. Professor, if you're going to quote something, you have to give it it's proper attribution. In this case it's a column by David Leonhardt, economics columnist at the NYTimes. But that's the small point as we should expect the facts in a column to be factual (not always the case at The Trib, but you know what I mean).

The larger point is that while Reiland's improperly quoting the column, he's also misquoting it. Take a look at the sentences that directly follow what Reiland called "the news":
That’s the portion of American households that owe no income tax for 2009. The number is up from 38 percent in 2007, and it has become a popular talking point on cable television and talk radio. With Tax Day coming on Thursday, 47 percent has become shorthand for the notion that the wealthy face a much higher tax burden than they once did while growing numbers of Americans are effectively on the dole.

Neither one of those ideas is true. They rely on a cleverly selective reading of the facts. So does the 47 percent number. [emphasis added]
Professor, if you are going to quote something, you have to make sure that it says what you say it says or you have to explain why it doesn't.

Here's more from the NYTimes column - stuff Reiland dutifully omitted:
The 47 percent number is not wrong. The stimulus programs of the last two years — the first one signed by President George W. Bush, the second and larger one by President Obama — have increased the number of households that receive enough of a tax credit to wipe out their federal income tax liability.

But the modifiers here — federal and income — are important. Income taxes aren’t the only kind of federal taxes that people pay. There are also payroll taxes and investment taxes, among others. And, of course, people pay state and local taxes, too.

Even if the discussion is restricted to federal taxes (for which the statistics are better), a vast majority of households end up paying federal taxes. Congressional Budget Office data suggests that, at most, about 10 percent of all households pay no net federal taxes. The number 10 is obviously a lot smaller than 47.
And the tribbing? Reiland quotes the Tax Foundation - another Scaife funded thinktank.



Given that Reiland works for Richard Mellon Scaife and his boss has sent at least a quarter of a million dollars in the last three years to a think tank he cites in his column, doncha think Reiland should have mentioned that?

Transparency and all...

Why Women Do Not Deserve Equal Pay

1) They are responsible for earthquakes.

2) Equal pay? They shouldn't even be allowed to vote!


All kidding aside, don't forget today's rally.

April 19, 2010

Sister Sarah Speaks From On High


Sister Sarah brings the new and improved
US Constitution down from Mount Sinai.

Sarah Palin speaking at an evangelical women’s conference (via The Plum Line):
I beg you, Women of Joy, to bring light and be involved, loving America and praying for her. Really, it is our solemn duty. Praying for true spiritual awakening to overcome deterioration. That is where God wants us to be. Lest anyone try to convince you that God should be separated from the state, our Founding Fathers, they were believers. And George Washington, he saw faith in God as basic to life.
(Pssst. Sarah. It was the founders who created the separation of church and state. )

April 20th: Equal Pay Day Rally in Pittsburgh


Via the Women and Girls Foundation:

April 20th is National Equal Pay Day. This day symbolizes how much longer a woman has to work to earn the same amount of money that a man has earned the previous year. Nationally, women earn about 77 cents for every dollar a man earns but in Pennsylvania women earn only 75 cents while in Pittsburgh they earn even less: 74 cents.

Every year the Women and Girls Foundation organizes a rally downtown to mobilize the community on the issue of gender wage gap. Here is the information for this year's WGF Equal Pay DayRally:

2010 Equal Pay Day Rally

WHEN: April 20, 2010, 12 noon to 1pm

WHERE: Mellon Square Park (the park between the Regional Enterprise Towers and the Omni William Penn Hotel)

To learn more about WGF: http://www.wgfpa.org/ Questions? info@wgfpa.org

You can RSVP here.

We've Been Here So Many Times Before

Tribune Review - Heritage Foundation - No one mentions the money.

In today's Trib, Craig Smith has another interview with another representative of an organization who's received Scaife Foundation money.

Last time it was Michelle Bernard of the Independent Women's Forum ($2.1 million to the IWF in the last 15 years)

This time it's our old stand-by The Heritage Foundation. ($23 million to Heritage over the last few decades).

I know it's redundant. I know I shouldn't expect any sort of transparency from Richard Mellon Scaife's rag, but I wouldn't be doing my blogger job if I didn't ask the question:
Why is there no mention in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review of the huge financial support given to the Heritage Foundation by foundations controlled by Richard Mellon Scaife, owner of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in this interview with a representative of the Heritage Foundation?
There's been millions of dollars worth of support from Richard Mellon Scaife flowing to The Heritage Foundation over the years. Some of it has to have gone to Carafano. Carafano is interviewed by an employee of Richard Mellon Scaife's newspaper, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review with no mention of it at all.

The circle jerk continues, my friends.

What the hell?!

UPDATE: This post has been linked to at Shakesville.


Milledgeville Georgia Mayor Richard Bentley

Here's Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley on the alleged sexual assault by Ben Roethlisberger in his town (via TMZ):
"Anything that can draw interest to our town and make people want to visit, we would like."

"If it peaks people's interest about our city, we would certainly welcome them here."

Good on him for not wanting to let go of a good thing.

But, a really great mayor would be proactive.

How about guided tours of the bar with reenactments?

How's about a new town slogan. Something like: "What happens in Milledgeville stays in Milledgeville because we'll fuck up the investigation."

OK, granted, a little long for a slogan. Maybe they can just shorten it to something snappier like:

"Milledgeville: We're rapetastic!"

or

"Our bitches are drunk! - Help yourself!"

Maybe I'm being too harsh. Maybe TMZ took Bentley's comments out of context...Oh, wait. There is no possible context in which his comments would be anything less than beneath contempt.

Fucking asshole.

Oh yeah, speaking of fucking assholes: DUMP BEN!

April 18, 2010

...And Potter Says,

From the Slag Heap:
Usually I leave deconstructing Tribune-Review articles to the good folks at 2 Political Junkies: God knows it's important work, but you know -- life is pretty short.
He then goes on to dig into a passage from this Tribune-Review article:
The tea party patriots have been given a bum rap, according to Tim Hagle, an associate professor of political science at the University of Iowa.

"They've been treated unfairly in the media," he said.
Chris Potter finds, to no one's surprise, that Professor Hagle is hardly the non-partisan disinterested academic the Trib paints him as being. Though, after looking at his CV, he's no strict ideologue either. There's more than a few papers for what look like strictly academic publications (Encyclopedia of Research Methods for the Social Sciences, for example).

I guess the test as to transparency is found in a simple thought experiment. Imagine if the P-G were to quote a poli-sci professor saying that Moveon.org is getting a bum rap in the media. And then it turns out that this professor's the faculty advisor to his/her university's College Democrats and/or "Pro-choice coalition" or was found to have given $7,700 to various Democratic Party PACs and/or fundraisers?

You guessed it, the Trib would be outright screaming the liberal media bias found in erasing such information from the reporting.

Thanks for the shout-out, Chris.

Some Follow-up From Last Night

We talked alot about religion in general and Catholicism in particular. The overall point I tried to make was that my criticism was not with Catholicism per se but with the abuse of power revealed by the ongoing scandal in the Vatican.

At the end of the show Sean Collier made an interesting point about how the minute differences between the various denominations seem to overwhelm any notion of the similarities between denominations. I think I have that right. Sean, if you're reading this and I got it wrong, drop me a line and I'll fix it.

On the way I badly mangled a great Emo Philipps joke. For the sake of comedy karma, here's the joke - from the master himself:
Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump.

I said, "Don't do it!"

He said, "Nobody loves me."

I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"

He said, "Yes."

I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?"

He said, "A Christian."

I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?"

He said, "Protestant."

I said, "Me, too! What franchise?"

He said, "Baptist."

I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?"

He said, "Northern Baptist."

I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist."

I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region."

I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912."

I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over.
As proper comedy penance I present one more Emo religion joke fer y'inz:
When I was a kid, I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realised, the Lord doesn't work that way. So I just stole one and asked Him to forgive me ... and I got it!
I pray the comedy gods forgive me for so badly mangling The Word of The Emo.

McIntire Show

It was a good show. Here's the view from my chair:


And John, Gab and Sean Collier:

April 17, 2010

In Religion News

From The Washington Post:
A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled Thursday that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.

National Day of Prayer "goes beyond mere 'acknowledgment' of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context," U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb wrote. "In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience. . . .
Of course the wingnuts will disregard the opinion because she was nominated by a democrat president. A one term democrat president, no less. The one term democrat president Ronald Reagan saved the country from. Yea, Jimmy Carter nominated Crabb in 1979.

This is from page 4:
It bears emphasizing that a conclusion that the establishment clause prohibits the government from endorsing a religious exercise is not a judgment on the value of prayer or the millions of Americans who believe in its power. No one can doubt the important role that prayer plays in the spiritual life of a believer. In the best of times, people may pray as a way of expressing joy and thanks; during times of grief, many find that prayer provides comfort. Others may pray to give praise, seek forgiveness, ask for guidance or find the truth. “And perhaps it is not too much to say that since the beginning of th[e] history [of humans] many people have devoutly believed that ‘More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.'” Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 433 (1962). However, recognizing the importance of prayer to many people does not mean that the government may enact a statute in support of it, any more than the government may encourage citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify themselves in a sweat lodge or practice rune magic. In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual’s decision whether and when to pray.
From the conclusion:
I understand that many may disagree with that conclusion and some may even view it as a criticism of prayer or those who pray. That is unfortunate. A determination that the government may not endorse a religious message is not a determination that the message itself is harmful, unimportant or undeserving of dissemination. Rather, it is part of the effort to “carry out the Founders' plan of preserving religious liberty to the fullest extent possible in a pluralistic society.” McCreary County, 545 U.S. at 882 (O'Connor, J., concurring). The same law that prohibits the government from declaring a National Day of Prayer also prohibits it from declaring a National Day of Blasphemy. It is important to clarify what this decision does not prohibit. Of course, “[n]o law prevents a [citizen] who is so inclined from praying” at any time. Wallace, 472 U.S. at 83-84 (O’Connor, J., concurring in the judgment). And religious groups remain free to “organize a privately sponsored [prayer event] if they desire the company of likeminded” citizens. Lee, 505 U.S. at 629 (Souter, J., concurring). The President too remains free to discuss his own views on prayer. Van Orden, 545 U.S. at 723 (Stevens, J., dissenting). The only issue decided in this case is that the federal government may not endorse prayer in a statute as it has in §119.
Something tells me the wingnuts ain't gonna like this.

Um, What?

The Tribune-Review's got a new BFF - Dick Morris. Take a look:
Pennsylvania will be the "epicenter" of sweeping change that's coming in national elections this fall, political strategist and author Dick Morris told a gathering of 500 conservatives Friday night.

Morris was the keynote speaker at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, the premier annual gathering for grassroots activists and groups touting conservative causes.

The former adviser to President Clinton, and a favorite of many conservatives for his stinging rebukes of the Clintons and of President Obama, predicted Republicans will sweep the House and Senate races to take control of Congress, stop the health care law in its tracks and force a government shutdown when Obama vetoes the reversal.
Wow. That's a serious prediction, isn't it? Dick Morris must have made a career out of making serious predictions that came true, right? I mean to be invited to the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference and all. They must be interested in what he's written in the past, right?

I guess the folks over there missed this prediction from a book he co-wrote in 2005:
On January 20, 2009, at precisely noon, the world will witness the inauguration of the forty-fourth president of the United States. As the chief justice administers the oath of office on the flag-draped podium in front of the U.S. Capitol, the first woman president, Hillary Rodham Clinton, will be sworn into office. By her side, smiling broadly and holding the family Bible, will be her chief strategist, husband, and copresident, William Jefferson Clinton.
Then he amends his prediction:
But her victory is not inevitable. There is one, and only one, figure in America who can stop Hillary Clinton: Secretary of State Condoleezza "Condi" Rice. Among all of the possible Republican candidates for president, Condi alone could win the nomination, defeat Hillary, and derail a third Clinton administration.
Wow. Impressive.

So when Dick Morris writes this on the pages of the same Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
The Obama health care initiative will be the biggest unfunded federal mandate on the states in history. It will force dozens of states, particularly in the South, to abandon their low-tax ways and to move toward dramatically higher rates of taxation. It may even force Florida and Texas to impose an income tax!
We know he's full of crap, right?

Take a look at this chart from the Tax Policy Center. If I am reading it correctly, it's saying that no one making less than $500,000 per year will see a tax increase. No one.

Tell me again why we should trust this Dick?

And Now A Word From Jon Stewart

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tea America
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

April 16, 2010

Return Announcement

I know I'm not on the poster:
But I'll be a part of the show tomorrow.

Should be fun.

Let's go to the video tape!

Bill O'Lielly claims that nobody ever said on Fox News that people will go to jail if they don't buy health insurance. Right...

April 15, 2010

Um, Maybe They Should Look At This Guy

The AP (by way of the Cybercast News Service) is reporting:
Organizers of tax-day tea parties are preparing for their biggest day of the year Thursday, as thousands of demonstrators participate in local rallies against high taxes and big government spending. But the leaders are striving to keep the rallies from presenting another image: one of fringe groups, extremists or infiltrators obsessed with hateful messages.

Sensitive that poor public perception could sink their movement, some rally planners have uninvited controversial speakers, beefed up security and urged participants to pack cameras to capture evidence of any disrupters. Organizers want to project a peaceful image of people upset by a growing and burdensome federal government.

"We don't want to be misrepresented, whether it's by someone who is not part of the group and has their own agenda, or whether it's by some fringe extremist who may actually be a racist," said Jim Hoft, a political blogger and tea party activist who is one of the speakers for a rally in suburban St. Louis.
Maybe they should take a look at this guy in Ohio:
Police are searching for a local Tea Party leader in Ohio who is wanted for violating a temporary protection order. Meanwhile, speakers at a Tea Party rally organized by the man, Brian "Sonny" Thomas, have pulled out after he suggested in a tweet that he wanted to shoot Hispanic immigrants -- then blaming it on a Bee Gees song.

Thomas is the founder and president of the Springboro Tea Party in southwest Ohio. He faces a misdemeanor charge after recently going to the home of the mother of his son, in violation of a protection order. The woman had previously told police that their son had returned from Thomas's home with bruises.

Thomas had already been in hot water, after he tweeted during a march in support of immigration reform: "Illegals everywhere today! So many spicks makes me feel like a speck. Grr. Where's my gun?"

Thomas's son, and the son's mother, are Hispanic.
For the record Thomas has denied the allegations of domestic abuse:
In a phone interview, Thomas denied ever bruising his son, as was alleged in a domestic violence child protection order, and emphasized his anger was focused on illegal immigrants and not legal American citizens with mixed heritage, like his son.
Here's that BeeGees song. The "Spicks and Specks" line is about a minute or so in (just before the Barry Manilow modulation):


And here's the line:
Where are the girls I left all behind, the spicks and the specks of the girls on my mind?
If this is the intellectual level of tea-party organizers, then they've got bigger problems than taxes and "Obamacare."

April 14, 2010

Three strikes you're out


Click here to send one to a friend.

Fact-Checking The Trib

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review today dutifully parrots a conservative talking point. And of course, it get the facts, well, wrong.

Take a look. This is from today's editorial page:
Yet another litmus test on Obamanomics is in and, as anyone with an ounce of sense predicted, the results are not good.

The U.S. Commerce Department says real personal income has dropped by 3.2 percent since President Change took office.

"It is proof that the government can't spend its way to prosperity," Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, told The Washington Times.
Not exactly true. But let's start out with the expert they site. While it's true that Douglas Holtz-Eakin was director of the CBO (and that tag, obviously, is floated in an attempt to show he's non-partisan) he's now president of something called the American Action Forum. Partnered with the American Action Network and only formed recently, the purpose of the Forum and the Network are, according to the Wall Street Journal:
At least half a dozen leaders of the Republican Party have joined forces to create a new political group with the goal of organizing grass-roots support and raising funds ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, according to people familiar with the effort.

The organizational details of the group, expected to be called the American Action Network, are still being worked out, but it is expected to contain both a 501(c)3 and a 501(c)4 component. In simpler terms, a 501(c)3 can advocate on policy matters while a 501(c)4 is an election arm.

Republican leaders expected to be affiliated with the group include former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Bush adviser Karl Rove, Republican strategist Ed Gillespie, and Republican donor Fred Malek.

A House leadership aide told Washington Wire today that Rob Collins, a political operative and senior aide to House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, is leaving Capitol Hill to be the executive director of the 501(c)4.
So he's hardly non-partisan.

Back to the Trib, though. The editorial quotes this Washington Times article. You'll note what the Trib omits. If you missed it I'll point it out after the quotation:
Real personal income for Americans - excluding government payouts such as Social Security - has fallen by 3.2 percent since President Obama took office in January 2009, according to the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis.

For comparison, real personal income during the first 15 months in office for President George W. Bush, who inherited a milder recession from his predecessor, dropped 0.4 percent. Income excluding government payouts increased 12.7 percent during Mr. Bush's eight years in office.
What did the Trib omit? The fact that Obama inherited a worse recession than Dubya did AND that the numbers they're using exclude "government payouts such as Social Security." But what if we include those payouts? The Washington Times hides this at the end of the article:
Personal income with government "transfers" - which include such federal money as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and food stamps - has grown during Mr. Obama's time in office, up 1.2 percent from January 2009 to February 2010. During that period, government unemployment insurance benefits rose from $88 billion to $143 billion.
Given the horrendous recession Obama inherited from Dubya, it's not difficult to see why.

But of course such nuance is lost on Scaife's gang. Here's some artwork to clarify things.


See the downturn. Now see the up turn. See when it happened.

Now go read the Trib's editorial again. See how silly.

Joe Sestak breaks on through to the other side


Joe Sestak breaks on through to the other side

With the Pennsylvania primary election for U.S. Senate just a month away, the news is all good for challenger Rep. Joe Sestak (D) and all bad for incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter (R D).

First, Lil Ricky Santorum sucker punched Arlen by declaring that he had endorsed him over Toomey in 2004 because he made a deal with the then Republican Specter:
"The reason I endorsed Arlen Specter is because we were going to have two Supreme Court nominees coming up. I got a commitment from Arlen Specter that no matter who George W. Bush would nominate, he would support that nominee."
Specter, of course, denied this and Sestak pounced on the news:
"Rick Santorum’s stunning confirmation that Arlen Specter sold his influence as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee for a political endorsement should be extremely troubling to Pennsylvanians," the Democratic challenger said. "There are few people in this nation who have a greater impact on the lives of the American people than the men and women who serve lifetime appointments on the Supreme Court.

"For Arlen Specter to take his marching orders from Rick Santorum and George W. Bush and pledge to support any nominee — no matter how partisan, no matter how unqualified — in order to win an election is a stunning betrayal of his duty as a public servant," he continued. "This is one of the most glaring of the many red flags in Specter’s record that he is willing to put his own political survival over his principles and his duty to the people."

Next, WAPO's The Fix listed the reasons why the conventional wisdom that Arlen has the race all tied up could be wrong. Theses include Sestak's sizable war chest, a campaign strategy that calls for a blitz in the last month, and the belief that Specter has peaked and Sestak has plenty of room to grow.

And just in, via PA2010, a new poll has Sestak catching up to Specter:

The Rasmussen survey of likely Democratic primary voters showed Sestak trailing Specter by a statistically insignificant two points, 44 percent to 42 percent. Ten percent of voters are still undecided, according to the poll.

At first glance, the survey appears to be something of a statistical outlier. A Rasmussen poll with a similar sample just one month ago found Sestak down 11 points, and little has transpired since then that would account for such a change. Neither candidate had aired TV ads when the poll was conducted. However, the telephone survey was taken on Monday, just as former Senator Rick Santorum’s accusation that he endorsed Specter in 2004 because Specter promised to back Bush administration judicial nominees was at its peak in the news cycle.
So is Arlen feeling the heat? Well, he did just start broadcasting a series of three TV ads which focus on blue collar workers. You can view them here.

April 13, 2010

Important Announcement

This Saturday, I'll be a part of John McIntire's POLITICAL PUNDIT SHOW.

You should go.

Who Knew?

Take a look at this:

Who knew Keith Olbermann was a Pirate fan??

Tea Party NY Gov Candidate's Racist & Hardcore Porn Emails


Meet Carl Paladino. He's the Tea-Party-backed Republican candidate for governor of New York. You can see from his campaign website masthead above that he's "for the people," but if you read his emails you'll see he's not for all the people.

WNYmedia obtained dozens of emails either sent by Paladino or forwarded by him that contain outrageous racism, hardcore pornography and bestiality.

Here's a small sample:


(This is only a snapshot of the video as the original has been
banned from YouTube. It shows African tribesmen
dancing (get it!). WNYmedia notes that it was popular at
the skinhead website Stormfront.org. You may recall
that cop-killer RichardPoplawski kept an account there.)


(This one needs no comment. He also sent an email
embedded with a video entitled “Miss France 2008 fucking”)

According to Talking Points Memo:
Paladino's campaign manager, Michael Caputo, would not comment on specific emails, but acknowledged to TPMmuckraker that Paladino had sent emails that were "off-color" and "politically incorrect," saying that few such emails represented the candidate's own opinion. Caputo accused Democrats of wanting to change the subject from substantive issues to "having sex with horses."

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Paladino is anti choice and anti same-sex marriage. Also, according to TPM, Paladino considers himself "the only Republican in the race who agrees 100 percent with conservative values." (OK, you can stop laughing/weeping now.)

Additionally WNYmedia notes, he "even counted Governor Paterson’s admitted affair as evidence of Albany corruption – until the media found out about his own extramarital affair and child birthed out of wedlock."

Apropos of nothing, The Pittsburgh Tea Party Movement will hold its second annual Tax Day Tea Party on April 15th in Mellon Square Park and the Southwest PA T.E.A. Party will hold their "Let It Begin Here!" tea party on Saturday April 17th at the Greensburg-Jeannette Regional Airport. (Hey, guys! Never let it be said that I ignore your events.)

April 12, 2010

"Clean" Coal: Digging fresh graves and digging up old ones

Just watch:

Ask Aunt Maria!



While people writing to Ask Aunt Maria! generally don't sign their real names, some -- for whatever reason -- desire an even higher degree of anonymity and don't even want their letters published. Today's column is an all confidential one in light of their wishes, so if you don't see your pen name here, just move along.


Confidential to Puzzled POTUS: You just don't get it. Not only will these people never be your BFF, they aren't even frenemies. Anyone short of Robert Bork himself will be rejected by them as too left wing, so just pick a flaming liberal already.

Confidential to Big Papa: You're another one who just doesn't get it. There is no way to "fix" this. Resign already. Say you want to spend more time with your family have health issues or whatever, but go now. Your letter from 1985 saying how you need to "consider the good of the Universal Church" -- you might as well have been humming "Deutschland, Deutschland Vatican, Vatican über alles" while writing it. For the actual good of the Universal Church, just go.

Confidential to J in McCandless: If you want to know how to get the jury's sympathy, here's a start. Three words: Lose the Bumpit. Also, some of the jurors may be fellow Italians, so you may want to lay off the offensive Mafia references. Just sayin'.

Confidential to Golf Daddy: OK, I may be a little late in answering this one, but assuming you can read this from...somewhere: Yes, your kid is a total douchenozzle. Sorry.

The Trib and Taxes

From today's Editorial Page:
A tax system that's letting almost half of U.S. households pay no 2009 federal income taxes at all lacks fairness and simplicity and disengages too many Americans from matters of critical public importance.

The Washington-based Tax Policy Center says about 47 percent of households owe no such taxes because their incomes were too low for them to owe anything, or credits, deductions and exemptions eliminated their liability. Meanwhile, households with earnings in the top 10 percent will pay about 73 percent of federal income taxes
Here's what the TPC actually says:
About 45 percent of households will owe no federal income tax in 2010, according to our estimates. Half of them earn too little, while the other half -- mostly middle- and lower-income households -- will take advantage of tax credits such as the earned income credit, the child and child-care credits, the American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning credits, which help pay for college, and the saver's credit, which subsidizes retirement saving.

But even citizens who pay no income tax still pay other kinds of taxes. They pay Social Security and Medicare taxes when they work, sales taxes when they buy things and property taxes on their homes. Drivers pay gasoline taxes, and smokers and drinkers pay excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol. According to our research, more than 75 percent of us will pay at least some form of federal tax in 2010.

Those who pay no federal taxes are mostly the low-income elderly or very poor families with children. Even about half of those with annual incomes under $10,000 pay some federal tax, most often payroll taxes on wages.
Is the Trib editorial board actually looking to raise taxes on the working poor?

By the way the same Tax Policy Center says that it's a myth that Americans are over taxed.

Let's see the Trib push that one.