Democracy Has Prevailed.

March 30, 2011

Of Squirmishes and Turd Sandwiches


Half-Governor Sarah Palin is at it again. The Shakespeare of Wasilla has created another new word. While criticizing President Obama on our action in Libya, she said the following:

“[D]o we use the term intervention, do we use war, do we use squirmish?”
Uh, Sarah. May I call you Sarah? I guarantee you that Obama doesn't call it a "squirmish." And, personally, I get all "squirmish" whenever you speak:

"Turd Sandwich"

Besides, apparently he's calling it a "turd sandwich":

Ha! This One's Funny!

From today's Tribune-Review:
The George Soros-funded liberal group Media Matters might be violating its tax-exempt educational status by announcing it will engage in "guerrilla warfare and sabotage" against Fox News, says Mark Tapscott of The Examiner in Washington. That's because the group's 501(C)(3) status prohibits partisan political activity. The IRS will nip this in the bud, right? If we had a buck for every snicker just snorted, we'd be rich.
Here's the politico article the Scaife-funded editorial board references. In it, Mark Tapscott writes:
Media Matters, the George Soros-backed liberal agit-prop shock troops based in the nation’s capital, has declared war on Fox News, and in the process quite possibly has stepped across the line of legality.

David Brock, MM’s founder, was quoted Saturday by Politico promising that his organization is mounting “guerrila warfare and sabotage” against Fox News, which he said “is not a news organization. It is the de facto leader of the GOP, and it is long past time that it is treated as such by the media, elected officials and the public.”

To that end, Brock told Politico that MM will “focus on [News Corp. CEO Rupert] Murdoch and trying to disrupt his commercial interests …” Murdoch is the founder of Fox News and a media titan with newspaper, broadcast, Internet and other media countries around the world.

There is nothing in the Politico article to suggest that Brock, who was paid just under $300,000 in 2009, according to the group’s most recently available tax return, has moved to change his organization’s tax status as a 501(C)(3) tax-exempt educational foundation.
Here's the Politico article Tapscott references.

The only problem with this whole argument is that the only way for Fox "News" to defend itself is to declare that it IS a part of the GOP. Fair and balanced, no more.

Even then, it's iffy -because here's what the IRS actually says:
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.

Certain activities or expenditures may not be prohibited depending on the facts and circumstances. For example, certain voter education activities (including presenting public forums and publishing voter education guides) conducted in a non-partisan manner do not constitute prohibited political campaign activity. In addition, other activities intended to encourage people to participate in the electoral process, such as voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, would not be prohibited political campaign activity if conducted in a non-partisan manner.

On the other hand, voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention. [emphasis added.]
So unless Mediamatters starts telling people to favor one campaign or set of campaigns looks like they're safe.

Another made up scandal brought to you by the right wing media noise machine.

March 29, 2011

Bumped Into A Retired Admiral This Afternoon

Coincidences are fun!

Late this afternoon I found this at Early Returns 2.0:
The former Navy admiral and congressman is back in Pittsburgh today after speaking at a Marcellus Shale conference, and continuing his thank-you tour of supporters from his US Senate run.
Not 20 minutes later, I as I am leaving the building I work in who should I see walking towards the coffee shop in the lobby?

The former Navy admiral and congressman, Joe Sestak.

Obviously, he had no idea who I was (and why would he?) but he shook my hand graciously as he thanked me for supporting him in his bid for the Senate.

Classy guy all around.

But Ginny, He IS A War Criminal

My friend Ginny wrote yesterday:
The very day I outed myself as Virginia Montanez instead of PittGirl, Chad Hermann at the Radical Middle latched on to this letter to the editor I wrote when George Bush was re-elected, wondering how my readers were going to like me knowing I was a Republican. This resulted in some uproar from readers who were shocked I ever voted for a “war criminal.” Yes. WAR CRIMINAL. I voted for him because as you already know ME LOVE KILLING! GRRRRR.
But Ginny, why the use of the ironic quotation marks? Bush IS a war criminal and he was when you voted for him in 2004. He approved the waterboarding of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and KSM (as he's known in intelligence circles) was waterboarded in 2003 - well before the 2004 election.

I don't think I need to spell out (again) how waterboarding is torture and how torture is against international and US law and how torture is a war crime, do I?

Even without the Bush-approved torture, the case could be made for war criminal by the invasion of Iraq itself and the dishonesty he used to support it - where were the connections to al-Qaeda? the sale of uranium in Niger? the WMD? They were no where to be found. The foundations for the war were fraudulent even if the war resulted in halting Saddam Hussein's murderous regime. Bottom line is that all that blood (American, Iraqi, British, etc) IS on Dubya's hands.

Whatever else belongs in your otherwise thoughtful and nuanced blog post, the irony quotes don't.

Perhaps I misunderstood (and if I did, then I apologize in advance) and you DO think that Bush is a war criminal and you were merely quoting one or more readers with your use of the quotation marks.

If that's the case, then why the vote for the war criminal?

March 28, 2011

Teh Tea Party Crazie - Herman Cain Edition

Stumbled across this at the Huffingtonpost. It's about Herman Cain and his tea party try at the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. Here's a taste:
His candidacy is not taken seriously by party regulars, but Tea Party organizers in the crowd said Cain has been working hard to gain their support here in Iowa since the summer of 2009.

And his speech had lots of red meat for a Tea Party audience.

“We’ve got some altering and abolishing to do,” Cain said, referencing the Declaration of Independence. “The Founders got it right. It is within the power of the United States of America to alter stuff that we don’t like. We don’t like this radical socialism that’s being shoved down our throats.”

Talking to reporters afterwards, Cain also said he thinks the imposition of Islamic Sharia law is a legitimate threat in America and that he would not appoint any Muslims to any positions in his Cabinet if he were elected. [emphasis added.]
I guess he's never read the constitution. Article VI, Paragraph 3:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. [emphasis added]
But where would someone like Herman Cain get his informaiton?

Take a look:

He said:
I read a lot of the papers that are published by The Heritage Foundation. I happen to think–and I’m not on their board, they don’t pay me–they happen to be one of the greatest of sources of accurate analysis, policy and information we have in this country.
Too bad simple Constructional Law doesn't seem to be included - or if it is, it's not enough to overcome some obvious religious bigotry.

As able a public speaker as he is, to Cain it's all about the threat of Sharia Law:
“I get upset when the Muslims in this country, some of them, try to force their sharia law onto the rest of us,” Cain said.
As opposed to those Christians who are trying to force their biblical law onto the rest of us. That's OK, I guess.

Not surprising he's a tea party favorite.

March 25, 2011

More On John Stossel

From Talkingpointsmemo:
Stossel was on Fox & Friends [on March 24] to discuss some high-paying government jobs recently reported in The Daily Caller. The report found that the "Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs needs someone to run the Facebook page for the Dept. of the Interior and they'll pay up to $115,000 a year." Stossel took that as an opportunity to wonder about the entire concept of a Bureau of Indian Affairs.

"Why is there a Bureau of Indian Affairs?" he said. "There is no Bureau of Puerto Rican Affairs or Black Affairs or Irish Affairs. And no group in America has been more helped by the government than the American Indians, because we have the treaties, we stole their land. But 200 years later, no group does worse."
The video:

Good to see he includes the "we stole their land" part. So I guess he's not a complete moron. From the Department of State:
The story of westward expansion by European Americans is a basic theme of the American experience, but it also is a history of Indian removal from their traditional lands. Indians lost their lands by purchase and through war, disease, and even extermination, but many transfers of Indian land were formalized by treaty. The Constitution of 1789 empowered Congress to "regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes. Federal policy regarded each tribe as a sovereign entity capable of signing binding treaties with the U.S. Government. In the first 40 years of the new republic, the United States signed multiple treaties with Indian tribes, which usually followed a basic pattern: the signatory tribe withdrew to a prescribed reservation and in return the federal government promised to provide supplies, food, and often an annuity. In 1830, Congress chose to disregard Indian treaty guarantees when it passed the Indian Removal Act, a bill engineered by President Andrew Jackson. Despite its language suggesting a voluntary and fair "exchange" of lands, the act opened the door for the militias of trans-Appalachian and Southern States to simply drive the Indians across the Mississippi by force. The Indians' destination was to be an "Indian Territory" set aside west of Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas.
The U.S. Government's inability and unwillingness to abide by its treaty obligations with Indian tribes was clearly related to an insatiable demand for cheap land for European settlers. To make matter more difficult, Indians generally had a different concept of land ownership than Europeans, emphasizing land use for hunting, farming, or dwelling for the tribe, but not recognizing the concept of individual ownership. Indian society was loose, decentralized, democratic, and nonauthoritarian where "chiefs" were often men of respect and informal authority but not designated by the tribe to make decisions. The result was that treaties were often signed with Indian leaders who did not have the authority of the tribe. Whether the system of Indian treaties were ever meant to work is a matter of debate, but in reality, most Indian treaties were broken.
Nice to see Stossel acknowledged the treaties as well.

Moron. On Fox "News" of course.

March 24, 2011

It's a twister!

Photo by Mike Lupinacci a friend of Mike Lupinacci

We don't get many actual tornadoes out this way (more straight-line winds), but it sure looks like one touched down yesterday evening in Westmoreland County (Post-Gazette, Tribune-Review).

Fort Allen seemed to be the hardest hit area according to the local TV news reports. Also hit was Hempfield High School (my alma mater) where the roof was torn off of the mini-auditorium and the field house. Fortunately, no one was hurt even though students were participating in after-school activities at the time. Here's a video of it about to hit the school:

Here on the South Side of Pittsburgh, we experienced large marble-sized hail. (I joined half my neighbors on my block rushing to our windows to see what was making all that racket.)

I have to admit that while I'm very happy that no one was hurt at good ol' HASH (Hempfield Area Sr. High as it was called back in the day), I did spend one or more study halls wishing that a twister would spirit me or the whole school off Wizard of Oz-style. On that note, while I was looking for footage on YouTube, I came across the following video. While it's from the Class the year before mine, it gave me a good laugh.

WARNING! This video contains more scenes of feathered hair than is recommended for viewing in a single sitting!

(Or just watch the movie Dazed and Confused)


Many Thanks To Dan Malloy!

With his "Daily Santorum" posts at Early Returns 2.0, he's keeping a watchful eye on Lil Ricky for us.

Many thanks, Dan. On the one hand, it saves me the time of researching Rick myself. On the other, it effectively removes an occasional thread from this blog - the "What's Rick doing to embarrass himself these days?" thread. Why should I bother when Dan Malloy does it so much better?

Again thanks, Dan. Thanks bunches, ya rat basterd.

Recently (well yesterday) Dan posted this:
Now that he's free to appear on any network he wants, presidential hopeful Rick Santorum popped up on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" on Tuesday to offer his views on the Libyan bombing campaign. This appearance raised a very important question. Not what he thinks about Libya -- that's old news -- but rather: Does Santorum have a new haircut? The notion was first posited on Twitter by our news partner Jon Delano at KDKA and does, indeed, prompt some reflection in these parts.
Looks like Rick's hair is certainly...uh...fluffier.

My first instinct was to go with "poofier" but I rejected its use as that term, in our current Post-Dan Savage age, has implications about Rick that I'd rather not make.

Wanna know what our favorite ex-Senatorial embarrassment is doing? Go read Dan Malloy at the P-G.

March 23, 2011

No Death Panels

Reg Henry starts out his column this morning with:
Today marks the one-year anniversary of President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act, if you support it -- or Obamacare, if you don't.

As one who supports the law but is disappointed in one aspect, I have a question: So where are the death panels already?

No death panels are in sight, and some of us are dying to see them implemented. It just goes to show that Big Government can't organize a booze-up in a brewery.
Not that he thinks they're lurking. A few paragraphs later:
Actually, we were told by the critics of health care all sorts of bad things would happen that, in fact, haven't happened.
No Death Panels. Mediamatters has a history of the lie and how it spread and that got me to thinking.

The lie started with Betsy McCaughey (transcript via mediamatters):
And one of the most shocking things I found in this bill, and there were many, is on Page 425, where the Congress would make it mandatory -- absolutely require -- that every five years, people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner, how to decline nutrition, how to decline being hydrated, how to go in to hospice care. And by the way, the bill expressly says that if you get sick somewhere in that five-year period -- if you get a cancer diagnosis, for example -- you have to go through that session again. All to do what's in society's best interest or your family's best interest and cut your life short. These are such sacred issues of life and death. Government should have nothing to do with this.
Politifact debunked the claim:
Republicans have found many reasons to oppose the Democrats' health care proposal, but this is one of the oddest.

Betsy McCaughey, chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and former lieutenant governor of New York state, says the bill goes too far to encourage senior citizens to end their lives.

On the radio show of former Sen. Fred Thompson on July 16, 2009, McCaughey said "Congress would make it mandatory — absolutely require — that every five years people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner."
And their summation:
For our ruling on this one, there's really no gray area here. McCaughey incorrectly states that the bill would require Medicare patients to have these counseling sessions and she is suggesting that the government is somehow trying to interfere with a very personal decision. And her claim that the sessions would "tell [seniors] how to end their life sooner" is an outright distortion. Rather, the sessions are an option for elderly patients who want to learn more about living wills, health care proxies and other forms of end-of-life planning. McCaughey isn't just wrong, she's spreading a ridiculous falsehood. That's a Pants on Fire.
Didn't stop our very own Jerry Bowyer from chiming in. In the video clip Jerry's screaming about Section 1233 of HR 3200. You can find it here. Though you won't find the "death panels" in there.

Never were there in the first place.

March 22, 2011

Can you help complete the Fallen Heroes Memorial?

Via Councilman Bill Peduto yesterday:
People Asked to Help Complete Memorial Needed 200 in 2 weeks

PITTSBURGH – April 4th will mark the two year anniversary of the tragic and untimely death of three of Pittsburgh’s finest. Last year on April 4th, the community came together to announce the plans for a permanent memorial to be built at St. Joseph’s church on Liberty Avenue. This April 4th, on the two year anniversary, plans are in place to unveil this important tribute.

In order to complete the last of the fundraising, Councilman William Peduto and the Fallen Heroes Memorial Committee will announce today the launch of a new memorial patron campaign. In the next two weeks, 200 people will have the opportunity to become patrons of the memorial by donating $100. Patrons will receive a commemorative certificate and window decal to represent their important role in finishing this memorial.

The press conference will take place at 1:30 PM today at St. Joseph’s Church - 4712 Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield (Intersection of Liberty and Pearl).

For those not able to attend, please note that someone can become a patron by:

1) Mailing a contribution to

Permanent Memorial for Fallen Heroes
c/o Bloomfield Development Corporation
366 Gross St.
Pittsburgh, Pa. 15224


3)By phone at 412-681-8800

I Would Be Remiss If I Didn't Say:

Happy Birthday JS!

(One day late, sorry)

Yesterday was the birthday of the greatest contrapuntist contrapuntalist counterpointer contrapuntal composer in the history of western music.

Ya don't think so? Give a listen:

Wait - there's one more:

Happy Birthday, Jack!

March 21, 2011

A Visit To Crazie Central

And by that I mean, of course, World Net Daily.

If ever you want to see what teh crazie is thinking, go check out WND. Just make sure you're not drinking any sort of beverage as you read. An involuntary spit take may commence.

I was going to write primarily about this Victoria Jackson column I found over the weekend. She manages to cram a lifetime of crazie into a few hundred words. It's breath taking. First there's the religious bigotry:
Frankly, I'm afraid to say anything about Muslims. Why? Because they kill people.
In fact she, opened with that. Then there's the religious bigotry mixed with just random dishonesty:
Why do liberals embrace Shariah law even though "beheading your wife" seems to go against the feminist movement's mantra? Why do liberals embrace Islam knowing it frowns on homosexuality?

Because they have the same goals. Progressives, communists, liberals, globalists and Muslims want to destroy America.
Pay attention to teh gay. It bubbles up later. After her opening, Jackson wrote out a skit/interview (and I am guessing she thinks it's comedy) with Katie Couric about a new al-Qaeda woman's magazine (and no I did not make that past part up). Jackson concludes:
This new al-Qaida magazine for women has beauty tips and suicide-bomber tips! Gimme a break! That is as ridiculous as two men kissing on the mouth! And I don't care what is politically correct. Everyone knows that two men on a wedding cake is a comedy skit, not an "alternate lifestyle"! There I said it! Ridiculous!

Did you see "Glee" this week? Sickening! And, besides shoving the gay thing down our throats, they made a mockery of Christians – again! I wonder what their agenda is? Hey, producers of "Glee" – what's your agenda? One-way tolerance?
I am always amazed that you tend to see how often that one particular metaphor ("shoving the gay thing down our throats") is used by the anti-gay crusaders in America. I am guessing it signals a particular homophobic fear - usually among men. That fact that a woman strapped it on to a WND rant doesn't make it any less homophobic.

As crazie as Victoria Jackson is, she's outshown by Scaife beneficiary Larry Klayman (he of Judicial Watch) who had this published in WND this weekend. First he spouts out basically every Clinton era conspiracy theory out there and opens with, you guessed it, Vince Foster:
During the so-called "Clinton years," when I took the testimony of nearly everyone in the White House, it became well-known that Hillary Rodham Clinton was in effect the operational chief of the administration and its "hit man" – the evil point person for destroying adversaries – and head of the "War Room," which also comprised James Carville and George Stephanopoulos. Hubbie Bill was the "creative genius," not only with regard to foreign policy, but literally with regard to "domestic affairs." Just ask Monica Lewinsky and the cigar industry. But there is one statement I will always remember: "Hillary rules the school," testified to by Linda Tripp, the former assistant to mysteriously deceased Hillary law-firm partner and Clinton Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster – giving a new meaning to the French expression "femme fatale." As also suggested during the testimony, Vince was the "love slave" who "watered Hillary's office plants" and may have died for being honest and not wanting to go along any longer in helping her execute evil deeds. Over 80 material witnesses and others "died" during the Clinton years, and poor Vince was only one of them.
I guess the fact that Ken Starr's own investigation reaffirmed Foster's suicide only proves that either Hilary threatened Starr himself or that that maybe he's in on the conspiracy.

Maybe Ken Starr's Hilary's love slave, too!

The whole point of Klayman's column is to pose a few more kinks in the kinky Clinton conspiracy:
  • Barack Obama named didn't want to name Hilary Clinton as Vice President because he was afraid that if she were Vice President, she'd kill him.
  • He also named her Secretary of State because then she'd get the blame for his planned foreign policy of "anti-Americanism, appeasement, weakness, prevarication and hostility toward Israel and nearly all things Jewish and Christian."
  • He's doing this to undercut her chances of challenging him in 2012.
On the other hand, she's got her own plan:
In 2011, it may be passé for Hillary to get rid of people by having them disappear. But with Obama there is an easier way that I suspect may, in this age of "civility," be the femme fatale's new modus operandi. I have come to conclude, through sources close to Hillary, that she herself may again be working on the so-called "birther" issue, which she first raised during her 2008 presidential campaign. For if Hillary can finally obtain proof positive that President Obama was born in Kenya, and not in Hawaii as he claims, then she will not have to send him on a day trip to Fort Marcy Park to retire him as president. What could be cleaner?
This is the guy who runs Judicial Watch, beneficiary of $8.74 million in Scaife funds over the last few decades.

Teh Crazie - for all to see.

March 17, 2011

More On Rick Santorum's Historiography

A few days ago the OPJ brought up the subject of ex-Senator Rick Santorum's lack of knowledge of history.

Her post linked back to Spork (hey, Spork! How's it going?) and Spork linked back to this piece at TPM:
Rick Santorum told about 50 members of the group Catholic Citizenship that he was "frankly appalled" that America's first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, once said "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute."

"That was a radical statement," Santorum said, and did "great damage."
TPM's piece itself linked back to this report in the Boston Globe:
It may seem an odd way to appeal to a crowd of Massachusetts voters: First, attack Mitt Romney, the last Republican to hold the governor's office. Then, go after President Kennedy, arguably the state's most revered Democrat.

But Rick Santorum, a former US Senator from Pennsylvania who is courting conservatives as he weighs a presidential run, came to Massachusetts and did just that today, blaming Kennedy for marginalizing religion in public life and Romney for signing the Massachusetts health care law.
It's the Kennedy/Religion part I want to focus on. The Globe continues:
"We're seeing how Catholic politicians, following the first Catholic president, have followed his lead, and have divorced faith not just from the public square, but from their own decision-making process," Santorum said.

"Jefferson is spinning in his grave," he added.

The crowd responded with nods and applause.

Santorum also criticized Catholic parishes for their "lukewarm faith" and urged the crowd not to donate to Catholic schools that stray from church teachings.

"You're feeding the beast," he said, sparking applause. "The heresy that goes in Catholic schools in America is amazing."
Lil Ricky is making the general point that more religion (in this case more Catholicism) is needed in the public square and in the "decision making process" of individual Catholic politicians. Unlike John Kennedy who said in his speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association:
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President -- should he be Catholic -- how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials, and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.
Is that what Rick Santorum finds appalling? Seems to be. Or perhaps it was Kennedy's next two paragraphs:
For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been -- and may someday be again -- a Jew, or a Quaker, or a Unitarian, or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that led to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today, I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you -- until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped apart at a time of great national peril.

Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end, where all men and all churches are treated as equals, where every man has the same right to attend or not to attend the church of his choice, where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind, and where Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, at both the lay and the pastoral levels, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.
What radical statements! Oh the great great damage to the fabric of American society! That religious intolerance should end! That the people should be free to worship (or not worship) as they choose! That no "religious code" becomes commingled with law - for that will only lead to trouble.

Who said that last part?

Rick Santorum. On the dangers of Sharia law:
Rick Santorum on Friday asserted that Sharia law has no place in America.
Santorum added, “Sharia law is not just a religious code. It is also a governmental code. It happens to be both religious in nature an origin, but it is a civil code. And it is incompatible with the civil code of the United States.”
So mixing religion and the state is evil - but only just sometimes.

It's only OK when the certain acceptable religions are being mixed in with The State. But who decides when that happens? Politicians like Rick Santorum.

If Jefferson is spinning in his grave, it's because self-righteous politicians like Rick Santorum want more religion, but only their religion, in the public sphere.

March 16, 2011

Elections Have Consequences

And among the consequences of the last one is another GOP war on science.

Witness the House Energy And Commerce Committee yesterday. From the NYTimes:
Moving on a central tenet of the Republican energy and environment platform, a House committee on Tuesday approved a measure to halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed program to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Republican leaders promised a floor vote on the bill before the Easter recess.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the bill, known as the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, by a vote of 34 to 19. Three Democrats, Representatives John Barrow of Georgia, Jim Matheson of Utah and Mike Ross of Arkansas, voted with the unanimous Republican majority.

The bill would repeal the E.P.A.’s finding that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are a threat to human health and the environment and would bar the agency from imposing new rules to control them. Its Republican sponsors argue that new limits on greenhouse gas emissions from refineries, power plants and other major sources would drive up energy prices, depress the economy and hamper job creation.
And here's what the EPA said in December, 2009:
After a thorough examination of the scientific evidence and careful consideration of public comments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people. EPA also finds that GHG emissions from on-road vehicles contribute to that threat.

GHGs are the primary driver of climate change, which can lead to hotter, longer heat waves that threaten the health of the sick, poor or elderly; increases in ground-level ozone pollution linked to asthma and other respiratory illnesses; as well as other threats to the health and welfare of Americans.
Scientific consensus shows that as a result of human activities, GHG concentrations in the atmosphere are at record high levels and data shows that the Earth has been warming over the past 100 years, with the steepest increase in warming in recent decades. The evidence of human-induced climate change goes beyond observed increases in average surface temperatures; it includes melting ice in the Arctic, melting glaciers around the world, increasing ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, acidification of the oceans due to excess carbon dioxide, changing precipitation patterns, and changing patterns of ecosystems and wildlife.
And here's where the EPA begin:
The Administrator has determined that the body of scientific evidence compellingly supports this finding. The major assessments by the U.S. Global Climate Research Program (USGCRP), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the National Research Council (NRC) serve as the primary scientific basis supporting the Administrator’s endangerment finding
The U.S. Global Climate Research Program according to its website "research carried out under the auspices of a number of Agencies of the US Federal Government." And they are:
  • Agency for International Development
  • Dept. of Agriculture
  • Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Admin. (also, National Institute of Standards and Technology)
  • Dept. of Defense
  • Dept. of Energy
  • Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health
  • Dept. of State
  • Dept. of Transportation
  • Dept. of the Interior, US Geological Survey
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Aeronautics & Space Administration
  • National Science Foundation
  • Smithsonian Institution
You can read their latest findings here. They include:
Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.
Climate-related changes are already observed in the United States and its coastal waters. These include increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the ocean and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows. These changes are projected to grow.
And so on.

The IPCC report can be found here. (We all know the anti-science crowd doesn't accept anything the IPCC says as credible so let's not waste any time going there. It's still true, however, that the Earth is warming and that Greenhouse Gasses are largely to blame.)

And the National Research Council's Division of Earth Science says:
A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems, concludes this panel report from the America's Climate Choices suite of studies.
None of that science had any meaning for the anti-science Republicans now running the House Energy and Commerce Committee who voted against this:
Congress accepts the scientific finding of the Environmental Protection Agency that ‘‘Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.’’.
They then voted (all the Republicans on the committee and three democrats) voted in favor of HR 910 - which denies the science. All that science ignore for all that Koch money.

Elections have consequences, in this instance it's a mind-numbing war on science.

March 15, 2011

Don't know much about history

Lil Ricky Santorum tries to one-up Michele Bachmann in the stupidity sweepstakes and succeeds.

Two Rallies Today!

Two rallies today in Downtown Pittsburgh:


Without our buses, we're going nowhere!


WHEN: Tuesday, March 15th 2011, 4:00 PM
WHERE: 5th and Grant, Downtown Pgh



Defend the Dream Action

Tuesday, March 15TH, 5:30 PM
WHERE: United Steelworkers Building, 60 Blvd of the Allies, (Corner of Blvd & Stanwix)

Corporate power is openly waging war on workers, the middle class and American democracy.

This is our moment to come together and show that we will not tolerate this naked power grab by big money interests.

Bring a sign, bring your passion, bring a friend.

RSVP here

I was wrong

Apparently, I was wrong when I wrote "The Debate: Crackhead Ricky Vs. Stoner Bobby" back in October of 2006.

Lil Ricky was the pothead.

My apologies.

More On Wingnut Religious Zealots Comment On The Quake

First, as always, Glen Beck (via mediamatters):
Now look, I'm not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes. Well -- I'm not saying that he -- I'm not not saying that either.

God -- what God does is God's business, I have no idea. But I'll tell you this: whether you call it Gaia or whether you call it Jesus -- there's a message being sent. And that is, 'Hey, you know that stuff we're doing? Not really working out real well. Maybe we should stop doing some of it.' I'm just sayin'.
And his "solution"? You guessed it:
[T]he answer, and the answer is: Buckle up. Buckle up, 'cause it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Make sure you keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times. Because, things are gonna get bumpy and, just a few reminders there at the beginning as this rollercoaster takes off, always a good safety tip: Keep your arms and legs in. Don't do anything stupid, what do you say we follow the big top ten. You can call them Moses' ten commandments, or ten rules of thumb. What do you say we start doing those things? Because the things we are doing really suck and they're not getting better.
He seems to be saying that had "we" (meaning the Japanese?) been following the Decalogue, God wouldn't have (or wouldn't not have?) caused the tectonic plates to shift a 9.0 quake. But the plates have been shifting for as long as there've been plates. Did God just start moving them? Or did he just take control this past Friday? And if that was the case, was it for the Orthodox Sabbath?

Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. - Attributed to William of Occam.

But that doesn't mesh with this from WND (of course):
Tim LaHaye, the best-selling author of the "Left Behind" series of Bible prophecy novels, was one of many visiting the island of Maui who had to be evacuated to upper floors of the Marriott Hotel today.

He said being caught in the crossfire of the fourth largest earthquake in modern history helped prepare him for two prophecy conferences he was scheduled to address in Hawaii.

"The Bible tells us in Matthew 24 that one of the signs of the last days – one of the birth pangs to occur – is an increase in earthquake activity and intensity," LaHaye told WND. "We're seeing that happen here. It's not just earthquakes, but hurricanes and all kinds of natural disasters."
So Beck's wrong? I'm so confused.

"We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. Therefore, to the same natural effects we must, so far as possible, assign the same causes." - Isaac Newton

March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day! (Repost)

Today is pi day.

It's also Albert Einstein's birthday. I'd write about him and the theories of relativity (both general and special) but that's too much math in one day - trust me.

Here is pi (to the first thousand decimal places) in all it's circular glory:

Today's the day. Go have some ROUND pizza. Or some ROUND cookies. Or some ROUND donuts (or some ROUND donut holes - but only the whole holes. Stay away from half-holes. They're nowhere, man.)

Drink a toast to Archimedes and his 96-sided polygons.

Cosine, secant, tangent, sine!

Rick Santorum Is A Hypocrite

In case you missed it, here's Lil Ricky a few days ago when asked about former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. From the Wonkroom:
Unabashed social conservative former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) is quick to condemn homosexuality or abortion, but asked by ThinkProgress at Monday’s Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition presidential forum if Newt Gingrich had credibility to lead on “social” issues given his extramarital affairs and multiple marriages, Santorum refused to pass judgment on the former Speaker. “You have to talk to the Speaker about his issues,” he said, in an effort to dismiss the question
Then there's this gentle dodge from the National Review Online:
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich is seeking “forgiveness” from voters as he mulls a 2012 presidential bid. By talking openly about his past indiscretions, and making “no bones,” as he told Fox News this week, “that there were times I did the wrong thing,” Gingrich appears to be courting skeptical social conservatives.

Will Gingrich’s redemptive tack fly in Iowa? Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, another potential contender making frequent sojourns to the Hawkeye State, has a unique take. He tells National Review Online that it is fair to question someone’s behavior but emphasizes that past mistakes should not preclude a candidate from being able to make a case for the presidency. In other words, you will not find Santorum wagging his finger on the trail.
For the record, Newt Gingrich is on this third wife and he's been divorced twice. He married his first wife in 1962. (He was 19 and she was 26.) He left her following an affair with the woman who, after his first divorce, became his second wife. This was 1981. In the mid-90s (during the Clinton scandals) he was having an affair with the woman who, after his second divorce, became his third wife.

And now here's Rick talking about divorce with Michelangelo Signorile:
Well, I would say that first and foremost the thing that his broken down the family is divorce, has had the biggest impact on family disintegration in America and is a huge problem. And I think you’re right in suggesting that folks who are marriage advocates don’t go out and say look, we need… John McCain, to his credit, said that his greatest failure in his life was his divorce… [divorce] hurts families, it hurts children, it hurts moms, it huts dads. It’s a destructive and coercive element in our society with respect to families.
It must've hurt Newt's former wives, then.

And again from the wonkroom:
Santorum is far less generous to those with whom he disagrees, including President Bill Clinton. Asked whether he thought Clinton was morally fit to stay in office following his affair with Monica Lewinsky, Santorum — who voted to convict Clinton — told the Dallas Morning News in February of 1998, “I would say no, he’s not.”

“I think it’s a sign of decadence and decay. Which is a threat to the fabric of this country,” Santorum was quoted as saying in the Washington Post in January 1998.
So when a Democrat is unfaithful, he is not morally fit to hold office and the infidelity is a sign of decadence which threatens the fabric of society, but when a Republican is unfaithful he gets a qualified pass ("Does he think he did wrong? He did? Ok, then he can go.")

Rick Santorum, moral relativist. Hypocrite.

March 13, 2011

Jack Kelly Sunday

From the beginning of Jack Kelly's column this week we know we're in for a "No, no, no. I'M not biased, THEY'RE biased" ride. And on the way we get some tried and true right wing bamboozle

Take a look at Jack's N-KB3:
The U.S. budget deficit for February was $223 billion, the largest monthly deficit in history. It was substantially larger than the deficit for the entire 2007 fiscal year ($161 billion).
His endgame play is the same bamboozle. Take a look:
The last fiscal year for which Republicans were completely responsible for the budget was 2007, when there was a $161 billion deficit. The next two years, with a Republican president and a Democratic Congress, the deficits hit $438 billion and $1.4 trillion. The deficit rose to $1.42 trillion in the first year in which Democrats were entirely responsible for the budget and is projected this year to reach $1.48 trillion.

If America falls off the fiscal cliff, it'll be clear which party pushed us.
This is a recent right wing spin - the Democrats are responsible for the deficit.

Need evidence? Here's Sean Hannity from a few days ago (transcript from mediamatters):
Let me see if I can give some perspective -- and maybe I'm wrong, but I think Americans are getting lost in millions, billions and trillions. Three-point-seven trillion is a lot. In three years Obama accumulating nearly five trillion dollars in debt is a lot of money. At the end of fiscal year 2007 -- not that long ago, right? -- our budget deficit was $161 billion for the year. For the month of February, this past month, the budget deficit for the month was $223 billion. Not quite twice, but almost twice what it was for the entire year in 2007.
Hardly surprising that Hannity, Jack and the rest of the right wing media have it completely wrong. 2007 is, of course the last year before the Bush era recession (aka the Great Recession) began. From the National Bureau of Economic Research:
CAMBRIDGE September 20, 2010 - The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research met yesterday by conference call. At its meeting, the committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in June 2009. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion. The recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II. [Emphasis added.]
Not that the economy is doing well since the end of the Bush recession of course. The Bureau continues:
In determining that a trough occurred in June 2009, the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity. Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.
So things went down the toilet the last full year of Bush's watch and have been pretty bad (though getting better) ever since - so of course the deficit is Obama's fault. This is the (scent of apples) and (drawings of) oranges comparison Jack, Sean and the rest of the right wing media want you to think is exactly fair and honest.

Need more evidence? Here's Justin Fox, financial writer for the Harvard Business Review. He envisions a scenario where the meltdown of 2008 didn't happen and that the fiscal practices just before it continued:
In my no-financial-crisis, no-bailout, no-recession, no-stimulus scenario, spending kept growing at 6.22% a year, and revenue kept growing at 3.45%. You can see from the difference between the two numbers that this was an unsustainable path. But it clearly could have been sustained for a few more years.

Where would it have left us in fiscal 2010? With $2.843 trillion in federal revenue and $3.270 trillion in spending, leaving a deficit of $427 billion. The actual revenue and spending totals for 2010 were $2.162 trillion and $3.456 trillion. So spending was $186 billion higher than if we’d stuck to the trend, and revenue was $681 billion lower. In other words, the giant deficit is mainly the result of the collapse in tax receipts brought on by the recession, not the increase in spending. Nice to know, huh?
This is Jack's skewed frame for his attack on NPR.

Here's Jack's swiss cheese version of events:
Mr. Schiller and Betsy Liley, NPR's director of institutional giving, thought they were having lunch at a posh Georgetown restaurant with Ibrahim Kasaam and Amir Malik of the Muslim Education Action Center to discuss a possible $5 million grant to NPR.

Mr. Kasaam and Mr. Malik described MEAC as an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood. They said they were considering giving money to NPR, in part because "the Zionist coverage is quite substantial elsewhere."

Mr. Schiller told Mr. Kasaam and Mr. Malik he doesn't find "Zionist or pro-Israel ideas" at NPR. "It's there among those who own newspapers, obviously," he said.

Mr. Schiller also said the tea party movement is dominated by gun-toting racists, and that it has "hijacked" the Republican Party.

We know about the conversation because Mr. Kasaam and Mr. Malik were in reality confederates of conservative film maker James O'Keefe, who posted a videotape of the luncheon online Monday.
Alas, this scam's part of a pattern. Ilyse Hogue of The Nation:
Indeed, the recent attack on Planned Parenthood provoked a sickening sense of déjà vu. Seemingly out of nowhere, undercover activists secretly film an employee of a major progressive institution making embarrassing statements. The resulting video makes news and inflames the debate around federal funding of the organization’s services. It was the ACORN attack all over again.
Simply replace Planned Parenthood with NPR and you've got the next story.

The fact that the video comes from James O'Keefe should be a red flag to anyone interested in the truth. We've seen O'Keefe before. He's the "citizen journalist" who faked his identity as a pimp on the now infamous ACORN prank and then dishonestly edited the video that followed.

And so now we have a video about NPR. Why should we take it seriously? Luckily a healthy debunking has already taken place at The Blaze. Jack refers to a section of the video where Schiller says that the "tea party movement is dominated by gun-toting racists" but does it really?

The Blaze:
NPR exec Ron Schiller does describe Tea Party members as “xenophobic…seriously racist people.”

This is one of the reasons why he no longer has a job!

But the clip in the edited video implies Schiller is giving simply his own analysis of the Tea Party. He does do that in part, but the raw video reveals that he is largely recounting the views expressed to him by two top Republicans, one a former ambassador, who admitted to him that they voted for Obama.
The reason they voted for Obama, Schiller says, is because they believe the GOP was hijacked by people they believe are scary and racist. Take a look at O'Keefe's manipulation of reality:

4 Racist tea Party from Naked Emperor News on Vimeo.

And then there's the part about federal funding. From The Blaze:
Let’s look now at one of the other sections most featured in news reports about the original video — the comments about federal funding for NPR.

Schiller says that NPR, “in the long run,” would be better off without federal funding and that most of the stations would survive a loss of such funding. The implication is that Schiller does not believe federal funding for NPR is important. In the raw video, however, Schiller explains the risk to local stations in more detail and why NPR is doing “everything we can to advocate for federal funding.”
But take a look at what they leave out:

6 Fed funding from Naked Emperor News on Vimeo.

O'Keefe edited out how Schiller says that whole the loss of federal funding would be "negligible in the short term" many stations in rural areas would have to close.

Granted, Schiller gives then an easy target (which is why he's out of a job), but these convenient edits of O'Keefe's just as easily undermine the credibility of the whole.

Why should we believe anything James O'Keefe posts? Indeed, why should Jack?

What's left of Jack's column?

Not much, my friends. Not much.

Do you feel lucky?

Perhaps, in a perfect world -- one without earthquakes and tsunamis -- nuclear power plants make sense. But, this world is not perfect -- it's not just full of natural disasters -- it's full of people who make disastrous decisions.

We now know that the regulators and plant operators made wrong assumptions about just how much seismic activity the plants needed to be able to withstand (they were only designed to withstand a 7.9 quake and the one in Japan has now been upgraded to a 9.0).

We also know that Japanese ministers ignored warnings about plant vulnerabilities.

I know what you're thinking. "Do I trust governments and businesses to always do the right thing?" You've got to ask yourself one question:

Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?


March 12, 2011

Clean! Safe! Nuclear Energy!

Explosion Destroys Walls of Japanese Nuclear Reactor Building, NHK Reports

Japan Orders Evacuation Near 2nd Nuclear Plant

Radiation leaks from Japan's quake-hit nuclear plant

Looking for livestreaming news from Japan in English? Check out YokosNews.

(h/t to Spork for the above video.)



Choices have been made:

(Click to enlarge)

This is what class warfare looks like.

Graphic via Center for American Progress which also provides the sources used.

(h/t to by greywolfe359 @ Daily Kos)

New Voices Pittsburgh "Living Our Legacy" 7th Anniversary Celebration & Fundraiser

New Voices Pittsburgh uses a reproductive justice framework to organize and build a local movement with young women of color and allies in the Greater Pittsburgh Region. They have a base in human rights and their concentration is "affim[ing]the rights of women to decide if/when they will have children and how they will raise their children and a vision for reproductive freedom for all people centralizing the healing practice of self-help."

Living Our Legacy 7th Anniversary Celebration & Fundraiser
Saturday, March 12, 7pm-12am
WHERE: 937 Liberty Avenue, Cultural District
TICKETS: $20-60 (Order online here)

This event will include performances by:
ABAFASI – August Wilson Dance Ensemble – DJ Roc – Jacquea Mae – Ruby Jain – SolSis – Sol Divine – Vie Boheme Trio and MORE…

More info here

March 11, 2011

Quick Announcment

I'll be on 4802 tonight, 7:30 pm.

That's Pittsburgh public television, by the way.



How low can you go?

Did you happen to read this week's Pittsburgh City Paper? Did you also recoil in disgust at the full-page ad on page 19? Here it is, in case you missed it:

(Click to enlarge)

First, I will preface my remarks by noting that, yes, everyone deserves a lawyer in a criminal trial and that attorneys have the right to advertise. But looking at this ad, I guess we have to be grateful that they didn't just throw up a photograph of a bloody, fatal car crash with the tag line: "Caused this? We'll get you off!" Their ad is only slightly less offensive -- and it offends on multiple levels.

I'm going to ignore the headline for a moment and go straight to the boxed-in "joke." Sorry, I find nothing funny about:

1) Someone driving so drunk that they're "weaving violently"

2) Making the joke about drunk driving specific to both an actual upcoming event and to a real area known to have a problem with too many bars and over consumption of alcohol

3) Thinking it's funny that a woman falls out of a moving car

4) The sexist implication that women never shut up

5) And, yeah, making the joke about some idiot from the burbs driving home drunk from the city specific to a street a mere two blocks from my home

In the ad, Rosselli & Horowitz self-identify as "The South Side's DUI and Criminal Defense Law Firm."

Yes, it a law firm which specializes in DUI cases making a joke about people driving drunk.

Seriously, WTF???

You know what can happen on Carson Street when some asshole drives drunk? A seven-year old can get killed and her mother can have the lower half of her body pulverized ("In addition to broken ribs, vertebrae, toes and an ankle, a doctor said, pieces of her hip and pelvis are simply missing." Oh, yeah, she also miscarried.) This happened just three months before this ad was placed. In fact, according to a recent WPXI story, Carson Street had the highest DUI arrests in our area: 218 in 2009. It also had one of the highest amounts of alcohol-related crashes: 152 wrecks involving alcohol in the last five years.

Funny, huh? A real LOL!

Now, back to the headline. "LOOKING FOR A LAW FIRM WITH TIGER BLOOD?" So, you're comparing your law firm to an obviously troubled person just out of "rehab" for alcohol and drugs, who recently lost their job and is universally ridiculed?! From your lips to God's ears, baby.

Music, Today

In light of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I'm taking a little break from political blogging today.

As part of the break, I thought I'd bring you some music from one of my favorite composers (who happens to have been born today):

And in hopes of some better weather soon:

Let's all hope for the best in the Pacific.

March 10, 2011

The Trib, Newsmax, And Scaife

First off, we have our old friend Chris Horner. You remember, he's the lawyer (who the Trib misleadingly calls a "researcher") working for the Scaife-Funded Competitive Enterprise Institute who shows up occasionally on the Scaife-owned Pittsburgh Tribune-Review to show how the stolen Climategate emails "prove" how Climate Change is a hoax or something.

Even though it isn't.

Today we see this:
Climate fraud: A federal government inspector general "has revealed prima facie proof that the so-called independent inquiries widely if implausibly described as clearing the ClimateGate principals of wrongdoing were, in fact, whitewashes," writes Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in the Daily Caller. One of those "studies" was conducted by Penn State. He says the university may have been "complicit" in a "cover-up." Stay tuned.
There are TWO "consider the source" moments in this paragraph. The first is the aforementioned Horner and then we get something called the "Daily Caller." What's the "Daily Caller" you ask? The Washington Examiner calls it "The right's answer to the Huffingtonpost."

Consider the source. Regardless of the content, the fact that the Trib still fails to disclose all the Scaife money involved in this story is enough to undermine the credibility of everyone involved.

But it's not limited to the Trib. Take a look at this from Mediamatters:
For at least the third time in the past year, right-wing website Newsmax has provided positive coverage to a Florida politician whose campaign or political committee has received money from Newsmax or its CEO, Christopher Ruddy. This financial support has not been disclosed in campaign endorsements or other articles about these politicians at Newsmax.
That name should raise some red flags, no? He hosts fundraisers for/donates money to candidates then his "news" source covers those candidates (nicely) while failing to disclose the financial ties that bind him to those candidates.

Why am I telling you this?

Richard Mellon Scaife owns 40% of Newsmax.

Consider the source.

The circle jerk continues.

March 9, 2011

From Talking Points Memo

A note on today's end run in Wisconsin:
It's not just the budget bill needs a quorum -- the big issue is that *any* bill with fiscal implications is supposed to have a quorum in the Wisconsin state Senate. So there are two choices here:

1. Collective bargaining has fiscal implications, and so the bill will be blocked in the courts and ruled unconstitutional.

2. Collective bargaining DOES NOT have direct fiscal implications, and Gov. Walker has been lying this entire time by making the case that it's fiscally necessary.

So either the state R's just passed an illegal bill, or Walker has been lying this entire time and really is just interested in union-busting.
My guess is that it's 2. It was ALWAYS about busting the union.

Another Obama Disappointment

First, no prosecution of his predecessor's admitted torture and now:
President Barack Obama announced Monday his decision to abandon for the moment, perhaps for good, his pledge to voters in the 2008 elections to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Mr. Obama apparently gave up, believing that he could not persuade Congress to agree either to trials in civilian courts or to imprisonment in America. It is easy to see how he could have reached that conclusion and decided to make the best of a situation that is discouraging, in terms of Americans' perception of U.S. justice, and of how it is seen by the rest of the world.
Even Ronald Reagan was against waterboarding and the use of military tribunals for terrorists. From a Harper's Magazine interview with Will Bunch:
Q: Ronald Reagan signed the Convention Against Torture, and his Justice Department indicted and prosecuted a Texas sheriff for waterboarding. How can his views about torture be reconciled with the current Republican pro-torture dogma?

A: It’s important not to nominate Reagan for sainthood in the arena of human rights. His “Reagan Doctrine” in Central America, leaving the fight to anti-Communist thugs and death squads that the then-president called “the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers,” is arguably the gravest moral failing of his tenure. That said, back on U.S. soil, Reagan was far to the left of the 2010 Republican Party on issues such as torture. The convention that he signed in 1988 holds that there is no circumstance of any kind that permits torture, which certainly would include the 9/11 aftermath and related anti-terror efforts today.

But it goes even deeper than that. As I noted in an early 2010 blog post: “Reagan would not have approved of drone-fired missile attacks aimed at killing terrorists; as president, he several times rejected anti-terrorism operations for the sole reason that civilians would have been killed by collateral damage. In 1985, he surprised aides such as Pat Buchanan by ruling out a military response to a Beirut hijacking for fear of civilian casualties; Lou Cannon reported then in the Washington Post that Reagan called retaliation in which innocent civilians are killed “itself a terrorist act.” And the idea of trying terrorists in military tribunals as opposed to a civilian court of law? The Reagan administration was completely against that. Paul Bremer (yes, that Paul Bremer) said in 1987, “a major element of our strategy has been to delegitimize terrorists, to get society to see them for what they are — criminals — and to use democracy’s most potent tool, the rule of law, against them.”
Another Obama disappointment.

March 8, 2011

Who Said It?

Tony Norman's got a good column posted today (go read it). It's about Congressman Peter King's upcoming hearings on Radical Islam and there's some broad brush satire of anti-Islamic rhetoric in it.

Satire - look it up.

But I wanted to see how, as satire, it stood up to the real anti-Islamic rhetoric floating in the toilet bowl that's the right wing media.

First, here's Tony:
With their hard-to-pronounce names, aversion to pork ("the other white meat") and inscrutable "foreign" ways, the Muslim presence on these shores makes a mockery of one of our most sacred mantras:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag / of the United States of America / and to the republic for which it stands / one nation / under [a Judeo-Christian] God / indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

How can we be "indivisible" when so many so-called Americans of the Islamic persuasion go out of their way to be different?
Not bad. Just tongue in cheek enough to know he's kidding.

But here's Michelle Malkin:
If it’s Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, it’s just another day in the life of a true believer in violent jihad.

Yes: Violent jihad. Two words the current occupant of the White House won’t say together and about which he remains in stubborn denial.

Violent jihad. A fundamental tenet of legions and legions of Muslims worldwide — and untold numbers of homegrown and immigrant practitioners of the Religion of Perpetual Outrage here on American soil.
And now Ann Coulter:
The Middle East is on fire again, and crazy Muslims with funny names aren't helping things -- Mahmoud, ElBaradei, al-Banna, Barack...
And Peter King himself:
I would say, you could say that 80-85 percent of mosques in this country are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists. Those who are in control. The average Muslim, no, they are loyal, but they don't work, they don't come forward, they don't tell the police … .
That last one's a two-fer as it comes from the World Net Daily.

As good a writer as he is, if the above quotations show anything they show that Tony's satire of teh crazie pales in comparison to the real crazie.

March 7, 2011

More On Mike Huckabee

Last Friday, Tony Norman pointed out the dishonesty in some of Governor Mike Huckabee's walkback of his near-birther charge that President Obama had been raised in Kenya by his father and grandfather. Something about the British,

None of it was true (as Obama was raised in Hawaii and then Indonesia) but it fit the birther myth so he went with it anyway I guess. He now says he misspoke on the Kenya thing. He really meant that Obama's Indonesian father taught him to hate the Brits because of Kenya. Or something like that. None of it makes any sense. Here's Tony:
Now, Mr. Huckabee would have us believe that every word out of his mouth on that subject was a "misstatement" -- not stupidity, lying or pandering to the worst elements of his party's base.

Now, that's a stretch! With the majority of Republicans in the "Obama is an alien" camp, humoring audiences with birther proclivities shows how far even relatively sane candidates will sink for a few extra votes. It's pathetic.
But that's not the latest "Opps, I did it again, I misspoke" from Huckabee. He's now saying he didn't criticise Oscar winner Natalie Portman. From Politico:
Mike Huckabee walked back his criticisms of actress Natalie Portman for "glamorizing" out-of-wedlock pregnancies Friday, with a statement insisting he was only talking about society and that he's glad the Oscar winner plans to wed her baby's father.
"In a recent media interview about my new book, A Simple Government, I discussed the first chapter, 'The Most Important Form of Government Is a Father, Mother, and Children,' " Huckabee said, referring to his appearance on The Michael Medved Show.

"I was asked about Oscar-winner Natalie Portman's out-of-wedlock pregnancy," he added. "Natalie is an extraordinary actor, very deserving of her recent Oscar and I am glad she will marry her baby's father.

"However, contrary to what the Hollywood media reported, I did not 'slam' or 'attack' Natalie Portman, nor did I criticize the hardworking single mothers in our country," he said.

"My comments were about the statistical reality that most single moms are very poor, under-educated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death. That's the story that we're not seeing, and it's unfortunate that society often glorifies and glamorizes the idea of having children out of wedlock."
Huh. Well what DID the "Hollywood media" report? Here's USMagazine:
She won over the Academy, but Natalie Portman doesn't have a fan in presidential prospect Mike Huckabee.

The former Arkansas governor and Fox News Channel host attacked the best actress winner, 29, who's currently expecting her first child with fiance Benjamin Millepied.

"People see a Natalie Portman who boasts, 'We're not married but we're having these children and they're doing just fine," Huckabee told radio host Michael Medved on his show Monday. "I think it gives a distorted image. It's unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out-of- wedlock children."

Calling Portman's pregnancy "troubling," Huckabee went on to say that many single parents don't have the resources to hire help, the way someone like the Black Swan star would.

"Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care," he said. "And that's the story that we're not seeing."
OF COURSE, he's not criticizing Portman's "troubling" pregnancy when he says she's "boasting" about doing just fine. He's also not criticizing anyone or anything when he says it "gives a distorted image" to all the poor, uneducated, unemployed single moms who's kids would be dead were it not for guv'ment help.

Of course not.

The interesting thing is how consistent Governor Mike Huckabee is. Consider this interview from a few years ago.

When asked in 2008 about whether he thinks Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter (that would be Bristol Palin who was 18 and unmarried at the time, though she's no longer 18, still unmarried) will effect upcoming election he answered:
The way the media went after the daughter is the most shameful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. If anything, it just caused [evangelicals] to run to her. Everyone understands that the basis of being a Christian is that everyone has fallen short of God’s ideal. Everyone understands that. We do understand is that when there’s a problem or failures, the family sticks together. We saw a mother who gave her unconditional love to her daughter. That embodies what Christianity means. We all mess up, the issue is how we respond to it. What she showed us is exactly what we wanted to see in terms of a witness.
So on the one hand if it's a unmarried Christian teenager, who's a high school drop out and who just happens to be the daughter of a prominent Conservative, it's OK - it's the media that's acting shameful. But on the other, if it's an engaged Ivy League educated Jewish woman in her 30s who just won an Oscar who also just happens to be a supporter of the Democratic Party, it's bad bad bad for our nation.

March 6, 2011

The Trib Doesn't Own A Mirror

And I mean that metaphorically, as you'll see in a bit.

Let's start here:
In a new Center for Immigration Studies ( report, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jerry Kammer documents how the century-old Carnegie Corporation of New York's "strident, polarizing, and partisan" immigration activism betrays the mission Mr. Carnegie set for it -- fostering democratic discussion of complex issues.

In the last 10 years, Carnegie grants of at least $57 million have funded "news stories," groups, think tanks and conferences that were anything but open-minded regarding any approach to immigration other than amnesty -- known inside the Beltway as "comprehensive immigration reform."

Carnegie even bankrolled smear campaigns that wrongly labeled the anti-amnesty Federation for American Immigration Reform and CIS as "hate groups."
Before we continue, did you know that Ronald Reagan signed into law legislation allowing amnesty for illegal aliens?

He did. The section begins with this:
SEC. 245A. "8 USC 1255a" (a) TEMPORARY RESIDENT STATUS. -- The Attorney General shall adjust the status of an alien to that of an alien lawfully admitted for temporary residence if the alien meets the following requirements...
What Ronald Reagan signed into law was legislation that said if an illegal alien meets certain requirements that illegal alien becomes an alien "lawfully admitted for temporary residence." In a word: AMNESTY.

Just sayin'

Let's get back to Kammer's criticisms.

Here's the piece he wrote for the Center for Immigration Studies. His opening beef:
On October 14, 2010, a story on many public radio stations around the country told of a new report that recent immigrants and their children had doubled their presence in the U.S. electorate between 1996 and 2008, totaling 10 percent of registered voters.

The story also included a warning. “Candidates — especially those in close elections — would do well to take heed,” said Elizabeth Wynne Johnson of Capitol News Connection, the news service that produced the story.

Johnson’s comment set up another. Walter Ewing of the Immigration Policy Center, which issued the report, added that the new voters “are not going to take very kindly to political rhetoric that demonizes immigrants because that’s going to be either themselves or their parents.”

The story provided a measure not only of the growing power of voters directly connected to the immigrant experience, but also of the pervasive role in the politics of immigration played by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Carnegie grants were instrumental at every level of the story.
Krammer points out that Carnegie funds BOTH the think tank that issued the report and the news outlet that reported on it - and that that's a bad thing.

How familiar does that sound? I mean just yesterday the Richard Mellon Scaife-owned Tribune-Review interviewed the director of the Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives, itself the beneficiary of millions of dollars of Scaife money. And just last November, the Trib did a piece on Paul Kengor, beneficiary of Scaife support via the Scaife-funded Allegheny Institute for Public Policy and the Scaife-funded Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

And I have yet to mention the Scaife-funded Heritage Foundation and how his paper routinely references reports from that conservative think-tank. Here's one from September.

o I need to point out how much money Scaife has funeled to FAIR and CIS? (Oh, it's $4.295 million to FAIR and $1.4225 million to CIS.) So Scaife's funded both the organizations being criticized by the organizations funded by the Carnegie Corporation and he owns the newspaper publishing the column defending those organizations.

That should be enough for a good blog post. But wait! There's more!!

Guess what the Trib also published this morning? This piece from Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch.

Let's get the preliminaries out of the way. According to mediamatters, two Scaife Foundations (Carthage and Sarah Scaife) have given a total of $8.74 million to Judicial Watch since 1997.

Here's what Fitton had in today's Trib:
In the third release from the Federal Bureau of Investigation file of the late Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy, who died in August 2009 from brain cancer, Judicial Watch obtained new information pursuant to its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit originally filed on June 9, 2010 (Judicial Watch v. FBI).

The documents include a Dec. 28, 1961, FBI document describing a tour of several Latin American countries taken by Kennedy, then-assistant district attorney of Suffolk County. This document as it was originally made public was almost completely redacted. After an initial challenge by Judicial Watch, a version with fewer redactions was released.
The interesting part is if you go to Judicial Watch's website, you'll find this:
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained previously redacted material from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) file of the late Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy, who died in August 2009 from brain cancer. Judicial Watch obtained the records pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit originally filed on June 9, 2010 (Judicial Watch v. FBI (Case No. 10-963)).

The documents include a December 28, 1961, FBI memo describing a tour of several Latin American countries taken by then-Assistant District Attorney of Suffolk County Kennedy. This document as it was originally made public was almost completely redacted. After an initial challenge by Judicial Watch, a version with fewer redactions was released. Judicial Watch continued to argue that the blackouts were baseless and, after six more months, the FBI relented.
For your reading pleasure, O wise and gentle reader, I bolded and italicized the language common to both the column in the Trib and the Press Release found at Judicial Watch. It shows, in effect, the Scaife-owned Trib published a press release from Scaife-funded Judicial Watch.

The AP news story about this even made it onto the pages of the Trib a few days ago:
An FBI file contends that a young Edward M. Kennedy arranged to rent a brothel for a night while visiting Chile in 1961, a year before he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

The previously edited State Department memo, dated Dec. 28, 1961, was released by Judicial Watch, a Washington-based organization that said it obtained it through a Freedom of Information lawsuit.

According to the memo, the Massachusetts Democrat, younger brother of then-President John F. Kennedy, made arrangements to rent the brothel "for an entire night" in Santiago earlier in 1961.

"Kennedy allegedly invited one of the Embassy chauffeurs to participate in the night's activities," according to the memo.

One State Department official described Kennedy as "pompous and a spoiled brat," according to the memo. Kennedy was making a fact-finding trip to several Latin American countries.
The AP includes one important caveat missing from both the Judicial Watch press release and the column found in the Trib:
The documents from Judicial Watch provide no indication of the source of the allegations or whether the FBI believed the allegations were true.
Interesting, no?

That the braintrust doesn't see itself in the criticisms of the Carnegie Corporation just simply boggles the mind. Or maybe they do and they don't count on anyone checking their work.

You're welcome.