Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I have a question

Lots of people love to bitch about (liberal) celebrities talking about politics. When are they going say something about Chuck Norris's loopy Huckabee endorsement?

I'm curious.

The new gay subculture?

Methinks Ruben Bolling is on to something.

Via Jolly Roger.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Okay, this news, if true, is way funny. But still, if I were a gay male escort (which I'm not, being neither gay, nor male, nor an escort), I'd have my standards. And they wouldn't include this guy:

Okay, I am really hoping this is not true. Because I hate the thought of anyone being desperate enough to accept him as a client. No. It can't be true. The Trentster is leaving to make money as a lobbyist. Or go on Faux News. Or spend more time with his family. Something innocuous like that. You can't convince me otherwise. Lalalalalalala I can't hear you.

I heart 1970s soul

And to prove it, here's the Emotions, singing "Best of My Love." I saw these ladies on a PBS special a few years ago, and yes, they can still hit the high notes! Their Stax material is also great.

It had to happen--Rudy vs. Mitt

Mr. 9/11 and Mr. H-E-Double Hockey Sticks have wiped the brown off their noses long enough to exchange personal attacks. No, they're not accusing each other of being faux conservatives. It's better than that.

The bulk of the battle stemmed from Romney's decision on Friday to call for the resignation of Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman -- 20 months after he appointed her.

Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, learned that Tuttman had released without bail a convicted killer, who has since been charged with killing a married couple in Washington state.

Romney defended his decision Saturday, saying that Tuttman had "showed an inexplicable lack of good judgment," and that, despite her "record of being a law and order prosecutor," her poor judgment requires her to step down.

Giuliani, who was also in New Hampshire, told The Associated Press on Saturday, "the governor is going to have to explain his appointment and the judge is going to have to explain her decision."

Romney shot back -- making jabs at Giuliani's judgment.

Romney pointed to his rival's close friend and former New York police commissioner, Bernard Kerik, who is being indicted on multiple counts of corruption and fraud.

"It's strange to have him bringing forward my selection of individuals to serve, judges and so forth, when he's got Bernie Kerik all over him these days. When someone he knew was under investigation, he recommended to the president to be secretary of Homeland Security?... Throwing stones from a glass house is never a wise thing to do," Romney said in an interview to be aired Monday on CNN's "The Situation Room."

Man, Wednesday's debate can't come soon enough. It's got to be more interesting than the Hillary and Friends show the Dem debates have become. Speaking of the Dem debates, does anyone besides me think Biden would be a better Secretary of State than President?

Gym-related rant

After work, I go to the local YMCA for the obligatory calorie-burning. This is fun. I have to find a locker first. This is not so fun. Why? Because of people who don't bring locks to the locker room, that's why. The YMCA after work is a madhouse, and nothing invokes the chorus of "They're Coming To Take Away Haa Haaaaa!" quite like opening a locker door and finding someone's stuff in there. Come on, you dimwits. Get. A. Lock. For. Your. Stuff. You are lucky most of your fellow gym goers are nice people who won't steal anything. Seriously, it's a pain in the ass and totally unfair to other people looking for empty lockers.

The YMCA people advise everyone to get locks. Locks are your friends. Dig?

In other news, the subway had signal problems, so I had to take the bus home and then walk. This is not my lucky day.

I don't get it

What's up with all these recently re-elected Republicans suddenly up and resigning without bothering to finish their terms? Denny Hastert wouldn't deign to simply retire in 2008. That was silly enough. But now Trent Lott, who just won another term last year, is resigning at the end of 2007. There were rumors circa 2005 that he would retire, but he chose to run again. Not that I'm sorry to see yet another GOP slimebag leave Capitol Hill, but it sounds like a huge waste of time and money. Actually, it reminds me of professional loser Tom DeLay, who stayed on the GOP ballot until they couldn't get rid of him.

Word has it that Lott wants to make money in the private sector. Could a Singing Senators reunion be in the works? Larry Craig is probably going to have a lot of time on his hands after 2008.

In other news, is it just me? Or is Bush holding Middle East peace talks kind of like Nicole Ritchie hosting a cooking show?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

And they wonder why nobody reads them

Newsday's op-ed section sucks, and a look at their regular op-ed columnists shows why. Mondays, there's faux libertarian Raymond J. Keating. Tuesdays and Thursdays, there's wingnut welfare recipient James Pinkerton, spouting all kinds of tired talking points and wrongheaded silliness. What kind of silliness, you ask? Well, Pinkerton's gone all New Agey on his readership and tried channeling Carl Von Clausewitz, with predictably hilarious results.

Ironically, my biggest single point about war was actually a point about peace: winning the peace. As I wrote, "war is a continuation of politics by other means." That is, if Country A can't get Country B to do what it wants through diplomacy, well, then, Country A might have to attack. War may or may not be just or glorious; that's not my concern. I am practical-minded, albeit maybe a little cold-blooded.

Unfortunately, Bush has not pursued this policy of "war is a continuation of politics by other means." But this fact has not occurred to Clausevinkerton, or whatever this new composite entity calls himself. The result is one of the loopiest op-ed columns since Charles Krauthammer imagined himself talking to Martians. What's next--using astrological charts to predict 2008's elections?

But seriously, people. Newsday is proof positive of why print newspapers are floundering these days. Despite its blue-state readership and the editorial board's generally liberal stance, it has no regular liberal op-ed columnists. And somehow, whoever's in charge doesn't "get" that two right-wingers three days a week is not balance. Nor do they "get" that pandering to the now-discredited right wing won't satisfy the few remaining Kool-Aid guzzlers.

Take this predictable letter to the editor.

The editorial board of Newsday has the audacity to criticize the treatment our returning soldiers receive ["Help them once they're home," Editorial, Nov. 11]. Even the language in the headline implies that our troops need not be supported while they are "over there."

For the past four years, the liberal press, led locally by Newsday, has done everything possible to encourage our enemies in this conflict by undermining our war effort, thus prolonging the hostilities and increasing the number of U.S. casualties, dead and wounded.

Of course, our troops should receive the best care possible, and the debacle at Walter Reed Hospital is inexcusable. However, on this issue the Newsday editors should take a good, hard look in the mirror.

Gregory Florentino
Bay Shore

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Li'l Ricky Santorum's new editorial column. David Sirota was predictably flabbergasted that this in-the-flesh joke even got the gig, given the number of smart, insightful writers that people might actually want to read and discuss. As Temple Stark noted in the comments, "There is a difference between creating controversy from intelligent discourse and hiring a complete fucking whining loser of a wannabe human. People just won't read him."

In other news, Bush has pardoned two turkeys. Strangely, neither is named Scooter Libby.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I have a question

The next time the Democrats have a debate, could they stop attacking Hillary and start attacking the Republicans and their crappy policies?

Please? Pretty please?

I is an edumacated blogger

cash advance

(Via Mockingbird's Medley.)

Myths that need need debunking

For starters, Hollywood is not a hotbed of wealthy liberals. But still, look Rudy's new movie-star friends! Robert Duvall? Gary Sinise?

Here’s the dirty little secret — Hollywood isn’t really liberal. As a community it has strong and large conservative strains, particularly at the top of the business side where all the strings get pulled (see: Murdoch, Rupert).

Not to mention Ben Stein, Dennis Miller, Bruce Willis (who these days denies he's a Republican), and Bo Derek.

The reason Hollywood conservatives like to bitch about being persecuted is because victimology is part of the whole right-wing shtick, not because Joel Surnow actually suffers for his political beliefs. I mean, does anyone think that The 1/2 Hour News Hour was anything other than a wingnut welfare operation?

I've wondered if Michael Medved was another wingnut welfare recipient myself.

Speaking of wingnuts, what'll they say about this?

Truthdig tips its hat this week to South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who took the Anglican Church to task for what he called its “homophobic” attitude, declaring in a recent interview with BBC Radio 4 that, “If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn’t worship that God.”

Archbishop Tutu zeroed in on church leadership in his critique, lamenting that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has not promoted the idea of a “welcoming God” to all members. Instead, Tutu charged, Williams and other top officials have unduly focused on the subject of gay priests, which cropped up again in the controversy over the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, when much bigger considerations should be given priority. “Our world is facing problems—poverty, HIV and AIDS—a devastating pandemic, and conflict,” the 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner told the BBC. “In the face of all of that, our church, especially the Anglican Church, at this time is almost obsessed with questions of human sexuality.”

Maybe Rudy Giuliani will bring this up with his new friend Pat Robertson. Speaking of Rudy, it looks like the myth of "America's Mayor" is about to go the way of those Bigfoot rumors.

Meanwhile, Dave Neiwert reminds us of the holes in Ron Paul's "libertarian" philosophy. Like his opposition to reproductive rights. And his cozying to far-right racist wackos. And other assorted scary stuff. Go read it. It's educational. (This is not to say that Ron Paul doesn't have possible usefulness as a sort of a reverse Nader.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Let us give thanks this Turkey day...

...for no recess appointments.

From Sen. Harry Reid:

The Senate will be coming in for pro-forma sessions during the Thanksgiving holiday to prevent recess appointments.

My hope is that this will prompt the President to see that it is our mutual interests for the nominations process to get back on track.

While an election year looms, significant progress can still be made on nominations.

I am committed to making that progress if the President will meet me half way.

But that progress can’t be made if the President seeks controversial recess appointments and fails to make Democratic appointments to important commissions.

As Democratic leader, I recommend nominees to the President for many important commissions like the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

These independent agencies are required by law to have Democratic representation.

As a result, the President has a statutory obligation to honor my recommendations and move on them in good faith.

And, up until recently, the President has generally discharged that obligation.

In the last several months, however, the administration has been stalling progress on Democratic appointments.

This problem existed before the August break.

In an effort to solve it, I worked hard to confirm over 40 administration nominees in exchange for a commitment by the President to make progress on a number of important commissions.

When we reconvened after August break, I also worked to quickly move on the President’s new Attorney General.

I did this despite my own opposition to that nominee.

Even with all this hard work on our side, the commitments the administration made to me before August break were not met.

In the almost three months since that break, we have received no Democratic nominees to full-time commission positions.

For some, in fact, absolutely no discernable progress has been made.

With Thanksgiving break looming, the administration informed me that they would make several recess appointments.

I indicated I would be willing to confirm various appointments if the administration would agree to move on Democratic appointments.

They would not make that commitment.

As a result, I am keeping the Senate in pro-forma to prevent recess appointments until we get this process back on track.

Can't imagine Mitch McConnell's response to this.

Doll blogging!

One of my hobbies is doll collecting. Granted, it's a somewhat sporadic hobby, but I've always had a fondness for dolls. I bought this Japanese doll in San Francisco's Japantown.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Jeopardy answer: "No, not really"

Jeopardy question: "Is there any candidate more vacant than Mitt Romney"?

(Asked by my brother last night.)

Stuff I'm listening to

Julie Driscoll fronting Brian Auger and the Trinity, singing Richie Havens' "Indian Rope Man," one of my favorite Driscoll/Auger tunes. Driscoll married pianist Keith Tippett and is now an avant-jazz chanteuse who performs as Julie Tippetts. Here she's rockin' the short cut and singing like a true blue-eyed soul queen, not unlike Annie Lennox about 15 years later.

Speaking of blue-eyed soul queens, here's the late, great Dusty Springfield. Recommended to all: Dusty in Memphis. One R&B-loving British gal and a crack R&B session team. Good stuff.

Oh, and dig Dusty's sleeves.

For once, the US Constitution wins

Three cheers for Sens. Dodd and Leahy. The forthcoming FISA bill will not, repeat NOT, include retroactive immunity for telecoms. The New York Times has more.

Senator Schumer voted to strip telecom immunity out of the bill. It's not enough to make up for his pro-Mukasey vote, but at least this time he voted on the side of the angels.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Redefining centrism OR Why does Blue Dog = Bush Dog?

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-SD, with two South Dakota Sioux.

Following my post the other day, I've been thinking more about what centrism is and isn't.

And when I do, I find myself thinking about strangely silent GOP centrists, both in and out of office. What do they make of the cesspool their party has become? And then I remember that if they really were concerned, they would've spoken up years ago. So forget them.

Instead, let's turn our attention to one of those Bush-enabling Blue Dogs, Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota. She supports that stupid Federal Marriage Amendment. She voted to give Bushco more power under FISA, she voted to make the Patriot Act permanent, and she voted for that horrible Military Commissions Act. She's the kind of Democrat that progressives hate, not because she's a moderate, but because she supports laws and policies that are anything but moderate.

And, like too many moderates, she involves herself in ineffective "bipartisan solutions," especially regarding Situation FUBAR.

So...Is Stephanie Herseth Sandlin one of those scary Lieberdems? Is she a (shudder) DINO? Not quite.

Judging from this profile, Herseth Sandlin is a strong populist who doesn't fit traditional definitions of left or right. For one thing, she's campaigning for John Edwards, one of the more progressive 2008 candidates. As an advocate of rural issues, she feels that Edwards is the best candidate for rural America. She supports biofuels and family farms. Since taking office in 2004, she has sponsored countless legislation to benefit Native Americans. (For a rundown, see here, here, and here. She is pro-choice and supports SCHIP. A quick look at Project VoteSmart, that great political cheat sheet, shows that she gets high marks from many liberal groups--as well as an A from the National Rifle Association. She also receives high scores from Progressive Punch.

In fact, Herseth Sandlin is exactly the kind of Democrat who might appeal to voters who feel let down by Republicans. She's cast some atrocious votes, but GOP-lite she ain't.

Alas, it's the crappy votes that stand out more prominently than her populist stance. And yes, at least one SD centrist has a big problem with her FISA vote. What to do when a moderate supports immoderate policies?

Well, maybe the problem is bigger than one individual Blue Dog Democrat. Or even the voting block of Blue Dogs who break with the rest of the party and vote for these crappy policies. Maybe the main problem is that the concept of "centrism" has changed in the Bush years. Instead of aisle-crossing pragmatists in both parties being productive and building a consensus on issues, there are a bunch of Republicans who don't dare break with their party, a lot of Democrats who consistently vote with theirs because the other party is stupid, and the Blue Dogs, who are the reason why a lot of Bush's laws get passed.

Blue Dog defenders point out that these congresscritters represent purple to crimson-red states and districts. Even so, they're out of step with national mood. Bush's approval rating pretty much sucks all over the country. At this point, the Blue Dogs have nothing to lose by refusing to play along with the administration's fear-mongering, Constitution-shredding antics.

In the words of one South Dakotan:

Things are looking pretty grim for the Republicans in the Congress. C'mon Rep. Herseth Sandlin, please please please... for our South Dakota guys and gals...

Just say it...

"Our soldiers have done well and fulfilled their mission. And, it's become crystal clear that it's time to redeploy from Iraq. Now."


The Bush/Blue Dogs are a diverse bunch, ranging from Southern Zell Miller wannabes to populists like Herseth Sandlin. In the latter group, we can add her North Dakota neighbor, Congressman Earl Pomeroy, who went so far as to call President Bush a clown. Notes the Rural Populist:

Earl Pomeroy knows some of the same rhetoric used by new darlings of the West such as Senator Jon Tester (D-MT). He needs to learn how to use that good-old-populist rhetoric to justify standing up and voting against the Bush Administration on issues such as the war and the invasion of personal liberty though expanded wiretapping authority. His constituents are already sympathetic to a populist argument for doing so.

The Republicans seem content to continue on their merry party-before-country way. But there's no reason for a moderate or even conservative Democrat to follow (see John Murtha for proof).

Stephanie Herseth Sandlin claims to be "an independent voice for South Dakota." She and her fellow Bush Dogs should be independent enough not to fall in line behind Bush's dangerous policies. How do you convince them? I'm not sure.

For more about Bush/Blue dogs, check out Open Left.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Music to save the world by

Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, featuring Teddy Pendegrass. The song in question is "Wake Up Everybody." Man, we could use more songs like this.

A thought re Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich, fighter though he is, is better off remaining in the House. In fact, I think it would be a good idea to give him a nice, high-profile position in the house. Like maybe majority leader or even House Speaker. It's a long shot, not unlike his campaign. But I can dream, yes?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

For once, the bad guys lose...

...and a corrupt Republican gets thrown out on his ass. Kentucky's scandal-plagued governor, Ernie Fletcher, was trounced by Democrat Steve Beshear. Fletcher got 41% of the vote. OUCH!

I imagine the folks over at Ditch Mitch are happy as a pig in slop today. They have an interesting finding on the election results:

Beshear doing EXTREMELY well so far in western Kentucky, which is arguably the state’s most socially conservative region. Gay-baiting didn’t work here, it appears. Troubling sign for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) next year?

Speaking of Dan Abrams...

Why is he playing Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" on his show? I'm confused.

Crybaby conservative alert!

Somewhere a wingnut's head is exploding.

Riding a ratings wave from “Countdown With Keith Olbermann,” a program that takes strong issue with the Bush administration, MSNBC is increasingly seeking to showcase its nighttime lineup as a welcome haven for viewers of a similar mind.

Lest there be any doubt that the cable channel believes there is ratings gold in shows that criticize the administration with the same vigor with which Fox News’s hosts often champion it, two NBC executives acknowledged yesterday that they were talking to Rosie O’Donnell about a prime-time show on MSNBC.

During the nine months she spent on “The View” before departing abruptly last spring, Ms. O’Donnell raised viewership notably. She did so while lamenting the unabated casualties of the Iraq war and advocating the right to gay marriage, among other positions.

Note the operative phrase: "Raised viewership notably." Even though Rosie probably hurt Bitsy Hasselback's feelings a few times.

Say, if Rosie gets the gig, would Bitsy agree, perhaps, to be her co-host? Sort of like Colmes to Rosie's Hannity? The thought makes one rub one's hands with glee.

I'm not really a Rosie fan, but she'd probably be fun to watch. Could you imagine Rosie inviting Newt Gingrich to be on her show? Or Rudy? Or even some clueless Beltway Dem like Pelosi or Schumer? Really, after the rabidness of Bill O'Reilly, Rosie O'Donnell is probably the picture of politeness in comparison, yes?

Of course Faux News' stooges are pissed. They're now obsessing about it, too.

From News Hounds:

Fox doesn't give a rat's patootie whether or not advertisers will follow. Fox is freaked out that a Rosie show would smash Hannity & Colmes' ratings. According to Allison, Dan Abram's show -- which runs opposite Hannity & Colmes now -- is up 40% over last year. According to the article linked to above, Keith Olbermann's ratings is up 33% over last year. (Several months ago I read they were up more like 54%.) Democrats and progressives, who comprise 50% of the country, are starving for television that speaks to them. Rosie would probably be tremendously successful and I submit that's why Fox is having a hissy fit about this. Fox wants its viewers to call MSNBC and complain about that "radical" (as John Gibson called her) and quash this deal before it gets going. And they act like they're such big, bad tough guys.

Dan Abrams? Wow. Is it just me or is that guy kind of a pipsqueak?

Speaking of pipsqueaks, Li'l Tucker, it seems, is headed for cancellation city. Which means he'll probably end up at that great refuge for right-wing losers: namely, Faux News. Note to Roger Ailes: give this guy a job already, so he can lose any remaining legitimacy and we won't have to see him on Sunday morning blabfests anymore. Okay?

Meanwhile, does anyone really watch Glenn Beck's show? This is a serious question.

Monday, November 05, 2007

What is this thing called centrism?

American progressives flinch at the words "centrism" and "centrist." Seriously, who can blame them? Centrism conjures up images of Liberdems displaying their naked butt cheeks to Fox News "analysts," screaming "THANK YOU SIR MAY I HAVE ANOTHER?!?" Centrism is generally agreed to be a lousy strategy, unless you're one of those lame-ass consultants paid according to how many elections you lose for the Democratic party.

But is it really? Does "centrist" have to be synonymous with "right-wing Bush brown-noser"? Is centrism really the problem? Or is the definition of centrism the problem? Does "Blue Dog" absolutely have to equal "Bush Dog"?

I don't believe so.

Over at the Great Orange Inferno, there's mad respect for moderate and even conservative Democrats like Jim Webb and John Murtha. Webb was a fracking Reagan staffer, remember? But progressive activists respect his tough stance against the Iraq war, his support for the troops, and his pride in his military service. Similarly, John Murtha is a military veteran and seasoned hawk with ties to the Pentagon. Neither is an arch-liberal by any means. But here's what makes them strong Democrats: they fight and rebut the White House frames and talking points.

Democrats should quit squawking about finding the "center." At this point in time, the Democratic party is the centrist party. The Republican party is the party of the reactionary right.

It wasn't always so, of course. Thirty years ago, sensible, level-headed moderates happily found a home in the GOP. They were liberal on social issues and believed in fiscal responsibility. They were rational and sane. They were comfortably, happily centrist. They were great for building bridges between parties. And they had cool names. Jim Jeffords. John Chafee. Olympia Snowe. Only in America can a Republican senator have a rather hippie-ish sounding name.

Heck, 30 years ago I might have been a moderate Republican.

Sadly, the few remaining GOP moderates have become sad, voiceless, anonymous Bush enablers. Really, you think the Democratic leaders in Congress are spineless? What about all these self-proclaimed centrists and traditional conservatives who spent years rubber stamping all kinds of right-wing reactionary bullshit? That sort of party-before-country behavior is the epitome of spinelessness.

Meanwhile, popular, capable centrist Democrats occupy state houses in the Midwest and the Rockies (e.g., Kathleen Sibelius and Janet Napolitano). Sibelius in particular has managed to lure moderate Kansas Republicans into the Democratic fold. The latest Democratic governor, Ohio's Ted Strickland is the latest member of the club.

As governor, he said in an interview in his statehouse office, "we've tried to avoid being overly partisan." As party builder, he said he wants to focus on "what I call the kitchen table issues ... the basic issues that are important to a family's quality of life."

Strickland's first budget passed with only one dissenting vote in the Republican-controlled legislature. It included a property tax cut for seniors and the disabled as well as more money for higher education. It also provided health insurance for children living in families with up to about $62,000 in income - a bipartisan accomplishment that stands in contrast to the veto struggle now unfolding in Washington over the same issue.

Let's see...focusing on issues rather than ideology. Giving seniors a tax cut. Investing in education and health care for kids. Doing the right thing for Ohio's citizens. Sounds like Strickland understands mainstream priorities. Poll results specifically show that most Americans worry about health care and education. What Governor Strickland is doing is hardly radical...unless you live in DC.

Focusing on practical, pragmatic solutions, rather than ideology, is what centrism should be all about. Nobody in Washington seems to realize this anymore--not Republicans and certainly not Congressional Blue Dogs.

Voting for Bush is not a sign of moderation. It's not pragmatism. It's pandering. It's another form of enabling, just as ridiculous and nonsensical as rubber-stamping of the few remaining GOP moderates.

By all means, the Democrats should claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility. Many already have. But it's time to get beyond shopworn think tank frames and consultants' admonishments. This mythical "center" that Democrats have been searching for is exactly where they've been standing all along.


From Kick! comes this Signe Wilkinson cartoon.

A super special prog blog!

In view of his recent blogging about healthcare, I'm dedicating this blog post to Badtux. Here's 1970s cult band National Health on "The Old Grey Whistle Test."

Friday, November 02, 2007

The strange end of red-state America

A Kossack reports that the preznit's approval rating has finally dipped below the 50 percent mark in America's last red-state holdout, Utah.

Bush Derangement Syndrome in Mormon country! Run for your lives! And dig that shade of dull gray in Cheney's home state, too.

Meanwhile, one useless wingnut responded to John Cole's recent party switcheroo by posting Cole's personal information at his blog. Shades of Graeme Frost and family. How long do you suppose it'll be before Stalkin' Malkin schleps off to West Virginia to manufacture controversies about Mr. Cole?

"Is that the only trick Rightards know?" asks FDL's TRex. The answer, alas, is yes. Malkin, after all, ran off stomping her feet when the grownups challenged her to a debate and so humiliated herself that she made Newsweek's Conventional Wisdom Watch.

Really, the best response to these right-wing assclowns is a simple "Grow the fuck up."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Republican of conscience jumps ship

For years, John Cole has been a lone voice in--well, not the wilderness, but rather a messy backyard of broken toys, smeared baby food, and poopy diapers. (That's the best analogy of the wingnutosphere I could come up with.) A Republican who had no use for the movement conservatives or the Coulter Republicans, and whose disgust became more apparent with each post. Then again, he always sounded more like a center-right kinda guy than Kool-Aid-guzzling movement conservative.

Not anymore. For one thing, Cole is no longer a Republican. In fact, he's changed his voter registration to Democrat. The wingnutosphere will snarl, but it's clear that Cole didn't leave the GOP. The GOP left him. He joins John Eisenhower and Lincoln Chafee among those ex-Republicans who came to realize that the party had no room for them or anyone else with a grip on the real world.

Welcome aboard, dude.

The ultimate crybaby conservative alert!

Li'l George Bush is really mad at the mean Democrats in Congress. Especially the ones who don't support the Iraq War and don't like Mukasey's stance on torture. So he stormed off to a wingnut think tank where people will listen to him without laughing in his face. His latest tantrum is all too predictable. Note how he congratulates the think tank's president for his 30-year tenure: "No such thing as term limits here." Gee, ain't that cute?

The whole speech is more blah blah blah designed to cheer up a bunch of hysterically clueless think tankers. But really, Li'l George shoots himself in the foot:

In the 1920s, the world ignored the words of Hitler, as he explained his intention to build an Aryan super-state in Germany, take revenge on Europe, and eradicate the Jews -- and the world paid a terrible price. His Nazi regime killed millions in the gas chambers, and set the world aflame in war, before it was finally defeated at a terrible cost in lives and treasure.

Uh...George? Which party was in charge of the Oval Office during the 1920s? And which one was in charge during World War II and its aftermath? Do you really want to go there?

Then he starts whining about Mukasey's confirmation hearings.

Unfortunately, on too many issues, some in Congress are behaving as if America is not at war. For example, in a time of war, it is vital for the President to have a full national security team in place -- and a key member of that team is the Attorney General. The job of the Attorney General is essential to the security of America. The Attorney General is the highest ranking official responsible for our law enforcement community's efforts to detect and prevent terrorist attacks here at home....

Translation: "WAAAAAAAH! I want it I want it I want it NOW!!!!!"

As a price of his confirmation, some on that committee want Judge Mukasey to take a legal position on specific techniques allegedly used to interrogate captured terrorists. As Judge Mukasey explained in a letter to committee members, he cannot do so for several reasons: First, he does not know whether certain methods of questioning are in fact used, because the program is classified -- and therefore he is in no position to provide an informed opinion. He has not been read into the program, and won't until he is confirmed and sword in -- won't be until he is confirmed and sworn in as the Attorney General. Second, he does not want an uninformed opinion to be taken by our professional interrogators in the field as placing them in legal jeopardy.

"Torture" and "interrogation" aren't the same thing. And the question isn't about the program itself, but his view of torture. But most people (i.e., people who aren't movement conservatives) already know this.

Finally, he does not want any statement of his to give the terrorists a window into which techniques we may use, and which ones we may not use. That could help them train their operatives to resist questioning, and withhold vital information we need to stop attacks and save lives.

This is really confusing. If Mukasey says that thinks waterboarding is torture, then terrorists will be taught to withstand interrogation? Is that what the preznit is saying? Someone help me out here.

Anyway, the whole speech is worth reading as solid proof of how out of whack Bush's sense of reality truly is. He could believe that the sky is the color of orange sorbet, and if, say Patrick Leahy or Arlen Specter quizzed one of his appointees who was trying to pretend otherwise, he would no doubt go stomping off to Uncle Dick's office to throw things around and kick the wastebasket.

Once again, Howard Dean tells it like it is: "President Bush is now just making things up."

Bob Cesca has managed to deconstruct the thing without losing valuable IQ points in the process.

Congressman Kucinich was absolutely correct on both counts: the UFO thing and the president's mental stability thing. Here's why. The UFO which Kucinich claims to have seen was, in fact, President Bush successfully landing his crazy jet on the flight deck of the USS Batshit.