Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another Top Story: Idiot Joe Put in His Place

The real reaming starts at about minute 6; but take the time to watch the whole thing, it is well worth it.

h/t to Huff Po

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Top Stories of 2008?

The AP's Top 10 2008 stories:



4. IRAQ.







Stories that almost made the Top 10 included Cyclone Nargis, which killed more than 84,000 people in Myanmar; Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, which wreaked deadly damage in the Caribbean and on the U.S. Gulf Coast; and the seesaw fate of same-sex marriage in California, where a court ruling approving it was later overturned by a ballot measure.

Several write-in votes were cast for two developments that occurred too late to be included on the AP ballot — the indictment of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the efforts of struggling U.S. automakers to get a federal bailout. The alleged financial scam involving Bernard Madoff also was revealed too late to make the ballot...
Sarah Palin at 7? Maybe if you combine it with John McCain's failure to select a more qualified V/P pick. I think the Environmental disaster in Tennessee should be in the top 10.

What are your top stories of 2008?

Plans tonight anyone? New Year Eve Open Thread.

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Legacy and Sons

Over the next couple of years, we should be flooded with books by those involved in the Bush Administration, all pointing their fingers at others and re-writing their legacies to paint themselves as either misunderstood, innocent, or victims. It will be fascinating to watch, although I for one, will close the door to the past eight years, and move forward into the sun.

Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that Alberto Gonzales is writing a book. Surprise, surprise. Gonzo wants to (cough) set the record straight about his controversial tenure as a senior official in the Bush administration. More importantly, Gonzo is writing the book "for his sons," because one doesn't always consider how their criminal behavior, at the time, will affect their children's view of them in the future.

"for some reason, I am portrayed as the one who is evil in formulating policies that people disagree with." I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror."
For some reason? Casualty of the War on Terror? Give me a week Gonzo, and I will send you a list of of reasons why you hold a place of disdain by most Americans, and why you are under investigation for criminal behavior while Head of the DOJ.

The chapters on Bush's surveillance program, eavesdropping without court warrants, strong arming a sick man named Ashcroft (that one should make his sons proud) and other controversial aspects of the book, remain blank at this point. I'm sure as soon as that little investigation on allegations of political meddling at the Justice Department and criminal conduct is over, Gonzo can then fill in the blank chapters, and claim his innocence for his "sons."

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

What Do These Things Have in Common? Pet Goat, Guitar, Vacation

The President of the United States, who read "My Pet Goat" as 3,000 Americans lost their lives in a terrorist attack in New York, now sees no reason to disengage himself from vacationing in Crawford to address what has become a Middle East Crisis. One should be accustomed to Bush's lack of interest and disengagement when a crisis arises, as when Katrina struck NO, and playing a guitar was far more fun than dealing with the suffering of thousand of people.

It has become apparent that the time laspe between the election and the swearing in of the new President is a gap in time we can no longer afford, now or in the future.

In an effort to “prevent Palestinians from attacking towns in southern Israel” with rockets, Israel today undertook its third day of offensive military airstrikes in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, raising the death toll to more than 300. The Palestinian casualty numbers have been described as the highest over such a brief period since the 1967 Six-Day war. Scores of Israelis have been wounded — and at least one killed — by rocket attacks fired by Palestinians. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the situation “all out war.”

While Bush has been briefed on the situation by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, he has opted not to interrupt his final vacation as president to make a public statement on the crisis. For someone who has enjoyed the most vacation days as sitting president — including days spent relaxing in comfort during Hurricane Katrina and in the lead-up to 9/11 — it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that Bush prioritizes vacationing over crisis management. ABC News reports:

Even an emerging crisis in the Middle East, one he pledged to resolve just 13 months ago, has not drawn President George W. Bush from his final vacation before leaving office. Despite his personal pledge at Annapolis last year to broker a deal between Israel and the Palestinians before 2009, this weekend Bush sent his spokesmen to comment in his stead.

Since departing Washington for Crawford on Friday, President Bush has made no attempt to be seen in public. In fact, he has yet to leave his ranch.

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Pissing Off Everyone

I wonder if Obama is doing something right – not because some groups of people are happy with his choices so far, but because, it appears, that he has succeeded in pissing off just about everyone. What this means to me is that Obama is more concerned with doing what he believes is best for the country and less concerned with poll numbers or any particular interest group.

Continue reading, after the jump, to find out who Obama has pissed off today.

This is different than President Bush’s arrogance and his ‘fuck you’ attitude towards the world. Bush is concerned with an interest group; Big Business and those interested in making money at the expense of everyone else. I have yet to see evidence of Obama being beholden to the big moneyed crew who have ruled, or attempted to rule, this country for the last century or more.

It is time, once again, to break up monopolies and put big business in their place – I think that the Obama Administration will do this. I just have to be patient and wait for the poor guy to be sworn in before I start inundating his Administration with my expectations.

Expectations are part of Obama’s current problem. The Left would like him to deliver on campaign promises that he made (or campaign promises that we projected onto him) and the Right is waiting for him to implement some drastic Left-Wing-Agenda. He is doing neither. He has not yet been sworn in and he is, by far, more popular, interesting and followed that than the Still-President, Bush.

Obama has succeeded in pissing off the press.

Obama has been given an ‘F’ on his transition transparency.

Of course there is the whole Blagojevich scandal, which numerous people and interest groups are using as examples of “things that Obama has done wrong.”

Obama has even succeeded in causing controversy between those of us who do not exercise religiously and the obsessive health junkies.

The big conflict of the month, however, is inviting Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration.

Frank Rich wrote a scathing editorial yesterday, the highlights of his slam are below.

"But for the first time a faint tinge of Bush crept into my Obama reveries this month."

"Bestowing this honor on Warren was a conscious — and glib — decision by Obama to spend political capital. It was made with the certitude that a leader with a mandate can do no wrong."

"Equally lame is the argument mounted by an Obama spokeswoman, Linda Douglass, who talks of how Warren has fought for “people who have H.I.V./AIDS.” Shouldn’t that be the default position of any religious leader? Fighting AIDS is not a get-out-of-homophobia-free card."

While I absolutely agree with Rich, that fighting for people who have H.I.V./AIDS is not a substitute for tolerance and love of all people – and while I agree with Rich that Obama should not have invited Warren to begin with - I do not believe, necessarily, that Obama made the decision glibly or that there is “a tinge of Bush” in his actions. After all, Obama succeeded in pissing off the Religious Right at the same time.

Also from Rich’s opinion is this statement, highlighting the anger that the Fundies have over Obama’s invitation and Warren’s acceptance of it. Nothing shows “Christ’s Love in Action” like a bunch of anger-filled emails rabidly flowing into CBN.
There is comparable anger and fear on the right. David Brody, a political correspondent with the Christian Broadcasting Network, was flooded with emails from religious conservatives chastising Warren for accepting the invitation to the inaugural. They vilified Obama as “pro-death” and worse because of his support for abortion rights.

Angering the Fundies is not, in itself, a free pass for Obama. I, personally, would have preferred that he had never invited Warren. I actually do not even really like the whole “invocation” thing at my President’s inaugural. If they must have a preacher there, for "tradition" or whatever, I personally would like it to be a non-denominational woman preacher…but that is just me.

I think that Obama’s intention in inviting Warren was to neutralize the Christian Right. I do not think that he did it as an intentional slight to the LGBT community. However, Obama has tremendously thin ice to skate on with those of us who support equal rights regardless of sexual identity, orientation or parts…I hope that he does not fall through it before he even takes the oath of office.

For now, though, I am reserving judgment until I see actual policy. It is not that symbolism isn’t important to me – it is. It is just that policy has the real impact. In addition, I am having a little bit of fun watching Obama do his thing and watching everyone get uptight.

When I compare the disaster that is the Still President Bush Administration (and the horrible last minute policy and law changes that he is implementing – with almost no scrutiny from the media,) - I am heartily warmed by the tiny (by comparison) problems coming from Obama.

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Disaster Governing

Though it happened last week, the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history is not getting much ink. Just another feather in the bu$h cap of disaster governing.
On Monday, toxic coal sludge burst through a retention wall in eastern Tennessee, causing massive property and environmental damage. Federal studies have shown that coal ash contains “significant quantities of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and selenium, which can cause cancer and neurological problems.” The incident — already being called the “largest environmental disaster of its kind in the United States” — may now be even worse than originally anticipated. Tennessee Valley Authority officials “initially said that about 1.7 million cubic yards of wet coal ash had spilled” in the disaster. Yesterday, however, they “released the results of an aerial survey that showed the actual amount was 5.4 million cubic yards, or enough to flood more than 3,000 acres one foot deep.”
Open Thread.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thank You Madeleine Pickens

Madeleine Pickens (wife to T Boone Pickens) plans to build a refuge for America's wild horses, potentially saving thousands of them from slaughter. Pickens stated that when she heard that the federal agency charged with managing the animals was considering euthanasia, she decided to build a sanctuary to save these wild horses and burros.

"This is a solution, and it's a solution that will work. This is our heritage, and I am very excited about what we can do."

Pickens plans to purchase between 500,000 and 1 million acres of Western land for her sanctuary. She declined to be more specific about the property and its location, saying that negotiations are ongoing.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Things that Make Me Smile

h/t to Tree Hugger, who sent me the link to the "Seven Darn Cute Baby Animal Photos."

Consider this an Open Thread.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Courage of Christmas

One of my favorite stories of Christmas is best remembered as the "Truce of Christmas" in the way back machine from WWI, 1915 when the German and Scottish troops ceased fire in order to meet their sworn enemies as men and salute each other as human beings. It is a story of huge courage. Perhaps it also is the best reminder of how when the soldiers of each side face off, it is just them on the field, no one far and away in a command center can ever know the intimacy of the enemy as the men and women who face their enemy.

Today the History Channel was revisiting the story. Knowing this crowd, everyone knows the story well, but a quick check of Wikipedia is a way to get a good overview

My 2nd favorite of the season is watching the DVD of Paul McCartney in Red Square. The story of the Beatles in the '60's and how the Russian real folk were hungry for the music and the freedom and yes the democracy that the Beatles represented. It's remarkable what the Beatles contributed in taking down that wall...and so when Paul brings the band to Red Square and Red Square overflows with happy, in love Russians who have waited generations to hear first hand the songs of freedom, we are all one people. Then as Putin weaves his way into the crowd to watch, it's just a good Christmas moment.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter wonderland

^This is my neighborhood. If I did this right, there's more behind the curtain...

^This is the view from my back deck.

^More of the view. If you squint on clear day, you can see Mt. Rainier. This was a couple days ago. The snow on the railing is now 3 times as high as in the picture.

^Silly puppy thinks it's fun!

Nope, no one's going anywhere. More snow tomorrow, too.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

A Feel Good Story of the Holiday Season

Who here can't resist "throwing a big shoe" at bu$h? I know I can't... what this young man did took some "Grande Huevos" and should be taught in schools as a way of protesting any corrupt regime, government or monarchy. Anything to delay the (illegal) process of an out going pResident from screwing over the populace during their last 60 days in office.

Tim DeChristopher Throws Utah Oil And Gas Drilling Leases Auction Into Chaos

An environmental activist tainted an auction of oil and gas drilling leases Friday by bidding up parcels of land by hundreds of thousands of dollars without any intention of paying for them, a federal official said.

The process was thrown into chaos and the bidding halted for a time before the auction was closed, with 116 parcels totaling 148,598 acres having sold for $7.2 million plus fees.

"He's tainted the entire auction," said Kent Hoffman, deputy state director for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Utah.

Hoffman said buyers will have 10 days to reconsider and withdraw their bids if they think they paid too much.

Tim DeChristopher, a 27-year-old University of Utah economics student, said his plan was to disrupt the auction and he feels he accomplished his goal.

DeChristopher won the bidding on 13 parcels, auction records show, and drove up the price of several other pieces of land.

"I thought I could be effective by making bids, driving up prices for others and winning some bids myself," the Salt Lake City man said.

Some bidders said they were forced to bid thousands of dollars more for their parcels, while others fumed that they lost their bids...
My wish for the Holiday Season is that Tim DeChristopher has a lot of donations to help his legal fund and the federal court drags this into the Obama Administration. Then an immediate pardon from Obama.

We will know right away if Obama will fight for what is environmentally right! This case will also test Ken Salazar upon confirmation: Will he fight big corporations and their explotation of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management? Or will he stand with the environmentalist?

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Solstice, Wonderful Kwanzaa and Happy New Year.

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Holiday Open Thread

OMG, Toyota's posting it's first operating loss since 1950! It's all the Unions fault... damn Unions, causing Toyota to go broke... oh yeah, Toyota doesn't have Union workers.
UPDATE: Just when I get flippant about Toyota and Unions, emptywheel puts out a great article on Toyota being a model for success.

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Solstice, Wonderful Kwanzaa and Happy New Year.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Who Needs a Dagger or Gun?

When small planes are so convenient?
Mike Connell set-up the alternate email and communications system for the White House. He was responsible for creating the system that hosted the infamous accounts that Karl Rove and others used. When asked by Congress to provide these emails, the White House said that they were destroyed. But in reality, what Connell is alleged to have done is move these files to other servers after having allegedly scrubbed the files from all "known" Karl Rove accounts.
- - - - - - - -
The Akron Beacon Journal is reporting that the private plane of the GOP's highly-placed "IT guru" Mike Connell's went down in Lake Township, Ohio on Friday evening. Connell was killed in the crash and is reported to have been the only person on board.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Above Blind Loyalty

Mark Felt died yesterday. Say what you will about this man, but he placed justice and care for this Country above blind loyalty and partisan politics.

The best kept secret in this Country was that this one man, whom remained nameless for 30 years, broke his silence on the corruption within the Nixon Administration, and became an informant to two reporters with the Washington Post.

Mr. Felt believed that transparency in Government was crucial. He believed that abuses in the name of National Security by a president was wrong. He believed that executive privilege used to justify an administration's criminal acts, abuses of power and to hinder investigations of crimes, was deserving of exposure.

Thank you Mr. Felt.
Rest in Peace Sir.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

The First Lady of Star Trek Passes

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry dies at age 76

Star Trek's creative direction moved away from Gene and Majel long ago, but Majel was one of the hearts of fandom. She and Gene kept Trek alive when it was barely nothing more than Lincoln Enterprises being run from their house in Van Nuys., the family company website, has just been slashdotted out of existence from the traffic as the news has broken.

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Additional To Do (Damn, Being a Citizen Requires a Lot of Work!)

In my email inbox today is a note from Congressman Robert Wexler. [I love Bob Wexler. He rocks.]

Anyway, the email lets us know that he supports Nadler's legislation, H.RES.1531, which calls for no "pre-emptive" pardons and demands that Bush Administration officials be held accountable for their crimes.

Currently there are 8 co-sponsors:
Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] - 12/10/2008
Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] - 12/10/2008
Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] - 12/9/2008
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 12/9/2008
Rep Lewis, John [GA-5] - 12/9/2008
Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14] - 12/9/2008
Rep Pastor, Ed [AZ-4] - 12/9/2008
Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] - 12/9/2008
Rep Wexler, Robert [FL-19] - 12/10/2008

You know what to do.

See the entire email below the fold.

Dear Anjha,

There is much to celebrate, as there is only 33 days until George W. Bush leaves the White House. In addition, Congressman Nadler, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, recently introduced a resolution expressing staunch opposition to any potential preemptive pardons of members of his Administration and the need for an Independent commission or select committee to "investigate, and, where appropriate, prosecute illegal acts by senior officials of the administration of President George W. Bush."

I fully support this resolution and I have signed on as a co-sponsor.

The issue of preemptive and/or blanket pardons has been a subject of much debate and frustration. There is great concern that Bush will abuse his pardon power and further cover up wrongdoing by his Administration.

However, as citizens, we have a responsibility to reject any abuse of the presidential pardon power to shield or manipulate investigations.

Regardless of the legality of potential pardons, there needs to be a full accounting of this Administration's abuses. No doubt many of the players in the Administration will seek future positions or public office. The public deserves a full accounting of what they have done, and the law, in my opinion, requires it.

Many felt that President-elect Obama's victory might free members of Congress to move forward with Impeachment Hearings. However, the weeks since the election have been largely consumed with trying to formulate a balanced and thoughtful response to the economic crisis, which, no doubt, is affecting many of you.

The struggles of the American auto industry, and the ongoing banking and credit crisis, skyrocketing unemployment, and our exploding budget deficit have taken center stage.

Some of our most critical issues - universal healthcare, Medicare and social security funding, alternative energy investment, and education improvements are all threatened by this crisis. Although I am committed as ever to holding this Administration accountable, we are facing a historic crisis in this nation that Congress and President-elect Obama must work together to solve.

Obama's victory gives us a window to accomplish vital tasks that will have very direct impact on you and your family.

I thoroughly believe that President-elect Obama will return us to a government that respects the rights of its citizens and the rule of law. I look forward to working closely with his Administration to not only repair the damage, but bring forth a renewed sense that government is, in fact, responsible and answerable to the people.

With great respect and admiration,

Robert Wexler

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Idiosynchronic: Rest Easy

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Except for copying - that is the very greatest form of flattery.

The Progressive is calling for "Shoeing Bush Out."

Last night, as I said, I received an email on a Democratic District group asking us to send Bush our shoes.

There are numerous posts out there about it.

I have even read posts of people who have already done it.

The only thing that I have not yet seen is the call to include directions to forward them to charity. I think that we should create the PDF instructions directing them to do so and then all of these other places can link to us! It is not easy always being the "Linker". I think that it is high time the L&L Pt 2 is the "Linkee".

Addendum: (by id) dday has observed that the Iraqis are getting pissed over the incarceration and probable beating of al-Zaidi. Now someone has to sit and really think of what do we put on the sheet. The earliest I may get to it is Friday morning.

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Thursday To Do's

If you do nothing else Thursday,

1. Please call Senator Carl Levin
2. Call your own Senators
3. Call your Representative

Tell them all that you support an independent commission and indictments for anyone in the Bush Administration who authorized and participated in torture.

Tell them that you support indictments and prosecution for war crimes.

Tell them that you want everyone, and we mean everyone (including any Democrats who knew and did nothing) held accountable.

Tell them that we are a nation of laws, not of men. Tell them that the Rule of Law is the only thing that keeps us free.

4. Tell everyone who you know to do the same.

The Congress must hear from us or nothing.will.happen.

5. Go to and tell Obama the same.

UPDATE: BTW, Senator Carl Levin was on The Rachel Maddow Show tonight advocating for said commission [this is why we are calling his office first.]

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A Lump of Coal from Santa Bush

By robertgreenwald

The Bush administration isn't about to let democracy or the will of the people stop them from further ruining this country before they leave office. Knowing he can't get his long list of favors to his Republican cronies through Congress, Bush is doing a last minute end-run, jamming as many rules through the executive branch as he can during his waning days in power. These so-called "midnight regulations" will allow factories to pollute more, further restrict women's access to abortion services, cut off aid to needy families in the middle of a recession, and much more -- all without Congress' oversight or approval. It's wrong, it's antidemocratic, but, sadly, it's legal.

When given the opportunity to be "naughty or nice" this holiday season, Bush has clearly opted to go down as one of the naughtiest, most sinister presidents in our nation's history. We've created a satirical spin on the famous poem, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, in order to show President Bush crafting his last-minute agenda for health care, the environment, civil liberties, and labor practices -- rules that will affect everyone and will be difficult for the next administration to overturn.

We are using humor here in the hopes that it both commands people's attention and enables us to shine a light on these all-too-serious midnight regulations.

After you've enjoyed this video, send it to friends and family (and don't forget to Digg it!). Let them know the harm President Bush's midnight regulations will bring. And stress the fact that there are far too many congressional representatives who have remained silent while Bush pushes midnight regulations that will wreak havoc on the lives of their constituents and local communities.

We must call the tacit approval of these representatives into question. Keep in mind that it's not just voters in blue states who will be affected -- these midnight regulations will hurt people in the states and districts of Bush's enablers in Congress. And remember that these last-minute policies are the outcome of Congressional Republicans' loyal support for the Bush agenda over the past eight years. We should hold them accountable for the huge lump of coal Bush is handing over to the nation this Christmas. This video is also available on YouTube.

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It's a Good Day for Women's Rights

Among the many policies and issues facing President-Elect Obama, the regulations on abortion and other reproductive-heath issues will be high on his list. More importantly, he will reverse some of the Bush measures denying the right of choice.

As Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America has said, "We have a lot of work to do to fix the damage the Bush administration has done."

President-Elect Obama has said he will address the following issues immediately:

1. The first thing will be lifting Bush's restrictions on funding for research using embryonic stem cells.

2. Removal of 'Global Gag Rule.' The gag rule has barred foreign organizations from using their own money for abortion services or advocacy if they accept U.S. aid for family planning.

3. Restore federal funding for Family Planning to the United Nations Population Fund.

4. Get the Freedom of Choice Act, or FOCA, which would codify Roe v. Wade into federal law passed and signed into law.

5. Overturn the "Right of Conscience" regulation that Bush intends to issue this week. The new regulation would allow hospitals, doctor's offices, pharmacies and other in the health care field to refuse to provide information, such as a referral, to patients looking for an abortion. Bush hasn't signed the regulation yet, but is expected to sometime this week.

Finally, a woman's rights advocate in the White House again.

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Can We Go to the Hague Now?

On Monday, Cheney admitted he was directly involved in approving severe interrogation methods used by the CIA. It is the first time that he has acknowledged playing a central role in approving interrogation tactics, including water boarding.

"I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared," Cheney said in an interview with ABC News. Asked whether he still believes it was appropriate to use the waterboarding method on terrorism suspects, Cheney said: "I do."

His comments come on the heels of disclosures by a Senate committee showing that high-level officials in the Bush administration were intimately involved in reviewing and approving interrogation methods that have since been explicitly outlawed and that have been condemned internationally as torture.

So the truth, which we have known for years, has been finally been admitted by Dick (waterboard 'em) Cheney.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Friends, Romans, Citizens, Give Me Your Shoes

Awww . . shucks . . . thanks guys for wanting to make up the slack.

So I guess it's obvious the major source of my disappointment is not the lack of response, but rather my own ability to do things for days at a time. I can't be the leader of this. I've been busy all day long at work until just now. And I think we've just about exhausted the news cycle window to capitalize on the Shoe-ing of the President.

The PDF is easy, especially with numerous free tools available online to make a PDF. Message and goal are what matters.

1) encourage donations of shoes.
1a) to where? A local charity makes the most sense in terms of carbon emissions unless we have a charity that that sponsors large acquisitions.
2) Problem: how do you get the message across to at least the Bush library and media outlets? Especially if they never see the shoes. While I'd love to stick the library with the costs of donating the shoes, such action is demonstrably wrongful in several belief systems of charity.
3) Write a coherent, motivating narrative of why we should donate these shoes in this manner.
3a) be clear that crap shoes or . . disgusting shoes aren't welcome.

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Let's Play

The TeeVees are all in a twitter over who Obama will appoint as Labor Secretary.

Although he is desperately needed at the UAW, I think that it would send a great message to appoint Gettelfinger.

If not Gettelfinger, I would like to see John Edwards. I know. I know. However, I think that Edwards proved that he will take on the business, corporate and monied interests in a big way.

Who would you like to see nominated?

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What I Refuse to Learn

Discouragement is the death of most good ideas. And so it is with Idiosynchronic’s shoe plan. I refuse to allow discouragement and a bunch of cranky turn the page cynics to ruin a good idea. Spplttt! Phoeey! No way.

First of all, Id, what can we do to help? Seriously. What tasks do you need help with? The answer is always “no” until you ask.

I saw over on TLC that one of the commenters had already sent a pair of size 10 shoes. It is happening organically; we will just take the organic movement and add to it. The idea is to make certain that enough people send the shoes that the media picks it up. They are still reporting on the story – we have a short period of time.

This is what I see as the steps that need to occur.

1. Do not get discouraged by the dicks. There are always dicks...we shall overcome!

2. I do not have Adobe. Does anyone here have the ability to create a PDF?

3. Let's actually get the PDF created before we proceed. Let's keep it simple. What are the things that should be included in the PDF?

a. A statement. My vote is for something like "We stand with the citizens of Iraq. We are sorry for the invasion and the destruction of your country. This is for the women and the children" [or whatever it was that the journalist will not take long to find the quote.]

b. Something to the effect of "Mr. Muntadar al-Zaidi should be released immediately and President Bush should apologize for not coming to his aid sooner. Although we do not advocate violence in any way, we understand the frustration of the Iraqi people and Mr. Muntadar al-Zaidi should be released and an envoy should be sent to hear him, to understand his concerns and to understand why he felt that he needed to take the actions that he did. The only way that healing can happen is for open dialogue to take place."

c. “These shoes are a statement of our frustration. The American people have been ignored for far too long in this process. You work for us. We do not want this occupation in Iraq to continue. Bring the troops home now."

d. “These shoes should be donated to x, y, z and a... [List the charities, contact info and the recycler.]"

e. What else should we include? Trying to keep it simple - but what else do you think that we should include?
4. Include also shipping options. SoS votes UPS [are they completely US and completely Union? Let's state that.] I like the USPS, because the post office has been suffering for so long and these are government jobs and government monies so it will help the National Debt. Government jobs are Union [at least they had that right up until last week when Dubya changed some BS rule.]

5. After the PDF is created then we all need to branch out and post where ever we can. I will post at TPM, someone post again at KOS (we can all go and recommend) someone can post again at TLC (maybe we can email Erin) and someone can post at HuffPo, SoS can post at Left is Right, I will post at PAS (not that anyone goes there...but the web crawlers will pick up the words) and we should make sure that we include a link to the stories at NYT and WaPo, etc because those links bring traffic.

Let's get busy. We can do this with very little effort. Especially if we act as a team.

(Note: previously posted in the comments.)

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Something Smells Funny

If you think that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald ordered the FBI to arrest Rod Blagojevich Tuesday in order to stop a crime from being committed, then you would be wrong in that thinking.

Fitzgerald’s office is angry that the scheme didn’t advance, at least for a little longer. Why? Because had the plot been given time to unfold, they might have had an opportunity most feds can only dream of: A chance to catch the sale of a Senate seat on tape, including the sellers and the buyers.

The precise timing of Tuesday’s dramatic, pre-dawn arrest was NOT dictated by Fitzgerald, nor was it dictated by the pace of Blagojevich’s alleged “selling of the Senate seat.” It was dictated by the Chicago Tribune, according to people close to the investigation.

In October, Fitzgerald’s had requested that the Tribune hold back the story, since a confidante of Blagojevich was cooperating with Fitzgerald's office. However, the Tribune’s editor made the decision to break the agreement with Fizgerlad's office. The editor said in a statement last week that these requests are granted in what he called isolated instances. “In each case, we strive to make the right decision as reporters and as citizens.” Publishing the story on Friday, Dec. 5, ending the Tribune’s own cooperation deal with the prosecutor's office.

Why would the Tribune expose an ongoing investigation in Fitzgerald's office?

Here's the Link.

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High School Econ

How obvious is this? (h/t to Mary)

I remember even Mr. Dick Treman in high school Econ talking at length about the topsy-turvy logic of depression economics in 1989.

And Treman was a hard-core profits-above-all Republican.

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What Have I Learned?

1) Don't get half an idea, publish it to the rest of the world, and hope that you get someone else to pick up along with you when it's half formed. With any idea, you get followers 99.9% of the time, not co-leaders.

2) Don't do it if you have to have a life doing something else. If your family expects you to be present in life, forget about it.

3) Check with fuckin' gatekeepers. Or one of their low-level acid-y minions who has no life will kneecap you.

4) Maybe the simple executions are best.

5) I am blessed with friends! Sincerely, thank you coyote, Seven, Maryscott, and all of you that either commented or wrote me.

At the end, I think I what I most rue is that Mr. al-Zaidi didn't have the opportunity to flip the shoe at Dubya at a time more fertile for actions like what I and several dozen other blog readers wanted to try. Hopefully, he will be released soon and unharmed.

There's an upsetting tendency amongst the Democratic blogerati and their readership to do what Democratic leaders are routinely castigated for: ignoring the grassroots & keeping their powder dry. In what little communication I got, I was repeatedly counseled to put such 'silliness' aside and work for the glorious tomorrow that Barack Obama and his grand administration would usher in. Or if they haven't drunk the kool-aid, they're understandably wary of anything that takes away from real life & death priorities for the world.

The one overarching thing this impresses on me is that mainstream Democrats are going to do what every change in administration has done before - they're going to sweep in and sweep out the old ASAP. Investigation into the prior and holding the guilty accountable will be inconvenient and distracting. It might ruin the chances for future coalitions! That it protects the guilty is just a damn shame.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

If the Shoe Fits

Originally posted at the author's home base of Low & Left Part Deux

How often is it that we not only get to tell someone what's on our mind and do the right thing? Not to mention channel a little holiday giving?

We don't get to throw our shoes at the President. It's illegal, both in terms of assault as well as god-knows what laws in the post 9/11 world. As has been joked about the guy in Iraq, we'd be risking GitMo or an extended stay with "outsourced detention" in Syria. And if you used foot powder that morning . . may God have mercy on your soul.

That doesn't mean we can't send him our shoes to make sure he gets the point.

The plan: gather up your old shoes, box 'em and then send them to the President. Include a message that gets the point across. That message should also tell the President what charities will take your shoes - There's a bunch out there, not including the local Goodwill or Catholic Charities. Go buy new shoes if you want to make a better donation.

- - - -

This project is at the idea stage - I believe we should create printable PDF that donators can use to include in their care packages to make it as easy as possible. Other than that, we/I am looking for improvements to this idea, where you think the best destination address is (The White House or The Ranch?), or a better tone to the message to encourage donations for the right reasons, just not mere cynicism.

Post your comments and ideas to the thread at this blog or at Low and Left, or email your comments to the author, idiosynchronic, at Gmail.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

“This Is A Farewell Kiss, You Dog...”

Update by Anjha: MSNBC has the video, Bush has never reacted so quickly to anything...:

Now this is funny! When bu$h made a surprise visit to Baghdad today, during a press conference, an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at him! CNN's Michael Ware reports: just sailed past his head and while the man was dragged out of the room, President Bush is said to have remarked that, “This was a size 10 shoe he threw at me you may want to know,” even as the man was heard screaming in the hallway.
More at the Think Progress link:
McClatchy identified the man as Iraqi television journalist Muthathar al Zaidi and reports he threw both of his shoes at Bush just after he finished prepared remarks. The New York Times notes that the first shoe “narrowly missed” and the second shoe also missed. “This is a farewell kiss, you dog,” the Zaidi shouted.
Video should be out soon Ware said!

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Myths and Fairytales

MTP is pretty interesting this morning. Gregory is actually having a discussion with Fiorina, Romney, Granholm, Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google,) and the CEO of Wal-Mart Lee Scott.

The myths and fairytales are flying out of the mouths of the liars.

(Yep, there is more. Note: edited to use the there's more feature.)

1. The UAW workers do not make $73 per hour.

This was a myth started by a WSJ reporter, who took all of the wages, all of the retirement health care costs, all of the pension costs, all of the current workers health care costs, all of the current workers vacation, sick leave, etc costs plus the wages of the CEOs and then divided it by the hours worked by the current employees. That is how that number was arrived at.

The same result would happen if you took all government employees and added in all pensions, etc and then divided it by the current hours worked by current employees. It is a BS number.

If Bill Gates walked into a bar with 5 people, the average net worth of the people in the bar would be many millions of dollars. Think people, think.

2. The talks in the Senate did not break down over the UAW not agreeing to cut their wages in 2009.

Gettelfinger had an agreement with Corker. Corker did not have the clout in his Caucus to bring it about (or his Caucus sent him out there as a sacrifice.) They had an agreement. It fell apart with the Republicans when Corker brought it back. The GOP had no intention of negotiating. From the beginning they had no intention. It was all political theatre.

The UAW never should have even tried to negotiate with those lying fucks. They did so in good faith, and they have learned their lesson.

3. We do not have the "second highest business tax rate in the world."

Bullshit. We have more tax loopholes than any other country in the world. The larger that you are the more loopholes that you can take advantage of. There is a building in the Cayman Islands that holds almost 20,000 corporations that should be US businesses. They have a PO Box in the Caymans to avoid paying US taxes.

4. Businesses do not "create jobs." This is the greatest myth perpetuated by the Right.

Demand creates jobs. Employees offer their services to companies. Employees create wealth for business owners. (Good luck Lee Scott, CEO of Walmart - try selling your cheap crap without your thousands of underpaid employees. I'd like to see you in that blue vest.)

Please use this thread to list other BS myths perpetuated by the Right Wing. I know that it could go on forever, so, maybe just stick to the ones being thrown out today, on the morning shows. Even those will take up a ton of bandwidth.

5. Just because Obama is from Chicago does not mean that he is responsible for every friggin' thing that happens in Illinois. This is a molehill not a mountain. The media needs to quit hyperventilating about this crap and start focusing on the actual crimes being performed by the Bush Administration.

Oh, and PS: That gawddamned commercial about "the faces of lawsuit abuse" commercial is crap. There is not really a "lawsuit abuse" problem. This is one more BS meme put forward by the Right. The same old crap that blames trial lawyers for everything.

The law is there to protect the people from the government and the corporations and the powerful - not the other way around. Unfortunately, the law is not always used as it was intended - to save us from them, but that is only because enough people do not understand the history of our founding and why our laws and Constitution were written as such.

We need civics education and we need it badly.

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Troll bait - UAW edition cont'd

Step right up, trolls, here's your chance to shine!

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The Media and Misinformation

Where is the media with this $70-an-hour meme, actively promoted by the anti-union people? The press, on such a central issue facing our country, fails to clearly state the facts and instead perpetuates misinformation with their poor reporting. They sure as hell have held blue-collar workers to a different standard than the white-collar worker.

The media might want to stop echoing the conservative misinformation and the myth about the $70.00 an hour, and review the facts. They also might want to mention that the big three autoworkers recently made significant concessions to management?

The falsehood about auto workers is being spread at a crucial time, especially while a public debate is taking place. The media is willingly and intentionally misleading the American people.

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UAW Makes Inroads in Kentucky

The worse possible scenaro for the Toyota Plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, would be for the workers to Unionize, yet it appears that their greatest fear may become their reality.

For the past two decades, the United Auto Workers union has been a constant, but largely neutralized presence Kentucky. But, emboldened by Toyota's plans to cut labor costs at its U.S. factories, the UAW is making its most concerted push yet to organize workers at the Japanese automaker's largest American plant. In a departure from previous efforts, the movement is drawing attention to issues like wage stability and workplace safety, rather than focusing on gathering workers' signatures on union cards.

Organizers have seized on leaked Toyota internal documents that show the company wants to cut $300 million in labor costs in North America by 2011. They have joined forces with community activists, local politicians and workers' rights advocates to make their case for Unionizing the Georgetown plant. This would be an enormous victory for the UAW, as it would be the first time it had organized a factory wholly owned by a Japanese automaker.

The UAW needs a foothold in the company that is on track to displace General Motors as the world's largest automaker. Unless they can organize it, the union's power will inevitably be flushed away. Organizing Toyota promises to be difficult, and it remains unclear how much real progress will result from the latest push in Georgetown.

While Union organizers said they had seen an increase in attendance at their regular meetings, the UAW will not say how many Toyota workers are actively supporting the new effort.
In interviews, pro-union workers at the Georgetown plant said they were fighting the perception that unions were irrelevant, even dangerous to Toyota's future. Recently, the company has taken a harder line on wages and labor costs, giving union organizers what they perceive as an opening. Just last week, Toyota told workers in Kentucky they would have to start paying a premium for health insurance for family members.

And over the last few months, Toyota management has summoned small groups of workers to attend a presentation described by executives as a routine update for workers. While no Toyota executive explicitly says it, the theme of the presentation is that Toyota will end up in the same troubled waters as GM if something does not change. "That doesn't sit well," said Charles Hite, who works on the loading dock at the Georgetown plant and has been with Toyota for 15 years. "They want people to fear losing their jobs."

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

When Bob Reich Agrees With The Loonies

TPM Cafe yesterday:
A new Civil War is breaking out when it comes to automaking in America, and it was evident in the lineup yesterday of senators for and against bailing out Detroit. Japanese, Korean, and German automakers are now building 18 auto assembly plants in the United States, none of which is unionized. Kentucky (home to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell) already has Toyota's biggest auto assembly plant outside Japan. Tennessee (home to Senate Rep. Bob Corker, who came up with the "chapter 11" bailout amendment which was the basis for an attempted compromise yesterday) houses Nissan's North American headquarters. Alabama (Senate Rep. Richard Shelby) hosts a range of foreign automakers.

There's no reason to suppose the good citizens of Kentucky, Tennessee, or Alabama are particularly excited at the prospect of handing over their taxpayer money to competing firms and their workforces, especially since almost every one of these states already gave foreign firms big tax-payer supported inducements to come and create jobs there.

Besides, southern Republican are not particularly enamored with the UAW, which has steadfastly bankrolled Democrats who have taken on Republicans. (The new Congress will have at least six new Democrats from formerly Republican districts, all of whom received at least $40K from the UAW.)

Corker's compromise -- which he'll push again in the new Congress -- would force the UAW to match the wages of foreign, mostly non-unionized autoworkers in the South. This would essentially make the UAW irrelevant. Why have a union if you can get the same deal without one?
It's nice to be validated, but the real shame here is that our little tiny blog was pointing this out days ago; and as respected (or infamous) as Reich is, his piece is being published not in The Times, but on the blogs, whom still don't play to much more than single digits of the electorate-at-large.

I do have one little disagreement though:
But Republicans also know that the Big Three and their suppliers are spread out over the battle-ground states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Minnesota. Republicans don't dare give up these states or alienate their citizens. So here's where political compromise comes in.
What about this campaign of political violence has suggested this?? The GOP in this fight has done nothing but denigrate unions and union membership for the past 4 weeks of the auto bailout drama. Any unionized worker in these rust belt states that votes for a Republican in the future should be ashamed of themselves.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Hard truths

Thom Hartman on Olberman with that Schuster guy:

"We've gone from the nation with the most exports of finished goods, the largest number of people owing us money to the nation that imports the most manufactured goods and the deepest in debt. That's the definition of a third world country. This is the end result of Reaganomics."


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You’re Right – It Is Personal

This whole auto industry failure; union busting; kill the economy; families starving thing, does hit home, and I cannot separate my personal feelings from my intellectual opposition to what the GOP is doing. I feel it now the same way that I felt it as a little girl – and it frightens me.

Click "read more" to find out why.

My dad is from Tennessee. He grew up extremely poor, his family was basically “share croppers” – they never owned a thing. They lived in a shack on the land that they took care of. My dad quit school in the 6th grade so that he could go to work in the tobacco fields and help to take care of his family.

The army saved his life. He gained 40 pounds in his three months of basic. He said that it was the first time that he got good meals and good sleep. He had worked so hard for so many years that basic friggin’ training was a reprieve. The army also brought him west. The Army took him out of Tennessee and away from that life of share cropping; it also brought him to a union state with union jobs.

Dad worked for a Chevy dealership as a mechanic for 40 years, (except for a couple of years in the late 1970’s.) Dad had worked his way up to Service Manager. (I remember what a big deal that it was for my daddy to go to work wearing a tie. I recall looking in the closet at his was so extraordinary. Dad also no longer came home covered in grease.)

In the late 1970’s dad’s dealership went non-union. I will never forget what it was like, walking the picket lines with my family. The talks broke down, the union dissolved, my dad was fired.

He worked for a couple of different independent mechanic shops – but he could not make enough money, nor did he have any benefits. About this time mom, who had also worked for some auto dealerships and done miscellaneous odd jobs to help us survive over the years, started working nights as a custodian for the school district. She had to do this, the job offered benefits which my dad no longer had.

Dad was eventually hired back, at the same dealership, on the bench. On the bench means that he was once again an auto mechanic. No more ties, no more clean fingernails.

For the next 20 years dad worked as a mechanic. He finally retired, at age 65, one of the longest working employees at the dealership. He outworked the original owner’s son, who took over and retired while dad bent over cars and dolly’d under cars and had fucking computerized vehicles overtake auto mechanics (the technology changed so dramatically that the older mechanics just could not do it anymore – btw, when dad started working at the dealership, the owner’s son was still in High School.)

Meanwhile, mom worked her way up at the school district and eventually became a crew chief of a unit that went from school to school resurfacing the hardwood floors. She also worked on the board of her union, serving various volunteer positions.

After 20 years the district killed her position, dissolved her crew, and she had to take a seniority cut and go back to work in one of the schools. She worked nights for close to 30 years and put up with crap from students that no one should ever have to put up with. She was union – that is the only reason that her job was saved at all. She was union and had to put up with the crap that she did, but at least she had a job and she had benefits.

So, this whole anti-union, anti-American auto industry, Tennessee union-busting Senator, kill-the-American-dream-and-make-families-starve Bullshit really hits home. These bastards who sit in their offices making decisions that affect millions of people need to realize that these people are not numbers, they are not statistics, they are real people who are just trying to eat and take care of their families. They are trying to save their homes and be able to turn on the heat in the winter.

I remember when money was scarce and I remember not being able to turn on the heat. Luckily, for my family, we raised our own beef, had chickens for eggs, went hunting for venison in the fall, went fishing in the spring and had an enormous garden where we grew our own vegetables and had fruit trees out back. Our cellar and freezer were full – we were spoiled in that way and grateful for the plentiful food that we had…but we were always a paycheck away from losing it all. I never understood as a kid what a difference that growing and raising our food meant; not until adulthood brought grocery bills and an understanding of what my parents did.

Ya, you’re right, it is personal - I wish that it were personal for the Senators in DC.

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Troll bait - auto bailout edition

Here you go, trolls. Your very own free speech zone. Aren't you lucky? Can't say we never gave you anything.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008


Those Southern fucks killed the bill.

Those gawddammed Southern Senators - who hate the unions and love their foreign automaker's plants - killed the auto bailout bill.

How these bastards think that they can get away with this is beyond me. Do they think that we will not remember? Do they think that we will allow them to kill manufacturing, American Manufacturing, and not come after them when they are up for re-election? Do they really think that President Obama, with his army of friggin' email organizers, will allow them to run for re-election without us going door to door and reminding everyone that they killed the unions, manufacturing and brought on the next Republican Great Depression!?

Dammit, Dammit, Dammit!

Please, call the Congress tomorrow. Make three calls. Call both your Senators and your Representative and tell them what you want.

The Bastards.

UPDATE: Support the auto industry here, and at the UAW

UPDATE 2: (by id) The Senate vote, by yea or nay. Courtesy of dday, who says:
The 52 votes don't include Biden, Kerry (in Europe, I believe), Kennedy and Wyden (?). Add in those 4 plus Reid (who voted no for procedural reasons) and you're 3 votes away. Lame ducks Gordon Smith, John Sununu and Series of Toobz Stevens sat this out by not voting. Merkley, Shaheen and Begich would be likely to vote yes, and add in Biden and Obama's successors (whenever that is) and you have more than the votes needed to pass this come Jan. 6 when the new Congress is sworn in
So the automakers have to hold on for 25 more days as the new Congress will convene on January 6th.

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Sleeper Part 2?

Nothing disgusts me more than sexual abuse of kids under the age of 18. Now, a repulsive story out of Texas about sexual abuse of powerless teen males at a juvenile detention center. What bothers me the most about it, complaints were filed, test conducted, investigations carried out, "DNA samples collected" and yet, two years have passed since there has been any action on this case.
When Dwight Harris, executive director of the Texas Youth Commission (TYC), appeared before the Senate Finance Committee at the Capitol on February 1 to discuss his agency’s fiscal needs for the next biennium, he came prepared for some tough questions. It has been a difficult year for the troubled agency, which oversees the system of correctional facilities for boys and young men known as state schools. Last summer, federal agents investigated allegations of abuse following a riot at the Evins Regional Juvenile Center in Edinburg. The findings of that investigation are still pending, as is a multimillion-dollar civil rights lawsuit filed by several students. Statewide, the agency suffered a 48 percent turnover rate among staff last year. The recidivism rate for inmates, Harris told the panel, is hovering around 50 percent. Yet Harris was clearly not prepared when Sen. Juan Hinojosa, a Democrat from McAllen, asked about an alleged case of sex abuse by staff members at the West Texas State School in the rural town of Pyote west of Odessa.

The incident was a particularly ugly one, though few people outside the Permian Basin have ever heard of it. Following an investigation by the Texas Rangers and the FBI in February and March 2005, two of the highest-ranking officials at the school—the assistant superintendent, Ray Brookins, and the principal, John Paul Hernandez—were accused of having sexual relations with several students over an extended period. Both men denied the allegations, but investigators collected dozens of statements from students and staff, conducted polygraph tests on students, and collected DNA samples from semen-stained carpet and furniture at the school, according to a TYC inspector who assisted with the investigation. Yet there has been virtually no mention of the case in the media since the two men resigned nearly two years ago, nor have there been any arrests. Harris told the Senate panel that the investigation was closed. He also asserted it was the agency that alerted the Texas Rangers to the case and that his staff had done everything in their power to address the problems at Pyote...

Time to go after Texas Governor Rick Perry. His inaction is criminal.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, and Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick all knew about the acts of sexual violence being perpetrated on youthful offenders at the Texas Youth Commission as early as last fall.
But none bothered to act until this week.

Of course the corruption doesn't end there, our good buddy, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales knew at the same time as Gov. Perry what was happening and did nothing.

I guess they figure that will prevent those young criminals from ever doing anything wrong again. And sick adult men in positions of power get away with criminal behavior again. A sick fucking world we live in!

h/t McCamy Taylor at DU

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Crazy Has Only Just Begun.

Cesca, of HuffingtonPost, has summed it up nicely. I've taken the liberty to post it here.

Bob Cesca: Obama Unfairly Tainted by Crimes He Didn't Commit

We've seen this before: specious attempts to connect Barack Obama with corrupt or controversial figures in Chicago, followed, then, by a Republican and establishment media outcry for the president-elect to denounce and reject them. It appears as if in this post-Bushie universe, the president-elect doesn't have to be involved in corruption in order to be pegged as corrupt. Indeed, he can be entirely and vigorously declared to be absolutely corruption-free and still be tagged with the red letter "T" for "taint." This is what we can expect for the next four years. The crazy has only just begun.

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Obama’s First Scandal

The RNC demands to know “what did Obama know, and when did he know it?!?!”

The media has had their tits in wringers for two days now. All that the talking heads seem to be able to do is express their abject horror about how Blagojevich is the most corrupt politician ever [and he is a Democrat in Chicago and there are all kinds of webs and strings and common friends of Blagojevich and Obama.] There has been more insinuating on the TeeVees the last two days, than one usually receives in a topless bar in Canada.

It is worse than guilt by association; it is The Hunting of the President – The Sequel.

Id talked about this not long ago. We have actually discussed in several threads how this will be “the 90s on meth.” I am afraid that it might be worse. If we allow them even an inch on the rope that they are tying into a noose, if we let them draw even one line on their map to the witch hunt, it will easily get out of control. We have to stop this now…even before the oath. We cannot allow the Right Wing nuts to control the narrative. We have to quit bringing knives to gunfights and quit putting our faith in “the process.”

The process has changed and it is time that we Liberals figure out what game that we are really playing. We can’t allow goals to be scored while we are still trying to figure out the rules. It is a whole new ballgame now. One need only look at the hypocrisy of the “Great Chicago Scandal of 2008!” Consider that were actual connections between Right Wing Queen Palin and seven-time convicted felon Ted Stevens and we never saw the media reporting on these connections or even mentioning Stevens and Palin in the same sentence. The standard is so double that it has been divided into something that is not even a standard at all.

We might have to lower our standards a little to figure it out; I am not advocating immorality or the ends justify the means. All that I am saying is that when we are swimming around with a bunch of bottom feeders we cannot always expect to use the sunlight to see.

I do agree that Coyote is right, laugh at the bastards and call their absurdity what it is. I also think that we need additional strategies. I see things getting awfully ugly – the Right is digging in their heels and they are hanging on tight. They will not give up their hundred year rule wet-dream easily, they just won’t.

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The U in UAW - As In, "It's You They Want Dead"

Big Three

Here's the latest from Digby:
So the Republicans have thrown a roadblock in front of the auto bridge loan. There is no longer any doubt that they want the Big Three to fold by the end of the year. . .

This is really beyond destructive. These people are willing to take down the entire economy so they can bust the unions and prop up a completely discredited ideology with the bodies of middle class Americans who are losing everything.
Here's the post from Stoller she quotes a great deal from. Both are highly recommended reading.

I don't have a dog in this fight nor any real ideological position on the bailout, but I think it's wholly honest to believe that this is not just about killing the Three, but killing the UAW as well as strategically advancing the auto companies invested in Right to Work states. But Digby's probably off on her assessment of racism though - I'd want to see what the racial hiring composition comparison between non-union and Southern plants & unionized Northern plants is first.

This is a very dangerous game for the GOP. They have to play now before the inaugeration, they have to win in some fashion that props up their supporters and their sugar daddies, and they have to win in someway that doesn't cause everyone else whom doesn't instantly hate a Republican to keep their 'independence' intact.

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Retention Program?

American International Group Inc., whose bonuses are under fire from U.S. lawmakers, offered cash awards to an additional 38 executives in a 'Retention Program' with payments of as much as $4 million. The incentives range from $92,500 to $4 million for employees earning salaries between $160,000 and $1 million, Chief Executive Officer Edward Liddy explained in a letter to Representative Elijah Cummings.

The New York-based insurer had disclosed that 130 managers would get the awards and that one executive would get $3 million. AIG, which received a U.S. rescue package of more than $152 billion, has been criticized for saying it will eliminate bonuses for senior executives while still planning to hand out “cash awards” that double or triple the salaries of some managers.

The payments, designed to keep top employees at AIG, will hence forth be called Retention money.

Changing the wording has become an art form today.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Disagree

Even after the reprieve of two movies today, I am already bored with the whole Blagojevich crap.

I found this interesting though.

Jane Hamsher thinks that if Caroline Kennedy wants the NY Senate Seat, then she should campaign for it.

I get her point. I do. She says that we do not need political dynasties, blah, blattity, blah. The thing is though that the Kennedys already are a political dynasty. We can't stop that. It already happened, years before I was born.

I say, get over it. If New York does not mind, then neither do I. Also, it is only for two years and then she will have to campaign for it.

Caroline Kennedy is a progressive and everything that she has done she has done with humility and honor. Give it to her. Or not. Truth is, it is not up to us, it is up to the Governor of New York. That is what our laws say. I'll abide with whatever Patterson does. I won't complain or cheer. Honestly, with Bush still in office for another 41 days, we have a whole lot of other shit to worry about.

What do you think?

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What a maroon!

Zachary Roth has the gory details:

Blagojevich was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois' U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife.

Of course, corruption is suddenly bad again now that the Dems are in charge. Funny how that works, huh? And again, it's Fitzgerald going after the corrupt. Doesn't Obama have something for him in his admin?

Update: Rahm Brought Down Blago! Really, they're going to have to flat out lie if they want to pin Blago on Obama.

The governor, accused of seeking cash for the political appointment of Obama's Senate replacement, is not a close associate of the President-elect. Indeed, in the affidavit, Blagojevich called Obama a "motherfucker" for wanting him to appoint an official that the governor either did not like or wouldn't receive money from. Local news reports, meanwhile, suggest that it was Obama chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel who blew the whistle on the governor.

Update #2: Rahm Story Bogus!

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Open Thread

What to talk about today. Obama citizenship case will not be heard by SCOTUS. People are still dying in Iraq. Little bu$h is still pResident for another 40 some odd 42 days. And I'm still pissed at paradox for not explaining what P-Dip did wrong. Here's an open thread.And here is the rest of it.

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Monday, December 8, 2008


Farewell to our home base, The Left Coaster. Paradox has decided that he'll delete anyone who hurts his feelings, even long time supporters. Let us bow our heads, and mourn the passing of a once-great blog. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, even on the blogs. Goodbye, TLC - you'll be missed.

Update from Id: Principal writers, check your email. I've started an email discussion on what, if anything, we should do. If you have posting privileges, want to be part of the discussion, and did not get this email, let us know. Specifically - I can't find Milo's email address.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

David Fucking Gregory?

Are you gawddamned kidding me?!

Look, I get it, Brokaw was killing MTP. I know that in his "attempt" to be fair he overdid the whole Right-Wing friggin' stance on everything; and that this was the last thing that the American people wanted, but you do not fix that by going even further to the Right.

Jeebus, NBC. What.Are.You.Thinking!!??

David friggin' Gregory has killed your 6 pm programming with his "Race to the Whitehouse" show, AKA "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." Now, you really want to put the last nail in the coffin of MTP?! You really want MTP to die with Tim?!

Admittedly, I loved Tim Russert. I really did. I cried for 3 days when he died.

I just think that the talent to choose from was a much greater pool than the likes of gawddamned David Gregory. Any friggin' body would have been better.

My vote was for Phil Donahue or Bill Moyers. At this point though - anyone but Gregory would do.

Jeebus. It feels like the end of an era.

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Honesty to Return to the Veterans Administration?

General (Ret.) Eric Shinseki is named to lead the Veterans Administration. Anyone who disagreed with and was fired because of Rumsfield and Wolfowitz earns my respect. That means he is a straight shooter, no bullshit. He also happens to be a 2 tour Veteran of Vietnam who lost part of his foot stepping on a land mine. The first Asian-American 4 star General and leader of the Joints Chief of Staff.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has this to say about Shinseki:

"IAVA applauds President-elect Obama and the transition team for making this historic selection. General Shinseki has a record of courage and honesty, and is a bold choice to lead the VA into the future. The President-elect has demonstrated an understanding of the urgency of the issues facing America's veterans by making this announcement early. General Shinseki is widely-respected, honest and experienced. He is a man that has always put patriotism ahead of politics, and is held in high regard by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. IAVA looks forward to supporting him to implement the historic change that is needed at the VA.

As a wounded, decorated, combat veteran, and the first Asian American in US History to be a four-star general, General Shinseki, has the potential to be an effective and dedicated advocate for veterans of all generations.

This is a critical time for veterans. One in five veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are facing serious mental health injuries like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression. Wounded veterans are waiting months, sometimes years, to receive disability benefits. The struggling U.S. economy is hitting new veterans especially hard. And the new GI Bill, which will make college affordable to every veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, must be implemented by August 2009.

General Shinseki has a monumental task before him. To address these issues will require real leadership that encourages active VA outreach and transparency. We encourage General Shinseki to move quickly to add Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans to key positions in his senior staff.

President-elect Obama made veterans' issues a priority in his campaign, and Michelle Obama has called military families one of the issues she cares most about. We look forward to working closely with General Shinseki and the new Administration to ensure every veteran in this country gets the care and support they have earned."
And here is the rest of it.

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Car Czar?

Can we please lose the word Czar? Nixon named the first Government Czar in 1973. Since then we have had an Energy Czar, Health Care Czar, War Czar, Drug Czar, Aids Czar, Security Czar and even a Border Czar. The power and authority of this Country is turning America into a Czardom.

First of all, the connotations aren’t good. Czars were Russian despots, often decadent and often shot for their sins. Czar describes a job that’s not easily done. Few czars have been successful at their czarist tasks, probably through no fault of their own. It’s an ill-defined position that either falls of its own weight or, worse, leads to the creation of a huge bureaucracy (like the Energy Department) where none is needed.

So, please President Elect Obama, do not name a 'Car Czar,' as rumored.

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We Shall See

“I strongly believe there should be a single, clear standard for interrogation across the federal government, and that this standard should comply with the Geneva Convention, the United Nations Convention Against Torture, and U.S. law. I plan to introduce legislation in January that would close Guantanamo, make the Army Field Manual the single standard for interrogations, prohibit contractors from being used to carry out interrogations and provide the International Committee of the Red Cross with access to detainees. If the incoming administration decides to propose an alternative to this legislation, I am willing to hear its views. But I believe we must put an end to coercive interrogations by the C.I.A.” Diane Feinstein on Thursday.

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Thanks for the invite everyone. I accept your offer and will try to add something of value now and then. Nice to be blogging with the best from TLC.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Letter


Wife comes up to me at work yesterday (We work at the same office, just in different departments). She says she has to talk to me. She produces a letter, forwarded to me by my parents, and which they opened before they sent it to me.

The return address says "Department of the Army."

I can't describe here the abject terror that that sight put into me. Next thing I know, I've jumped back about three feet, and my wife has to reassure me that it's not a deployment order. I haven't been IRR'ed, she tells me, but she goes on to add that she would like to talk to me more about this when I get a moment.

The letter, as it turns out, is an address verification request. In order to maintain their records, the letter tells me, Human Resources Command needs to know where I'm at, should I need to be called up during a "national emergency." Enclosed is an address form, which I am instructed to complete and return within ten days of reception.

I've been out for three months now.

This means two things, of course. First, it means that my parents have once again denied my request to not forward any government mail. Not only have they denied my request, but they actually opened and READ it, against my orders, and then sent it to me, without so much as a call. No, "Hey, what should we do with this," or "Hey, you got a letter from the Army coming." Nothing. So of course, rather than confront me on the subject--obviously, we disagree--they've just decided to drop the bomb on me without a word. Thanks, guys.

Number two: it also means that the Army is already wanting to get back into my life. I've only been out three months, and already they're sniffing around, wanting to know where I am. They say it's just, "in the event of a national emergency," but frankly I think that two wars of dubious intent and execution, qualify. I also know that the Army doesn't really draw any such distinction. So while they SAY it's just a formality, I've been around long enough to know better. If they know who to call in case of a hurricane, they know who to call in the case of a pending IRR call-up for Iraq. And let me tell you, I'm not likely to be laying down any Mabey-Johnson bridge down in Galveston.

So I think we all know what this means.

I've been dwelling on what to do all day. On the one hand, part of me says: "No. Fuck them. They lied to me and everyone I've ever cared about. They're not gonna know where I live. They can go fuck themselves." On the other hand, what have I got to lose? I've already stated that I won't be going back. What's the worst that can happen--I fill out the form, they send deployment orders to my house, and I refuse to report? Either way, I'm going to be fucked out of my money for college. So what do I have to lose?

I dunno. I shouldn't even have to be worried about this. I have a new job, where I've been recently promoted, and a wife to worry about. The Army nearly broke me, nearly killed me. I looked at my options, and decided "No. This isn't who I am anymore." And yet, not even a fiscal quarter after my departure, they've decided that they still want to keep tabs on me. This is the great crime at the core of today's military: even after you do your time, even if you were a good soldier who decided that this wasn't for him anymore, that doesn't matter. You're Uncle Sam's bitch now.

Even after everything else, you're still just a pawn, a warm body. I learned long ago that that was all Uncle Sam ever saw me as.

So I have a choice: Either throw the form out, and wait for my parents to sell me up the river; OR, fill out the form and send it in, and then tell the Army to kiss my ass when they send orders to my door. Either way, the answer is still no. I'm not fucking going back. Not now. Not next year.

Not. Ever.

I gave those bastards my all. All for a war that amounted to lies. And still it wasn't enough.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Kryptonite to Democrats

BoingBoing (yes, again, I know) has an interesting post on political video messaging, especially targeted video messaging, that I highly recommend.

What's important is that our 6 readers (heh) see the video that cshirky uses as an exemplar. He writes:
Dear Mr. Obama was a trifecta. For the base, a muscular but polite attack on the very issue that brought Obama into the spotlight. For the undecided, the emotional charge is much likelier to sway them than argumentation. And for the Dems -- nothing. The video might as well not have existed for all it was seen in Democratic circles. Since the video's sole speaker can't be criticized without making the criticizer look churlish at best, almost no Dems forwarded it, linked to it, talked about it.
Earlier, Shirky says you'll see similar messages again in 2010 and they'll be plastered all over in 2012.

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