Friday, January 2, 2009

Steve Soto Back Permanently?

Woo-Hoo. It seems Steve Soto is back at the helm of TLC. His New Year post was titled "Back to Work" and he posted again today. Selfishly, I'm hoping this kind of production from Steve continues. While I respect all the other writers, lets face it, Steve is the reason why I have stuck with TLC all these years. Hang in there Steve, best wishes.

Open Thread.

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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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