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Slight problem with the idea that the Obama Administration is to blame for the attempted destruction of Northwest Flight 253. The Bush Administration released two of the planners from Guantanamo to attend art therapy classes and a Republican Senator has a "hold" on the new TSA chief and Republicans have been denying the TSA funds. So, yes, this occurred on Obama's watch, but no, it's really hard to say that it's his fault.

U.S. Citizens attacked by Egyptian Riot Police in Cairo outside of U.S. Embassy by Cindy Sheehan.

Pretty astonishing to hear that Rahm Emanuel, the President's Chief of Staff, thinks NAFTA was a spectacular win for the Democrats. I distinctly remember Clinton downplaying that during his 1994 re-election campaign. Bob Dole was perfectly happy with it as it helped his corporate buddies, so it was essentially a non-issue during that campaign.

Holiday essay - how to visualize writing a good blog post.

President Obama discusses the failed attempt to blow up an airliner by a Yemeni al Qaeda member.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano points out that the system worked as  well as could be expected once the attempt was foiled. Could the attempt have been disrupted/ prevented? Not really. When Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's father in Nigeria reported concern over his son's "radicalization" to the U.S. Embassy, his son's name joined a database of half a million names. In hindsight, there was no "A-ha!" moment where people could clearly see that Abdulmutallab was a danger.

Lots of street violence and disrespect from the crowds in Iran, but no sign of incipient revolution. Crowds are young & middle-aged, with a strong female presence. 
Ethics watchdog groups give the Obama Administration high marks for honesty and above-board dealngs.

False equivalence watch: WaPo writer puts "Lipstick on a pig" alongside true, genuine cases of actual sexism.

Many Democratic-leaning writers have claimed that the compromises made to get the health care bill through the Senate have been, on balance, worthwhile. Not so sure about that. Provisions on the abortion issue are especially troubling.

RNC Chairman Michael Steele is seen as a fool by a far-right wingnut, but it's not so clear that Steele is really all that different from the rest of the Republican Party, which wants to delay the health care bill as much as possible, even if that means working through Christmas.

Democratic Senators get

"sweeteners" on health care...  prompting Republican apoplexy, as if this were some kind of unprecedented abuse.

Sorry, but President Obama was wandering too far afield with the capitulations to Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) but now is just way too far out there with further capitulations to Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) on the abortion question.
Update: A look at the Nelson changes to the bill and how they impact women's health. And no, anti-abortionists are not "pro-life."

Politifact names Sarah Palin's "Death Panels" smear as the "Lie of the Year."
Peggy Noonan considers American culture to be "coarse" and "vulgar," but gee,  never devoted a column and doesn't devote a word to the likes of her fellow right-wingers Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh or the town hall mini-mobs or...

As usual, the Establishment critics are so full it, their eyes are turning brown. Chris Matthews has a problem with the Netroots people:

I'm not sure they're regular, grown-up Democrats. I think a lot of those people are troublemakers who love to sit in the back seat and complain. They're not interested in governing this country.

Uh, Howard Dean is a big netroots favorite and is  currently energetically advocating netroots' positions. He governed Vermont from 1991 to 2003, ran for President in 2004 and was probably THE most successful head of the Democratic National Committee ever. And there's simply no question that the netroots had a seriously positive impact on Democratic electoral successes, keeping the 2004 contest even and in winning 2006 and 2008.
Update: Markos Moulitsas corrects Matthews and brings the poor, uninformed schlub up to date.

Gee, what a surprise. Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) is now suggesting that he not only wants to bring back the days of coathangers (Re: abortion), but he also wants to basically gut everything that's worthwhile about the health care bill.

And yeah, it's cool to see Senator Franken (D-MI) turn down Lieberman's request for an extra minute.
Update: Uh, no, Franken wasn't dissig Lieberman after all. Fox News has gone crazy over the incident anyway. 
"Voter Fraud" is not precisely witchcraft, i.e., not exactly an imaginary problem, but it's pretty darn close.

Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is apparently okay with people dying because they can't get access to health care insurance. Note: The public option and Medicare buy-in were extremely popular pieces of the health care legislation and they were both thrown out to please Lieberman.

Okay, the obstructionism of senators like Lieberman and Nelson are getting way outta control! Progressives must take control and get health care passed despite them. The House showed itself capable of passing a good bill on schedule, it's only the Senate that's allowing a tiny group of members to bollix everything up.
Update: The Guardian, a British paper, looks on in wonder and bafflement at us poor messed-up colonists with our dysfunctional political system.

Alberto Gonzalez says that the Department of Justice wasn't politicized enough while under his control!!!!

Very thoughtful piece on absurd beliefs that cause one to go "Can people really believe that?"

The media obsession with Tiger Woods and his romantic difficulties highlights how poorly the media is covering serious, meaningful issues.

An analysis reveals that, yes, the continued inclusion of the Stupak anti-abortion amendment in the health care bill will make it pretty darned close to impossible for women to get safe, legal abortions. It pretty much guarantees a return to the days of coat hangers.

After 125 years, Editor & Publisher is ceasing publication.

Rachel Maddow undertakes a highly aggressive prosecution of an anti-gay activist. She crushes the guy's credibility! Regrettably, these kinds of serious, hard-core interviews very rarely seem to happen with truly powerful people.
The silver lining is that the recession appears to be ending. The dark cloud is that unemployment is slated to be above 10% for the foreseeable future, i.e., until well past next year's mid-term Congressional elections.

Glenn Beck rants about India, its' medical schools, doctors and the river Ganges. Basically, he considers Indians to be, as the British used to call them, wogs.

Senator John McCain believes that for the Federal Government to spend $2 billion of Federal stimulus money on cleaning up a nuclear waste site is extravagantly wasteful. Okay. Very well. And what would his preference be? It's not at all clear and I hardly think that's the reporter's fault. I just don't think McCain has any real idea.

The public option is a very popular part of the health care bill as a whole. So much so that taking it out makes the whole bill unpopular. Jane writes a good letter. So does Markos.

Heh! John Gibson of Fox News scribbles out a 290-page text attempting to convince folks that the G.W. Bush presidency was actually a success. Lots of luck with that, John. You'll need lots and lots of luck and a very credulous audience to pull that one off.

The Village should be pleased. People are opposed to the current Fed Chairman's re-appointment and they're being bipartisan about it. Oh, but that's right! They're not displaying the right kind of bipartisanship! Y'see, they're bein anti-Establishment, which is entirely different from the usual bipartisanship.

Hmph! Politico named to Pulitzer board. I can think of about a dozen more deserving recipients.

Ooh! League of Women Voters is officially annoyed at Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT)! They're not even a partisan outfit!

Little behind the times, are we?

The media industry, as we all know, is changing.

And in this transition, there will inevitably be some friction as online news organizations, which may or may not be bound by the same professed standards of objectivity, begin taking on the responsibilities of long-standing, print publications.

Erm, hate to tell ya, but "standards of objectivity" died a long, long time ago. The Reagan Administration decided after the massacre at El Mozote that the press was just too darned independent and immediately began working to cut that independence down. Letting online reporters into the White House press pool is a corrective to those long years of Presidential discipline.
Oh, and Andrew Sullivan has decided to leave the conservative movement. Again, he's a couple of decades late in terms of the reasons he gives. Especially amusing was the line

I cannot support a movement that exploded spending and borrowing...

Uh, that was obvious to me back in 1981. What the heck took Sullivan so long?

Newsbusters features singer Charlie Daniels as a blogger. Cool, but they also denounce using celebrities as political commentators. IOKIYAR. BTW, Daniel's last hit song was "Devil went down to Georgia," in 1979. A "legend?" I think the more appropriate term is "one hit wonder."

Senator Obama had some extremely good questions for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice  a little under three years ago. President Obama would do well to answer those same questions.
"ClimateGate," a right-wing "major issue," in reality a tempest-in- a-teapot.

Huh! Interesting story on independent journalists vs corporate journalists. Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin are the villains here and, surprisingly, Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) plays a good guy! Strongly recommend supporting Specter's version of this bill.

I write out a blog post on Afghanistan right before President's speech on the subject. Very good question asked by a blogger: "What happens if the benchmarks aren't met - i.e. if things don't go according to plan?"  
Apparently, objecting to the rape of women is a "Daily Kos value." Who'd a thunk it?

November                         back to top

Britain begins investigation of how it went to war in Iraq. British Prime Minister Tony Blair knew for a certainty 10 days in advance of the invasion that Iraq definitively did not have WMD, he also knew in July 2002 that going to war with Iraq was illegal under international law. Blair himself will testify next year, after a great deal of evidence has been gathered. Not clear that legality of war can be decided by panel.

I see the movie "Across the Universe" and compare it with "Forrest Gump." "Across..." is hugely superior!

In a decision that "lacks vision, compassion, and basic common sense," the Obama Administration decided against joining a landmine treaty that had been endorsed by 158 other countries.

Very disturbing statement from Bill O'Reilly's interview of Karl Rove:

ROVE: Because he [President Obama]  has ideological blinders. Remember, he has attorney general whose firm, Covington and Burling, provided assistance to 18 of these Gitmo enemy combatants. In 2007, Covington and Burling alone gave 3,000 hours of their best lawyers' best time to the defense of these enemy combatants.

Erm, is Rove saying that it's bad to see to it that accused people have the best defense possible?!?!? Is it really a concern, really a sign of ideological unreliability, to defend people who are not receiving any sort of fairness, whose guilt has not been proven to anyone's satisfaction? Remember, the Uighurs (Held at for years at Guantanamo, enemies of China, but not of the US) were some of these people and they were released long after it was clear they were innocent.

Awww!!! Glenn Beck refuses to be Sarah Palin's vice presidential running mate in 2012. Pooey! Update: Hoo-o-o-o boy!!! Does Beck have a problem with the idea of being vice president to a woman!!!

Gotta say, the first item in this Republican "purity test" is complete wishful thinking:

(1) Smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama's "stimulus" bill

Nope. Ain't gonna happen. I was in Washington DC 1978-82, the last two years of Jimmy Carter and first two years of Ronald Reagan. Reagan's "small government" was revealed to be a hollow mockery of a shell of a scam long before 1981 even ended. It's been nothing but smoke & mirrors & BS & foot-shuffling & fast-talking jive since then.

Reason 20 zillion and eight why America desperately needs a better press corps. The current crop went to China along with the President and acted like a bunch of high-schoolers, "grading" the trip by using the most juvenile, short-sighted, trivial criteria imaginable.

Kind of amazing that right-wingers think that the upcoming Manhattan trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed is 1. something New Yorkers should be frigtened of or 2. going to be a theatrical event that "KSM" will use to grab the world's attention.

*Sigh!* There's a reason that comedians keep "picking on" Glenn Beck and that advertisers have deserted his show in droves.

Glenn Beck is inciting violence and helping legitimizing radical militia and white nationalist movements that otherwise would still be chatting on their MySpace pages. And the hatred that he is helping to unleash on this country is indefensible.

Media people seem to be absolutely convinced that Sarah Palin is an immensely popular figure. Is she? Really?

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are simply unsustainable. The small portion of American society  that's bearing the brunt of the wars is simply unable to handle the stress. Major Hassan and the mother who refused to be deployed (And thereby leaving her 10-month old son without a carefiver) are just symptoms of a very deep rot.
Of course, warmongers within the American government are doing their best to gin up fear about various Middle Easterners allegedly meddling in Latin America.

For all of the complaints about Sarah Palin making up facts to please her followers, Newsweek did a horribly sexist story on her. Newsweek offered a "non-explanaton explanation" that essentially just revealed what a bunch of adolescent jerks are running that magazine. 
I was too late to get this in as a letter, so here's my response to a David Broder column. Broder feels Afghanistan is a really important battleground, but doesn't appear to be able to explain why.

All right!!! Lou Dobbs is out! CNN anchor and continual embarrassment to CNN's "most trusted name in news" brand is on his way to either Fox News or some political position. Will lefty bloggers receive any credit for ousting Dobbs? Doubtful.
In any event,
BastaDobbs takes a bow, as does
Media Matters.
Update: Dobbs is "surprised and flattered" to be invited to make contributions to Bill O'Reilly's program.

Sorry, but this comment from Sarah Palin's new book tour immediately set off my BS detector:

In the book, "Going Rogue: An American Life," [Sarah] Palin contends that the McCain campaign stuck her with a $50,000 bill for the cost of her own vetting, botched the announcement of her teenage daughter's pregnancy, outfitted Palin with all those infamous costly ensembles, and shielded her from reporters. [emphasis added]

Ri-i-i-ight! For the McCain campaign to saddle Palin with the cost of vetting herself, that I can believe. Not sure how her daughters pregnancy announcement was "botched," but imposing costly outfits on her? Major Fail!!! That's not the slightest bit believable! The now-First Lady Michelle Obama managed to dress herself just fine on a budget and managed to do so long before Palin's scandal with her using RNC money to dress herself in high style came to light!
Update: George Stephanopoulos asks:

Can she recapture the Palin magic that made her a political phenomenon?  Make herself a force beyond her staunch cultural conservative base? 

Erm, I'm not sure whether George is saying Palin ever had any "magic" beyond her base or whether he's saying her "magic" brought her out beyond her base before, but other than causing "starbursts" in some fans, she's never displayed any such magic and is highly unlikely ever to do so.
Update: Women don't find Palin's story compelling at all. In fact, Palin is not even well-liked among non-right wing women.

Jon Stewart's Daily Show consistently does all this great stuff, holding newspeople accountable for obvious lies. Question: Why isn't a show like, y'know, Crossfire doing that sort of stuff?

Excellent piece on Iranian nuclear situation. The Obama Administration has indeed made more progress with the Iranians via talking than the Bush Administration ever made with its confrontation/ saber-rattling strategy. It's not because "We're such sweet, gentle, nice peaceniks," it's because, by giving Iran real alternatives, we expose splits within their leadership.

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) complains that President Obama didn't stress cost containment when he raised the issue of health care reform. Uh, yes he did, raising the question of "What color is the sky in Warners' world?" and very clearly, the whole health care sysem is falling apart. Progressives are trying desperately to get something into place before it all collapses, but time is running short and no, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is not doing everything he can to get the public option into the final bill.

House of Representatives passes health care bill!!! Woo-hoo!!! Status on where the bill is today and the complete and utter uselessness of the single-issue organzations.

Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) presides over a gathering of 3,500 to 4,000 teabaggers that was allegedly "spontaneous" and encourages them to take an, er, energetic approach to lawmakers. Crowd size was enormously overstated (20,000) and the vile and disgusting signs that were waved about? Yeah, the right wing teabaggers own those signs. Do the Republicans have a better health plan? Uh, no.

How did the off-year election night of November 2009 turn out? Not so bad, NY-23 was a grand victory, but mixed elsewhere. Democrats need to excite their base or base voters (The dedicated and energetic ones) will stay home during the Congressional mid-terms.

Media Matters asks an extremely good question.

Q: Liz Cheney ...comments about Obama's trip to Dover. She said that Bush routinely made the same trip and didn't "stage photo ops." A) she flat out lied - Bush never went to Dover...What gives?

A: If we begin questioning Liz Cheney that way, then we would have to do the same with conservative (and liberal) commentators who make all kinds of charges every day.

Okay. And that would be a bad thing... because...???

George Stephanopoulos owes the American people an apology! He asked Senior Advisor (Public Liason) Valerie Jarrett about the President's attempts to find common ground with Republicans. Follow-up questions are generally a good thing, but he bore in five times with the same question, rephrased five different ways "Why has the President failed to get Republican cooperation?" suggesting, of course, that it's his fault that they've decided upon a strategy of  obstruction and non-cooperation.

Huh! After eight years of turning a surplus into a deficit, cutting taxes on those who make large amounts of money, putting two wars and Medicare Part "D" on the credit card and in the specified case, cutting the estate ("death") tax, now, all of the sudden, 10 Blue Dog Democrats are deeply concerned about the deficit. Uh, it's a bit late for anything resembling the slightest shred of credibility on fiscal responsibility, guys.

October                         back to top

Former VP Dick Cheney's interview about Valerie Plame Wilson's  betrayal concerning her identity as a CIA agent released.

Dede Scozzafava, a moderate Republican, drops out of NY-23 race in favor of an extreme right-wing Independent candidate.
Update: Scozzafava endorses Democratic opponent and no, the Independent now turned Republican has no clue as to how to run the place without deficit spending.

Ergggg! The hurts!!!

From the beginning, the ultimate danger of allowing the-White House to take on a news organization the way it has with Fox, is that it has now set a precedent.

What?!?!? WHAT?!?! A precedent?!?! How? How on Earth can it be a precedent for the White House to criticize any part of the press?

Code Pink changes its mind, calls for US to leave Afghanistan.

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show does a classic takedown of the idea that Fox News has a legitimate "news" side and a separate "opinion" side. In reality, both sides are pretty much interchangeable.

President Obama goes to Dover Air Force Base to greet corpses of 18 soldiers who were killed in action this week. President Bush never did this.
Update: Liz Cheney claimed "I think that what President Bush used to do is do it without the cameras." Erm, no. Bush didn't "do it" at all. He never made it to Dover AFB, period. 
The $#&&@ traitor Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) (He's not a traitor to America, but very definitely a traitor to the Democratic Party) is running around making completely baseless claims about how the health care public option works. Typically, the press corps simply passes on his comments without making the slightest attempt to determine whether or not his statements are accurate.
Update: Very, very sad, pathetic example of utterly derelict reporter simply providing a platform for a liar.

First part of a three-part interview with former FBI agent Colleen Rowley discussing suspicions concerning 9-11 well before it actually happened.

Woo-hoo!!! Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) includes strong version of public option in Senate health care bill. Round-up piece from Crooks & Liars, Daily Kos & Washington Monthly.

The press corps is very, very upset about Obama's "war" on Fox News.
"The Village" (The press corps) is astonished that the public option is still alive! The ol' game of punchng hippies in the teeth has suddenly proven to be ineffective!

Very heartening news! Restores my faith in the American people, (or it would had I ever really lost faith in them). Senator Al Franken (D-MI) got a bill passed that forced rape accusations to be handled by the courts rather than by arbitration. 30 Republican Senators voted against this bill. Thankfully, a number of them are facing serious questions from constituents on why they took such a blatantly immoral position.
And in what's very troubling news, some health insurance companies consider rape to be a pre-existing condition that allows them to not cover the patient who needs medical assistance, either as a direct result or thereafter.

Time Magazine demonstrates for the zillionth time why the left blogosphere exists. The decline of the traditional media was not caused by the rise of the left blogosphere, the rise of the left blogosphere and the decline of the traditional media were both caused by the traditional media's loss of credibility.
Case in point: WaPo puts out a war-drums-beating piece on Iran's possible production of nuclear weapons. Featured are a complete absence of named accusers and a complete absence of anyone speaking who feels that the case for war is not absolutely solid. The piece contains nothing but fearmongering!

Yay! Net neutralty proceeds apace!

Yee-haw!!! The War on Drugs takes a serious hit! President Obama decides on a "states rights" approach to marijuana for medical purposes.

Looks like the talking point that "Diplomacy doesn't work" is about to take a really hard hit. Seems Iran is ready to ship its nuclear fuel off to be processed, which means that Obama just accomplished more with diplomacy in less than a year than Bush accomplished n eight years of threats and  saber-rattling.

The Obama Administration has called Fox News an arm of the Republican Party. "Village" pundits have compared Obama to Nixon. This is a truly stupid comparison.  
Study on right-wing psychology. Serious delusionary tendencies.

Armed with “facts” from conservative media, these individuals, fully 2/3 of the Republican Party at this point according to Democracy Corps estimates, believe that the President has been installed by powerful interests to enact socialist policies, violate the Constitution and destroy America.

British High Court has decided that the US threat to withold intel in the event Britain reveals torture of Binyam Mohamed is a bluff. Even if the US did withold intel and Britain suffered an attack, the US would never survive the public relations firestorm that would follow.

Reason 679,531 not to trust the traditional media when it comes to important issues: Alex Castellanos, a CNN political analyst, is the ad buyer for the insurance industry group America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). This is an extremely serious conflict of interest as AHIP just recently put out a highly self-serving report on health care reform that was extremely selective in which facts it chose to represent.

Good stuff on citizenship and how the left wing differs from the right wing and y'know, the left really should preserve our independence from the White House. The President is a charming and gracious guy,
but at a panel hosted by the American Constitution Society on October 15th, Assistant Attorney General David Kris, who heads that National Security Division at the Department of Justice did a pretty unimpressive job defending the Obama Administration's record on civil liberties.

Another day, another undercover operation run by right-wingers against leftist "enemies," Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC)
and three other members of the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus found that the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was *gasp*  running a *shriek!!!* lobbying operation!!!

The complete and utter uselessness of the WaPo to the health care debate.

Anyone can type up some quotes from the insurance industry, type up a response from the White House, and call it a day.  What, exactly, does Ceci Connolly bring to the table?

Andrew Breitbart criticizes ACORN. Breitbart writes for the Washington Times, a paper run by Sun Myung Moon. Hey, let's compare ACORN and the Moonies! Looks an awful lot to me that Breitbart is throwing stones from within a glass house!

Funny, the WaPo media critic notes that people are so very, very deeply concerned about the extramarital activities of David Letterman and gee, they just don't appear anywhere near as concerned about, y'know, an actual officeholder with actual public responsibilities. Gee, could that have something to do with what he has been writing about? Perhaps if he had been writing about the politician instead of the entertainer, maybe other folks might be keeping their priorities straight, too?

Rush Limbaugh wants to buy a football team. Good luck with that! If the sale succeeds, Limbaugh could end up running the first all-white team in decades.

President Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize!!! CODE PINK suggests we hold him to it. Right wingers go absolutely hysterical about it.

30 out of 40 Republican Senators are apparently pro-rape! Jamie Leigh Jones claims that she was gang-raped by fellow Halliburton/ KBR employees and then threatened to not report that to the authorities. Amazingly, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that her lawsuit was invalid as rape allegations had to be adjudicated via private  arbitration. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) submited a bill to take rape allegations out of that jurisdiction and to place the within the US Justice system.

"The Village" (Our press corps) is absolutely enchanted with poitical independents. They think independents are wise and sensible and always seek a middle ground between the Republicans and the Democrats. Actually, they might just be cranky, ill-informed and cynical.

Nah, sorry, but Andrew Sullivan's attempt to justify his publication of Betsy McCaughey's anti-health-care piece in the New Republic in 1994 is a MAJOR FAIL.

Politico makes a fuss about 0.002% of the money that went to fund Obama's successful presidential run.

The rap against some ACORN members is that they were overly helpful towards people they really shouldn't have been. Sounds something like other institutions that went off the tracks over the last decade, but really, this sounds as though the "just a few bad apples" description is absolutely correct.
An examination of the idea that conservatism may be brain-dead. The idea that Jonah Goldberg's book Liberal Fascism is actually taken seriously as an intellectual work is pretty compelling evidence that it is.

Urk! Not good! Arab countries may stop using the dollar to trade oil with.

Okay, this is very good news. General Stanley McChrystal declares that he's perfectly happy with a careful, deliberative process for deciding what to do about Afghanistan.

The "controversy" about a mid-level officer within the White House is a witch hunt. Period. There's simply nothing to the story. Seriously, some stories really, really need to die from lack of oxygen. It is an absolute disgrace that this story is being treated as news.

Wow! Minority Leader Representative John Boehner (R-OH) has never met a person who supports the Public Option for health care?!?!?! What an incredibly insular,  protected life this guy must lead!

Huffington Post quotes NY Times:

The top military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, rejected calls for scaling down military objectives there...

Erm, since when is it the job of a military commander to set objectives?!?!? Isn't that the job of a Commander in Chief?

September                         back to top

Yee-hah! Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL) goes onto the Situation Room and makes the panelists look like chumps.

All right! Senator Jay Rockefelller (D-WV) gets promoted! The blogger emptywheel has declared that he's no longer to be designated "Jello Jay," he's now "Jay Rock!" Yeah, JR was a slacker when it came to FISA, but he's been standing tall on healh care.

Who-o-oh! General McChrystal, in charge of Afghanistan, appears to be instructing the President  to send him more troops. That's "teetering" towards insurbordination. Sendng more troops is the President's call, not McChrystal's.

Yeah, I agree, for the then 44-year old Roman Polanski to have sex with a 13-year old girl is called rape.

Very good news concerning FEMA, that federal agency that was considered hopeless just a few short years ago. When working under Democrats, it appears to work just fine.

The effect of Senator Max Baucus' (D-MT) spending months on attempting to negotiate health care with Republicans, only to end up with no Republicans voting with him, appears to have had the effect of encouraging Democrats to draft a good bill and to ignore Republican/Blue Dog Democrat concerns. Howard Dean points out that the reconciliation process will work just fine. NY Times buries poll result showing strong support for Public Option.

Traditional media appears to be absolutely obsessed about ACORN. Should they be? Slate unsuccessfully defends obsession. Has Glenn Beck  now replaced Drudge as media's assignement editor? Oh, and in Beck's latest book, Beck puts Tiger Woods and Adolf Hitler on same list, thereby completely losing all credibility.

Failed presidential candidate John McCain logs his 11th Sunday morning talk show appearance since losing the 2008 election to Obama. What the heck makes this guy so very, very deeply fascinating to the press corps?!?!?

Census worker found hanged in Kentucky. Unfortunately, it appears that his profession was very deeply relevant to his death.
Update: Glenn Beck and other right-wing hysteria-mongers have a lot of explaining to do.

Very puzzling. Minority Whip Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA), says that Republicans and Democrats are in four-fifths agreement on the healhcare bill, but also says that Congress should toss everything out and start from scratch. Could it be that reforming health care involves lots of government and Republicans are allergic to any such thing?
Update: Cantor also makes some interesting statements about things that we all wish were true.

Y'know, the teabaggers do have a point. Hey, why can't we subvert them to our side?

Very good, comprehensive survey of the situation in Afghanistan and how it compares to Iraq and whether it bears a resemblance to Vietnam. Unfortunately, it has a great deal to do with Vietnam.

Time Magazine goes all-in with a gushing fanboy piece on Glenn Beck more worthy of the tween/ teenage girls' magazine Tiger Beat than of any self-respecting news organization. Nothing wrong with doing a cheerful and positive piece on someone, but when you have to work this hard to avoid as many problems as this piece does, it's a complete disgrace to journalism.

Good piece on the problem with "centrism" as a philosophy. It's a deeply problematic approach to ideological problem-solving that, worst of all, can become so ill-defined that its solutions become wildly incoherent.
"Star Wars" (Missile Defense, SDI, whatevuh ya wanna call it) takes one on the chin as Obama Administration decides to junk Bush's idea of placing Star Wars stations in Eastern Europe. Especially amusing was this:

The president has taught Putin that when he blusters and threatens, America caves.

Erm, didn't that, er, great tough-guy hero, GeeDubya do precisely that when it was a case of Russia vs Georgia?

A lot of online commenters in the Inky try to claim that anti-Bush protests were just as personally insulting to Bush as anti-Obama protests are to Obama. Sorry, but Bush was a criminal who violated many laws, the protests against Obama center on him as a person. Blogger explains in Update II just what it is that teabaggers stand for.

So, in addition to his many other faults, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is also completely helpless to restrain the crazies in his caucus?

Well, Senator Max Baucus' very long-delayed Senate Finanace Committee bill finally comes out (All four Committee bills could have been produced before the August vacation, meaning Democrats would have had something solid to sell constituents, but no-o-o-o, Baucus had to "get bipartisan support") and now Baucus has achieved the holy grail of the Blue Dog Democrats and the press corps, complete bipartisanship! Nobody supports his bill!
Update: Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) reads off list of Democratic giveaways to Republicans in the Baucus Committee's bill. Remember: No Republicans voted for it!

Bwah-hah-hah!! Fox News gets punked by an ACORN worker who suspected (Rightly) that the oh-so-convincing decoy was actually trying to get her to say something incriminating.

How big was the crowd at the Glenn Beck/Fox News right-wing "9/12" event? Well, Michelle Malkin says around two million (Larger than the crowd for the Obama inaugural) but more knowledgeable folks say about 30,000 to 50,000, 70,000 at the absolute outside most. Oh, and what was the teabagger demonstration all about?

Copyrights are getting stifling and stopping up progress. Some people want them extended even further.

Good comments on President Obama and race. Maureen Dowd (!!!) makes good, intelligent comment.

Hee, hee, hee!!! Glenn Beck's antics and language have caused so many advertisers to drop his show, Fox News is losing around $600k a week!

US doctors strongly support Public Option.

Noted here are President Obama's many real strengths, but there are some very real weaknesses as well. Very disappointed by his unwillingness to draw some clear lines and take specific stands.
Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House Minority Whip, declares what it is that Republicans are willing to trade away in order to achieve health care reform: nothing.

Kos notes approvingly that Connecticut's AFL-CIO is finally coming out against Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) three years after everybody else figured it out that Lieberman is, at best, a fair-weather friend.

Heh! John Stossel leaves ABC News for Fox News. Seems that ABC got the better part of that deal.

Dante Zappala writes on the well-regarded reporter Jonathan Landay surviving an ambush in Afghanistan that took the lives of four American soldiers. Zappala is wondering why US troops are in Afghanistan to begin with.

I wish I could be more enthusiastic about Obama's speech on health care tonight. Unfortunately, he identifies Public Option as only a means to the end of reining in insurance company abuses and suggests it's not the only means. Problem: No one has come up wih a better means over the last several months.
According to the press corps, right wing hysteria over Obama's speech to schoolchildren is the same thing as liberal "hatred" for G.W. Bush. Well, 1. We didn't hate the guy as much as we thought he was (and is) a criminal and 2. We were far less hysterical about it.

Van Jones gets thrown under the bus due to his belief in the idea that 9-11 was an inside job.

President Obama gives speech to nation's schoolchildren encouraging them to stay in school and excel and to mind their parents. Right wing goes crazy.

Excellent piece from Connecticut paper on Joe Lieberman and torture.

Not a good number - a soldier or Marine in Afghanistan costs 1.3 times as much as the same serviceperson in Iraq due to the supply difficulties.

Brian Brown, according to the WaPo, is nothing like that awful James Dobson. It's just one of silly little technicalities that he, uh, used to work for James Dobson. WaPo Ombudsman agrees that reporter Monica Hesse "fell short" in her completely criticism-free piece.

We understand that Glenn Beck is losing his mind over the droves of advertisers who are deserting him (Their numbe has dwindled to 17 out of around 80), but he's crossing over into some very dangerous territory by copying the propaganda techniques from an earlier time.

MSNBC is again demonstrating how deeply conflicted they are by hosting a member of the Independent Women's Forum (Formerly the Women for Clarence Thomas) on their shows as though they were something other than a right-wing front group.

Will President Obama even meet with progressives or will we keep getting trial balloons that suggest he'll drop the Public Option?

David Broder reinforces Washington DC conventional wisdom on the torture issue by asking what he hopes his audience will interpret as a rhetorical question:

Ultimately, do we want to see Cheney, who backed these actions and still does, standing in the dock?

For progressives of course, the answer is simply "Yes." But that answer would also implicate the journalists who aided and abetted the torture through their failure to sound any sort of alarm about it.

I've heard a lot of really crazy insults directed toward President Obama, but this one is so-o-o-o out there:

"[L]ike all things Obama does, it's spur of the moment and covert."

Huh!?!?! Since when does either description even remotely apply to Obama?

All-ri-i-i-ght!!!  House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has often voted as a Blue Dog Democrat and has previously put forth an unsatisfactory version of the health care plan, but is now toeing the line and presenting a good version!

Hoo-wee!!! The crazy is strong in this one!

What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. [Health care] will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass.”

WaPo columnist Richard Cohen disgraces himself yet again with excreble piece on torture. Cohen appears to think that violence is the only way to get a terrorist to talk. Cohen seriously needs to speak with someone who knows something about interrogations instead of getting all of his knowledge from reruns of "24."

August                         back to top

Missing Richard Nixon:

Nixon was surely the worst person other than Dick Cheney ever to control the executive branch.

But he ran things when corporate cash was much less dominant than it is today, meaning Nixon could offer a health care plan equal to or better than what Democrats are offering today.

And as far as controlling the Afghan insurgency goes:

Taken together, the ongoing use of the Pashtun homelands as the base for the insurgency and the Pashtuns' rejection of the processes of the central government show that after eight years, 807 U.S. military casualties, $228 billion dollars (so far; the full cost will exceed half-a-trillion dollars) and more than 20,000 Afghan civilian deaths, we have utterly failed to convince the Pashtuns in Afghanistan to "consent to the government's legitimacy and stop actively and passively supporting the insurgency."

WaPo disgraces itself with pieces suggesting that Presidential administrations should simply ignore their predecessors' crimes, that it was completely incapable of deciding whether torture on KSM was effective (Might have helped if they gave some attention to the rapport-based interrogation that followed the torture) and they really, really degrade themselves with yet more CIA whining about "We thought torture had been legalized!!!1!"

NBC's "Today" show hires the daughter of former President George W. Bush. Would there be any sort of quid pro quo for doing that? According to Executiv Producer George Bell "he didn't consider the job as a down payment for a future interview with her father." Let's leave aside the fact that Jenna Hager's only professinal experience is as a teacher.

Very, very interesting look at the economic context behind the 2005 drowning of New Orleans. Film can be downloaded for a donation for a week.

Casino-Free Philly reveals that the financial situation of the companies that want to build casinos on Columbus Ave "SugarHouse & Foxwoods [are] in dire financial straits."

The rest of the Barney Frank confrontation with the town hall mini-mob. Especially amusing is how he reveals that one of the protesters really has no clue as to what he's talking about.

It's a good thing that Attorney General Eric Holder is opening up an investigation of interrogations of suspects in the early 2000s under President G.W. Bush, but do we really want to establish that "I was just following orders" is an acceptable defense? By dealing only with those interrogators who exceeded the grossly improper instructions given by the government, the US is legitimizing the Yoo-Bybee memos. Disturbingly, there's no evidence that anyone in the Bush Administration was worried about excesses at the time.  Of course, Republicans are absolutely frothing at the mouth over the thought of torturers being held accountable.
Update: The Inky says that just getting the "Lynndie Englands" (Low-level grunts) would be a "major potential flaw," (emphasis added) on the contrary, it would be an extremely major flaw, period. That would legitimize the Yoo-Bybee memos.
As if Jim Cramer hadn't disgraced himself enough, Cramer is now saying Aw gee, Glenn Beck's a "nice guy", why are y'all picking on him? Well golly gee, Jim, maybe it's because Beck openly suspected a Muslim Congressperson of being an agent of al Qaeda, weirded out an attractive correspondent with a statement that sounded an awful lot like sexual harassment, but essentially, his show is now all about race-based fear, the fear of a black president being "alien," "different" and threatening.

Very interesting to see the utterly blatant, screamingly obvious double standard that was applied to Howard Dean in 2003 & 2004 and anti-war protesters in 2002 and Cindy Sheehan in 2005 versus the seriously fact-deficient town hall protesters of today. Funny, but the press corps disliked the "angry" protesters of then, but love the angry protesters of today!

Yay!!!! Obama’s FCC to enforce ‘net neutrality’!!! FCC wants to "keep the Internet fair, free and open to all Americans."

Media trying very, very hard to convince the public that both sides in the health care debate are equally shrill and unhinged. Problem: They're not.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has made nine appearances on the Sunday talk shows this year. The question is: Why? He's not on any committees that are important to current debates, he's no longer voting in a mavericky manner, he's in an increasingly irrelevant party. Why is this guy getting so much airtime?!?!
Update: Gee, it's funny that Arizona is a state that Arthur Frommer (Yup, the travel book guy) is now suggesting people avoid due to all of the people going to town hall meetings with guns. So my question is, will the press corps ask McCain why his state is such a complete disgrace?  
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) gets very short with a follower of Lyndon LaRouche who claims that LaRouche defeated a provision in the health care bill that never existed to begin with. Naturally, Fox News thinks that Frank was very rude.

The conservative approach to health care reform in a nutshell: "Limbaugh tells caller who can't afford $6,000 to treat broken wrist: 'Well, you shouldn't have broken your wrist.'"

Okay!!! President Obama was threatening to "go all wobbly" on us and to make a backroom deal to simply hold down the rate of increase in health care costs. Progressive insistence on a public option is tossing a severe monkey wrench into that plan. The good thing about working on reforming the political system over the last few years is that Democrats are running out of excuses to not pass progressive policies.
Erm, since when did it become okay to bring guns to political rallies?!?!?!

Jane Hamsher brings financial conflicts into the health care reform picture, much to the distress of one of those CW-spouting, traditional media reporters!

Starting to seriously lose faith in our president here. Have he and his people been scared off of the Public Option by the town hall mini-mobs? That's actually pretty doubtful, considering that the theatrics of the mini-mobs are really only appealing to the really, really hard-core right-wingers.
Update: The blogger Booman has been looking carefully at this issue and thinks it's far from hopeless. FireDogLake's whip count is up to 60! That means that 60 Congresspeople will refuse to vote for a bill without a robust Public Option!   Here's a link to a site where we can tell Congresspeople to stand fast!

Local columnist maintains that black conservative activist, Kenneth Gladney, was "attacked, called the N word (not Nazi) and kicked and beaten." Problem: Looking at the video taken at the scene "... it's readily apparent that Gladney seems completely unhurt."
Update: Buddy from Rapid Response adds more detail to Gladney story.

Sensible question for those who want to do violence to President Obama. Do ya really want to do that?!?!? Really??? You sure??? Remember how Johnson and the Great Society followed Kennedy's assassination? 
President Obama is trying much too hard to please too many people. He has to make some hard choices and to stick to them.

Very, very seriously questionable rendition by the Obama Administration. Appears to have been done with some sensitivity to legal issues, but the fact that the renditioned person was alone with interrogators for several hours, bound and tied, makes his allegations of torture all too likely to be true.

The Weekly Standard uncovers the amazing revelation [/snark] that the Nazi and Hitler signs that have appeared at the birther / teabagger/ anti-health care rallies were snuck in by LaRouchites (Lyndon LaRouche runs as a Democrat even though the Democratic Party wants nothing to do with him), of course, none of the photos show any of the Republicans objecting to the Nazi signs in their midst.

Pretty amazing that newspapers are actually criticizing President Obama because he pays diligent attention to detail.

Just yesterday, President Obama described Chuck Grassley as one of his "Republican friends on Capitol Hill" who is "sincerely trying to figure out if they can find a health care bill that works."


Appearing at a town hall in his home state of Iowa, Sen. Chuck Grassley told a crowd of more than 300 that they were correct to fear that the government would "pull the plug on grandma."

Why do Democrats think they can work with Republicans?!?

Sarah Palin had every reason to launch a pre-emptive attack on national health care plans. Alaska, thanks to her, has a really, really awful health care system.
Update: Palin doubles down on her claim. 

Dan Froomkin returns! (Permanent link) His first post-WaPo column examines whether Obama will do a good job of standing up to corporate interests.

Update on media reaction to Rush Limbaugh's cries of "Obama is a Nazi!!!" They pretty much just yawned.

Sarah Palin asks that the discussion over "ObamaCare" be conducted as a  "civil discourse"

we must stick to a discussion of the issues and not get sidetracked by tactics that can be accused of leading to intimidation or harassment. 

Which is wonderful, but she's also spreading around the idea of "death panels" where soulless bureaucrats will decide upon life and death questions. There's absolutely nothing in the proposed legislation that even resembles her wild charge. 
BTW, Glenn Beck endorses Palin's view of "ObamaCare" as involving "death panels."

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY Blue Dog) is very sad that Congress can't reach for a bipartisan solution to the health care question. Problem: One of his "solutions" is to use nonprofit health care co-ops to compete with major insurers. This "plan" is a complete non-starter and he of course knows that.

The director of the disruptive group at the Consitution Center on August 2nd is the former Communications Director for the Republican National Committee.

Absolutely atrocious!!! The NY Times tries to approach the town hall disruptions as a he-said/she-said issue instead of as a straight-up, deliberate case of astroturfing (Deliberately bringing in outsiders to ratchet up the chaos)! Newt Gingrich, defending Sarah Palin's lunatic screed about "death camps," tries to demagogue the issue of living wills. 

Congratulations, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor! Vote was 68 to 31 in favor.

Town hall meetings that were supposed to be dedicated to the discusssion of health care turn violent.

One thing that should be noted, despite the right-wing chants of "You work for us," and "Hear our voice," is that both of these districts are overall heavily Democratic.

Great WaPo column on latest Republican moves on health care. And no, these town halls have absolutely nothing in common with the town halls that lefties protested at to try and preserve Social Security. Lefties may have been rude and obnoxious back in 2005, but they didn't treaten anybody and didn't disrupt the meetings.

Back during 2004, MoveOn had an ad contest in which someone submitted an entry comparing Bush to Hitler. Media reacted in full fainting-couch, pearl-clutching, hysteria overdrive!!! Rush Limbaugh compares Obama to Hitler, blogger challenges same media figures to respond. Some have, but the reaction is nowhere near as heated.

Examining Republican criticisms of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, they bring up the tired old point about "Wise Latina Woman," yadda, yadda, but they have something of a case concerning Sotomayor's desire to be able to cite foreign law. Not a persuasive case, of course, but something of one.
Complete and utter fail! Blogger admits that progressives did not harrass or browbeat or intimidate the Republicans pushing to dismantle Social Security in 2005, but tries to claim that "that's not terribly germane." Um, sorry, but that's entirely germane!!!

Former President Clinton rescues two American journalists that were imprisoned by North Korea!!! Lara Ling and Euna Lee are now free. And of course, *Sigh!* naturally, conservatives are very displeased.

I guess the "Birther" stuff isn't doing it anymore for Lou Dobbs. He's now graduated to soft-pedaling the attacks of the teabaggers upon politicians trying to discuss health care. The RNC has no interest in taking calls about the mobs they're directing to the town halls.
Update: Here is an example as to how to properly report on the teabagger harrassment. The important facts are front-loaded and the tactics are made clear.

More idiocy. Someone did up a picture of President Obama to look like Heath Ledger's Joker in the latest Batman movie. ABC News reported on this as though it constituted news. Why?!?!?! Well ... uh ... .Matt Drudge featured it on hs website! People, Drudge is not legitimate news!!!!! Drudge is gossip and unverified trash! Only a moron would take a Drudge item and run it as a straight news piece without extensively checking and verifiying it! Only a fool would think "Drudge has good news judgement."


President Bush confiding wistfully (and sounding serious) that his dog, Barney, was the son he never had


Misunderstandings about the CforC program.

Nice, sensible straightforward argument for Democratic health care plan. Why aren't Democrats putting their case this way?

Puzzling as to why the NRA is going all-out against Sotomayor. Are they trying to attack Democratic Blue Dogs? Or are they scared they're losing their white, working-class base?

Birther triumph? Have the birthers found a Kenyan birth certificate saying Obama's a Kenyan? Erm, no. Major problem is that Kenya was a British colony at the time of Obama's birth. Ergo, a birth certificate from 1961 would be of a British colonial subject, not of a Kenyan citizen. It's extremely sad when Ann Coulter thinks you've gone around the bend, but when Little Green Footballs thinks  "The GOP 'base' is doing a fine job whipping themselves up into a frenzy over this lunacy," you've really, really lost it. Good point here, if Obama's birth was questionable, don'tcha think Hillary Clinton would have raised that question during the Democratic primary?

Many years ago, the publisher of the Comics Journal was criticized for not following capitalist principles in his publication.  As I state in the comments here, capitalism is not entirely a bad thing. There are times and places where it's entirely appropriate. The CJ publisher argued that capitalism didn't really apply to his product, either. As the producer of a cultural product, his company operated by slightly different rules from the makers of widgets. Just so, the producers of news programs shouldn't have to comply with the corporate priorities of companies like GE. 
The complete and utter uselessness of bipartisanship today. It appears to have been a good thing from about 1930 to 1970, but it's been pretty much a waste of time since.

Did Karl Rove get away with his role in the attorney firings? Looks like it for now, but when all the facts come out, not so much.

July                         back to top

And the Democratic Progressive Caucus stands up to be counted!!! They're trying to get 50 signatures in order to keep "public option" alive in the health care bill.
Progressives are also wondering why some Committee Chairmen have the power that they do and what they can do to change that.

Aww-w-w-w-w!!! Sarah Palin rejected as a talk show host. Bummer!

Howard Kurtz, media critic and scourge of reporters displaying conflicts of interest, has a major problem dealing with the media and with his own conflicts of interest.

Very interesting to see that, yes, the US still has many troops inside Iraq, but Iraqis are acting increasingly independent. By attacking a camp of Iranian dissidents (The MEK group), Iraq attacked a group favored by the American neocons.
Increasingly bad news on the possibility of getting a public option component into the new health care bill.

It's really a pity when some people continue to have jobs. Richard Cohen couldn't possibly care less about public policy, but here he is, wasting valuable editorial page real estate with "humor" (A teacher of his told him way back when that he was funny) and produces a fairly good idea, but clearly hasn't interviewed any progressives to see why his idea hasn't been adopted.

Lou Dobbs "jumps the shark" and pushes the "birther" idea way beyond acceptable boundaries. Heck, even Rush Limbaugh is afraid to touch the story now! Dobbs refuses to back down, citing "ethnocentric interest groups" as his opponents.

Truly horrifying! VP Cheney truly and seriously suggested that the First and Fourth Amendments and the Posse Comitatus Act all be trampled and ignored so that the US military could be used in 2002 to arrest six non-violent American citizens!!!

...all six were ultimately charged in federal court with crimes  ("material support for terrorism"); all pled guilty and were sentenced to long prison terms, and they then cooperated in other cases...

A VERY serious problem is that, by the Obama Administration not condemning, indeed, by supporting those tyrannical policies in theory, they're becoming entrenched within the political structure of the country. Unfortunately, this is by no means a departure from the Obama Administration's usual stance on presidential power.
CNN's Lou Dobbs is apparently a "Birther," one of those nutty folks who refuses to accept that Barack Obama was born in the US. CNN is cleary losing the argument to Dodd. C'mon CNN! Exile Dodd to the wilderness of Fox News already!

Let's petition Congress to stay in session until health care is passed!

Opponents of the Democratic health care plan have made it clear they don't like what's being offered, but what's their alternative? Nada, none, zilch, zip!

A look at Governor Bobby Jindal's (R-LA) alternative health care proposal.

It's an extremely bad idea to give any credence whatsoever to the "Birthers," people who believe Obama wasn't born in the US.

Now we have a Blue Dog Democrat demanding that Republicans be brought in on the health care debate! Erm, one teeny, tiny problem on that, Republicans don't want a health care bill at all!

Fox News has now blown off its second Presidential news conference. Please write or call the FCC to demand their license be revoked.

Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

1-888-225-5322 (1-888-CALL FCC) Voice: toll-free

1-888-835-5322 (1-888-TELL FCC) TTY: toll-free

1-866-418-0232 FAX: toll-free

If they're going to use the public airwaves for free, they can either fulfill public responsibilities or they can remove the word "News" from their title!

MyBO has canvassing materials for citizens to go out to their neighborhoods and sign people up to support the President's proposals.

Very disappointing to see adolescent foolishness from those who are supposed to be better than those DFH blogger-types.

Good site from which to monitor situation in Iran.

Kewl!!! Obama doubles down and comes out strongly for a public option on healthcare!!! Not only that, he's criticizing the Blue Dog Democrats! Good warning to keep in mind.
AFSCME & HCAN get into the act as well.

*Sigh!* Why does  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) hate Americans who want health care?!?! I mean, I understand the whole kumbaya, lets-all-get-along, bipartisan spirit, but conservative Blue Dog Democrats (Misnamed as "moderates") vote for their donors, not their districts. It's ridiculous to treat their positions as  though they arise from philosophical differences.

Poor Eric Cantor! Given three opportunities to get it right, he scores a zero out of three. Poor guy just hasn't got a clue as to what the economics of the stimulus bill are.

Summary of how the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor was conducted.

Truly sad how the voracious, bottom-feeding media is getting all bent out of shape about Malia Obama's t-shirt. What's really incredible is how they're reading deep meanings into a tween's (Malia was born in 1998) fashion choices.

The House produces its health care bill!!!
Good argument that time is of the essence.
Update: Senate HELP Committee produces its as well!!!

It's really, really difficult to avoid the conclusion that Republicans just hate the American people.

WaPo disgraces itself by publishing a piece by (Soon-to-be-ex) Governor Palin on energy. Unmentioned in the piece are items like Global Warming, Peak Oil, etc, plus which, the piece is wildly inaccurate.

A look at the sad state of the Republican Party today. Palin may own it today, but she didn't break it. New head of Young Republicans is outright racist. A look back at the PATCO strike, which kicked off the Reagan Administration's anti-union activities.

I commented on Charles Krauthammer here. It's a real mystery why he's taken seriously. Truly ridiculous statement:

This is important for Russia because of the huge American technological advantage in defensive weaponry. We can reliably shoot down an intercontinental ballistic missile. They cannot.

Erm, no we can't. The Star Wars program began during the Eisenhower Administration, five decades ago. It will take several decades more to "reliably shoot down an" ICBM. The US is a long, LONG way from doing that. 
Ridiculous, ginned-up pseudo-controversy concerning a still photo taken from a short video allegedly shows President Obama leering at a young woman's backside.  That young woman is owed an apology.

A "Cafeteria Catholic" is someone who picks and chooses which doctrines are acceptable to subscribe to. That seems to be a good approach to deciding upon whether to  support President Obama. Some of what he does is clearly good, there's an awful lot of clearly bad stuff, too.

Supporting democracy is something we should do, right? Well, yeah, in theory and if it doesn't conflict with other goals. Serious problem is, how much can one actually do? We don't want to repeat the elder George Bush's actions in 1991, where he called upon Iraqis to rise up and then sat back as Kurds and Shiites were slaughtered. A further problem is that there are serious questions about the elections of 2000 and 2004,  showing that the US does not approach the problem with clean hands. Also, the story of the younger Bush Administration and  democracy in the region of the Middle East is considerably more complicated than just "Bush supported democracy."

An explanation as to just what's wrong with pay-for-play private off-the-record dinners with reporters.

For some strange, inexplicable reason, both President Obama and VP Biden have been presenting the current sad state of the economy as something that was unforeseen. Sorry, but it's followng exactly the course that was predicted for it several months ago.

VP Joe Biden makes some very scary and unsettling remarks about Iran and Israel and bombings and nuclear weapons. Fortunately, it appears to just a gaffe on his part and he wasn't giving Israel a "green light" of any sort.

People simply have to understand, there is no compromising with the people who are opposed to abortion rights.

...the organized political structure of the pro-life movement has been demonstrably anti-woman and anti-sexuality from the very first mailings it ever sent out. It has been financed and organized by religious organizations devoted to a truncated and joyless view of human sexuality. 

Good!!!!! Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) finally lays down the law and says "...stop chasing Republican votes on a massive health care reform bill." Reid counts up likely Republican "ayes" and dead-certain progressive "nays" and says "no."

Robert McNamara  dies. Was prime architect of Vietnam War.

We may not like or respect Michael Jackson all that much, but name-calling does absolutely nothing to elevate the people who were ignored to make room for Jackson's obituaries. 
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R) suddenly resigns. Speculation abounds, with 32% of RedState readers thinking that she's trying to beat a scandal to the punch.
Update: The FBI states unequivocally that it is not investigating the Governor for anything. The conservative media critics group NewsBusters wonders why Palin's speech was described as "bizarre." Gee, ya think maybe because it was?!?!

Howard Kurtz, with a TV show and syndicated column, easily wins the award, hands down, for the most useless media critic of all time. A look at the column Kurtz actually did write.

14.7 million unemployed, work hours down to an average of 33 per week. Economists agree that $787 billion stimulus package was too small.

Is Rush Limbaugh calling for a military coup?

Two health care stories. Which one takes place in the wealthy, advanced, industrialized country?

June                         back to top

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) finally gets into office!!!!!

Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson die.

I just have to thank the good Lord above that Republicans are no longer in charge. Bill Kristol advocates intervening in Iran on the side of the protesters. As much as I have sympathy for them (Here are some tips to help them, citizen to citizen), that's an awful idea. The Iranian government certifies that Ahmadinejad won fair and square. Er, um, OK. Demonstration violently broken up
Republican commenters think Governor Sanford's (R-SC) going AWOL at government expense to meet up with a lover in South America is just so cute and darling and romantic. The appropriate military term is "Dereliction of Duty." The guy should have been relieved of his duties several days ago as he obviously has no interest in putting his job ahead of his personal desires. The Wall St Journal is maintaining a deafening silence over whether Sanford should be impeached.  It's also very, very interesting to see just how a South Carolina newspaper handled the news on Sanford back in December!!!!

Update on the HuffPo question at the press conference: The replacemet for Tim Russert, David Gregory asks:

"If President Bush had done that, don't you think Democrats would have said that's outrageous?"

"If?" Is Gregory serious!?!?! This is not a hypothetical. Jeff Gannon was brought on to provide Bush with softball questions. Press conferences have become awash in trivia. Update on Dana Milbank's attitude towards Gannon back in 2005. And yes, news shows coordinate topics with guests.

Republicans think it's just awful how progressives are, pointing out that the very same Republicans who decry the collapse of our moral standards are the very same ones who are running around having extramarital affairs. Erm, it's called having standards, it's not a case of double standards. Democrats don't run around talking about how morally superior they are, so when they have extramarital affairs, no, it's not really the same thing.

Aaugh! Shriek! The economy isn't fixed yet! We still aren't back at full employment! Well, erm, sorry, but it HAS only been a short while since money from the $787 billion stimulus bill began flowing into the economy. These things take a little time.

Grand, hollow, meaningless, empty words on torture.

Some people just have way too much imagination to be making political speeches.

Images and how they effect political debate.

Amazingly, reporters are still upset that a blogger was able to transmit the question of an ordinary Iranian citizen to the President! Dudes, get over yourselves!!!!

We can add Joe Lieberman to the list of people who had no trouble advocating the wanton slaughter of millions of Iranians who is now suggesting that Obama's manhood can be questioned because he won't go to war to support Iranian protesters.

Oh good grief! I've heard of some really, really sto-o-o-pid, moronically idiotic conspiracy theories, but this one really takes the cake. Unlike with the whole Jimmy/Jeff Gannon/Guckert story, both President Obama and the Huffington Post reporter were quite open and explicit about what they were doing. Obama wanted to take a question from an Iranian via the HuffPo.

I left an Oxdown diary that asked about a piece on the Global Security site suggesting that the CIA was manipulating events in Iran. Response was generally skeptical. Another fellow picked up the idea and posted another diary. I'd certainly prefer not to believe it.
Update: This is what we call dispositive proof that the Iranian protest movement is for real and that they have a very real and serious grievance with their government. Doesn't mean the CIA isn't trying to influence events, but it seems pretty doubtful that they're really having all that much of an effect.
Interesting piece on how Iran has been dealing with the Internet and political dissent. Natcherly, Western corporations are deeply involved!

An Iranian brings up 1991 and the elder George Bush and how the Iranian leadership is hoping Obama will repeat that mistake. Nobody blamed Saddam Hussein for slaughtering Kurds & Shiites, they blamed Bush for giving Hussein such an easy target.

Neda Agha Soltan becoms martyr to rebellion.

Are we coming up on a Tiananmen Square-style massacre in Iran's capital of Tehran? Sure hope not, but it's not at all clear what the US could do in response, nor does it appear a good idea to raise hopes that can't be fulfilled.  Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Khameni weighs in with his version of what's going on.

Paul Krugman weighs in on the firing of Dan Froomkin.

Heh! Fox News "neglected" to cover the scandal of a Republican presidential contender. Ri-i-i-ght!

It's very, very sad that the WaPo couldn't stand the idea of their best columnist whacking away at President Obama from the left. Dan Froomkin will not be missed, as he's sure to keep writing  from a different post, but the WaPo is now left with delusional people like Charles Krauthammer, who obviously never got the memo that the great neocon project to re-design the Middle East is now lying in the dust, with a broken neck in an advanced state of decay.

An on-scene descrition of what's going on in Iran. Upon Ayatollahs & Grand Ayatollahs. No, we can't credit Bush with anything that's going on in Iran. Anyone who thinks the US can rescue the situation in Iran by galloping in guns blazing, doesn't have a clue.

Norm Coleman admits what's up with his refusal to accept November's election results.  Not sure why he feels that the Republican Party is an entity worth presrving, though.

Definition of "public option" for health insurance begins to recede into distance. Not really sure precisely what it means anymore. What's motivating the opponents of Single-Payer Health Care? That's simple. Greed.

*Sigh!* It was incorrect to call Iranian Prime Minster Ahmadinejad a dictator. Past tense. Having clearly stolen the latest election, it's now okay to call him that. 
And you [Bill O'Reilly] routinely attack, you routinely attack, people on the left, Janeane Garofalo, Michael Moore, who you think their rhetoric leads potentially to acts of violence. It never has led to one act of violence. But you've already driven that crazy guy in Knoxville last year who read your writings and then went and shot up a church and shot liberals, that's already happened once, and you don't feel any responsibility at all, now that it's happened a second time, Bill? Talk about blood on your hands.

Joan Walsh smacks Bill O'Reilly around.

The right wing gets bloodier and bloodier. Somehow, the DHS report on right-wing extremism is being held up as part of the problem. Can out-of-control talk radio hysterics lead to murder? Sure looks like it. And why isn't David Neiwert being interviewed on every other talk show?!?!?!
Update: Neiwert was interviewed on Anderson Cooper 's AC360. Bravo!

Hmm, let's see...Karl Rove calls Maureen Dowd a "bitter, twisted, deranged columnist" because she pointed out that Bush slacked off through half of his terms and alowed all sorts of disasters to occur on his watch. Now, I'm not sure I disagree with Rove's description of Dowd, but in any contest of who's correct on Bush's performance in office, Dowd wins hands down!

Allright, this is cute!

Four protests in Philly in a short time period.

So how is Obama's Cairo speech working? Quite well, thank you very much.
Update: Obama wins the Lebanon election, defeating Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Obama is preparing to celebrate Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday. Actually, Reagan was a really crappy president.

The "debate" over Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor has become so detached from reality, the traditional media doesn't feel any obligation to even try to honor basic, fundamental reality.

President Obama tries a whole new approach to the Middle East, one that doesn't rely solely upon force and threats of force. But no, there were no apologies, despite much wringing of hands on that score.

Slight backpedaling on hysterical criticism about Jodge Sotomayor.
Update: Is there any significant distinction between "racist" and Gingrich's new term "racialist"? No.

Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly see no difference between lone, unaffiliated killer who killed a military recruiter and Dr Tiller 's murderer, who acted upon the active, if indirect, advocacy of them and people in their movement.

Right wing attempts to gin up "Dealergate" non-story into a "scandal."

Bill O'Reilly very strenuously defends himself against the charge that he advocated the murder of Dr Tiller.

Michelle Malkin tries to claim that there is the killer of late-abortion provider, Doctor George Tiller and there is the responsible right wing, which is not to blame for his murder. Then again, there's Bill O'Reilly, who never advocated violence against Dr Tiller, but continually referred to him by name and associated him with Nazis and other killers.
[Update: O'Reilly will adddress the charge that he provoked the killing of Dr Tiller]  There is also the DHS report on the violence of right-wing extremists, which many right-wingers interpreted as an attack on themselves.

Looking good for Senator Al Franken of Minnesota to finally take his rightfully-won and richly-deserved seat.

Seriously, Jeffrey Rosen and his defender Jonathan Chait really should just give it up. Rosen's piece on Sotomayor was a despicable smear, a  gossipy hit job and Rosen & Chait inaccurately blame "bloggers" and "blogging" for Rosen's complete lack of morality and decency.

Scribbled a round-up piece because there was just so much news out there.

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Opinion writer from Daily News writes about a sentence taken from a Sotomayor speech. Talking Points Memo posts YouTube from President Obama (unwisely) saying that she perhaps would have re-worded her speech, but also shows complete context of sentence. Not surprisingly, complete three paragraphs that the sentence came from add a lot of depth to her observation.
A profile of a prominent opponent of Santomayor. 
Summary of wild, insane, outta control right-wing slurs against Sotomayor.
Awful funny about how Antonin Scalia was known for being hot-tempered, but how "temperament" never became an issue with white male SC nominees.

Book on the Iraq resistance.

Newt Gingrich calls Sotomayor a "racist." One would think that sort of comment would raise eyebrows all over the place. Republican Senator denounces Gingrich. Media remain silent.

The official report on Guantanamo "recidivists" ("Terrorists" who were imprisoned at Gitmo and have since "returned to the fight") seems to a very highly dubious, "dodgy" document.

US hesitation to allow Guantanamo prisoners to be held on American soil is , surprise, surprise, making Europe unenthusastic about taking them.

Amazing example of the media ignoring someone's self-serving and highly biased statements. George Will declares that Sonia Sotomayor did not "save baseball." Um, Will is the Director of both the Baltimore Orioles and the San Diego Padres. Ya think he just might be a little biased?!?!

So Second Circuit  Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor is the nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter. Good! After she was smeared by The New Republic a few weeks back, I'm happy to see that she has an opportunity to get her reputation back. One very foolish attack on her is that "Hey, she & GeeDubya both graduated from ivy league schools, so they're equal in intellect!" Um, no. Bush was a "legacy student," the son of an ivy league graduate and graduated with a "Gentleman's C." Sotomayor "pulled herself up by her bootstraps" (came from an impoverished background) and worked very hard to  graduate summa cum laude. But yeah, other than that, they're just the same.
Scotusblog reviews her appellate decisions.
A "Greatest Hits" compilation of stupid comments about Sotomayor. We're not even into the 2nd 24-hour period yet!!!

Former UN Ambassador John Bolton opines on the Obama Administration's approach to nuclear arms, appears to favor the "special interest" of arms manufacturers as opposed to the interests of the American people.

*Sigh!* Iran fails to come up even to the sorry free-speech standards of G.W. Bush! Tsk, tsk, tsk.

So, it appears that the Republican Party is now split into two factions, the Colin Powell - Meghan McCain branch and the Rush Limbaugh - Dick Cheney - Karl Rove - Newt Gingrich - Fox News - etc., etc., branch.

Good two-parter on the two speeches by President Obama and Dick Cheney.

Aaargh!!! The stupid! It burns!!!

The debate on whether Speaker Pelosi was properly informed of waterboarding back in 2002 is over. Amazingly enough, people are trying to keep the "story" alive.

Whoa! Dude! A traditional media source that knows how to read?!?!?! Time Magazine actually reads the source documents concerning Speaker Pelosi and the CIA briefers!!! Sure wish that would happen more often. 
Supervillains and supermax prisons, the sheer and utter stupidity of the "We can't hold the Gitmo terrorist suspects in the US, they're too dangerous!1!!1!!&!!"
Update: Excellent point!

Obama's speech - good overview, highs & lows. More. An examination of "preventive detention."
Cheney's speech - utter fail!
More. McClatchy News weighs in.

It's far from clear that drawing Speaker Pelosi into a dispute about torture and what Democrats knew about it, that Republicans are benefiting themselves. They're instead making the idea of a torture commission look pretty good right now.
Update: Vote to investigate just Speaker Pelosi and not the Bush Administration for torture fails by 252 to 172.
Bloggers being parasites on the traditional media. That may have been true at one point. Is it still true? Ehh, not really. Actualy, the story is a good deal more complicated than that now.

*Sigh!* One step forward, one step back. Uruguay decides gays can serve openly in their military, but US Republican Party National Committee Chairman declares that same-sex spouses are a "burden on businesses."

Good two-part series on the Uighurs, 17 men who have been held at Guantanamo since 2001. Why they're still there is a very, very good question.

The evidence that the Bush Administration consciously and deliberately used torture to justify launching a war against Iraq.

Comic relief: RNC Chairman Michael Steele and Representative Michele Bachmann have teamed up to do battle with ACORN. FDL on Bachmann and Steele. DKos on ACORN.

It remains very unclear that either Nancy Pelosi (Minority House Leader at the time) or Jay Rockefeller (Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence then) were briefed in 2002 by the CIA on whether or not the CIA was torturing people. Pelosi apparently learned in 2003 and Rockefeller in 2005.
Update: Speaker Pelosi has given what's referred to as a "plenary answer," i.e., an all-sufficient, comprehensive answer that completely disposes of the question:

Pelosi had an answer that really answers all the questions, a plenary answer you might say: she supports a Truth Commission [...]

That says it all. She wants it all investigated. The whole point of this storm about Pelosi is that her critics want her to be embarrassed and stop supporting a Truth Commission or any sort of examination of what happened. But she's not. She still says there should be an investigation.

Wow!!!!1! G W Bush will appear in Woodward, OK!!! Whatta coup!!! [/snark] Yeah, I'm sure the competition was SO fierce to get the former prez to appear there.
Liz Cheney defends her dad against  the entirely accurate charge that waterboarding is illegal, immoral and useless. 

Iranian-American reporter Roxana Saberi released from Iranian custody where she was held upon the baseless accusation of being a spy. This is absolutely and unambiguously a good thing. It's just a pity that Iran comes off as so much better in how they treat journalists as opposed to how the US treats them.

In the ten years of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law on how the armed services deal with gays and lesbians, the US has spent $190.5 million discharging 13,000 military personnel. Benefits? Well, the US appeased social conservatives. A-a-and, well, that's about it.

A report by the General Accounting Office found that 83 of the largest 100 publicly traded US companies had subsidiaries in tax havens or "financial privacy" jurisdictions, as do 63 of the largest US federal contractors (PDF).

And yet, strangely enough, Republicans and Blue Dogs aren't getting behind Obama's push to close off-shore tax haven loopholes.

CBS golf analyst David Feherty suggests that US soldiers are eager to kill Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and oh yes, Usama bin Laden.
Update: CBS distances themselves from Fenerty.
Further update: Feherty apologises.

Whoof! 2010 Budget document weighs in at 1374 pages and $3.4 trillion. President cuts $17 billion in administrative expenses, Republicans laugh and jeer and boo and hiss. Good news, though,  Abstinence-only sex "education" is zeroed out!
Update: Republicans very displeased that one of their favorite programs is being so disrespected.

Hmm, Senator Specter, who just jumped from the Republican to the Democratic Party, wants an easy primary and then back to his old position. Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA) wants to make things difficult for Specter. Go Joe!!! Here's a straw poll where we can encourage Sestak to run.
Democrats strip Specter of his committee chairmanships! Yee-hah!  Sorry, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pathetic on Specter.

Speaker Pelosi accused of approving torture back in 2002-3. Problem: It's really not clear by the documents that she was actually informed of any such thing. Even if she had been informed, it's really not clear what her options for protest were.

Bush administration lawyers committed serious lapses of judgment in writing secret memorandums authorizing brutal interrogations

Disbarment is recommended, but not prosecution.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor smeared by the New Republic in a truly appalling hit piece. Makes one almost wish that journalists had to get certified and approved so we could yank TNR's authorization to write. Sotomayor is not officially on the list for people to replace departing Supreme Court Justice David Souter, but if she was, her reputation has been destroyed anyway.
President Obama has stated that health care is a major priority of his. One would think, then, that the opposition party would have a clear idea of what their own plan was. Wel-l-l-l, not so much, actually.

Traditional media bored by President Obama's 100th-day press conference. Fox News claims that it was right not to cover the press conference as it didn't produce any news.
Erm, since when must a presidential press conference be exciting?!?!? When was this rule adopted? If reporters are bored, I'd suggest they find another line of work.

Wow! What's the weather like in what right-wingers refer to as "reality"? Y'know, in the place where

...George W. Bush tried to change the "tone" and Fox News "makes more of an effort to be balanced than any of the other networks and all the biggest newspapers in America."

Charles Krauthammer writes an insane op-ed where torture can be justified under the standard, usual "ticking time bomb" secnario and under one extremely broad catch-all:

The second exception to the no-torture rule is the extraction of information from a high-value enemy in possession of high-value information likely to save lives.

What in the heck doesn't fit under that exception?!?!? And how on Earth could anyone prove that the torturers didn't have a good-faith belief their victim didn't fall under these guidelines?  

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Member of "The Village" interviews Speaker Pelosi about whether she agreed with CIAs torture. Pelosi makes the extremely good point that the CIA did not inform Congress as to what they were doing.

Kathleen Sebelius confirmed as Health & Human Services Secretary!  Despite intense opposition from anti- abortionists and religious conservatives, the vote was 65 to 31 in favor. As America is suffering an H1N1 (Swine flu) emergency at the moment, Republicans picked a spectactularly bad time to oppose an HHS nominee.

Senator Specter (Now a D-PA) switches parties. Kind of annoying that Democrats didn't demand any price for him doing so as he needs the Democrats far more than they need him.

Rush [Limbaugh] counseled Specter to take Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and his daughter, Meghan, with him, and then pondered who else in the Senate should make the switch.

Sounds like a deal! We'll take the relatively sensible ones, y'all can take the wingnuts!

President Obama's 100-day mark. MMFA examines the relentless idiocy, triviality and mind-numbing stupidity that the press corps has brought to their looking at the President.
Obama gets an "A" for style. As in foreign policy, it will take at least a year to judge Obama's  performace, that's probably the best he could have done.

Very interesting post on torture. Very important point: it's critically important to know the right questions to ask before you can do the necessary research to answer them.

Republicans lose NY-20 Congressional race!

Back in January, [RNC Chairman Michael] Steele boasted, "That win will send a powerful signal to the rest of the country ... that our game is not up."

D'oh! So-o-o-o, now that "that win" turned out to be a loss, does that mean their game is up? It only took eight weeks to turn a 21-point lead into a hairsbreadth loss.

Meghan McCain speaks the truth that the traditional media dares not speak itself:

It's very unprecedented for someone like Karl Rove or Dick Cheney to be criticizing the president. My big criticism is just, you had your eight years, go away.

Other losers had the decency and propriety to just fade away or, like Al Gore, to wait at least 21 months before speaking out against the new administration. Rove and Cheney didn't even wait until Obama's first 100 days were up.
BTW, Cheney has requested documentation to show that torture works, but the documents he has requested are from 2004-5, a time when the revisioist effort was in full swing.
What torture proponents consider to be not-torture was officially considered torture back in 2002. Oh, and yes, they were fully aware "...that it would produce 'unreliable information.' " Oh, but to insist that the law be enforced would make the US a "banana republic."

Kudos to both Norah O'Donnell and Liz Cheney. To O'Donnell for actually asking tough questions and to Cheney for actually consenting to be interviewed by someone who didn't just praise her as people do her dad. Needless to say, Cheney's answers to O'Donnells' questions are completely delusional.

Yes, there's evidence that Democrats were complicit in torture policies, but

for most of us, we don’t care if the person has a (R) or (D) behind their name when they were instituting a policy of torture.

If Democrats were complict, we have zero problems with punishing them too. Also,

Democrats spent the last several years vehemently complaining about the "politicization of the Justice Department" under Alberto Gonzales.  Yet so many of these same Democrats are now demanding that the Obama DOJ refrain from prosecuting Bush criminals based on purely political grounds:  namely, that those prosecutions will interfere with Obama's political agenda. [emphasis in original]

Unfortunately, Democrats are clearly part of the problem.

President Obama strongly urges Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to release the Iranian-American reporter Roxana Saberi, expressing complete confidence that she is not a spy. Seems to be the two presidents versus Iranian hard-liners as Ahmadinejad appears to genuinely want her released. 
Fox News tries to invent a scandal by analysing the handshake between President Obama and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Meghan McCain finds it "creepy" that Karl Rove is following her Twitter-feed.  
Just how effective were the torture methods used on KSM and Abu Zubaydah? Obviously not very, considering how many sessions were needed to produce garbage.
Fox News of course, remains very enthusiastic about waterboarding.

Further thoughts on the "Teabagger protests" and how various arms of the media work with each other. 

Norm Coleman continues to drag his heels and continues to waste everyone's time by trying to drag out his hopeless quest to be declared the winner of the November 2008 Senatorial race against Al Franken. Even the right-wing blog Powerline is wondering why Coleman is dragging things out.
Here's an idea! Let's use Coleman's stubbornness against him and other Republicans!

Oh good grief! Can we please dispense with this idiotic nonsense about how short-term fluctuations in the stock market tells us anything meaningful about the news of the day?

No-o-o-o!!!1!#1!! Republicans are declaring Sarah Palin's future as leader of the party dead!

Obama DoJ releases Bush torture memos. link goes to President's comments and to PDFs at the ACLU. Memos are very largely unredacted. There are a few blacked-out sections, but not very many at all. Commentary from Greenwald, Digby, Looseheadprop, Ackerman and Emptywheel. Who does a traditional media TV show bring on to discuss the memos? Why, Gordon Liddy, of course! What? Don't we always bring on criminals to discuss criminals?

Unsurprising, predictable news of the day: The NSA, given the authority to undertake wide-ranging wiretapping without judicial supervision, overstepped its authority. What did people expect? It's not at all clear why anybody thought the NSA would properly supervise itself.

With the "Teabagger Party" demonstration in Atlanta, GA being the largest at 7000, total attendance for the parties nationwide is  estimated at around 250,000 (About half of what the Spice Girls' reunion tour drew). Philadelphia, PA only drew 200. Photos. Pretty unimpressive, overall. Fox News contributed some very overheated, extremist rhetoric. Glenn Beck is really amazed that the "Teabaggers" are being identified as "Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin followers" and then proceeds to defend the militia movement as having a point. Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos has some viciously critical things to say about ANSWER, Code Pink and Mumia, but he's also got a lot of sensible things to say about demonstrations in general and the "Teabaggers" versus other lefties over the past several years.
Hmm. Very, very interesting. A report from the Department of Homeland Security details threats from right-wing extremists and conservatives respond as if they've been attacked. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being concernd about the powers of the Federal Government, as right-wingers are now, but where were all these guys during the Bush Administration? Where was all of their touching concern about civil liberties then?!?!

The Republican National Committee has now removed all doubt and has officially endorsed the "Teabagger Parties."

Norm Coleman has absolutely, positively, unequivocally lost the position of Minnesota Senator to Al Franken. Why hasn't Norm conceded? Obviously, because the Republican Party doesn't want Democrats to gain that 59th seat.
Update: Inky uses APs vague, fuzzy description of contest results on  page A5.

Very happy to see the rescue of the Captain of the freighter that was hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia. There are times and places where violence is called for. This was one of those. I heard that someone is under the impression that pirates have been romaticized. Uh, no. I enjoyed the movies with Johnny Depp and Kiera Knightley too, but I don't think anybody was seriously confused.
Update: Conservatives are cracking up over the rescue.

Summary of what's going on with Obama Administration and secrecy/Executive privilege issues. As much as we aprove of certain issues, we can't condone or forgive what's happening with warrantless wiretapping, keeping people behind bars without charges, etc.
Veterans of the Second Battle of Fallujah are working with game programmers/ artists to make a video game out of it.
No, the "teabagger" events are not grassroots events where people organized them from the bottom-up. They're controlled, organized and funded from the top-down.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki agrees to let Russia drill for oil in Iraq! This is a fairly big deal as one of the reasons the left concluded that the Iraq War was an imperial war for oil was that France and Russia were both booted out of Iraq as soon as US troops finished occupying the place. For Russia to come back in apparently means that the US has abandoned its imperial project.

Tens of Thousands [of Iraqis] Rally against US on Anniversary of Saddam's Fall

Only US media to pay attention was McClatchey.

Fox News is now trying to claim they have nothing to do with the "teabagger" parties that they're relentlessly advertising and fundraising for.

Oh, and hey, remember all those Republican Governors who didn't want that stimulus money? Wel-l-l-l, it seems their state legislators do and they were pretty darned loud about their preference, too!

Wolf Blitzer: How worried are you that the new government of Israel under Prime Minister Netanyahu will launch a strike to take out Iran's nuclear facilities?

VP Joe Biden: ... I think it would be ill-advised to do that.

*Whew!* Thank you VP Biden!!!!!
Update: Very, very interesting comment on why the US didn't go to war with Iran. Apparently, Europe didn't like the idea!

Harold Koh is being smeared by Republicans who want to protect Dear Leader Bush and his henchman Cheney. At stake is whether or not the US will be run by the Rule of Law or whether it will be run by the political leaders of the moment.

The secrecy/immunity claims of the Obama Administration just go too far. Even Keith Olbermann, who has been an enthusiastic Obama backer, has been criticizing him. There appears to be less and less difference between this president and the last one.

Photo collection of President Obama's European tour.

Yeah, that is a very good question. Why IS Newt Gingrich considered newsworthy?

Apparently, the shooter in Pittsburgh PA, Richard Andrew Poplawski listened to people like Glenn Beck (Fox News) and Wayne LaPierre (NRA). He believed that the US:

was secretly controlled by a cabal that would eradicate freedom of speech, take away his guns and use the military to enslave the citizenry.

Gee, where could he have gotten that idea?!?!?
Update: Beck tries desperately to convince his viewers that he's not to blame. Blames conspiracy theorists for all the negative press he's getting.

Awww! Poor "Joe The Plumber" gets booed in Pennsylvania! Very sad that his bookers don't appear to have realized they were sending him to very liberal, pro-labor areas of the state. At least Bush's bookers knew enough to send him only to places where he'd get welcomed

A McDonald's Quarter-Pounder with cheese clocks in at 510 calories. Rush Limbaugh considers it outrageous that the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine asked that a burger be labeled a "dietary disaster." How many calories is this burger? 4,800!!!

Norm Coleman appears to have hit the end of the road in contesting Al Franken for the title of Minnesota's Senator. 'Bout frakin' time!!!

The sheer and utter barbarism of Glenn Beck's political statements are really getting to the point where we have to ask why Fox News is giving this guy a platform. He's now suggesting that in order to not have to deal with the inconvenience of dealing with the Uighers (Enemies of China, but the US has no grudges against them), the US should simply execute such people "on the battlefield."

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Looks like the Democrats have won NY-20! This is a special election in a district where Republican voters outnumber Democrats by 70,000. The liberal blogs didn't help the winning candidate because the Democrat is a "Blue Dog" (Not disloyal to America, but disloyal to Democratic principles). Not so much a victory for Democrats, but a crushing loss for Republicans. Senate Minority Leader John Boehner was originally saying that the race was going to be hugely significant. Now, errrr, not so much.
Update: As of 11:00am the next day, there's still no clear winner. Quite sad considering how confident they were just a little while ago.

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) has taken an unusually sensible and principled stand on our criminal justice system.

We have 5% of the world's population; we have 25% of the world's known prison population.  ...

...either we have the most evil people on earth living in the United States; or we are doing something dramatically wrong...

Interesting thoughts on certainty, righteousness and politics. No, I haven't listened to Rush Limbaugh for any extended period of time, but I have heard and read far more than enough to know that the following claim concerning him:

I have never heard the man utter a single racist, hateful or stupid word.

is just too silly a statement to be taken seriously. The piece is worth a read for what it says about making generalizations about people we don't know.

One of the more moronically idiotic ideas to appear about our President is that he's far too dependent on a teleprompter. Obama proved during the Presidential Debates of 2008 that he is more than capable of thinking on his feet and to sound intelligent and informed while doing so. 

Republicans put out a "budget" proposal that, curiously for a budget proposal, contains almost no numbers.

Hans von Spakovsky, a "loyal Bushie" who contributed to Bush Administration vote suppression schemes, is now finding "politicization" in Donna Brazile's speaking about Women's History. 

The Obama press conference reviewed by two audiences, the American people understood that Obama is on a different, longer-view clock than most of Twittering-class Washingtonians are, but the news media found the conference boring and long and Obama professorial.

Funny thing, AIG executives get million-dollar bonuses, citizens get angry, media just sorta leaves the departed Bush Administration out of the picture. In fact, a poll gets taken, trying to determine who's responsible for the bonus mess and gee, wow, amazingly enough, the Bush Administration is left off of the list of people and institutions that deserve blame.

Bill O'Reilly attacks a blogger at Think Progress with an ambush interview, after which he airs a very highly selective video, leaving out all of his bad behavior. Of course, the blogger was never given the chance to do a proper sit-down interview and was never given a chance  to present her side on the show.

Obama rips Cheney! On 60 Minutes, Obama says he has no use for Cheney's anti-terrorist policies!
Update: Republcans beg Cheney "Please return to your undisclosed location!"

A month ago, in the Republican Party's official response to the State of the Union, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana said he thought spending $140 million for "volcano monitoring" was a waste of money. Well, guess what? A volcano that was being monitored just blew. Had the volcano not been monitored, thousands would have died. Fortunately, monitoring ensured that people living nearby could make a safe getaway.

Ooh! Good news! Harold Hongju Koh, an opponent of torture, is named the State Dept Legal Advisor. Speaking of State, cool piece on how Clinton is using technology to improve outreach and public education.

US relations with Iran are looking pretty good! Bill Kristol of course thinks the new policy amounts to appeasement, but Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is looking for concrete actions as opposed to nice words.  
Poor, poor John Yoo! The lawyer and academic gets ever closer to jail. He's defended by Alan Dershowitz, who seems as though he should serve a few years himself.

Hate to be a downer, but the American people favor President Obama's plan for Iraq by 70% to 29%. No breakdown as to whether opponents think pull-out is too fast or too slow. Newspapers largely ignored the anniversary.
Update: Actually, the Inky and the WaPo covered it.

Governor Sarah Palin has announed that Alaska will reject $416 million out of $930 million of the stimulus money. Another governor who hates the citizens of her state. Alaska legislature already trying to override her decision.

Memories of late '02-eary '03. Ah yes, the optimism, the warnings of what terrible things would happen if we didn't start a war with Iraq.

Economists Paul Krugman, Robert Reich and Alan Greenspan are all in favor of nationalizing the major US banks (There are about 14 banks with assets of over $100 billion).  Let's do it!

Former presidential spokesperson Dana Perino kicks off the right-wing reaction to popular anger at the  millons in bonuses that AIG executives will get (Some of whom will get up to $3 million). Rush Limbaugh steps up to defend executives who want to keep making over half a million dollars a year. Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin join in.
The American public, on the other hand, agrees that government should stop the bonuses. In reaction, many of the executives are returning all or part of the bonuses. Alleged threats to safety of AIG employees not credible. FDL liveblogs AIG hearing.

Update on the Meghan McCain-Laura Ingraham feud: Ingraham defends herself, complaining that McCain is now "the darling of the left" and our "willing accomplice."

AIG to pay $450 million in bonuses to executives of a company that lost $100 billion and has recieved $173 billion to keep it afloat. President Obama notes the outrage that AIG has provoked and instructs Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner to try and block the bonuses. Problem is, if Obama doesn't like the deal, why didn't he stop it from happening?
*Sigh!* Well, it was nice to hear that Obama wouldn't copy Bush's infamous signing statements, but that's pretty much what he just did with the 2009 budget bill.

Sorry, but I really have to defend a Republican here. Meghan McCain (Daughter of the 2008 presidential candidate) is fighting with radio talker Laura Ingraham, and Ingraham is demonstrating that she doesn't have an argument with the substance of what McCain is saying as she's dragging in McCain's weight. McCain says:

“I’m a political writer on a blog, and all of a sudden I’m too fat to write?”

Natcherly, as a progressive, I'm solidly behind Ingraham and against McCain as we'd love to see the Ingrahams, Coulters and Palins remain the face of the Party. Hee, hee, hee, chuckle, snark!
Update: Yes, Fox News is absolutely correct.

Sensible energy idea "feed-in tariffs" designed to help stimulate renewable energy sources.

Republicans have no idea how to solve America's economic problems. Good quote: "Well, you have cancer, cut taxes."

Poor Glenn Beck appears to be cracking under the strain.

Actually, this Twitter-thingie is pretty cool.

An executive assassination squad - evil of course, but a diabolically clever ploy or more sloppy incompetence?

Republicans continue to offer wildly bizarre criticisms of President Obama's plans to stimulate the economy.

Good news! The Obama Administration has kicked away signing statements as a tool to dispute and/or nullify legislation! Signing statements have been around since the Founding Fathers but never, prior to the last president, did any of them flat-out contradict the legislation that it was attached to.
Update: Yes, it would be even nicer to hear how the signing statements were used.

Really. I'm glad Obama is promising all this "caution and restraint." But aren't we owed some accounting for how these have been used in the last eight years?

The NY Times tries to gin up sympathy for alleged war criminals like Alberto Gonzales and David Addington by relaying the fact that they haven't found jobs yet (The piece begins with an interesting story about John Yoo and a war crimes commission). The piece makes the very unpersuasive case that the US shouldn't prosecute lawyers who gave legal advice that justified torture. "Lock 'em up and toss away the key!" sez I.

I have mixed feelings about the Obama Administration. I love the fact that they appear to have chucked the whole neocon philosophy overboard, but still have problems with issues concerning presidential authority.

Only six months ago, the US seemed on the verge of going to war with Russia over Georgia. Thankfully, the current agenda seems to be to get along with Russia.

Rush Limbaugh is doing a marvelous job immolating himself. Why are Democrats messing things up by trying to take credit?!?!?

Jon Stewart does an abasolutely magnificent takedown of CNBC and the financial advice they give. The takeaway is: Yeah, sure, watch CNBC for entertainment, but to use them for their financial "expertise" is like using an astrologer or a pundit for political predictions. 

Good! Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) has proposed an Anthrax Commission designed to investigate the anthrax letters that were mailed to various individuals shortly after 9-11. No one really accepts the FBIs claim that the case is closed. 

Following the whole story about how Rush Limbaugh is obviously the effective head of the Republican Party is great deal of fun, but is the Obama Administration pushing the story? That strikes me as one of the nuttier conspiracy theories I've heard in a while.
If Republicans have a problem with their de facto leader, why are y'all blaming Democrats for that? Funny, but just a few years back, it was considered unpatriotic to criticize the President, now it's considered improper for the President to criticize his critics?!?!
The RNC Chairman is now engaging in what the Chinese Communists called "self-criticism" sessions.

Newsweek engages in blatant propaganda by suggesting that Republicans would not have had a problem with the stimulus bill if it weren't for Speaker Pelosi "cutting Republicans out of the discussion." Erm, Republicans had no ideas beyond tax cuts.

The new chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, promoted tax cuts and accused Democrats of seeking to spend too much with the stimulus package.

To which the President snapped:

"We can't expect relief from the tired old theories that, in eight short years, doubled the national debt, threw our economy into a tailspin, and led us into this mess in the first place,"

Oh, and Pelosi denies this.

So, is the Iraq War really on a path to being over? Hard to say, but no question the current president's a lot smarter than the last one.

Paul Krugman explains the current economic crisis. And what could ever be the reason that we don't see more economists on television?!?!?

Bwah-hah-hah!!! Silly RNC Chairman tries to diss Rush Limbaugh! RNC Chair swiftly apologizes. BTW, Limbaugh mixes up Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Audience applauds anyway.

February                         back to top

Rupert Murdoch apologizes for his newspaper, The NY Post, running a picture of a dead chimp and the cops who shot him connecting the shooting to the stimulus bill. Color of Change claims credit for Murdoch's apology, saying they collected and sent 110,000 outraged emails to the NY Post on the subject.

White House issues a blueprint for the 2010 budget (PDF). Begining to second paragraph is kewl!

The past eight years have discredited once and for all the philosophy of trickle-down economics—that tax breaks, income gains, and wealth creation among the wealthy eventually will work their way down to the middle class.

McClatchey Newspapers reviews the proposed $3.55 trillion budget ($1.75 trillion deficit). Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:  $75.5 billion for the rest of fiscal 2009 and $130 billion for fiscal 2010.

Bll O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham discuss how Bush didn't blame Clinton for 9-11. Well, 1) The Republican Noise Machine did that for him and 2) Bush was far more to blame for 9-11 than Clinton was.
Does Sarah Palin have anything to worry about as the presumptive future leader of the Republican Party? Granted, Rush Limbaugh thinks Bobby Jindal is the future leader of the party, but it doesn't look like he has much of a future doing that.

I thought Jindal came off particularly bad. His delivery was flat and his jokes and anecdotes were awkward, his grin childish. He seemed more like a high school student giving a valedictory speech than a potential future leader of the party.

And that's from a right-wing blogger! Jindal tells an interesting story about Hurricane Katrina, but it doesn't seem as if he's making the point he thinks he's making. All he's saying is that when the government is in the hands of Republicans, it doesn't work well (and BTW, he's lying). His story says nothing about government when it's in the hands of people who actually care about citizens. And wow!!! Jindal survived Hurricane Katrina and opposes spending 0.00018 of the AR&R Act on preventing volcanoes from destroying communities!?!?!?! (Jindal objects to spending $140 million our of $787 billion to monitor volcanoes)
Update: Paul Krugman explains his "Beavis & Butthead" comment concerning Jindal's speech.

Looks like President Obama's attempt to be bipartisan was a success. The public feels that Democrats sincerely tried to be cooperative and that Republicans reciprocate. The message for the Rs now? "Get out of the way, we got work to do!

22 Republican lawmakers voted against the AR&R Act, but had no trouble claiming credit for the spending it would bring to their districts anyway.

Yeah, a financial trader exclaimed to an all-white, all-male room full of people who make six-figure incomes "This is America!" Ri-i-i-ight!
Hmm, is the White House trying to make this guy a symbol of the Republican opposition?
Update: Remember that big, populist revolt that the trader started off? Nah, neither does anybody else.  Turns out only 35% of the public agrees with him and only 23% strongly agree with him. 64% are in favor of precisely the plan that the trader opposes.  Comparatively, 44% believe in a sudden creation of the Earth about 10,000 years ago.

Democracy, working exactly the way it's supposed to work. Never mind David Broder's fantasies of bipartisanship, the American people prefer Democrats, period!

NY Post publishes a profoundly racist cartoon. Liberals may have made fun of Bush as the Smirking Chimp, but they never showed him/a chimp dead and bleeding on the sidewalk.

New ombudsman for the WaPo takes over, just as George Will commits a really, really big, messy case of  lying about global warming and getting called out by his own source on it. 

Back during the 1980 campaign, Ronald Reagan got lots of political mileage out of the sloganeering description "Waste, fraud and abuse," making it appear that our government had a single line item "WFA" that could be easily eliminated. Well, investigators have concluded that Iraqi reconstruction accounts for at least $125 billion worth of "WFA." As Digby points out:

The people who are now keening over "reckless spending" are the same ones who blindly sent pallet-loads of shrink wrapped hundred dollar bills to a war zone and didn't bother to keep any records.

Tell me again, who ever convinced us that Republicans knew their stuff on economic matters?
Torture-apologist John Yoo appears to be getting nervous about his future legal status as investigations seem to be pending.

Republicans and their traditional media enablers appear to believe they made an awesome case against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The reality? Erm, not so much.

Absolutely amazing that people seem to think that John "Grumpy McSame" McCain has anything of use or of interest to say about pretty much anything.

Bush makes it to the 36th best President, coming in as 41st best, for international relations and 40th best for economic management. Public persuasion was #36, but crisis management made it all the way to #25. And gee, wow, amazingly enough, the fundraising environment for his planned presidential library is poor [/snark]! 

Piece on James Gilligan, an IVAW member who took part in the fracas outside the 3rd Presidential Debate at Hofstra University.

Good! Looks like President Obama is seeking a "go slow" approach to the Missile Defense issue.
Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said:

...our message is being well-received in Moscow and the Russian government.

Once again, the Inky runs a letter that's blissfully ignorant as to how an economic stimulus process would work. What's probably the worst part of the past several weeks of dicsussing the stimulus bill is the complete lack of media attention given to any economists! Still:

President Obama is getting a stimulus bill that's more or less what he wanted, right when he wanted it.

Senator Gregg decides he can't play on Obama's team after all. Oh well. No biggie.
The real question of course, is how is his offic related to Jack Abramoff and was he afraid of that being discovered?

Bill O'Reilly mocks Helen Thomas, someone who is FAR superior to him in just about every possible way.
Update: O'Reilly refuses to apologize for boorish insult.

Good news! Hilda Solis was one of the extremely few serious progressives nominated by President Obama. She's now been approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Her nomination now goes to the floor for a vote.

Amazingly bad material from Jonah Goldberg. This is his biggest and best proof that the media is hopelessly smitten with Obama:

...the first/best example was a guy nobody considers to be an objective reporter. And Goldberg quoted the non-reporter (Matthews) making comments to a comedian while appearing on a late-night talk show. [emphasis in original]

The planned "Surge" for Afghanistan is starting to look very complicated. President Obama is

...concerned by a lack of strategy at his first meeting with Gates and the US joint chiefs of staff ... He asked: “What’s the endgame?” and did not receive a convincing answer. '

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) wants states to cut their budgets because they're "bloated" (During an economic catastrophe like we have at the present, one wants governments to be spending up a storm) but denies that cutting state budgets means that teachers would get fired?!?!? In what universe does this guy understand economics?
Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Republican Senators and Representatives playing tag team with misinformation.

Analysis of election in Iraq. And no, Iran was not the loser.

Question: Why does any money go into military public affairs?

$547 million goes into public affairs, which reaches American audiences. And about $489 million more goes into what is known as psychological operations, which targets foreign audiences. [emphasis added]

I thought that line item was illegal. Further commentary.

Appears that the CIA nominee has just promised "no rollback" of Bush Administration illegality. It is not, however, legal to excuse torturers on the basis of "they didn't know."

Conservative commentary on stimulus. Comedy gold!

President Obama very thankfully laid down the law on wildly overcompensated executives. Some amusing reactions:

“That is pretty draconian — $500,000 is not a lot of money, particularly if there is no bonus.”

“Companies that need the most talented people to fix their problems won’t be able to pay them.”

What universe do these guys live in?!?!?! If those are their best arguments, let's have that law put in place yesterday!!!

Cheney appears and offers completely useless and unneccesary advice (Like who didn't expect terrorists to strike within Obama's first few months?) and lets slip an interesting statement:

“The combination of the financial crisis that started last year..."

Really? Last year you say, eh? And was it just like 9-11 and Katrina, where y'all just stood around, watching the crisis develop without doing anything?!?!?

The new Attorney General, Eric Holder, finaly makes it into office. His reception at the Justice Department was a very enthusiasic one!

Unfortunately, Democrats are doing an extremely poor job of explaining the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The traditional media is certainly doing its part to muddy the waters and confuse people. Hopefully, President Obama's interviews today will clear up some of the mess. 

Tom Daschle didn't make it. Nothing to weep over. He wasn't quite a lobbyist, he carefully skirted the relevant laws, but he had a huge conflict of interest.

Digby explains her name for the Washington DC press corps "The Village." Well worth reading for a look at the utterly bankrupt idea that the US can usefully use any sort of proxy for morality.

For reasons that have never been clear, Glenn Beck had a show at CNN (He's now in more compatible company at Fox News) and, to nobody's surprise, his replacement at CNN is getting better ratings than he ever did.

Neocon Fouad Ajami has some awfully peculiar ideas about how democracies get formed and maintained. Most strangely, he seems to think that great powers run around te globe, creating democracies. Out of the sheer goodness of their hearts, I suppose.

January                         back to top

Excellent! President Obama plans to reintroduce the family-planning measures that were dropped from the stimulus bill in order to get Republican support (Not a single Republican voted for it).

Back when President Bush was the target for the thrown shoes of an enraged Iraqi reporter, Bush's people claimed that the incident would quickly be forgotten. Nope!

President Obama conducts first interview with al Arabiya and discusses Israel-Palestine and Iran.

President negotiates stimulus bill with Republican Party, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) dared to criticize Rush Limbaugh and promptly apologized the next day (Showing everybody just who the real power in the party is), All of the Republicans (Just as in 1993 with Bill Clinton's first economic bill) rejected Obama's economic stimulus bill.

Thank heavens! Star Wars/Missile Defense/etc., is to be scaled back. Russia is pleased.
*Sigh!* With all of the marvelous things the President is doing, why's he gotta do this stuff too?!?! Bomb's away in Pakistan, 17 persons dead, Pakistan's government not pleased.
Update: Summary of Obama's first 100 hours in office.

Back in September 2008, it became obvious even to the conservative media critic Howard Kurtz that the charge that presidential candidate Barack Obama had called VP candidate Sarah Palin a "pig" was so completely ridiculous that he asked: "Why, exactly, did the mainstream media go hog-wild over a manufactured story that was pushed by the right?"
So it's pretty pathetic to hear about the latest book put out by Bernard Goldberg, entitled: A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media. Sorry, but there was simply never any such thing. The traditional media was extremely critical of the Obama-Biden team and remains so to this day.

Terrorists "returning to the fight?" Not so much, actually.
There's not much to indicate that the people were "bad guys" to begin with and even less to indicate that they are engaged in combat with Americans. Naturally, the traditional media is playing dumb and uncritically passing on propaganda.

Former terrorist associated with al Qaeda says to give Obama Administration a chance. Calls for cease-fire. Can it be a truly significant event? Time will tell.

In our department of completely unsurprising news, yes, the warrantless -wiretapping program was a data-mining operation; no, the Israeli war on Gaza was not successful; yes, Rush Limbaugh hates his fellow citizens; not entirely "Duh, obvious" was that our new President is clearly a Democrat a pretty smart fellow to boot.

If we compare the per-person costs of the 2005 and 2009 inaugurals, Bush's inauguration drew 400,000 persons, Obama's drew 1.8 million. As the two sets of costs were comparable: $157 million to roughly $160 million, that means it cost Bush $392 per person and Obama $88.

Very interesting to see rightwingers being so truthful about their priorities. The Attorney General nomination is being held up because

To hear Republicans tell it, they want to block Holder from serving as the nation's chief law-enforcement officer because he hasn't ruled out prosecuting those who broke the law.

Also, Rush Limbaugh is afraid that the Obama Administration's changes to the Freedom of Information Act will

make it easier for the media to go get Bush documents

I sincerely hope that both fears prove to be well-founded. 
President negotiates stimulus bill with Republican Party, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) dared to criticize Rush Limbaugh and promptly apologized the next day (Showing everybody just who the real power in the party is), All of the Republicans (Just as in 1993 with Bill Clinton's first economic bill) rejected Obama's economic stimulus bill.

Thank heavens! Star Wars/Missile Defense/etc., is to be scaled back. Russia is pleased.
*Sigh!* With all of the marvelous things the President is doing, why's he gotta do this stuff too?!?! Bomb's away in Pakistan, 17 persons dead, Pakistan's government not pleased.
Update: Summary of Obama's first 100 hours in office.

Back in September 2008, it became obvious even to the conservative media critic Howard Kurtz that the charge that presidential candidate Barack Obama had called VP candidate Sarah Palin a "pig" was so completely ridiculous that he asked: "Why, exactly, did the mainstream media go hog-wild over a manufactured story that was pushed by the right?"
So it's pretty pathetic to hear about the latest book put out by Bernard Goldberg, entitled: A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media. Sorry, but there was simply never any such thing. The traditional media was extremely critical of the Obama-Biden team and remains so to this day.

Terrorists "returning to the fight?" Not so much, actually.
There's not much to indicate that the people were "bad guys" to begin with and even less to indicate that they are engaged in combat with Americans. Naturally, the traditional media is playing dumb and uncritically passing on propaganda.

Former terrorist associated with al Qaeda says to give Obama Administration a chance. Calls for cease-fire. Can it be a truly significant event? Time will tell.

In our department of completely unsurprising news, yes, the warrantless -wiretapping program was a data-mining operation; no, the Israeli war on Gaza was not successful; yes, Rush Limbaugh hates his fellow citizens; not entirely "Duh, obvious" was that our new President is clearly a Democrat a pretty smart fellow to boot.

If we compare the per-person costs of the 2005 and 2009 inaugurals, Bush's inauguration drew 400,000 persons, Obama's drew 1.8 million. As the two sets of costs were comparable: $157 million to roughly $160 million, that means it cost Bush $392 per person and Obama $88.

Very interesting to see rightwingers being so truthful about their priorities. The Attorney General nomination is being held up because

To hear Republicans tell it, they want to block Holder from serving as the nation's chief law-enforcement officer because he hasn't ruled out prosecuting those who broke the law.

Also, Rush Limbaugh is afraid that the Obama Administration's changes to the Freedom of Information Act will

make it easier for the media to go get Bush documents

I sincerely hope that both fears prove to be well-founded.
Ahhhh! Sweetness, happiness, joy & light! Nah, just because Barack Obama is now our President doesn't mean all our problems are solved, but Obama's inaugural address was very definitely a Democratic address. It was not the speech of a centrist or a non-partisan and most definitely not that of a Republican.

Ah, the memories! 399-item list (About 1.2 megabytes) of Bush scandals. Explanatory article. Amazing how many scandals this administration produced! Keep link for reference.

Israel withdraws from Gaza after declaring a unilateral cease-fire, Hamas responded by declaring a one-week truce. Left behind are mountains of rubble and much blood. It's far from clear that Israel has won any sort of victory.

Is the Obama inauguration projected to cost significantly more than Bush's 2005 inauguration (Which was criticized because it occured at a time when Americans were fighting and dying in Iraq in significant numbers)? Nonsense. Bush's inauguration cost $40 million, minus security costs. Obama's inauguration will, minus security costs, cost about $40 million. Where is the $160 million figure coming from? Because newsreaders are mindlessly and uncritically adding security costs to Obama's event while leaving them out for Bush's event.

RNC Chairman candidate and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell slips up and reveals the real reason that Republicans oppose the economic stimulus program - it might work!!!! 
Presidential spokesperson Dana Perino has a real dilemna.

Okay, America has not undergone any follow-up to 11 Sept. Why? There's simply no evidence that the lack of a follow-up had anything whatsoever to do with any of Bush's or Cheney's policies. Major problem with the idea of follow-ups is that it was clear to me and millions of others on 12 Sept that 9-11 was a one-shot deal. Hijacking planes immediately became impossible as passengers realized that a hijacking was literally a matter of life or death. Unlike Japan in 1941, al Qaeda had no army or navy. Al Qaeda had very clearly shot its' one bolt and had nothing to follow it up with.
A look at Bush Administration people "burrowing" into the next administration by getting themselves transferred from appointee jobs into career jobs, where they're harder to dismiss.

Very important questions raised by Mohammed al-Qahtani case.

Mistakes vs disappointments - Bush's rhetoric during his final press conference.

We can learn from mistakes. A feeling of disappointment teaches only that the world has once again thwarted our success.

President-elect Obama's apparent reversal on stopping his administration from torture should be read as an object lesson on how valuable it is for citizens to speak up and make their voices heard. Granted, this president is much better than the last one for actually listening, but it's still a good lesson.

Did outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert call Bush and force him to reverse the UN resolution that Condoleezza Rice was getting approved? Sure looks like it. Especially the part about Bush being essentially clueless about what his own Secretary of State was up to.

Bush defends Federal Government response to Hurricane Katrina of 29 Aug 2005. It's very difficult to say where he got the idea that the government responded in this manner:

"30,000 people were pulled off roofs right after the storm moved through."

No rescue personnel arrived for TWO FULL DAYS "after the storm moved through"! FEMA took a full three days after Katrina made landfall to even begin setting up a command and control center. As they received plenty of advance warning, it should have been in place even before Katrina made landfall.
Update: News sources agree that 30,000 people were pulled off of rooftops, but also agree that it took an unconscionably long time to get rescue personnel moving. A comparison made between Bush's last news conference and how news was handled in the later days of the late Soviet Union and shortly afterwards. Fortunately, tossing unpleasant news down the memory hole isn't quite as easy as it was just a few short years ago. Let's hope it gets harder still.

With a bunch of widely-ignored demonstrations taking place ovr Israel's attack on Gaza, it's time to ask if street protests are really worth it. Web 2.0 lobbying seems to be pretty effective, though.

Yeah, 2005 was definitely the year that it all went sour for Bush and the Republican Party, but the Terri Schiavo incident was probably the event that really had the biggest impact.
I can understand why Presidential spokesperson Dana Perino feels obliged to defend her bosses' performance in office, but I agree with Jon Stewart, I don't think Bush has improved the world in any serious way since coming into office. I don't believe there's any area of the world that Bush had an effect on that's better off than it was on 19 Jan 2001.
And I'm sorry, but this is a truly stupid statement:

"In an ironic twist, the partisan vitriol [Bush] endeavored to end finally shows signs of abating -- under the leadership of a successor who ran as an antidote to the Bush years."

Nothing ironic about it. Bush never, at any time during his Presidency, attempted to end or even to tone down his administration's "partisan vitriol." He and the Republican Party contributed the lion's share of the country's "partisan vitriol." 
Oh good grief! We can thank our lucky stars that Max Boot of the neocons doesn't have any serious influence in Obama's White House! This is a guy who wants to start up wars with both Iran and Pakistan! "Claiming that diplomacy is failing in Iran..." Uh, ya know why diplomacy is failing in Iran?!?!? Maybe that's because it hasn't been tried!!!!1!!

CBS's Harry Smith can't seem to understand why Ann Coulter doesn't clean up her act.

Smith: "... if she was more serious, she would be taken more seriously."

What Ann Coulter understands and Harry Smith does not is that Coulter is taken seriously.  She is taken seriously by Harry Smith and CBS, who provide her a national television platform... [emphasis in original]

Ooh! Could it be? Can it be? Is there a chance the FISA revision could be overturned? Will we see Bush go to jail after all? Let's hope so!!!

A tad delusional are we? The Weekly Standard reports:

[Bush] appears comfortable with what he expects his legacy will be, including a battle against Islamist terrorists
He's proud of what he achieved. And proud he should be.

Erm, ri-i-i-ght! And the view from the reality-based community is:

The [White House highlights booklet] is the literary correlative to 'Mission Accomplished.' Bush kept America safe (provided his presidency began Sept. 12, 2001). He gave America record economic growth (provided his presidency ended December 2007). He vanquished all the leading Qaeda terrorists (if you don't count the leaders bin Laden and al-Zawahri). He gave Afghanistan a thriving 'market economy' (if you count its skyrocketing opium trade)...

Ann Coulter's projected warm, fuzzy, heroine-worshipping interview with NBC rescheduled. Probably due to complaints from left-wing websites (Though of course NBC will never admit that).

Not many publishers are interested in the memoirs of either of the Bushes. George was told to wait awhile to publish his “Certainly the longer he waits, the better.”, Laura was offered a sum much less than what Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan got.

Sderot is an Israeli town right on the border with Gaza. They have been the target of many "Qassams" (missiles), so one would think that they'd welcome the invasion of Gaza. One would think that, but the residents of Sderot don't agree. IDF commander I met told me, off the record, "The Qassams [missiles] are like stones, there is no way to stop them. The only way is negotiation."

Visuals: The missiles in question. 

Good analysis of Iyad Allawi's evaluation of Bush's accomplishments ("Total failure") of different kinds of power and which kinds tend to last.

Does an Obama outreach to Republicans have any chance of ever succeeding? Take a look at their criteria for what he needs to do to get their acceptance:

As long as Obama is appearing not to be catering to the Left base of the Democratic Party, and is making at least [an effort] to involve Republicans and not alienate them, I believe he will be able to claim that he is taking a post-partisan approach.

I say fuggagedaboud it.

Republicans support bombing and killing in Gaza, Democrats are opposed by a 24-point margin (31-55%), but leaders of both parties are voting in lockstep unison.

Bush aides try and fail to convince the American people that their boss was really a engaged and active and aware President.

According to the Israeli paper Ha'aretz, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made a short visit to Paris on Thursday, after French president Sarkozy proposed a humanitarian cease-fire:

Reiterating Israel's rejection of the 48-hour humanitarian cease-fire proposal, Livni said "there is no humanitarian crisis in the Strip, and therefore there is no need for a humanitarian truce."

Oh. Well, I guess we can all just pack up and go home then. But it's curious to see that Amnesty International appears to disagree and that foreign nationals have been permitted to leave Gaza, which suggests an imminent ground invasion.

I'm currently watching the Ben Stein anti-evolution film "Expelled" (I was told by an earnest pro-science employee of Blockbuster Video that it was garbage and not to bother, but I thought it best to see it for myself and draw my own conclusions). The main argument made so far (About 45 minutes into the film) is that of "irreducible complexity," the notion that a cell requires so many different "moving parts" or proteins, that it could not possibly have ever arisen from a simpler form. Action Bio-Science's answer to that is that yes, a cell, or in the example given, a mousetrap, may indeed be irreducibly complex, but a tie clip uses some of the elements of a mousetrap, which can then be adapted for use in the more complex machine. A cell, like a mousetrap, has many components that can operate independently. Evolution puts many components together and adapts others to accomplish different purposes.
Update: Posted a more comprehensive examination.