Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cesar Mercado Update

A law enforcement official says a Nicaraguan diplomat found dead in his New York City apartment last week had also ingested drain cleaner.


The official says the fact that Mercado ingested drain cleaner could be another indication the 34-year-old killed himself.


He wasn’t sure just how to kill himself, I guess. Stabbed, throat slashed, drain cleaner ingestion…just try them all, I guess.

Police investigating the bloody death of Nicaraguan diplomat Cesar Mercado have determined that bloody fingerprints found in his apartment all belong to him.

Daily News

I’m still waiting to see whose hair was in his hands. If they’re his, I’ll eat the crow.

Previous posts: 1 2

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Meanwhile, Heading Toward Armageddon

Pakistan blocked a vital supply route for U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan on Thursday in apparent retaliation for an alleged cross-border helicopter strike by the coalition that killed three Pakistani frontier troops.

The blockade appeared to be a major escalation in tensions between Pakistan and the United States.

  Raw Story

Funny Obama doesn't mention Pakistan when he talks about his two wars.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Just Where Is That 'Enthusiasm Gap'?

Senate Democratic leadership quietly agreed Wednesday evening to block President Barack Obama from making recess appointments while senators return home to campaign for midterm elections, according to a Congressional newspaper.


Obama has more than 100 executive and judicial nominees pending for Senate confirmation. Scores of other positions also remain vacant.

  Raw Story

And he’s blaming the voters for holding him back.

According to [reporter Alexander Bolton], citing a top GOP aide, Republican leadership forced the Democrats' hands by threatening "to send Obama’s most controversial nominees back to the president if Democrats did not agree to schedule pro-forma sessions [which effectively prevent recess appointments]."


....but hey, do what you will anyway.

In Other Bad News...

[O]ne in every 28 children in the US has a parent behind bars.

  Raw Story

Correlatively, 10% of Americans are in jail.

"Tea and Crackers"

Early in his campaign [for the Senate, Dr. Rand] Paul, the son of the uncompromising libertarian hero Ron Paul, denounced Medicare as "socialized medicine." But this spring, when confronted with the idea of reducing Medicare payments to doctors like himself — half of his patients are on Medicare — he balked. This candidate, a man ostensibly so against government power in all its forms that he wants to gut the Americans With Disabilities Act and abolish the departments of Education and Energy, was unwilling to reduce his own government compensation, for a very logical reason. "Physicians," he said, "should be allowed to make a comfortable living."


[At a Tea Party rally in Kentucky] I come upon an elderly couple, Janice and David Wheelock, who are fairly itching to share their views.

"I'm anti-spending and anti-government," crows David, as scooter-bound Janice looks on. "The welfare state is out of control."

"OK," I say. "And what do you do for a living?"

"Me?" he says proudly. "Oh, I'm a property appraiser. Have been my whole life."

I frown. "Are either of you on Medicare?"

Silence: Then Janice, a nice enough woman, it seems, slowly raises her hand, offering a faint smile, as if to say, You got me!

"Let me get this straight," I say to David. "You've been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor, and your wife is on Medicare. How can you complain about the welfare state?"

"Well," he says, "there's a lot of people on welfare who don't deserve it. Too many people are living off the government."

"But," I protest, "you live off the government. And have been your whole life!"

"Yeah," he says, "but I don't make very much."


Scanning the thousands of hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn't a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters. [...] [The] person sitting next to me leans over and explains.

"The scooters are because of Medicare," he whispers helpfully. "They have these commercials down here: 'You won't even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!' Practically everyone in Kentucky has one."

A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can't imagine it.


It's not like the Tea Partiers hate black people. It's just that they're shockingly willing to believe the appalling horseshit fantasy about how white people in the age of Obama are some kind of oppressed minority. That may not be racism, but it is incredibly, earth-shatteringly stupid.


It would be inaccurate to say the Tea Partiers are racists. What they are, in truth, are narcissists.


And those people really don't pay attention to specifics too much. Like dogs, they listen to tone of voice and emotional attitude.


The bad news is that the Tea Party's political outrage is being appropriated, with thanks, by the Goldmans and the BPs of the world. The good news, if you want to look at it that way, is that those interests mostly have us by the balls anyway, no matter who wins on Election Day. That's the reality; the rest of this is just noise. It's just that it's a lot of noise, and there's no telling when it's ever going to end.

  Matt Taibi, Rolling Stone

It’s a long article, but it contains many interesting points and some information about the unfolding of the Tea Party from essentially sane but frustrated people to ignorant tools of the GOP. Worth your read.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Dealing with AIG

AIG, which became a lightning rod for criticism over government bailouts, said it reached a deal to repay billions of dollars it received during the credit crisis.


[T]he U.S. Treasury Department will swap preferred shares it currently holds in AIG for common stock and then sell those shares over time.


The new shares will give the Treasury a 92.1 percent stake in AIG before it begins selling shares.


Somebody help me here. We covered their asses when they nearly destroyed their own company and hundreds of others along with it, by buying preferred shares to the tune of a couple billion dollars. Now we’re going to swap those preferred shares for common stock, so that we’re holding paper that's even more worthless if the greedy bastards decide to pull another stunt like last time. Am I right? If so, I vote to sell the preferred shares now and be done with them. Are there any suckers buyers out there?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Presidentin' Is Hard Work

When I talk to Democrats around the country, I tell them, "Guys, wake up here. We have accomplished an incredible amount in the most adverse circumstances imaginable." I came in and had to prevent a Great Depression, restore the financial system so that it functions, and manage two wars.


I keep in my pocket a checklist of the promises I made during the campaign, and here I am, halfway through my first term, and we've probably accomplished 70 percent of the things that we said we were going to do — and by the way, I've got two years left to finish the rest of the list, at minimum.

  Rolling Stone

He had to prevent the depression and restore the financial system and manage two wars.

When you look at what we've been able to do internationally — resetting our relations with Russia and potentially having a new START treaty by the end of the year, reinvigorating the Middle East peace talks, ending the combat mission in Iraq, promoting a G-20 structure that has drained away a lot of the sense of north versus south, east versus west, so that now the whole world looks to America for leadership, and changing world opinion in terms of how we operate on issues like human rights and torture around the world — all those things have had an impact as well.

Indeed. It’s no lie that we changed world opinion in terms of how we operate, especially on human rights and torture.

I just made the announcement about Elizabeth Warren setting up our Consumer Finance Protection Bureau out in the Rose Garden, right before you came in. Here's an agency that has the potential to save consumers billions of dollars over the next 20 to 30 years — simple stuff like making sure that folks don't jack up your credit cards without you knowing about it, making sure that mortgage companies don't steer you to higher-rate mortgages because they're getting a kickback, making sure that payday loans aren't preying on poor people in ways that these folks don't understand. [...]If we can't take pleasure and satisfaction in concretely helping middle-class families and working-class families save money, get a college education, get health care — if that's not what we're about, then we shouldn't be in the business of politics.

And if we can’t take the tax dollars of these poor people who don’t understand and bail out the companies that already did all that to them, why then, we wouldn’t be in the business of politics.

One of the things that you realize when you're in my seat is that, typically, the issues that come to my desk — there are no simple answers to them. Usually what I'm doing is operating on the basis of a bunch of probabilities: I'm looking at the best options available based on the fact that there are no easy choices. If there were easy choices, somebody else would have solved it, and it wouldn't have come to my desk.

The average American out there [...] is my primary concern and is making 60 grand a year and paying taxes on all that income and trying to send their kids through school, and partly as a consequence of bad decisions on Wall Street, feels that their job is insecure and has seen their 401(k) decline by 30 percent, and has seen the value of their home decline.

The average American is not making “60 grand a year,” (and even if he were, that’s not a lot of money these days – especially for anyone with a family). Sixty grand is the average income. That's farily meaningless. The median household income is closer to $45,000, which means that half of the households in America are surviving on less than that. And that includes households with two people working!

When I was campaigning, I was very specific. I said, "We are going to end the war in Iraq, that was a mistake," and I have done that.

Really?? Tell that to the tens of thousands of soldiers still over there and still getting shot at.

I also said [...]that we need to plus up what we're doing in Afghanistan, because that was where the original terrorist threat emanated, and we need to finish the job. That's what we're doing.


Now, I think that a lot of progressive supporters thought that maybe it would be easier than it has proven to be to try to bring Afghanistan to a place where we can see an end in sight.

I don’t know about you other progressives, but I never thought it would be easier than it actually is being to do anything in Afghanistan. But, the end is always in sight if you're not looking in the wrong direction. The end is however long it takes to pull out all our troops. And if we’re talking about the original threat that led to the attack on 9/11, we probably ought to “plus up” in Saudi Arabia.

Nobody wants more than me to be able to bring that war to a close in a way that makes sure that region is not used as a base for terrorist attacks against the United States.

To make sure of that, you’d have to blast it off the face of the earth. Leaving it in rubble still gives them land to use. It’s ridiculous. It’s impossible.

On social issues, something like "don't ask, don't tell." Here, I've got the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff both committed to changing the policy. That's a big deal.

Over the past two years, what I probably anticipated but you don't fully appreciate until you're in the job, is something I said earlier, which is if a problem is easy, it doesn't hit my desk. If there's an obvious solution, it never arrives here — somebody else has solved it a long time ago. The issues that cross my desk are hard and complicated.


Bringing about change is hard.

Presidentin’ is hard. George should have told him that. Oh, wait. He did.

Let Them Eat Cake

Income inequality — the difference between what the rich earn and what the middle-class and poor do — is higher in the United States than in other developed countries. It has widened over the past 30 years, unlike in most other developed countries. And, worryingly, it has grown wider during the recession, contrary to most economists’ predictions.

  Washington Independent

If they had a nose to the wind, they’d have known better.

Since the 1990s, the richest of the rich have pulled away from the merely wealthy, while the recession has made more and more Americans poor.


The poor and the middle class seem to have something in common in the last decade: Neither experienced any income growth, despite the expanding economy.


The hallmark of the last three downturns has been very anemic job growth after the recession ends, leading to high long-term unemployment and putting very little pressure on employers to raise wages for workers. It’s reasonable to expect middle-class income will be stagnant at best. Meanwhile, there’s no reason right now to expect the runaway gains are going to end for the rich.

They seem to be driven by the financial market and by the very good results we’re seeing in corporate profits. It could continue to be that companies won’t be hiring, even though they will pay their chief executives a lot and their stocks will boom. That means stagnation for the middle class, and income for the rich.

So, inequality is continuing to widen.


One thing that is often missed is that it isn’t just tax rates. It is how well financial regulation works, how well we regulate CEO pay, how well we regulate corporate governance.


It’s obvious that the extension of all the Bush tax cuts, including those for the very richest, will exacerbate this imbalance. But, we have seen that that issue is not going to be front and center in the midterms. You would think that Democrats would gain political ground by emphasizing the rising inequality, still rising. But democrats aren’t wiling to support tax increases at all.

Of course not. They’re not in the middle or poor class. And they’re obviously not very bright.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


“Never mind the 'RepubliKlans' - the Democrats today are a bunch of cowards, chickenshit.” -- Ry Cooder

  Guardian - UK

And so the Congress is going to break before a vote on the Bush Tax cuts. You talk about pussy’s. Harry Reid in particular is panty waste. [sic] Yes I know he’s the leader in the Senate and his seat is important. This guy is having a hard time against Sharon Angle.

Mickey Mouse could beat Angle yet Reid is struggling. Ask yourself why, He sucks that’s why. I have never seen a more spineless group of Democrats.

  Scared Stiff

”Panty waste.” Maybe he meant that; it certainly makes the phrase take on a new picture, doesn’t it?

A neutered cat has more balls than the current crop of Dems in the Senate. VOTE FOR US BECAUSE WE SUCK LESS is not gonna cut it anymore.

I didn't vote for "suck less." I voted for "Change." And can't even get spare change.

  Undeniable Liberal at WTF

I’ve never seen a politician run an election with the message “Don’t be stupid, quit your bitching and vote for me.”[...] There’s a reason that strategy has never been employed: because it’s so insane to think that open berating would inspire a voter to action.


Here’s President Obama talking to Rolling Stone. Let me set the scene here: the President just completed a long interview with Jann Wenner. He left the room. Then a minute later, concerned that the hippie may be left standing, he comes back in the room to deliver the knockout punch.

”One closing remark that I want to make: It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election. There may be complaints about us not having gotten certain things done, not fast enough, making certain legislative compromises. But right now, we’ve got a choice between a Republican Party that has moved to the right of George Bush and is looking to lock in the same policies that got us into these disasters in the first place, versus an administration that, with some admitted warts, has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.


If we want the kind of country that respects civil rights and civil liberties, we’d better fight in this election. “

[C]ivil liberties? You want to go there? Seriously?


I just continue to marvel at the chutzpah of someone saying that inappropriate fealty to him equals something inexcusable or irresponsible. Really, dude? That’s your strategy? There are ways to lay out the stakes of an election in very stark terms – part of which Obama does here – without this tone of “I can’t stand you, now go vote for me.”

  David Dayen - FireDogLake

The president told Democrats that making change happen is hard and “if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.”
Just for the record, and Rahm I know you’re reading this so please tell your soon-to-be-former boss, I don’t want to take my ball and go home, I want to hand it to someone willing to run through a blitzing defense, find a gap, and score a touchdown.

I’m sick to death of the preening prima donna who doesn’t want to break into a sweat and ruin his close-up. He can’t catch, he can’t pass, and it’s looking like he’s toast if he tries to run.

I’d trade him, but I doubt I can find a team desperate enough to take him. So I’ll cut him asap and find a more talented replacement.


If only.

Monday, September 27, 2010

We Just As Well Make the Best of It

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pot, Meet Kettle

President Barack Obama condemned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at the United Nations Thursday, in which Ahmadinejad blamed the United States for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, calling it “offensive” and “hateful.”


I wonder what the North Korean and Congolese representatives thought about Obama’s speech.

“Human rights have never gone unchallenged - not in any of our nations and not in our world,” Obama said. “Tyranny is still with us - whether it manifests itself in the Taliban killing girls who try to go to school, a North Korean regime that enslaves its own people or an armed group in Congo-Kinshasa that use rape as a weapon of war.”


Do you suppose they might have been offended?

Alien Ambassador

THE United Nations was set today to appoint an obscure Malaysian astrophysicist to act as Earth’s first contact for any aliens that may come visiting.

Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN's little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), is to describe her potential new role next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society’s Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire.

Say goodbye to the UN.

I wonder, if aliens come to call, are they going to ask to have an audience with Earth's ambassador when they land?

And I hate to break the news to her, but there are a lot of people who might claim that she will NOT be the first contact.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

John Kerry Joins the Voter Dissing

“We have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what’s happening,” Kerry told reporters.

“I think a lot of the anger today - while it’s appropriate because Washington is broken - is not directed at the right people,” Kerry added. “[Rep.] Barney [Frank (D-MA)] is prepared, as others are, to explain what we’re doing. I think when people hear the facts and they see what we’re doing, it frankly makes sense.”

  Raw Story

Is there any Democrat in Washington who thinks the party’s unpopularity might have something to do with them?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Because You Need This Now

Saturday, September 25, 2010

New/Old Christine

I think Christine O'Donnell's motor-mouth condition could be what gets her in trouble. But it will be fun for us.

On the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University, O'Donnell — then an openly promiscuous partier with theater aspirations — rediscovered her faith and chose to live a life of chastity. O'Donnell was drinking too much and having sex with guys with whom there wasn't a strong emotional connection when she had an epiphany and chose to live a life of chastity, she said in a 2004 interview.

  Daily Record

[2003 Scarborough Country] At one point, an exasperated Nies asked: "You're going to stop the whole country from having sex?"

"Yeah. Yeah," O'Donnnell said strongly, apparently attempting to continue her point particularly pertaining to teenagers, amidst a whole lot of crosstalk.


Nies shot back: "You're living on a prayer if you think that's going to happen."

"That's not true," O'Donnell responded. "I'm a young woman in my thirties and I remain chaste.”


Born again virgin?

Greenwald on the Awlaki Case

Glenn Greenwald, Constitutional Lawyer

I didn't believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record.


[One] of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is "state secrets": in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are "state secrets," and thus no court may adjudicate its legality.


One other thing, as always: vote Democrat, because the Republicans are scary!

  Glenn Greenwald

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Kill, Kill, Kill

The Obama administration on Saturday invoked the state secrets privilege which would kill a lawsuit on behalf of U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an alleged terrorist said to be targeted for death or capture under a U.S. government program.


Alleged, but targeted for assassination, nonetheless. They can kill the lawsuit; they want to kill the man.

"The idea that courts should have no role whatsoever in determining the criteria by which the executive branch can kill its own citizens is unacceptable in a democracy," the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement.

True. But what we have here is not exactly a democracy any more.

UPDATE: It's interesting, and transparent, that reports refer to al-Awlaki as "US-born" rather than as "US citizen."

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Update on Mercado Murder Possible Suicide

A Nicaraguan diplomat found dead in his blood-spattered Bronx apartment may have killed himself after learning he was HIV positive, police sources told the Daily News.


There was no evidence of robbery or forced entry. The door was closed but unlocked.

  NY Daily News

Jesus, could they come up with anything more ridiculous? He killed himself because of a finding that he had AIDS. Okay, fine. He took off his shoes, went to the front door, started tearing at his air, stabbing himself, and then cut his own throat. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

How about this? He was at home with his shoes off when somebody came to the door. Not suspecting the person was someone who also just found out that he had AIDS and was enraged – perhaps a gay-hater – he opened the door. (Please see the latest news coming out of Saxby Chambliss’ [R-Ga] office: "All faggots must die.") Could that possibly happen?

What about this? He knew his attacker and let him/her in, and when surprised by the attack tried to get out of the apartment, but only made it to the door?

Could successful deflection of stabs during a struggle possibly produce wounds that look like “hesitation wounds?” Could someone taunting a person with a knife make what looks like hesitation wounds?

I can’t believe all this insistence that he may have killed himself. Whatever happened to testing the hairs found in his hands to see if they were his or someone else’s? How hard could that be? How long could that take?

Jesus H. Christ. What? Is the NY Daily News a Murdoch paper?

Complicating the investigation were human hairs found in Mercado's hands.


The knife wounds to the neck and stomach of Consul Cesar Mercado included a number of pinprick-size punctures. One investigator described them as "hesitation wounds - where you're trying to see how painful it is."

Which would no doubt explain the complicating hair in his hands, too…he wanted to see if cuts were more painful than pulling out hair. Yeah, sure, we can make a case for suicide here.

Two knives were found in the bathroom sink. In addition to the punctures to his neck, Mercado had 12 knife wounds to the abdomen. The victim was fully clothed, except for his shoes.

Wait a minute – he put the knives in the bathroom before he went back to the door to die?? Boy, those faggots are just plain weird, aren’t they?

Friday, September 24, 2010

That Explains Some Things

[A] lawsuit, working its way through a Massachusetts court, alleges that the CIA purchased a pirated and inaccurate version of a location analysis program, which may have incorrectly located targets by as much as 42 feet.

  Raw Story

One can only sadly shake one's head.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Death Squad Come A-Calling?

[Nicaragua's consul César Mercado,] found dead with his throat slashed in the Bronx, held human hair in both hands - suggesting a fierce struggle in his final minutes, police sources said.

Mercado was clutching 10 hairs in his right hand and five in the left when his body was discovered, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Friday.

The evidence suggests a fight to the death, with police sources telling the Daily News that Mercado likely knew his killer. In addition to the throat wounds, Mercado was stabbed a dozen times in the stomach.


Mercado's driver, who was about to take him to the United Nations General Assembly, found his body around 10:30 a.m. Thursday just inside the doorway of his apartment.


Investigators with the medical examiner's office stopped short of ruling Mercado's death a homicide, telling police they need more information before making an official determination.


The medical examiner found "hesitation wounds" on the victim - injuries potentially inflicted by Mercado himself, Kelly said.

  NY Daily News

Sure. He didn’t want himself to get to the UN meetings, but he managed to make it to the door before he stopped himself.

Jesus Christ.

I just tried to look him up on Wikipedia and got this:

A reader (!) helps me out. And heaven knows I need (and appreciate) all the help I can get.

The Cesar Mercado blocked by Wikipedia is probably not the slain diplomat. It may be a 51 year old Cuban competitive runner. The Bronx Cesar Mercado wasn't famous enough for Wikipedia. Now that he's dead, and if there is a scandal, he might get his bio in there.

Stinking Up D.C.

Smelly, pesky bugs known as stink bugs have been swarming the Washington, D.C. area -- and when you try to kill them, they just smell worse.


We could be talking insects here, but we could just as easily be talking Congresscritters.

"They really cause no harm," [Wayne White, of American Pest] said. "Just a nuisance."

Unlike Congresscritters, who do cause harm.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Killing the Gulf: Protecting Our Food Supply

[T]here is still no chemical test to detect dispersant in Gulf seafood – though officials said one is coming very soon.

  Raw Story

Of course, I don’t know for a certainty, but it would be my guess that those future tests will not be able to test the seafood you have already been eating out of the Gulf since the government declared it safe several weeks ago.

“We understand that people are concerned about the dispersant,” FDA spokeswoman Meghan Scott told Raw Story in a separate interview. “It obviously was used extensively to disperse the oil.”

“But we really do believe that the dispersant is not likely to be present in the fish, particularly where there’s no oil present,” Scott continued.

Just like they believe in God, I guess. Faith.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Colbert Testifies

Well, why not? Congress is a joke anyway.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'll Pass

I know somebody out there wants to invite me on a cruise.

Go ahead on without me.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Mexicans Are Taking Americans' Jobs

When you hear that again, direct the complainer to this website: Take Our Jobs

United Farm Workers is offering positions to any Americans who apply for work on factory farms that illegal immigrants are now doing. According to the UFW president, so far as of July, there have been were all of three people taking them up on it.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

I Must Call 'Bullshit'

[A]ll those people who voted for the first time ever in 2006 and 2008 realize that this is not, there are no one-time miracle votes," [Bill Clinton] said. "Citizenship is a lifetime job and if you want to protect the votes that you cast and protect the policies you support, you got to show up again and if don't you can't complain if you lose and everything you voted for is washed away. It's your fault for staying home. That's what people have to understand."


Wrong, Mr. Clinton. Wrong. Everything they voted for is not washed away because they don't vote for the same people at the next election. Everything they voted for is a suckers game to get their votes. It's not washed away; it never really existed.

What Democratic politicians have to understand is that if they don't deliver once they've been elected, they have only themselves to blame if they don't get re-elected. Stop blaming the voters for your losses. You lose because you don't deliver. And because you sell yourselves to the highest bidders.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

New GOP "Contract"

CBS News has obtained a final draft of House Republicans' legislative agenda for the next Congress, a 21-page "Pledge to America" that they will formally unveil Thursday morning at a Virginia hardware store.


In a Virginia hardware store? Whatever.

I guess they're calling it Pledge to America because they've already used Contract with America on a previous agenda. Why they have to name it anything is beyond me, but I would have suggested they use Contract on America.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

If Only International Law Meant Something

A UN probe said Wednesday there was "clear evidence to support prosecutions" against Israel for "willful killing" and torture committed when its troops stormed a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May.


"The conduct of the Israeli military and other personnel towards the flotilla passengers was not only disproportionate to the occasion but demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence," said the probe.

  Raw Story

But will prosecutions proceed?

The Fun Never Ends

"But you know, who didn't do some questionable things in high school, and who doesn't regret the eighties to some extent?" -- Christine O'Donnell


Boy, I know I regret the 80's. Reaganomics was the beginning of the end. How about you?

This woman is going to be so much more fun than Sarah Palin. Unlike Sarah, I don't think she has a mean bone in her body. She's just goofy. I hope her handlers don't spoil it for us.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Calling Daniel Tosh

We need a Tosh.0-like taking apart by segments of this offering.

Republicans on Wednesday urged President Barack Obama to pick a more business-friendly successor to economic adviser Larry Summers, a move that would signal a shift to the center.


More business-friendly? If we get any more business-friendly, we’re going to all have to incorporate just to keep our heads above water.

Shift to the center? I don’t think so. The shift is all to the right, and since we are already right of center, more shift in the same direction is not going to get us closer to the center – but further from it. But, if I were betting, that’s exactly where I’d put my money. Mr. Obama has rarely done anything but cave to the opposing party since he’s been in office.

Summers, a former Treasury secretary, had long planned to stay at the White House for only a short period of time and is leaving to return to his teaching job at Harvard University.

Speaking of rewriting history. I have a feeling that the “long” planning to stay for only a short while is a relative concept. Since about the time Obama’s political capital pocket burst a seam, would be my guess. At least this one isn’t saying he needs to spend more time with the family.

Also key to the direction of economic policy is the chief of staff, and Obama may have to find a replacement for that role too. Rahm Emanuel is strongly considering stepping down to run for mayor of Chicago.

Please do. (Sorry, Chicago, but better you than the whole country.)

Concern over the budget deficit, estimated to hit $1.47 trillion this year, has weighed on Democrats in the congressional campaigns.

And they’re idiots for not flashing this graph 24/7.

Graph via Scared Stif via Rachel Maddow.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

A Little Rewriting of History Will Now Ensue

An officer of the Titanic who survived the sinking supposedly told his wife what actually happened, and now their granddaughter is set to rake in a whopping sum on her new book which purportedly reveals the family secret.

Like the ocean that swallowed the Titanic and her passengers, history is fluid.


Or something else for Dubya to be proud of?

Graph via Scared Stiff via Rachel Maddow.

If the Democrats really wanted to win elections, this is the kind of thing they'd put out in public everywhere, all the time. Much easier for Valu Voters to understand than a lot of talk.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.


It has just come to my attention that Halloween falls on a Sunday this year. Great fun. Great fun.

When did all this business about Halloween being a Satanic celebration begin anyway? I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian home and church, and I don't ever remember hearing anything like that as a kid. Halloween was a great time had by all back in Blackwater, Missouri, in the 50s. Except when the homemade cookies crumbled in the bottom of your bag. Loved those popcorn balls that Marjorie Root made, though. Hers were the best.

Maybe the holiday became Satanic around the time crazy SOBs started lacing candy with drugs and putting razor blades in apples. Wanna bet those sick fucks were raised in strict Christian homes?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Oh, Boy. Bolton.

A couple of years ago, I thought it couldn't get worse than having George Bush as president...and then came Sarah Palin. Now, Bolton's going to run?

Let's see....can I fund a new life in a new country at this late stage of my life?

To prep for a what he believes will be a 2012 presidential run, John Bolton is getting much more outwardly political and election oriented. He's now partnering with something called the 'Nationwide Tea Party Coalition' to sponsor a big election day event, the Election Day Tea Party.


2012. Can't wait. This could be what the Mayans were seeing.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

The Requisite Mid-Term Shakeup

The departure of President Barack Obama's top economic adviser at the end of the year could provide the White House with an opportunity to revamp its economic team after the November elections, when voters are expected to take out their anxieties on Democrats.

  Raw Story

Great, but it's still the same people at the top making the decisions about whom to employ.

Obama has already lost two other high-level economic advisers: budget director Peter Orszag and the chief of the Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer, both of whom resigned this summer. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would be the only one of Obama's top-tier economic advisers to remain with the administration should he stay through the end of the year.

Or what? Go to work full time for Goldman Sachs?

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Killing the Gulf: And Don't Eat Gulf Shrimp - Ever

Despite repeated assurances from federal officials and President Obama, independent scientists and public health experts have serious concerns about the long-term safety of Gulf seafood consumption.

In particular, experts tell Raw Story, contaminants from the massive oil spill and unprecedented use of the dispersants employed to dissolve the spill have the potential to cause cancer and neurological disorders.


“We have not found it,” FDA spokeswoman Meghan Scott claimed. “Every sample that we have tested for PAHs has come back clean. It has the potential to [bioaccumulate]. But we have not found it, even from samples taken from inside of closure areas.”

Christine Patrick, NOAA spokeswoman for seafood safety, went so far as to tell Raw Story, “The concept that the oil bioaccumulates [in seafood] – that’s not correct. It’s metabolized and excreted.”

Raw Story confirmed, in consultation with independent scientists, that these two statements were, respectively, impossible and inaccurate.

  Raw Story

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stop Pickin' on Him

"When I hear Democrats griping and groaning and saying ... 'the health care plan didn't have a public option', and ... 'the financial reform -- there was a provision here that I think we should have gotten better', or, 'you know what, yes, you ended the war in Iraq, the combat mission there, but you haven't completely finished the Afghan war yet', this or that or the other, I say 'folks, wake up', " Obama told wealthy donors at a Democratic National Committee dinner

  Raw Story

Yeah, I say "wake up," too. Time to leave the Democratic party.

So it would seem that Obama is on a tour to completely drive away his base. Smart. Smart. He's not going to make up the difference in GOP voters. What's his angle?

[I]n Philadelphia, Obama defended his agenda and lambasted Republicans, calling them the party of "no, we can't" and saying they would seek to reinstate failed Bush-era policies if they regained control of Congress.
Which ones would they have to reinstate? He not only kept the worst of them, but expanded them, as well.

"This is not some academic exercise," Obama said. "As Joe Biden put it, don't compare us to the Almighty; compare us to the alternative," he said to laughter.

Um. I think that's what we're doing.

Who's laughing?

"This is what change looks like," Obama said in Philadelphia

Now he tells us.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Monday, September 20, 2010

All Politics All the Time

How you will be taxed - or whether you will be taxed - is now a football in the game of who keeps or loses Congressional seats. That shouldn't be a surprise, since absolutely everything that can be used for political purposes is.

"We're having this fight before November," [a Democratic] aide told TPM, speaking on a condition of anonymity to be able to lay out the political agenda. "The caucus is in agreement that this fight is a fight worth taking before the election. You may not win but you put yourself in the camp of fighting with the middle class."


....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


That the Food and Drug Administration is opposed to labeling foods that are genetically modified is no surprise anymore, but a report in the Washington Post indicates the FDA won't even allow food producers to label their foods as being free of genetic modification.

  Raw Story

That may not be entirely accurate.

The agency allows manufacturers to label their products as not genetically engineered as long as those labels are accurate and do not imply that the products are therefore more healthful.



Sounds fair, but have a look at a couple FDA rulings.

B&G Foods [...] was told it could not use the phrase "GMO-free" on its Polaner All Fruit strawberry spread label because GMO refers to genetically modified organisms and strawberries are produce, not organisms.


Spectrum Canola Oil [...] could not use a label that included a red circle with a line through it and the words "GMO," saying the symbol suggested that there was something wrong with genetically engineered food.

So why aren't foods labeled "no preservatives" illegal? By the same argument, that would imply that there is something wrong with preservatives. And why do juices have to be labeled "from concentrate" if they are? That's a lot less controversial than being genetically modified.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Beating Wikileaks to the Punch

As you read this, just remember that the reason they hate us is because of our freedom.

A group of US soldiers is facing accusations of randomly targeting and killing Afghan civilians for sport, The Washington Post reported Sunday.


According to The Post, [an] unprovoked attack on January 15 was the start of a months-long shooting spree against Afghan civilians that resulted in some of the grisliest allegations against American soldiers since the US invasion in 2001.


Members of the platoon have been charged with dismembering and photographing corpses, as well as hoarding a skull and other human bones, the report said.

  Raw Story

Not terrorists! Ghouls, maybe. But NOT terrorists.

The full story.

The father of one soldier said he repeatedly tried to alert the army after his son told him about the first killing, only to be rebuffed, The Post said.


Seven other soldiers have been charged with crimes related to the case, including hashish use, attempts to impede the investigation and a retaliatory gang assault on a private who blew the whistle, according to The Post.


The accused soldiers deny wrongdoing, the paper noted.

Values Voters

Now that's a value!

Oops. Let me fix that for them.


It finally dawned on me - the meaning of "values voters." Values, as in K-Mart, Wal-Mart; the discount box stores are always advertising values. And they always have cheaper quality goods packaged in bundles labeled "value pack." Their shoppers must be the values voters.

I may not be fast, but I get there.

New Texas Treat

Deep Fried Guinness

Perfect for upcoming Oktoberfests, eh?

Crazy in High Dudgeon

"I am opposed to any effort to impose Sharia in the United States, and we should have a federal law that says under no circumstances in any jurisdiction in the United States will Sharia be used, in any court, to apply to any judgment made about American law,"Gingrich said to loud applause.

  Raw Story

Now, Newt Gingrich is not a stupid man. His crazy is "crazy like a fox," as the saying goes. The real crazy here is the audience. I mean, really, is there even a snowball's chance in hell that judges are going to use Muslim law to adjudicate cases in American courts? The more likely scenario would be that they use Christian law (of the Old Testament variety, of course), and therefore, I could possibly take seriously a proposal to have a law saying that Christian law cannot be used in court. Of course Newt knows that any talk about banning anything Muslim these days is a sure bet to get the support of the brainless bigoted idiots coming out of the woodwork begging someone to lead them even further into Hell than the leaders they already have had. And perhaps that is what we are not taking nearly seriously enough.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Consider Yourself Forewarned, Delaware

"There's only truth and not truth. You're either very good or evil." – Christine O'Donnell

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

And Speaking of Christian Crazies

Christine O'Donnell, who won the Delaware GOP Senate primary, the woman who thinks masturbation is adultery and who thinks other people should practice chastity now that she's already had her own promiscuous adventures (isn't that the way it usually goes?), apparently appeared on Bill Maher's show regularly in the past. Her diarrhetic mouth must run nonstop. Maher has clips.

This weekend she cancelled two scheduled big time TV appearances.

"Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer said that program received an e-mail Saturday morning canceling O'Donnell's appearance without explanation. But the campaign later called to say that O'Donnell had some campaign events.


Fox News had booked O'Donnell on Thursday. Marty Ryan, executive producer of "Fox News Sunday," said in a statement that the campaign canceled late Friday, saying she was exhausted and returning to Delaware.

"On Saturday morning, O'Donnell called us and said: 'I got triple-booked. I had been invited to go to church and then a picnic."

  Raw Story

A picnic on a Satanic altar?

BTW, I like how she smears Wiccans by associating them with a Satanic altar. So did she "dabble" in witchcraft or Satanism? They're probably the same thing to Christine.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

It's Sunday

And the crazy just keeps on coming.

The Republican primary for [Mike Castle’s Delaware House seat] was won by Tea Partier Glen Urquhart.


"Do you know, where does this phrase 'separation of church and state' come from?" Urquhart asked at a campaign event last April. "It was not in Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists. ... The exact phrase 'separation of Church and State' came out of Adolph Hitler’s mouth, that's where it comes from. So the next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State ask them why they’re Nazis."

  Raw Story

The more of these oral diarrhetic “Christians” that gain office, the closer we become to being just like the Islamic ayatollah-ruled countries we consider backward and anti-democratic.

Somebody called this fool on it. And he responded:

"I didn't mean to suggest -- and I am not suggesting -- that people who are liberals are Nazis," Urquhart told the paper.

Hmmmm…because that’s exactly what he said.

And, ummm…

”"Believing... that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State." --Thomas Jefferson to Danbury Baptists, 1802. ME 16:281

  Thomas Jefferson at etext, University of Virginia

Satire alert.

How dare [Markos Moulitsas] compare the American right to the Taliban [in his book American Taliban]. Sure, we both hate sex, reproductive choice, secularism, government regulation, homosexualism, and masturbation. We both want to establish godly governments that enforce scriptural law. And, we both justify our wars on the basis of religion. But the similarities end there.


We want to impose God's kingdom on Earth by passing biblically based sharia laws.


The Taliban punish OB/GYNs using crude, uncivilized methods like stoning. We shoot doctors from a distance with a modern high-powered rifle.


We fight our wars in the name of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. They fight their battles for Allah, a god who doesn't even know how to transubstantiate or turn water into a party.


We're not like the Taliban. We're God's favored people.

  Jesus’ General

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jobs Corps?

Regarding the recent San Bruno pipeline explosion:

The U.S. is crisscrossed with more than 2.5 million miles of fuel pipelines, or enough to circle the earth about 100 times. U.S. regulators may now step up inspections and increase the industry’s maintenance costs.

  The Vigil

Once upon a time one of our presidents created a jobs program that put three million unemployed people to work building our national parks system. Perhaps we could now have a jobs program to train and employ inspectors for all the stuff we built that isn’t getting inspected or being well maintained (which no doubt includes all those parks). And then maybe a jobs program to repair and refurbish? Our roads and bridges could sure use it. Of course, it would get mighty close to looking like a government takeover of private business in the case of inspecting pipelines, and where or where would we get the money? War is expensive. Rebuilding countries we’ve bombed to shreds is, too.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

P.S. And if we had a job corps to employ all those people, where would we get our "volunteer" army? It works better for the politicians as well to have an underclass that one party can (insincerely) promise to give welfare benefits to get votes, and the other party can blame for all our social and economic woes to get votes.

Afghan Election News

Turnout in the Afghanistan parliamentary elections was disappointingly light, some 40% below expectations, according to Euronews. Some 10 percent of polling stations that had been intended to be used simply did not open because of fears of Taliban attacks. Those closures were on top of the 10 percent or so that it had already been decided would not open, because they were in Taliban-held territory.

  Juan Cole

Forty percent below expectations? That would have to mean that somebody (whoever Cole is talking about, and he is quoting Eruonews on that figure) was expecting at least a 40% turnout. Considering the conditions in Afghanistan, I would have thought 40 to be high. That same Euronews article says that preliminary results of the election aren’t expected until early October. Gives ample time to screw with those results.

We start howling here if it goes longer than 10:00 pm the night of.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

A Little Glimmer

It would appear that the chronically unemployed are finally taking action. And good luck.

It's Not Him, It's You

Last night, Barack Obama spoke at a $30,000 per plate DNC fundraising event .


[J]ust as Robert Gibbs before him explained (albeit more harshly), if you're one of those people dissatisfied with large parts of the Obama presidency, that's only because you have something wrong with the way you think (you need drug testing/you "congenitally see the glass as half empty"), and because you are saddled with extremely unrealistic, child-like expectations (you're angry that the Pentagon hasn't closed yet/bitter that Obama "hasn't yet brought about world peace: 'I thought that was going to happen quicker' (Laughter.)"). In other words, you're just a petulant, unreasonable, unrealistic, fringe child who doesn't appreciate the greatness and generosity he's given you.


What's most striking about Obama's comments is that there is no acceptance whatsoever of responsibility (I've failed in some critical areas; we could have/should have done better). There's not even any base-motivating vow to fight to fix these particular failures (we'll keep fighting for a public option/to curb executive power abuses/to reduce lobbyist and corporate control of our political process).


It's true that there are good things Obama has done: as but one example, both Elizabeth Warren and Simon Johnson believe that Warren's appointment today will empower her to help police Wall Street's abusive consumer practices in meaningful ways. But there have been many, many awful things -- not things which he has failed yet to do (i.e., "quickly enough"), but multiple policies he's affirmatively adopted, including many which directly violate his campaign pledges and ones which Democrats spent years during the Bush presidency vehemently condemning. Sitting at a $30,000 per plate fundraising dinner and mocking liberal critics as irrational ingrates while wealthy Party donors laugh probably does wonders for bruised presidential egos, but it doesn't seem to be a particularly effective way to motivate those who are so unmotivated.

  Glenn Greenwald

In this post, Glenn enumerates a long list of right-wing gifts that Obama has bestowed upon the country, so check it out.

I wonder what Obama will be saying in 2012. Undoubtedly something different, as he has proven himself to be quite flexible with his stated intentions. He surely can't believe that the right wing he's playing to will vote for him -- if he still plans to run for reelection that is. Maybe not. After all, he's burned the bridge to his "base".

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

¡Vive El Grito!

In the early hours of September 16, 1810, father [Miguel*] Hidalgo, accompanied by several conspirators [...] rang the bell of his little church, calling everyone to fight for liberty. This was the beginning of the Independence War, which lasted 10 years.

Bicentennial of the Mexican Independence

*Full name: Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo y Costilla y Gallaga Mondarte Villaseñor

A mis amigos Mexicanos: mi corazón está con ustedes hoy.

¡Vive la revolución!

...pero, haz lo que importa, porque ya harás.

I hope that all makes sense. After all, I did post it today (which is actually Friday) thinking that today (which is actually the 17th) was the 16th. So I just cheated and changed the date of the post. Which is where you say, "Hey, do what you will anyway."

What Health Care Problem?

In a reflection of the battered economy, the number of people without health insurance rose sharply last year to 50.7 million — an all time high — according todata released Thursday by the Census Bureau.