maybe someday we’ll elect a democrat

by lestro

We did?  Who?

Certainly you can’t mean President Obama:

President Obama abruptly pulled back proposed new national smog standards Friday morning, overruling the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to compel states and communities nationwide to reduce local air pollution in the coming years or face federal penalties.

The move represented a win for the business community, which had lobbied to postpone new restrictions on ground-level ozone — known as smog — until 2013 in light of the economic downturn. It also raised questions about the fate of several other air quality regulations the EPA is preparing to finalize this year.

Well there has to be a good reason, right?  Surely it can’t be that same old bullshit about how investing in the environment has to wait for financial reasons, especially at a time when corporate profits are literally at record highs, right? Let’s go right to the source, the White House press release:

At the same time, I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover. With that in mind, and after careful consideration, I have requested that Administrator Jackson withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time.

goddammit.

Ozone, for the record, is a greenhouse gas (which means that even if you don’t believe in such things it traps heat in atmosphere, warming the planet) that is the principal component in smog formation. It harms lungs, causes respiratory distress and is linked to asthma, bronchitis, heart attacks and premature death.

And how can you be sure this is a terrible, terrible move?

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) identified several of these regulations as targets for a regulatory rollback the House will vote on this month, and House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) spokesman Michael Steel hailed Obama’s decision Friday as “a good first step.”

“If you’re serious about a jobs agenda, the last thing you want to be doing is adding tens of billions of dollars in costs every year,” said Upton, who added that under stricter smog standards communities in his district and across the nation “will lose these jobs, and they will never come back.”

But maybe I am overreacting.  I admit, it happens.  I am a hot head sometimes.  Maybe I am seeing this wrong.

“Obama utterly caved,” said Bill Snape of the Center for Biological Diversity, an advocacy group.

Daniel J. Weiss of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, said, “It’s unfortunate that the administration is siding with big oil over the health of children, seniors, and the infirm.”

Nope, I’m dead on.  So let’s be very clear, this is the Democratic president once again choosing business interests over people.

According to the EPA, depending on what standard it adopted, the compliance costs for industry could range from $19 billion to $90 billion a year by 2020. The tougher standard would yield health benefits worth $13 billion to $100 billion, the agency said.

Did you catch that?  The health benefits would save us more money than this would cost industry (which, again, is seeing record profits again this year).

Now let’s take a look at the 2008 Democratic Platform, the one that got Obama elected with a huge majority and gave him supermajorities in both houses of Congress:

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lie lie lie half-truth distortion distortion lie lie lie…

by lestro

Notice Gov. Bobby Jindal not answer the question at all:

I live in a volatile seismic area and was troubled by your comment that funding volcano-monitoring is “wasteful.” What makes some spending superfluous? Caitlin Kidder, KENT, WASH.

I listed several examples. It wasn’t just volcano-monitoring. It was $300 million in new cars, a billion dollars for the Census–the list goes on and on. Here’s my point: Why were they in a temporary, targeted stimulus bill? Somebody’s going to have to explain to me how these items were critical to saving our economy.

let’s go back and review that part of his speech, shall we?

While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a “magnetic levitation” line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called “volcano monitoring.”

“something called”? like he’s never heard of a volcano?

it’s obscene, as Jon Stewart pointed out, that a guy whose state got the biggest natural disaster ass-whipping in our nation’s history would so purposefully minimize and belittle another area trying to protect itself from a similar happening.

Just because the Republicans – yes, you too Bobby – didn’t pay any attention at all to the three days worth of warning signs about a Category 5 hurricane bearing down on New Orleans doesn’t mean that some of us wouldn’t like a bit of warning if, say, the top of a mountain were to blow off covering a region more heavily populated than New Orleans with 500 feet of mud, rock and lava.

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Let them filibuster

by lestro

Tonight, President Obama will take to the airwaves for his first “primetime” press conference as president. He will speak from Elk Hart, Ind., a particularly hard-hit area of a state that’s been particularly hard-hit by the ongoing economic crisis/recession.

The president will, presumably, make the case as to why the massive stimulus package, currently being held up in Congress by a bankrupt minority with no ideas, should be passed.

Here’s hoping the president dares the Republicans, whose only idea to stimulate the economy is the same bullshit battle cry of tax cuts they have been pushing for decades (despite no indication that tax cuts have EVER spurred the economy or created jobs), to filibuster the bill.  I hope he makes those bastards stand up there and explain themselves before a nation that everyday sees news reports about continuing job losses, underwhelming earnings reports and giant corporate bailouts.

Let the Republicans in the Senate explain how tax cuts create jobs, despite never having worked before; or how Obama’s tax cuts aren’t big enough despite the fact that are technically larger than anything Bush did; or how they oppose giving money to the states to prevent the states from having to cut back on essential services and jobs; or why they are opposed to spending, even though the spending creates jobs by rebuilding the country’s crumbling infrastructure.

Let them explain why their 42-person  minority thinks it is speaking for America, especially since the presidents approval rating hovers above 60 percent while theirs, well, doesn’t.

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This is what you get

by lestro

When you elect terrorists to run your ‘country.’

The question is no longer whose fault this is. The answer is very obviously Hamas.

Dr. Awni al-Jaru, 37, a surgeon at the hospital, rushed in from his home in the Toufah neighborhood in Gaza City dressed in his scrubs. But he came not to work. His head was bleeding, and his daughter’s jaw was broken.

He said Hamas militants next to his apartment building had fired mortar and rocket rounds. Israel fired back with enormous force, and his apartment was hit. His wife, Albina, originally from Ukraine, and his 1-year-old son were killed.

The story is about ordinary people being caught between the idiot terrorists and the crushing force of the Israeli army. It sucks, but what can you do?

Within minutes, another car pulled up with four more patients.

One was a 21-year-old man with shrapnel in his left leg who demanded quick treatment. He turned out to be a militant with Islamic Jihad. He was smiling a big smile.

“Hurry, I must get back so I can keep fighting,” he told the doctors and anyone else who would listen.

He was told that there were more serious cases than his and that he needed to wait his turn. But he insisted. “We are fighting the Israelis,” he said. “When we fire we run, but they hit back so fast. We run into the houses to get away.” He continued smiling.

“Why are you so happy?” someone asked. “Look around you. Don’t you see the misery that you are helping to cause?”

His answer?

“But I am from the people, too,” he said, his smile incandescent. “They lost their loved ones as martyrs. They should be happy. I want to be a martyr, too.”

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No, you cannot grope Hillary Clinton

by twit

even if she is a cardboard cut-out…


Incoming Obama administration director of speechwriting Jon Favreau (L) and a friend pose with a cardboard cutout of incoming Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a party.

(Obtained by The Washington Post)

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I have a new proposition: Ban Mormonism

by lestro

It’s been said again and again over the past few weeks, but the passage of Proposition 8 in California was a tremendous blight on the victory of a new, progressive coalition on the national stage.

This year, despite the tremendous Blue Wave that swept the nation, somehow voters in California, traditionally the most liberal state in the Union, passed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, as ridiculous as that seems for a state that went to the Dems with a 60.9% – 37.3% margin.

On Saturday, all across the country, protesters gathered in support of gay rights.

“People around the country were watching this very closely,” said Kellan Baker, a Washington, D.C., resident who is organizing today’s protest there. “For Californians to go to the ballot box to strip people of civil rights they had been enjoying is, I guess, the last straw.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that “San Francisco city officials, joined by the city of Los Angeles and Santa Clara and Los Angeles counties, have petitioned the [state Supreme] court” to again declare the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.  The LA Times reports that legal challenges include those brought by “groups including the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund” which “brings to four the number of lawsuits asking the court to overturn Proposition 8.”

The California Supreme court has overturned a gay marriage ban once before, earlier this year, setting off an economic boom and a legal recognition that in the government’s eyes, marriage is simply a legal contract between two consenting adults.

And a constitutionally protected right, something the California State Constitution vows to protect right off the top in its Declaration of Rights:

SECTION 1. All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.

That’s Article I, Section 1.

“pursuing happiness and privacy.” That’s nice.  I read on, but nowhere did I find,  “unless you like the cock.”

and don’t think I didn’t look…

But Prop 8 is an amendment to the constitution, codifying the idea that marriage is only legal between a man and a woman. It is the first time I can recall that we have ever voted in this country to remove a right, to eliminate one of the very things we create governments to protect.

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We don’t need no water

by lestro

I’m just not buying it.

Sorry, but I am not buying that the only way to “save the economy” is with a $700 billion bailout package that has to be passed NOW! NOW! NOW!

Admittedly, I am not an economist. But there has to be a better way to right the ship than charging every American taxpayer $5000 to make sure George Bush’s Trust Fund buddies get their golden parachutes.

According to the 2007 IRS FactBook, there were 138,894,000 income taxes filed last year. $700 billion divided by 138 million actually equals $5039.81 per taxpayer. $700 billion divided by estimated US population of 305 million equals $2295.08 per every single person in the country.

Over the past two days I have been watching Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke do their best to frighten Congress into passing a bailout package before anyone has a chance to see what’s in it.

Watching some of their “The Sky is Falling” testimony made me think of the run-up to the Iraq war, only this time, the “mushroom cloud” has been replaced with the ridiculous notion that our entire economic system will collapse in on itself.

Paulson and Bernanke’s sweaty brows and bulging eyes as they sit in the hot lights before Congress bear more than a passing resemblance to all those equally bug-eyed administration mouthpieces who told us over and over that not only did Saddam Hussein have weapons of mass destruction, he was getting ready to use them against us.

Even the President’s address the other night was reminiscent of when he went on the air in 2003 to explain to the American people why we had to invade Iraq.

This is an administration that has not only tried to use FEAR! to scare the Congress into giving away our rights, but also has led us into a war on false pretenses. Now, they are using the same tactics to try and get Congress to pass a $700 billion bailout package that most everyone, except the Bush administration, seems to think is fatally flawed.

It’s despicable, but I wish I could say it is surprising.

Just look at this quote yesterday from Johnny Mac:

The meeting with Mr. Bush on Thursday was precipitated by a call from Mr. McCain, who cast his request as a matter of urgent national priority. “Following Sept. 11, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis,” he told a small group of reporters, while reading the brief statement from a teleprompter, in a small ballroom at the New York Hilton Hotel. “We must show that kind of patriotism now.”

Sayfuckingwhat? Did he just use 9/11 to try and scare us into passing this horrible bailout package? You fucking scumbag.

Something does not add up. Maybe the reason John McCain needs to suspend his campaign is because his millionaire wife and their buddies are finally losing money so NOW it’s time to do something about the economy.

(And by the way, why is it so fucking important that John McCain, a guy who has admitted he does not know shit about the economy, so goddamn important to the process that he has to suspend the democratic process for a few days and rush back to Washington to be in on the negotiations?)

One can’t help but wonder if the Administration That Cries Wolf is once again trying to sneak something past the American people. Forgive me if I can’t help but think all the big noise they’re making is because they know this is their last chance to bilk the taxpayer and make their buddies rich and they are afraid if they don’t scare us into thinking that we don’t even have time to read the bailout package we might realize they are just the same bunch of lying screwheads they always were.

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heckuva job, Secret Service

by twit

What Secret Service? All it takes to get close to a candidate for President is a laser printer and a fancy camera lens?

BEREA, Ohio (AP) – A man who wore press credentials and took photographs from a platform interrupted Barack Obama’s town-hall meeting Tuesday by shouting complaints that the Democratic presidential candidate had not called for the audience to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

… The man, who carried a large, professional-style telephoto lens, was among photographers and videographers on the main press platform at one end of the gym.

He wore what appeared to be the regular daily news media credential the campaign issues local news media members who cover the Illinois senator at a single events.

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It’s called evolution

by twit

It turns out that fish have been using “vocalization” for around 400 million years, similar to how birds and frogs use sounds to communicate. The BBC reports on July 17, 2008:

Professor Bass told BBC News: “We identified where this pattern generator developed in the brains of these fishes, and then we looked at where it was in frogs, birds and primates.”

The team discovered that the neural networks for vocalization were all situated in the same region.

“We stood back and said: ‘Oh my god, this is all in the same place’.

“It was astonishing how similar it was.”

Actually, it would be astonishing if it was in a completely different part of the brain…

Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Karl Rove Over

by squishmael

This kind of thing is what makes my stomach turn. Karl Rove has thumbed his nose at the law of the land and what is worse is that I don’t doubt that he’ll get away with it somehow.

I have no long-winded rant ready to unleash on anyone who might happen to stumble upon this post, but, the whole idea that the Bush administration can even entertain the prospect of getting away with this is, to say the least, disturbing.

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Kid delivers LSD-laced cookies to cops. Actually, nevermind, the cops were just trippin’

by twit

When I first saw the article about the teenager accused of going to several police stations in Texas and delivering batches of cookies that smelled like pot but were actually laced with LSD, I figured it was another illustration for the “children left behind” files, the part of the chronicle where representatives from the upcoming generation are doing things that sound completely insane yet also so jaw-droppingly stupid.

But now it turns out that the allegations were actually the product of overactive imaginations of law enforcement officials (and their preliminary drug tests), and the charges have been dropped.  What we actually have here is an episode of the “romper room,”  featuring children of all ages left far, far behind:

On July 8, 2008, the Associated Press first reported:

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A teenager is suspected of delivering baskets of drug-laced treats to about a dozen police departments in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to police who charged him Tuesday with LSD possession. At least three officers have gotten sick.

The 18-year-old man was arrested after taking cookies to the Lake Worth police station, said Brett McGuire, the suburb’s police chief. Officers there had been tipped off that someone was falsely claiming to deliver treats on behalf of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“Our officers took a good whiff and thought they smelled like marijuana,” McGuire said, adding that preliminary tests instead detected traces of LSD.

Christian Phillips was taken into custody and later charged with possession of the powerful hallucinogen, although the charge may be changed, McGuire said.

The suspect denied trying to contaminate the goodies or harm anyone and said one of his friends might have been smoking pot while Phillips was baking, McGuire said.

The suspect is not affiliated with MADD, the chief said.

which is what I had cut and pasted after I first read the story. Much of this clip has been scrubbed from the link where the article first appeared.

but then! On July 10, 2008, CBS in Dallas/Ft. Worth reports:

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Oh what fun it is to fly

by twit

Thank you Consumerist:

[T]he EMD Safety Bracelet from Lamperd Less Lethal is designed to make flying a fun experience once again. Just check out everything it can do:

Take the place of an airline boarding pass.

Contain personal information about the traveler.

Be able to monitor the whereabouts of each passenger and his/her luggage.

Shock the wearer on command, completely immobilizing him/her for several minutes.

That made my eye twitch. and then on April 18, 2008, Wired reports:

This is the worst air travel security idea I’ve heard of in a long time.

A Canadian company called Lamperd Less Lethal is promoting the EMD Safety Bracelet. It’s equipped with electro muscular disruption technology, which effectively short-circuits the central nervous system. Zap someone and they’ll be completely immobile for several minutes.

The technology isn’t new — cops and security guards have been using it for years in tasers. What’s new is the marketing approach. Lamperd is hawking the EMD bracelet as the ideal tool for fighting terrorists intent on taking over an airplane.

And they’re doing so with a blatantly exploitive promotional video.

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The Great Sonics Swindle of 2008

by lestro

Many thoughts on the Great Sonics Swindle of 2008.

Not being a Sonics fan, I do not have a stake in the team, but I see in the Sonics saga the potential fate of any professional sports team city that has the audacity to stand up and tell billionaires that they are going to have support their own investments.

What happened is this: Former owner and Starbucks magnate Howard Schultz sold the team after failing to get a many hundred million dollar handout form the city and state to renovate the arena they use and reap the profits from. After Schultz realized the people, still sore over the extortion the Seahawks and Mariners laid on them to get Qwest and Safeco Fields, respectively, weren’t gonna pony up for a new stadium, he bailed, selling the team to the group led by Clay Bennett, of Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City picked up a basketball jones after Hurricane Katrina forced the Hornets to relocate to the capital of Flyover Country while their city was pumped out and rebuilding began. Since there is nothing to do in Oklahoma City, the arrival of the NBA was HUGE and the people came out to support the team.

Once the Hornets went back to New Orleans – because the value of a sports team to a city cannot be measured in dollars alone – Oklahoma City got itchy. Sensing opportunity as well as the realization that yes, a sports team has a value that can;t be measured in dollars alone, Bennett turned his sights on the Sonics.

Bennett promised Schultz and the city that he was not there to steal the team – despite internal emails which revealed he was telling his investors exactly the opposite. But even Schultz said he knew selling the team to a guy from Oklahoma City would spur the government into coughing up money for a new stadium.

So Bennett pledged to negotiate in good faith with the city and state to get his shiny new stadium, knowing full well that what he was asking for demanding was ridiculous. Everything went as expected – excepting the offers from other local cities that were also dismissed – and even the NBA Commissioner – and the guy that inducted Clay Bennett into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame – David Stern approved the outright theft of the team.

The owners, of course, were looking out for their own good, knowing that when they wanted shiny new showplaces for their product, their host cities would have no choice but pony up. After all, if the No. 13 market in the country could lose a team to Oklafuckinghoma ( No. 45), anyone could be next.

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Let he who is without bullshit cast the first stone

by lestro

Apparently, James Dobson, the multi-millionaire president of one of the largest fundamentalist mega-church televangelical empires in the country is going to go after both Barack Obama’s views on Christianity and the Constitution during his daily Focus on the Family address tomorrow and he is apparently so proud of it he leaked it to the Associated Press:

As Barack Obama broadens his outreach to evangelical voters, one of the movement’s biggest names, James Dobson, accuses the likely Democratic presidential nominee of distorting the Bible and pushing a “fruitcake interpretation” of the Constitution [...]

“Folks haven’t been reading their Bibles,” Obama said.

Dobson and [senior VP of FOF, Tom] Minnery accused Obama of wrongly equating Old Testament texts and dietary codes that no longer apply to Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament.

“I think he’s deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology,” Dobson said.

“… He is dragging biblical understanding through the gutter.”

What a fucking tool. According to the story, here’s why:

“Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?” Obama said. “Would we go with James Dobson’s or Al Sharpton’s?” referring to the civil rights leader.

So Dobson, a war supporter who ignores “Thou shalt not kill” when it behooves him to do so (and does the exact kind of bible cherry-picking bullshit (Leviticus, anyone?) one would normally associate with “deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview”) has the balls to talk about dragging biblical understanding through the gutter?

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yeah, it says you’re a fucking sellout

by lestro

So the emo/punk/rock band Alkaline Trio has officially sold out to the point where I don’t think I will ever be able to hear one of their old songs without spitting.

Because not enough people think “dark punk” when they think of overpriced athletic shoes, the Trio’s teamed with Nike for to design a Trio-branded athletic shoe.

Makes me want to fucking vomit.

It’s one thing to license a song to a commercial to try and find a new audience. I may not like it, but I understand why bands do it. And in today’s day and age, where art, design and commercialism all swim in the same lane at the pool, it’s just another delivery system.

But teaming with motherfucking Nike? You have to be kidding me.

“Seeing the swoosh and our logo on one product is unbelievable,” singer/guitarist Matt Skiba said in a statement. “The shoe looks amazing and provides some insight into who we are.

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Condolences to Howard Stern

by twit
http://www.longislandexchange.com/articles/art/HowardStern.gifHoward, I am so sorry about Beth O. She is a beautiful woman inside and out and I hope you can truly be the man that she loves, before it is too late and you lose her forever.

I’ve heard that on your radio show you like to express shock about how Beth O doesn’t poop that often. You don’t understand it, you see her eat, but then mysteriously (at least to you) there’s not the usual consequence of eating. I’ve heard that you’ve claimed to have gone to a doctor who couldn’t find a medical cause for why Beth doesn’t poop like healthy people do.

Howard, this is so simple that even Paris Hilton can explain it:

Paris Hilton was so terrified guards would snap a cell-phone picture of her on the toilet that she didn’t eat or drink for three days…

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China threatens to cancel the 2008 Olympics

by twit

From the Guardian on June 4, 2008:

Suspected terrorists, subversives and people with sexually transmitted diseases will not be allowed to enter China for the Olympic games, its organisers said yesterday.

If it was required that everyone arrive with their TB and measles vaccinations in order, it would make sense from a public health standpoint, particularly for a city as densely populated as Beijing. However, banning people based on an infection spread primarily through sexual contact is entirely different.

Questions remain about what exactly the Chinese government means by this new requirement. Do they mean all STDs? Symptomatic ones? Nontreatable ones?

The reason this will likely irreparably damage the 2008 Olympics is because statistically, a policy like this will cause significant numbers of athletes and spectators to be barred from entering the country.

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Double-talking jive, get the money motherfucker ’cause I got no more patience

by lestro

Well this is it, eh? June 3, the day of the last primaries. Obama has already won the delegate race for the nomination and we have finally reached the end of the road, right?

Very few people – including the Clinton Campaign – ever saw it going this far, but all things considered, it has been a very good primary season and when it comes down to the come down, Hillary may have actually helped Obama.

Thanks to her, he has already faced many of the bullshit character attacks, half-truths, whisper campaigns and the racism one would expect from a Republican candidate. Yet he has continued to gain popularity.

But while the campaign for the nomination has essentially been over since February, today has to be the end, right? After today she has no reason to keep going and will have to admit she lost, right?

Hell, even Bubba admitted it yesterday.

But, nope, not Hillary. Even after Obama secures the nomination tonight, Hillary will refuse to let go, clinging tenaciously to the possibility that the party Gray Beards will overturn the will of party voters and give her the nomination despite that fact that she is unlikable and unable to draw people to her campaign:

Hillary Rodham Clinton will acknowledge Tuesday night that Barack Obama has the delegates to secure the Democratic nomination, campaign sources told the Associated Press.

After the report, her campaign promptly issued a statement saying, “Senator Clinton will not concede the nomination this evening.”

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Florida, you are the weakest link

by twit

Florida has been a distinct thorn in this country’s side since the year 2000, so the twit is beginning to think that maybe it is time to just let the state go once and for all. Perhaps we could vote on it…

From the Sun-Sentinel on May 25, 2008:

[Port St. Lucie Department spokeswoman Michelle] Steele said the boy had been sent to the principal’s office because of disciplinary issues. When he returned, [the teacher] made him go to the front of the room as a form of punishment, she said.

… After each classmate was allowed to say what they didn’t like about Barton’s 5-year-old son, Alex, his Morningside Elementary teacher Wendy Portillo said they were going to take a vote, Barton said.

By a 14 to 2 margin, the students voted Alex — who is in the process of being diagnosed with autism — out of the class.

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In Golf We Trust

by twit

Olbermann has some choice words for Bush about his claim of sacrificing golf out of respect for families of soldiers lost in his wars:

via Buzzfeed.

raw milk must make people stupid

by twit

Thank you, Associated Press, this about made my head explode:

“Raw milk is like a magic food for children,” said Sally Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates consumption of whole, natural foods.

because I don’t care if it has “health benefits” if it also is a serious health risk. Especially to kids.

More than 1,000 people, including two who died, got sick from raw milk or cheese made from raw milk from 1998 to 2005, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

even the FDA has got this one spelled out pretty clearly, although it is basic fucking germ theory, so it isn’t exactly asking a whole hell of a lot.

who needs to search for an appropriate metaphor when our tax dollars have written that giving a kid raw milk is like giving a kid a loaded gun with a bullet loaded at random:

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Should the US boycott the Olympics?

vs.

Previously, in response to a report that hundreds of Tibetans have been killed since March 10, 2008, lestro wondered, “what if they hosted an Olympics and no one came?”

The conversation continues…

http://i.infoplease.com/images/blackpower.jpg

Bush: Politics not a factor in Olympics

WASHINGTON – China’s crackdown in Tibet will not cause President Bush to cancel his planned trip to the Beijing Olympics, the White House said Thursday.

… Presidential spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush’s position is that the Olympics “should be about the athletes and not necessarily about politics.”

She said that Bush, in accepting the invitation last year from Chinese President Hu Jintao to attend the Olympics, told him the games would “shine a spotlight on all things Chinese.”

“That’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Perino added.

Bush agreed to go to the Olympics during a meeting with Hu in Australia last September during the Asia Pacific Economic Council meeting. A White House spokesman said at the time that Bush was going to the games for the sports and not for any political statement.

(image via infoplease.com via www.attytood.com)

Should the US boycott the 2008 Olympics?

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welcome to the future

by twit

Yesterday, in response to a report that hundreds of Tibetans have been killed since March 10, 2008, lestro wondered, “what if they hosted an Olympics and no one came?” and that made a lot of sense when we were just looking at the reports collected by Boing Boing, including this:

It was impossible not to notice that the United States removed China from its list of top 10 human rights violators just as the biggest anti-China protests in 20 years erupted in Tibet.

[...] China had a chance to shine for its Olympic coming-out party and is blowing it. Its leaders will continue to have to battle protests and unrest — and endure international reproach — until they ensure more freedom for all their citizens, including greater religious tolerance and freedom for Tibet.

from the New York Times Editorial Board, that maybe missed a bit of news before going to print with the phrase ‘international reproach,’ because it turns out that when it comes to the Olympics, it is exactly the opposite:

The European Union is not in favor of a growing call for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics to express disapproval over China’s crackdown on pro-independent movements in Tibet.

[...] Russia even supported the Chinese government. In a statement, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said, “Russia has repeatedly declared that it views Tibet as an inalienable part of China, and considers the resolution of relations with the Dalai Lama to be an internal matter of the People’s Republic of China.”

Even the Dalai Lama, although he condemned China for its rule of terror and cultural genocide, stopped short of calling for a boycott of the Olympic games.

[...] [Thomas Bach, German vice president of the International Olympic Committee] stressed sports organizations are not world governments and cannot solve problems that decades of international leaders and head of governments had tried, but likewise failed.

The Olympics are an international gesture of goodwill and an economic boom for the country hosting it. Historically, it has not been immune from being drawn into the fray of international conflicts. Fundamentally, it is a diplomatic exercise whether it wants to be or not.

I thought diplomacy was exactly how we are supposed to approach violations of international law. Especially when China sits as a permanent member of the Security Council. What else can be done?

Martin Luther King, Jr. sums it up well:

The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.

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whatever the President says must be true

by lestro

the subhead says it all. From the Washington Post:

Ozone Rules Weakened at Bush’s Behest
EPA Scrambles To Justify Action

The EPA should never have to “scramble” to “justify” something. If they do, that probably means that it is a bad move that the EPA shouldn’t have supported but had to because of the politicization of every goddamn agency in Washington.

This is yet another example of how this administration has forgotten that they are supposed to be there doing the people’s business and not that of their buddies. Kind of like the AG forgetting he’s the country’s lawyer, not the president’s.

The EPA officials are supposed to be scientists, not politicians and their findings are supposed to based on fact, not on campaign contributions or ideology.

ITMFA. I mean, come on:

EPA officials initially tried to set a lower seasonal limit on ozone to protect wildlife, parks and farmland, as required under the law. While their proposal was less restrictive than what the EPA’s scientific advisers had proposed, Bush overruled EPA officials and on Tuesday ordered the agency to increase the limit, according to the documents.

“It is unprecedented and an unlawful act of political interference for the president personally to override a decision that the Clean Air Act leaves exclusively to EPA’s expert scientific judgment,” said John Walke, clean-air director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The president’s order prompted a scramble by administration officials to rewrite the regulations to avoid a conflict with past EPA statements on the harm caused by ozone.

Solicitor General Paul D. Clement warned administration officials late Tuesday night that the rules contradicted the EPA’s past submissions to the Supreme Court, according to sources familiar with the conversation. As a consequence, administration lawyers hustled to craft new legal justifications for the weakened standard.

craft new legal justifications”? that’s fucking ridiculous. what that means, in basic english is “either make up the rules as we go along or change the rules to fit our needs.” and that’s no way to run a country.

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Olbermann calls Hillary a Republican

by twit

among other things…

a video with better sound quality is available via Raw Story.

thank goodness we don’t have to restrain ourselves here.

Florida and Michigan are spoiled little brats

by lestro

Right off the bat, it is important to mention that I am not a fan of Florida. Most years I find myself rooting for hurricanes as they take aim on what Homer Simpson once called ‘America’s wang.’ I have nothing against Michigan, however.

This year, Florida and Michigan are acting like spoiled children who purposefully broke a toy and want a new one.

Late last year those two states voted to move their primaries ahead of every other state in an attempt to boost their own importance. It wasn’t enough that both play important roles in the fall, they wanted to be first.

The parties, looking at the already front-loaded schedule and the lateness of the attempt to leapfrog over everyone else, made the right decision and told the states that it would not be allowed and there would be consequences for their actions.

But Michigan and Florida threw a big ole tantrum and then not only took their balls and went home, they threw their balls onto the roof, moving their primaries to the front of the line, sticking their tongues out at the national parties and daring them to do something.

Now they want a new ball.

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i’ll say it

by twit

she’s a devil-bitch.

Now that Hillary Clinton is predicted to lose the Texas primary to Obama, we get treated to this chatter from the internets:

The Texas Democratic Party is warning that its March 4 caucuses could be delayed or disrupted after aides to White House hopeful Hillary Clinton raised the specter of an “imminent” lawsuit over its complicated delegate selection process, officials said Thursday night.

Nice how the lawsuit talk starts when they are behind in the polls.

Texas party officials said they believed Cecil was threatening legal action and wrote a letter to him and to Obama senior strategist Steve Hildebrand reflecting that concern.

… The letter also noted that many of Clinton’s senior campaign advisers in Texas had helped to develop the rules governing the state’s caucus system. A Texas party official also noted that former President Clinton won the state’s caucuses in 1992 and 1996 following the same rules.

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Bush tries reverse psychology, fails miserably

by twit

Via Think Progress Feb 10, 2008:

In an interview with Fox News, President Bush argued that if his agenda and record are made central issues in the upcoming presidential election, then the Republican nominee stands “a better chance of winning” because the election won’t be about him:

My attitude is, so long as they’re talking about me, we have a better chance of winning because our candidate will — what’s going to matter is not the past but the future when it comes to campaigns.

If the Democrat Party feels like they can win an election by focusing on me, I think they’d be making a huge tactical mistake. But I hope they do that then because our candidate will be able to talk about the future.

Videos and the punchline after the jump…

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Since when are we not allowed to call Hillary a pimp?

by twit

NBC NEWS STATEMENT REGARDING CHELSEA CLINTON COMMENT:

On Thursday’s “Tucker” on MSNBC, David Shuster, who was serving as guest-host of the program, made a comment about Chelsea Clinton and the Clinton campaign that was irresponsible and inappropriate. Shuster, who apologized this morning on MSNBC and will again this evening, has been suspended from appearing on all NBC News broadcasts, other than to make his apology. He has also extended an apology to the Clinton family. NBC News takes these matters seriously, and offers our sincere regrets to the Clintons for the remarks.

but the comment wasn’t about Chelsea. it was about Hillary being a pimp. Since when are we not allowed to call Hillary a pimp?

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Fuck NOW

by twit

I managed to avoid reading this all day long, but then Slog had to go and make it impossible to miss while scrolling along:

Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard. Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few. Women have buried their anger that his support for the compromises in No Child Left Behind and the Medicare bogus drug benefit brought us the passage of these flawed bills. We have thanked him for his ardent support of many civil rights bills, BUT women are always waiting in the wings. And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman president, just not “this” one).

just going to let this marinate for a second…

ahem.

YOU’VE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!!!!!!

That division of NOW once gave me an award a long time ago, back when I was a campus advocate and made it my mission to deny that feminism was a movement of women versus men. I campaigned against the idea that a woman or any person could be judged by their gender instead of their personal character. To see it implied that Hillary must be supported above a male candidate simply because she is a woman, it feels like NOW has committed the worst form of betrayal to the fundamental principles of feminism. Read more of this post

I don’t want to call Hillary Clinton a bitch, but…

by twit by twit

sometimes it’s the little things that say so much. For example, if you promise to stay away from Florida because the state was naughty and moved its primary ahead without the blessing of the DNC…

From The New York Times on Jan 27 2008:

“Although Senator Obama did not remove his name from the Florida primary ballot because Florida law did not allow him to do so, Senator Obama is firm in his commitment to neither participate nor campaign in the Florida primary and its outcome has no bearing on the nomination contest,” Mr. Obama’s campaign said in a memorandum sent to “interested parties.”

yes, yes, of course…

Mrs. Clinton is scheduled to fly here on Sunday for two fund-raisers. Although the events are not open to the press or public — her aides said she would attend no public event that would result in her breaking her word — her arrival here the day after the South Carolina vote seems likely to produce coverage on Florida television stations and newspapers on the day before the vote. On Friday, her campaign issued a statement saying that she would urge her delegates at the Democratic convention this summer to seat the Florida delegation.

yes, yes, of course…

From The Associated Press on Jan 27 2008:

Though the Democratic presidential candidates largely have heeded the national party’s request that they not campaign publicly in Florida, Clinton said it’s time to pay attention to voters there who are showing heavy interest in Tuesday’s primary.

Change the rules at the last minute, parse the meaning of a clear statement until it is meaningless and be ready to justify the appearance of impropriety with a vague populist appeal. What a lovely combination for someone campaigning to lead the free world. I continue to search for exactly what it is about Hillary Clinton’s campaign that makes so many people recoil with a visceral and near-instinctive negative reaction. Maybe it is the little stories like these that have added up over time and feed the inexplicably amorphous sense of misgiving and distrust. Read more of this post

Bananas

by twit

First, there was this rumbling from the LA Times blog on January 15, 2008:

“Not that it’s going to diminish her ambition to live there again, but Hillary Clinton says she views the White House as something of a prison.”

Then, there was this from Breitbart today:

Clinton also said she was asked by other women “all the time” about what to do with unfaithful husbands.

“I say you have to be true to yourself, no one story is the same as any other story,” she said.

“‘I don’t know your reality. I cannot possibly substitute my judgment for yours, but what I can tell you is you must be true to yourself, you have to do what is right for you.’”

All this made possible today by The Tyra Banks Show. The Hillary YouTube channel promises its own dramatic footage, but at present, there is instead a video that talks about how cool Chelsea is, how original the Hillary is, whoop. ee. the. inspiration…

and if you dare try to escape that, you might fall into the rabbithole of playlists and propaganda from Clinton, Inc.

So here I am, driven half-mad by listening to Hillary give a ‘relaxed’ interview in the ‘ridin’-on-the-bus’ genre, that I dare not watch because the combo of watching a rocking countryside go by in the background is more than this chick can bear at the minute.

So I have a question for the brilliant genies out there who might be able to explain why we would ever want someone who thinks the White House is like a prison to have the responsibility of running it. Or someone who could seem so callous as to compare the lap of luxury at 1600 Pennsylvania to prison. Haven’t we had enough of the bubbled-in mentality? Don’t we want someone who believes they can make a difference?

As to the bit about those unfaithful husbands, I get what she is trying to say, the standard “You are the one with the most information about the situation and are therefore in the best position to decide what to do.” Classic empowerment chitchat, but instead of quitting while ahead, it seems to run amok.

One of the holy screeds of crisis intervention, as I understand it at least, is that the idea of responding to a random request for help is to give people a sense of their options. Telling people what they “must” and “have” to do is out of bounds.

So until the video evidence can be carefully examined and reviewed, such is the rant.

UPDATE: oh, oh, the video… she never doubted bubba’s love. never? not even a teensy weensy little bit?

hmm… I can’t get the video from Wonkette to embed.

Thus concludes the pundit improv session for the night.

why i hate the aclu

by twit

“In an effort to help Sen. Larry Craig, the American Civil Liberties Union is arguing that people who have sex in public bathrooms have an expectation of privacy.”

From TBO.com on January 15, 2008:

Craig, of Idaho, is asking the Minnesota Court of Appeals to let him withdraw his guilty plea to disorderly conduct stemming from a bathroom sex sting at the Minneapolis airport.

The ACLU filed a brief Tuesday supporting Craig. It cited a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling 38 years ago that found that people who have sex in closed stalls in public restrooms “have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

public restrooms. expectation of privacy.

That means the state cannot prove Craig was inviting an undercover officer to have sex in public, the ACLU wrote.

::: crickets :::

… The ACLU argued that even if Craig was inviting the officer to have sex, his actions wouldn’t be illegal.

“The government cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Senator Craig was inviting the undercover officer to engage in anything other than sexual intimacy that would not have called attention to itself in a closed stall in the public restroom,” the ACLU wrote in its brief.

the ACLU is arguing that sex in public bathrooms is ok and to solicit sex in bathrooms is ok. what’s the definition of sexual harassment? a little wrong place at the wrong time, a little disorderly conduct in inappropriate public venues?

The ACLU also noted that Craig was originally charged with interference with privacy, which it said was an admission by the state that people in the bathroom stall expect privacy.

It’s called GET A ROOM.

see “uh oh here comes the waiter” @ about 2:35 via YouTube:

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