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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, September 05, 2009


Of all the Dems hosting townhalls disrupted by by the crazies, perhaps Al Franken is the best equipped to handle it. Sure, he's a relatively new politician, but he's also been handling hecklers for 30 years.

Friday, September 04, 2009

A Bushie in the dock?

This is about all the causeless detentions of Muslim US citizens after 9/11. Wow.
A federal appeals court delivered a stinging rebuke Friday to the Bush administration's post-Sept. 11 detention policies, ruling that former Attorney General John Ashcroft can be held liable for people who were wrongfully detained as material witnesses after 9/11.


What's it going to be like in a classroom when the teacher says, "we're not going to watch a speech by the President. Thomas, Franklin, Jill, your parents have asked that you not watch this."

And then Thomas, Franklin, and Jill have to get up to leave the class. How do the other students react? How do they feel?

I find it hard to believe such an opt out is gonna be a majority most places....

Thought for the Day - 2

Predicting election results 14 months out is so much more than foolishness.

How'd that Clinton-Giuliani presidential race turn out?

Thought for the Day

No public voice questions the premise that Congresspeople's first priority should be holding onto their jobs above all else.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

So outta control

This is just nuts.

Politico has a version, too.

If you ever wanted a test case of the power of the right wing media machine, this is it. The President of the United States is going to deliver a puff piece "work hard, stay in school" speech, and the idiots on the ground have been convinced that it's all an evil plot to destroy their children.

(If you're seriously worried that one in-class speech by the President might "indoctrinate" your child, you've done a really crappy job raising them.)

Later: Add this AP version, and one from USAToday.

Quote - Unbelievable

Pat Buchanann writes an unbelievable opinion piece saying WWII was not Hitler's fault.
But where is the evidence that Adolf Hitler, whose victims as of March 1939 were a fraction of Gen. Pinochet's, or Fidel Castro's, was out to conquer the world?....

Because Hitler wanted to end the war in 1940, almost two years before the trains began to roll to the camps.

See, according to Buchanan, none of it was Hitler's fault. If only the world had recognized Hitler as a man of peace, he wouldn't have had to kill millions of Jews, gypsies, and "undesirables.".

(And, Do like that minimization of the Holocaust? The attempted programmatic genocide of millions is reduced to the image if a train pulling into a station.)

A headline sadly not meant as a joke

NYTimes: Conservatives See Need for Serious Health Debate

It's not the same as Iraq

It really seems odd to me that the press seems to want to report a pressure on Obama to exit Afghanistan, but it's not my experience that that pressure is really out there.

Besides George Will's overhyped piece, have you run across lots of screeds against the Afghan war? Are there anti-Afghan war protests? Do you see bumperstickers? Have you run into any conversations where someone is animatedly describing a need to get out of Afghanistan?

No, I sincerely doubt you have, and yet you read headlines like today's NYTimes top story, G.O.P. Support May Be Vital to Obama on Afghan War, and you'd think there's a movement.

There was real, very real anti-Iraq sentiment from well before that war started, and I can't tell you how many years it took before it was a top headline on the NYTimes, (aluminum tubes) and now they seem to be almost ginning up stories about Afghan war pressure.

It just feels so wrong. They can't even find a protest to hang the story on.


A ture climate change response would involve a substantial economic reordering. Thus, it's no surprise that those currently in control have blocked it.

(Climate change is a classic example of "the public space" problem of capitalism where incentives are individual, but costs are collective.)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Levi Johnston tells a little

Vanity Fair has a teaser with quotes for a Levi Johnston "tell some" article that's coming out soon.

One of the excerpts seems pretty close to the "Trig was Bristol's, not Sarah Palin's baby" theory.

And, has Palin been made a fool of?

Take a quick read. According to this, that unbelievable Palin invitation to address Asian investment bankers was a joke.

I don't know if this invitation is real or a joke, but if it is a joke, and she's been made the butt of that huge international joke that was reported as literal by so many US news outlets, her reputation has taken another huge hit.

If I see more, I'll update.

Picture of the Day

(Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon examines an ice-core he pulled from the polar ice with scientists in Norway Monday Sept. 1, 2009. (AP PHoto/Mark Garten/UN))

Related, Having watched too many "meteor hits the earth" movies: (AFP) UN chief visits 'doomsday' seed vault in Arctic.


It's really quite astounding just how far the GOP's insular "base" feedback machine has dragged them.

On September 8, President Obama is planning to make a speech available to all schools for broadcast. The topic is the importance of education and the connected materials suggest that teachers use the speech to talk to the kids about education and opportunity. (So, it's like a giant national "stay in school" assembly.)

Now, read how the CHAIRMAN of the Florida GOP views it (in his own press release.)
Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer today released the following statement condemning President Obama’s use of taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate America’s children to his socialist agenda....

I mean, seriously.... How far inside the crazy sphere do you have to be, to be the chairman of a huge state's party and send out this sort of crazy s**t?

Understatement in today's political environment.

In her interview Wednesday on NBC's "Today" show, (Homeland Security Secretary) Napolitano was asked why the government isn't requiring all Americans to get the swine flu vaccine, once it's available. "Because health programs generally aren't mandatory, and you get pushback to that," she replied.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Can't look away

The PAC supported "TeaParty" buses stop in Nevada.

(PS. You gotta love the woman in the red, white and blue at the end telling the black singer, "I don't care if you're pink with blue polkadots as long as your American and love America" apropos of nothing but her own racism. (2:50))

Inside Washington versus the rest of us.

Most Americans don't care who wins the governorships in other states.


A somewhat poorly structured NYTimes piece on AG Eric Holder trying to undo the Bush admin's damage to the Civil Rights division. (I say "poorly structured" because the damage and solutions are not very clearly expressed.)

(ABC) An ex-Vice President no longer receiving intelligence briefings makes some statements that we're "less safe," and it's news everywhere for days.

The current National Security Adviser says the US is actually taking out more terrorists, and it doesn't even get noticed.

And, (BBC) The EU is phasing out incandescent lightbulbs by 2012.


If the CIA had simply "disappeared" and tortured Khalid Sheik Muhammed off the books, I don't think much of anyone would be complaining.

The political problem is that they tried to broaden and institutionalize torture, rendition, and harsh treatment.

(I'm not making a statement on torture, but on the politics.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Worth a read

I'm not sure I'm fully on board with the ultimate conclusion that Afghanistan is more or less lost, but Juan Cole's analysis that the recent Afghan/Pakistan incidents of violence represent a struggle over supply lines is pretty interesting and well worth a read.

Thought for the Day

By the end, even George Bush didn't support Dick Cheney's positions.

The dumbest person in the room

You really gotta wonder about this moment,
(Sarah Palin) The former Alaska governor will visit Hong Kong to address the CLSA Investors Forum, a well-known annual conference of global investment managers, the host announced Monday.

Bodies turning up in Pakistan

A weird BBC story about the bodies of Pakistani militants showing up mysteriously with gunshot wounds in the Swat valley. 150 over the last month.


Tom Ridge tries to back off his claim that the Bush folks tried to get him to raise the terror level for political reasons right before the 2004 election.

Let's remember. This isn't some idle or offhand comment. This is an allegation made in his book that he certainly read and reread more than once. Not only was it in the book, but it was highlighted and included in the pre-press to help Ridge land bookselling interviews.

...and now he backs off it?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The TARP refuseniks can kiss my ass

Thus far, the government is turning a profit on the TARP money coming back.

PS. C'mon, NYTimes. Where's my mention of all the Republicans who spoke so hyperbolically against this essential action?

Where is the mention that the House Republicans actually killed the first attempt at TARP? Remember? John McCain suspends his campaign? Boehner and House Republicans torpedoed the deal? Financial markets looking at ruin? Remember all that?

Japan turns over

I don't know Japan well enough to tell you what this means, but for the DPJ to take control of the country after almost 50 years of LDP rule has to have some effect.

(And it's a big swing, too. The Japanese Parliament has 480 seats. Prior to this election, it was DPJ 112, LDP 303. It's expected that after the election, the DPJ will have 300 seats. That's a massive turnaround, especially with the history of LDP dominance.)


What does it say that I would have been a wise investor if, last year, I had sold my house and all my stock, and bought guns and bullets by the trailer load? They're up, up, up.

A moment of Glenn Beck insight

If, for some reason, you want a look inside the delusions of Glenn Beck, this is about as close as you'll get.