Friday, September 25, 2009

The Daily Show: Everyone's guilty but Rod...

The best part is the audience laughter.

To paraphrase Jon, Rod comes off very good in his own book.

Part 1:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Rod Blagojevich Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Part 2:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Rod Blagojevich Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Part 3:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Rod Blagojevich Extended Interview Pt. 3
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

TPM: White Supremacists know how to buy TV Time...late at night.

So, Orly Taitz's main rival in the Birth--

Naah, let's call it what it is.

Orly Taitz's main rival in the White Supremacist offshoot known as Birtherism has got himself an Informercial. TPM has been doing extensive coverage of the Informercial, complete with a link to the complete program. Video which you will not find here, since I'm not helping their racist !@#% out.

I was going to single out (as I always do) the State of Texas for particular scorn since Lubbock was the first town to air this filth last night. Turns out, I would have been mistaken because (for once) it ain't just Texas. If you are living in one of the following towns, one of your local TV stations may be assisting in an active program to undermine and/or harm the lawfully elected President of the United States:

  • Chattanoga, TN
  • Memphis, TN
  • Shreveport, LA
  • Springfield, MO
  • Abilene, TX
  • Lubbock, TX
  • Macon, GA
  • Savannah, GA
  • Huntsville, AL
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Tallahasseee, FL

Wow. It is just me, or is this particular branch of Southern California White Power (and they are based mere , airing this thing exclusively below the Mason-Dixon?

Well, you got me. It ain't just me. TPM figured it out a while ago.

Gary Kreep (perfect name, by the way) of the United States Justice Foundation is based out here in SoCal. Where, I don't know. Five'll get you ten that it's somewhere in Orange County.

The Media Blind spot...

McClatchy Newspapers makes the connection that others do not, and I thank them for it:

President Barack Obama sprinted through appearances on five consecutive news shows last Sunday, but other African-American lawmakers and opinion-shapers have a hard time getting face time on those programs.

Although an African-American is serving as the third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, four African-Americans are chairing important House committees and 17 other Congressional Black Caucus members are holding subcommittee chairs, they haven't made many appearances on the Sunday talk-show circuit.

"There hasn't been much change," said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., the chair of the black caucus. "You need a diversity of opinion, of thought, and we're not getting that on the (Sunday) talk shows."

So lemme get this straight...(VIDEO)

School-age children singing to President Obama...bad.

School-age children worshipping (and speaking in tongues) at a cardboard cutout of President Bush...good.

Please, please don't tell me there's not a double standard associated with our current President. And please don't tell me it's not racially based.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Biden at Leisure World... (VIDEO)

I can close my eyes, and I know exactly how to drive to Leisure World (Onley, MD?) from my old house in P.G. County.

TPM: The FBI would like us to calm down...

The FBI is starting to push back against some of the stories floating out there about the Sparkman Murder. (And I'm still calling it a murder. Whether or not he was killed because he was working for the Census is way up in the air, but I doubt, even with these new details, that it was a suicide.)

As long as they're not abandoning the investigation (and they're not), fine. They can work in total secrecy if needs be. Just tell us what you know at the end of the day (by which I mean, the investigation).

Bill Sparkman, the Census worker found dead in Kentucky recently was not found hanging from a tree, according to an FBI spokesman. Rather, David Beyer told TPMmuckraker, Sparkman's feet were planted on the ground. A rope around Sparkman's neck was attached to a tree.

An anonymously sourced AP report said that Sparkman was hanging from a tree, and that he had the word "Fed" scrawled on his chest.

Beyer, a spokesman with the FBI's Louisville, Kentucky filed office, declined to comment on the accuracy of the "Fed" detail. But he was at pains to ratchet back speculation that Sparkman was killed in an act of anti-government sentiment, saying that investigators had not yet determined even whether the death was a homicide.

Previous reporting "left the impression that [Sparkman] was found strung up in a tree because he was a federal employee," Beyer said. "At this juncture that's not accurate." Beyer added that Sparkman died of asphyxiation.

Earlier this afternoon, a state police spokesman told Greg Sargent at the Plum Line that the AP report contained errors, and that Sparkman was "in contact with the ground" when he was found.


Following up on Rahm's non-comment today (also reported in the Huffington Post and the Hill), we now have:

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), saying that Rahm is wrong about the Public Option...

...and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) both saying that we're going to get a Public Option.

Either these three men (only one of whom -- Brown -- I consider a true Liberal) are putting themselves waaay out on a limb here, or...they know something we don't.

Oh, and here is some lovely video of Rockefeller tearing into Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ), calling him a whore for the Insurance Senate-speak, of course:

And finally, according to Huffington Post (whom I'll always kick around, but cite when they know...actual news), the Public Option Amendment is being debated tomorrow.

At the end of the day, Progressives will have one of two things:

Either a Public Option in the Finance Committee Bill.


The names of Democrats who are going to require a Primary Challenge in their next elections.

And if Rockefeller's Amendment doesn't make it this time, worry not. He'll get plenty of other chances when:

They merge the HELP Committee (that has the PO) and Finance Commitee Bills...

...When the Final Senate Bill hits the Floor...

...and in the Conference Bill merges the House Bill (with a PO) with whatever the Senate passes.

It's the 3rd Quarter people...

...or Seventh Inning, depending on your sports metaphor.

TPM: New details on the Sparkman Murder, and none of them necessarily good...

1) Sparkman, a part-time Census Worker found dead on September 12th may not have been hanged, as his body was in partial contact with the ground.

2) Sparkman was apparently warned by a retired Trooper not to do his work in some parts of rural Kentucky.

"I said, you're going into rural Kentucky, isolated areas. Be careful over there -- people may not understand that you're there to gather statistics."

Sparkman's death, to me, is still looking like a homicide, but an Anti-Federal Hate Crime motive is still way up in the air.

TPM hires Huffington Post's Headline Writers...

So, we have this story, currently on TPM's Blog:

Don't Blame the White House?

Rahm: Public option will not make it through the Senate.

But click the story, and you see this headline:

Emanuel Pessimistic On Public Option In Senate

And further down the story, comes the key 'graph:

Appearing on Charlie Rose last night, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel sounded less than optimistic that the Senate's health care reform bill would include a public option.

"I think the Senate's been clear what the prospects [are]," Emanuel said. "That doesn't mean in the House, they're not gonna come to the table and demand it."

He also wouldn't say for sure whether there will be a public option in the final legislation.

"It has to be what the conference has to negotiate," he said.

How is this news?

I don't need TPM participating in the same kind of hackery that Huffington Post does occasionally, and the SMSM does nearly all the damn time.

The story is the story. Nothing changed from before this story was written. It was coming down to Conference before this. It's coming down to Conference after. Rahm just confirmed it, that's all.

"Assembled Thugs, Dictators, and Hypocrites."

Just Andrew Sullivan reacting to the Neocon's view of Obama's speech from yesterday.

As with much of the rest of the Obama presidency, we do not know yet. But I agree with Packer that so far, Obama seems more JFK than LBJ in foreign affairs (except that it was his predecessor who revealed the limits of swagger in global politics rather than himself). So far, it appears that the Israelis, playing the game they think is still apposite, have no interest in cooperating with the US. Netanyahu believes his contempt for the American president is risk-free because Israel has a lock on the US Congress on the issues that matter to it. Obama's counter is to reiterate his views on the settlement question and to up the ante by proposing final status talks right away. We have no idea where this will end up. And it will be impossible to call Netanyahu's bluff if the Palestinians decide to miss yet another opportunity. But it's a process, and the US is still very much in the game. And one suspects Netanyahu has not yet absorbed the shift going on - even in Congress.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

MSNBC: Rachel Maddow on the Census Killing (VIDEO)

"I don't think Federal Law Enforcement would still be involved, a week and a half after the body was been found if there wasn't still that very serious concern..."

The Justice Department isn't saying jack, which is fine. Work the case. Nail down the details. Tell us when you've got something.

HuffPo: Census Worker murdered...

From the Huffington Post, via the AP.

And yes, I blame the extremist rhetoric of Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachmann for this happening.

The FBI is investigating the hanging death of a U.S. Census worker near a Kentucky cemetery, and a law enforcement official told The Associated Press the word 'fed" was scrawled on the dead man's chest.

The body of Bill Sparkman, a 51-year-old part-time Census field worker and occasional teacher, was found Sept. 12 in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky. The Census has suspended door-to-door interviews in rural Clay County, where the body was found, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Investigators are still trying to determine whether the death was a killing or a suicide, and if a killing, whether the motive was related to his government job or to anti-government sentiment.

MSNBC: Obama's Speech before the United Nations 9/23/2009 (VIDEO)

Okay, I guess what separates this one from the speech yesterday is the topic, the length, and the fact that he went to the other chamber, the Security Council.

The full text of the speech can be found here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And remember, he's still under indictment... (VIDEO)

Yeah, I'm talking about the newest star of Dancing with the Stars, Tom Delay...

...aka Hot Tub Tom...

...aka The Exterminator...

...aka The Hammer...

Good times.

This has been making the rounds, so why not join in?

Finally got ahold of the proper format, so FB Friends, forgive me for repeating.

Ambinder: All about Afghanistan...

Ambiner says the President was "ratfucked".


And wouldn't you know it was Bob Woodward who did the...well, deed.

As he made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows, President Obama made one thing clear when asked about whether he'd send more troops to Afghanistan: the question was moot because Gen. Stanley McChrystal, his top commander in Afghanistan, hadn't yet asked requested any more troops.

But in McChrystal's confidential assessment, which was leaked to the Washington Post this weekend, the general makes clear his intention: "Broadly speaking, we require more Civilian and military resources, more ANSF, and more ISR and other enablers."

In plain language, that sounds like a request for more troops.

And so now, the president has been taken hostage, thanks to the leaker -- and it must have been an experienced leaker, because the timing was exquisite. So long as there is deniability -- so long as the White House exercised control over the framing of the report -- the president retained some measure of control over the political balance. Whoever leaked the document decided that the Commander in Chief did not deserve the latitude that he had claimed. The colloquial term for this in Washington is, and you'll pardon me, that the president was ratfucked.

An administration official pointed to several sentences in the review that prioritize fleshing out of a new strategy, including this line from the executive summary: "Additional resources are required, but focusing on force or resource requirements misses the point entirely. The key take away from this assessment is the urgent need for a significant change to our strategy and the way that we think and operate." But Obama bears some responsibility for the predicament he is in. During the presidential campaign, he called Afghanistan the "good war." He repeatedly promised to give "commanders on the ground" the utmost consideration. In March, he announced what he called a "new strategy," one that called on NATO to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future. "That's the goal that must be achieved."

Leaving aside the real constraints of domestic politics -- a skeptical Democratic Congress and a war-weary public, the heart of the internal administration conflict is whether a plausible Afghanistan strategy exists in universe. Simply put, the White House -- principally Vice President Biden and Gen. James Jones -- don't want to commit more troops to the region unless they can prevent the Taliban from taking over the government, now and in the future. Biden, in particular, argued against a "counterinsurgency for counterterrorism" strategy as overambitious and unsustainable. The deeply flawed election in Afghanistan, which, most importantly, was seen as deeply flawed by the Afghans, seems to have been the breaking point: the central government was not only corrupt, not only weak, and not only barely legitimate outside of Kabul; it was so weak and so corruptible that it would not even be able to sustain the standing army that NATO troops were desperately trying to train. Who was the U.S. fighting for? A weak, inept, ineffectual and ultimately disposable government? Implicit in this argument is that a strategy predicated on there being an alternative to the Taliban is like a hamster spinning on a wheel. In that case, removing the incentives for the Taliban to be radicalized and destroying the leadership of Al Qaeda -- basically, bribing people and killing people, and doing so indefinitely, but with irregular and special operations forces -- is the alternative. The Biden alternative focuses on the intricate connections between India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Briefly put, Pakistan facilitates the Taliban and various insurgencies in Afghanistan because it preserves the option of living space to the north -- part of the grand goal of turning Pakistan into a haven for Islam. Kashmir's fate is crucial to this dynamic. But India won't talk about Kashmir; Pakistan won't -- can't -- truly cut off ties with the Taliban until Kashmir is dealt with -- and the U.S seems to have no leverage whatsoever.

What are the alternatives? An intense, low-level war of attrition between NATO forces and the Taliban forever? Or a concerted effort by the US, Russia, Iran and China to essentially force India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmiri dispute, combined with massive amounts of direct aid to Pakistan, combined with a massive influx of intelligence assets into the region, combined with the bribing of willing and bribable Taliban commanders? Basically, instead of focusing on Afghan civillians, this strategy would make it as expensive as possible for a Taliban leader to decide not to ally with the United States. In other words -- counterterrorism as counterinsurgency, and not the other way around.

As Washington synthesizes the new report and tries to gauge its effect on the administration, speculation naturally redounds to the source of the leaker. Various theories have been put forth; let's put aside Occam's razor and assume that McChrystal and his staff didn't just give the document to Woodward. Theory one: Woodward traveled with Gen. Jim Jones recently, so Jones gave him the report. Probably not: the trip was in July, before the review was finished. Admiral Mike Mullen's staff, anxious about White House dithering, leaked the report with Mullen's blessing. Probably not: Mullen shares Jones's concerns about mission drift and is counseling caution. The more probable communities of suspects: senior Pentagon civilian holdovers, lifers, who've cooperated with Woodward before and who have a stake in McChrystal's counterinsurgency doctrine; war planners at Centcom, or the large cadre of defense consultants with clearance.

This leak [is] not, in other words, a shot in an ongoing conflict between the military and civilians. It's between those who are invested in the success of McChrystal's endeavor and those who harbor growing concerns about over-investing in a strategy that might not work.

I don't know if the President is as boxed into a corner as Ambers says he is. Sounds to me like he's drawing a line in a sand, and demanding a strategy before he commits to anything; but he does want to get the people who hits on 9/11. He repeated as much on Letterman last night.

But, of course, things are coming to a head, and maybe not in the way people expect.

The Hill: Warning Shot...

Harry Reid (yeah, that Harry Reid) lays down the law:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) gave Republicans his most direct warning to date that he is prepared to use a procedural maneuver to pass healthcare reform with a simple majority.

Reid told Republicans that he would prefer to pass healthcare reform under regular order but warned that he would not hesitate to use budget reconciliation if the legislation stalled in committee. The Senate Finance Committee began marking up a sprawling healthcare reform bill on Tuesday morning.

“If we can’t work this out to do something within the committee structure, then we’ll be forced to do reconciliation,” said Reid, who said the tactic would be used as a “last resort.”

As blockbuster as this is being treated by both The Hill and Huffington Post, it's nothing he hasn't said before. Besides, this is more of an admonition to keep things moving, rather than threatening over a particular part of the bill (i.e. everyone's favorite whuppin' boy, the Public Option).

MSNBC: Obama's Speech before the United Nations 9/22/2009 (VIDEO)

Good morning. I want to thank the Secretary-General for organizing this summit, and all the leaders who are participating. That so many of us are here today is a recognition that the threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing. Our generation's response to this challenge will be judged by history, for if we fail to meet it - boldly, swiftly, and together - we risk consigning future generations to an irreversible catastrophe.

No nation, however large or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change. Rising sea levels threaten every coastline. More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent. More frequent drought and crop failures breed hunger and conflict in places where hunger and conflict already thrive. On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees. The security and stability of each nation and all peoples - our prosperity, our health, our safety - are in jeopardy. And the time we have to reverse this tide is running out.

And yet, we can reverse it. John F. Kennedy once observed that "Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man." It is true that for too many years, mankind has been slow to respond to or even recognize the magnitude of the climate threat. It is true of my own country as well. We recognize that. But this is a new day. It is a new era. And I am proud to say that the United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months than at any other time in our history.

We're making our government's largest ever investment in renewable energy - an investment aimed at doubling the generating capacity from wind and other renewable resources in three years. Across America, entrepreneurs are constructing wind turbines and solar panels and batteries for hybrid cars with the help of loan guarantees and tax credits - projects that are creating new jobs and new industries. We're investing billions to cut energy waste in our homes, buildings, and appliances - helping American families save money on energy bills in the process. We've proposed the very first national policy aimed at both increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks - a standard that will also save consumers money and our nation oil. We're moving forward with our nation's first offshore wind energy projects. We're investing billions to capture carbon pollution so that we can clean up our coal plants. Just this week, we announced that for the first time ever, we'll begin tracking how much greenhouse gas pollution is being emitted throughout the country. Later this week, I will work with my colleagues at the G20 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies so that we can better address our climate challenge. And already, we know that the recent drop in overall U.S. emissions is due in part to steps that promote greater efficiency and greater use of renewable energy.

Most importantly, the House of Representatives passed an energy and climate bill in June that would finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy for American businesses and dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One committee has already acted on this bill in the Senate and I look forward to engaging with others as we move forward.

Because no one nation can meet this challenge alone, the United States has also engaged more allies and partners in finding a solution than ever before. In April, we convened the first of what have now been six meetings of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate here in the United States. In Trinidad, I proposed an Energy and Climate Partnership for the Americas. We've worked through the World Bank to promote renewable energy projects and technologies in the developing world. And we have put climate at the top of our diplomatic agenda when it comes to our relationships with countries from China to Brazil; India to Mexico; Africa to Europe.

Taken together, these steps represent an historic recognition on behalf of the American people and their government. We understand the gravity of the climate threat. We are determined to act. And we will meet our responsibility to future generations.

But though many of our nations have taken bold actions and share in this determination, we did not come here today to celebrate progress. We came because there is so much more progress to be made. We came because there is so much more work to be done.

It is work that will not be easy. As we head towards Copenhagen, there should be no illusions that the hardest part of our journey is in front of us. We seek sweeping but necessary change in the midst of a global recession, where every nation's most immediate priority is reviving their economy and putting their people back to work. And so all of us will face doubts and difficulties in our own capitals as we try to reach a lasting solution to the climate challenge.

But difficulty is no excuse for complacency. Unease is no excuse for inaction. And we must not allow the perfect to become the enemy of progress. Each of us must do what we can when we can to grow our economies without endangering our planet - and we must all do it together. We must seize the opportunity to make Copenhagen a significant step forward in the global fight against climate change.

We also cannot allow the old divisions that have characterized the climate debate for so many years to block our progress. Yes, the developed nations that caused much of the damage to our climate over the last century still have a responsibility to lead. And we will continue to do so - by investing in renewable energy, promoting greater efficiency, and slashing our emissions to reach the targets we set for 2020 and our long-term goal for 2050.

But those rapidly-growing developing nations that will produce nearly all the growth in global carbon emissions in the decades ahead must do their part as well. Some of these nations have already made great strides with the development and deployment of clean energy. Still, they will need to commit to strong measures at home and agree to stand behind those commitments just as the developed nations must stand behind their own. We cannot meet this challenge unless all the largest emitters of greenhouse gas pollution act together. There is no other way.

We must also energize our efforts to put other developing nations - especially the poorest and most vulnerable - on a path to sustainable growth. These nations do not have the same resources to combat climate change as countries like the United States or China do, but they have the most immediate stake in a solution. For these are the nations that are already living with the unfolding effects of a warming planet - famine and drought; disappearing coastal villages and the conflict that arises from scarce resources. Their future is no longer a choice between a growing economy and a cleaner planet, because their survival depends on both. It will do little good to alleviate poverty if you can no longer harvest your crops or find drinkable water.

That is why we have a responsibility to provide the financial and technical assistance needed to help these nations adapt to the impacts of climate change and pursue low-carbon development.

What we are seeking, after all, is not simply an agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. We seek an agreement that will allow all nations to grow and raise living standards without endangering the planet. By developing and disseminating clean technology and sharing our know-how, we can help developing nations leap-frog dirty energy technologies and reduce dangerous emissions.

As we meet here today, the good news is that after too many years of inaction and denial, there is finally widespread recognition of the urgency of the challenge before us. We know what needs to be done. We know that our planet's future depends on a global commitment to permanently reduce greenhouse gas pollution. We know that if we put the right rules and incentives in place, we will unleash the creative power of our best scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to build a better world. And so many nations have already taken the first steps on the journey towards that goal.

But the journey is long. The journey is hard. And we don't have much time left to make it. It is a journey that will require each of us to persevere through setback, and fight for every inch of progress, even when it comes in fits and starts. So let us begin. For if we are flexible and pragmatic; if we can resolve to work tirelessly in common effort, then we will achieve our common purpose: a world that is safer, cleaner, and healthier than the one we found; and a future that is worthy of our children. Thank you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Letterman's Top Ten (VIDEO)

10. Heard the lady with the heart shaped potato was gonna be here.
9. Thought it would be fun to watch someone else get heckled
8. Something to do with that whole cash for clunkers deal
7. Every president since Teddy Roosevelt has done it
6. Someone offers you 600 bucks you take it ladies and gentlemen
5. We told him Megan Fox would be here
4. Needed some time to hang out before check in time at his hotel
3. I have no idea
2. Said yes, without thinking, like Bush did with Iraq.
1. Wanted to congratulate Dave on the big Emmy win.