Saturday, January 9, 2010

Must Reads

Chris Kelly: A Horrible Thing to Think About Casey Johnson

Bob Cesca: The Twisted and Dangerous Republican Record on Terrorism

Gail Collins: Oh, Byron, We Hardly Knew Ye

Bruce Schneier: Our Reaction Is the Real Security Failure

President Obama's Weekly Address - January 9, 2010

Health Reform's Benefits in 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

They Can't Help Themselves

You can't watch any cable news television nowadays without coming across a lying Republican. They just can't help themselves. It seems to be in their DNA. Whether they're talking about death panels, or a government takeover of health care, or wanting to protect Medicare in a sudden reversal of the GOP agenda to kill Medicare before health care reform was in the forefront. But the latest egregiousness really takes the cake.

America's Mayor, Rudy Giuliani was on Good Morning America today and since the GOP blue plate special has been to attack President Obama and blame him for the failed terrorist attempt of Taintman™ on Northwest Airlines flight 253 landing in Detroit, Rudy thought he'd up the stakes.

Giuliani: "What [Obama] should be doing is following the right things that Bush did -- one of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama."

I suppose Rudy forgot about 9/11, although I don't know how that's possible since "9/11" was his middle name during his pathetic presidential campaign. But to give Rudy the benefit of the doubt, maybe he's blocked the trauma. Maybe he doesn't remember running through the streets of lower Manhattan, away from the Emergency Command Center that he decided to move to the same location that was attacked in 1993. I guess he equated terrorist strikes with lightning strikes; Rudy probably thought they never strike twice in the same place.

But even if you forgive Giuliani his little slip and assume he meant to say that we had no domestic attacks under Bush post 9/11, which is now what a spokesperson for America's Mayor is saying in an attempt to pull Rudy's foot out of his big, fat mouth, it's still not true.

Does Rudy not remember the anthrax attacks in the weeks after 9/11 that killed five people? Does Rudy not remember the DC Sniper who killed ten people in October of 2002? Does he not remember Richard Reid, the failed shoe bomber in December, 2001? I certainly do every time I have to remove my shoes at the airport. Oh wait, my mistake. Rudy does remember the shoe bomber, but says that attack happened before 9/11. Just another lie by another Republican. Just like the lie Rudy told that President Obama waited 10 days before addressing the failed attack when it was three. But it's so easy for them to lie. It's in their DNA.

Does Rudy not remember the attack at Los Angeles International Airport in March of 2006 when two people were shot to death at the El Al ticket counter by an extremist in an incident that was deemed an act of international terrorism?

Of course he does. Rudy remembers all of these attacks, but he decides to deny them. He decides to remain with the Republican meme that Democrats are weak on national security although all signs point to the contrary in terms of actual attacks. Because it's easy for them to lie. It's in their DNA.

This follows on the heels of former Bushie Press Secretary Dana Perino and resident Wicked Witch of the GOP Mary Matalin pushing the same lie; that the Bush administration kept us safe from attacks... pay no attention to those fallen towers behind the curtain. And that doesn't even begin to address the daily Dick Cheney report from Politico or whatever Sunday talk show is scheduled to kiss his ass that particular week.

You can't say that the US wasn't attacked under the Bush administration while discounting the worst terrorist attack in US history. And even if you dismiss 9/11, yes, we were attacked... multiple times. And shame on the mainstream media for letting the lies go unchallenged. George Stephanopoulos has since admitted he should have followed up on the Giuliani lie, but too little too late, George.

I know that the GOP got used to creating it's own reality during those very long Bush years, but do they actually think that revisionist history is going to work on such a traumatic event as the deaths of 3,000 people in one day on their watch? And the GOP making political hay out of this and using the failed Underpants Bomber attack as an opening to malign President Obama and his administration for partisan advantage diminishes the importance of those deaths.

But then again, they just can't help themselves. Being lying jackasses seems to be in their DNA.

Lawsuit Pending?

On the northwest corner of 41st Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan, here's what I spotted on the way home.

Weatherproof did not ask permission to use President Obama's likeness, nor does the White House approve. My guess is that the billboard will be down within a day or two.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Obama Press Conference on Strengthening Intelligence and Aviation Security

President Obama: "Here at home, we will strengthen our defenses, but we will not succumb to a siege mentality that sacrifices the open society and liberties and values that we cherish as Americans, because great and proud nations don't hunker down and hide behind walls of suspicion and mistrust. That is exactly what our adversaries want, and so long as I am President, we will never hand them that victory. We will define the character of our country, not some band of small men intent on killing innocent men, women and children."

Bob Barr Defends Obama

When politicians like Bob Barr give a reasoned response and come to the defense of President Obama, you know the GOP has gone off the deep end and straight down the rabbit hole.

Yes — the not-so-bright, would-be terrorist from Nigeria got though international and domestic security mechanisms supposed to have stopped him long before the jerk lit his underwear afire before landing in Detroit. And yes — the incident happened during the administration of President Barack Obama. But the sniping at the president by Republicans, including former Vice President Cheney, and by conservative radio and TV commentators, borders on — if not passing into — asinine.
The criticism has included such childishness as blasting Obama for waiting a few days before making a national speech on the incident. For heaven’s sake, the president was briefed on the incident from the moment it occured; he made statements almost immediately indicating his concern and that he was being regularly briefed; he took time to gather the facts and meet with his national security team; and then he appeared publicly to give a rational, measured, but hard-hitting response. And for this, a former vice president criticizes him.
Partisanship truly has pervasively infected our political system when a reasonable, measured, factual, timely and substantive response by a president to a single security incident — the roots of which clearly indicate long-simmering problems that predated his tenure in office — is publicly blasted as irresponsible. In point of fact, those levelling such counterproductive attacks are the ones engaging in irresponsible behavior.

Tweet of the Day

WALSH: In May 2002 National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice complained that "no one could have imagined" al-Qaida using airplanes as weapons -- when, in fact, the U.S., and the Bush administration, had been warned of such planning many times.
...By contrast, Obama stood up and described the many missed opportunities to identify, detain and question Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab less than two weeks after the near-tragedy, but concluded: "I'm less interested in passing out blame than in learning and correcting mistakes. The buck stops with me."
Imagine President Bush doing the same thing after 9/11. I know, you can't. I couldn't either. In almost eight years, he never did.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tsutomu Yamaguchi Dies at 93

This is an amazing story. Tsutomu Yamaguchi died on Monday at the age of 93. He was the only official survivor or both Japanese atomic blasts during WWII.

Mr. Yamaguchi, as a 29-year-old engineer for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, was on a business trip in Hiroshima when the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on the morning of Aug. 6, 1945. He was getting off a streetcar when the “Little Boy” device detonated above Hiroshima.
Mr. Yamaguchi said he was less than 2 miles away from ground zero. His eardrums were ruptured and his upper torso was burned by the blast, which destroyed most of the city’s buildings and killed 80,000 people.
According to his account, he took the Last Train From Hiroshima to his hometown of Nagasaki the next day to get to his family despite being badly burned, even resorting to using a "raft" of floating dead, bloated bodies to cross a bridgeless river to get to the train.

Heavily bandaged, he returned to work on August 9th and was explaining what had happened to his fellow workers and instructed them how to survive by diving under desks, when his boss berated him for exaggerating, claiming that no such bomb exists, when...
...“suddenly the same white light filled the room,” he said in an interview last March with The Independent newspaper.
He and about 30 fellow workers, who heeded his warnings and instructions, survived the second blast which killed another 70,000 in Nagasaki. Luckily, their office was in a section of the building that was blocked by a steel reinforced staircase which cut through the shockwave like the prow of a ship cuts through the ocean waves. When they emerged from their hiding places, the rest of the building along with 300 other workers had disappeared.
“I could have died on either of those days,” Mr. Yamaguchi said in an August interview with the Mainichi Daily News. “Everything that follows is a bonus.”
...Mr. Yamaguchi recovered from his wounds, went to work for the American occupation forces, became a teacher and eventually returned to work at Mitsubishi Heavy. He was in good health for most of his life... In his later years, Mr. Yamaguchi began to speak out about the scourge of atomic weapons. He rarely gave interviews, but he wrote a memoir and was part of a 2006 documentary film about the double-bombing victims. He called for the abolition of nuclear weapons at a showing of the film at the United Nations that year.

Rep. Peter King Knows About National Security

Rep. Peter King (R-Lala-Land) sure knows how to increase our nation's security against terrorism. Just have the President use the word "terrorism" more. Boom! Easy-peasy. Now we're safe.

You are saying someone should be held accountable. Name one other specific recommendation the president could implement right now to fix this," host George Stephanopoulos said to King.
"I think one main thing would be to -- just himself to use the word terrorism more often," said King, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee.
This is the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee and that's his coup de grace in dealing with terrorism. Say "terrorism" more. BRILLIANT! And the GOP wants to be taken seriously with hackery like this.

Perhaps if President Obama rolled up his sleeves, wore a cowboy hat and walked with a swagger (or like he took a dump in his pants) as well, he could usher in world peace.

Dorgan and Ritter and Dodd, Oh My!

Within the last 24 hours we have gotten news of Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan and Colorado Governor Bill Ritter not intending to seek re-election for 2010. And now comes word that Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, whose numbers have been down in the polls and would have had a hard time winning another term, has scheduled a press conference for today in which he is expected to announce his retirement after five terms.

Dodd's seat looks safe as Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal might step in and run a little earlier than his anticipated run against Joe Lieberman in 2012, but I think you'd have to expect to lose a seat in conservative North Dakota when Dorgan steps down.

Is it really looking that bad for the Democrats in 2010? I personally don't think so. I think the teabaggers' numbers don't match their loudness, despite what certain polls say.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cartoon of the Day

Bachmann's Anti-Census Rhetoric May Bite Her In The Ass

This is a fun little tidbit of information.

The state of Minnesota could be on the verge of losing a House seat after 2010 -- and interestingly enough, it's been a while since we heard Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) talk about refusing to participate in the Census.
...according to current population estimates, Minnesota is right on the cusp of losing one of its eight seats in Congress, and will be in a close competition with Missouri, Texas and California for that district.
...Bachmann's district would likely be the first to go if the state lost a seat. The other seats are all fairly regular-shaped, logical districts built around identifiable regions of the state (Minneapolis, St. Paul, the Iron Range, and so on). Bachmann's district is made of what's left over after such a process, twisting and turning from a small strip of the Wisconsin border and curving deep into the middle of the state. As such, the obvious course of action if the state loses a seat is to split her district up among its neighbors.
Oh, wouldn't that be sweet, sweet justice?

And Wingnuts Blow A Gasket in 5... 4... 3...

President Obama Names Transgender Appointee to Commerce Department

President Obama recently named Amanda Simpson to be a Senior Technical Advisor to the Commerce Department.
In a statement, Simpson, a member of the National Center for Transgender Equality's board of directors, said that "as one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others."
Adding...  US lifts HIV/Aids immigration ban
The US has lifted a 22-year immigration ban which has stopped anyone with HIV/Aids from entering the country.
President Obama said the ban was not compatible with US plans to be a leader in the fight against the disease.
The new rules come into force on Monday and the US plans to host a bi-annual global HIV/Aids summit for the first time in 2012.
...In October, President Obama said the entry ban had been "rooted in fear rather than fact".
He said: "We lead the world when it comes to helping stem the Aids pandemic - yet we are one of only a dozen countries that still bar people with HIV from entering our own country."

Just A Thought

It seems the MSM is making a big deal out of Blue Dog Democrats switching parties, joining the GOP and the possibility of losing seats in the House. My question is, what the hell difference does it make what party affiliation they avow if they're not going to vote with the Democrats anyway?

Take for example, Rep. Bobby Bright of Alabama's 2nd District.  They sure do like him over at Church's Chicken in Andalusia, Alabama because he a "fine Christian man" even though he is a Democrat. But Bright won largely because he ran as a Democrat, the first for that district in 45 years, in a year when an overwhelming African-American vote awarded him the seat by less than a percentage point. President Obama lost the district to McCain in 2008, but Montgomery most likely won the district for Bright. But overall...

Mr. Bright has been such a purebred Blue Dog that he is practically red. He has voted with the Republicans on every significant piece of legislation of his term, including the health care overhaul, the budget and the “cap and trade” energy legislation.
So of what use is he to the Democratic Party in the House? I say if Blue Dogs want to defect the party, let them. If they think having a 'D' after your name is toxic in rural, southern conservative counties, just wait til they have a 'T' (for "Teabag") after it. They may keep their job and win their local election, but they'll be reduced to less than insignificance. And it'll only make clearer what Democratic voters need to do in 2010, 2012 and beyond.  Not just elect Democrats, but elect better Democrats.  Vote for someone who shares your beliefs and not just because they have a 'D' after their name.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dumbass Quote of the Day

Brit Hume: "The extent to which [Tiger Woods] can recover seems to me depends on his faith. He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. My message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.'"

Curtis Allina Dies at 87

Who is Curtis Allina, you may ask?  If it wasn't for Mr. Allina, we would never have had Pez™.

NY TIMES: For nearly three decades after World War II, Mr. Allina was the vice president in charge of United States operations at what is now Pez Candy. In 1955, at his urging, what had been an austerely packaged Austrian confection for adults took on vibrant new life as a children’s product.
That year, the first character dispensers, as they are known in the parlance of Peziana, were issued, giving birth to what is today a highly collectible pop-cultural artifact. Instantly recognizable, the dispensers are slim plastic containers, usually anthropomorphic in design, whose heads — modeled after those of TV characters, cartoon figures or historical personages — flip back to disgorge brick-shaped pieces of candy.

Douchebag of the Week: Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney

McInerney: "If you are an 18-28 year old Muslim man, then you should be strip searched. And if we don't do that, there's a very high probability we're gonna lose an airliner."

Words escape me. McInerney goes on to say that this isn't racial profiling. And he right. It's religious profiling. Why don't we just have all Muslims wear a crescent and star patch on their lapels? That way we know who we're dealing with. After all, it worked for the Nazis.

Plus, there's no way we'd accidentally make a Israeli strip search because he looks Middle Eastern, right? Or an Italian. Or a dark skinned, native born African who may happen to be Christian. That wouldn't happen in this scenario, would it?

Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney (Retired... thankfully): Douchebag of the Week.

(H/T Cesca)