Monday, July 24, 2006
The other Roger Ailes:
Fox News Channel chairman and CEO Roger Ailes responded to Keith Olbermann's latest critical volley against Bill O'Reilly on Monday, saying the MSNBC host's behavior "is over the line."
...Olbermann opened his Saturday session at the critics' meeting by whipping out a mask of O'Reilly and giving a Nazi salute.
"I really think that's over the line," Ailes said....
O'Reilly compares secularists to Hitler, Stalin, Castro, and Mao.
O'Reilly says, "Hitler would be a card-carrying ACLU member."
O'Reilly compares advocates of withdrawal in Iraq to Hitler appeasers.
O'Reilly compares Michael Moore to Goebbels.
Bite me, Roger.
(Cross-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog.)
Sorry for the caps; this is actually how healthcare providers get messages from Medicare. I added punctuation to make it easier to read:
DEFICIT REDUCTION ACT OF 2005 - NINE DAY PAYMENT HOLD: THIS MESSAGE IS A REMINDER FOR ALL PROVIDERS AND PHYSICIANS WHO BILL MEDICARE CONTRACTORS FOR THEIR SERVICES. A BRIEF HOLD WILL BE PLACED ON MEDICARE PAYMENTS FOR ALL CLAIMS DURING THE LAST 9 DAYS OF THE FEDERAL FISCAL YEAR (SEPTEMBER 22 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 2006). THESE PAYMENT DELAYS ARE MANDATED BY SECTION 5203 OF THE DEFICIT REDUCTION ACT OF 2005. NO INTEREST WILL BE ACCRUED AND NO LATE PENALTIES WILL BE PAID TO AN ENTITY OR INDIVIDUAL BY REASON OF THIS ONE-TIME HOLD ON PAYMENTS. ALL CLAIMS HELD DURING THIS TIME WILL BE PAID ON OCTOBER 2, 2006. THIS POLICY ONLY APPLIES TO CLAIMS SUBJECT TO PAYMENT... PLEASE NOTE THAT PAYMENTS WILL NOT BE STAGGERED AND NO ADVANCE PAYMENTS WILL BE ALLOWED DURING THIS 9-DAY HOLD.Translation: We, the Federal Government, are going to reduce the deficit which gets reported at the end of this fiscal year, by not paying 9 days worth of our debts to you, the hard-working hospitals, health centers, home healthcare associations, hospices and nursing homes of America. We'll pay you after the start of the new fiscal year, when it's easier for us to hide the deficit.
Keep in mind that for a large hospital, this delay might mean $500,000 to $1,000,000 a day in revenue. And it just doesn't work for a hospital to say to its staff and suppliers that it will pay them 9 days late in September of this year. So, you won't see it, but every healthcare provider in America will be scrambling to make ends meet for nine days this September.
Heck of a job, Congress! Heck of a job, Dubya!
[Edited and reposted in proper sequence, I hope]
Apparently you can use a Letterman to know which way the wind blows. Corner blowhard Jonah prophesizes with his pen:
NYT In Trouble [Jonah Goldberg]From a reader:Posted at 7:42 AMAm I the only one who saw this?
David Letterman's to ten list 7/19/06 which seems to have just been pulled off the net
Top Ten Signs There's Trouble At The New York Times
10. Extensive coverage of recent fighting between the Israelis and the lesbians
9. Pages 2 through 20 are corrections of previous edition
8. Every sentence begins "So, like"
7. TV listings only for Zorro
6. Weather forecast reads "Look outside dumbass"
5. Multiple references to "President Gore"
4. Obituary includes list of people they wish were dead
3. Headlines fold over to create surprise mad magazine-type hidden message
2. Restaurant critic recently gave IHOP four stars
1. Reporting that Oprah isn't gay, but Letterman is
People really should not criticize what they can't understand. (Apologies to Bob Dylan for torturing all these lyrics.)
This is comedy, Jonah. Teh funny! Tame, mass market absurdities. If there's any subtlety at all to Letterman's list, it's ironic. Think about it for ten seconds. Your great conservative hobbyhorse, "the liberal press," has become the palaver of a dying late night comedy show. Nice career you've got there.
(Okay, Roger I'm not... But is this not pretty decent work from a temp? I'll close my first ever blogging post by thanking God my mom is just my mom and not an agent of history like Lucienne. This way (until now, at least) I've risked making an ass out of myself on a normal human scale and not like Jonah all over the Internets and in the nation's great newspapers. And I'd also like to thank Roger for however foolishy raising me up from his blog comments and letting me drive this nice shiny blog around the block a few times. I hereby officially release him from responsibility for my posts. I'm out here on purely a frolic of my own. To recap, then: thank you God and Roger.)
Buen dia amigos y amigas, this is the Frito Pundito (or as my "friends" call me, "Freet") guest posting for Roger while he is sitting on the verAHnda twinkling an umbrella in a fruity drink. However, back home there are pressing issues, like the absurd bill Arlen Specter is pushing which will legalize, ex post facto, the wiretapping the administration has done in contravention of the FISA provisions. Aside from the Kafkaesque tactic of changing the rules to suit ones actions, the bill also endorses an extreme version of executive power that even Alberto Gonzalez stops short of. Glenn has an incredibly well-written exegesis of this horrid piece of legislation from a "moderate" (cough) Republican.
Christy at Firedoglake has info about how to call your Senator. This is muy importante, folks. I live in Austria (couldn't ya tell) but I once lived in Indiana, New York, Oregon and California, and I am contacting the Senators in all those states.
Lighter funnier stuff, making fun of Austrians, to follow
The damn Ay-rabs may want to kill us all and cut off our oil, but at least our Japanese pals still want to let Americans be Americans:
...Panasonic said last week that it would begin selling a 103-inch flat-panel plasma television in the United States in time for the holiday season. The TV, about as big as a queen-size bed and, Panasonic says, the largest on the market, will sell for $70,000....
The screen's 90-inch length and 48-inch height makes it equivalent in size to four 50-inch TV's, the company said. With the frame and speakers, it measures nearly nine feet by six feet. It weighs about 450 pounds and has to be shipped in a box with a specially designed suspension system....
The sets have to be professionally installed because of their size and weight....
103 inches? Well, thank God America's TVs will still larger than America's waistlines.
If only by a few inches.
Not that there's, y'know, a connection between the two or anything like that.
Needless to say, the new Panasonic is expected to be a niche product.
"Sales will be limited in scope because of its weight and size," said Andrew Nelkin, vice president of the display group at Panasonic Consumer Electronics....
"I'm not sure a 103-inch TV will ever hit the mainstream," said Mr. Nelkin....
Yeah, I'm sure that's what they said about the SUV.
(Cross-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog.)
Has there every been a more vile collection of captive ideologists assembled to fluff up the atrocities of the powerful? Dershowitz would be right at home on the reviewing stand, just to the right and a step behind the Leader, watching the conscripted proles goose-stepping past.
Now I know how my grandparents felt when Ed Sullivan would say, "And now, for our next act, a man who spins plates..."
(PS: I, too, genuflect in Ailes' direction. To snipe at Roger Simon from on high is indeed a privilege.)
Filed under "The Dubya Legacy":
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is quietly remaking the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, filling the permanent ranks with lawyers who have strong conservative credentials but little experience in civil rights, according to job application materials obtained by the [Boston] Globe.But who needs a background in the job they will be doing for our government? After all, Brownie did just fine at FEMA with his previous experience in the International Arabian Horse Association.
The documents show that only 42 percent of the lawyers hired since 2003, after the administration changed the rules to give political appointees more influence in the hiring process, have civil rights experience. In the two years before the change, 77 percent of those who were hired had civil rights backgrounds.
...At the same time, the kinds of cases the Civil Rights Division is bringing have undergone a shift. The division is bringing fewer voting rights and employment cases involving systematic discrimination against African-Americans, and more alleging reverse discrimination against whites and religious discrimination against Christians.Because whites and Christians - most especially white Christians - are such a persecuted minority in this country.
"There has been a sea change in the types of cases brought by the division, and that is not likely to change in a new administration because they are hiring people who don't have an expressed interest in traditional civil rights enforcement," said Richard Ugelow, a 29-year career veteran who left the division in 2002.That's the other thing - experienced civil rights lawyers are leaving in larger numbers. But who needs experienced lawyers for litigation and stuff?
...staffers say, morale has plunged and experienced lawyers are leaving the division. Last year, the administration offered longtime civil rights attorneys a buyout. Department figures show that 63 division attorneys left in 2005 -- nearly twice the average annual number of departures since the late 990s.Next, look for a special new sub-division which protects the civil rights of cronies, oil company executives and Dick Cheney.
P.S. I want to thank Roger for giving us this opportunity to take over his blog. I hope he's havin' a heck of a vacation!
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Hot Enough For You?
Well, I've already failed to pursue one of these:
Consumers can pursue several strategies to conserve power:
-- Set the thermostats on air conditioners to 78 degrees or higher.
-- Use appliances such as washers, dryers, dishwashers and vacuum cleaners only after 6:00 p.m.
-- Refrain from using electronic devices such as computers and televisions until evening.
And it's a Spare the Air day too.
Oh well, there's always reading books and sex.
Mikey Medved Pumps His Way Into His Hat
The "new" Clownhall's slogan should be "Now With 50 Percent More Plugs For D-List Salem Radio Network Hosts." But there are some new, substantive features.
For example, they've got Michael Medved blogging about shampoo. He hasn't launched his own brand, "Gee, the Oil Companies Smell Anti-Semitic." No, he's talking about the free market revolution and the impending death of individual-sized hotel shampoo and soaps.
I've been a frequent traveler all my adult life, crossing the country for lectures or book tours, and over the course of more than 30 years I've developed the stupid habit of bringing home those little soaps and shampoos. In order to get fresh little bottles or bars of soap to my collection, I'll remove the half-used soaps and hair supplies from view so that the hotel cleaning staff will provide new, unopened amenities. Then I'll bring out the partially-used supplies so I can stuff the fresh little bottles into my luggage.You're a genius, Mikey. A cheap motherfucking genius. Ripping off all that shampoo -- it's a wonder these hotels are still in business. How -- HOW!?! -- will they ever recover all those lost profits?
Those supplies now amount to an insanely over-developed collection -- with two huge drawers crammed with hotel soaps from around the world (London, Berlin, Jerusalem, Mexico City, even Warsaw) plus all the states of the union. Unless I live way beyond the normal life expectancy, I've already acquired more than enough exotic soaps to keep me clean the rest of my days. There's also another overflowing drawer in my bathroom crammed with shampoos and conditioners (I stopped bringing home hand and body lotion some years ago).
I suspect that there are others out there (you don't have to admit it but you know who you are) who have built up similarly impressive accumulations of these bathroom "souvenirs." Picking up these supplies is nearly irresistible (to many of us) because they are handed out "free" -- but of course they are not free to the hotels. To paraphrase the famous statement about "free lunch" -- there is no such thing as a free hotel soap sample.
In fact, looking at the literally hundreds of soaps in my drawers, the total cost to the hotels that purchased them might well be substantial. In other words, the hotel is paying real money -- but no one is receiving real benefit (I can't even use up all the soaps) -- so it's a classic case of inefficiency. Moreover, even as an unusually soap-and-shampoo-conscious consumer, the lack of such "free" supplies would in no way discourage me from patronizing a given hostelry. I'm more eager now to use accommodations that follow the pump-bottle-on-the-wall approach, because efficiency appeals to me far more than meaningless free goodies I really don't need.
I'll bet Medved takes full-sized empty bottles to these new places and fills them from the pumps. (I know he reserves a single and then sneaks Daniel Lapin and Huge Hewitt into his room to save money.)
You should list all the hotels where you've used the pump-bottle-on-the-wall hand lotion, Mikey. So we can avoid them at all costs.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Bloggers say the darnedest things:
About 34 percent see their blogging as a form of journalism; 65 percent disagreed. Just over a third of bloggers said they engage often in journalistic activities such as verifying facts and linking to source material.Twenty percent of blogs don't use text, but only ten percent don't invite comments from readers. That means 10 percent of blogs invite comments from readers without using text. How do they do it, with a friggin' rebus?
More than 40 percent of bloggers said they never quote sources or other media directly. Eleven percent said they post corrections. Sixty-one percent said they rarely or never get permission to use copyrighted material.
Fifty-five percent of bloggers write under a pseudonym. Nearly nine out of ten bloggers invite comments from other readers. Four out of five blogs use text, while 72 percent display photos and audio links play on 30 percent of blogs.
Eighty-two percent of bloggers think they will still be blogging in a year. Three percent say they have quit.
The Pew report was based on a telephone survey of 233 self-identified bloggers conducted between July 2005 and February 2006. The error margin was 6.7 percent.
And why did it take eight months to survey 233 readers?
The Senator From Bechtel
Holy Joe won't run as a Republican, he'll just take Republican money and vote like one.
Anyone looking for evidence of Mr. Lieberman's bipartisan appeal can find it in his roster of recent contributors, which includes organizations that traditionally give more to Republicans. They include engineering and construction firms, some with contracts in Iraq. Those firms include Bechtel, Fluor International and Siemens, which support Republicans 64 to 70 percent of the time, according to data compiled by PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks campaign and lobbying activities.
Florida Power and Light, which supports Republicans 84 percent of the time, gave $5,000 to Mr. Lieberman. Areva Cogema, a builder of nuclear power plants that gives 70 percent of its contributions to Republicans, contributed $1,000.
An Ohio law firm that directs 80 percent of its donations to Republicans gave $1,000. SRA International, a technology consultant that favors Republicans 66 percent of the time, gave $1,000. America's Health Insurance Plans, representing health insurers, gives to Republicans 71 percent of the time and donated $2,000 to Mr. Lieberman.
A regular graftroots movement.
Marshall Wittmann, the DLC blogger better known as the Bullshit Moose, is joining those celebrating the electoral defeat of sleazebag lobbyist Ralph Reed.
What the Bullshit Moose doesn't tell you is that he was blowing Ralph for a job just a few years ago:
But Bush lost in 1992 and Wittmann was out of a job. By then, he had a young son and his wife was pregnant with their daughter. He was desperate to find work and when he heard that Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition was hiring, he thought, " Hmmm, a Jew goes to the Christian Coalition, that might be interesting."
He was savvy enough to figure that the Christian Coalition might want to hire a Jew just to show it wasn't bigoted. He wrote to Ralph Reed, the group's executive director, and asked for a job. Reed took him to lunch at Bullfeathers and hired him.
"I said, 'Great!' " Wittmann recalls. "
Now that Reed can't do anything for him, the Senior Asshole dumped him for other crushes, including John McCain and Joe Leiberman:
Wittmann is absolutely gaga over McCain. "My great belief is that John McCain is the living embodiment of Teddy Roosevelt," he says.
He also says this: "I would crawl over a field of broken glass for him."
Don't let us stop you, you slimy Moosefucker.
That endorsement alone prevents me from even considering a vote for McCain.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
In a little over a week's time, I'll be spending at least four hours in a cyndrilical* tube, breathing recycled air and trying to avoid eye and thigh contact with total strangers seated uncomfortably close to me. And at least a hour in the airport beforehand.
I'm looking for something entertaining to read on a semi-cross-country flight, preferably something that wouldn't be sold in an airport gift shop/bookstore. If you've read something (such as a book) recently that you've enjoyed, feel free to leave the details in comments.
* I should have said "tubular."
Update (7/20): Thanks to everyone for your suggestions, and for making my choice so difficult.
This Is The End, My Friend
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Monday, July 17 -- The Lebanese militia Hezbollah unleashed its biggest and deadliest missile yet into Israel on Sunday, killing eight people in the major port city of Haifa and prompting Israeli leaders to step up their military campaign to drive the group from southern Lebanon.
Within an hour, Israeli warplanes engaged in a fierce bombardment of targets in southern Beirut and southern Lebanon, killing 45 people and wounding more than 100, according to local reports. Among the dead were eight Canadians, with another six critically injured, largely from an air attack on the border town of Aitaroun, where they were vacationing, the Canadian government reported.
Well, not really. But a lot of Premillenial Christians are crossing their fingers and fingering their crosses.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
I can never read enough about Ralph Reed getting his ass kicked:
In recent weeks, Mr. Reed's Republican opponent, a veteran state senator named Casey Cagle, edged ahead in both fund-raising and independent polls.
Paging Mr. Norquist. Paging Ms. Ridenhour. Paging Rep. Ney.
On Thursday, Mr. Reed, wearing unscuffed cowboy boots and a star-studded belt buckle, surveyed the Cobb County event with confidence, noting that the county typically supplied 1 of every 10 Republican primary voters in the state.
"This is Ralph Reed country right here," he told a reporter. In addition to endorsements from former Senator Zell Miller, a Democrat who has aligned himself with the conservative Christian movement, and Rudolph W. Giuliani, a presidential hopeful eager to improve his connections to religious conservatives, Mr. Reed claims to have 6,000 volunteers on the ground, including more than 70 home-schooled children from 10 states.
So he's got the mentally ill, adulterer and willfully ignorant constitutencies locked up.
[Casey Cagle's advertisements] also cite a little-noted aspect of the link between Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Reed, saying Mr. Reed helped defend an economic system in the Northern Mariana Islands, a United States commonwealth not subject to minimum wage laws, that fostered exploitation of immigrant workers, particularly women. In one commercial, the words "forced abortions" appear next to a grinning Mr. Reed. Mr. Reed's campaign manager has called the link preposterous.And there's the Bob Barr vote.
In his latest advertisement, Mr. Reed points out that he has not been accused of a crime, adding:
"Vote for me before I'm indicted."
"I've always worked for what we believe in: faith, family and freedom."
"And loose slots."
"That's why the liberal media has attacked me."
"Why, yes, I do believe you are a fucking moron."
"Because I've stood for you and our conservative values."
"Chinless idiots, the lot of you."
The distant, convoluted nature of the Abramoff scandal cuts both ways in Georgia. On the one hand, it colors Mr. Reed with the taint of Washington. On the other, voters have only a vague notion of its substance. At the Cobb County rally, people variously referred to Mr. Abramoff as Abramson, Abraham and Abramnov.
And, out of the reporter's hearing, as Jewy McJewboy.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Help Is On The Way
As my vacation approaches, it seems I'm doing twice as much work to compensate for my time off.
The good news is that there will be an outstanding group of substitute bloggers filling my shoes, beginning in about 12 days. I confidently predict that you won't miss me a bit.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Grand Old Police Blotter: MiJebby Vice Edition
Is there any bigger cesspool of corruption than the Bush Administration -- the Jeb Bush Administration, that is?
The most recent scandal came Wednesday, when federal prosecutors revealed that James Crosby -- the man Bush tapped to lead the long-troubled Department of Corrections -- admitted his part in a $130,000 bribery and kickback scheme with a snack-bar vendor.
Crosby's co-conspirator was Allen "A.C." Clark, whom Crosby made his North Florida prisons chief, despite years of internal probes into allegations that he beat inmates, misused inmate labor and requisitioned prison radios to provide private security for Bush's 1999 inauguration....
But during his second term, Bush has been more willing to promote from within, elevating Crosby, a former prison warden and Bush campaign-rally organizer, in 2003. Bush stood by Crosby last year as a wide-ranging state-federal corruption probe of the nation's third-largest prison system appeared to target the chief. So far, including Clark and Crosby, 21 people have been arrested.
So Bush has known his boys are unethical scumbags for seven years, and yet he's promoted and protected them, while merely asking them to deny their crimes in order to keep their jobs and their bribe money. "Out of the loop," one might say.
It's fucking hereditary. That's the only explanation.
Take the VeePee offer if it comes, Jeb, I'm begging you.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Damning With Faint Damnation
The Clown Publishing Group is standing by their Mann, in that special way that allows them to wash their hands and shove the serial plagiarist into oncoming traffic when the time is right.
The publisher of "Godless," the Crown Publishing Group, issued a statement saying it had reviewed the "the allegations of plagiarism" in [Coulter's]her book and "found them to be as trivial and meritless as they are irresponsible."
And Coulter is as honest as she is intelligent, it added.
And Red State provides its expert analysis on the story, with "Box Turtle" Ben Domenech writing under the nom de pilf thepiss418. No site knows more about intellectual thievery than Red State.
Markos is many things, but it doesn't look like proofreading is one of them.
Dude, Save Yourself A World Of Grief And Just Pick Out Your Cell Right Now
CONCORD, N.H. --A former telemarketer charged in a scheme to jam Democratic phone lines may argue that he believed his actions were authorized by the government or the national Republican Party.
Shaun Hansen, of Spokane, Wash., is accused of paying $2,500 to have employees at Idaho-based Mylo Enterprises place hundreds of hang-up calls to phone lines offering voters rides to the polls on Nov. 5, 2002. Among the contests decided that day was the close U.S. Senate race in which Republican Rep. John Sununu beat outgoing Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen.
In his filing, [Hansen's lawyer, Jeffrey] Levin[, who is not to be confused with hairless troll doll Mark Levin,] describes several defenses his client may use at trial, including arguing that Allen Raymond and others involved in the scheme were acting as government officials and that he relied on their assurances that his actions would be legal. Raymond, whose consulting firm, GOP Marketplace, hired Hansen's company to make the calls, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three months in prison.
Hansen also may argue that given the official-sounding name "GOP Marketplace," and the work he had done for the firm in the past, he assumed it was a government or national party entity, Levin wrote. Levin was out of the office Friday and could not be reached for further comment.
Shaun, listen... IOKIYAR isn't a real defense to criminal charges. The Republican Party can pervert justice many times, but you're only the hired help.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Scott Lemieux Makes The Retort Sarcastic
I love this post:
"Yes, if there's anything that sets my alarm bells off, it's the Sunday Travel section publishing a story...with little news value! And not only that, the Sunday Styles section published a story about the trivial hangups of the Manhattan upper class that was abjectly stupid!"
Better keep Metropolitan Diary away from McGuire or he'll be attaching a hose to his tailpipe.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Cut 'N' Run Joe, The Nutmeg Dixiecrat
Joe Lieberman is set to announce that the party of jihadists and crusaders has left him:
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman is to announce today he will petition for a place on the November ballot as an "independent Democrat," giving him a chance to stay alive politically should he lose an Aug. 8 primary for the Democratic nomination.
Lieberman, 64, a three-term senator whose outspoken support of the war in Iraq has brought months of grief and inspired a strong primary challenge from Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, intends to announce his decision this afternoon at the State Capitol.
Even should he lose in August -- and the most recent public poll shows him leading Lamont by 15-percentage points among likely primary voters -- Lieberman would retain his status as a registered Democrat, but his name would not appear on the ballot line with other Democrats.
Lieberman began making courtesy calls to leading Democrats late this morning.
Leading Democrats should return the courtesy by withdrawing their endorsements of a candidate with no loyalty to the Democratic Party.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
The new Clownhall is here. (Well, in three days...) And it's got blogs!
"New Townhall.com Blogs and Create Your Own Blog: Townhall's talented columnists bring in millions of readers a month, and now you can grab a piece of that audience and give them a piece of your mind. Create your own blog in seconds and be a part of the Townhall.com blog community that includes a new Townhall.com blog featuring Hugh Hewitt and Mary Katharine Ham as well as blogs by Dennis Prager, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, and Kevin McCullough."
Be still my stomach! Blogs by Dennis "Irreconcilable Differences" Prager, Michael "The Oil Companies Are Anti-Semitic" Medved, Kevin "Ed Asner Hearts Stalin" McCullough and Mike "Fat Mike" Gallagher! I'm already going snowblind.
"Townhall.com will be the first conservative website offering free blogging tools to any of its readers."Clownhall's readers already are free blogging tools.
p.s. to Johnny Garthwaite: The red, black and white color scheme is very lovely. Keep those right-wing-freak flags flying.
Roger's Book Sac
At The Nation, Jennifer Nix has the story on how Glenn Greenwald's How Would A Patriot Act? came to be.
Glenn's book is currently 25th on the New York Times' nonfiction paperback bestseller list. (Actually, it's 23rd, since James Frey and Bernard Goldberg have written books of fiction.)
If You Can Read This, Thank A Lawyer
Digby has a great post about the United States Navy lawyers who opposed the Bush Admnistration and fought for the rule of law.
It's rather depressing that it's come to this, but we live in times where an 86-year-old moderate Republican is one of the few people who can protect this country from limitless criminal power grabs by the Administration.
(Yes, the title is intended somewhat facetiously: Abu Gonzales, David Addington and John Yoo are also attorneys.)
(By the way, C-SPAN is running audio of the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld oral argument at 7:00 p.m. Eastern today, and interviewed Lt. Cmdr. Swift earlier today.)
Update (7/2): Lt. Cmdr. Swift's name corrected, per comments. My apologies to Lt. Cmdr. Swift.
Grand Old Police Blotter: The Week In Republicrime Edition
Jesus Saves, But He Don't Work Pro Bono
As we all know, former White House virtuecrat and Jesse Helms lickspittle Claude Allen is attempting to cut a deal to avoid prison for his theft of $5,000 worth of tat from Target. Less know is that Allen's mouthpiece is Greg Craig, the Williams and Connoly heavy-hitter who also has represented William Kennedy Smith, John Hinckley and Kofi Annan. (And, yes, the Clenis!) It's going to take ten years of shoplifting trips for Allen to pay off Craig's legal bills. Say bye-bye to that beautiful house, Clod.
Molestors For Bush
Carey Lee Cramer, a Bush supporter who claimed in television ads that the Clinton-Gore administration put America's children in danger, was convicted by a Texas jury of aggravated sexual assault of a child, indecency with a child and exposure with a child. The conviction demonstrates that Cramer wasn't quite the student of Karl Rove he thought he was. One of Cramer's victims was the girl he featured in his 2000 attack ad against Gore.
Top GOP Cop Cops Plea
And then there's Bernie Kerik, America's Chief of Police and the man who Bush assured us was the most qualified to run the Department of Homeland Security. Bernie, represented by celebrity mouthpiece Joe Tacopino, was convicted of taking illegal gifts. Turns out al-Qaeda could have had Cut-'n' Run Kerik out of petty cash. Just think, this man almost had access to all your private phone and banking records. Now he's just an albatross around Rudy Guiliani's neck.
Former Kerik moll Judith "Vaseline" Regan could not be reached for comment, as her cellphone had been stolen.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
A Cross, A Flag and A Gallon of Ancient Age
Peggy Noonan gives alcoholism a bad name:
"Second, nobody thinks America is overrun with people burning flags, so the amendment does not seem even to be an exotic response to a real problem. There are a lot of pressing issues before the Congress, and no one thinks this is one of them. Voters know it's hard to do a risky thing like define marriage as a legal entity that can take place only between an adult human male and an adult human female. That actually would take some guts."
Yes, it's so hard that the legal codes of all fifty states and the District of Columbia have such a definition in them.
"It's easy--almost embarrassingly so--to make speeches about how much you love the flag."
Especially if it's the rainbow flag, ya big gay-lovin' gaymos.
"Third, Americans don't always say this or even notice it, but they love their Constitution. They revere it. They don't want it used as a plaything. They want the Constitution treated as a hallowed document that is amended rarely, and only for deep reasons of societal or governmental need. A flag burning amendment is too small bore for such a big thing."
Yes, the Constitution should only be played with to define marriage as a legal entity that can take place only between an adult human male and an adult human female.
Frankly, Peg, I think there's a much greater chance of you having your flag burned, but keep hope alive.
(And that's not even the best part. See Steve M. re: Peg's fantasy about the Lactator-in-Chief.)
Monday, June 26, 2006
Fun Facts About The Dominican Republic
Natural hazards: lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues: water shortages; soil eroding into the sea damages coral reefs; deforestation
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note: shares island of Hispaniola with Haiti
Ethnic groups: mixed 73%, white 16%, black 11%
Religions: Roman Catholic 95%
Economy - overview: The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean representative democracy that enjoyed strong GDP growth until 2003. Although the country has long been viewed primarily as an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, in recent years the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy's largest employer due to growth in tourism and free trade zones. Growth turned negative in 2003 with reduced tourism, a major bank fraud, and limited growth in the US economy (the source of about 80% of export revenues), but recovered in 2004 and 2005. With the help of strict fiscal targets agreed in the 2004 renegotiation of an IMF standby loan, President FERNANDEZ has stabilized the country's financial situation. Although the economy continues to grow at a respectable rate, unemployment remains an important challenge. The country suffers from marked income inequality; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GNP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of national income. The Dominican Republic's development prospects improved with the ratification of the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) in September 2005.
Disputes ... Illicit drugs: transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; has become a transshipment point for ecstasy from the Netherlands and Belgium destined for US and Canada; substantial money-laundering activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor the Dominican Republic for illicit financial transactions
(Source: CIA Factbook)
"Three parts Pfizer to one part 'Billysmack and I don't need God's talent"
Rusty "Big Pharma" Limbaugh, the masculine ideal of the rightwing blogosphere, was found smuggling a different brand of Blue Babies into the country in his private plane. Limpdick's attorney, Roy Black, admitted his criminal client didn't have a legal prescription for the contraband.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Rush Limbaugh was detained for more than three hours Monday at Palm Beach International Airport after authorities said they found a bottle of Viagra in his possession without a prescription.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement examined the 55-year-old radio commentator's luggage after his private plane landed at the airport around 2 p.m. from the Dominican Republic, said Paul Miller, spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
ICE officials found a prescription bottle labeled as Viagra, a drug that treats erectile dysfunction, in his luggage, Miller said.
"The problem was that on the bottle itself was not his name, but the name of two Florida doctors," Miller said.
Limbaugh reached a deal last month with prosecutors who had accused the conservative talk-show host of illegally deceiving multiple doctors to receive overlapping painkiller prescriptions.
The matter Monday was referred to the sheriff's office, whose investigators interviewed Limbaugh.
"He said he had the Viagra in his possession for his use and that he did obtain it from his doctors," Miller said.
Investigators confiscated the drugs, and Limbaugh was released around 5:30 p.m. without being charged.
The sheriff's office plans to file a report with the state attorney's office.
"We believe there may be a second-degree misdemeanor violation, which is possession of certain drugs without a prescription, because the bottle does not have his name on it," Miller said.
As Atrios asks, why do you need Viagra for a trip to the Dominican Republic? It would be irresponsible not to speculate, as Peggy Noonan once said. But Limpdick has more attorneys than I do, so I won't even do that joke.
Congratulations to the fine men and women of the United States Immigration and Customs Service for exposing a drug criminal and securing our borders from a true threat to law-abiding Americans.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
The New New Pajamas Media
Get ready for the next level of failed wingnut internet enterprises. There's a new Bozo in town, and he's taking over Clownhall.com.
Yes, manssiere model and small-market bloviator Huge Fuckwit plans to transform Clownhall into the WalMart of wingnuttia:
On July 4, Salem Communications, one of the country's largest radio-station owners, will relaunch an old Web war horse called Townhall.com as a hub for its stable of stars (including Bill Bennett, Michael Medved and Hewitt himself). The hope? That "Web 2.0" wherewithal can transform what was once an op-ed clearinghouse into a single nerve center serving the separate conservative communities of talk radio and the Internet. To Hewitt, a valuable White House ally, the math is simple: add 6 million Salem fans to Townhall's 1.4 million unique monthly visitors and you've got an audience six or seven times the size of liberal site Daily Kos, the Web's biggest political blog. "We will overwhelm them," he says.Leaving aside Fuckwit's assumption that there's no overlap between the two audiences, if you subtract the million Salem listeners who don't own computers and the 3 million who can't read or write, the advantage disappears. Then subtract those who read Clownhall for laughs, and you're approaching negative numbers.
Or Mickey Kaus's buddy list.
Grand Old Police Blotter: Bagging Amy Edition
E-mails suggest Ridenour was well aware that [Jack] Abramoff viewed her organization as a convenient pass-through.
In September 2002, Abramoff suggested to one of his associates placing $500,000 in client funds with the national center because the group "can direct money at our discretion, anywhere if you know what I mean."
The same morning Abramoff messaged Ridenour: "I might have $500K for you to run through NCPPR. Is this still something you want to do?" Ridenour was enthusiastic: "Yes, we would love to do it."
Ridenour did not respond to requests for comment on the Senate committee report or the e-mails released with it.
Earlier this year, after Abramoff pleaded guilty to conspiring to ply lawmakers with gifts in exchange for favors, IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson said, "One of the most disturbing elements of this whole sordid story is the blatant misuse of charities in a scheme to peddle political influence."
Tax experts said it is impermissible for a tax-exempt organization to act as a pass-through for money destined for private business purposes.
"It's not a tax-exempt activity to act as a bag man for Jack Abramoff," said Marcus S. Owens, a tax lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale and a former Internal Revenue Service official.
Don't be sexist, Marcus. It's bagperson.
Ridenour was part of a multi-faith coalition of sleazy wingnuts who did Jackoff's bidding:
E-mails show that Abramoff also moved client money through a conservative Jewish foundation called Toward Tradition, run by longtime Abramoff friend Rabbi Daniel Lapin. In January 2000, when Reed sent Abramoff an $867,000 invoice to be billed to a Choctaw official, Abramoff responded: "Ok, thanks. Please get me the groups we are using, since I want to give this to her all at once." Reed responded: "Amy, Grover, Lapin and one other I will get you."
How deeply was Ridenour involved?
Abramoff e-mailed instructions to his assistant, Susan Ralston, and others to conceal the true source of funding for the "very important" trip. "The tickets should not in any way say my name or our firm's name," Abramoff wrote. "They should, if possible, say 'National Center for Public Policy Research.' We should pay using my Visa."
Ridenour readily agreed to help, e-mails show. A Marianas client wired about $25,000 to the center's bank account. Abramoff instructed Ridenour to write checks to cover the travel costs of the congressional staffers and Edwin A. Buckham, a former DeLay top aide and lobbyist.
"We'll call the bank first thing in the a.m. and confirm that the money has arrived, and then I will get checks out to you and Ed," Ridenour wrote.
Laundering lobbyist bribes to Republicans. Sounds exactly like what a tax-exempt, non-profit "nonpartisan analysis, study and research" organization should be doing.