Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Should the Dems Strip Joe of His Committe Chair?

Of course they should. He supported John McCain, and besides he has, again and again, betrayed the Democratic party and Congressional leaders and lied to the American people.

Having said that, they can put make his head of the damn Senate and put him on Mount Fucking Rushmore for all I care if it will help get a progressive health care bill enacted. I doubt that it will, since he's unprincipled - or rather, his only real goal appears to be to protect the insurers from his state. In which case, there's not much more to be done. Except cut him loose. Finally.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

What Recession?

James Purdey & Sons, the gunsmith owned by Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, will expand production of its entry-level, 31,625-pound ($52,000) shotguns this fiscal year, broadening the company’s market as the wealthiest luxury- goods shoppers retrench.

Purists respond by saying cheaper guns may risk Purdey’s cachet and cannibalize demand for the more expensive guns, according to Florian Thaler, a London-based shooting enthusiast who trades commodities for a living.

Sporters are ideal for clay-pigeon shooting and may win new clients who later commission a bespoke gun for game, while their light weight may appeal to female shooters as more women take up the sport, Purdey said.

They're going to need those guns when the revolution starts.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Shhh!!! He's Hiding!!

No Bin Laden Reports 'In Years'

The US has had no reliable information on the whereabouts of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in years, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has admitted.

Mr Gates told ABC News in remarks being broadcast on Sunday: "Well, we don't know for a fact where Osama Bin Laden is. If we did, we'd go get him."

A Taliban detainee in Pakistan told the BBC last week that he had information Bin Laden was in Afghanistan this year.

However, Mr Gates said he could not confirm that information.

When asked by ABC's This Week programme when the US last had any good intelligence on the whereabouts of the al-Qaeda leader, Mr Gates said: "I think it's been years."

He could not confirm the details of the Taliban detainee, who claimed to have met Osama Bin Laden numerous times before 9/11.

The detainee said that in January or February he met a trusted contact who had seen Bin Laden about 15 to 20 days earlier in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden had previously been thought to be on the Pakistan side of the border with Afghanistan.

But the detainee said that militants were avoiding Pakistani territory because of the risk of US drone attacks.

The detainee said Bin Laden was well.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Judge rules same-sex couple must be repaid
By Denny Walsh, The Sacramento Bee

Nov. 19- A judge ruled Wednesday an assistant federal public defender's spouse must be compensated for health care benefits withheld since July 2008 because the couple are gay.

Stephen Reinhardt, a member of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, also reminded the bureaucracy that he decreed nine months ago in the same case that withholding benefits based on sexual orientation violates the U.S. Constitution's due process guarantee and the circuit's employment dispute resolution plan for federal public defenders and their staffs.

In his order Wednesday, Reinhardt wrote there is no rational basis for denying benefits to same-sex spouses of federal public defender employees while granting them to opposite-sex spouses of employees. "I conclude that the application of DOMA -- to reach that result is unconstitutional."

Reinhardt was writing not in his capacity as a federal appellate judge but as an employer's representative in a grievance procedure. Consequently, the ruling applies only to Levenson and Sears.

Applying that standard to Levenson's case, "the challenged denial of benefits is constitutional only if there is a rational basis," Reinhardt wrote. "No such basis exists."

"Thus," Reinhardt concluded, "the denial of federal benefits to same- sex spouses cannot be justified as an expression of the government's disapproval of homosexuality, preference for heterosexuality, or desire to discourage gay marriage."


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Barbour Wants to Eliminate 3 State Universities

Clarion Ledger:

Facing growing budget constraints, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour wants to save money by cutting the state's public universities from eight to five. On Monday, Barbour proposed combining historically black universities Mississippi Valley State and Alcorn State into Jackson State, also an HBCU. He also called for merging Mississippi University for Women into Mississippi State.

He has totally blown my image of the Republican party.

Gov. Paterson Chickens Out

"This is not a decision that I would have made," Paterson said when asked about the impending trial. "Our country was attacked on its own soil on Sept. 11, 2001, and New York was very much the epicenter of that attack."

He wasn't going to beat Andy Cuomo anyway, but running for Governor as a coward surely won't help.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

House Health Care Reform Bill

October 29, 2009
Health care reform bill, House of Representatives:

- Government run health insurance plan
- Negotiated rates
- All insurers would have accept new customers regardless of preexisting conditions
- More preventive care
- Expand Medicaid to anyone with 150% of poverty level
- Employers must provide insurance or pay a penalty
- New tax on people making over $ 1 million per year
- Estimated savings of $500 million per year

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Biden on Cheney: Who Cares?

Biden’s Response to Cheney Criticism: ‘Who Cares?’

Asked about Mr. Cheney’s criticism during a half-hour interview at the American ambassador’s residence here,
Mr. Biden responded indirectly at first, saying leaders in the region now agree that the Obama plan will be more effective. “They believe that the new architecture is better,” the vice president said.

But as he warmed to the discussion, he became sharper in his rebuttals of Mr. Cheney. “I think that is absolutely wrong,” he said of the dithering charge. “I think what the administration is doing is exactly what we said it would do. And what I think it warrants doing. And that is making
an informed judgment based upon circumstances that have changed.”

Mr. Biden shrugged off Mr. Cheney’s point that the old administration left behind a review of Afghanistan.

“Who cares what — ” he said, and then stopped himself to find another way to put it. (“I can see the headline now,” said the famously free-wheeling vice president. “I’m getting
better, guys.”)


Town cancels dead bunny toss

WAIAU, New Zealand, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- A New Zealand town has canceled its annual dead rabbit-tossing contest for children following protests from animal welfare advocates.

The Brits Really Are Different

London Police Criticized for Using Armed Units

The use of armed officers by the London Metropolitan Police to patrol neighborhoods housing youth gangs has been criticized as unsafe by some local politicians.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This picture taken by Jose Luis Rodriguez of a hunting wolf has won the prestigious Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2009 award.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Put-Upon Millionaires

New York Times:

Financial Giants Donating Little to Obama Party

Dr. Daniel E. Fass, another chairman of the event who lives
surrounded by financiers in Greenwich, Conn., said: “The
investment community feels very put-upon. They feel there is no
reason why they shouldn’t earn $1 million to $200 million a year,
and they don’t want to be held responsible for the global
financial meltdown.” Dr. Fass added, “How much that will be
reflected in their support for the president remains to be seen.”

Wow. Just wow.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Peace Prize?

Secretary Clinton was supposed to just witness the signing
of a Turkish-Armenian accord in Switzerland this weekend, but she ended up having to do frantic, high-level diplomacy to save the day when the agreement appeared on the verge of unraveling at the last minute.

The Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers --whose countries have a long history of enmity for reasons described in this recent FP article -- got in a dispute over the final statements they would make after the signing. That's where Clinton stepped in to save the day. In frantic, last-minute diplomacy, she spoke by phone from her sedan in the hotel parking lot, talking with the Armenian side three times and the Turkish side four times. After two hours of phone calls, she met with the Armenian foreign minister in the hotel.
She also contacted President Obama several times from the hotel and the University of Zurich, the venue for the signing ceremony.

In the end, as a result of Clinton's astute diplomatic skills, the signing of the historic accord took place only three hours late (vs. not at all), and no spoken statements were made.
The agreement is expected to be ratified by Turkey's and Armenia's parliaments, and the border between the two countries -- which has been closed for 16 years -- could reopen within two months.

For Clinton, it was all just part of another day's work. "It's just what you sign up for," she told reporters later in the day.

This Week in Anti-Obama Derangement

Protesters Sing Outside NJ School Over Obama Song

Burlington Township, N.J. (AP) -- About 70 protesters let
their voices be heard outside a New Jersey school where
students sang praise of President Barack Obama.
Members of anti-tax groups and others gathered outside B.
Bernice Young School in Burlington Township on Monday to
denounce what they say was indoctrination of students.
The school began getting attention from conservative
commentators last month after a video surfaced of
second-graders singing a song that praised Obama.
The protesters sang patriotic anthems and chanted slogans
such as "Free children, free minds."
The school says the video was made when a woman who wrote
the children's book about Obama visited the school. It says
"there was no intention to make any political statement or
promote a political agenda."

This Week in Fear Nation

Halloween Fears Drive Sex Offender Software Sale

Thousands of American parents, worried that their children will be abused by pedophiles while trick-or-treating this Halloween, have downloaded software to identify the homes of sex offenders in their neighbourhoods.

The Offender Locator application uses a GPS system built into Apple iPhones to pinpoint the user's location, and then provides a map of sex offenders in the area. Leslie Gharghetta, a mother of two from Woodridge, New Jersey, uses it to monitor her neighbourhood. "I try and keep an eye on my kids. With Halloween, I am able to see if anybody on the list is located near me," she said.

The software has been downloaded more than a million times since becoming available in June. Tapping any location marked brings up a photograph of the offender, as well as their address, date of birth and convictions. "There is one offender listed two streets away from me," said MrsGharghetta, 31, whose husband is a police officer.

"This tool helps you understand what is going on in your neighbourhood, who's coming or going. People should be alert and know what is going on."

Now I feel safe!

Your Congress at Work

H.R. 3749
To recognize the heritage of recreational fishing, hunting, and
shooting on Federal public lands and ensure continued
opportunities for these activities.

Introduced on Oct. 7, 2009

H.R. 3766
To use amounts made available under the Troubled Assets
Relief Program of the Secretary of the Treasury for
relief for homeowners and affordable rental housing.

Introduced in House Oct. 8, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009


Sperm Fluid May Hold Key to Longer Life,
Austrian Scientists Find

Vienna (dpa) -- A substance contained in sperm fluid prolongs life and might be used in fighting Alzheimer disease, Austria's Graz University announced Monday.

Researchers Tobias Eisenberg and Frank Madeo have found that the substance spermidine extends the lifespan of human immune cells, as well as of mice, flies, worms and yeast fungus.

"We might have found the holy grail of age research,"
said Eisenberg, whose study involved 29 colleagues in six countries and was published in the British journal Nature Cell Biology on Sunday.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Iran to Admit Weapons Inspectors

TEHRAN, Iran – The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Sunday there is a "shifting of gears" in Iran's confrontation with the West to more cooperation and transparency and he announced that international inspectors would visit Tehran's newly revealed
uranium enrichment site on Oct. 25.

The International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, speaking at a joint news conference in Tehran with Iran's top nuclear official, said his agency "has no concrete proof of an ongoing weapons program in Iran." But the IAEA has "concerns about Iran's future intentions," he said. "I see that we are at a critical moment. I see that we are shifting gears from confrontation into transparency
and cooperation," said ElBaradei.

His visit followed a week of intense diplomatic activity surrounding Iran's nuclear program, set off by the revelation that Tehran had been secretly constructing
a new uranium enrichment plant just north of the holy
city of Qom. On Thursday, Iran and six world powers
put nuclear talks back on track at a landmark session
in Geneva that included the highest-level bilateral contact with the U.S. in years.

Looks Obama got lucky. Again.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Dood U R Srvd

Court order served over Twitter

The High Court has given permission for an injunction to
be served via social-networking site Twitter.

The order is to be served against an unknown Twitter user who anonymously posts to the site using the same name
as a right-wing political blogger.

The order demands the anonymous Twitter user reveal their identity and stop posing as Donal Blaney, who blogs at a site called Blaney's Blarney.

The order says the Twitter user is breaching the copyright
of Mr Blaney.

He told BBC News that the content being posted to Twitter
in his name was "mildly objectionable".

Mr Blaney turned to Twitter to serve the injunction rather than go through the potentially lengthy process of contacting Twitter headquarters in California and
asking it to deal with the matter.

UK law states that an injunction does not have to be served in person and can be delivered by several different means including fax or e-mail.

Did I Break Your Concentration??

A man was allegedly shot by his employer after he used
his employer's toilet in the Durban central business district, police said on Thursday.

"The Malawian man went to the toilet and on his return his employer asked him where he had gone to. He told him he was at the toilet and showed him the toilet he had used.
The employer then drew out his gun and shot him once
in the left ankle," said Captain Khephu Ndlovu.

It was believed the employer did not want the man
to use his toilet, he said.

Iran arrests al-Qaida militants

TEHRAN, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Iranian intelligence officials
announced the arrest of several members of foreign-based
terrorist groups in the western part of the country.

But I thought they were the bad guys??

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oops Part III

Box of British Leaflets Kills Afghan Girl

London (AP) -- Britain's Ministry of Defense has confirmed
that a box of leaflets dropped from a British plane killed a
girl in Afghanistan.

bound to happen from time to time - stiff upper lip and all that

Good Plan

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed a plan Tuesday to radically alter the way Californians pay taxes, calling on state lawmakers to make dramatic changes before year's end to take the state off the "roller coaster ride" of boom-and-bust budgets.

The governor called a special session of the Legislature to consider proposals in a 415-page report from a government commission that spent nine months studying ways to modernize the state's tax system. Among the ideas from the bipartisan Commission on the 21st Century Economy presented in the report and draft legislation are dramatically reduced income levies and a revolutionary new business tax that would replace existing retail sales and corporation taxes.

"I would sign it immediately," Schwarzenegger declared at a Capitol news conference. "It's an unbelievable compromise between Democrats and Republicans."

But the commission's proposals quickly came under fire from all sides, including labor unions and business groups. Among the criticisms were that the plan unfairly favors the very rich while potentially hurting California businesses and exporting jobs.

Other than that, it's a great plan.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gov. Mark Sanford To Move to Iran

Iranian Leader Says He'll Seek Leniency for Hikers


Berlin (dpa) -- German diplomats are prepared to walk out in protest if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeats before the UN General
Assembly his past denials of the Holocaust, Berlin officials confirmed Tuesday.

Oops, Part II

Plane Crash Mars Iran Military Parade

Tehran, Iran (AP) -- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that Iran is stronger than ever and warned that its military will "cut the hand" of anyone who attacks. But a military parade where he spoke was marred when an air force plane crashed, killing seven people, according to state radio.

Oops, Part I

Thousands of Florida's Walt Disney World theme park visitors were stranded for hours Thursday as officials inspected the entire fleet of 300 buses when a suspicious device reported on a bus led a bomb squad to investigate. However, bus service resumed once the object was identified as a prototype tire-pressure monitor utilizing wireless technology.

Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said Monday a maintenance crew was unfamiliar with the device, which was installed on a single bus in 1998.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Your Congress at Work

House Resolution 185

Expressing the sense of Congress that the President should issue, and Congress should hold hearings
on, a report and a certification regarding the responsibilities, authorities, and powers of his “czars”.


The U.S. recession probably ended in late July or August, Paul Krugman said in Helsinki today.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Townhall Crazies Were Never Winning

Josh Marshall writes:
Who'da Thunk It

Public opinion and polling expert Professor Charles Franklin, a Professor at the University of Wisconsin, has posted a fascinating analysis of a ton of recent polling data on health care reform. And the upshot is that contrary to what I would imagine most of our expectations would be, the decline in support for reform began slowing in August and has now basically stopped. Meanwhile, support for reform firmed up and started to grow at around the same time. In other words, the inflection point seems to have been during the heat of the townhall craziness, and in advance of the presidential speech.

If he's right, the history of August was very different from what we thought. This is a very interesting read.

This is what I've been saying.
Here's the link to Professor Franklin's analysis.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Guns On A Train

Washington (AP) -- The Senate voted Wednesday to permit
passengers on the Amtrak passenger railroad to transport
handguns in their checked baggage. The proposal, approved by
a 68-30 vote, seeks to givehandguns in their checked baggage.
The proposal, approved by a 68-30 vote, seeks to give Amtrak
riders rights comparable to those enjoyed by airline passengers,
who are permitted to transport firearms provided that they declare
they are doing so and that the arms are unloaded and in a securely
locked container.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Landrieu on Health Reform

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what's the problem with the public health option?

LANDRIEU: Well, many of us believe, George, that it will undermine the private insurance system.


For the two-minute Bobblespeak versions, see This Week and Meet The Press translations.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Ashcroft Liable for Violating Constitution

Former US Attorney General John Ashcroft can be sued by an American citizen held as a witness suspected of having information in a terrorism case, the Ninth Circuit has ruled. Abdullah al-Kidd accused Ashcroft
of violating his constitutional rights in 2003, when he was held for without charges for 16 days. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also said the government's policy was "a painful reminder of some of the most ignominious chapters of our national history" and detention of witnesses without charge after the 9/11 attacks was "repugnant to
the constitution". The judges said even qualified immunity does not allow the Attorney General to carry out national security functions
in violation of the law.

Monday, August 31, 2009


Distinguished American actor and producer Sam Wanamaker
was watched by MI5 for several years for his alleged communist
sympathies, it has emerged.

Files released by the National Archives show Mr Wanamaker,
father of actress Zoe, would have been interned had the UK been
attacked in the mid-1950s.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration placed new
controls on interrogating terrorism detainees to prevent the
kinds of abuses that allegedly occurred when the CIA captured
and questioned suspected al-Qaeda operatives.

A special unit of interrogators housed at the Federal
Bureau of Investigation
will be established to question so-
called high-value detainees, administration officials in
Washington said today. The multiagency group’s deputy will be
drawn from the intelligence community, the officials said.

The special unit will stick to existing procedures outlined
in the U.S. Army Field Manual, with oversight from the White
House National Security Council.

The new controls were set in motion by President Barack
Obama two days after taking office in response to international
criticism over practices by the Central Intelligence Agency that
included waterboarding, which simulates drowning. The CIA said
earlier this year it had closed its detention facilities and
suspended interrogations, pending the administration review.


NJ Town Wants to Block Gadhafi From Staying There

Englewood, N.J. (AP) -- Officials are trying to prevent Libyan
leader Moammar Gadhafi from staying in northern New Jersey
when he visits the United States next month.


Swine Flu May Infect Half of U.S., Kill 90,000, Report Says


Monday, August 17, 2009

Osama's Ex-Driver Now a Yemen cabbie

SANAA, Yemen, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Osama bin Laden's former chauffeur
says he is back to driving for a living following his return to
his native Yemen. Salim Ahmed Hamdan told the Toronto Star
business is difficult given the lack of tourism in the
capital of Sanaa.

But Hamdan says his life is a lot better than it was for seven
years when he was locked up at the U.S. detention center
at Guantanamo Bay.

Sure, but only because he's not driving a cab in New York.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Webb Wins Release for American in Myanmar

Seth Mydans reports that Sen. Jim Webb has gotten a commitment from the government of Myanmar to release the American who swam out to Aung San Suu Kyi, who Webb also got to meet with. Swimming out to her house may not have been the brightest idea, but it's another win for the Obama administration.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Saturday, August 01, 2009

NSA HQ Will House 11,000

The National Security Agency could be adding thousands of jobs as it revs up plans to build a new complex near its Anne Arundel County headquarters.

The secretive agency, which did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday afternoon, wants to build 5.8 million square feet over 20 years on Fort Meade land. NSA detailed the plans in a notice published in the Federal Register this month, reported today by The Baltimore Business Journal.

NSA said in the notice that the new space would house as many as 11,000 employees. But it did not say how many of the jobs would be newly created as opposed to moved from older buildings.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Presidential Surveillance Program - A Timeline

The following timeline is based on the Unclassified Report on the President’s Surveillance Program, written by the Inspectors General of several agencies, published on July 10, 2009.


1978 - The FISA law is enacted, permitting electronic surveillance in the United States for foreign intelligence purposes, through the FISA court. The law forbids such electronic surveillance except as authorized by statute.

September 11, 2001 - Terrorists armed with knives and boxcutters hijack four passenger aircraft, and fly three of them into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Almost 3,000 people are killed.

Sept. 2001 - Soon after the attacks, Director of the CIA George Tenet, on behalf of the White House, asks NSA Director Michael Hayden whether the NSA could do more to combat terrorism. Hayden tells Tenet that nothing more can be done within his existing legal authority. When asked what he might do with more authority, Hayden proposes what becomes the basis for the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP).

Sept. 2001 - President Bush authorizes the NSA to undertake a number of new, highly classified intelligence activities. All of these activities are authorized in a single document called a “Presidential Authorization.” The programs, still classified as of 2009, involve interception of communications without a court order, a program the White House calls the “Terrorist Surveillance Program,” as well as actions known in IG report as "Other Intelligence Activities." Collectively these activities are known as the PSP.

Sept. 2001 - The Presidential Authorizations are issued at intervals of approximately every 45 days. With each reauthorization the CIA, and later the National Counterterrorism Center, prepare an assessment of current potential terrorist threats and a summary of intelligence gathered through the PSP and other means during the previous authorization period. The Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) review this information every 45 days to assess whether there is "a sufficient factual basis demonstrating a threat of terrorist attacks in the United States for it to continue to be reasonable under the standards of the Fourth Amendment for the President to [continue] to authorize the warrantless searches involved" in the program. The Office of Legal Counsel then advises the Attorney General as to whether the constitutional standard of reasonableness has been met, and whether the Presidential Authorization could be certified "as to form and and legality."

Each Presidential Authorization includes a finding that an extraordinary emergency continues to exist, and that the circumstances "constitute an urgent and compelling governmental interest" justifying the activities being authorized without a court order.

Because private sector companies and individuals are asked to cooperate in the PSP, the White House feels it is important to be able to say that the Attorney General has approved the program. In addition, for "purely political considerations" the Attorney General's approval of the program is thought to have value "prospectively" in the event of Congressional or Inspector General reviews of the program.

Threat assessments relied on by the DOJ, providing the basis for the PSP, described the danger of a terrorist attack, and are sobering and "scary." The threat assessments are known as the "scary memos."

Sept. 2001 - Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, who works in the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel, writes the initial legal memos supporting the concepts behind the PSP.

Sept. 2001 - U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft is told about the existence of the program. That same day, he approves Presidential Authorization of the PSP.

Sept. 2001 - Michael Hayden is told the Attorney General has personally approved the PSP as lawful.

October 2001 - John Yoo writes more legal memos supporting potential activities of the PSP.

October 25, 2001 - Unnamed White House officials and Michael Hayden brief Rep. Nancy P. Pelosi, Rep. Porter J. Goss, Sen. Robert Graham and Sen. Richard J. Shelby on aspects of the PSP. Later more briefings take place.

November 2, 2001 - John Yoo writes the first legal directly supporting the legality of the PSP. Yoo concludes that because the FISA law of 1978 did specifically state that is applies in a time of war, it does not apply to the PSP. As the IG Report notes, Yoo ignores a FISA provision allowing the interception of electronic communications without a warrant for a period of 15 days following a congressional declaration of war.

Yoo also concludes the Fourth Amendment does not apply to non-U.S. citizens, and that the government may intercept communications which cross a border. Yoo also concludes that surveillance for military purposes does not fall under the Fourth Amendment. Yoo finds that the government conduct may any surveillance which is reasonable, for example, where there is a great national interest, such as security of the nation. The IG Report notes that Yoo does not discuss the Youngstown case, instead emphasizing that the President has the constitutional power to take action to defend the nation against direct attack.

November 2001 - John Yoo is only person in the Office of Legal Counsel who knows about the PSP, and becomes the principal legal authority approving the PSP, bypassing the peer review process of the DOJ, including his own supervisor, Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, who is never told about the existence of the PSP. No one else in the OLC is aware Yoo is working with the White House on the program. He deals only with the White House and remains the principal authority until he leaves in May of 2003.

January 2002 - FISA Court Presiding Judge Royce Lamberth is told about the PSP. Presiding Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is later informed.

October 2002 - At the request of AG Ashcroft, Yoo writes another memo supporting the PSP.

May 2003 - John Yoo leaves government.

May 2003 - After Yoo leaves, another DOJ official, Patrick Philbin, is selected by the White House to be given knowledge of the PSP, and to assume Yoo's role as advisor to the Attorney General concerning the program.

August, 2003 - Philbin expresses his concern to U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft that John Yoo's OLC legal opinions might lack a proper legal foundation.

October 6, 2003 - Jack Goldsmith replaces Jay Bybee as Assistant Attorney General for the OLC. Although Bybee was never told about the PSP, Patrick Philbin persuades the Counsel to the Vice President Dick Cheney, David Addington, to inform Goldsmith about the existence of the surveillance program.

October, 2003 - Philbin tells Goldsmith about his concern that John Yoo's analysis of the legality of the PSP was incorrect, and that certain ongoing practices of the U.S. government are in violation of the law.

November, 2003 - Goldsmith and Philbin re-analyze the PSP and the FISA statute. They develop an argument that the Congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force Joint Resolution (AUMF) exempted some of the activities under the PSP from FISA. Even so, Goldsmith and Philbin remain concerned that this revised analysis is still not enough to support the legality of certain actions the President authorized under the PSP.

December, 2003 - Goldsmith and Philbin met with the Counsel to the Vice President, David Addington, and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, at the White House to express their growing concerns about the legality of certain activites of the PSP. Goldsmith tells them he thinks the PSP, in its current form, is illegal. Gonzales agrees to terminate the program if it is found to be illegal.

December, 2003 - James Comey becomes Deputy Attorney General.

January, 2004 - Bush agrees to inform James Comey about the PSP.

January 2004 - Jack Goldsmith tell James Comey about his belief that PSP may be illegal. After studying the issues, Comey agrees that John Yoo's legal opinions were flawed, and that PSP may be illegal. He is particularly concerned by Yoo's opinion that the President may unilaterally, and in secret, decide to ignore an act of Congress.

Monday, March 1, 2004 - James Corney tells FBI Director Mueller that he thinks the PSP may be illegal. This is the first time Mueller has been told there are any doubts about the legality of the program.

Thursday, March 4, morning - Comey meets with U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. He tells Ashcroft about his belief that certain practices of the PSP are probably illegal. Ashcroft agrees with the opinions of Comey, Goldsmith and Philbin that the PSP is illegal.

Thursday, March 4, afternoon - Ashcroft is struck with severe gallstone pancreatitis and admitted to the The George Washington University Hospital, which is a few minutes away from the Dept. of Justice and a few blocks from the White House.

Friday, March 5, morning - Jack Goldsmith advises James Comey by memorandum that because of Ashcroft's medical condition and hospitalization, a "clear basis" exists for Comey to determine that "this is a case of 'absence or disability' of the Attorney General," allowing Comey to become Acting Attorney General of the United States. Goldsmith sends a copy of the memo to White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales.

Friday, Thursday, March 5, afternoon - Gonzales calls Goldsmith, asking for a letter stating that John Yoo's opinions "covered" the PSP. Goldsmith and Philbin confirm that Gonzales only wants a letter stating that Yoo said the PSP was legal, not that, in the opinion of the DOJ, it actually was.

Friday, Thursday, March 5, evening - Goldsmith, Philbin, and Comey re-examine all of Jon Yoo's memoranda, with a view toward determining whether they adequately described the actual intelligence activities of the NSA under the Authorizations.

Goldsmith, Philbin, and Corney conclude that Yoo's memoranda did not accurately describe all of activities that were being conducted by the government under orders from President Bush, and that the Yoo's opinions therefore did not provide a basis for finding that these activities were legal.

Saturday, March 6 - With Comey's approval, Goldsmith and Philbin meet with Addington and Gonzales at the White House to convey their conclusions that certain activities in the PSP are illegal and should stop. Addington and Gonzales tell Goldsmith they will get back to them.

Sunday, March 7 - Goldsmith and Philbin met again with Addington and Gonzales at the White House. Addington and Gonzales tell Goldsmith and Philbin they disagree with their interpretation of Yoo's memoranda, that they believe the PSP is legal, and that in their opinion there do not need to be any changes to NSA surveillance under the PSP.

Tuesday, March 9, Morning - Alberto Gonzales calls Goldsmith and tries to persuade him that his criticisms of Yoo's memoranda are incorrect, and that Yoo's analysis showed the PSP is legal. Goldsmith tells him disagrees. Gonzales tells him that Presidential Authorization for the PSP expires in three days, and that Attorney General John Ashcroft must agree for it to be renewed. Gonzales is concerned that Ashcroft is too sick to sign the authorization, and the Comey will not agree to it. Gonzales asks for a "30-day bridge" to get past the deadline. Goldsmith tells Gonzales they can't do that, because the PSP is, in their opinion, illegal.

Tuesday, March 9, 12:00 p.m. - A meeting is at the White House. Present are the President's Chief of Staff Andrew Card, FBI Director Mueller, Vice President Cheney, CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin, Hayden, Gonzales, and other unspecified officials. Comey, Goldsmith, and Philbin are not invited.

NSA and CIA officials brief everyone on the PSP, and the group is then told that James Comey believes some PSP activities are illegal. Vice President Cheney suggests that "the President may have to reauthorize without the blessing of DOJ." Mueller tells Cheney "I could have a problem with that," and tells him that the FBI is going to have to independently "review legality of continued participation in the program."

Tuesday, March 9, afternoon - Gonzales and Vice President Cheney summon Comey, Goldsmith and Philbin to the White House to persuade them that the PSP is important to national security and should be allowed to continue. Vice President Cheney tells Comey that the PSP is "critically important" and warns that Corney is risking "thousands" of lives if Corney does not agree to recertify the PSP. Corney tells Cheney that as the Acting Attorney General he will refuses to reauthorize the PSP unless it is modified. Cheney refuses.

Wednesday March 10, morning - President George W. Bush is told that Comey will not reauthorize the PSP because he thinks it is illegal. Bush tells Cheney to call meeting of Congressional leaders to inform them of the problem. The PSP will expire the next day.

March 10, afternoon - Goldsmith, Philbin, and Corney met in to discuss the meeting at the White House the day before and how DOJ should proceed. Goldsmith and Philbin confirmed their position to Corney that some of the "Other Intelligence Activities" under the PSP are not legal and must be changed or shut down.

March 10, 2004, 4:30 p.m.- Cheney, Gonzales, Card, Hayden, McLaughlin, and Tenet, convene an emergency meeting with congressional leaders in the White House Situation Room. Present are Senate Majority and Minority Leaders Bill Frist and Thomas A. Daschle; Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts and Vice Chairman Jay Rockefeller; Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Porter Goss and Ranking Member Jane Harman. This group is known informally as the "Gang of Eight." No one from Dept. of Justice is invited to attend the meeting.

Gonzales later tells Comey that Congressional leaders agreed that the PSP was legal and should continue, he testifies to this later under oath. Pelosi, Rockefeller, and Daschle later issue statements sharply disputing Gonzales's characterization of their statements at the March 10, meeting, stating that there was no consensus at the meeting that the program should proceed. Pelosi later states that at that meeting she "made clear my disagreement with what the White House was asking" concerning the program.

March 10, 6:00 p.m. - President George Bush tells Gonzales and Card to go to the hospital and speak to Ashcroft, who is intensive care, recovering from surgery.

March 10, 6:20 p.m. - Andrew Card calls the hospital and tells an agent in Ashcroft's security detail that President Bush will be calling to speak with Ashcroft. Ashcroft's wife told the agent to tell Card that Ashcroft will not accept the call.

March 10, 6:30 p.m. - The agent calls Ashcroft's Chief of Staff David Ayres to request that Ayres speak with Card, and tell the President about Mrs. Ashcroft's desire that no calls be made to John Ashcroft.

March 10, 6:45 p.m. - Andrew Card and President Bush call the hospital and insist on speaking with John Ashcroft. Mrs. Ashcroft takes the call from Card and the President. President Bush tells her that Gonzales and Card are on their way to the hospital to see Ashcroft regarding a matter involving national security.

March 10, 7:00 p.m. - At the DOJ, Chief of Staff Ayres tells James Comey that Gonzales and Card are on their way to the hospital to try to get Ashcroft to reauthorize the PSP.

March 10, 7:03 p.m. - Comey calls his own Chief of Staff and tells him to "get as many of my people as possible to the hospital immediately."

March 10, 7:05 p.m - Comey then calls Mueller and tells him that Gonzales and Card are on their way to the hospital and that John Ashcroft was in no condition to receive guests, much less make a decision about whether to recertify the PSP. Comey wants Mueller to witness Ashcroft's condition. Mueller tells Corney he will go to the hospital right away.

March 10, 7:10 p.m. - Comey calls Philbin tells him to get to the hospital right away because Gonzales and Card were on their way there "to get Ashcroft to sign something" reauthorizing the PSP. Comey also tells Philbin to call Goldsmith and tell him what is happening.

March 10, 7:25 p.m. - Comey arrives at GW hospital, and with his own security detail, runs up the stairs to Ashcroft's floor, and enters Ashcroft's room, where he finds Ashcroft lying in bed and his wife standing by the side. Comey finds Ashcroft unfocused and later says that he "seemed pretty bad off."

March 10, 7:30 p.m. - Goldsmith arrives at the hospital.

March 10, 7:32 p.m.- Philbin arrives at the hospital.

March 10, 7:33 p.m. - Comey, Goldsmith, and Philbin met briefly in an FBI "command post" in a room next to Ashcroft's room.

March 10, 7:34 p.m. - Comey, Goldsmith, and Philbin are informed that Card and Gonzales have arrived at the hospital and are on their way upstairs to see Ashcroft.

March 10, 7:35 p.m.- Comey, Goldsmith, and Philbin enter Ashcroft's room tell Ashcroft "not to sign anything."

March 10, 7:35 p.m. - Gonzales and Card enter Ashcroft's hospital room.

March 10, 7:35 p.m. - Mrs. Ashcroft is at the head of Ashcroft's bed. Comey, Goldsmith, and Philbin stand behind Gonzales and Card. Gonzales is carrying a manila envelope. Inside the envelope is a Presidential Authorization for the PSP, requiring Ashcroft's signature.

March 10, 7:36 p.m. - Gonzales asks Ashcroft how he is feeling. Ashcroft replies, "Not well." Gonzales says, "You know, there's a reauthorization that has to be renewed ...."

March 10, 7:36 p.m. - Ashcroft tells Gonzales, in very strong terms, that he thinks the PSP is illegal. He then states, "But that doesn't matter, because I'm not the Attorney General. There is the Attorney General," and he points to Comey.

March 10, 7:40 p.m. Gonzales and Card, without acknowledging Comey, turn and walk out of the room.

March 10, 7:41 p.m. Mueller arrives at the hospital.

March 10, 8:00 p.m., Mueller goes into Ashcroft's room for 10 minutes. Mueller notes: "AG in chair; is feeble, barely articulate, clearly stressed."

March 10, 8:15 p.m. - White House Chief of Staff Card calls Comey at the hospital. Card is very upset and demands that Corney come to the White House immediately. Comey tells Card that he will meet with him, but not without DOJ Solicitor General Ted Olson as a witness.

March 10, 11:00 p.m. - Comey and Olson arrive at the White House and meet with Gonzales and Card. Comey again informs them he will not approve legal authorization of the surveillance program.

March 11, midnight - Final day until authorization for the PSP expires.

March 11, morning - President Bush signs a new Authorization for the PSP.

In a departure from the past practice of having the Attorney General certify the Authorization as to form and legality, the March 11 Authorization is certified by the White House Counsel, Alberto Gonzales.

The March 11 Authorization also differs from prior Authorizations in three other respects. It explicitly asserts that the President's exercise of his Article II Commander-in-Chief authority displaces any contrary provisions of law, including FISA. It also describes certain “Other Intelligence Activities” being conducted under the PSP to address questions regarding whether such activities had actually been authorized explicitly in prior Authorizations.

It also states that in approving the prior Presidential Authorizations as to form and legality, the Attorney General previously had authorized the same activities now being approved under the March 11 Authorization. This statement is subsequently was removed from future Authorizations after John Ashcroft complained to Gonzales that the statement was "inappropriate."

March 11, morning - White House Chief of Staff Card calls Comey and tells him that that the President has just signed a new Authorization for the PSP.

March 11, 12:00 p.m. - Gonzales calls Goldsmith and tells him that the President, in issuing the Authorization, had made an interpretation of law concerning his authority and that DOJ should not act in contradiction of the President's determinations.

March 11, 12:10 p.m. - Director Mueller meets with Card at the White House. Card tells Mueller that if no "legislative fix" can be found by May 6, 2004, when the March 11 Authorization is set to expire, the program will be discontinued. Mueller tell Card that the failure to have DOJ representation at the congressional briefing and the attempt to have Ashcroft certify the Authorization without going through Comey "gave the strong perception that the [White House] was trying to do an end run around the Acting [Attorney General] whom they knew to have serious concerns as to the legality of portions of the program." Card responds that he and Gonzales were unaware at the time of the hospital visit that Comey was the Acting Attorney General, and that they had only been following the directions of the President.

March 11 - Comey drafts a letter of resignation. Ashcroft's Chief of Staff David Ayres urges Comey to wait until Ashcroft was well enough to resign with him.

Goldsmith also drafts a resignation letter, citing the "shoddiness" of the prior legal review of the PSP, the "over-secrecy" of the PSP, and the "shameful" incident at the hospital. Comey believes several senior DOJ officials, including Chuck Rosenberg, Daniel Levin, James Baker, David Ayres, and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Attorney General David Israelite, are also prepared to resign. Comey believes that "a large portion" of his staff will resign if he does.

March 12, 1:30 a.m. - FBI Director Mueller drafts a letter by hand, stating in part: "After reviewing the plain language of the FISA statute, and the order issued yesterday by the President ... and in the absence of further clarification of the legality of the program from the Attorney General, I am forced to withdraw the FBI from participation in the program. Further, should the President order the continuation of the FBI's participation in the program, and in the absence of further legal advice from the AG, I would be constrained to resign as Director of the FBI." Mueller plans on having the letter typed and then tendering it later, but he does not.

March 12 - Comey and Mueller attended the regular daily threat briefing with the President in the Oval Office. After the briefing President Bush calls Comey into his private study for an "unscheduled meeting." Comey tells the President about the DOJ's legal concerns regarding the PSP. The President's response indicates that he had not been fully informed of these concerns. Comey tells the President that the President's staff had been advised of these issues "for weeks." The President tells Comey that he just needs until May 6, and that if he could not get Congress to fix FISA by then he would shut down the program. The President emphasizes the importance of the program and that it "saves lives."

March 12 - The President meets with Mueller. Mueller tells the President of his concerns regarding the FBI's continued participation in the program without an opinion from the Attorney General as to its legality, and that he was considering resigning if the FBI were directed to continue to participate without the concurrence of the Attorney General. Mueller explains to the President that he has an "independent obligation to the FBI and to DOJ to assure the legality of actions", the FBI undertakes and that a presidential order alone cannot do that. The President directs Mueller to meet with Comey and other PSP principals to address the legal concerns so that the FBI could continue participating in the program "as appropriate under the law."

March 12 - Comey decides not to direct the FBI to cease cooperating with the NSA in conjunction with the PSP. Comey’s decision is documented in a one-page memorandum from Goldsmith to Comey, in which Goldsmith explains that the President, as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive with the constitutional duty to "take care that the laws are faithfully executed," made a determination that the PSP, as practiced, was lawful. Goldsmith concludes that this determination was binding on the entire Executive Branch, including Comey in his exercise of the powers of the Attorney General.

On March 12 - An interagency working group led by OLC is convened to continue reanalyzing the legality of the PSP. Goldsmith expresses doubt that a viable legal rationale can be found for the PSP.

March 16 - Comey officially advises the White House that that the DOJ remained is unable to find a legal basis to support certain activities and recommends they be discontinued immediately. Comey advises the White House that the PSP raises serious issues, including Presidential authority to override an act of Congress.

March 16 - Alberto Gonzales replies in writing to Comey, to tell him that the President, not the DOJ, has the final say in interpretation of the law.

March 17 - The President orders modifications to certain PSP intelligence-gathering activities and orders the NSA to discontinue certain Other Intelligence Activities that DOJ believed were legally unsupported.

May 6 - Goldsmith and Philbin completed a legal memorandum assessing the legality of the modified PSP. They trace the history of the program and analyze the legality of all of the intelligence activities conducted under the program in light of applicable statutes, Executive Orders, cases, and constitutional provisions. They conclude the AUMF authorized the President to conduct most activities under the PSP.

May 20, 2004 - Ashcroft writes a memorandum stating that it was not until Philbin and Goldsmith explained to him that aspects of the NSA's “Other Intelligence Activities” were not accurately described in the prior Authorizations that he realized that he had been certifying the Authorizations prior to March 2004 based on a misimpression of those activities.

December 16, 2005 - The New York Times reveals the extent and potential illegality of the PSP. The Times delayed the story for a year at the request of the White House.

December, 2005 - In response to the Times story, Bush defends the program, noting he his, and previous administrations were criticized for not "connecting the dots" prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001. He says that the USA PATRIOT Act and the PSP are helping to connect the dots as best as his administration possibly can.

February and July 2006 - In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales states that the dispute at issue between DOJ and the White House did not relate to the Terrorist Surveillance Program that the President had confirmed, but rather pertained to other intelligence activities. In 2009 the DOJ Inspector General concludes that this was misleading.

Gonzales's testifies that DOJ attorneys did not have "reservations" or "concerns" about the program the "President has confirmed" (the Terrorist Surveillance Program) was incomplete and confusing. In July of 2009 the DOJ Inspector General concludes that this testimony was confusing, inaccurate, and had the effect of misleading those who were not knowledgeable about the program.

May 2006 - During the May 2006 Senate hearing on his nomination to be CIA Director, Hayden said that, had the PSP been in place before the September 2001 attacks, hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi almost certainly would have been identified and located.

February 1, 2007 - The final Presidential Authorization for the PSP expires.

August, 2007 - The Protect America Act is enacted, which amends FISA to expand the government's ability to conduct electronic surveillance in the United States of people located outside the United States.

July, 2008 - The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 are enacted, authorizing the government to intercept, inside the United States any communications of non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States. This legislation gives the government even broader authority to intercept international communications than did the provisions of the original Presidential Authorizations.

July 16, 2009 - In an essay in The Wall Street Journal, John Yoo, now a professor at the University of California, directly responds to the Inspector Generals' report. Addressing what he calls the
media-stoked politics of recrimination,” and the report's implication that Yoo supported violations of FISA, Yoo calls FISA an "obsolete law," which was "not written with live war with an international terrorist organization in mind." Yoo writes that the "Founders designed the presidency," as an office to respond "such emergency circumstances" as a time when Executive might determine which laws are suddenly obsolete. In his essay, Yoo argues that function of the presidency is to protect the nation from attack, and that, no law, even if passed by Congress and signed by a previous President, can limit the power of the President to conduct foreign affairs and national security policy, particularly in a time of war. The powers of the President to protect the nation, Yoo writes, ought to exist “without limitation."

“Antedent, standing, positive laws" - Yoo suggests, are useless when the nation can be attacked, nor can legislatures, which act too slowly, be trusted to protect the nation. Only a chief executive with few limits on his power, Yoo writes, can protect the interests of the public.

Because it is impossible to foresee or even define every national emergency, or how it should be addressed, the President's power should be unlimited, writes Yoo. Indeed, to limit the president's constitutional power to protect the nation from foreign threats, he writes, "is simply foolhardy."


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Perspective on the Obama Stimulus

In August 1981, Reagan signed his Recovery Act into law.
He promised to find additional cuts to balance the budget, which
had a projected deficit of $80 billion -- the largest, to that date, in
U.S. history. That fall, the economy took a turn for the worse. To fight inflation, running at a rate of 14 percent per year, the Federal Reserve Board had increased interest rates. Recession was the result. Blue-collar workers who had largely supported Reagan were hard hit, as many lost their jobs. The United States was experiencing its worst recession since the Depression, with conditions frighteningly reminiscent of those 50 years earlier.

By November 1982, unemployment reached nine million, the highest rate since the Depression; 17,000 businesses failed, the second highest number since 1933; farmers lost their land; and many sick, elderly, and poor became homeless.

The country lived through the recession for a full year before Reagan finally admitted publicly that the economy was in trouble. His budget cuts, which hurt the poor, and his tax cuts, which favored the rich, combined with the hardships of a recession, spawned the belief that Reagan was insensitive to his people's needs. (Although it was a 25% across-the-board tax cut, those people in the higher income brackets benefited the most.)

As economic hardship hit American homes, Reagan's approval rating hit rock bottom. In January 1983, it was estimated at a dismal 35 percent. Having failed in his promise to deliver economic prosperity, Reagan's reelection in 1984 seemed unlikely. With a failing economy, hopes for a balanced budget vanished.

While Reagan finally agreed to a moderate tax increase on businesses, he steadfastly refused to raise income taxes or cut defense spending, despite a growing negative sentiment toward the buildup. In January 1983, with his approval rating at an all-time low, the economy slowly began to right itself. Unemployment, as high as ten percent in 1982, had improved enough by 1984 for his popularity to be restored, and
by the November presidential election, it was hard to believe that a second term was ever in doubt.

Source: PBS

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Palin's Investigations

I saw the whole 18 minutes on David Shuster, and if listen carefully, getting through the incoherence, a pattern becomes clear. Just as people say JFK's entire inaugural was about the Cold War, her entire press conference address was about the investigations of her going in on Alaska. From the opening lines to the end, the recurring theme was that because she was the GOP VP nominee, the national media and liberals have descended on Alaska and begun one fraudulent investigation after another, costing taxpyers millions. And the vultures won't stop until she quits, so she's leaving for the goood of Alasaka. Therefore, quitting in the face of numerous ethics investigations becomes an entirely selfless gesture on her part.

Make of that what you will.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


(AP) - ROME JUNE 30 -- A former CIA agent on trial for the alleged kidnapping of a Muslim cleric and terror suspect in Milan acknowledged in an interview published Tuesday that he had a role in the operation but insisted he was only following orders. Italy's Il Giornale daily published a rare interview with Robert Seldon Lady,
the CIA Milan station chief at the time of the 2003 disappearance of Egyptian cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, from a street in the northern city. "I am not guilty. I am only responsible for following an order I received from my superiors,"
Lady was quoted as saying by Il Giornale:
"It was not a criminal act. It was a state affair."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Obama Press Conference - June 23, 2009

Obama Press Conference
June 23, 2009

Obama: Ok I want to say at the outset that of course I condemn the psychotics beating protestors in Iran and there is a retrograde group of knuckleheads who want to claim the US is interfering in the Iran and inciting violence and seize their country and overthrow their government - I am talking of course about the Republican party

Now I also want to talk about something equally controversial - windows and windmills - let me give a shout out to Waxman and Dingell and that guy on the agricultural committee

AG guy: woo hoo that’s me

Obama: and thirdly of course I want to talk about health care and how it can be free if we just stop giving out those free pens to doctors and lollipops for ever child?? I don’t fucking think so!

Now I know many Americans are happy that they have any health insurance at all, but you should know eventually health care costs will exceed the entire federal budget and then the sun will go nova and swallow up the earth

Q: will you still talk to Iran what with all the killing?

Obama: well sure it looks bad but I don't hate the Persians or their wacky religion all I want is for them to pull their godamm heads out of their asses

Nico Suave!

Nico: i have a question from a genuine Iranian - when do plan on betraying the brave Iranians?

Obama: whoa hold on there Nico - I didn't observe the election and it's not for the U.S. to say who won

Nico: awwwww

Obama: but look if you want to know who won an election you don’t look to see who has the best bat-wielding motorcycle riding maniacs

Mel Gibson: shit!

Q: Grade the Fed for me

Obama: I won't say anything bad about Bernanke - however he is a idiot and this is all his fault

Q: oh ok then

Obama: since then he has done a good job of taking the heat for me so that's good

Obama: hells my dog Bo got a credit card with a $5,000 limit!

Q: wow

Obama: I know! I'm not paying for his night out on the town with some bitch he met on Petfinder!

Q: Bailouts?

Obama: if we had more laws in place before maybe this wouldn't have goddamm well happened!

Q: what took you so long to express your meaningless outrage about an election in a far-off country where we have a history of illegal interference?

Obama: because I'm not a total dumbass and didn't want to give the Iranian government ammunition!

Q: that's Reagan's job

Obama: exactly!

Q: will you still invite Iranian officials over for the 4th of July?

Obama: if they want to - I'm serving hot dogs and beer

Q: Will a public plan destroy America?

Obama: Look dipshit premiums are doubling every 9 years - at this rate they will swallow the whole planet!

Obama: oh I know everyone is worried about the deficit - well guess what fuckers it's because we have really high costs and a shitty system with 47 million uninsured

Q: oh

Obama: i want to cut costs, treat people, and spend money efficiently

Q: like how?

Obama: like take it away from insurance companies who waste it on trips to Vegas - yeah i said it Goodman!

Obama: jesus h christ you've got people out there who think they are insured and suddenly they're out 50,000 motherfuckin dollars!

Q: woo

Obama: so I'm talking about disciplining those fucking insurance companies - I'm gonna get medieval on their asses!

Obama: I mean why not offer people the choice of care that fucking members of Congress get!!

Q: but that will drive private bloodsuckers out of business

Obama: well fuck if they can't compete with the government who they say can't do anything right then maybe they fucking suck

Chocolate Chip!

Chip: My friend Lindsay says you are timid and weak and John McCain says you are gay

Obama: what do you think Chippy?

[ full bore glare]

Obama: Lindsay said i was weak? that fish writsted freak?

Chip: well...

Obama: Look I'm the fuckin’ President and Lindsay is a big baby and by the way if I took the side of the protestors the regime would say there were being paid by the CIA

Chip: so what you said just now helps the regime!

Obama: oh fuck off

C Todd!

Todd: aren't you surrendering to the regime?

Obama: hey i know you have the attention span of a puppy on crack but I don't - next question!


J-Tapp: will you sign a public plan or not?

Obama: that's your fucking question?

J Tappp: no I have another

Obama: who the fuck are you Tip Tap the ombudsman?

Tapp: ok Spock won't you drive poor little businesses out?

Obama: don't snark me dood

Obama: Look we all know insurers only have one job - take your money today and tell your to fuck off tomorrow

But look if you believe in the free market and then what the fuck are you worried about?

Tapp: but you promised that employers would keep health insurance forever

Obama: no I never did

Tapp: i know that

Q: you signed an anti-smoking bill - will the bill you signed stop you from smoking?

Obama: oh i see you think you're very clever

Q: no it's a serious question

Obama: no it wasn't and you know it - Macarena!

Macarena: talk to me about Chile

Obama: i like mine with beans, meat, and a lot of heat

Q: no the country

Obama: oh that - hey Chile may bail out California which would be awesome

Q: Brazil?

Obama: well that's very different - their President has the full Brazilian which is very cool

Hans: do we need another stimulus?

Obama: hey I've said it before - no on knew just how shitty Bush's economy was and we still haven't recovered

Obama: my stimulus is working and it will keep working but we are after all in a little Depression

Now I watch Chris Matthews moan about poll numbers and I say hey fucker we're doing everything we can but I don't blame people for being unhappy - I mean just look at Jon and Kate - this is a tough time in America!

April: black Americans are living through a real Depression dood if you won't help who will!?

Obama: Pete Hoekstra's never wins at video poker so he knows how they feel

April: true

Obama: but never fear we are training young people to text and e-mail

Suzanne: did you see the video of Neda??

Obama: yeah it's not as much fun as all the cat videos on YouTube

Suzanne: will you let people in Iran vote?

Obama: i support freedom of speech unlike some previous administrations I could mention - but this is about Iran not America and as Martin Luther King said the Justice League will prevail!

Monday, June 22, 2009

He Just Needed to Spend Father's Day Alone

SC Governor's Whereabouts Unknown, Even to Wife

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Where is South Carolina's governor?

Gov. Mark Sanford's wife said Monday the two-term Republican chief executive has been gone for several days and she doesn't know where. Sanford's staff won't say where he is. First lady Jenny Sanford tells The Associated Press her husband said he needed time away from their children to write something. She says she's not concerned. Sanford earned a reputation as the nation's most vocal anti-bailout governor by refusing $700 million in federal stimulus money for schools
until he lost a court battle earlier this month.

Spokesman Joel Sawyer says Sanford was taking time to "recharge" after his failed fight. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer said he didn't know
where Sanford is but said he had not been put in charge.

That's a little strange.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sharon Theimer Writes Attack Editorial

Sharon Theimer of the Associated Press writes an editorial which includes this about Sonia Sotomayor:

She climbed her way up through New York's Democratic power structure boosted by its ultimate brokers over those years
— Gov. Mario Cuomo, Mayor Ed Koch, Sen. Daniel Patrick
Moynihan and District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.
That's the access of a partner in a corporate law firm,
not a kid from the South Bronx.

This is so ridiculous it can only be the product of utter ignorance or bias. Given the tenor of piece, a shoddy hit job, I assume it's bias. Not racial or sexual, but clearly Theimer has a story she wanted to tell and made the facts fit the narrative. It's also possible, of course, that she knows nothing of how politics works, and assumes only corporate lawyers have their careers boosted by politicians. In fact, those men she names all started, like Sotomayor, relatively poor and unconnected, (except for Morgenthau) and through hard work and getting known and making connections, got into the positions they held and in turn helped others on their way up.

She did go to Princeton and Yale, is smart and able and accomplished, which may also have had something to do with her great sucess. Just a thought.

That apppears not to have occurred to Theimer, who is continuing a proud tradition of fairly stupid analysis pieces from the Associated Press, whose Washington bureau chief was probably so busy exchanging e-mails with Karl Rove and how to secure a Republican victory in 2004.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Your Congress at Work

S. 1044
To preserve the ability of the United States to project power globally.

S. 1048
To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to extend the food labeling requirements of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 to enable customers to make informed choices about the nutritional content of standard menu items in large chain restaurants.

H.J.Res. 52
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to temporarily fill mass vacancies in the House of Representatives and the Senate and to preserve the right of the people to elect their Representatives and Senators in Congress.

“Immediately after taking the oath of office, an individual who is elected to serve as a Senator or Representative in Congress shall provide the applicable House of Congress a list of at least three designees, ranked in order of preference, to take the individual’s place in the event the individual dies, becomes incapacitated, or disappears prior to the expiration of the individual’s term of office.”

Backup Congress! I love it!

H.J.Res. 53
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to Congressional succession.

“ Section 1. No person shall be a Representative who has not selected and been elected together with an Alternate Representative.

H.Con.Res. 131
Directing the Architect of the Capitol to engrave the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and the National Motto of “In God we trust” in the Capitol Visitor Center.

S. 1081
To prohibit the release of enemy combatants into the United States.

S. 1100
To provide that certain photographic records relating to the treatment of any individual engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside the United States shall not be subject to disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the Freedom of Information Act).

S.Res. 158
To commend the American Sail Training Association for advancing international goodwill and character building under sail.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Jeff Stein, Jane Harman and Porter Goss - What is the Truth?

Jeff Stein of CQ appears to very upset that people are saying some unkind things about Porter Goss and his friends in the intelligence community. At his blog post from May 1, He rails against “conspiracy theories,” and “wild imaginations,” and complains that people have been misrepresenting what he’s been writing. It's as if people just don’t understand that his piece was supposed to be an anonymous hit job on Jane Harman, and they’ve been twisting it around to make his good friend Porter Goss seem like the bad guy! Stein has had to resort to using ALL CAPS to make people understand how innocent Goss is.

Stein says one writer asked "Why Did Goss finger Jane Harman?"
Stein writes: “Well, the short answer is that he didn't, as was made plain in my stories, which were corroborated by the New York Times and Washington Post.”

“The drift of the latest commentary on the case is that Porter Goss, the former Republican congressman who headed the CIA during 2004-2006, was out to "get" Harman, his Democratic nemesis on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, when he was its chairman.”

"According to my sources and theirs, Goss was duty bound to notify congressional leaders that Harman had become enmeshed in a national security investigation, and that the FBI intended to question her about a wiretapped conversation she had with a suspected Israeli secret agent."

I like the passive voice there. But how did Harman “become enmeshed in a national security investigation?”

According to Stein’s original story on April 19, Harman is said by “former national security officials to have been picked up on a court-approved NSA wiretap directed at alleged Israeli covert action in Washington.”

So some anonymous national security officials may have overheard Harman, and informed the Dept. of Justice, and some other anonymous national security officials told Stein about it.

Maybe some, maybe all, of these anonymous officials work for Porter Goss. But maybe not. After all, he says there were from the NSA, not the CIA. So how did Porter Goss get involved at all?

Stein says that some people are now claiming that “Goss sought approval to pursue an investigation from both former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former National Intelligence Director John Negroponte, but was rebuffed."

This is incorrect, says Stein.

“No. Goss sought clearance merely to NOTIFY then-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that Harman had been heard making potentially prosecutable statements on the wiretap.”

Furthermore, of course, the CIA has no power to "investigate" Harman, or anyone in the U.S., in the usual sense of the word.

Goss is an innocent bystander, you see, a stickler for the law who just wanted to notify Denny and Nancy, not the FBI or Justice.

"Over at The Cable, Laura Rozen endowed the CIA director with even further power and motivation to "go after" Harman, writing, "Goss's decision to authorize a FISA warrant that would tap a former fellow lawmaker and rival seems potentially troubling."

"It would indeed be troubling if that were in fact what Goss did. But the problem with Rozen's assertion is that Goss had no power to "authorize a FISA warrant." As Rozen must know, that power belongs to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, upon petition by the Justice Department.”

True, but this is highly disengenuous, since an application for a FISA warrant had to go through, and be approved by, Porter Goss on its way to the FISA court, which never turns down an application. (It never got as that far, because Gonzalez didn't pursue it).

But Stein left out of his original story the most interesting part: how did a conversation of an American, “overheard” on an NSA wiretap, initiate a non-investigation investigation? The answer doesn’t have to be sinister, but it might tell us whether proper procedures were followed, what the motivations of the people involved were, and who was “out to get” who.

On April 19, Stein wrote that after Bush DOJ lawyers, that oh-so-trustworthy, ethical crowd, somehow got their hands on the NSA transcripts with Jane Harman, they wanted to start an investigation.

Stein writes:
“First, however, they needed the certification of top intelligence officials that Harman’s wiretapped conversations justified a national security investigation."

"Then-CIA Director Porter J. Goss reviewed the Harman transcript and signed off on the Justice Department’s FISA application, two sources said."

"Goss, a former Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, deemed the matter particularly urgent because of the high rank of Harman, a Democrat, on the Intelligence panel.”

Ok, so maybe Goss was more than a bystander.

But is it true “they needed the certification of top intelligence officials” to investigate Jane Harman? No, it is not true.

Why couldn’t they get a Title III warrant like normal people? Why did these (also unnamed) officials want to go to a Foreign Intelligence Court to wiretap a Congresswoman? Doesn’t that take the “foreign” out of foreign intelligence??

Anyway, Goss did indeed approve of the FISA wiretap of his former fellow member of Congress, and deemed it “urgent.” Sadly for Goss, though, the investigation never happened.

Stein says:
“[Laura] Rozen further muddies the issue by referring to "DOJ's burgeoning investigation into Harman." Not only was a Justice Department "investigation" of Harman not "burgeoning," it had not even begun, as I and others have reported, based on first-hand sources.“

Gee, I wonder how Laura Rozen got the impression there was a “burgeoning investigation?” Maybe because the whole point of Stein’s article was to imply there was an alleged ironclad case against Harman before Gonzalez got involved and stopped it.

On April 19 he wrote this: “Justice Department officials decided there was sufficient evidence to initiate an FBI investigation of Harman. But at the last minute, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales aborted the plan….”

And this: “Another piece of news is that contrary to reports the Harman investigation was dropped for lack of evidence…”

And this: “Gonzales, President George W. Bush’s top counsel before becoming attorney general, who intervened to stop the Harman probe…”

And this: “As for there being no evidence to support the FBI probe the source with first-hand knowledge of the wiretap transcript called that “bull****.”

And this: ”Justice Department attorneys in the intelligence and public corruption units who read the transcripts decided that Harman had committed a crime...”

And this: “The Justice Department attorneys were prepared to pursue a case against Harman…”

And this: “Pelosi and Hastert were never notified and the investigation of Harman was effectively dead.”

Sure sounds like an investigation to me.

Heck, even in the May 1 post blasting Laura Rozen, where he writes, “The Justice Department was investigating secret Israeli operations in the United States, not Harman. (And now even that investigation has evidently come up empty).”

He also writes:

“Back in 2005, however, what the congresswoman was overheard saying to the wiretap target was troubling enough to prompt an investigation of her.”

Stein’s original desperation to imply that there was an investigation of Harman, and then later deny it heatedly, is odd.

Stein concludes, rather defensively:
“Everything else written about hidden agendas in this case is speculation, which, by the looks of instant commentary on the AIPAC case, will undoubtedly continue to take the place of reporting on this sordid affair.”

Indeed, it is speculation and it sordid. Since we have no idea who Stein’s sources are, all we can safely say is that we are getting selective and I might add, patently illegal, leaks from probable-NSA wiretaps, overhearing people they weren’t even investigating, clearly designed to make it look like Rep. Harman did something when no investigation was ever started, or if it was, didn’t go very far. And Harman never did get to Chair that Committee.

Quite frankly, Stein seems pretty desperate to cover for Porter Goss and the other Gosslings, almost to the point of advocacy. Which is interesting.

On April 19 Stein wrote:
"The first director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte, opposed an FBI investigation of Harman, according to officials familiar with his thinking, and left it to Goss or FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III , to decide what to do."

Goss was head of the CIA. As Stein correctly points out, he should have no role at all in a criminal investigation of an American.

So why did the director of national intelligence leave it up to the head of the CIA “what to do” about a Democratic Congresswoman?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Harman and the NSA

Th New York Times, April 15

The Justice Department has for more than two years been investigating aspects of the N.S.A.’s wiretapping program.

As part of that investigation, a senior F.B.I. agent recently came forward with what the inspector general’s office described as accusations of “significant misconduct” in the surveillance program, people with knowledge of the investigation said. Those accusations are said to involve whether the N.S.A. made Americans targets in eavesdropping operations based on insufficient evidence tying them to terrorism.

The CQ Harman story, I submit, is not about Jane Harman. It's about the NSA protecting its turf.

Add this the even larger debate about whether the NSA should be in charge of domestic cyber securtity, including of private organizations.

The legal and operational problems surrounding the N.S.A.’s surveillance activities have come under scrutiny from the Obama administration, Congressional intelligence committees and a secret national security court, said the intelligence officials, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because N.S.A. activities are classified. Classified government briefings have been held in recent weeks in response to a brewing controversy that some officials worry could damage the credibility of legitimate intelligence-gathering efforts.

So the NSA is being investigated by:

1. The Bush DOJ
2. The Obama DOJ
3. Congress
4. The FISA Court

Is it possible that the NSA is sending a message to all of the above?

Abuse of FISA

According to the Congressional Quarterly article regarding Rep. Jane Harman, when Justice Department officials wanted to open a new criminal investigation into a sitting member of Congress, they decided not to use normal channels to apply for a warrant, but tried to go through the procedures designated under the FISA law and the secret FISA court. A law and court specifically created to monitor not Americans, but foreigners. This would have required Alberto Gonzalez to state and justify his belief that the target of the wiretap was a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. Apparently if Porter Goss followed the law, he did certify that the information sought was foreign intelligence information and that the information could not reasonably be obtained by normal investigative techniques. "Agent of a foreign power" means, among other things, someone who knowingly engages in any clandestine intelligence activities. Interestingly, both John Negroponte and Michael Hayden, neither Fourth Amendment zealots, rejected the application to wiretap Harman.

This seems strange at first, but considering that the conversation was originally overheard via a FISA-court approved NSA wiretap, it makes sense. Now consider that the original conversation as reported by CQ directly implicated Alberto Gonzalez and lesser officials, and it looks like the national security officials did not trust the Department of Justice to approve or oversee a normal domestic wiretap. CQ says Goss thought wiretapping Harman was "urgent." However, FISA warrants still need the AG's approval, and - guess what - Gonzalez turned them down.

So now we have a NSA officials who catch a peculiar but not unusual Beltway conversation involving Harman, Pelosi and officials in the Bush DOJ. They and unnamed DOJ attorneys working on national intelligence want to wiretap, but decide not to apply to a federal judge. Instead, perhaps out of habit, using FISA, (this part is unclear) they ask Negroponte, who says no, then Hayden, who turns them down, until finally Porter Goss says yes, only to have it rejected by the now disgraced Gonzalez. Disgruntled and disgusted, after the torture memos are released, they tell their story to CQ, even though they admit no laws were ever really broken.

We should be disturbed by NSA wiretaps being distributed all over Washington, being used in attempt to justify further FISA wiretaps on Americans, including members of Congress in the opposition party, and, when those efforts failed, the contents of the original wiretaps being leaked by rogue officials in order settle inter-agency scores?

Follow up on something Josh Marshall said - wiretapping members of Congress is dangerous territory, but using a *secret* court to do so is extremely dangerous.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Precision Torture


The memos include what in effect are lengthy excerpts from the agency’s interrogation manual, laying out with precision how each method was to be used. Waterboarding, for example, involved strapping a prisoner to a gurney inclined at an angle of “10 to 15 degrees” and pouring water over a cloth covering his nose and mouth “from a height of approximately 6 to 18 inches” for no more than 40 seconds at a time.

But a footnote to a 2005 memo made it clear that the rules were not always followed. Waterboarding was used “with far greater frequency than initially indicated” and with “large volumes of water” rather than the small quantities in the rules, one memo says, citing a 2004 report by the C.I.A.’s inspector general

Surprise, surprise.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The brief in Jewel v. US

Ok, I just read the brief in Jewel v. US, regarding the surveillance claims and alleged violations of ECPA, SCA, the Wiretap Law and FISA.

The DOJ makes two arguments. One, that Congress has not waived the Federal government's right to be immune from lawsuits in this area. Therefore the court must dismiss the case.

Two, that regardless of the merits of the suit, (in other words, let's assume the government broke the law and would otherwise be held to account in a court of law) the court must not hear the case due to special circumstances. Namely, that to hear to the suit would disclose information about intelligence gathering activities which would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security. This includes facts about the programs Bush authorized after 9/11 and before FISA was revised.

Incidentally, the brief states that allegations that the Bush progam collected information from people in the US are "false" but then states they can't prove that, because to do so would reveal secrets. The brief also states that even to admit that the government was working with AT&T, for example, would harm national security.

The brief also seeks summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiffs can't make a prima facie case, since - you guessed it, the facts they would need to show standing and injury, in other words, that they were personally wiretapped - are also secret.

It's worth noting that this is a brief, not a policy statement, nor is it only about FISA, nor is it a defense of Bush's violations of the law, though it could be read that way, or even a denial that they did break the law. It's a motion to dismiss a lawsuit because revelations during the ensuing litigation would harm national security.

Two immediate solutions would be Congress to re-write the laws to waive immunity, and for the judge in this case to review the DOJ claims in private. Also, of course, to ask Obama himself - in a press conference, perhaps - how, even conceding the facts in this case, plaintiffs such as these can seek justice, under his Presidency.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Blue Heron

Awesome Photo by The Old Man in Scene 24

Now that's a Blue Heron!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Big Winner in Firing of Rick Wagoner

The big winner in the story of the firing of GM's former CEO Rick Wagoner is Scott Murphy, running in a special election in upstate NY. If I were Murphy, I would used the next 40 hours to let everyone know that while George W. Bush and the Republican party gave away your money to companies like AIG without restrictions, President Obama and the Democrats are finally holding corporate America to account, and are demanding real change for companies asking for a bailout.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Budget Crisis Averted?

The New York Times:
Albany Agrees on a Plan to Raise Taxes on Top Earners

Gov. David A. Paterson and leaders of the Legislature have reached a deal to temporarily raise taxes on New York’s highest earners in order to close the state’s yawning budget deficit, lawmakers and officials involved in the talks said on Saturday.

The new plan, which would expire after three years, would represent the largest state income tax increase in recent history, significantly larger than the surcharges imposed from 2003 to 2005, when the state last faced a major recession.

The plan would raise $4 billion a year by creating two new tax brackets, the highest one affecting those who earn $500,000 or more. If approved by rank-and-file lawmakers in the Assembly and State Senate, the tax increases would be a major victory for unions and liberal advocacy groups and a signal of the new balance of power in Albany, where Democrats won control of both houses of the Legislature and the governor’s office in last year’s election.

Although the proposed tax has been called a “millionaires’ tax,” it would affect those with incomes starting at $300,000, who would be taxed at a rate of 7.85 percent. The highest bracket would carry a tax rate of 8.97 percent — the same as New Jersey’s current highest rate.


The insurance industry could be the next shoe to drop in the financial crisis, a big hedge fund warns. "We think the insurance industry now is essentially where the banking industry was 12 months ago," according to the 5½-page report by Bridgewater, which is distributed to a tight circle of clients.

Bridgewater said the worst of the insurers' problems have yet to emerge. It noted that the industry could be forced to come up with as much as $59 billion in fresh capital as a result of downgrades on assets these companies are sitting on. Insurers are also big owners of commercial real-estate loans, and that market is widely expected to falter as a result of corporate cutbacks and depressed office rents. On top of that, Bridgewater projects the industry will have to shell out as much as $800 billion on so-called whole-life policies, which essentially are life-insurance policies with a savings component. Historically, during rough economic times, holders of these policies tend to draw down on money built up in these accounts whenever they're short on cash.


March 26 (Bloomberg) - A special U.S. congressional election in upstate New York may provide an early referendum on a politician who’s not on the ballot: President Barack Obama.
The race in New York’s 20th district will replace Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat who was appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Senate seat when she became secretary of state. The March 31 election between Democrat Scott Murphy and Republican Jim Tedisco has taken on broader significance because the candidates have made their dispute over Obama’s $787 billion economic-stimulus bill the campaign’s central issue.

Murphy, 39, has hammered Tedisco over his opposition to the stimulus plan, and Tedisco, 58, has criticized Murphy for supporting legislation that allowed AIG executives to receive million-dollar bonuses. The Republican’s ads, in turn, tie Murphy to AIG and government waste. This week, Tedisco staged a walk down Broadway, the main street in Saratoga Springs, to highlight the "greed and indifference on Wall Street and in Washington" that’s hurt people on Main Street.In a March 24 debate hosted by New York’s WNYT Channel 13, Tedisco vowed to “fight against waste and stand up and blow the whistle on Wall Street’s greed” while Murphy highlighted his support for Obama’s stimulus plan.

This ridiculous strutting peacock has no shame at all, does he?


The funds would help GM meet its goal of
receiving $6 billion from Canada, Germany, the U.K.,
Sweden and Thailand on top of the $16.6 billion it requested from the U.S. to avoid bankruptcy.


General Motors Unit May Get Aid
From Thailand If GM ‘Survives’


AP Hypes Fake Notre Dame Controversy

Criticism Over Obama Invite Mounts at Notre Dame

By Tom Coyne, Associated Press Writer Tom Coyne, Associated Press Writer
Fri Mar 27, 9:08 am ET

Many Catholics are angered by Obama's planned appearance at the May 17 ceremony because of his decisions to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and international family planning groups that provide abortions or educate about the procedure.

The consensus Thursday on the campus of the nation's most-prominent Catholic university was that any president should be welcomed at Notre Dame.

Then why you did write the fucking story???

Monday, March 23, 2009

How Does Tom Friedman Stay So Topical?

According to Tom Friedman, there are no adults in charge in Washington. We know this because Eric Cantor is acting like a partisan jerk, Congress is objecting to the AIG bonuses, and President Obama, the top person in Washington... well he went on Jay Leno, so he's just as bad as a third world dictator.

It's probably the laziest column to write -- "a pox on both their houses" -- while you pontificate on what real leaders would really do - take the high, non-partisan road, of course. Weirdly, though, Tommy still believes in business self-regulation, and of course he believes corporate executives, Wall Street financiers even, basically have hearts of gold and sleep wrapped in Betsy Ross' American flag.

See, all Obama had to do was go on national tv and ask the bonus recipients to give the money back. This would be a "great national mission" - giving back millions in unearned, undeserved tax money while remaining obscenely rich being much like going to the moon, or landing on the beaches of Normandy. This would elevate the President, says Friedman, although, oddly, the bonus recipients themselves would be worse off than under the so called "punitive" tax Tommy finds too "banana republic" for his taste. Strangely, he capitalizes the term, perhaps unable to distinguish between the concept of third world nation and a high-end retail chain for bored suburban teenagers.

Anyway, he caps it all by quoting his anonyous Indian buddy and the CEO of some company which helps reluctant businesses "build ethical cultures". Also he quotes fictional anonymous friends who tell him they are depressed listening to the news. Finally, Friedman channels the DJ robot from the Simpsons, attacking - no really - the "clowns" who are balloning in importance and distracting us from the really important stuff. How does Tommy stay so topical?