Sunday, January 23, 2011

Even Michele Bachman Beats Thune

For all those holding out hope for a John Thune White House, a newly released New Hampshire straw poll should make you pause and wake up from your dream.

As expected, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won with 35-percent of the vote. He was followed by Texas Congressman Ron Paul with 11-percent.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty came in third with 8-percent, followed by former vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin with 7-percent.

Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman was fifth with 5-percent.

Thune tied with U-S Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, Jr. with zero-percent.

0 percent, really?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

GOP Seeing Windfall Of Corporate Money

They say money can't buy you happiness but if you are a GOP member in Congress these days it sure comes close and it is now time to repay the favor.
The new Republican leaders in the House have received millions of dollars in contributions from banks, health insurers and other major business interests, which are pressing for broad reversals of Democratic policies that affect corporations, according to disclosure records and interviews.

Much of that money flowed to the GOP chairmen overseeing banking, energy and other key committees - leaders who will play a central role in setting the House agenda over the next two years.

The impetus behind such largess is simple: Many companies and industry groups hope House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) and other Republicans will succeed in rolling back Democratic policies they find objectionable, including environmental and Wall Street regulations.

I would hope that Boehner sends thank you cards to the Supreme Court justices, their ruling last year giving corporations carte blanche to spend whatever they want on campaigns likely helped put him in power. Now those same corporations are reaping the rewards of that spending in the form of self serving legislation submitted by the grateful recipients of those nice donations.

Tea party rhetoric and misspelled signs aside, it is still business as usual (if dems had control it would be no different) and now even the polar bears are no longer safe...

Friday, January 21, 2011

On To Fox News?

Okay of course I am joking about Fox News but it was just announced that MSNBC has terminated the contract of Keith Olbermann and that tonight's just completed show would be his last.

No word yet on which party ended the contract but it comes on the heels of NBC Universal's purchase by Comcast being approved by the FCC (MSNBC possibly making a hard right turn?) and only several months after Olbermann was suspended for making donations to a Democratic political candidate either of which could be possible reasons.

MSNBC's statement:

"MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC's success and we wish him well in his future endeavors"

Superbowl Ad That Didn't Make The Cut

Ok no surprise that Fox turned down the ad below for a possible spot during the Super Bowl but kind of a surprise that a company that specializes in chotchkies making fun of President Obama could actually afford the $2-3 million a 30 second ad costs.

And Conservatives claim that Obama is bad for business...apparently some are making good money off of his Presidency.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Evidence Church Covered For Pedophile Priests

If anyone not wearing their religion blinders had any doubt of how destructive the Catholic Church has been to society, especially our children, this should remove any doubt.
A newly revealed 1997 letter from the Vatican warned Ireland's Catholic bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police — a disclosure that victims groups described as "the smoking gun" needed to show that the Vatican enforced a worldwide culture of cover-up.

The letter, obtained by Irish broadcasters RTE and provided to The Associated Press, documents the Vatican's rejection of a 1996 Irish church initiative to begin helping police identify pedophile priests following Ireland's first wave of publicly disclosed lawsuits.

The letter undermines persistent Vatican claims, particularly when seeking to defend itself in U.S. lawsuits, that the church in Rome never instructed local bishops to withhold evidence or suspicion of crimes from police. It instead emphasizes the church's right to handle all child-abuse allegations, and determine punishments, in house rather than hand that power to civil authorities.

Pretty much shoots semi truck sized holes in Vatican claims that the church never instructed bishops to withhold evidence or suspicion of crimes from police doesn't it? Hope all good Catholics are filling the collection plates big time on Sundays as I think the church is going to need every penny it can muster...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Job Killing Health Care Law, So That Is What You Are Going With?

I was just perusing Kristi Noem's page on and I came across one of the first bills our freshman representative co-sponsored. H.R. 2 is the oft promised attempt by the GOP to repeal Obamacare and the fact that the newly christened GOP controlled House has chosen to make this a priority early into this session is no surprise nor is the fact that Noem is a co-sponsor. What caught my eye though was the name of the bill.
H.R.2 - Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act

Official Summary

1/5/2011--Introduced.Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act - Repeals the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, effective as of its enactment. Restores provisions of law amended by such Act. Repeals the health care provisions of the Health Care and Education and Reconciliation Act of 2010, effective as of the Act's enactment. Restores provisions of law amended by the Act's health care provisions.

As things stand now, this bill will likely not get farther than the House so it is a moot point but that still doesn't address the little problem of their logic being a bit in question. You see, their own quoted sources, the CBO and NFIB, actually could be used to show a net increase of as many as 240,000 jobs. (GOP interpretation from CBO pulled directly out of their a** -650,000, NFIB Healthcare related jobs created +890,000)

Certainly both sides can spit out their own numbers until the cows come home, but is job killer really the best they could do? How about "H.R.2 - Repealing the evil Liberal plan to secularize America"? Or maybe "H.R.2 - Repealing the Socialist's plot to overthrow our way of life"? After all let's not let the facts get in the way some some good old fashioned fear mongering.

Monday, January 17, 2011

How The Mighty Have Fallen

Believe it or not I actually thought that  John Edwards would have made a great Presidential candidate back during the primaries leading up to the 2008 elections. Of course that was before everything hit the fan. An affair, a love child and now we learn he is being investigated for possibly using campaign funds to cover up the affair.
A federal criminal investigation targeting John Edwards is examining how much the two-time presidential candidate knew about money used to cover up his extramarital affair and out-of-wedlock child and whether he had other practices that pushed the bounds of campaign finance laws.

Gervais Hosts The Golden Globes

Noted Atheist and comedian Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globes Sunday night and I am guessing next year's awards will not be featuring him. Firstly he pulled no punches while roasting some of Hollywood's biggest and brightest throughout the show including Charlie Sheen, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Cher, the entire cast of Sex and the City 2, Scientology, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Hugh Hefner, etc. Watch:

And in his closing he likely pissed off some of the most humorless among us (besides the Hollywood elite), you know who you are, with the line “And thank you to god. For making me an Atheist.

Almost makes me sorry that I didn't tune in...almost.

Sarah Palin Battle Hymn

I really don't know what to say.

(via Little Green Footballs)

Where Were You? - January 17th 1991

Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the beginning of the first gulf war also know as Operation Desert Storm. On January 17th 1991 the US commenced the air campaign against Iraqi forces that had invaded Kuwait the year before. The "war" officially lasted only another 42 days but the effects are still being felt today.

20 years and 1 day ago I made my one and only carrier trap aboard the USS Midway which was in a full war footing in preparation for launching what would be the first of 20 years of almost continuous air operations that continue to this day.

Who would have thought back then that 20 years later we would still be fighting in the region with no end in sight?

What 4th Amendment?

While most were rushing to protect their 2nd Amendment rights against non-existent threats last week in the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling that further erodes what is left of our 4th Amendment rights and we hardly blinked.

In California's People v Diaz (pdf), it was determined that the police had not violated the defendant's rights by searching the text message folder of his phone without a warrant ruling that it was "valid as being incident to a lawful custodial arrest".
We granted review in this case to decide whether the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution permits law enforcement officers, approximately 90 minutes after lawfully arresting a suspect and transporting him to a detention facility, to conduct a warrantless search of the text message folder of a cell phone they take from his person after the arrest. We hold that, under the United States Supreme Court?s binding recedent, such a search is valid as being incident to a lawful custodial arrest. We affirm the Court of Appeal?s judgment.

Until recently, legal warrantless searches had been limited under common law to those that focused on weapons concealment or destruction of evidence such as looking for items that could harm law enforcement personnel but with this ruling we have continued to slide down the proverbial slippery slope started a few years ago during the restructuring of FISA. Under FISA the government had already been granted wide latitude to listen in on our phone calls without first getting warrants and now they can search your phones. So what's next?

Never bothered to pattern or code lock your smart phone? Maybe its time as I still think the 5th Amendment is still valid...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Shooting Victim Shoots Himself In The Foot

Apparently complaining about the 2nd Amendment remedies of others didn't mean much for Eric Fuller who was one of the survivors from last weekends shootings in Arizona. Just hours after complaining that the hate speech from the right was to blame for the shootings in Tucson, Fuller himself was arrested for allegedly threatening a tea party leader during a town hall meeting.
The theme of the event was "An American Conversation Continued" --  the idea being to continue the conversation that a madman's brutal rampage had interrupted.  So it was inevitable that the conversation would eventually turn to politics.   It did, toward the end, with Amanpour leading a discussion on a very touchy but obvious topic:  gun control.

That's where the atmosphere turned tense.   When Tucson Tea Party founder Trent Humphries rose to suggest that any conversation about gun control should be put off until after the funerals for all the victims, witnesses say Fuller became agitated.  Two told KGUN9 News that Fuller finally rose, took a picture of Humphries, and said, "You're dead."

When State Rep. Terri Proud (R-Tucson) rose to explain and clarify current and proposed gun legislation in the state, several people groaned or booed her.  One of those booing, according to several witnesses, was Fuller.   Witnesses sitting near Fuller told KGUN9 News that Fuller was making them feel very uncomfortable.

The event wrapped up a short time later.  Deputies then escorted Fuller from the room.  As he was being led off, Fuller shouted loudly to the room at large.  Several witnesses said that what they thought they heard him shout was, "You're all whores!"
An aside, is there any doubt that Arizona loves their guns? Even the call letters of the local TV station fits right in, KGUN...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Let The Attacks Begin Anew

It didn't take long for the right wing hate machine to demonize Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik after he called for a timeout in political hate speech last weekend so you can bet they are already looking to Rush, Glenn, Sarah et al. for their next attack plan towards the latest to speak out after Saturdays mass murders. This time it is Eric Fuller,  a wounded survivor from the Tucson shootings, speaking out on the divisive tone of our political discourse.
“Their wish for Second Amendment activism has been fulfilled — senseless hatred leading to murder, lunatic fringe anarchism, subscribed to by John Boehner, mainstream rebels with vengeance for all, even 9-year-old girls,” he added, referring to the death of Christina Taylor Green.

UPDATE: Like clockwork

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Civility Project Halted Due To Lack Of Civility

The 2 year old Civility Project, started in 2008 by Conservative Republican Mark DeMoss and Liberal Democrat Lanny Davis is being shut down due to a lack of interest. The project's only aim was "to call people from all races, walks of life, and religious and political beliefs to graciousness, kindness, and civility toward all people, especially between those with whom we may disagree".

The founders decided to shut it down after the civility pledge they sent to every member of Congress and to every sitting governor was signed by a grand total of 3 people. Topping it off, not only did only 3 officials sign it, DeMoss became the object of personal attacks because of it.
“Perhaps one of the most surprising results of this project has been the tone and language used by many of those posting comments on our website and following articles on various media websites about the project,” his letter said.

“Many of them could not be printed or spoken in public media due to vulgar language and vicious personal attacks,” the letter continued. “Sadly, a majority of these came from fellow conservatives.”

Quite ironic...

Death, Taxes, And...

As the old saying goes, there are few certainties in life besides death and taxes. One of those few though happens shortly after a mass conflagration like the happenings in Arizona over the weekend.

People either call for stricter gun laws or they respond by putting more guns into circulation.
Greg Wolff, the owner of two Arizona gun shops, told his manager to get ready for a stampede of new customers after a Glock-wielding gunman killed six people at a Tucson shopping center on Jan. 8.

Wolff was right. Instead of hurting sales, the massacre had the $499 semi-automatic pistols -- popular with police, sport shooters and gangsters -- flying out the doors of his Glockmeister stores in Mesa and Phoenix.

American capitalism at work and as predictable as death and taxes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sheriff Clarence Dupnik Is "In The Sights" Of The Right Wing Hate Machine

The man who criticized the tone of our political discourse in the wake of the Arizona mass murders, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, is now feeling the full force of that politically motivated hate machine.
After calling for politicians and political commentators to tone down violent and hateful political rhetoric, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik is now experiencing himself the force of right-wing hostility and rancor. Dupnik never suggested that the deeply disturbed shooter was directly influenced by political debate, but called into question the use of vicious rhetoric and violent imagery that has become all too commonplace in political discourse today. “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country,” Dupnik said, “is getting to be outrageous.” After facing a preliminary assault yesterday, now Dupnik is facing an all-out barrage from the Right.

Dupnik is finding out that criticizing what the media talking heads do to rile up the troops and earn ratings will ensure that the wrath of their zombie armies is brought to bear against them.

The History Of God

An interesting view on the history of God.

(h/t - Debunking Christianity)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cause Found For Arkansas Bird Deaths

It never ceases to amaze me just how much the religious right hates homosexuals. The latest example of this comes from Cindy Jacobs of Generals International. She puts out the absolutely absurd theory that the recent fish and black bird deaths could be a result of the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.
Well, there’s something interesting we have been watching – let’s talk about this Arkansas pattern and say, could it be a pattern? We’re going to watch and see. But the blackbirds fell to the ground in Beebe, Arkansas, well the Governor of Arkansas’ name is Beebe. And also, there was something put out of Arkansas called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by a former Governor, this was proposed, Bill Clinton. As so, could there be a connection between this passage [Hosea 4] and now that we’ve had the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell where people now legally in the United States have broken restraints with the Scripture because the Scripture says in Romans 1 that homosexuality is not allowed.

It could be because we have said it’s okay for people who commit these kinds of acts to be recognized in our military for the first time in our history, there is a potential that there is something that actually happened in the land where a hundred thousand drum fish died and also where these birds just fell out of the air.

Watch it:

(via Right Wing Watch)

More WBC Shenanigans

More hate from Fred Phelps and his "God hates fags folks" at the Westboro Baptist Church.

(via Unreasonable Faith)

Tea Party Nation Indoctrinating The Troops

Wow, 2 posts in 2 days on the Tea Party Nation and their founder Judson Phillips. This time he sent out an email to his sheeple telling them that they will have to defend the movement against evil liberals because of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting and that they should whenever possible describe the shooter as "a leftist lunatic".
Showing no sign of tamping down on divisive political rhetoric in the wake of the shooting of 20 people that left six dead in Tuscon Saturday, the Tea Party Nation group e-mailed its members Sunday warning them they would be called upon to fight leftists in the days ahead and defend their movement.

TPN founder Judson Phillips, in an article linked off the e-mail "The shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and the left's attack on the Tea Party movement," described the shooter as "a leftist lunatic" and Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik as a "leftist sheriff" who "was one of the first to start in on the liberal attack." Phillips urged tea party supporters to blame liberals for the attack on centrist Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who was shot through the head and is now fighting for her life, as a means of defending the tea party movement's recent electoral gains.

Of course no evidence of what motivated the shooter has been released but I guess it doesn't matter to Phillips whose organization's modus operandi relies on divisive rhetoric so when someone calls for it to stop he has to do something.

UPDATE 5:40PM - Unfortunately for Phillips, it appears that the shooter was a registered Republican and while this is hardly irrefutable evidence, it appears his "leftist lunatic" meme falls a bit short.

UPDATE 2 8:45PM - There is some question on the authenticity of the above voter registration as one image floating around spelled Tucson incorrectly. Also we have Judson Phillips on Chris Mathews. Judge for yourself...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Giffords Discusses Being On The Palin "Hit List"

Gabrielle Giffords discusses being on Sarah Palin's heath care "hit list".

"When people do that they need to realize there are consequences to that action"

Take this with a grain of salt but Fox News is reporting that they have obtained an internal DHS memo that suggests that the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, might have had an anti-semitic motivation as Giffords is Jewish.

Take That You Mean Liberals!

Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips isn't happy that the Southern Poverty Law Center put a number of groups that align themselves with his Tea Party on their list of hate groups. In response Phillips decided to publish a list of his own and I will give you 2 guesses as to which group he put on the top of his list, ok so you'll only need one.
If you recall, for the first time about a month ago, the SPLC included anti-gay groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association on its list of "hate groups."Republicans, and other conservative groups were predictably outraged that a social conservative group like the FRC was listed alongside the likes of the KKK.

Which might be why the SPLC topped out the Tea Party Nation list, because "this group has made a cottage industry labeling any group to the right of Karl Marx a hate group."

That will teach them to mess with him!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Problem With Our Country Is...

The politics or motivation of the Gabrielle Giffords shooter today is still a mystery so we can't definitively say it was politically motivated (I'm inclined to think it was the work of your run of the mill nutcase). I can definitively say though that there is a major problem that does exist and is on display daily from people like this guy and those like him populating his comment section.
1 down, 434 to go
It is absolutely, absolutely unacceptable to shoot “indiscriminately”.

Target only politicians and their staff, and leave regular citizens alone.


Rhetoric from the likes Sarah Palin doesn't help much either.

In Palin's Gun Sights

Sarah Palin has again unwittingly inserted her foot into her mouth. The latest comes from her Facebook page from last year and includes a map with gun sights representing the Congressional districts that her PAC was targeting during the last election.

You will of course notice that one of those districts just happens to be that of Arizona Democrat Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in the head earlier today. Probably not the type of hit list Palin was talking about...

UPDATE 3:45 PM: Firedoglake provides us with another Palin promotional image that looks for a solution to the problem. Ouch!

US Rep From Arizona Shot

From NPR
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head outside a grocery store in Tucson while holding a public event, Arizona Public Media reported Saturday.

The Democrat, who was re-elected to her third term in November, was hosting a "Congress on Your Corner" event at the Safeway in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up and started shooting, according to Peter Michaels, news director of Arizona Public Media.

At least nine other people, including members of her staff, were hurt. Giffords was transported to University Medical Center in Tucson. Her condition was not immediately known.

No word on why this happened though the shooter was reportedly taken into custody so we could know more soon. But if she was indeed the target, one might surmise that the nastiness of our current political discourse might have had something to do with this.

UPDATE: 3:15 PM - Reports have Rep Giffords coming out out surgery and stating that they are optimistic about her recovery.

UPDATE 3:30 - Alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner's (apparent) YouTube channel is in past tense and suggests he is a troubled youth that seems, after watching some of his videos, to have quite an infatuation with the Constitution.

It's The Moon You Idiot!

Bill O'Reilly shows his ignorance again in his latest interview on religion/atheism using his favorite "proof" of a God. "The sun goes up and the sun goes down...the tides comes in, the tide comes out"

Of course you knew Colbert or Stewart would have something to say about this and Stephen Colbert didn't disappoint. He had astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on to explain tidal forces for Papa Bear O'Reilly who really should come up with a few better examples if he wants to provide proof of a supreme know something that science hasn't already debunked 100's of years ago.

Maybe he should just use the fact that people actually watch him, that's a bit miraculous isn't it?
The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Bill O'Reilly Proves God's Existence - Neil deGrasse Tyson

Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> Video Archive

P.S. - Must give a little love to Colbert for quoting the classic line in the above piece which pretty much explains the existence of all religions throughout human history.

"There must be a God because I don't know how things work."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Some More Noem Fluff

That bastion of investigative journalism to the south, the Sioux City Journal, published your standard 20 question type puff piece (actually 19) with our incoming House member Kristi Noem yesterday with few surprises.

In it the interviewer pretty much lobbed softballs and Noem answered with your basic GOP talking points with only a couple of interesting points. First she was asked about whether she was a tea party "believer" to which she did her best tap dance routine and provided a 2 paragraph non-answer.
“Well, you know, there is a lot of discussion about the tea party, because they certainly had an impact on this election. A lot of the things I was talking about in my campaign, the tea party agreed with and supported me because of it. I was talking about balancing budgets, I was talking about not spending more money than we have, and that is certainly things they believe in as well.”

“It is hard to define the tea party. Even within South Dakota, we’ve got so many different tea party groups and they don’t do a lot of communication among themselves. So it is hard to define what is the tea party within South Dakota, but I will say that a lot of my supporters or people who supported me were tea party people, who would call themselves tea party activists.

And then she was asked about whether she thinks entitlements should be cut to which the queen of farm subsidies again did her best to tow the party line without actually saying she would be for cutting any programs and instead only mentioned cutting waste.
“I think that needs to be discussed. I think we need to sit down at the table and talk about our entitlement programs and make sure we have dollars flowing where they should be flowing. There is a lot of waste within those programs that, if we did a diligent job of making sure that benefits go to where they were intended to go, that we could see a substantial cut in some of those programs.”

The more I see and read from her the more I believe that she will fit right in. She has the doublespeak pretty much nailed. She knows the buzzwords that give her supporters goose bumps like cut, spend less, out of control, etc. but when specifics are asked for, the doublespeak comes out. Classic!