So What's The Procedure For That?

Barack Obama announced today that he is quitting his church because of all the controversy revolving around his pastor of 20 years as well as other issues that have cropped up regarding a long time friend and Catholic priest.

Senator Barack Obama is ending his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, a congregation he has belonged to for about two decades and one that had become a lightning rod in his Democratic presidential bid.

Mr. Obama informed his campaign advisers of his decision today, according to people familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for the candidate. Mr. Obama is scheduled to explain his decision tonight in South Dakota.

So exactly how does one quit a church? Is Illinois a right to pray state? And if all that is involved is announcing your decision and moving on to the next church on your list, why did it take this long?

UPDATE 6/2 – Ok so the Wall Street Journal via Political Wire tells us exactly how you quit your church. You just write a letter. And again I have to ask, what took you so long?

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Funny If It Wasn't So Scary

You’re well known for losing control of 6 nukes last year when an airmen mistakenly loaded nuclear tipped cruise missiles onto a B-52 and flew them to La., where the plane sat on the flight line, unattended, for hours. Your commanding officer was fired for the screw up. And now you have been given notice well in advance that a major nuclear inspection was coming up. What do you do?

You fail miserably.

DRTA inspectors gave the wing an “unsatisfactory” grade Sunday after uncovering many crucial mistakes during the weeklong inspection, which began May 17. They attributed the errors primarily to lack of supervision and leadership among security forces.

Not only have you failed, your troops get caught playing video games while guarding the nukes!

Inspectors watched as a security forces airman played video games on his cell phone while standing guard at a “restricted area perimeter,” the DTRA report said. Meanwhile, another airman nearby was “unaware of her duties and responsibilities” during the exercise.

And it just wasn’t this one incident. The Air Force Times article also documents a veritable laundry list of breakdowns in the handling, documenting, and reporting that makes you really wonder who is running that outfit.

The incompetence would truly be funny if it wasn’t for what they were supposed to be guarding, you know, freakin’ NUCLEAR WEAPONS!

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Holy Wars

If one needs any evidence as to how far the political process in the country has fallen, you only need to look at the role religion and religious leaders have had in this year’s Presidential elections. Barack Obama had Rev. Jeremiah Wright spewing his brand of religion on one side and John McCain sought after and got the support of the Rev John Hagee and the baggage that came with it.

Now we’ve got a priest taking cheap shots at a Presidential candidate during his invocation at the New York State Republican Party dinner.

“One more thing, Lord. Please tell Senator Obama that maybe change is a good thing and maybe he should think about changing his favorite preacher,” he said, to applause.

“I know a lot more of us would be comfortable with his judgment skills if he hadn’t sat for 20 years through those words offered by his preacher of division, bigotry, and – honestly – half truths without a word of objection from Senator until the media brought it up, and now he doesn’t want any part of the guy,” he said.

“I’m willing to be his new preacher.”

Watch it:

I always thought a priest’s job was to shepherd his flock. Who knew that it now includes partisan politics.

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The Argus Gives Hillary Their Seal Of Approval

In one article the Argus Leader highlights the fact that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton basically have the same policy positions and list several “important” ones to South Dakotans. They then endorse the one whose nomination would more than likely result in the splintering of the Democratic party in another.

Her resilience and determination never should be questioned. She has met or overcome every challenge or roadblock in her way, and there have been many. Her determination to carry the nomination process through to its real conclusion has perhaps earned her a grudging respect from those who would never support her.

Clinton might not win this race. In fact, it’s a long shot. But whatever some might say, the race is not over, and her name is on the ballot. Win or lose, she’s also the best Democratic candidate for South Dakota.

Say what you want about our state’s largest paper, they are at least consistent. They consistently have you scratching your head that is.

UPDATE: Cory over at the Madville Times adds his take on the Argus Endorsement.

Failing to make any real policy distinction between Clinton and Obama, maybe that Sioux Falls paper is just thanking Clinton for sending the paper’s web hits to the moon last week with the RFK assassination comment video.

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Goodbye Harvey

Harvey Korman and Tim ConwayI read this morning of the death of one my all time favorite comedians. Harvey Korman died yesterday at 81 from complications he experienced from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Some of my fondest memories as a child were watching him and Tim Conway trying unsuccessfully to get through a skit on the old Carol Burnett Show without cracking up and as I got older and could appreciate it, his teaming up with Mel Brooks in the all-time great comedy “Blazing Saddles” was better still.

Goodbye Mr Hedley Lamarr, you will be missed.

UPDATE: Here is one of those classic Korman/Conway bits

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DNC Credentialed Blog List Is Out

A little over a week ago I wrote about the hubbub revolving around the blogs receiving press credentials for the DNC Convention in Denver. The controversy centered on the selection process for the initial 55 state focused political blogs that would be seated alongside the delegates from their respective states and the prominent blogs that were left off the list. Today the DNC released their latest list that now includes over 120 credentialed blogs that adds the national and niche bloggers chosen as well as the state blogs already selected.

The full list can be seen here and unless I missed one, it looks like South Dakota will not have a second blog credentialed (sorry Todd) besides the already announced SDDP mouthpiece Badlands Blue that got the state credential.

With this announcement today, it appears that all we will have to look forward to in August locally will be Blue’s standard fare of party approved/generated stories and press releases along with some “look who I saw” photographs thrown in for good measure. Oh well, there is always 2012…

UPDATE 5/30: Todd over at SD Watch responds to his DNC snub.

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Stephanie Tells Us Why She Supports Obama

I am sure that emails like this will be coming fast and furiously in the next 5 days leading up to our primary so without further ado, here is Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s latest pro-Obama message from the inbox.

Dear Friend,

Like many South Dakotans, I’ve been inspired by Barack Obama.

Over the course of this campaign, Barack’s commitment to finding common ground, and his ability to spark hope and optimism among people of all ages and backgrounds, convinced me that he is the right candidate to be President of the United States.

What we do — or don’t do — this week in South Dakota will have a big impact on the election.

Just a few months ago, no one would have guessed we’d have such an important role to play in this race. But as the last state in the nation to cast our votes, we have the opportunity to close out the Democratic Primary with a solid victory for Barack.

To make this happen, we need every vote and every delegate we can get. You can help by signing up to Get Out the Vote in your community.

Obama supporters throughout the state are already canvassing their neighborhoods for Barack. I hope you’ll join them between now and Tuesday.

Sign up to help Get Out the Vote for Barack in South Dakota:

When Barack is elected president, I am confident he’ll create the kind of positive change we need in Washington and here in South Dakota.

He’ll refocus our energy policy to create jobs across rural America, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and put partisanship aside in order to get things done.

In the next five days, we can play an important part in this pivotal election to bring that kind of leadership to America — and in your neighborhood, there’s no better advocate for Barack than you.

South Dakota’s primary could be the contest that finally puts Barack over the top.

Help make it happen by signing up to join your fellow supporters and Get Out The Vote this week:

Thank you,


Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin

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New York To Recognize Same Sex Marriages

First the California Supreme Court overturns the ban on gay marriage which could allow gay couples to marry as soon as next month and now New York moves to recognize same sex marriages performed elsewhere.

Gov. David A. Paterson has directed all state agencies to begin to revise their policies and regulations to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, like Massachusetts, California and Canada.

In a directive issued on May 14, the governor’s legal counsel, David Nocenti, instructed the agencies that gay couples married elsewhere “should be afforded the same recognition as any other legally performed union.”

The heads of those on the Religious Right must be exploding everywhere…

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Another Era Ends

I am definitely starting to feel old. In my 9 plus years in the Navy, I had the honor to serve on 3 different aircraft carriers. Of those 2 are still in active service, the USS Nimitz and the USS Kitty Hawk with the 3rd, the USS Midway being decommissioned some 16 years ago. That though is soon going to change as the Kitty Hawk has left Japan on it’s final voyage before being decommissioned.

For many sailors, their first ship holds a special place in their heart, sort of like one’s first love and the Kitty Hawk was my first on many fronts. I made my first deployment in 1985, I crossed the equator for the first time and became a shellback that same year, I made my first visits to Asia and Africa while assigned to the Hawk, and I met my first wife while onboard (ok , so it wasn’t all roses).

Some of the things that happened on the Kitty Hawk while I was stationed on board:

us kitty hawk13 Sep 1985: CoMiDEastFor ordered the escort of a Military Sealift Command ship due to ongoing Iranian seizures of merchant ships. On 22 September, two ships were diverted from an anti-submarine warfare exercise with the Kitty Hawk carrier battle group to resume Persian Gulf surveillance operations.

28 Oct–4 Nov 1985: Kitty Hawk conducted anti-submarine warfare exercises in the Gulf of Aden. Two Russian Il-38s reconnoitered the ship and Battle Group Bravo, on the 28th, and contact was gained during the exercise on a Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine.

9 Sep 1986: ABEAA Daniel Dixon was killed on the flight deck, during night flight operations. (He stood up and was hit by an S-3 Viking as it was launching)

3 Jan–29 Jun 1987: While changing home ports from NAS North Island to Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Kitty Hawk completed a global circumnavigation, via the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and the Mediterranean.

27–29 Jan 1987: Kitty Hawk ended a visit to Subic Bay after only 40 hours, getting underway for the Indian Ocean in response to increased tensions there, generated by the ongoing Persian Gulf War between the Iranians and Iraqis.

31 Mar 1987: A class “Bravo” fire occurred on an oil pipe on Sponson No. 7, starboard side in the hanger bay, while the ship was getting steam up for standing out from her anchorage off Masirah, 0448–0508. Prompt firefighting action by the crew contained the flames, preventing a “major disaster” without casualties.

Apr–May 1987: Following Iranian test-firing of HY-2 Silkworm SSMs, endangering shipping in the Persian Gulf, Kitty Hawk was instructed to extend her operations on station there, being reinforced by additional vessels into a combined battle group.

8–13 Apr 1987: During Kitty Hawk’s visit to Karachi, Pakistan, GEN Muhammad Zia-Ul-Haq, President of Pakistan, toured the ship, on the 13th.

13–17 May 1987: Kitty Hawk operated for the first time in the Red Sea, though “restricted air space” limited flight evolutions.

17 May 1987: Kitty Hawk completed her first transit of the Suez Canal (south–north).

17–18 May 1987: Two Exocet AM39 air-to-surface missiles fired by an Iraqi Dassault-Breguet F-1 Mirage hit guided missile frigate Stark (FFG-31) while she was in international waters in the Persian Gulf, at approximately 2109 on the 17th. The attack killed 37 sailors and wounded five more, but heroic efforts by her crew saved the ship. Kitty Hawk was alerted to operate in the eastern Med for possible retaliatory strikes against the Iraqis.

25 Nov 1987: Kitty Hawk entered Drydock No. 5, Philadelphia, beginning the heavy work phase of her $832 million Service Life Extension Program (SLEP). Approved “in concept” on 13 March 1976, SLEP added an additional 15 years to the expected [average] 30 years of operational service for Forrestal and Kitty Hawk-class carriers.

From what I can tell, the future of the decommissioned ship is still up in the air but I do hope that the last conventionally powered aircraft carrier along with her 47 years of faithful service gets a plum retirement gig as a museum somewhere versus the alternative that could have her becoming part of a disposable razor in someone’s medicine cabinet.

Either way, she will be missed.

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Like Clockwork

The latest former Bushie to write a book after leaving the Bush umbrella is experiencing the same smear machine that awaits anyone willing to talk bad about our King President. Former press secretary Scott McClellan’s less than flattering new book describes a propaganda machine that would have made Joseph Goebbels envious and within hours of tidbits of the yet to be released book becoming public, it started in earnest.

First came former Bush puppet master and current McCain advisor Karl Marx Rove who compared McClellan to a left-wing blogger on Hannity and Colmes. He was followed soon thereafter by former Homeland Security adviser Frances Townsend (aka pot) whom called McClellan “self-serving” and “disingenuous.” (kettle). Closing things out today (so far), Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino put the proverbial “smear icing on the cake” when she labeled him simply, a “disgruntled” employee.

As Think Progress points out, McClellan isn’t alone in his criticism of the administration or in the backlash that resulted from the blind follower’s brigade. He joins the likes of Alan Greenspan, Matthew Dowd, and Richard Clarke among others whom have left the administration and afterwards been crucified for speaking ill of our fearless leader.

While the Bush machine’s response is to be expected based on their history, one might start to wonder if this is only a precursor to what will come out starting in January 2009 when the smear machine leaves the Bush nest and has to start looking back on their legacies. Do they want to continue to be associated with the worst President in our history whom has done more to circumvent the Constitution than anyone in our lifetime or will they start burning the bridge connecting them with the last 8 years of Mr “Miserable Failure”?

Reserve some quiet time in the years to come. I predict there will be some interesting reading in our future that won’t have the smear machine waiting to greet it when it comes out.

UPDATE: I meant to mention this but forgot but Denise Ross didn’t. All through the smear campaign to this point, no one has come out to deny anything that McClellan wrote. I guess they figure it is easier to discredit him than to try and explain away (i.e. lie) what he documents.

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