Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Epic Activist Governor Fail

In Vermont, today's contestant is GOP Gov. Jim Douglas!
Vermont has become the fourth state to legalize gay marriage — and the first to do so with a legislature’s vote.

The Legislature voted Tuesday to override Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto of a bill allowing gays and lesbians to marry. The vote was 23-5 to override in the state Senate and 100-49 to override in the House. Under Vermont law, two-thirds of each chamber had to vote for override.
"Hahaha, take that! I veto your legislation! I stand alone as final arbiter of who can be married in this state! ...Wait, what? OVERRIDE? THEY CAN DO THAT?"


Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Irony isn't just dead, it's been tossed into the furnace and used to power drivel like this in today's USA TODAY:
Obama's word play

The administration has created a lexicon that masks reality through the gauzy world of euphemism. To the world, it’s just words.
This opener courtesy of Jonah Goldberg, the same Jonah Goldberg who wrote a book called Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, arguably one of the most pointlessly vapid screeds ever to sully the world of publishing, in which Goldberg tries to prove every Democrat since Woodrow Wilson was in fact a terrible, freedom-hating fascist -- basically by A) declaring any Democrat who ever attempted to use government to accomplish anything must in fact be a terrible, freedom-hating fascist, and B) pretty much ignoring every nasty deed the Republican Party committed over the last 80 years.

This, then, is the man who accuses the President of being "morally tone-deaf".

Ahh irony, how I'll miss you. And does anybody at USA TODAY proofread this crap before it goes out?

Only Takes One To Get Lucky

Want to know where you can find some interesting people in the Bluegrass State? Here in Kentucky they hang out at places like the annual Knob Creek Gun Shoot.
Ever since the election of President Barack Obama, gun store owners have reported massive increases in sales of firearms and ammunition. Attendees and sellers at Knob Creek can confirm that. Ron Hansen, a retiree from Michigan, grumbles that the ammunition supply at the show has “declined dramatically” since the displays of only a year ago. Myron Moore, a seller making a brisk trade in pistols and clips, explains that sales spiked right after the election and have slipped only a little because people worry this will be their last chance to stock up. “I’m selling everything Obama’s trying to ban,” he laughs.

Other attendees were uncomfortable revealing their first or last names. As massive as the event is — the Knob Creek Gun Range estimated that around 15,000 people passed through the gates–it does not keep tabs on who comes in. This is a safe haven, where guns can change hands without a lot of paperwork, and where ammunition is relatively cheap, though the prices have skyrocketed in the last few years. A purchase of an old Mauser rifle that would take some red tape-cutting in a gun shop is hassle-free at the gun range.

This is a place where vendors can sell T-shirts that read “The Fourth Reich: Obama-Biden 2012,” and “Hitler Gave Great Speeches Too..” and, most succinctly, “Fuck Obama.” It’s somewhere for people with hard-to-explain interests in World War II memorabilia can pick up items from Wehrmacht uniforms (”I’m putting the stuff together to make me a German officer,” says a man buying a Wehrmacht officer’s cap), Adolf Hitler mousepads (”Next time… no more Mr. Nice Guy”), and coffee mugs with Nazi commanders’ faces etched on them.

This leads to a certain skepticism of the media. Mark Stevens, whose Nazi merchandise is not moving very quickly on Saturday, declines to talk about it. “Any publicity from the media is bad publicity,” he explained.

One man asks a vendor if she has any “Impeach Obama” bumper stickers. Initially, he’s open to talking about his problems with the president. “There’s a black man in the White House,” he said. “What else do you need to know?” He suggests that journalism isn’t much of a career and tells me to look for something else to do. But 15 minutes later, he spots me in the range’s gun shop and asks me to cross his name out of my notebook. He grabs the book, grabs a pen, and scratches dark black ink onto the paper. “I don’t know who you are,” he said. “I don’t know if you work for the Southern Poverty Law Center. I don’t know if you work for the government.”

As bad as these folks are, being a racist asshole is being a racist asshole. I've dealt with them all my life, and I don't really care. Some people are just going to be jagoffs with incredibly ignorant opinions and that's not a sign of somebody who is crazy or violent. Some people will never accept a black man in the White House, or a Democrat in the White House for that matter.

But not everybody who owns a gun is a lunatic. Far from it. There are millions of responsible gun owners in America who will never, ever in their lives draw their weapon in anger or with intent to kill another human being. I know and respect many people who I know own firearms. I figure they're good people to be friends with.

But it's folks like the following I don't respect, and who give gun owners a bad, bad name.

The thousands of attendees who only showed up to shoot could avoid some of the more extreme political elements at the event, even if the extremists were hard to miss. The Barack Obama “Birthers,” who believe that the president cannot prove that he is an American citizen, were present in a table located close to the main range, near the NRA’s sign-up booth. It’s a location that allows them to pass out fliers for RiseUpAmerica.com, with a 10-point explanation of how “Barry Soetoro” could be removed from the presidency, to anyone walking through to the rest of the event. “He’s an illegal alien!” shouts Theresa Padgett, one of their volunteers. “We have an illegal alien running the country.”

“We need your help,” says Carl Swensson, the group organizer who has put together a “citizen jury” to indict the president. “They can’t go across the country and arrest everybody, although they do have pretty good facilities in the FEMA camps,” he says, referring to a conspiracy theory about the government building holding centers for dissidents. In the early afternoon Swensson and Padgett were joined by Orly Taitz, an attorney who has filed multiple lawsuits challenging the president’s citizenship, and they got organizers to read an announcement about their effort over the loudspeakers. By the end of the day they have collected at least 400 signatures, and dozens more from retired military members who wanted to sign on to one of Taitz’s lawsuits. Still, some people who signed onto the Obama citizenship petitions are grim about the chances of surviving this presidency with something as quick and easy as a legal disqualification.

Alan, a registered nurse from Illinois, asks whether last week’s massacre in Binghamton, N.Y. was a set-up. “How many government shooters or special ops teams,” he asks, “how many guys were in there killing people just so they could make gun owners look bad?” He’s not convinced by media reports about the massacre, especially because the shooter killed himself. “These people always kill themselves. They’re either mind-controlled or they’re set up.”

Alan says that he gets the real story on the threat to gun-owners from Mark Koernke, the militia leader who hangs around the show until the end, wearing Swiss camouflage and carrying copies of “How to Start and Train a Militia Unit.” He thinks that the revolution against the government in Washington and “the corporation of the United States” will begin this year, kicked off by some Lexington and Concord stand-off. He gives one attendee some advice about how to take care of his Mauser.

“When this is used in the next war,” Koernke says, “it’ll be part of the victory weapons that liberated America. ‘Yeah, my granddaddy used this in 2011! It was a hell of a fight!’”

Yeah. These guys? These guys are the problem. These are the guys who are just waiting for an excuse to "liberate" the country, and these are the guys that make me want to learn how to operate and maintain a firearm. I'm not worried about the government shooting me. I'm worried about these assholes shooting me.

The Tim McVeigh/Eric Rudolph/David Koresh militia movement didn't die during the Bush years. They found the internet instead. Now they all have a common enemy, a mixed-race Democratic president with the middle name Hussein, and they will be damned if he's allowed to ruin their country, by God.

Just takes one of these paranoid assholes to get lucky.

Sixty-Six Percent Is Not Good Enough

As Atrios reminds us, President Obama's 66% approval rating in the latest CBS poll means Good News For Republicans, because that's how the Village defines it.

The 12-step Village Logic goes like this:
  1. Obama has a 66% approval rating.
  2. This is meaningless.
  3. What has meaning is that Democrats really like him, Republicans do not.
  4. This means Obama is not bi-partisan like he said he would be.
  5. This gap between Dems and Republicans is more than 50 points.
  6. This gap is higher than Bush's gap at 2.5 months.
  7. Ergo, Obama is the most divisive and politically partisan President in modern history.
  8. Meaning, Obama is Worse Than Bush.
  9. Now, This is excellent news for Republicans, because...
  10. His 66% approval rating is meaningless, only the Republican opinion of Obama matters.
  11. Thus marginalizing all the Democrats and Independents and the overwhelming majority who like him,
  12. And Q.E.D., he's the Worst President Ever.
Thanks for playing.

Breaking Point

Now that Arlen Specter has pretty much killed EFCA, it didn't take long before other supporters mysteriously started turning on the President and the legislation, not wanting to upset business interests in their home states.

In what is, perhaps, the most devastating blow yet to the fate of the Employee Free Choice Act, Sen. Blanche Lincoln said on Monday that she will oppose the union-backed legislation.

The Arkansas Democrat, whose home state includes WalMart, one of the major business groups fighting EFCA, announced her decision during a meeting of the Little Rock Political Animals Club.

"I cannot support that bill," Lincoln said, according to Arkansas Business. "Cannot support that bill in its current form. Cannot support and will not support moving it forward in its current form."

Labor forces can ill-afford to lose any Democrats in this legislative battle, given the partisan lines of the EFCA vote in 2007. Already, Sen. Arlen Specter, the lone Senate Republican to vote for cloture on the Employee Free Choice Act back then, has indicated he will oppose cloture if the bill were to be brought up in this Congress.

Lincoln, long considered a crucial Democratic vote on EFCA, was the focus of intense political pressure. Union groups were courting her support while the business community had made her a primary target for defection. Indeed, WalMart hired her former chief of staff for the precise purpose of lobbying on EFCA. Lincoln is up for reelection in 2010.

A red state Dem up for reelection, from the home of Wal-Mart.

Yeah, nobody could have predicted, etc. yadda yadda.

Heck Of A Price Tag

The IMF's latest numbers on toxic asset writedowns for banks show a price tag of $4 trillion bucks: $3.1 trillion for US banks, another $900 million for Europe and Asia.
Toxic debts racked up by banks and insurers could spiral to $4 trillion, new forecasts from the International Monetary Fund are set to suggest, British daily The Times reported on its website without citing sources.

The IMF said in January that it expected the deterioration in U.S.-originated assets to reach $2.2 trillion by the end of next year.

But it is understood to be looking at raising that to $3.1 trillion in its next assessment of the global economy, due to be published on April 21, the newspaper reported.

In addition, it is likely to boost that total by $900 billion for toxic assets originated in Europe and Asia, the Times said.

Back in August, the IMF's number was half that for the US, $1.4 trillion in writedowns. This time last year, the IMF was talking about $600 billion or so, maybe $950 billion, tops in bank writedowns. Now it's more than three times that.

What a difference a year makes, huh?

Man's Inhumanity To Man

The International Committee of the Red Cross has released its 2007 report on the conditions and treatment of Gitmo detainees, and the results are stunning.
Medical officers who oversaw interrogations of terrorism suspects in CIA secret prisons committed gross violations of medical ethics and in some cases essentially participated in torture, the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a confidential report that labeled the CIA program "inhuman."

Health personnel offered supervision and even assistance as suspected al-Qaeda operatives were beaten, deprived of food, exposed to temperature extremes and subjected to waterboarding, the relief agency said in the 2007 report, a copy of which was posted on a magazine Web site yesterday. The report quoted one medical official as telling a detainee: "I look after your body only because we need you for information."

New details about alleged CIA interrogation practices were contained in the 43-page volume written by ICRC officials who were given unprecedented access to the CIA's "high-value detainees" in late 2006. While excerpts of the report were leaked previously, the entire document was made public for the first time by author Mark Danner, a journalism professor, on the Web site of the New York Review of Books.


The confidential report sheds additional light on the CIA's handling of the detainees, who were held in secret overseas prisons for up to four years and subjected to what the agency describes as "enhanced interrogation techniques." In addition to widely reported methods such as waterboarding, the report alleges that several of the detainees were forced to stand for days in painful positions with their arms shackled overhead. One prisoner reported being shackled in this manner for "two to three months, seven days of prolonged stress standing followed by two days of being able to sit or lie down."

In addition to the coercive methods -- which the ICRC said "amounted to torture" and a violation of U.S. and international treaty obligations -- the report said detainees were routinely threatened with further violence against themselves and their families. Nine of the 14 prisoners said they were threatened with "electric shocks, infection with HIV, sodomy of the detainee and . . . being brought close to death," it said.

The war crimes were committed in your name, America. They were authorized by then President Bush and Vice-President Cheney, and other Bush cabinet officials knew what was going on. They knew and did not stop these acts of brutal torture that served no purpose in protecting the country. We know Republicans are willing to do anything to prevent America from finding out the full truth behind the authorization of these acts.

This was done in our name. History will not be kind to us. Perhaps if you believe in fate, or karma, or a great national reckoning, maybe you view our current economic situation as a not so gentle reminder that what goes around, comes around.

I'm certainly willing to entertain that as a theory about right now.


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