Friday, November 13, 2009

Last Call

Been a long, long day.  I leave you all tonight with two quotes.  First:
“Back in 1775, they burned images of the then-governor and sent him packing back to Great Britain and they were seen as patriots. The Tea Party movement will be seen as patriots and heroes, like the civil right movement or women’s suffrage.”
--Danville (Va.) Tea Party chairman Nigel Coleman, on his plans to see Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Tom Perillo burned in effigy this weekend.

And second:
"History is written by the winners."
--1984 and Animal Farm author George Orwell, in an essay dated February 4, 1944.

Have a good night.

Try And Try Again

Hizzoner the Mayor, NYC's Mike Bloomberg, has this obnoxious centrist streak that means he's rational about 50% of the time.  Luckily, when it comes to trying 9/11 terrorists in the Big Apple just blocks from Ground Zero, he's all for it as Greg Sargent points out.
New York’s City Hall sends over Bloomberg’s statement, which puts him at odds with multiple Republican critics of the Obama administration’s decision:
“I support the Obama Administration’s decision to prosecute 9/11 terrorists here in New York. It is fitting that 9/11 suspects face justice near the World Trade Center site where so many New Yorkers were murdered. We have hosted terrorism trials before, including the trial of Omar Abdel-Rahman, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
“When I spoke to Attorney General Holder earlier today, I told him New York City stands ready to assist the federal court in the administration of justice in any way necessary. I have great confidence that the NYPD, with federal authorities, will handle security expertly. The NYPD is the best police department in the world and it has experience dealing with high-profile terrorism suspects and any logistical issues that may come up during the trials.”
Bloomberg, obviously, has to support the decision since it has already been made and he would be expected to declare confidence in the cops’ ability to maintain security. But it’s interesting that Bloomberg seems determined to give Obama cover on the substance and symbolism of the decision, going out of his way to declare it “fitting” as an act of justice on behalf of the murdered.
Not odd at all if you know anything about NYC politics and Mike Bloomberg.  The more chances he can get on TV and say "We're bringing the guys responsible for 9/11 to justice right here!" the better he looks to the folks who almost threw his ass out of City Hall earlier this month.  NYC is a blue town, and Mikey here came razor close to losing his job to a guy who shoudn't have had a chance.  He needs to convince the people he's on their side, and in NYC, that means backing Obama and Eric Holder on this decision 100%.

No surprise to me at all.

Friday The 13th

And you thought the Wingers had blown today's wad on trying Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, and just when they thought today couldn't get any worse...JANET NAPOLITANO WITH A CHAINSAW!
The Obama administration will insist on measures to give legal status to an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants as it pushes early next year for legislation to overhaul the immigration system, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Friday.
Boy this has been a really bad day to be a Wingnut, huh?

Something For Nothing

From Sam Stein at HuffPo:
A Goldman Sachs analysis of health care legislation has concluded that, as far as the bottom line for insurance companies is concerned, the best thing to do is nothing. A close second would be passing a watered-down version of the Senate Finance Committee's bill.
A study put together by Goldman in mid-October looks at the estimated stock performance of the private insurance industry under four variations of reform legislation. The study focused on the five biggest insurers whose shares are traded on Wall Street: Aetna, UnitedHealth, WellPoint, CIGNA and Humana.

The Senate Finance Committee bill, which Goldman's analysts conclude is the version most likely to survive the legislative process, is described as the "base" scenario. Under that legislation (which did not include a public plan) the earnings per share for the top five insurers would grow an estimated five percent from 2010 through 2019. And yet, the "variance with current valuation" -- essentially, what the value of the stock is on the market -- is projected to drop four percent.

(More after the jump...)

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

So, if I'm reading this correctly, we can't let terrorists have a trial in NYC because simultaneously it will be both of the following:

1) A banana republic show trial put on by Eric Holder that will turn Manhattan into a circus, proving that Obama has no interest in rule of law and is a totalitarian dictator fascist Maoist Communist bad person, and we're making our patriot brethren in NYC sad by reminding them of 9/11, and they can't handle it, why do you hate Democracy so much, Obama?

2) A waste of America's tax dollars by defending a clearly guilty terrorist murderer who deserves to be put to death immediately, and a trial means NYC's liberal traitor scum may acquit him, and so we can't ever afford to have a trial, we need to just execute them now, why won't Obama just man up and show our enemies we mean business?

Yeah, that makes sense.  Both.  At the same time.

[UPDATE 2:08 PM]  What Steve Benen said.
I just wish conservative Republicans would come up with an argument here. I'm not looking for air-tight reasoning -- just something coherent and half-way intelligent. Because at this point, I have a hard time imagining that even the most dimwitted member of Congress actually believes that fair trials for almost-certainly-guilty terrorist suspects are "dangerous."

Who is it, exactly, that Boehner & Co. don't trust? The American system of justice? Federal prosecutors? Officials at federal detention facilities?

Or are we back to Republican fears that terrorist suspects are comic-book villains with super powers?
There aren't any larger, more colorful, and more badly-positioned hoops that conservatives can jump through to justify Obama Derangement Syndrome then the hoops that represent the truly idiotic arguments they have for making sure terrorists never get trials.

Epic Now That's Some Quality H2O Win

NASA scientists are saying that the data from last month's LCROSS mission has revealed significant water content beneath the lunar surface.
NASA has discovered water on the moon, based on data from the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, that plunged into the moon last month, the principal investigator for LCROSS said Friday.

Anthony Colaprete said at the start of his comments to reporters, "Indeed, yes, we found water."

"The discovery opens a new chapter in our understanding of the moon," NASA said in a written statement.
EPIC WIN, and it came as a result of smashing a big heavy object into the moon and then flying through the debris cloud.

Creative destruction, indeed.

Another Fine Mess For Chad

People say "Hey Zandar, why are you always giving Chad Ochocinco a hard time?  You never know what he's going to do next!"

To which I invariably reply "Bullshit, I know exactly what he's going to do next:  get fined by the NFL."
Chad Ochocinco’s mock attempt to bribe National Football League game officials with $1 cost the Cincinnati Bengals receiver $20,000.

Ray Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice-president for football operations, determined that Ochocinco broke two rules by approaching the officials with the U.S.’s smallest unit of paper currency in his hand during an instant-replay review of a third-quarter catch in last week’s win over the Baltimore Ravens, Corry Rush, an NFL spokesman, said in an e-mail.

One rule bars “abusive, threatening or insulting language or gestures toward game officials,” and another rule prohibiting “possession or use of extraneous objects that are not part of the uniform during the game on the field or sidelines,” Rush wrote.

“The very appearance of impropriety is not acceptable,” wrote Rush. “His conduct was unprofessional and unbecoming of an NFL player.”
And we're only halfway through the season.  Now granted, the Bengals are 6-2 and Ochocinco has been a big part of the success of the orange and black this year on the field...but that success comes at a price.
Ochocinco's not the only one paying, either.

What's Good For The Goose

Following yesterday's story that the RNC's insurance plan had elective abortion coverage in it, Michael Steele has come out today saying that's pretty much over with as of now.

Faced with the charge of hypocrisy for providing employees health insurance that covers abortion, the Republican National Committee has moved to strike the benefit from their policy.

"Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose," said chairman Michael Steele. "I don't know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled."
And just think, the Republicans want to do the same for all of America's women, not just the ones who work for them!
As tristero says over at Digby's place,
Short answer to commentators who claim that "pro-life" is just a morally neutral label for one side in a political controversy: You're kidding yourself. You may think the nuanced meanings of a specific phrase don't matter, but they do.
The goal here is to eliminate the procedure for all women in America.  Period.

Buckeye State Blues

Across the river in the Buckeye State, the economy is starting to take its toll on Ohio Dems in the upcoming 2010 Senate race to replace outgoing Republican George Voinovich.  For the first time, both Dems in the race (Lt. Gov Lee Fisher and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner) find themselves trailing GOP businessman Rob Portman in a new Quinnipiac University poll.
The same poll showed 53 percent of Ohio voters disapproving of how President Obama has handled the economy, while 57 percent don't like his handling of health-care reform.

The poll, which demonstrates many voters have not made up their minds a year out from the election, has Mr. Portman leading Ms. Brunner 38 percent to 34 percent and Mr. Fisher 39 to 36 percent. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.9 percent, making both contests virtual ties.
(More after the jump...)

It's A Rectangular State, So It Will Require Less Border Fencing!

Virulent anti-immigration nutball and part-time racist Tom Tancredo is going to be running for governor of Colorado.
The Denver Post reports that, “while he has yet to formally declare his candidacy or fill out paperwork with the secretary of state’s office,” Tom Tancredo told a reporter that he “fully intends to run” for governor. When asked if he is running for Governor, Tom Tancredo told another local news station, “That is exactly what I anticipate doing.” After a brief run for President in 2008, Tancredo has been polishing his credentials over the past year by doing his part to coarsen the political discourse on television:
– Said he “didn’t know” if Obama “hates white people.”
– Argued Justice Sonia Sotomayor is a member of the “Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses” and that she “appears to be a racist.”
– Claiming Obama may “indeed” be “a racist” because he nominated “Sonia Mayer” for the Supreme Court.
After Tancredo resigned from Congress, he told the press that he regretted being known for being anti-immigrant. A few months later, the proud nativist told a young Republicans gathering that he’d be open to halting all immigration to the United States.
Rasmussen has Colorado's current Dem Gov. Bill Ritter losing to GOP challenger Scott McInnis by 5 in a state that is trending blue.  Tancredo would definitely be the Hoffman in this race, especially since McInnis's primary challenger, State Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, dropped out of the race on Monday.  Tancredo would in effect be splitting the GOP ticket between him and McInnis, giving Ritter then a good shot at winning.

Which side will the Teabaggers support in Colorado, McInnis or Tancredo?

The Way Out Of Afghanistan

Yggy notes that a new Gallup poll shows a plurality of Americans want out of Afghanistan.
It’s worth noting that the question, as worded, specifically mentions that a 40,000 troop increase is what “the U.S. commanding general there has recommended” and that increasing troop levels still doesn’t secure majority support. Especially complicating the situation is the fact that the median position—keep things the way they are—actually has very little support. An overwhelming majority either want fewer troops or many more troops.
44% of Americans want to reduce troops in Afghanistan, only 35% want McChrystal's 40,000 more troops.  In addition, independents favor a troop reduction 43%-36%.

stoa-im__e-xxroa0dtucg 1

Obama's going to have to make a choice however, and the status quo is untenable.  However, given our eight years in Afghanistan, a few more weeks to come up with a proper strategy is more than advisable.

Trials And Tribulations

AG Eric Holder is expected to announce today that five high-profile Gitmo detainees, including alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, will be tried in civilian court in New York.

Holder has set a news conference for 11 a.m. to announce the decisions.

Mohammed "will be subject to the most exacting demands of justice," President Obama said Friday in Japan.
"The American people insist on it, and my administration will insist on it," Obama told reporters at a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

Mohammed is the confessed organizer of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon. But his confession could be called into question during trial. A 2005 Justice Department memo -- released by the Obama administration -- revealed he had been waterboarded 183 times in March 2003.
Obama has called the technique, which simulates drowning, torture.

Mohammed is one of five defendants in the 9/11 attacks being held at the U.S. military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The other four are Ramsi Binalshibh, Walid Muhammed bin Attash, Ali Aziz Abdul Ali and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi.

National Public Radio, citing "officials familiar with the situation," said all five defendants will be tried in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, a short distance from where the twin World Trade Center towers once stood.
Good.  Let them stand trial for the crimes they have been charged with. Bush would never do that, and could have years ago.  He refused to.  Starting to clean up what Bush did to our justice system starts with actually using our justice system for what it was meant to be used for.

[UPDATE 9:10 AM]  In associated news, Maj. Nidal Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder.  No doubt putting him on trial will raise the same kind of truly silly reactions from the right.
How much more will the deficit balloon to pay for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s attorney? Remember, the Supreme Court has been pretty clear that taxpayers have to fork over sizable change to give criminals adequate legal representation.
Why not just rid the country of public defenders anyway?  They cost money, you know.  So does prosecuting people.  So do courts themselves.  Hell, why not just dump the judicial branch altogether?  All it does is delay the obviously guilty from being executed by PATRIOTIC TRAINED BALD EAGLES.  With adamantium talons.

[UPDATE 9:37 AM]  And yes, for the record, this will be a death penalty case for Hasan.

[UPDATE 12:21 PM] "But why even have a trial", William The Bloody complains.

The Constitution is for losers, apparently.

[UPDATE 1:07 PM] CNN is reporting that Maj. Hasan's condition is that he is paralyzed from the waist down.

Fate has a sense of irony after all.

Obama's Real War

The President is under assault from the right from not having rolled over immediately and given Gen. McChrystal his troops, and for not committing America to another four years of open-ended conflict in Afghanistan.  "Dithering".  "Weak."  "Obama is voting 'present'."  The Wingers are furious that Obama is even thinking about it.  As far as they are concerned, the debate ended in November 2001 when we invaded Afghanistan.  There's no room for debate, our troops are in harm's way and we keep fighting until we win, forever and ever, amen.

After eight years of a brain-dead, knee-jerk President, they demand the same.  They simply aren't able to comprehend why it would be different.

Betty over at Rumproast argues that they're just not able to handle a President that thinks before he acts in our 24-hour news cycle political world.

I'll go one step further.  I don't think that a number of Winger blowhards are even capable of even parsing anything that's not a sound bite fed to them by the Pretty Hate Machine.  All they can do is yell "Socialism!  Facism!  Dithering!" like trained poodles.

The ones that do parse simply do so by Bush-era rules, and they scratch their heads wondering why the world simply doesn't make any sense to them anymore.

The binary Bush worldview is gone, folks.  We have an adult in the White House now.  Adapt.

The Kroog Versus Germany

Paul Krugman reminds us that the U.S. isn't the only country facing the global economic crisis, and that other countries have tried different approaches to recovery.  Some are working better than others.

Consider, for a moment, a tale of two countries. Both have suffered a severe recession and lost jobs as a result — but not on the same scale. In Country A, employment has fallen more than 5 percent, and the unemployment rate has more than doubled. In Country B, employment has fallen only half a percent, and unemployment is only slightly higher than it was before the crisis.
Don’t you think Country A might have something to learn from Country B?
This story isn’t hypothetical. Country A is the United States, where stocks are up, G.D.P. is rising, but the terrible employment situation just keeps getting worse. Country B is Germany, which took a hit to its G.D.P. when world trade collapsed, but has been remarkably successful at avoiding mass job losses. Germany’s jobs miracle hasn’t received much attention in this country — but it’s real, it’s striking, and it raises serious questions about whether the U.S. government is doing the right things to fight unemployment.

(More after the jump...)


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