Saturday, May 8, 2010

Last Call

Here's how the Kagan nomination to SCOTUS plays out:
  1. Everyone says what a genius Obama is except for a few folks who have honest questions about her.
  2. Since it's liberals who are asking those questions, conservatives will then defend Kagan to attack liberals.
  3. We're on 2 right now.  The rest goes like this:
  4. Since it's liberals who will be under attack, the Village will pile on and declare that liberals hate bipartisanship centrist choices.
  5. Republicans will then bring up the same concerns liberals have about Kagan and attack her, saying it's bipartisan opposition.
  6. The Village will wonder if Kagan should withdraw (It would be irresponsible not to speculate...)
  7. Everyone on the D side will rally around her anyway after liberals have been beaten on enough and it becomes clear she's going to be confirmed anyway.
  8. Liberals will then be blamed for "almost blowing another one for Obama."
  9. The meme that Democratic Presidents can never appoint liberals to anything continues. 
Count on it.

    Utah's Bob Bennett Gets Hoffmaned

    The Hoffman Effect rolls on unabated.  Dave Weigel:
    Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) lost his bid for a fourth term today after being eliminated in the second ballot of Utah's Republican convention. Bennett came in third with 26% of the vote behind businessman Tim Bridgewater with 37% and lawyer Mike Lee with 36%.

    The strong showing for Bridgewater came as a surprise, as national conservatives -- including FreedomWorks -- have strongly supported Lee. But Cherilyn Eagar, a Republican activist who was knocked out on the first ballot, had vocally opposed Lee, and her votes largely went to Bridgewater. But Bennett was never able to overcome an anti-incumbent sentiment in the GOP base. In his speech after coming third in the first round, Bennett pleaded for delegates to consider which candidate had the most influence in Washington.

    "Don't take a chance on a newcomer," said Bennett. "There's too much at stake."

    That message fell flat with Utah Republicans, who now face a choice between two conservative activists who have never held elective office. Bennett's only option to continue his political career is, as he told the Associated Press, an unprecedented write-in campaign. At this hour, it's unclear if he'll proceed.

    Bridgewater and Lee will battle it out at the convention for the right to a flat-out win. If one candidate gets 60% of the vote, he is the nominee. If neither candidate does, they will face each other in a June primary. Notably, Lee gave his one-minute time for a pre-ballot speech to a video from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who called Bennett a "friend who's made a difference" before endorsing the lawyer and first-time candidate.
    Teabaggers have burned a Utah Republican at the stake for not being wingnutty enough.  That should tell you how crazy 2010 is going to be at the polls.  The GOP is going to have to run so far to the know-nothing, fundie, anti-minority, corporate lackey right that those massive gains they are counting on simply won't materialize.

    And when that happens, they'll completely break down.

    Oh You Mean THESE Nuclear Weapons...

    Why, I have no idea what you are talking about, sir.
    Israel's secretive nuclear activities may undergo unprecedented scrutiny next month, with a key meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency tentatively set to focus on the topic for the first time, according to documents shared Friday with The Associated Press.

     A copy of the restricted provisional agenda of the IAEA's June 7 board meeting lists Israeli nuclear capabilities as the eighth item - the first time that that the agency's decision-making body is being asked to deal with the issue in its 52 years of existence.

    The agenda can still undergo changes in the month before the start of the meeting and a senior diplomat from a board member nation said the item, included on Arab request, could be struck if the U.S. and other Israeli allies mount strong opposition. He asked for anonymity for discussing a confidential matter.

    Even if dropped from the final agenda, however, its inclusion in the May 7 draft made available to The AP is significant, reflecting the success of Islamic nations in giving concerns about Israel's unacknowledged nuclear arsenal increased prominence. 
    Despite Israel's nuclear capabilities being the worst kept secret in the Middle East, expect to see howling and screaming from the usual suspects (and open calls of the AP being anti-Semitic, along with Obama, Hillary, the UN, the IAEA, and everyone else who might have anything to do with being interested in reading the report.)  Discussion of Israel's nukes means Israel actually has nukes and is a country with nukes that has not signed on to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and admitting that means Israel is a "rogue nuclear state" by several definitions (along with India and Pakistan.)

    Most importantly it means Israel is a nuclear power, and that changes the calculus of power in the entire theater.  Israel has had plausible deniability on this for a while now (despite this being a terribly badly secret.)  Admitting they have nukes means Israel is subject to the same inspection game that they've helped to force on to other countries, like Iraq and Iran, and that's going to make things real interesting.

    Then again, if you wanted to force Israel's military hand and by proxy America's military hand, this is the prime way to do it.  Cui bono is the question to ask here, who benefits the most from something like this?

    Watch the response on this carefully.  If the talk quickly turns to "Well now Israel has no choice but to attack Iran while it has the advantage" then you'll know.

    Oil's Well That Doesn't End Well For This Oil Well, Part 8

    GIANT CONCRETE BOX THINGY!  He is our hero!

    GIANT CONCRETE BOX THINGY!  He will save the Gulf!

    ...Or not.
    A mammoth white containment dome placed over a leaking oil well 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico had to be moved away from the well Saturday after ice-like crystals clogged the massive steel-and-concrete box.

    The buildup of crystals also made the box too buoyant, BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles said.

    "I wouldn't say it failed yet," he said. "What I would say is what we attempted to do last night didn't work."
    The lowering of the containment device was a slow-moving process. It took about two weeks to build the 40-foot box, and the effort to lower it by crane and cable to the seafloor began late Thursday night. After it hit bottom Friday afternoon, the crane gradually eased off to allow it to settle.

    By Saturday, workers had to move the box, which is still on the sea bed, some 200 meters away from the leaking oil well.

    To try to contain the spill, engineers hoped to thread a slot in the dome over the well's main leaking pipe, then let the dome sink into the mud, creating a water-tight seal. After that, engineers planned to hook a pipeline to it and pump the oil it collects into a waiting barge.

    Officials had warned that many things could go wrong with the effort, which has never been tried at that depth.

    "This hasn't been done before and it will undoubtedly have some complications but we are committed to making this work," Suttles said Friday.
    Everything's fine here, got an oil leak here, very dangerous, just give us a second to lock it are you?

    The War On Science, Part 3

    Steven D has an excellent piece today on the continuing Wingnut War on Science, with Virginia's Republican AG Ken Cuccinelli going all Scopes Trial on climate scientist Michael Mann.  Mann used to be at the University of Virginia, and now this knucklehead AG thinks he can sue Mann for "fraud" for his global warming work while at UVA on a state grant.
    No matter that Professor Mann and the East Anglia climate scientists have been absolved of any improper conduct with respect to the research they conducted on climate change by Penn State University's investigation into the charges against Prof. Mann (his current employer) and by an independent international panel convened by the University of East Anglia, respectively.

    First an excerpt from the investigation by Penn State's "Inquiry Report: Concerning the Allegations of Research Misconduct Against Dr. Michael E. Mann:"
    After careful consideration of all the evidence and relevant materials, the inquiry committee finding is that there exists no credible evidence that Dr. Mann had or has ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with an intent to suppress or to falsify data. While a perception has been created in the weeks after the CRU emails were made public that Dr. Mann has engaged in the suppression or falsification of data, there is no credible evidence that he ever did so ...
    And now an excerpt from the international panel convened by East Anglia University to investigate the actions of the scientists at the Hadley Climate Research Unit located there:
    We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it.
    Not to mention the voluminous publicly available NASA data sets related to global temperatures that support the conclusions of Mann's work. 
    It seems to me that Virginia's better served investigating why their AG is filing frivolous lawsuits with taxpayer money against scientists, the EPA, and the Obama administration over health care legislation, frivolous lawsuits that Virginia taxpayers are footing the bill for, and that the state has zero chance of winning.

    But that's Republican "science" for you.  Willful ignorance to the point of absurdity.  Anything they can't control, like "facts", must be destroyed.

    Arizona Liars Club

    Conservatives are liars.  Period.  But wait, I must be the liar, because conservatives tell the truth, conservatives like Marco Rubio and J.D. Hayworth who want to represent the people in Congress next year.
    Over the past few weeks, right-wing proponents of Arizona’s draconian immigration law inexplicably claimed that the majority of Latinos in Arizona support the new anti-immigrant law. Some examples:
    Marco Rubio: Polling has shown that Americans of Hispanic descent in Arizona support this bill just as strongly as the general population does.
    J.D. Hayworth: Interestingly, a majority of Hispanics agree that this law should be enforced here in Arizona.
    Bill O’Reilly: I’m not buying the fact that Hispanic-Americans en masse are against the law.
    Now I know we can settle this charge of mine that "conservatives are liars" if only somebody would actually ask Latinos in Arizona what they think about the law.
    A new survey released today by Latino Decisions, and commissioned by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) shows Latino registered voters in the state of Arizona are strongly opposed to new immigration law, 1070, which was signed into law on April 23. Overall, 81% of Latinos are opposed to 1070 and 16% in favor. When asked if they thought police would also stop legal immigrants or U.S. born Latinos, 85% of Latino voters said yes, and 72% said they thought police would primarily target people who are Hispanic when deciding who to question.
    Oh wait...umm...I know!  If only somebody would actually ask Latinos in Arizona what they think about the law, and got a second opinion!  It must be an outlier!
    This Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of the Arizona immigration law is pretty astounding.

    Based on what you know or have heard about the new Arizona Immigration Law, do you favor or oppose it?
          Favor  Oppose  Not Sure
    ALL     53      36      11
    DEM     12      79       9
    REP     89       7       4
    IND     46      28      26

    WHITE   63      26      11
    LATINO  15      76       9
    BLACK    8      80      12
    Umm....gosh...errm....but Arizonans still overwhelmingly support the bill, right? Latinos included?
    On the national level, polls show that an overwhelming majority Latinos across the nation support comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level. Eighty-seven percent of Latino respondents said they would not consider voting for a Congressional candidate who was in favor of forcing most of the undocumented population to leave the country. A new poll released this week also reveals that the percentage of all Arizonans who support SB-1070 has fallen from 70 percent to 52 percent
    Wait!  I know!  Marco Rubio and J.D. Hayworth never ever said those things!  It's all a lie!

    CLONES!  GEORGE SOROS FUNDED CLONES!  No conservative would EVER lie...

    Would they?

    Kaganology 101

    The erstwhile Digby reminds us that the White House never really changed its mind on Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court.  The why of that should raise red flags:
    There's a lot of talk today about the White House settling on Elana Kagan for the Supreme Court, along with some fairly alarming reports that she didn't care about diversity when she was the dean of Harvard Law. This doesn't speak well of her, especially since she is such a blank slate that such actions tend to be the only clues we have about her worldview. (I have assumed that if Obama ends up nominating her we will know for sure that he's decided to run for the hills in anticipation of a right wing surge, which only means he's decided on appeasement rather than leadership. Surprise.)
    Oh yeah, and she was on a Goldman Sachs advisory panel too.   This is starting to make a certain amount of sense now as to why Kagan was always the frontrunner.
    So I'm told by various people that Kagan is the only confirmable possibility. I would love to know why that should be true. The Republicans have had little trouble since Bork confirming far right federalist society clones, whether they had a Democratic or Republican Senate. It doesn't seem logical to me that there isn't room for an unabashed liberal on the court with a 59 vote majority in the Senate.

    Kagan is an unknown quantity, unlike Roberts and Alito who were clearly both conservative a highly political. Yet Bush managed to get them confirmed. I guess I just don't understand the double standard when it comes to Democrats and I refuse to capitulate to the common wisdom that says no Democratic president can ever confirm a known liberal.
    Pay-Bork is a bitch, as they say.  30 years of painting liberals as everything that has gone wrong in America, when the reality has been the opposite (Reaganomics, Poppy Bush's Gulf War I, Clinton's post 1994 triangulation and impeachment, and Dubya's complete wrecking of the country to really put the icing on the cake).  We've had 4 recessions since then thanks to the free market.

    Conservatism is all about sending money up the chain, Liberalism is about sending it down.  Ergo, Liberals are the enemy.  And poor people don't own media conglomerates and get to frame the debate.

    Really is that simple.  Obama raised the white flag on this a long time ago.

    Epic Correlation Does Not Equal Causation Fail

    Ace at Ace of Spades' valid point that Newsweek EPIC FAILED by proclaiming the recession over in its edition three weeks ago only to go on the sale block itself due to money problems kind of gets lost in his crowing that Newsweek failed because it was too liberal, and not because it was a crappy magazine.

    Plenty of conservative outlets have gone under in this economy too.  Perhaps they were too liberal as well, instead of being poorly written hackery.

    EPIC FAIL on your part, Ace.

    StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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