Friday, April 1, 2011

Last Call

Good night folks, and the last progressive out of HuffPo, please turn out the lights.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Arianna Huffington revealed a bit of news that's not likely to show up on The Huffington Post's front page any time soon: the site is no longer "lefty" in its political bent.

That will likely come as a surprise to the massive audience of Democrats and liberals The Huffington Post has attracted over the years, who've turned the site into a powerful voice for progressive values and one of the largest online publications going.

Speaking to New York Times reporter Andrew Goldman, Huffington said that for the last three years she has been walking the post-partisan talk.

"The tag line that we’ve used a lot is 'Beyond left and right,'" she reportedly said.

The Times' writer fired back, suggesting that she was "trying to tell me that Smurfs aren’t blue" by claiming that The Huffington Post was not founded as a "lefty" publication.

"I’m just telling you that it is very clear that we have progressive views, but to call everything we’re doing lefty — it misses the whole point that American policy needs to be redefined beyond left and right," she reportedly said. "It’s a completely obsolete view of politics."

"Still, I’m amazed you’re trying to tell me that The Huffington Post wasn’t started as a lefty blog?" Goldman asked.

"I’m not trying to tell you anything," she reportedly replied. "I’m telling you things. I’m not trying, O.K.?"

Who, us?  Progressive?   Surely you have us confused with another large corporate news aggregation and commentary site.  Why anyone would think HuffPo would go Sensible Centrist, "post-partisan" Third Way on the Dirty F'ckin Hippies after the AOL buyout, just because they hired Andrew Breitbart, just because they picked up anti-Obama Reasonoids like Radley Balko...why I have no idea where anyone would get that kind of notion from.

Money talks, bullshit walks.  If it wasn't for Amanda Terkel, I'd drop HuffPo from the blogroll completely.  As it is, I'll simply change the link to her author page.

You dance with who brought you, Arianna.

Getting Out Of The Sandbox

Pastor Terry Jones went through with his dumb, belligerent stunt to burn a Qur'an in March, and here on the first day of April, the exact response that Jones was giddy about provoking tragically occurred in Afghanistan.

At least 12 people were killed Friday in an attack on a U.N. compound in Afghanistan that followed a demonstration against the reported burning last month of a Quran in Florida, authorities and a U.N. source with knowledge of the events said.

Eight workers for the United Nations and four Afghans were killed, said Abdul Rauof Taj, security director of Balkh province. At least 24 people were injured, he said.

In a written statement, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, citing preliminary reports, said it appeared that three international staffers and four international security officers were killed in the attack.

"Those who lost their lives in today's attack were dedicated to the cause of peace in Afghanistan and to a better life for all Afghans," he said.

A U.N .source said the dead included four Nepalese security guards as well as U.N. workers from Norway, Sweden and Romania. The U.N. Security Council was to meet Friday in closed session to discuss the attack.

Via Digby, we learn that UN staff on the ground in Afghanistan have a stunned, horrified, and resigned reaction.

Foreigners have been killed in Afghanistan before, and today’s attack was not the first fatal attack on UN staff.  But it was different than previous fatal attacks. Very different. The killers were ordinary residents of a city deemed peaceful enough to be one of the first places transferred to the control of Afghan security forces. The men who broke into the UN compound, set fires and killed 8 people weren’t Taliban, or henchmen of a brutal warlord, or members of a criminal gang. They weren’t even armed when the protests began –they took weapons from the UN guards who were their first victims.

Foreigners committed to assisting in the rebuilding of Afghanistan have long accepted the possibility that they might die at the hands of warring parties, but this degree of violence from ordinary citizens is not something most of us factored into our decision to work here.

Tonight, the governor of Balkh province, of which Mazar-i-Sharif is the capital, is telling the international media that the men who sacked the UN compound were Taliban infiltrators. That’s rubbish. Local clerics drove around the city with megaphones yesterday, calling residents to protest the actions of a small group of attention-seeking, bigoted Americans. Then, during today’s protest, someone announced that not just one, but hundreds of Korans had been burned in America. A throng of enraged men rushed the gates of the UN compound, determined to draw blood.  Had the attackers been gunmen, they would likely have been killed before they could breach the compound.

For his part, Pastor Terry Jones is damn proud.   This is precisely what he wanted to provoke.

"We wanted to raise awareness of this dangerous religion and dangerous element," Jones said. "I think [today's attack] proves that there is a radical element of Islam." 

Students of the civil rights movement in America in the 50's and 60's will no doubt see the similarities.  Terry Jones got exactly what he wanted.  He pushed a dangerous situation over the edge and into inexcusable violence.

It will not be long now before the cries go up from the wingers that this event proves that we must pass laws to Do Something About Them Before It's Too Late.

And sadly, I believe we will see those laws pass.  Terry Jones won a huge battle here.  The rest of thinking America lost.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Here's GOP math for you.

Think back to the tax deal. The GOP’s demands were: 1) the extension of the Bush tax cuts for high-earners; and 2) a massive cut in the estate tax. Put together, the two items will increase the deficit by close to a trillion dollars over 10 years. If the GOP had wanted, they could’ve used that money for more tax cuts for the poor, or even the middle class. The Obama administration would’ve happily signed onto that compromise. But Republicans did not want that. If we were going to increase the deficit, we were going to do it on behalf of the wealthy. 

That's one half.  $1 trillion in tax cuts for the richest Americans over 10 years.  How do we pay for it?  By hurting the poorest.

House Republicans are planning to cut roughly $1 trillion over 10 years from Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled, as part of their fiscal 2012 budget, which they will unveil early next month, according to several GOP sources.

$1 trillion taken out of Medicare spending and given directly to the richest Americans over the next ten years.  But remember, Obama's the "redistributionist".

Maybe that explains why the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to vote Repulbican.

Shocking, I know.  What's really shocking is that 40% of people that make less than $30k a year are voting to take money away from social programs that are meant to help themselves and would rather elect people who will take their social programs and give that money to people who make ten times as much as they do.

Self-loathing is a funny thing.

You Can Only See The Sun From The Top Of The Mountain

The rest of us people are too busy holding that mountain up.

The heads of the nation’s top companies got the biggest raises in recent memory last year after taking a hiatus during the recession.

At a time most employees can barely remember their last substantial raise, median CEO pay jumped 27% in 2010 as the executives’ compensation started working its way back to prerecession levels, a USA TODAY analysis of data from GovernanceMetrics International found. Workers in private industry, meanwhile, saw their compensation grow just 2.1% in the 12 months ended December 2010, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Two years of scaling back amid tough economic times proved temporary as three-quarters of CEOs got raises in 2010 — and, in many cases, the increases were substantial.

And of course the reason why CEOs are being rewarded is because corporate profits are through the roof.  The reason why corporate profits are skyrocketing is because corporations are sitting on piles of cash and not hiring workers...or if they are hiring workers they are in turn shipping jobs to cheaper labor markets overseas.

So corporations are having some of their best quarters in modern history right now.  The big ones don't pay a dime in taxes on revenue, either.  It's not "corporate taxes are too high."  It's that corporations would rather ship jobs to Indonesia, China, India, and Malaysia than Indiana.  It's business, and the big consumer growth markets aren't us anymore.  Our reign at the top of the consumer food chain is O-V-E-R.

American workers on the other hand, the most productive workers in the world?  Well, how's your paycheck looking lately?

Epic Win: Heimlich Edition

Richard Paylor, a Pennsylvania truckdriver, went through something so unusual I had to share it here.  Mr. Paylor was eating an apple while driving, and he began to choke.  He passed out from lack of oxygen, and wrecked his truck.  In the process of doing so, he struck the steering wheel and the apple was dislodged, thus saving his life.  Police found the apple chunk on the dash.  Nobody else was injured.

Public service message: check out how to help a choking victim.

Impaled By An 11 Foot Piece Of Metal Is No Way To Go Through Life, Son

Adam McVicker is a lucky man.  His truck slid off an icy road and he was impaled by a fence post.  He was pierced from behind, and by a miracle no major organs were damaged.  He will make a full recovery.  He was awake the entire time, even when the paramedics accidentally whacked the post, causing the vibration to echo through the core of his body.  How did they find him?  McVicker called 911 himself.

In a half-empty or half-full kind of way, he suffered more pain and terror than most of us will in a lifetime, and yet the outcome is as good as can be expected.  Some of us find terror in the concept of random chance, of being stricken by a spell of luck that is out of our control. It is easy to forget that the same engine that drives bad luck also drives good, and we can be blessed at our worst moments in the lowest place imaginable.  For example, bleeding to death on a dark roadside, unable to see and with no idea of where you are.

A New View For You

Bon The Geek clued me into this Google feature for the blog:  text view.  If you want a cleaner version of ZVTS, check it out.  I'll slap a link to it over on the side there, there's five different views you can choose from.

Take a look see.


A healthy 216,000 new jobs in March, unemployment down slightly to 8.8%, although labor force participation is still at an ugly low of 64.2%.  Still, it's going to take years of 200k job growth months to get us back to where we were just in 2007.

But, it's good news.

Bob Gates, Secretary Of Defensive Posture

Defense Secretary Robert Gates just can't win.  Testifying before the House yesterday, he got an earful from Republicans and even some Democrats on not consulting Congress before embarking on Libya's No-Fly Zone adventure.

Gates spent most of his time during the hearing being grilled by Republican and Democrats alike about the administration's decision not to seek collaborative cooperation from Congress before the air strikes began, instead spending most of his time trying to secure international support for instituting a no-fly zone.

Last night in a classified briefing with lawmakers on Libya, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Obama and the administration would not necessarily abide by any resolutions Congress might pass constraining the President's ability to take military action or continue it in Libya. She said only that the administration would keep Congress informed through reports and consultations.

The statements enraged some administration critics who believe the White House has violated basic tenets of the 1973 War Powers Act, which require Congressional approval to engage U.S. military forces overseas combat. The last time Congress declared war was during WWII, and a long line of presidents have essentially ignored the act, arguing that it places unconstitutional shackles on the President's role as commander-in-chief.

Congress "has been left out in the cold on this one," said Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), a longtime opponent of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. "There has been no consultation at all."

"We read about it in the newspapers and then we ask questions about it," said Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH). "I think that's concerning to the Congress and I think it's concerning to the American people, and I believe rightly so."

Several times during the hearing Gates repeated a one-line defense of Obama's actions.

"The President's compliance with the War Powers Act has been consistent with the actions taken by all of his predecessors -- both Democrats and Republicans" since the law was passed in 1973, Gates said.

A resolution of support for the military action in Libya would be welcome, he noted.

That riled several Republicans who quickly predicted that such a resolution would likely fail in the House. 

But Gates faced the opposite line of attack in the Senate later in the day as he was berated by lawmakers for handing the operation over to NATO.  The attack was led by -- you guessed it -- Johnny Volcano and Huckleberry Hound GOP Sens. McCain and Graham.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked why the U.S. couldn't simply bomb Qaddafi like President Reagan tried to do in 1986 when he sent cruise missiles into the Libyan leader's palace, killing one of his daughters, and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said rebel setbacks over the last two days have been "unsettling."

"Hope is not a strategy," McCain said, repeating one of his favorite phrases, adding that the U.S. should not have drawn back its leadership role in the military mission until our policy goal of removing Qaddafi from power was met.

"I know the U.S. military has a heavy load on its back right now ... but we must not fail in Libya, and I say this as someone who is familiar with the consequence of a lost conflict," he said. 

I love it.  House Republicans are withholding their permission like kids, and Senate Republicans are bitching about why we haven't won yet and warning that it's Vietnam all over again.  Robert Gates may not be my favorite Republican in Washington, but the guy at least insists there will be no US ground war as long as he's Defense Secretary, and that's the first piece of good news on US policy in Libya that I've heard since this started.

StupidiNews, Actual News On April Fool's Day Edition

You know what they say:  truth is stranger than fiction.

Related Posts with Thumbnails