Alito -Time For The Filibuster!

OK liberals, I'm about to commit heresy but please hear me out. It's time for the filibuster. The Democrats must attempt to take Alito down.

As reported well...everywhere...Alito is a certifiable nightmare for the progressive agenda. There was only one judge on Bush Co.'s list that is worse than Alito and that's Janice Rogers Brown (an activist conservative who's incoherent to boot). But liberals need to disavow themselves of the notion we can stop this nomination--we can't, and we better start playing to win the war and not this battle.

If we want a chance of swinging the court back to a progressive stance in 5 years instead of 20, the filibuster is a must. It needs to be used and used repeatedly until the Republicans exercise the so-called "nuclear option," in a fit of pique. Why? First, a nominee like Alito (or whoever comes after him) is inevitable, will take the court in a conservative direction, and will misstep. Imagine if Alito is able to forge a consensus that overturns the Family and Medical Leave Act, as he is inclined to do. The wailing in the Red States will be heard from space. Second, in the 5 to 10 year time frame three, maybe four, more justices will retire, and we want to be the party in power when that happens. Moreover, we want the unfettered ability to appoint without considering the radicals that are trying to destroy us. Third, the Democratic leadership is so timid, that all they can try to do is be conservative lite. We need more than that, and if we can't count on Pelosi, Reid, et. al. then let's count on the Republicans in their incredible hubris--because they will provide that differentiation, if we unchain them.



Democratic Leaders' Useless Bleating

Senate minority leader Harry Reid said on Saturday that Karl Rove should resign or be fired for even discussing Plame and then recalled that Bush once said he would fire anyone involved in the leak:
If he's a man of his word, Rove should be history.
Do any of us believe that Rove will be fired? Bush is an arrogant, unprincipled, liar, and there is no chance he'll outright terminate his right hand, but a well-planned resignation--sort of like the one that had Scooter Libby resigning 5 minutes after the announcement of the indictment--is certainly possible. Though any liberal naive enough to believe that a resignation would end Rove's influence with this administration is an idiot, Reid included.


What Passes For Reasoned Debate (2)

A mid-week comment on Left Wing Lunacy:
I don't want to refute you, you liberal retard, I would like to see you beheaded by your beloved islamofascist friends though. You liberal scum aren't worth wasting words on, but I'd be glad to spend a dime for a bullet.
Liberals need to take heed. This is where right-wingers want to drive the debate, and liberals better fucking wise up to it.

On Libby - Bush the Liar... Sort Of...

It started here:
The President has set high standards, the highest of standards for people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct.

Press Secretary, Scott McClellan - 9.29.2003

...and Bush chimed in the next day:
...and if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.

President, George W. Bush - 9.30.2003

And then we have this from McClellan:
If someone in this administration leaked classified information, they will no longer be a part of this administration, because that's not the way this White House operates, that's not the way this President expects people in his administration to conduct their business.

Scott McClellan - 10.7.2003

And later Bush responded to a reporter who asked if he would keep his promise:
Yes. And that's up to the U.S. Attorney to find the facts.

George W. Bush - 10.6.2004

And finally:
I would like this to end as quickly as possible so we know the facts, and if someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration.

George W. Bush - 7.18.2005

The date George W. Bush fired I. Lewis Libby? He didn't have to, but Bush Co.'s keeping Libby around on the pretense that he hasn't commited a crime (or that he didn't "leak classified information") is a mighty thin thread. It's sort of like qualifying the meaning of the word is, and it makes Bush looks like an ass and a liar.


EPA Rolls Over Like A Dog...Again

So, there are three plans on the table for cutting the carbon-dioxide, mercury, nitrous-oxides emissions resulting from energy production: The Bush proposal, the Carper proposal, and the Jeffords proposal. The EPA has assessed the economic and health cost benefits of each and determined that...
...the administration approach was based on a more favorable balance between projected costs to industry and projected health benefits. He (Stephen Johnson) said the Jeffords and Carper bills were too expensive, even though they would generate greater savings in health care costs.
In other words, the EPA likes the Bush approach (the so-called "Clear Skys" proposal) because it's cheaper for industry, period!

Here are the numbers:
Using the impact of various proposals by 2010 as an example, the E.P.A. estimated that the administration plan would cost $2.8 billion in spending for new emission controls and generate up to $78 billion in reduced health care costs. The Carper bill would cost industry $10.5 billion and create health care savings of up to $128 billion, and the Jeffords bill would cost industry $41.1 billion with projected health care savings of up to $162 billion.
Note how conveniently the EPA has left out the potential savings...in lives! And here's the really pernicious part. The net savings to the US of the Jefford's bill is over $110B, as compared to Clear Skys where the net savings $76B, but of course the burden in the latter falls heavily on the energy industry and is recovered in the health industry.
Maybe the ENVIRONMENTAL(!) (P)rotection (A)gency should rename itself the (E)nergy-Industry (P)rotection (A)gency. They wouldn't even have to change their logo, just their charter.


"Denny" (?) Hastert's Blog

The Speaker of the House, "Denny" Hastert ("Denny"!? You've got to be kidding me), now has his own blog. It loads slow and reads like one of those stupid flyers you get for your representative in the mail.

All I have to say is:


Harriet Miers Withdraws

An unqualified crony of Bush Co. withdraws because she can't win the support of her own party. Good. The Republican leadership finally does something right (though probably for the wrong reasons).

Wonder how many in the right-wing blogsphere will try to brand this as a liberal plot?


The GOP Forgets How Capitalism Works

So the House Republican leadership is "turning up the heat," on Big Oil are they? Trying to get the industry to commit to building all those new refineries that the GOP tax giveaway was supposed to spur.

Apparently our Republican friends have forgotten how capitalism works. They deal is this, pinheads: Big Oil pays hundreds of thousands of dollars (millions?) into your campaign coffers, and you deliver to them an energy bill stuffed with tax breaks. Big Oil then reaps the benefit in the form of taxes they'll never have to pay on their record profits.

Now you're going back like Oliver, saying, "...please sir, we need some more." Oh no, no, no. Payment was made and services (in the form of your bloated-friggin-energy-bill) were provided. You want more, you're going to have to offer something in return. Maybe opening ANWR will be enough. Then again, maybe it won't. Dolts!

The Five Iraqs

The right-wing blogsphere is making big hey out of the fact that Iraq now has a constitution, but frankly I just get it. Yes it means that some kind of democratizing process is going on, but that document is a veritable blueprint for dissolving the Iraqi state.

The problem in Iraq is that you don't really have a single country but rather five. Sunni Iraq can be split into "the insurgents" and "the collaborators". Shia Iraq can be split into "those who would like to leave the federation peaceably" and, "those that would make civil war on the Sunnis in order to achieve a greater Shia state". And then there's the Kurds, homogeneous, wealthy (at least as compared to the Sunni middle), and well-armed.

Given this situation, it's a wonder that there's been a democratizing process at all. There is no cohesive Iraqi military to take over the security situation. Quite the opposite, Iraqi military units are homogeneous and are attached to their ethnic areas. I guess we'll see how long this decentralized republic lasts.


Now Rumors That The Indictments Are Nigh

As reported on The Washington Note

Hat tip to Can of Worms for pointing the way.

An Exemption for Torture?

So initially Bush Co.'s position on abuse of detainees was, "There is no abuse of detainees." When that was dramatically shown to be a bunch of whole-cloth falsehoods, the administration changed tactics: "They're not legal enemy combatents. So they do not enjoy the protections of the Geneva Convention." But that argument was skewered by the MSM and others who pointed out that, if they are not legal combatents, then they're alleged criminals within our territories and entitled to certain rights of due-process (and prusumably to be free from abuse, torture, etc...). Bush Co. then responded that such detainees were not within our territories, and so arguments about criminality did not apply. (Keep in mind that the extension of due-process is not specific to citizens, it applies all persons within our territories, despite what the right-wing blogshpere would have you believe.)

So finally, we now have McCain's amendment to the upcoming $440 billion military spending bill that would effectively ban the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment," of detainees, an amendment that was passed with 90 votes in favor. And what does Bush Co. do? They come to Congress and ask for an exemption for "clandestine counterterrorism operations". In other words, if it's a secret operation, the administration wants the option to do whatever the fuck they want, to whomever they want, Constitution and Congress be damned.

I don't believe that I can say this strongly enough. Torture doesn't--fucking--work! Numererous experts inside and outside the military and intelligence establishments attest to this. So this amendment is a noble attempt to repair our lousy image abroad and won't impact the war on terror in the least.

My hope is that McCain continues to tell the administration to shove this craven bit of policy-making up their collective asses! Get ready for President Neuman's veto and hope for an override.

Your tax dollars at work.

The Onion has been ordered to stop using the presedential seal in their weekly parody of Bush's radio address.

Good to know my taxes are being spent wisely.


Rosa Parks has died.

Title says it all. Farewell Rosa. Your courage will never be forgotten.

New FBI Abuses

After passage of the USA Patriot Act, we should all have guessed that an emboldened FBI would step up their abuses of the 4th Amendment, but this Washington Post article spells out how the criminally loose standards of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act are being used/abused.

What is most interesting about the article, though, is that it focuses not on the abuses themselves, but on the following facts: 1) The FBI is investigating hundreds of such cases; 2) The few oversight mechanisms that do still exist are not working, and 3) The presidential Intelligence Oversight Board (investigator of abuses) is refusing, on the grounds of "executive privilege", to provide congress with details on what their investigations show or even how many investigations there are. The danger here is that, lacking those details and statistics, congress has no substantive basis for evaluating, expanding, or limiting a set of laws that should never have been passed in the first place.

Somebody needs to subpoena the members of that board and, if they choose not to testify, throw them in jail for Contempt of Congress.

Sen. Hutchison Seems Confused

From the N.Y. Times:
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, speaking on the NBC news program "Meet the Press," compared the leak investigation with the case of Martha Stewart and her stock sale.
Seems to me she's just a little confused. That's all. Probably just mixed up the trouble that Sen. Bill Frist is in regarding his HCA stock sales with the potential for indictments from Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald.

With all of the slime bubbling to the surface of the Republican party these days, a little confusion seems unavoidable--can't keep on top of it myself.


What Passes For Reasoned Debate...

Posted Wednesday on the Ranting Right Wing Howler:
Given that liberal women also tend to live in urban environments, are not well educated, rely on the government for their welfare, generally are not married, etc. it's a good thing they don't bring potential criminals into our society.
Another shining example of the kind of crap the right-wing blogsphere passes off as reasoned political commentary.

15 Months for Straights 17 YEARS! for Gays

From the N.Y. Times:
Matthew R. Limon had just turned 18 when he had consensual oral sex with a boy just shy of 15 at a Kansas school in 2000. He was convicted of criminal sodomy and sentenced to 17 years in prison. Had the sex been heterosexual, the maximum penalty would have been 15 months.

Yesterday, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the starkly different penalties violated the federal Constitution's equal protection clause.
17 years!? For a blowjob!? You've got to fucking kidding me. This didn't just violate the 14th amendment (equal protection) it also violated 8th (cruel and unusual punishment). I might also point out that the Kansas Supreme Court overturned this sorry bit of judicial nonsense unanimously.

Would that we could now throw the appeal's court judges who upheld Matthew Limon's sentence--that would be judges Henry Green Jr. and Tom Malone--in jail for the 4 years and 5 months that Mr. Limon already served. It's the least we could do.


Wave goodbye to Brash.

Brash Limburg is off at law school and isn't publishing anymore. But in his place we're putting all of the blogs where K.'s been banned. (Or where the author just likes to hear their own voice, aka Lethal Thought.)


Say Cheese!

Eeeeuuuuuuyyyy! That picture makes him look like an exterminator posing for a billboard. Oh wait...

The Governator is crazy like a fox.

Now I don't like the Governator, but this kind of stuff is really stupid-
The governor, who does not plan to appear with the president, is putting his political interests ahead of the best interests of the state. This is about the governor doing his job, and part of his job is to get California its fair share of federal dollars."

Assemblyman Dario Frommer, D-Los Feliz (Los Angeles County).
In CA, you don't become governor or stay governor unless you woo democrats. Arhnult is just positioning himself to show what an independent he is, and Frommer's an idiot for suggesting that Schwarzenegger should be sucking up to Bush. Bush isn't going give one extra penny to CA. There's no value in it for him. More likely, he'll continue to screw CA (think offshore oil drilling and suing over CA air quality standards) as he and the Republican's have been doing for the last 5 years. Arhnult is just making sure he can capitalize on the status quo.


A Money Quote on the Miers Nomination

Here's an outstandingly stupid quote from the Harriet Miers' defenders (as quoted if the San Francisco Chronicle):
Miers, the first female president of the Texas Bar Association and a former private lawyer for Bush, has demonstrated her legal acumen in a career that has seen her become managing partner of a major law firm and the counsel to the president.
Wow! The first female president of the Texas Bar Association and the managing partner of a major law firm? Really?!

Could it be possible that these are an indication of excellent organizational skills; An indicator of the ability to penetrate a hallowed "boys network"; Or the unflagging ability to suck up to the powerful?

Doesn't look to me like this has any bearing on her legal abilities. Though her one word responses to two-part questions in the Senate Judiciary Committee's questionnaire might. Duh!


How Sweet It Is

I know that this is sort of the ultimate in schadenfreude, but damn it's even more delicious than indictments from Fitzgerald.

From the A.P.:
A Texas court on Wednesday issued a warrant for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's arrest, and set an initial $10,000 bail as a routine step before his first court appearance on conspiracy and state money laundering charges.


The Cheney Rumors Fly

The rumors regarding the imminent resignation of Big Oil's puppet...whoops sorry...Vice President Cheney, are swirling. But you know what, I don't buy it. Seems to me Cheney would hold on save for a resignation due to medical reasons. Though it doesn't really matter anyway, even if it's not for medical reasons, that's still what Bush Co. will claim.

Brother Jed on the web.

Damn I almost can't believe it! Makes complete sense though, Brother Jed Smock on the web. I remember Jed and Sister Cindy (Lasseter) from my years at University of Texas. Jed and Cindy would always preach on the West Mall the week before spring break.

This school is a hoooottttbeeeyyyd of forn-NI-CA-TION! with everyone in the crowd shouting right along with him.


A new friend - Crush Liberalism.

This guy's a hoot. He's been savaging K. over on Atlas Shrugs, though he has yet to post a single comment with anything in it but insults.

And a bonus, here's a response to a Iraqi vet he's arguing with (thread about the Iraqi constitution)
Like I said, piss off. Get "Hooked on Phonics" and see what that means. You're as tiresome as your old lady was last night.
Dude claims to be a libertarian but has a mouth like a garden variety wing-nut.

Confronting your accuser.

Bruce Schneier makes an excellent point in this month's Crypto-Gram about the accused's right to face their accuser. In Seminole Co., FL a bunch of DUI cases were thrown out because the police refused to disclose how a "closed-source" breathalyzer works.

Judge Donald Marblestone commented:
Florida cannot contract away the statutory rights of its citizens...
...and other FL judges have disagreed, claiming that they can't force companies to give away trade secrets.

So whose rights should trump here? The citizens, with rights enumerated in the Constitution (Amendment 6, to be exact)? Or the corporations that don't exist as far as the Constitution is concerned? The Bush administration could stand to learn this lesson as well. You can either allow the accused to face their accuser, or you can forget the prosecution.


Regarding Armstrong Williams: Maybe It's Not So Bad...

From the A.P.:
Last month, congressional auditors concluded that the Education Department had engaged in illegal "covert propaganda" by hiring Williams to promote the No Child Left Behind Act without requiring him to disclose that he was being paid.

In an Oct. 6 letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Lautenberg and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said questions of fraud remained. Lautenberg also asked the Education Department's Office of Inspector General to more fully investigate the contract. The inspector general's office told Lautenberg in a letter released Friday that it was working with the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia.

"It's bad enough the administration bribed a journalist to promote their policies, but now it looks like taxpayer dollars were handed over for work that was never done," said Lautenberg.
Oh...I don't know. If I have to have my money wasted, especially when it would have gone to funding wing-nut propaganda, I guess I don't mind if they bungle it so badly that nothing get's done.


Shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

The A.P. is reporting that Bush's Thursday teleconference with U.S. forces in Iraq was staged. The troops where coached and President Neuman's questions were carefully selected to coincide with administration policy goals.

Gee...you think!? To paraphrase Apocalypse Now:
The bullshit piled up so fast in Bush Co.'s America, you needed wings to stay above it.

Mortgage Interest As Vehicle For F**king the Blue States

OK you've probably already read about Bush Co.'s advisory council on taxes. Well they gave out their recommendations today, and guess what? One of the proposals is tailor made to fuck so-called "Blue State," homeowners.

See, it goes like this: Right now you get to deduct your mortgage interest on debt up to $1,000,000--that's across the board, anywhere in the nation. But the new proposal would limit your deduction to just that debt that is less than or equal to the FHA loan limit in your area (varies by county). The problem is in areas where home prices are well above the highest FHA limit, $312,895 in coastal California, New York, and Massachusetts. See the problem? If you're in...say...San Diego Co. with a median home prices above $500,000, a whopping 33% your mortgage deduction could evaporate. San Francisco is even worse. The median there is almost $700,000.

But if you're a Red Stater...no problem. In President Neuman's home state for example, the highest median home price is about $149,000 in Dallas, well below the state-wide FHA limit of $172,000. So there you go. Bush is looking out for you red-staters while his tax advisory council finds new and creative ways to screw the rest of us.


President Neuman Strikes Again

Bush, yesterday...on the Miers nomination:
The decision as to whether or not there will be a fight is up to the Democrats. They get to decide whether or not the special interests will decide the tone of the debate.
Gee? Do you think, George? Nope the opposition is gonna come form your own party, and as usual you won't have any idea what went wrong.


Say goodnight Gracie.

Say goodbye to Lethal Thought. Jose Mendez acts like an intellectual pipsqueak who can't stand to be argued with. For a while we'll substitute Atlas Shrugs and see how it goes.

No more "Wallace & Gromit"?

EEK! A disaster. The prop and set warehouse of Aardman Animations (Chicken Run / Wallace & Gromit) has been wiped out by fire. So sad considering how well their newest film is doing in the theatres.

Russ Feingold - Democrat With Cojones (Updated)

Too bad I don't live in Wisconsin...

With every passing year in the hell that is America under Bush Co., I become more and more impressed with Senator Russ Feingold (D. Wisconsin), and salon.com has done an excellent interview. You've got to be a subscriber, but I'd say the subscription's worth it just to read this interview.

[2005/10/10 12:05p PDT]

As far as I'm concerned here is the money quote from the Salon article:
But you voted, still, for Roberts.

I have this odd sense that George Bush is going to pick whoever the justice is. So those who are yelling and screaming, apparently, have forgotten who gets to make the nomination. So the question is, what's the best we can get from George Bush? It was my judgment that John Roberts, based on everything I saw and heard, directly and indirectly, was the best possibility we could have...


Your GOP Leaders In Action

Already bloated with profits, Big-Oil got a another gift from House GOP leaders today in the form of an energy bill that streamlines the permitting process for refinery construction and directs the President Neuman to identify federal lands upon which new refineries can be built.

This bill must be especially sweet for the oil industry because with 12 Republicans holding out, the GOP leadership held the vote open for 40 extra minutes while they leaned on two congressmen who eventually switched sides. (The bill passed byl the slimmest of margins, 212 - 210.) Moreover, this bill does nothing for the environment (obviously) and nothing to deal with the short-term issue of rising natural gas prices, a much harder problem for the energy industry to solve.

So basically the GOP leadership stoops once again to kiss Big-Oil's ass. Way to go Hastert...so much for encouraging conservation.


Rove's In Hot Water

After all the flack I took back in June about Rove and the Valerie Plame affair, all I have to say is: DAMN! This is delicious!

From the A.P. (as quoted at Yahoo News):
WASHINGTON - Federal prosecutors have accepted an offer from presidential adviser Karl Rove to give 11th-hour testimony in the case of a CIA officer's leaked identity but have warned they cannot guarantee he won't be indicted, according to people directly familiar with the investigation.


Bush Co. vs. State's Rights

I know that this is a well worn topic, but the case of the Bush Administration's challenge to Oregon's assisted suicide law comes before the Supreme Court today, the first major case to be heard before the "Roberts' Court". "Why blog on this?", you might ask? Because of how much it will say about the new court.

Let's be clear, Bush Co. has already proven that his administration only believes in limited government when states behave themselves. In other words, Bush and the Republican yes-men in Congress have no interest in living up to their rhetoric when it interferes with their agenda. But they did put John Roberts, someone they hope will be a strict constructionist, on the court. Well we're about to see exactly what kind of court this will be.

Oregonians voted for their assisted suicide legislation, twice! The Bush Administration's case is weak, as it's based on the peripheral issue of federal drug laws. Let's see if Roberts lives up to Republican hype and tells Bush Co. where to stick this attempt to thwart the will of Oregon's voters.


On The Nomination of Harriet Miers

President Neuman:
I picked the best person I could find.
I picked the best crony I could find, given that I need someone who displays unflagging loyalty and at the same time has some exposure to the law.

The U.S. Energy Hog

Funny and sad all at the same time.

So...cast your minds back to 2001 as California was thrashing under the yoke of energy traders gaming the market (with the support of Bush cronies at FERC). California consumers manage to slash their peak energy usage by up to 14%, and how does the administration respond? It directs FERC to screw California's consumers by issuing a ruling that held the state in the ruinous (later illegal) long-term power distribution contracts that the state was forced to sign. Later, Bush Co. has FERC withhold critical evidence needed by the state to attempt to recoup some of those losses in court. And as if that weren't enough, the administration's position on conservation was summed up by the Veep, the oil industry's mouthpiece, who said:
The aim here is efficiency, not austerity. Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.
So now, with his poll numbers heading south and the prospect of mind boggling price increases facing U.S. consumers this winter, President Neuman does an about face and starts a campaign to encourage...wait for it...conservation!

Bwahahahahahaha! They've even got a mascot!!!!

I'm laughing so hard, I'm crying. Or maybe it's the other way around.


Farewell August Wilson

August Wilson, one of the greatest American playwrights died today at the age of 60. Though it is wonderful that he was able to finish and stage the last of his epic series of plays about the black experience in the 20th century, it is immensely sad that we'll have no more of his tremendous work.

I've seen 5 of the 10. Time to see the rest and honor this great man.


If you can't take the heat...

...shut down the comments. Not sure how long this has been going on but just noticed that our friend Mendez at Lethal Thought has taken down all of the comments. Guess another right-winger doesn't like being held up to scrutiny. Maybe time to substitute someone who's more fun.

First trip with City Car Share.

It's awesome! A boxy Scion xB, but just check out that trunk space!

Went 25 miles. Did 3 stops in a three hour reservation and hauled a ton of stuff back to the flat--all for a grand total of...$28.00. That's .44/mile + $4.00/hour + half of a $10.00 monthly fee. Beat that with a cab! Hell I'd spend more just to garage my Civic for 3 days, not to mention the fuel, insurance, maintenance, door-dings...

City Car Share rocks!