Monday, June 30, 2008

White House War Czar: M.I.A.?

Remember that "war czar" that the White House hired some time back, ostensibly to direct the progress of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? After the job was publicly turned down by everyone ranging from David Petraeus to Charlie Weiss, the White House finally located one Douglas E. Lute to take the position. Here's how it was described at the time:

Mr. Bush selected Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, currently the top operations officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He will retain his active military status and must be confirmed by the Senate, which approves new assignments for three- and four-star generals.

“We needed to get the right concept, the right man — or woman — and we have,” the national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, who led the search, said in an interview on Tuesday evening.
His job, which is part of a broader reorganization of the National Security Council staff responsible for Iraq and Afghanistan, would be to brief Mr. Bush every day on the two conflicts, and work with other government agencies — including the Pentagon and the State Department — to carry out policy.

Hey, impressive stuff. Very important, very serious, obvious that his position will be a major mover-and-shaker, and will lead to tremendous change, innovation, etc. Right? Right?

Well, check this out. In an archived list of all NY Times articles to mention the guy, the MOST RECENT appearance is November 27, 2007.

Google News cannot find a single article with the guy's name since May 31, 2008.

What's the deal? I know it's something of a cliche to say that the president's policy on Iraq is non existent, but has it ever been so literally true?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Breaking news: Nancy Pelosi says single stupidest thing ever, in world history

I mean, really, this is so stupid. Nancy Pelosi, talking about Hillary's gracious return to Washington today, said this:

“She has emerged from this campaign as the most respected political figure in America.”
Nancy. Hillary JUST LOST THE PRIMARIES TO BARACK OBAMA. By definition, she is not the most respected political figure, BECAUSE SHE JUST LOST. Are you serious with this crap?

Friday, June 20, 2008

"I am aware of all internet traditions"

For those of you interested in catching the birth of an internet meme just days after it launches, get over to Lawyers, Guns and Money and witness the latest: "I am aware of all internet traditions," spoken by an uptight right wing commentator after an earlier comment of his was roundly mocked by the other commenters. Essentially, he claimed that a blockquote used by the original post was not contained in the linked post, other commenters reminded him that the blockquote in question was a paraphrased reduction of the original argument, and he responded by saying (note the blockquote here)

I am aware of all internet traditions and also of literary conventions in which placing something in quotes or in a blockquote means that your are quoting that person.
And, behold, a meme is born.

It's like seeing the start of a supernova or something.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

John Hinckley's love life proves discouraging for single men everywhere

Look, single men have it rough enough as it is. Their every waking moment, for the most part, is dedicated to attracting a partner. They groom themselves obsessively, they work themselves into a righteous lather trying to decipher coded messages in emails, IMs, phone calls, etc., and they worry themselves stupid wondering when the next phone call will arrive.

With that in mind, imagine how damaging it must be to the psyches of single males everywhere to learn that certified crazy and would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley has not three, not four, but FIVE girlfriends with whom he is intimate. Seriously, imagine that you're a decent, well-mannered, not-crazy, never-incarcerated-for-shooting-Reagan single guy, and you read something like this:

An affidavit filed by federal officials trying to restrict Hinckley's movements claim the would-be assassin has at least three girlfriends and possibly as many as five.
Oh, ouch. That would sting. But then read on in the story, and you come to something fairly disturbing:
The feds claim that Hinckley, who is required by the hospital to keep a log about his relationships with women, is deceptive. Although he told the staff he stopped seeing Miss M, he later confided that he has "fondling privileges" with her.
Oh come on, wouldn't that just be a killer? (Leaving aside for a moment the details of exactly how such privileges are negotiated.) Now, granted, some of these women may not exactly be catches in their own right. Of one, for instance, we learn this:
Hinckley, now 53, has also rekindled a relationship with Leslie deVeau, a former girlfriend who was incarcerated at St. Elizabeths after it was determined she was insane when she shot and killed her 10-year-old daughter. DeVeau was released from St. Elizabeths after eight years of treatment.
Oh hai. And? Sex-ay! Imagine those two out on a date, wouldn't that just be a walk in the park.

Here's hoping that the feds put the kibosh on Hinckley's romantic yearnings, if for no other reason than to maintain the sanity of single men everywhere.

Hinckley: certified playa

Scary: Bush doesn't know the meaning of the word "constitutional"

People have come up with all kinds of theories to explain our president's, uh, nuanced view of his constitutional powers vis-a-vis other branches of government. There's the whole "unitary executive" thing, of course, and numerous other explanations for his not-all-that-subtle thrashing of long-standing beliefs about the Constitution. In watching an interview between Bush and a reporter from the BBC, however, I was struck by the realization that, when you get right down to it, he simply does not understand the meaning of the word "constitutional." Here's the relevant passage:

BOULTON: But the Supreme Court have just said that -- you know, ruled against what you've been doing down there.

THE PRESIDENT: But the district court didn't. And the appellate court didn't.

BOULTON: The Supreme Court is supreme, isn't it?

THE PRESIDENT: It is, and I accept their verdict. I don't agree with their verdict. And it's not what I was doing down there. This was a law passed by our United States Congress that I worked with the Congress to get passed and sign into law.

BOULTON: But it looked like an attempt to bypass the Constitution, to a certain extent.

THE PRESIDENT: This was a law passed, Adam. We passed a law. Bypassing the Constitution means that we did something outside the bounds of the Constitution. We went to the Congress and got a piece of legislation passed.
Do you see what he did there? The reporter points out that Bush's various shenanigans with respect to detainee treatment seemed to be an end run around the Constitution, to which points out that this could not be unconstitutional because he "got a piece of legislation passed." This, to me, reveals a breathtaking ignorance; I mean, this stuff is covered in American Government 101. The legislature passes laws, the executive authorizes them, and then the judiciary determines whether those laws are constitutional. Something isn't constitutional simply because you "passed a law."

Unbelievable, and, pretty scary.

Here's a video of the interview, in which Bush gets thoroughly trashed by the interview. I'd say "humiliated," if I thought Bush was capable of this emotion. "The Supreme Court is supreme, isn't it?" Hilarious.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ABC News slips pro-oil-drilling propaganda into otherwise boring story on economy

In it's daily "here's why the market lost _____ points today" story, ABC News points out that virtually all sectors are taking it in the shorts from the rising cost of oil. Ok, yeah, nobody disputes this. They leave the sainted world of facts, however, and take to the skies with the following flight of fancy:

Those worried about rising oil prices got some good news this morning when President Bush urged Congress to end a ban on offshore oil drilling.
Excuse me, wha? This is clever. First of all, is anyone NOT worried about rising oil prices? No, everybody is. Therefore, everybody got good news when the President urged Congress to end the ban on offshore oil drilling. Why is this good news? Are there any studies that show that this will do anything for the price of oil? No, there are not. Nevertheless, ABC News feels compelled to claim that anyone (that is to say, everyone) who cares about the price of oil will be head over heels in love with the President's awesome proposal. Sheesh.

Radical organization wants US court to apply Sharia Law!!!1!!! OMFG!1!

Er, yeah, crazy. And one of those wetdreams of the neocons on the internets, this late-night fever dream that they'll wake up one day and learn that Mohammad Al Scalia has written the majority opinion for SCOTUS that will decree that all US Courts must decide their cases under Sharia law, the strict law favored by Islamic fundamentalists.

Well, we're just now getting the first instance of someone insisting that a US Court apply Sharia law to its decision. What? Outrageous! Bypass the Constitution in favor of Sharia law? How un-American can you get! Who is making this demand? The ACLU, probably? Well, no. Ok, ok, the Council on American Islamic Relations, CAIR? No, not at all.

Actually, would you believe...Blackwater?

Blackwater’s aviation wing recently filed a unique request in federal court, where the widows of three American soldiers are suing the company over a botched flight supporting the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

The company, based in Moyock, doesn’t want the case heard in an American courtroom under American law: it wants the case heard under Shari’a, the Islamic law of Afghanistan.
In April, Blackwater asked a federal judge in Florida to apply Islamic law, commonly known as Shari’a, to the case. If the judge agreed, the lawsuit would be dismissed. Shari’a law does not hold a company responsible for the actions of employees performed within the course of their work.
Classic. I don't even know what to say, that's so classic.

(Via Talking Points Memo)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

You will never see a photo of President Bush in which he looks more stupid than in this one

Seriously, hats off to ABCNews, because I thought, up until today, that I had seen every "omg he looks like such a moron" photo of President Bush. But, that was until I gazed upon the following majestic image:

Oh noes teh gheys have teh marriagez!1!1!!!eleven!1!

Seriously, what kind of heartless bastard does not think the following photograph is all kinds of awesome? They've been together for 50+ years and they finally get married? Who on earth could have a problem with this?

I guess my only question is why Christian Bale is officiating? Dunno, weird.

Lieberman, McCain, blast Israel as stridently anti-Semitic

John McCain and Joe Lieberman have made hay over Barack Obama's statements that he would meet and negotiate with anti-American countries like Venezuela and Iran, and groups like Hamas. President Bush went a step farther, equating Obama's position with appeasement of Nazis in the years leading up to WWII:

“Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,” Mr. Bush said. “We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”
With this in mind, it's useful to wonder what conservative Republicans like Bush, McCain, and Lieberman would say about, uh, Israel negotiating a cease-fire with Hamas. Will they accuse Israel itself of catering to anti-Israeli groups, of being anti-Semitic?
A truce between Israel and Gaza's Hamas leaders will go into effect within three days, according to high-level Hamas sources.

A Hamas official said all the details of a truce agreement have been finalized, including a cease-fire and the reopening of border crossing terminals.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Albany (OR) man produces most stoned-out mugshot in world history

There's nothing really remarkable about this story about three idiots who have been charged for committing several auto break-ins at the lovely train station in downtown Albany, OR. What elevates this story to the realm of the FANtastic, however, is this epic mugshot yielded by one of the suspects.

Ha! ZOMG, what an awesome legacy to leave for your descendants! "Hey, remember that time grandpa got absolutely wrecked out of his mind and broke into some cars and got caught by the cops when he stopped to pick up the pack of Cool Ranch Doritos he dropped while running away?"

For when you don't want to withdraw the troops for 100 years...

Always ask for them by name.

And no, I'm not joking.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hot Actress Doesn't Understand Why Presidential Candidate Keeps Returning Her Emails

From The Politico, discussing Scarlett Johansson's surprise that Barack Obama keeps responding to her emails:

Johansson is somewhat shocked that he keeps up their back-and-forth correspondence. “You’d imagine that someone like the senator who is constantly traveling and constantly ‘on’ — how can he return these personal e-mails?” she asks. “But he does, and in his off-time I know he also calls people who have donated the minimum to thank them. Nobody sees it, nobody talks about it, but it’s incredible.” She adds, “I feel like I’m supporting someone, and having a personal dialogue with them, and it’s amazing.”
How can he return these personal emails? Seriously, Scarlett?

John McCain: "I will veto every single beer."

Truly, this man is a monster.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Odds on VP choices

Now that the Democratic race has been decided (someone tell Hillary, please), the attention of the media will inevitably turn to the VP choice of each candidate. Tons of names have been thrown out there, some of them sensible (John Edwards), some of them kind of crazy (Mike Huckabee), and some of them completely unhinged (Al Gore). Without further ado, here is a short run down of my guesses at likely choices for the VP spots, add their respective odds of being chosen. (Disclaimer: odds are listed for entertainment purposes only and should not be viewed as an endorsement of gambling or as a suggestion to gamble.)


1. Jim Webb, Senator, Virginia (3-1). Tough, brash, Vietnam Vet with a military record a mile long and an independent streak to boot. Can bring formidable military background to the table, and was even nominated, back in the day, by Reagan. Top that, McCain! He'd help Obama capture Virginia, and would reassure some voters who find themselves hesitant to support Obama (read: conservative-leaning white guys). On the downside, he's not a woman, and has a few skeletons in his closet in the form of novels featuring sexist talk and crude scenes of sexual congress. Still, I think he's the odds on favorite.

2. Kathleen Sebelius, Governor, Kansas (5-1). She'd help Obama in middle America, she might help bring feminists back to the table, and she's highly regarded in Democratic circles, and is thought of as a pragmatic executive who's able to work with members of the other party. She has very cool gray hair. On the downside, she's something of an unknown on the national scene. A fairly safe choice.

3. Bill Richardson, Governor, New Mexico (8-1). He would help Obama pick up some of the Latino support he lost in the difficult primary with Clinton, and is highly respected for his foreign affairs experience. Frankly speaking, though, the Democrats are already charting new ground by having a racial minority on the ticket; it's hard to say if they'd be exposing themselves to any jeopardy by having two.

4. John Edwards, former Senator, North Carolina (15-1). Look, everyone says Edwards would make a great Vice President, and they're right. He's smart, passionate about issues like health care, very likeable, and a good campaigner. That being said, he wasn't enough to bring NC into the blue column in '04, and he's already had his shot on the national ticket. I just think there'd be too much of a "what, again?" reaction to his selection. I don't think the odds are good. A virtual lock to be Attorney General, however.

5. Hillary Clinton, Senator, New York. 5 trillion-1. Won't happen. Not in a million, billion years. The media, which lacks imagination and is lazy, is pushing this story, as are clueless Dems who can't find an independent thought to save their lives. She and her staff spent the last six months tearing Obama down--what makes anyone think he has the slightest inclination to add her to the ticket? Whatever strengths she brings in the form of blue-collar support would be lost by the fact that she's a polarizing political figure who would negate Democratic advantages in the mountain west and anywhere in the south they might otherwise be competitive.


First off, there are no easy picks here. The conventional wisdom is that McCain must try to win back the base, while at the same time try to court the independents who may be alienated following Clinton's defeat. What does he do? Does he pick a woman and try to cut into Obama's lead there? Does he take a conservative who can turn out votes in battleground states like Ohio and Michigan? Keep in mind that McCain himself has said that his age means that a Vice President under him must be prepared to step in from Day 1 and be Commander in Chief.

1. Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts (5-1). This is one I waver on. On one hand, Romney can appeal to conservatives while at the same time pointing to his record of accomplishment in Massachusetts. On the other hand, all evidence during the primaries this year indicates that McCain hates Romney. Yet, he could bring Michigan and perhaps Ohio into the GOP fold. He's about as smarmily phony and obnoxious as it gets, but the conservative press seems to like him. I'd put my money on Romney now, but who knows.

2. Condi Rice, former Secretary of State (9-1). Kind of the opposite of Romney--female, black, hated by conservatives. She had great name recognition and valuable foreign policy experience, but to me the resume is pretty hollow. What has she actually achieved since becoming SOS? Has anyone even hear from her in the past year? Can McCain risk the Democrats trotting our her pathetic appearance before the 9/11 commission ("what was the title of that August 6 PDB?") every week for the next five months?

3. Charlie Crist, Governor, Florida (12-1). The conservatives like him, he'd bring Florida in the GOP column, and he's a governor, albeit one with a pretty thin resume. However, there are "the lifelong bachelor has long been dogged by rumors about his personal life," stories. In other words, he's most likely gay.

4. Carly Fiorina, former CEO, Hewlett Packard (15-1). This would be an out-of-the-box pick for McCain, but would be well received by the right because she's a former executive of a major corporation (albeit one whose stock jumped dramatically on the day she was let go) and a woman, thus appealing to disaffected Clinton voters. She's a major player in GOP circles, but unknown nationally. Additionally, she lacks any foreign policy experience whatsoever, thus causing problems with McCain's earlier statements about his VP needing to be able to take over at a moment's notice (because he's old, you see).

5. Assorted GOP governors (Mark Sanford (SC), Jon Huntsman (UT), Tim Pawlenty (MN), Haley Barbour, (MS)), 20-1. I think McCain is going to have pressure to pick a governor, and after Crist, these are the names he'll probably consider.However, out of this list only Pawlenty would be from a state the GOP has the slightest chance of losing. Some time ago I would have said Barbour had the best shot here, but if you were to make a cartoon drawing of a stereotypical fat, rich, white Republican, it would probably wind up looking exactly like Haley Barbour. Meaning, in a campaign in which the Democrats are presenting a fresh vision for change in the persona of Barack Obama, the Republicans probably don't want to risk nominating Pasty McWhiterson as their VP.

Ok, so my picks are Obama/Webb, and McCain/Rice. I'll probably be wrong on both fronts, but stranger things have happened.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"Undecided superdelegates" are pathetic jackass losers who deserve nothing but scorn and hatred

"Undecided superdelegates" are the new "undecided voters," that great mass of people the media lionizes in article after article weeks before an election. Both groups consist of people who have been exposed to months of campaigning, god knows how many debates, and a more-than-thorough discussion of the relative stances on every conceivable issue, yet they still lack the information to make an informed choice. Why? Because they are more contemplative than your average voter, weighing the pros and cons of each candidate in a deliberative manner so as to arrive at the most rational decision?

No, because they are idiots. Seriously, if you are undecided at this point, you are an idiot. Show some backbone. Show some leadership. Show the slightest hint that you're willing to "do the right thing" even if it means you may come out on the losing side. If you can't articulate your reason for endorsing someone at this stage in the game, you obviously lack the decision-making ability to serve in such a position of responsibility. Honestly, grow a spine.

The day of the final primaries, and there are still a good handful of Democratic senators who find themselves unable to make an endorsement. Is it any wonder these guys get rolled time and time again by the Republicans on every Iraq funding measure?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Clinton supporters pretty much just bitter old racists at this point

This is a truly frightening video of a Clinton supporter being removed from the DNC meeting this past weekend. Especially nice touch to call Obama "an inadequate black male." Nice.