March 12th, 2009

garf tired

Christ Matthews spars it out with Ari Fleischer

Ari Fleischer Battles Chris Matthews, Calls Him "Shameful" And "Disingenuous" 

The segment on MSNBC's Hardball seemed to extend well beyond its allotted time, and there was no shortage of notable fireworks. Fleischer called Matthews "shameful" for suggesting that the 9/11 attacks were the Bush administration's responsibility, since they occurred under "your watch." He called MSNBC "disingenuous," ridiculed Matthews for asking only partisan questions, and asked whether the cable host twisted every guest's words.
Matthews, for his part, ridiculed George W. Bush for leaving office with one of the lowest presidential approval ratings in the nation's history, for creating an economic mess that President Obama had to clean up, and for leading a foreign policy based on "truly frightening" rationales.
Among the notable whoppers: Fleischer claimed that Obama should thank his predecessor for "inherit[ing] a world without Saddam in it."
But the final exchange may have been best:
Fleischer: "After September 11th having been hit once how could we take a chance that Saddam might strike again? And that's the threat that has been removed and I think we are all safer with that threat removed."

Matthews: "I'm proud that we no longer have an administration that uses that kind argument...and the American people are too."

Fleischer: "Well, Chris, we all know where you stand.

Matthews: "And you as well sir."

Videos courtesy of CspanJunkie on YouTube


GO Tweety!
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Patrick Ruffini Wants You to Leave Rush, Steele, and Jindal Alone!!!!!!!!!


These haven't been the best couple of weeks for Rush Limbaugh, Michael Steele, or Bobby Jindal. (OK, let's carve out a possible exception for Limbaugh.)

What these three people have in common is that they're all significant figures who have taken fire from different elements of the conservative movement at the behest of the Obama White House and the Kos/TPM/Olbermann triangle.

It's time this stopped.

Conservatives need to decide who we want to see succeed and who we want to see fail. We then need to calibrate our reactions to the inevitable missteps from either camp accordingly. If someone we want to succeed comes under attack, we hold our fire and close ranks -- unless it's clear they've become a long-term liability. If it's someone we want to see fail -- like Jim Bunning -- we unload until they get off the stage.

Limbaugh, Steele, and Jindal are all important personalities that we should all want to see succeed. The larger and more influential Rush's audience, the more mobilized the base will be against Obama. This has nothing to do with Rush exerting policy leadership over the GOP -- and everything to do with Rush as a popularizer of conservative principles and a rallying point for opposition. The best reaction to the Limbaugh "controversy" is for GOP politicians to avoid it entirely -- while Rush's audience grows and grows.


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Steele, under fire, walks back 'choice' remark


RNC Chairman Michael Steele said today that despite telling an interviewer he supports "individual choice" and state-level decisions on abortion, he in fact opposes abortion and supports a Constitutional ban.

Steele said in a statement through an RNC spokesman:
I am pro-life, always have been, always will be.
I tried to present why I am pro life while recognizing that my mother had a "choice" before deciding to put me up for adoption. I thank her every day for supporting life. The strength of the pro life movement lies in choosing life and sharing the wisdom of that choice with those who face difficult circumstances. They did that for my mother and I am here today because they did. In my view Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided and should be repealed. I realize that there are good people in our party who disagree with me on this issue.
But the Republican Party is and will continue to be the party of life. I support our platform and its call for a Human Life Amendment. It is important that we stand up for the defenseless and that we continue to work to change the hearts and minds of our fellow countrymen so that we can welcome all children and protect them under the law.
Steele has also been reaching out to anti-abortion leaders to damp down the controversy, a source said.
But Steele drew fire from activists Thursday morning for his remarks.
"I think it is very troubling for a public figure, of either party, particularly one who presents himself as pro-life, to describe the abortion issue as being a matter of 'individual choice,'" That is language straight out of Planned Parenthood's messaging playbook," said Charmaine Yoest, the president and CEO of Americans United for Life Action, who said she hadn't heard from the RNC. "There are millions of pro-life Americans, Republican and Democrat, who are looking for leadership on the life issue and they will find Mr. Steele's comments disturbing and demoralizing."
Another anti-abortion activist and sharp critic of President Barack Obama on the subject, Jill Stanek, was even blunter.
"Michael Steele has just unmistakably proclaimed himself to be pro-choice," she said in an email. "You thought he was 'embattled' last week over his Limbaugh comment? Ha. He has now stepped both feet into it."

UPDATE: Family Research Council President Tony Perkins emails, "I expressed my concerns to the chairman earlier this week about previous statements that were very similar in nature. He assured me as chairman his views did not matter and that he would be upholding and promoting the Party platform, which is very clear on these issues. It is very difficult to reconcile the GQ interview with the chairman's pledge."

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Meghan McCain is Confused

This morning on Fox & Friends, John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain railed against President Obama for signing the omnibus spending bill yesterday. “I think it’s so disappointing and it’s scary,” McCain said, referencing the earmarks in the bill. “Hope and change – what’s going on?” She added, “This second stimulus package that Nancy Pelosi’s talking about I think doesn’t make sense.”

Meghan McCain’s comments this morning are surprising, given that last night she was telling MSNBC host Rachel Maddow that she doesn’t know much about the economy. Here’s how McCain responded when Maddow asked her whether she agrees with her father’s call for a spending freeze:

McCAIN: Spending freeze? You know, econ – economic things, I said this last night on Hannity, I said is my — I didn’t even take econ in college. I don’t completely understand it so I’d hate to make a comment one way or the other. That’s – truly of all the things – I keep reading and I just don’t understand it.

Watch a compilation of the clips:

McCain should have stuck with her concession that she doesn’t know much about the economy. Instead, by coming out against a second stimulus, Meghan is contradicting the advice of Nobel Prize winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman. “We need a larger and better designed stimulus,” Stiglitz said yesterday. Krugman adds, “It’s rapidly becoming clear that yes, the [first stimulus] was too small.”

The McCain family appears to enjoy commenting on economic matters without knowledge. Despite conceding early on that economics was “not something I’ve understood as well I should,” John McCain ran a presidential campaign trying to convince voters that the fundamentals of the economy were strong.

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Black Helicopters Spotted at WSJ Sister Network

The economic crisis has most of us worried about a lot of things. How will I retire? How will I pay the mortgage? Will I have enough ammo and MREs to outlast crazed “urban” hordes marauding the countryside?
I’m especially worried about the last one after seeing Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News raising apocalyptic free-for-all as a very real possibility. With ominous music and images of swarthy people burning American flags, refugees, rioters, and military on the move, it was the very definition of public-service reporting, if by “public service” you mean “losing your mind.”

Beck is the happy face of the fever swamps, just recently departed from CNN’s Headline News (or HNN—who cares?) and finding a home at News Corp., publisher, among other things, of The Wall Street Journal and the Sunday Tasmanian.
For his grim duty to prepare the American people, Beck even has the help of The Wall Street Journal editorial board (Fox News’s corporate cousin) in the guise of Stephen Moore, who proffers a more pecuniary paranoia.

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Report: U.S. health care system is a liability

Americans spend a lot more than top countries, but aren’t as healthy

WASHINGTON - If the global economy were a 100-yard dash, the U.S. would start 23 yards behind its closest competitors because of health care that costs too much and delivers too little, a business group says in a report to be released Thursday.

The report from the Business Roundtable, which represents CEOs of major companies, says America's health care system has become a liability in a global economy.

Concern about high U.S. costs has existed for years, and business executives — whose companies provide health coverage for workers — have long called for getting costs under control. Now President Barack Obama says the costs have become unsustainable and the system must be overhauled.
Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

Americans spend $2.4 trillion a year on health care. The Business Roundtable report says Americans in 2006 spent $1,928 per capita on health care, at least two-and-a-half times more per person than any other advanced country.

In a different twist, the report took those costs and factored benefits into the equation.

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cap is gorge

Religious Leaders Battle Abuse Bill in New York

Roman Catholic and Orthodox Jewish officials in New York are mounting an intense lobbying effort to block a bill before the State Legislature that would temporarily lift the statute of limitations for lawsuits alleging the sexual abuse of children.

A perennial proposal that has been quashed in past years by Republicans who controlled the State Senate, the bill is now widely supported by the new Democratic majority in that chamber, and for the first time is given a good chance of passing.

If signed by Gov. David A. Paterson, a longtime supporter, the bill would at minimum revive hundreds of claims filed in recent years against Catholic priests and dioceses in New York, but dismissed because they were made after the current time limit, which is five years after the accuser turns 18. Similar legislation has passed in Delaware and in California, where a 2003 law led to claims that have cost the church an estimated $800 million to $1 billion in damages and settlements.

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German gunman 'warned of attack'

A teenage gunman who killed 15 people in a German school and nearby had given an internet warning before he went on a shooting rampage, German officials say.

They say Tim Kretschmer, aged 17, gave the warning in a chatroom before the killings in Winnenden on Wednesday.

Kretschmer killed 12 people in the school and three others in the nearby town of Wendlingen. He then shot himself after a shoot-out with police.

Police say chatroom users did not take the comments seriously at the time.

At a news conference, Baden-Wurttemberg's Interior Minister Heribert Rech said the gunman had spoken of his attack in a chatroom on a German internet portal.

He said the message read: "I've had enough. I'm fed up with this horrid life... Always the same. People are laughing at me... No-one sees my potential... I am scared, I have weapons here, and I will go to my former school tomorrow and then I will really do a grilling."

The message then continued: "Possibly I get away, so keep your ears open, you will hear from me tomorrow. Just remember the name of the place, Winnenden."

Mr Rech said a German man alerted police about the internet warning after the school shooting.

The man said his teenage son told him about the warning only after seeing the news reports. He had not previously taken the threat seriously.

Officials say Kretschmer fired more than 100 shots during the attack on his former school.

They say he still had more than 130 rounds of ammunition left when he was cornered by police and shot himself.

Prosecutors say they may charge Kretschmer's father for failing to secure the gun used by the teenager in the attack.

Flags are flying at half-mast across Germany on Thursday as a mark of respect for the victims of the shootings.

source (with video)

And the social conservatives are maadddddd again.

Judge: Gay student club must be allowed to meet

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a student club that promotes tolerance for gays at a north Florida high school must be allowed to meet.

U.S. District Judge Henry Adams issued the decision Wednesday in a case involving two students from Yullee High School near Jacksonville.

Adams ordered a local school board to grant official recognition to the Gay-Straight Alliance and afford it the same privileges as any other student organization.

The school district had argued in court that it would grant school access to the group if its name were changed, citing the name as its chief objection. But the judge ruled that the group did not need to make a change.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on behalf of two gay students.



Fred's Coming Out...


Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps & Westboro Baptist Church Decided To Protest @ University of Chicago.

Why? Obama used to be a professor there.

Unfortunately for them, they staged it in front of a frat house.

Hilarity ensued. :D

In short, there was:
- A s’mores roasting station
- Hot chocolate
- A dance performance by Rhythmic Bodies in Motion
- Musical performances by individual students and the a capella group Men in Drag.
- Petitions to be signed in support of overturning Proposition 8 in California.

Oh, Fundies.

No Tux For You, Silly Lesbian.

A 17-year-old Boone County girl has sued Lebanon Schools after her high school principal told her she could not wear a tuxedo to the school's April 25 prom but would have to wear a dress.

The Lebanon High School senior, whose name is not revealed in the lawsuit, is a lesbian and does not wear dresses because she sees them as expressing a sexual identity that she does not embrace, court filings said.

Her attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana has asked a federal court to issue an injunction that would require the school to let her wear the same formal attire to the prom as male students at the school.

In the filing, ACLU of Indiana legal director Ken Falk argued that the district's policy violates the stipulations in the U.S. Constitution that the government treat a female student the same as male students and not limit students' freedom to express beliefs.

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FCC Complaint Filed Over Family Guy



Predictably, fundies are filing an FCC complaint over Sunday's "Peter Goes Gay" episode of Family Guy and are calling on the show's sponsors to suspend advertising. (Feel free to stretch and yawn.) From the fundie-run Parents Television Council:
Our organization is taking its concerns directly to every parent, every Fox affiliate and every advertiser -- as well as to those whom the Congress has instructed to uphold the law: the FCC. We encourage our members and concerned citizens to contact their local broadcasters and their public servants with their complaints. Each and every advertiser who paid for this show to air will also be personally contacted by the PTC and asked if bringing orgies and bestiality into American living rooms resonates with their corporate image.
I don't disagree that this episode of Family Guy was one of the most crude things ever seen on television. But so what? The show was preceded by a stern warning to parents and I believe there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 million other channels.

The PTC files complaints on almost every show on TV, including fluff like Friends (likely because of the lesbian wedding episode). Meanwhile the rest of us get served dumbed and watered down nonsense because fundie parents don't know how to use the blocking services provided on every cable box in America. Hell, I had to enter a PIN just to watch CNN at my (relatively) liberal sister's house. There's a reason why almost every memorable series in the last ten years has been on pay cable. It's spelled P-T-C.


I don't get why children would even be watching Family Guy to begin with.


GOP candidate for Minn. Senate seat warns of leak

GOP candidate for Minn. Senate seat warns of leak

As Minnesota's drawn-out Senate saga took another step toward conclusion in a courtroom Wednesday, thousands of donors to Republican Norm Coleman's legal fund learned that their identities and some of their credit card information had been posted on the Internet.

In an e-mail to supporters Wednesday, the Coleman campaign said personal and credit card information of thousands of donors had been posted online. The campaign said it asked federal authorities to investigate, and it urged affected donors to cancel the cards.

The disclosure came at a bad time for Coleman, who is in the seventh week of a lawsuit challenging the recount that put his Democratic opponent, Al Franken, on top by 225 votes. A special court is nearing the end of that trial, but expensive appeals could follow.
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if there is one thing i dont tolerate is ID theft... I may have political differences, but the fact that they didnt secure such important information demonstrates their lack of understanding technology or the lack of caring for the security of such data... or their attempt to denied anything happened at all... morons...

Prison for Iraqi Who Threw His Shoes

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The Iraqi journalist who threw shoes at then-President George W. Bush was convicted Thursday of assaulting a foreign leader and sentenced to three years in prison, lawyers said. He defiantly shouted ''long live Iraq'' when the sentence was read.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi's bold act in December electrified many across the Middle East who consider him a hero for expressing his anger at a president who is widely disliked for his decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

The 30-year-old journalist pleaded not guilty to the assault charge Thursday, telling the three-judge panel that ''what I did was a natural response to the occupation.''
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Not really news, but I thought it was interesting (and funny enough) to share:


"For The New Republic. "Godfather" parodies have been done a million times but I thought this analogy would work well with GOP chairman Michael Steele groveling to his Don, Rush Limbaugh.  -- Drew Friedman (artist)



Marilyn Monroe - green

Quick Hit: OC Imitates Bush-era Global Gag Rule on the Local Level

[Taken from]

From The Los Angeles Times:

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to suspend a county contract with Planned Parenthood to provide health education for thousands of teens and preteens because the nonprofit organization offers abortions.

The health education curriculum itself, of course, doesn't fund abortions, and in fact contains the kind of information that prevents unwanted pregnancies:

The decision to suspend the $291,788 education grant came after nearly two hours of impassioned public and board member discussion. Planned Parenthood's curriculum includes discussions about birth control alternatives, such as types of contraception and abstinence, as well as about sexually transmitted disease.

None of the Orange County money is used to fund abortions, said Jon Dunn, CEO and President of Planned Parenthood for Orange and San Bernandino counties.

You can tell the board how you feel about it via an online comment system or just give board chair Patricia C. Bates' office a call at 714-834-3550.


I read about them CONSIDERING this move in the paper the other day, but never thought it would actually go through. Oh, Orange County, must you continue to disappoint me? :(

(no subject)

Cities Are Selling Stimulus Funds to Each Other
— By Josh Harkinson | Tue March 10, 2009 4:48 PM PST

In Los Angeles County, cities are buying federal stimulus funds from each other at deep discounts, turning what was supposed to be a targeted infusion of cash into a huge auction.

It all started when the county's Metropolitan Transportation Agency decided to hand out $44 million from the federal stimulus package in the form of $500,000 transportation grants to each of the county's 88 cities. But some cities didn't have any shovel-ready transportation projects. So with MTA's blessing, they're selling the grants to the highest bidder:

La Habra Heights, a city of 6,000, has sold its $500,000 in federal funds to the city of Westlake Village for $310,000 cash. Irwindale, population 1,500, also sold its $500,000 to Westlake Village, for $325,000 cash.

The city of Rolling Hills, population 1,900, sold its $500,000 share to the city of Rancho Palos Verdes for $305,000 cash. The city of Avalon has reached an agreement to swap its $500,000 with L.A. County.

This is Southern California that we're talking about--the land of eternal gridlock. MTA could have redirected the money to a nearly infinite list of other transportation projects. But chief planning officer Carol Inge told the Pasadena Star-News that the agency didn't want to do that because "our board wanted to give every city at least a chance to benefit from the stimulus package."

I'm sure many cities have higher priorities than transportation. And I would have liked to have seen more direct aid to ailing local governments in the stimulus bill. Still, MTA's approach strikes me as a bit too creative. What's next, stimuls money credit default swaps?

Sauce here

Auctioning off the funds is an awesome idea, but it goes to show how effective we can expect them to be, if recipients only value them at sixty cents on the dollar. Also note that the L.A. MTA has already cancelled the auction for fears of bad press, but are we supposed to believe that that means they'll be spent more wisely now? Doubt it.

Anti-trans assault reported at D.C. gay bar

Women allegedly attacked trans men outside Fab Lounge
By LOU CHIBBARO JR, Washington Blade | Mar 5, 7:04 PM

Two female-to-male transgender patrons at the Dupont Circle gay bar Fab Lounge told police they were verbally harassed and assaulted by two female customers who denounced one of the men as androgynous. 

The D.C. Police Department’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit was assisting Second District detectives in investigating last week’s incident to determine whether it should be classified as an anti-transgender hate crime, said acting Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees the unit.

 Second District police officers responding to the scene did not designate the incident as a hate crime at the time they prepared their report of the assault, Parson said. 

Mitch Graffeo, 40, of Alexandria, Va., said the incident began when he and a friend were getting ready to leave Fab Lounge shortly before 3 a.m. on Feb. 28 at the conclusion of the club’s weekly lesbian night. As his friend walked over to a sofa to retrieve his coat, a female customer began “groping” his friend, Graffeo said. 

The 29-year-old friend, also from Alexandria, spoke to the Blade on the condition that he was identified only by his first name, Jaime.

 Graffeo said Jaime, who is about 5 feet 4 inches tall and has a slender build, recently began a female-to-male gender transition process and has a youthful, boyish appearance. Graffeo noted he transitioned more than 10 years ago and his gender is readily recognized as that of a male. 

“They said, ‘What the fuck are you? Are you a girl or a boy?’” Graffeo recalled one of the women saying to Jaime inside the club.

 Graffeo said another woman, along with a man who was with them, joined the first woman in shouting insults aimed at Jaime’s appearance after Jaime asked the first woman to leave him alone.

 Jaime told the Blade as many as three women in the bar ran their hands over his chest as they taunted him over his appearance, saying they wanted to find out if he was male or female.

 He and Graffeo then left the Fab Lounge, which is located in a second-floor space at 1805 Connecticut Ave., N.W., in an effort to avoid a confrontation with the women, the two men said.

 “When we were about 20 feet from the club’s entrance, one of the lesbians came up from behind and put [Jaime] in a headlock and again began to question his gender,” Graffeo said. 

Jaime said that as the woman released him from her grip, another woman punched him repeatedly in the head and body, inflicting injuries that included a concussion, doctors told him later. 

As the alleged assault unfolded on the sidewalk near the corner of Connecticut and Florida avenues, Graffeo said he asked the women to leave Jaime alone and announced he was calling the police on his cell phone. At that time, the woman who had held Jaime in a headlock “grabbed my phone out of my hands and hit me in the neck and head a few times,” Graffeo said. 

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Backup link.

Ashton Kutcher: 'Fag' as bad as n-word

Twitter post says using 'gay' as an insult makes you 'look like an idiot'

Actor Ashton Kutcher took to Twitter this afternoon to tweet his disgust at people who use "gay" and "fag" as insults.


  Ashton Kutcher (Photo by AP) 
In typical Twitter style, where capitalization and punctuation are optional, Kutcher wrote: "can we just get clear, calling some one 'gay' or 'fag' is as derogatory as calling someone a 'nigger'. U look like an idiot when you do it."


The statement came in an exchange between Kutcher and another user on the popular social networking site, which allows users to communicate in 140-character bursts to those who choose to follow their Twitter feeds.


Kutcher asked, "Are we giving people what we want to give or are we giving them what they need?"


One of the followers of Kutcher's Twitter feed responded, "what are you a fucking philosopher...learn how to punch and learn how to stop being so gay kelso," a reference to an earlier message from Kutcher about hurting his hand hitting a punching bag.


The call to "stop being so gay" drew Kutcher's rebuke. The person who wrote it later posted that he only sent out the message to see if celebrities on Twitter will respond to comments by non-celebrities.

Sauce here.
RDJ - Ent Week Dec 2009

Oh Texas (actually, Rick Perry) ~_~

Perry rejects $555 million in federal stimulus money
Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
March 12, 2009, 3:21PM

Gov. Rick Perry today told the federal government that Texas doesn’t want $555 million to expand benefits for the unemployed in exchange for widening the program to include part-time workers.

The Legislature can decide to accept the money, but Perry said the state has repeatedly rejected the idea of paying unemployment to part-time workers.

The Legislature is controlled by Perry’s fellow Republicans.

The money would go instead to other states, according to federal officials. But Perry told reporters in Houston today that this did not mean that tax payments by Texans would leave the state.

The $555 million is offered to Texas under the so-called federal stimulus legislation recently signed by President Barack Obama.

Perry became the second governor in the nation to reject the unemployment benefit expansion.

Gov. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., did so on Wednesday.

Perry announced his rejection of the funds at Bering’s Hardware near the Galleria, saying that store owners would be "on the hook" for higher unemployment payroll taxes if the state were to accept the federal money.

Richard Shaw, spokesman for the local AFL-CIO, attended the announcement and said Perry was turning his back on workers who have paid taxes and should be entitled to unemployment benefits now that they have lost their jobs.

Perry said he was unsure how much more a business like Bering’s, which employs 170 full-time and part-time workers at two stores, would have to pay under the federal guidelines.

August Bering V said it would cost the company about an extra $12,000 annually.

But, Perry said, the increases would eventually lead to higher prices on consumer products.


Would this be enough to oust Perry in the next gubernatorial election? I'm tired of his smug face and Blago-fabulous hair.

Jim Cramer: I'm "Nervous" For "Daily Show," Jon Stewart Is My "Idol" (VIDEO)

Jim Cramer appeared on "The Martha Stewart Show" this morning and divulged that he's nervous to face-off with Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" tonight — and that Stewart's attacks have especially hurt him as he considers Stewart an "idol."

"He's killing me!" Cramer said of Stewart. "My kids only know I have a show 'cause Jon Stewart's been skewering me."

"I thought you were going on tonight," Martha said.

"I am, and I'm a little nervous," Cramer said. "How bad is it gonna be? Is he gonna kill me?"

"You should be nervous," Martha told him. "He's fast as lightning!"

"Oh I'm not, I'm slow as molasses," Cramer replied, leading Martha to suggest that he brings a banana cream pie to "The Daily Show" as a peace offering.

Cramer then explained why he's been so affected by Stewart's critiques:

The reason why it's been so hard for me, the attacks, is that early on I patterned my show off of his, which is that you can do an entertainment business show. And then suddenly to be attacked by a guy that's your idol makes it difficult.

Follow link for VIDEO

Steele In Serious Hot Water With Social Conservatives

Steele In Serious Hot Water With Social Conservatives

Michael's Steele statement of support for an "individual choice" on abortion has provoked deep concern among social conservatives and spurred further speculation that his tenure at the RNC will be brief.

On Wednesday, the RNC Chair walked back a remark he made in an interview with GQ Magazine, declaring unequivocally: "I am pro-life, always have been, always will be." But even with the quick clarification, the damage was done.

On Thursday, several religious right officials and anti-abortion advocates criticized Steele for telling the magazine that he "absolutely" thought abortion was "an individual choice," to be decided at the state level.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: "Comments attributed to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele are very troubling and despite his clarification today the party stands to lose many of its members and a great deal of its support in the trenches of grassroots politics."
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cookie monster

What do you think of Katies law?

Senate panel OKs ‘Katie’s Law’ to collect DNA on all felony arrests By ERNEST LUNING 3/12/09 12:15 PM (Photo/gravitywave, Flickr) A state Senate panel late Wednesday evening approved a bill to require law enforcement officials to collect DNA samples from anyone arrested for a felony in Colorado, over strong objections from one lawmaker who said “Katie’s Law” — named after a New Mexico college student whose brutal rape and murder was solved using DNA evidence — does “permanent damage” to constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. “There are great costs and consequences in not passing this law,” Jayann Sepich, the mother of the law’s namesake, told the Senate Judiciary Committee after displaying slides of her slain daughter, Katie Sepich. Sepich has been traveling the country urging states to pass similar laws since New Mexico adopted it in 2006. So far, 16 states now require suspected felons to give DNA samples upon arrest. Collapse )
Senator 3

I will murder everybody

The federal agency that insures bank deposits, which is asking for emergency powers to borrow up to $500 billion to take over failed banks, is facing a potential major shortfall in part because it collected no insurance premiums from most banks from 1996 to 2006.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures deposits up to $250,000, tried for years to get congressional authority to collect the premiums in case of a looming crisis. But Congress believed that the fund was so well-capitalized - and that bank failures were so infrequent - that there was no need to collect the premiums for a decade, according to banking officials and analysts.

Now with 25 banks having failed last year, 17 so far this year, and many more expected in the coming months, the FDIC has proposed large new premiums for banks at the very time when many can least afford to pay. The agency collected $3 billion in the fees last year and has proposed collecting up to $27 billion this year, prompting an outcry from some banks that say it will force them to raise consumer fees and curtail lending.

To possibly reduce the fee increase, the FDIC has asked Congress for the temporary authority to borrow as much as $500 billion from the US Treasury - up from the current $30 billion limit - in case the number of bank failures increases even more dramatically. If Congress approves the measure, to borrow more than $100 billion, the FDIC would still need permission from the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department, and the White House.



Rush Limbaugh: Icon of Anti-Morality

by Deepak Chopra

When Michael Steele, the hapless chairman of the Republican Party, lost his bearings and called Rush Limbaugh's style ugly and incendiary, everyone knew it was the truth. But it was a perfect example of an inconvenient truth. The right wing has long used ugly, incendiary speech the way baseball players use steroids: to artificially pump themselves up. Limbaugh has taken to saying that he wants Obama's policies to fail because they spell the end of an America based on personal freedom. This isn't just a grotesque exaggeration; it disguises the very thing the right wing has been doing when it curtailed civil liberties in the name of national security.

Yet I know people who listen to Limbaugh every morning. They don't believe a word he says. They deplore his rhetorical sins. They detect the whiff of hypocrisy. Basically, they tune in out of sheer incredulity.

Limbaugh has been plowing the field of moral outrage for decades, but unlike Billy Sunday and the other hot-headed radio preachers who cashed in on social resentment in the Great Depression, Limbaugh threw out God. With no religious tradition to anchor himself, he can swing wider. Anything Limbaugh judges against is condemned, not by scripture, but simply by him being pissed off. Whatever Limbaugh hates -- however petty, personal, and arbitrary his animus -- is ipso facto wrong.

This represents a huge social shift in American values. Before the Eighties there were a handful of right-wing outlets on the air; now there are well over a thousand. They exist purely as steam vents. The common citizen gets to be pissed off by the millions, unrelentingly, without cease or solution, and in return, he is praised. To be outraged is to be morally superior.

The Limbaugh effect fueled the anti-morality of the Bush years. Under ordinary morality, the wretched plight of illegal immigrants, for example, must be considered along with the fact that they are breaking the law. Being poor, illiterate, and desperate, their human condition makes them more sympathetic than ruthless lawbreakers would be. But under anti-morality, if you hate immigrants because they are foreigners who don't look American enough, the argument is over. Your anger strips away tolerance, sympathy, and regard for "the other." Hence the almost imperial bearing of Limbaugh, the bland certainty that because he never stops being angry, he never stops being right.

The same goes for a wide range of "others" who mightily tick off Limbaugh's listeners: Muslims, feminists, people of color, gays, and environmentalists. There's no need to understand them or try and accommodate their views. Just put them through the wringer of Limbaugh's perpetual judgment and, poof, there's no problem anymore. Of course, the whole scheme is delusional. Problems aren't solved by remaining perpetually ticked off. Accords can't be reached when you demonize the other side.

By any sane account, Rush Limbaugh is dead weight when it comes to finding a solution to anything. Like Sarah Palin, his spiritual bride, he lurks in the shadow of the human psyche, expressing the dark anger, resentment, jealousy, and vindictiveness that society can never escape. And yet, the next time you tune into Limbaugh's censorious circus of insensitive scurrility, give him a kind thought. As far back as Mark Twain, the American character has been ornery. We secretly love rascals, bank robbers, tricksters, swindlers, hell raisers, and outlaws. And when we feel so inclined, we laugh at them. Rush Limbaugh may represent a toxic form of entertainment -- and the bile he spews bears no resemblance to true morality -- but the fact that America makes room for him is something to be proud of. I don't pray that he goes away. I pray that we can keep laughing, even if our grin is crooked, at the pranks of the eternal shadow who is our companion for life, whether we want him or not.


The last bit reminds me of a line from the movie written by Aaron Sorkin called The American President:

"America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free".


South Carolina Governor: Obama Stimulus Will Turn U.S. Into Zimbabwe

Mark Sanford once again embarrasses the hell out of those of us who have a brain in South Carolina by seriously stating that he thinks we'll be buying our bread with trillion dollar notes soon.

SC House Representative Jim Clyburn called him out on it, saying "What took the man to Zimbabwe? Someone should ask him if that's really the best comparison. ... How can he compare this country's situation to Zimbabwe?"

Sanford then added to his fail by responding to Clyburn with "Rep. Clyburn always plays the race card."


I... I... I think I need to hit something now...
Louis Theroux in Hell

Japan Resorts to Isolationism As Global Economy Weakens

Japan Resorts to Isolationism As Global Economy Weakens

Gavin Blair | March 11, 2009 04:07 PM

TOKYO - In the days of VHS cassettes, a visit to a video rental shop here for a Hollywood blockbuster would often end in disappointment -- all the copies would be out except the dubbed one. Listening in English while reading the Japanese subtitles was considered infinitely preferable because English was inherently cool.

Today, an increasing number of young Japanese think it's just too much trouble when they can watch a dubbed version instead.

It appears that Japan is increasing looking inward and walling itself off from outside influences -- a trend that's showing up in everything from movies to music to learning languages. Even as the supposedly irresistible tide of globalization washes against Japan's shores, insular and parochial attitudes are strengthening.

"When I was a university student, courses like English literature, German literature, French literature and foreign languages were difficult to get into, they were so popular," said Takashi Koyama, a professor at Akita International University. "Nowadays, those courses are struggling to get students."

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Have a cup of miso soup with your source

As someone who's planning on going there to teach English next year, I have to say this worries me a bit. But as some of the comments at the source says, this is a global trend and isn't completely unique to Japan.
' jules


Laura Ingraham mocks Meghan McCain as being ‘plus-sized.’

Last night, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) daughter, Meghan McCain, appeared on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show, where she continued to criticize Ann Coulter. On her radio show today, Laura Ingraham responded to McCain’s critique of far right conservatives, saying that she is “just another Valley Girl gone awry.” In a mocking faux-Valley Girl voice, Ingraham made fun of McCain’s body, joking that she didn’t get a “role in the Real World” because “they don’t like plus-sized models”:
MCCAIN (on MSNBC): And I think there’s an extreme on both parties and I hate extreme. I don’t understand. I have friends that are the most radically conservative and radically liberal people possibly ever and we all get along. We can find a middle ground.

INGRAHAM (mocking): Ok, I was really hoping that I was going to get that role in the Real World, but then I realized that, well, they don’t like plus-sized models. They only like the women who look a certain way. And on this 50th anniversary of Barbie, I really have something to say.
Listen here:

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In the past, McCain has said that she is “proud” of her body. Last summer, she told Glamour, “I got to a point where I was like, I just don’t care. You think I’m fat? Fine. I don’t care how much you weigh.”

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Doesn't that just like... exactly prove what McCain was saying about Republicans being too abrasive? wtf man.

ETA: McCain responds on Twitter:

US warships head for South China Sea after standoff

A potential conflict was brewing last night in the South China Sea after President Obama dispatched heavily armed American destroyers to the scene of a naval standoff between the US and China at the weekend.

Mr Obama’s decision to send an armed escort for US surveillance ships in the area follows the aggressive and co-ordinated manoeuvres of five Chinese boats on Sunday. They harassed and nearly collided with an unarmed American vessel.

Washington accused the Chinese ships of moving directly in front of the US Navy surveillance ship Impeccable, forcing its crew to take emergency action, and to deploy a high-pressure water hose to deter the Chinese ships. Formal protests were lodged with Beijing after the incident.

On a day that Mr Obama and his senior officials met the Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, in Washington, Beijing showed no sign of backing down. Its military chiefs accused the unarmed US Navy ship of being on a spying mission.

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by <lj_user="yellowbang">

Hamas criticises Gaza rocket fire

The Palestinian Hamas group that governs the Gaza Strip has criticised recent rocket fire directed at Israel and denied responsibility.

The recent rockets were "being fired at the wrong time" and were "not being fired by the resistance faction", a statement from the interior ministry of the Hamas government said on Thursday.

It added that its security forces would find out who was responsible, but stopped short of promising any punitive measures.

Toll rises

The rare criticism of the rocket fire - the first since Israel halted its three-week war on Gaza on January 18 - comes as the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights raised the toll from war from 1,300 to 1,434 Palestinians killed.

Of that number, 960 were civilians, the centre said, up from the previous 900 figure.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza puts the toll at 1,324, but Israel says civilian casualty figures have been inflated, claiming it has the names of more than 700 Hamas fighters killed in the fighting.

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Maybe if she'd write a book that ISN'T just about bashing liberals.

Ann Coulter's Book Sales Head South


Though never exactly shy, Ann Coulter has been especially noisy in her self-promotion lately, inventing a beef with NBC News, arguing with Keith Olbermann over the meaning of a Cornell degree and taking her act on the road with Bill Maher as foil. Could it be because she's worried she's losing our attention?


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(no subject)

Black And Hispanic Dolls Are Still Hard To Find

Demonstrators in New York set out more than 150 dolls with tags listing statistics on AIDS and women's health on the steps of City Hall, but couldn't find enough dolls of color for the exhibit.

The dolls were assembled in recognition of National Women and Girls H.I.V./AIDS Awareness Day, and included old castaways and new dolls. Organizers wanted a racially mixed set of dolls to reflect the fact that in New York City 90 percent of women living with H.I.V. are black and Hispanic, 94 percent of new H.I.V. infections in teenage girls are in blacks and Hispanics, and a black woman is nine times more likely to die from an AIDS-related illness than a white woman. But despite the fact that nationally ethnic minorities make up 43 percent of the population under 20, staffers had difficulty finding non-white dolls, even in New York. "I went to three 99-cent stores and couldn't find any," said Krishna Stone, a spokeswoman for Gay Men's Health Crisis. "Another colleague went to four stores. What is that about?" Eventually two four foot black dolls were donated, and made the centerpiece of the exhibit.

Hatted - Bowie

Mavericky Reformer Sarah Palin's State Tops in Omnibus Earmarks


Alaska . Governor and 2012 Republican Presidential hopeful (I hope) Sarah Palin, along with her 2008 ticket-mate John McCain, has been an outspoken critic of pork-barrel politics. While the glassiness of her house in this area has been noted before, the just-passed omnibus bill provides a pile of stones:(From Mother Jones
The $410 billion bill has been lambasted by Republicans and a few Democrats for being loaded with nearly 9,000 earmarks covering $7.7 billion in projects. Senator John McCain, Palin's former ticket-mate, has blasted Obama for supporting the earmark-laden legislation. ("So much for the promise of change," an angry McCain howled from the Senate floor.) But earmarks in the bill are quite generous to Palin's state. According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington-based watchdog group, Alaska will receive more money, per capita, from the bill's earmarks than any other state. (Alaska will pocket $209.71 for each state resident.) One hundred earmarks in the bill, worth a total of $143.9 million, are tagged for Palin's state.
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You'll have trouble finding demonstrable ideological purity on either side, and that's a good thing. That's the definition of bi-partisanship, and it's the way things get done. Instead of worrying about ideology, we ought to worry about ideas, as in "Is this particular thing a good idea?"

So, rather than call Palin a hypocrite, I would invite her to explain to everyone how the real world, and what happens to real people, can be more important than a political ideal. 

Casting Out Those Homosexual Demons. Thursday night LULZ.

"Get on up outta this young man, you HOMOSEXUAL DEMON!" Watch below the insanity of Overseer And Prophetress McKinney of the Manifested Glory Ministry of Bridgeport, CT. Folks, this is TORTURE, plain and simple. Cruel, devastating, and probably permanently damaging torture. It's gruesome, infuriating, and sick-making to watch. BUT DO WATCH. This is what we're up against in some places.

(Via Good As You, where Jeremy has more.)
biggie aretha
  • bispo

Orders for ‘Aretha’s Hat’ Still Going Strong

DETROIT — The vacant lots and hollow buildings abound across Detroit. But walk into Mr. Song Millinery on Woodward Avenue, north of downtown, and you are hit by two impressions: a riot of color and a constantly ringing telephone.

The color comes from row upon row of custom-designed ladies’ hats, from unassuming berets to the kind of lavishly decorated headgear seen at the races at Ascot. The sound of the phone is thanks to Aretha Franklin, who stepped to a microphone at President Obama’s inauguration in January wearing an eye-catching gray fur felt hat trimmed with a huge sloping, rhinestone bow.

Now, the hat’s creator, Luke Song, has more than 5,000 orders for the spring version of the Aretha Hat (he declines to make a replica of the actual model), available in a variety of pastel colors and selling for $179 apiece.

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source: NYTimes
  • bispo

Obama on Spot as Rulings Aid Gay Partners

WASHINGTON — Just seven weeks into office, President Obama is being forced to confront one of the most sensitive social and political issues of the day: whether the government must provide health insurance benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

In separate, strongly worded orders, two judges of the federal appeals court in California said that employees of their court were entitled to health benefits for their same-sex partners under the program that insures millions of federal workers.

But the federal Office of Personnel Management has instructed insurers not to provide the benefits ordered by the judges, citing a 1996 law, the Defense of Marriage Act.

As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama said he would “fight hard” for the rights of gay couples. As a senator, he sponsored legislation that would have provided health benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

Now, Mr. Obama is in a tough spot. If he supports the personnel office on denying benefits to the San Francisco court employees, he risks agitating liberal groups that helped him win election. If he supports the judges and challenges the marriage act, he risks alienating Republicans with whom he is seeking to work on economic, health care and numerous other matters.

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