May 22nd, 2009

glasses

Australian comedy team capitalize off H1N1

chaseradvertisement-686.jpg

THIS is the sign creating havoc on roads in Broadway and Homebush and motorists have The Chaser boys to thank.

And yesterday The Chaser's Dominic Knight was unapologetic. "At a time of widespread fear about a swine flu pandemic, we're proud to do our bit to help confirm people's most irrational hysteria," Knight said.

"Think of it this way - in the unlikely event that the disease does become a far more serious proposition than the same old influenza that sweeps through our community every single year, these billboards of ours are going to look really, really ill-advised.

"And that's what The Chaser is all about. It's good to be back."

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NOTE: These are the same guys that pwned security at the 2007 APEC summit.
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The Young and the Snarky

I feel sorry for Meghan McCain.

I know I shouldn’t.

I really have no business feeling sympathy for a wealthy, pretty, well-connected recent Columbia grad who’s already been given a political blog by Tina Brown, who’s already been paid a reported high six figures to write on the future of the Republican party, and who, despite it all, was foolish enough to go on “The Colbert Report” on Monday night and call herself “a 24-year-old pro-sex woman.”

I should, like the rest of the blogosphere, be mocking and disdaining her. And yet, instead, I feel a pitying sort of sadness. This in some measure has to do with the not-altogether-incomprehensible fact that, every time I followed a link to a story or video clip showing Meghan’s face on Tuesday, my eyes mysteriously converted her image into a picture of Kim Bauer.

I had Kim Bauer on the brain, of course, because Monday night also brought the tear-jerking season finale of Fox’s “24.”

(“Are you crying?” I had asked my husband, Max, hopefully as Kim, grown up and competent now, refused to bid her father, Jack, a final good-bye.

“No,” he said.

“Are you sure?” I sent a searching look in his direction.

“Yup.”

“Too bad,” I said. “I could have gotten a column out of it.”)

I had been thinking just how far Kim had come from her early, ever-blundering, one-idiotic-move-after-another days, when Max and I used literally to shout, “Get off the screen!” at her, for fear of the terrible harm she was sure to bring to her ever-more-martyred dad. It was a terrifying thing when, in season three, she entered the hallowed halls of C.T.U. She was just so obviously unready to follow in her father’s footsteps.
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After big show of supporting reform, insurers gear up to oppose "SOCIALISTIC GOVT HEALTH CARE!!!"

Corporate health insurers try to block giving US citizens the choice of buying into government-sponsored health programs because they are afraid people would choose those instead of them. Blue Cross Blue Shield leads the way. "If I can't have you, nobody can!"



May 22, 2009
Op-Ed Columnist

Blue Double Cross
By PAUL KRUGMAN

That didn’t take long. Less than two weeks have passed since much of the medical-industrial complex made a big show of working with President Obama on health care reform — and the double-crossing is already well under way. Indeed, it’s now clear that even as they met with the president, pretending to be cooperative, insurers were gearing up to play the same destructive role they did the last time health reform was on the agenda.

So here’s the question: Will Mr. Obama gloss over the reality of what’s happening, and try to preserve the appearance of cooperation? Or will he honor his own pledge, made back during the campaign, to go on the offensive against special interests if they stand in the way of reform?

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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/22/opinion/22krugman.html
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The Class Clowns

Once the masters of evil politics, Republicans have been reduced to half-assed buffoonery, providing comic relief for desperate times
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http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/27596371/the_class_clowns
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Will GOP attacks on Nancy Pelosi backfire?

Will GOP attacks on Nancy Pelosi backfire?

After a one-two punch from Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney, House Minority Leader John Boehner and other Republican lawmakers worry that their party has overplayed its hand on Nancy Pelosi.

The Republicans’ fear: Gingrich’s call for Pelosi’s ouster has set an unattainable goal, and Cheney’s jabs at her during a speech Thursday will allow Democrats to portray the controversy as a partisan attack by one of the GOP’s most polarizing figures.


“If the story becomes about us and not her, it’s a problem for us,” said a senior Republican lawmaker.

Boehner has been working to cool off other Republicans who want Pelosi’s scalp. He fears that, if Republicans move to call for Pelosi’s ouster — as Gingrich did — before laying out a case for an investigation first, then they will have squandered a major opportunity to cut into Pelosi’s authority.

He’s not the only one worried about going too far, too fast.
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Lawmaker wants to make 2010 'Year of the Bible'

Lawmaker wants to make 2010 'Year of the Bible'

When the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31, 2009, Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) hopes you’ll be ringing in “the Year of the Bible.”

It’s probably just wishful thinking.

Broun’s simple congressional resolution aimed at honoring the Good Book has produced a push-back of biblical proportion in the blogosphere, with critics dismissing it as either unconstitutional or a waste of time. Jews in Congress and atheist activists are dismissing the resolution, while none of the many Democrats in Congress who are Christian have bothered to sign on as co-sponsors.


According to GovTrak.us, the resolution is among the most-blogged-about pieces of legislation, with most posts less than complimentary in nature.

“Does that mean 2009 is not the year of the Bible?” mocked Rep. Barney Frank ­(D-Mass.), who is Jewish. “What is 2012 the year of? The Quran?”
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liberty university rejects democratic club on "morals" grounds

liberty university rejects democratic club on "morals" grounds

Liberty University has revoked its recognition of the campus Democratic Party club, saying “we are unable to lend support to a club whose parent organization stands against the moral principles held by” the university.


“It kind of happened out of nowhere,” said Brian Diaz, president of LU’s student Democratic Party organization, which LU formally recognized in October.

Diaz said he was notified of the school’s decision May 15 in an e-mail from Mark Hine, vice president of student affairs.

According to the e-mail, the club must stop using the university’s name, holding meetings on campus, or advertising events. Violators could incur one or more reprimands under the school’s Liberty Way conduct code, and anyone who accumulates 30 reprimands is subject to expulsion.

Hine said late Thursday that the university could not sanction an official club that supported Democratic candidates.
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Cheney's speech contained omissions, misstatements (shocker!)

Cheney's speech contained omissions, misstatements

Former Vice President Dick Cheney's defense Thursday of the Bush administration's policies for interrogating suspected terrorists contained omissions, exaggerations and misstatements.

In his address to the American Enterprise Institute , a conservative policy organization in Washington , Cheney said that the techniques the Bush administration approved, including waterboarding — simulated drowning that's considered a form of torture — forced nakedness and sleep deprivation, were "legal" and produced information that "prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people."

He quoted the Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair , as saying that the information gave U.S. officials a "deeper understanding of the al Qaida organization that was attacking this country."

In a statement April 21 , however, Blair said the information "was valuable in some instances" but that "there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means. The bottom line is that these techniques hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."

A top-secret 2004 CIA inspector general's investigation found no conclusive proof that information gained from aggressive interrogations helped thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to one of four top-secret Bush-era memos that the Justice Department released last month.

FBI Director Mueller Robert Muller told Vanity Fair magazine in December that he didn't think that the techniques disrupted any attacks.
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RNC Remixes 1964 "Daisy" Ad For Gitmo (VIDEO)

RNC Remixes 1964 "Daisy" Ad For Gitmo (VIDEO)

Hey kids! Am I mistaken, or did some "titular" head of the Republican National Committee recently stand in front of teevee cameras and say all this junk?

Today we are declaring an end to the era of Republicans looking backwards. We have just endured two successful elections where we were soundly defeated. As a result, many of us, me included, have done some soul searching. We have looked closely at the places we went wrong. We have talked openly and publicly about our mistakes and our deficiencies. If you don't learn from the past, you're doomed to repeat it. This has indeed been a difficult, yet I think healthy and necessary task for the party.

Yes! 'Twas Michael Steele, who went on to admonish "navel gazing" and reiterate that "the time to fix or focus on the past had ended," and that new Republican ideas would hitherto come free with any medium or large pizza, at Pie-Tanza.

And so, with that in mind, the reinvigorated RNC, focused on the future, spurred on by hip-hop beats, strode out of the hall and -- immediately cut an ad that referenced a 1964 ad from Lyndon Johnson?

That's right! Behold the RNC's new remix of "Daisy," the sixties-era bit of LBJ fearmongering that remains one of the most well-known campaign ads of all time. FROM THE PAST. In it, the RNC builds a powerful case that closing Gitmo will result in the ghost of Nikita Khrushchev blowing up the past with hydrogen bombs so that Oceanic Flight 815 never crashes or something.

Oh, and watch carefully! In the middle or so, you'll hear Press Secretary Robert Gibbs clipped in such a way that it appears he is saying that closing GITMO was a "hasty decision" the Obama administration made. Actually, Gibbs was referring to the poor decision-making of the previous administration. Another future-minded thing the RNC might want to focus on is not including such easily debunked content in their issue ads.

So, here's the RNC, crapping on the grave of Barry Goldwater, forever and ever, for the FUTURE.

[WATCH.]

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Supermax Prisons in U.S. Already Hold Terrorists

Supermax Prisons in U.S. Already Hold Terrorists

In news conferences, speeches and debates this week, lawmakers from both parties, as well as the director of the FBI, have sounded alarms about moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to federal prisons, where they could launch riots, hatch radical plots or somehow be released among the populace.

"No good purpose is served by allowing known terrorists, who trained at terrorist training camps, to come to the U.S. to live among us," said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.).

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) said Tuesday, before saying he was open to changing his position, "Part of what we don't want is them be put in prisons in the United States."

But the apocalyptic rhetoric rarely addresses this: Thirty-three international terrorists, many with ties to al-Qaeda, reside in a single federal prison in Florence, Colo., with little public notice.
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Putin blink

NO SALE

EU and Russia fail to agree on energy
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By Charles Clover in Khabarovsk

Published: May 22 2009 14:34 | Last updated: May 22 2009 14:34

The European Union and Russia failed to make progress on any of the major issues separating the two at a summit which concluded in Russia’s far eastern city of Khabarovsk.

An agreement regulating energy pipelines, which Europe deems essential to its energy security, found no support with the Kremlin, as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told a news conference on Friday he had “no intention” of adopting the European Energy Charter, which Russia signed but has not ratified.


The charter has taken on new importance since the January gas row between Russia and Ukraine that shut off gas to many European countries last winter. Russia used the summit as an opportunity to showcase its own version of the treaty, but EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso said Russia’s proposals could only add to the charter, not replace it.

Analysts said that Russia had little interest in signing up to the charter, as the Kremlin believes the treaty undermines its sovereignty and would threaten its monopolistic position as a gas supplier to Europe.

David Clark, chair of the London-based Russia Foundation, said Russia was trying to “sideline” the charter and called on the EU to insist Russia recognise it: “Although new and stronger rules governing energy relations would be welcome, it is by no means clear that the Russian government shares that objective… Russia accepted binding application of the ECT [Energy Charter treaty] when it signed the treaty, as did every current member state of the EU.

“The European Commission has already said that the new concept cannot replace the existing, binding ECT and the only sensible approach for the EU to take is to insist that Russia abides by its existing obligations before consideration can be given to an additional treaty” he said.

On the subject of gas supplies, Mr Medvedev, when pressed, said he could only offer assurances from the Russian side on the continuity of supplies. “There are no problems on our side — everything is in order here,” he said.

Five months after the gas crisis, experts and politicians still disagree over who ultimately bore responsibility for it, though Mr Barroso made it clear he held both Ukraine and Russia responsible for the mess.

Mr Medvedev added that he doubted Ukraine’s ability to pay for supplies of Russian gas, raising the possibility of a repeat of the crisis. The January dispute was triggered by alleged non-payments by Kiev.

The other thorny issue which divided Russian and EU leaders was the latters’ support of six former Soviet republics via the Eastern Partnership, which the Kremlin suspects may be designed to wean the countries away from Moscow’s orbit.

”We don’t want the Eastern Partnership to be turned into a partnership against Russia,” said Mr Medvedev.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a6c4104c-46d0-11de-923e-00144feabdc0,dwp_uuid=70662e7c-3027-11da-ba9f-00000e2511c8.html
¶ haters to the (far) right

Shenanigans Friday: May 22, 2009.

"Instead of giving a LOLitician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks." - Doug LOLson
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by ladypolitik
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Mayor quits job for gay illegal immigrant he loves

It was, simply put, the most stunning abdication since King Edward VIII in 1936 gave up the British throne for Wallis Simpson, the twice-divorced American socialite.

Only two weeks after being elected to serve his fourth term, Mayor J.W. Lown of San Angelo submitted his resignation letter Tuesday from an undisclosed location in Mexico.

No, being mayor of San Angelo is not exactly the same as being the King of the United Kingdom and Emperor of India, but the reason for Lown’s abdication is the same as Edward’s.

Love.

What made it stunning wasn’t the status of Lown’s office, which pays $600 a year, but the status of his lover.

Lown fell for an illegal Mexican immigrant.

A man.
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CT Senate votes to Abolish Death Penalty, Jodi Rell Continues to Piss Off Dems

Connecticut Senate votes to abolish death penalty
Lawmakers clash in all-night debate; Rell veto possible

By Ted Mann

Hartford -- The Connecticut Senate voted to abolish the death penalty early Friday morning after a marathon debate, narrowly approving a bill that would make life imprisonment without possibility of release the state’s highest criminal punishment.

The Senate approved the death penalty bill, 19-17, shortly after 4 a.m., after nearly 11 hours of debate. The same measure had previously passed in the House of Representatives, and proceeds to Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who has appeared likely to veto the bill.

If signed into law, the bill would make Connecticut the 16th American state without an active death penalty statute.

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CT DEATH-PENALTY BILL SUMMARY

-Existing crime of capital felony is retitled “murder with special circumstances.”
-Maximum penalty of death is eliminated, leaving highest sentence of life imprisonment with no possibility of release.
-Effective upon passage and prospectively; does not commute death sentences of existing death row inmates.
-HOW LOCAL SENATORS VOTED
-Daily, Westbrook: YES
-Maynard, Stonington: YES
-Prague, Columbia: YES
-Stillman, Waterford: YES


Special Sauce I was watching The Green Mile when I got a text about this, which was really creepy.
Jodi Rell, either bring back my hockey team or GTFO. Seriously. Connecticut ONTDP-ers, if you're against the Death Penalty, contact your state senator and tell them to get more support so Rell doesn't veto this down. This would be fantastic if it passed.
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    "Evacuate" - The Boxer Rebellion
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Republicans Purge Their Own Over Taxes And Spending

Republicans Purge Their Own Over Taxes And Spending

The Republican Party's anti-tax litmus test is becoming much more rigid and localized. And in some cases it is leading to party efforts to purge elected officials.

This past month, the political world stood in amazement as longtime Republican Arlen Specter -- facing a heavy backlash from Pennsylvania Republicans -- switched his party affiliation and became a Democrat. The defection was attributed to a bout of ill-fitting philosophies and political opportunism on Specter's behalf. The senator, RNC Chairman Michael Steele declared, had voted himself out of the Republican Party.

Perhaps. But in California, the purging of Republican pols unwilling to take the party line on economic issues is becoming systemic. Under the national radar but making news in the state, recall efforts have been launched targeting several GOP officials for voting with their Democratic colleagues on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget. One of the members in the spotlight is Assemblyman Anthony Adams, whose alleged indiscretion was simple: the budget he supported called for a state-wide vote on raising income and sales taxes and car-registration fees. In other words, in the eyes of his fellow party members, he had voted for a tax increase.

Embraced by two prominent Orange County Republicans, a recall petition declares that Adams "broke his tax pledge" and "must go."
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Col. Wilkerson: "Cheney Kept Some Things From the President"

Col. Wilkerson: "Cheney Kept Some Things From the President"

We interviewed Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, the former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, on The Young Turks and he had some very interesting things to say. Including:
"Cheney was co-president. I'd go further than that and say that for national security issues and other critical issues Cheney was the President."
"I found the incredible arrogance and lack of humility of the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, to be stunning almost right off the bat."
Referring to the decision to abuse detainees:
"I don't think there's any question it goes to Cheney. I'm increasingly of a mind that a lot of it goes to Cheney and stops there. Not just because of the president's disinclination to do detail, but I also think that Cheney kept some things from the president.
Lawrence Wilkerson: They should have what I would call reference authority. In other words, they should be able to turn it over to the appropriate authorities for prosecution, and a recommendation should be rendered with that if they believe laws were broken and they believe the proper authorities ought to take action.


Cenk Uygur: Dick Cheney seems to have an equivocal answer on Face the Nation when asked, "Did the president know about this abuse?" and he said, "Well I think he should have known" or something along those lines. Is there some chance that Dick Cheney just flat out gave the orders and didn't tell the president?

Lawrence Wilkerson: Absolutely! In my mind I have no problem believing that. I have no problem at all believing that.

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For GOP the South is their only hope... they R doomed...

For GOP, A Southern Exposure
Republican strength in the South has both compensated for and masked the extent of the party's decline elsewhere.

Founded in the decade before the Civil War as the Northern voice of union, the Republican Party today is more electorally dependent on the South than at any point in its past.

In the House and Senate, nearly half of all Republicans were elected from that region, defined as the 11 states of the Confederacy, plus Kentucky and Oklahoma. In each chamber, Southerners are a larger share of the Republican caucus than ever before. Similarly, beginning with the 1992 presidential election, the South has provided at least 59 percent of the Electoral College votes won by the GOP nominee, including by George W. Bush in his 2000 and 2004 victories. That percentage is nearly double the South's share of all Electoral College votes and by far the most that GOP presidential nominees have relied on the region over any sustained period.

Republican strength in the South has both compensated for and masked the extent of the GOP's decline elsewhere. By several key measures, the party is now weaker outside the South than at any time since the Depression; in some ways, it is weaker than ever before.

Today the GOP holds a smaller share of non-Southern seats in the House and Senate than at any other point in its history except the apex of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's popularity during the early days of the New Deal. What is perhaps even more dramatic is that Republicans in the past five presidential elections have won a smaller share of the Electoral College votes available outside of the South than in any other five-election sequence since the party's formation in 1854. Likewise, since 1992, Republican presidential nominees have won a smaller share of the cumulative popular vote outside of the South than in any other five-election sequence since the party's founding, including the five consecutive elections won by Roosevelt and Harry Truman (1932 to 1948).
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Another Republican who doesnt understand the magical device known as the Internet

Valley lawmaker's Facebook page attracts media scrutiny

Rep. Mary Bono Mack was temporarily a member of a Facebook group that calls for the impeachment of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The “Impeach Nancy Pelosi” group had more than 4,000 “fans” as of Wednesday afternoon. An account used by Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, to discuss legislative and personal activities joined the group as a “fan” on Tuesday.

Bono Mack's name vanished from the list following a Desert Sun inquiry Wednesday afternoon.

Bono Mack spokeswoman Jennifer May said they are not sure how Bono Mack's account became a “fan” but said “the congresswoman didn't join such a group.”

They are looking into the situation, May noted.
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Glenn Beck's Twitter Account Is Exactly As Awesome As You'd Expect

Glenn Beck's Twitter Account Is Exactly As Awesome As You'd Expect

True story: not long ago I was tasked with determining whether or not Fox host Glenn Beck had a Twitter account. It was not easy to determine! Beck made no mention of Twitter on his website and I saw no mention of an official Twitter account in the strange newsletters he sends me everyday (note to Media Monitors: I ALREADY GET THEM, so, thanks, but I do not need them forwarded to me, a million times a day). There were two Twitter accounts that purported to be official Beck Twitters, but I eventually confirmed both were fake. I just about got on the phone to Irena Briganti at Fox about it but stopped myself when I realized that it was Friday and I supposed to at least try to have a life, and surely I needed a phone conversation with Briganti about as badly as I needed a needle in the eye, so I let it pass.

Now, however, Beck does have an official Twitter account, for real this time, and it is already amazing, as these excerpted Tweets demonstrate:








I think I understand Glenn Beck, now: he is William Faulkner's Vardaman Bundren, all growed up and on the radio!

Anyway, Beck wants everyone to know: "just got furniture for my new office. i hate it already." Any minute now, he will probably ask his desk set for a "damn apology."


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Jesse Ventura Challenges Hannity On Waterboarding: "I'll Get Him To Say Obama Is The Greatest Presid

Jesse Ventura Challenges Hannity On Waterboarding: "I'll Get Him To Say Obama Is The Greatest President"

Jesse Ventura, the former Minnesota governor and presidential candidate, vows that if he waterboarded Sean Hannity, he'd get the right-wing Fox News host to say that "Barack Obama is the greatest president."

In an interview with Huffington Post, Ventura reiterated his opposition to the use of waterboarding, which he himself experienced as part of his training as a Navy SEAL, and other forms of enhanced interrogation, expressed skepticism about Obama's national security strategy, and revealed his strategy for his appearances on Fox News.

In the last week, Ventura's debates with Hannity, the cast of "Fox & Friends" and "The View"'s Elizabeth Hasselbeck made headlines for their passion and drama.

Ventura says that Hannity cut short his interview with him before they had a chance to discuss waterboarding because he's afraid of the former governor and pro wrestler.

"He's scared to death of me," says Ventura. "It was over in a few minutes and that was it."

Ventura offered his own version of Keith Olbermann's vow to give a thousand dollars to charity for every second that Hannity undergoes waterboarding.

"I'll bet [Hannity] a thousand bucks that I can get him to say 'Barack Obama is the greatest president' -- if I get him to say it, he'll give the thousand to charity and if I can't, I'll give the money to charity."
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