Saturday, July 24, 2010

Obama and Sherrod

Here's the headline--

Did fear of racial backlash trigger administration blunder?

Wow, fear of what? Fear of being called a racist? So what? He's been called everything else by the conservative slime machine. The fear must have something to do with perceptions of losing votes. So, it's really fear of losing a sufficient number of votes in 2012 and not getting reelected. That makes more sense. If he keeps up his current pace he may not even be renominated. Maybe he ought to forget about 2012 and be the kind of president he implied he would be. If he did and appealed to the folks who elected him, I bet he'd be reelected against any twit the GOP decides to run. If he keeps on playing old time politics, he will be a one term president. Then again, he and his staff's skill may only be in running for office. Management may be beyond his ken.

As Always, BP Sucks

Do you remember the oil plumes in the Gulf? BP denied they belonged to their spill and efforts to contain the mess. "Plumes? Not ours!" was what they said. Well, it's enough for me, once again, to say "BP is full of liars." Then again, what company isn't? Does anyone know of an honest company? Okay, that may be too hard, how about an honest politician?

Researchers confirm subsea Gulf oil plumes are from BP well


The Shrub sure did lay a legacy on us. He gave us Iraq. We're kind of leaving, but what are we leaving behind?

Top Insurgents Escaped Prison Days After Iraq Took Over

What does “equipped, prepared and poised to take over" mean to you?

The National Joke

Yes, it's the United States Senate. You know it, it's the worlds greatest debilitative body. Unfortunately, the Senate does have to be involved in needed legislation. The Senate has become a national impediment to human decency. The Senate demeans our nation over personal political power (and the neat offices). Is there any way out of this mess? Yes, but is not by letting states appoint Senators. No, it's up to voters. Voters have to quit reelecting those bozos. One term and move the schmucks on down the pike. What's been occurring of late in the huff puffery chamber?

Change Comes to a Place That Doesn’t Care for It

It Must Be The Perks

Oh my, more people approve of Lady Gaga than have confidence in Congress. That's gotta hurt. Hold it, the only thing that hurts a pol is not being on center stage. Isn't narcissism a mental disease? If it is, we represent ourselves with some real sickos. Weird. What does it say about the voters?

Lady Gaga or Congress? The myth of approval ratings

Have You Forgotten About Legacyland Already?

With all the other news, Iraq seems to fade away as a story. The Shrub gave us a legacy that will last for decades. Will we ever leave that shithole for good? Nah, take Mosul as one example--

Mosul struggles with ethnic divides, insurgency

Even if eliminated our need for oil, we'd still have to be there. All give thanks to the Shrub!

Are You a Fool?

You are a fool if you believe anything that is said by oil and gas industry folks and safe drilling practices in the Gulf. Don't forget, most of our elected pols are pretty much employees of oil and gas--

In a House hearing Thursday, Rep. John J. "Jimmy" Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) said, "It's almost an astonishingly safe, clean history that we have there in the gulf." Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the industry's "history of safety over all of those times" had provided the "empirical foundation" for U.S. policy.

Oh, what was that bullshit Obama fed us (that's pandering for votes) about "safe drilling" just prior to the BP disaster?

Federal records show steady stream of oil spills in gulf since 1964

From Media Matters Newsletter

Media Matters: "Context is everything": Why you should (still) never trust Andrew Breitbart

Don't trust Andrew Breitbart.

It's a phrase Media Matters has been repeating ever since the conservative web publisher burst onto the national stage by coordinating the release of deceptively edited tapespurporting to show "illegal activities" and criminality by ACORN employees.

Breitbart's ACORN claims fell apart: after the media firestorm died down, multiple investigations found no evidence of criminality in the "severely edited" ACORN tapes. In other words, countless hours of hysterical news coverage did little more than promote meaningless videos, while propping up Breitbart as the leader of conservative new media journalism.

A similar debacle played out again this week, as Breitbart released another bogus tape, this time smearing (then-) USDA official Shirley Sherrod. The video, Breitbart boasted in a Monday post on, showed "evidence of racism coming from a federal appointee and NAACP award recipient" "against a white farmer," and that Sherrod's "federal duties are managed through the prism of race and class distinctions." Breitbart opened his post: "Context is everything."

Fox News and the conservative media initially lauded Breitbart's "great work." Fox Business host David Asman hailed the video from "our friend" as the "triumph of Andrew Breitbart over the establishment." Unfortunately, even members of the Obama administration gave it credence and forced the resignation of Sherrod.

Breitbart's triumph, however, was short-lived. As conservative blogger Allahpundit wondered when the video was released, "Doesn't it sound like Sherrod was building to a 'but' before the clip cut out?" The alleged victims of Sherrod's racism, Roger and Eloise Spooner, toldCNN that those who were smearing her as racist "don't know what they're talking about," and that Sherrod did "her level best" to help them successfully save their farm. And on Tuesday evening, the NAACP released the full video of Sherrod remarks, which exonerated her and showed that Breitbart's descriptions were false. Sherrod was speaking about her actions 24 years ago (not during the Obama administration), and was telling a tale about learning that she needed "to work to help poor people" regardless of whether they were black, white, or Hispanic.

Breitbart, apparently operating without having "slept in 40 hours," doubled down on his heavily edited clip and even bizarrely suggested that the farmer's wife was a plant. Breitbart also offered an avalanche of false claims about his original story, like his scoop wasn't actually "about Shirley Sherrod," and that the real story is racism in the NAACP, asevidenced by supposed "applauding as [Sherrod] described how she maltreated the white farmer." Throughout his flailings, Breitbart never offered an apology to Sherrod.

Fox News similarly circled the wagons. On Tuesday, Special Report anchor Bret Baier absurdly claimed, "Fox News didn't even do the story" on Sherrod. On Thursday, Fox & Friends' Steve Doocy claimed that the "Fox News Channel" didn't touch the story "until she had actually quit." A Los Angeles Times article that day reported that Fox News senior vice president Michael Clemente defended the channel's coverage by claiming he "urged the staff to first get the facts and obtain comment from Sherrod before going on air." However,Fox News commentators ran with the story before getting all "the facts," and reporters for published a story based on the deceptively edited video before Sherrod resigned and without comment from her.

Even after the facts came out, Fox News personalities continued to attack Sherrod. Juliet Huddy claimed that Sherrod's "incriminating" "present tense" statements still "raise questions" about whether she should be federally employed. Glenn Beck said that Sherrod "obviously has some sort of Marxist or redistributionist qualities to her." Dick Morris saidemploying Sherrod is like "having Reverend Wright on staff." And Fox News contributor Monica Crowley suggested Sherrod may be among "radicals, racists, socialists" in Obama administration.

Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, and Rush Limbaugh even ludicrously speculated that Breitbart and the conservative media may have been the victim of a "set-up" "orchestrated" by the White House.

After Breitbart's implosion, some -- but certainly not all -- in the media correctly noted that the case illustrates that Breitbart has no credibility. MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell said, "I think [Breitbart] has lost his standing to present videos to the country at any time." CNN's Anderson Cooper said that Breitbart's actions are "a classic example of what is wrong with our national discourse." Politico's Ben Smith noted, "Breitbart's sites now have a growing credibility problem."

In the end, Breitbart is Breitbart. This was not his first dishonest video, and it won't be his last.

The question is whether Fox "friend" Breitbart's scoops about supposed misdeeds will still be given prominent news coverage, and taken as fact. As's First Read wrote, "you would have thought that all of us in the ACTUAL news business would have learned this lesson about Andrew Breitbart and his protégés: They're not out for the truth; they're out for scalps."

Fox News anchor Shep Smith, frequently the station's lone voice of reason, may have been speaking to his colleagues (once again) when he said on Wednesday that he declined to run the story "because of the history of videos on the site where it was posted. In short, we did not and do not trust the source."

The way to avoid another ACORN or Sherrod debacle is simple: Don't trust Andrew Breitbart.

From Jake--throw in Fox News, don't trust them either!

Friday, July 23, 2010

How can you make your garden grow?

Are you ready? All you have to do is piss on it! Yep, urine is a dandy fertilizer.

Gee Whiz: Human Urine Is Shown to Be an Effective Agricultural Fertilizer

The Sherrod Screwup

Here's a piece that looks at what the Sherrod matter lacked--reporting.

Reverse Ferret! When Stories Bite Back

I still don't understand how anyone could have run with anything based on Breitbart and FOX News. Maybe the White House and USDA don't understand the idea of facts. Oh, god, does this mean Obama will become a Fox news person after he leaves office?

Good News?

Yes indeed, BP has brought LA to the Gulf. That's LA on a bad day. Why spend all that money to fly to West Coast if the Gulf is closer. Wander on down, sit in a beach chair (don't step in any tarballs), abd breaathe deeply. Wow, it's a twofer--the beach and LA. With the money you saved on air fare, you can afford to see a doc about your lungs after you get home.

Gov’t Testing Finds Air in Gulf Like L.A. on a Bad Day

Did all that Federal Cash do any good?

It seems that most folks think the benefits of bailouts and other federal spending to stop the recession only helped the rich. Wall Street had their asses saved by Washington. That makes sense, since Wall Street does spend a great deal on pols. They must feel sorry for the pols small salaries. In exchange for a vote here, a bit of de-regulation there, and some tax breaks, even a Rep. can live like a Hedge fund manager. When the master speaks...

Polls are funny things, they do point us to some kind of understanding. I think I understand that ObamaCo has not been able or perhaps inclined to explain much about what has occurred and the effects of federal spending to check our economic implosion. God, 10 minutes of listening to Geithner and I want to throw a boot at my TV. Then Obama, well, he gives great speeches but cannot explain jack about government. By the way, do you remember the content of any Obama speech?

I think the mighty Dems better get in explaining mode and make sure the listener understands if they don't want their asses handed to them in Nov.

Government Economic Policies Seen as Boon for Banks and Big Business, Not Middle Class or Poor


Research shows, Democrats are perceived to be liberal! Yes, it also shows Republicans are felt to be conservative. And those crazy teabaggers? Well, most folks see them as batshit crazy!

Voters Rate Political Parties' Ideologies

Large or Small Genes

Mega churches never made a lot of sense to me. I have trouble with a rock concert venue approach to Jesus or whomever one worships. Actually, I have trouble with the whole concept of worship regardless of a building's capacity. I guess I have a recessive god gene. However, for believers, who are crowdaphobes, there are alternatives! Yes, even in godland, small can be beautiful too!.

House Church: Skip the sermon, worship at home

If you throw hard core Calvinism into the home church, wouldn't that get very strange, very quickly?

Ken Salazar Can Read!

Wow, the Secretary of the Interior is literate! Well, that assumes he personally read yesterday's WaPo piece on how to become a gas and oil industry lobbyist. How? Hint, receive a federal paycheck for a few years.

This comes after MMS, now BOREME, gave the nation a Gulf full of oil. Don't forget MMS kind of approved BP trying out the container free delivery system--float it in on the Gulf waters and scrape it up on the shore (it was supposed to be cheaper, I think. I may have this wrong).

Ken is embarrassed by the revolving door--that means he sees it as a possible vote loser for himself and his team. Therefore he's pledges to take some action. Okay, been there, done that time. Ken is, as with 99% of all elected and opponent officials so full of shit. When can we expect change? Oh, when someone actually turns to that page about doing government in a new way.

Salazar pledges to limit Interior's revolving door

What Kind of Crackers Do they Keep in the USDA Cupboard?

I'm not sure, but the Ag cupboard has never been bare. The latest bit of USDA ineptitude and incompetence comes with the totally unjustified firing of Shirley Sherrod. Damn, screwed by USDA when she ran a farming coop in the 1970s and screwed by the top USDA cow in 2010. Sadly, over the decades, the USDA has remained consistent. Isn't it time to be rid of the cracker crumbs once and for all? I'm still waiting to know what it means when Secretary Vilsack says he's "taking full responsibility" means? Damn, I got it--he won't do anything to himself and he's the only one to blame, so the event is over at USDA! Back to work Aggies!

Some find irony in Shirley Sherrod's USDA incident

Arizona Law Looms

In Arizona, SB 1070, the "Round em up Dano" law will go into force July 29th. The Feds seek an injunction to stop its implementation pending a trial on the states law's legality per federal law. Does Fed trump State? Who knows. If the Feds do not do what its law requires, should a state be able to jump into the breach? Is Arizona really saying "unless you can trump me, in deed, then bugger off, I've got a wall to repair?"

Hmm, it's getting messy. I wonder, if this were an environmental issue in Arizona how would the law and all the commentary play out? What is a state's right? I guess we'll have to wait for all the exciting courtroom drama to find out. It does seem that the federal pols have been delivering the quo eactly as their quid masters has requested. And that is the problem in Arizona and in to many other areas and locales.

Hearing on Arizona immigration law begins

Is Teabag Just the New Way to Say Cracker?

It's funny how the teabaggers seem to be most abundant in the red states which are for the most part the states that lost the Civil War. Yep, they lost the right to buy and sell human beings. They haven't forgotten slavery and the plantation economy. Today, they verbally assault an always evil federal government in ways reminiscent of bygone times. After all it was federal forces who preserved the Union and said that slavery is not a state's right. However, that loss has not stopped a desire to return to the good old days (that weren't). God, it's even called heritage, I'd call it trans-generational sour grapes.

Gee, what brought this on? Oh, Pearlstein has a nice column on Virgina--

Virginia's latest attempt to secede from the United States

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Depression hurts

Feeling good today? I can remedy that. All you have to do to be rid of that pesky good feeling is read about the revolving door of government jobs and lobbying jobs. Why work for government? Why, to land a job as a lobbyist of course. We are screwed. Feeling worse? Mission accomplished.

Three of every four oil and gas lobbyists worked for federal government

Got Credit (card)?

Bankers are getting antsy, As penalty fees and deadbeat charges come under a tad of regulatory control, they're afraid credit card operations will not be quite as profitable this year. Damn, they'll only make a 28% profit rather than 30%. I feel real sorry for banks, don't you?

As credit card holders play it safe, issuers increase non-penalty service fees

Let's really scare the bullion out of them and suggest that the U.S. Treasury go into the credit card business. Yep, replace all that paper and metal money with a Government Gold Card. As the legislation is drafted we'll have to be sure to include that only the U.S. Treasury and actual government employees can create, issue, and maintain the cards. No contractors will be allowed to touch any aspect of our "new" currency. I bet the banks would discover that 3.5% on every purchase will yield is a reasonable profit. Come to think of it, this might be a way to solve the deficit problem, pay for a lot of government programs, and make sure that no bank will ever again be "to large to fail."

Who Dumb and Who is Dumber?

Have you paid attention to the issue that was generated around Shirley Sherrod. If not, then read this piece from the WaPo--

Fired USDA official receives apologies from White House, Vilsack

Read it? Okay, how many dumb shits were involved in trashing the woman's life and reputation. Come on, anything that goes from Breitbart to Fox News can never be taken at face value. How many dumb clucks are in the Ag Dept. and in the White House? We are blessed with dumbness. Government does not screw up by design, it's just massively inept. It's just the stupidity.

Oh, if Vilsack takes full responsibility, what the hell does that mean? I have a feeling it's just about the same as saying "blah, blah, and more blah." What action will he take out on himself for being so damn dumb? How about none? Do you think any of the pols really learned anything?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Feeling Safe?

Uh, have we forgotten it's the government that is doing all that make us safe stuff. In any other context I think most of us would be replete with doubts about the ability of our government to do much right these days. Hey, did you have to throw away any leaded toys, trash some possibly e coli tainted food, or wonder about whether your car might not stop in that past couple of years?? In those areas, the government has been "making us safe" for years. Now it's about making us safe from bad guys. Give it a read--

A hidden world, growing beyond control

I think we've created less safety and a whole lot more career ticket punching opportunities. Geez it's an Intelligence Industry Complex too!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Has The Tubes Got You Down, or are you Up, Up and Away?

There are a couple of new books on the Internets and its users. One author is sure the tubes sort of rots our brains and will, I guess, destroy us. The other looks at the gizmo as today's technology; we use it because we have it. Give the review a read, you might find the books (one of them) of interest. Oh, the review begins on the second page of the link.

Nicholas Carr's "The Shallows" and William Powers's "Hamlet's Blackberry


The July/August 2010 issue of Columbia Journalism Review has a book review by Tom Bissell. He reviews "War" by Sebastian Junger. I'd provide a link, but it does not appear to be available on line yet. The book is about what Junger learned about war and soldiers as a war correspondent in Afghanistan. Bissell's review is quite positive. I may have to read this one. Bissell cited a paragraph that I found quite thought provoking--

...Society can give its young men almost any job and they'll figure out how to do it. They'll suffer for it and die for it and watch their friends die for it, but in the end, it will get done. That only means that society should be careful about what it asks for.

Junger was referring to some very nasty and demanding combat. It has its effects on guys in uniform, but I think it applies to more than war and combat. If we ask too much, well, we see the effects on our vets. If we ask too little, well then....