Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fox News: Always Classy

The network that never fails to appall does it again:
Fox News Channel referred to Michelle Obama as "Obama's baby mama" in a graphic on Wednesday, the latest in a trio of references to the Democratic presidential campaign that have given fuel to network critics.

The graphic "Outraged liberals: Stop picking on Obama's baby mama" was flashed during an interview with conservative columnist Michelle Malkin about whether Barack Obama's wife has been the target of unfair criticism.

In the past two weeks, Fox anchor E.D. Hill has apologized for referring to an affectionate onstage fist bump shared by the couple as a "terrorist fist jab," and Fox contributor Liz Trotta said she was sorry for joking about an Obama assassination.


Disingenuous or Just Stupid


A toy being sold over the internet by a Utah couple is causing an uproar from supporters of democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. It’s a sock monkey wearing a suit with a lapel pin for Obama.

Supporters of Obama have been filling online forums and blogs with angry words over what they see as the degrading depiction of a black man as a monkey.

Such portrayals are a throw back to the days of “Jim Crow” laws in southern states. The depictions were designed to make one man appear inferior, less than human, for no other reason than the color of his skin. From different blogs, one writer puts it simply: “The 'Sock Obama' is disgusting.” Others say its makers are racists.

With such a reaction, it is ironic that the toy was being marketed to Obama supporters. The sales pitch on the website reads:

“We don’t get enough of him at his public speaking events. Now you can have your very own TheSockObama™ 24/7! Fall in love with your chosen candidate all over again.”

The Sock Obama is the creation of David and Elizabeth Lawson of West Jordan. They say they are shocked by the anger. In responding to a handful of the emails that are filling their inbox, they wrote:

“We at TheSockObama Co. are saddened that some individuals have chosen to misinterpret our plush toy. It is not, nor has it ever been, our objective to hurt, dismay or anger anyone. We guess there is an element of naiveté on our part, in that we don't think in terms of myths, fables, fairy tales and folklore. In earnest folks, we're so sorry we offended anybody.”


Still Lying

Cheney still manages to maintain his nearly perfect record of never telling the truth:
Vice President Dick Cheney's office has acknowledged that he erred when telling an audience this week that China is drilling off the coast of Cuba.

Citing columnist George Will, Cheney on Wednesday told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that "oil is being drilled right now 60 miles off the coast of Florida. We're not doing it. The Chinese are in cooperation with the Cuban government."

''Even the communists have figured out that a good answer to high prices is more supply,'' he added. "Yet Congress has said ... 'no' to drilling off Florida.''

The claim was immediately repudiated by U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., an independent congressional report, industry experts and other observers, who said there is zero evidence that China is drilling in Cuban waters. China doesn't even hold a lease to drill offshore.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Action Catblogging: Tista loooooves a bellyrub...

All dignity aside, Tista loves himself a bellyrub.

(If you'd like to feel better about the world, you can imagine that's your hand skritching his little white tummy.)

Posted by Miriam, whose hand that actually is.


Variety Pics

Some flowers growing in our front yard.

The restaurant where we had lunch in Sheboygan last weekend.

The shore of Lake Michigan, just south of Sheboygan.

And, of course, Zora.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I've Been Left Out

I've been an evil, hateful leftist for some time now, and yet I've been offered no virgins to ravish:
An Obama presidency would signal the final salvo by the Left in the culture wars. Obama’s advance troops have already taken over our college campuses, have bound and gagged our conservative professors, have ravished our virgins, have pillaged our stores of wisdom, and have ensconced themselves in the thrones of power in deans’, presidents’ and department heads’ offices.
It is a long and sublimely silly essay.


Racism Is Alive and Well

And many people who oppose Obama are absolutely unashamed about demonstrating this fact:
It's true: a lot of the major right-wing players, like Rush Limbaugh, have been careful to avoid the "N" word over the years. They've had to be creative in the way they dance around overtly racist language.

But a big part of the Right-Wing Web has no such qualms about embracing the "N" word in attacking Obama.

To see evidence of this, all you've got to do is Google the keywords: Nigger Obama. Google returns an astonishing 744,000 results. What's even more amazing about that number is that many Web hosters specifically forbid hate speech in their terms of service.

Among those Google results, one sees sites like, a site proclaims that itself aimed at "anyone who feels Obama would be a horrible choice for president of the United States."

The site features message boards like "Reparations For Slavery," which are full of posts like Picking up welfare check, not cotton, and Send 'em back to Africa.

Other sites include, a site with the slogan: "Liberal Media Dogs, Run For Cover!" The site bizarrely claims it is not an "anti-ethnic African site." But it features rambling posts and attacks on Obama, which include such observations as "Black American culture today is rampant with criminals, gangsters, prostitutes and cocaine."



rEVOLution Lives On!

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is planning a daylong rally in Minnesota during the Republican National Convention that could draw attention from the presumed nominee John McCain.

The Texas congressman with a devoted following has tentatively reserved the Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota on Sept. 2, the second day of the GOP convention.

"We plan on having a large rally," said Paul spokesman Jesse Benton. "We want it to be a celebration of Republican values and what the Republican Party has traditionally stood for."


Protecting Their Own

The Senate Republicans once again demonstrate who their true constituents are:
Saved by Senate Republicans, big oil companies dodged an attempt Tuesday to slap them with a windfall profits tax and take away billions of dollars in tax breaks in response to the record gasoline prices that have the nation fuming.



Depressing new report on AIDS:
Despite a stepped up global battle against AIDS, the numbers of people newly infected with HIV are far and away outpacing the numbers beginning antiretroviral drug treatments, U.N. officials said Monday.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, opening several days of U.N. debate on AIDS prevention, told world leaders that 2.5 million people became infected with HIV last year compared with 1 million who started using important antiretroviral drugs.

"Unless greater and swifter advances are made in reaching those who need essential services, the epidemic's burden on households, communities and societies will continue to mount," Ban said.


Good Money after Bad

It appears that we will keep dumping money into the black hole known as the "war on drugs":
House lawmakers voted 311-106 on Tuesday to authorize the Merida Initiative, a $1.6 billion plan to help fight drug cartels in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.


Monitoring Elections

Zimbabwe certainly needs monitoring, but I wonder whether we should save the money for, say, this coming November?
The United States said Monday it will spend several million dollars to help international observers ensure that presidential elections due at the end of the month in Zimbabwe are free and fair.

"We are going to contribute several million dollars to the election observer effort," US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.



"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" lives on. For now.
On Monday, the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of Cook v. Gates, brought by twelve discharged gay and lesbian military servicemembers, against Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, against the implementation of 10 USC 654, commonly known as the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.


Monday, June 09, 2008


I have the feeling that rising fuel prices is an issue that won't be going away any time soon.

Not here:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Monday he would impose a windfall profits tax on U.S. oil companies as he sought political gain from Americans' pain over high gasoline prices.
And not abroad:

Concerns were growing last night over a summer of coordinated European fuel protests after tens of thousands of Spanish truckers blocked roads and the French border, sparking similar action in Portugal and France, while unions across Europe prepared fresh action over the rising price of petrol and diesel.

Spanish hauliers began an indefinite strike, demanding a government aid package to offset the effect of record oil prices. Lorry drivers blocked motorways at the border with France and caused 12-mile tailbacks around Madrid and Barcelona. Long queues formed at Spanish and Portuguese supermarkets after truckers said shops could run out of fresh food in days. Even before the strike began thousands of people formed long lines outside petrol stations and supermarkets.



It's difficult to be more idiotic than Tom DeLay, but these guys pulled it off. DeLay merely accused Obama of being a communist.

Hannity and Morris raise the bar to Stalinist:
In the first of two segments with Dick Morris on last night’s (6/2/08) Hannity & Colmes, he put forth the theory that a number of Stalinists are working on Barack Obama’s campaign. Then Morris and Sean Hannity theorized that Obama might be some kind of sleeper agent and a Manchurian candidate.


Smart Move

Politically, very savvy. Also, it makes me happy because Obama's health care plan has always been one of his primary flaws:

Obama's speech in Raleigh launching his economy tour is underway, and towards the end, during a discussion of health care, he drops a surprise aside that wasn't in the speech's prepared remarks:

"By the way, I'm going to be partnering with Elizabeth Edwards, we're going to be figuring all this out."

More on this when we can establish the details.

Late Update: The key political context here, of course, is that back in April, Elizabeth revealed that Obama's health care plan wasn't her favorite. Enlisting her as a public voice on health care could obviously help with the Obama camp's outreach to women and help win over skeptics in general.

Late Late Update: For an idea of just how effective Elizabeth Edwards might be as a surrogate on health care for Obama and against McCain, take a look at this take-down by Elizabeth of McCain's plan.


He's History

Truly pathetic:

As the door begins to close on his tenure, Bush is increasingly drawing on selected events of the past to argue that history will vindicate him on Iraq, terrorism, trade and other controversial issues.

Historical analogies have become a staple of Bush speeches and interviews this year, whether he is addressing regional leaders in Egypt or talking to workers at an office park in suburban St. Louis. Bush will continue this historical focus in a visit to Europe this week, where he will commemorate the Berlin Airlift in Germany and deliver a speech in Paris marking the 60th anniversary of the Marshall Plan.

White House aides say Bush, who majored in history at Yale, likes to emphasize historical comparisons because they are easy for the public to understand and illustrate in dramatic fashion how differently future generations may come to view him.

Unfortunately for the president, many historians have already reached a conclusion. In an informal survey of scholars this spring, just two out of 109 historians said Bush would be judged a success; a majority deemed him the "worst president ever."

"It's all he has left," said Millsaps College history professor Robert S. McElvaine, who conducted the survey for the History News Network of George Mason University. "When your approval ratings are down around 20 to 28 percent and the candidate of your own party is trying to hide from being seen with you, history is your only hope."


Cover Up

No surprise there.
The Pentagon urged interrogators at Guantanamo Bay to destroy handwritten notes in case they were called to testify about potentially harsh treatment of detainees, a military defense lawyer said Sunday.

The lawyer for Toronto-born Omar Khadr, Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler, said the instructions were included in an operations manual shown to him by prosecutors and suggest the U.S. deliberately thwarted evidence that could help terror suspects defend themselves at trial.

Kuebler said the apparent destruction of evidence prevents him from challenging the reliability of any alleged confessions. He said he will use the document to seek a dismissal of charges against Khadr.


Nice Work

We need a think tank for this?
Pakistani intelligence agents and paramilitary forces have helped train Taliban insurgents and have given them information about American troop movements in Afghanistan, said a report published Monday by a U.S. think tank.

The study by the RAND Corp. also warned that the U.S. will face "crippling, long-term consequences" in Afghanistan if Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan are not eliminated.


Gay Marriage Is Hard Work

Yeah, I'm sure the real motivation here is the lack of adequate staffing and resources:
A California county clerk says she'll stop performing all marriage ceremonies shortly before a state Supreme Court order legalizing same-sex marriage takes effect.

A newspaper says the move came after the clerk received advice from Kern County lawyers who said marriages cannot be performed in a discriminatory fashion.

The Bakersfield Californian says Clerk Ann Barnett said Wednesday she would not have the staff or space to deal with an increase in licenses and ceremonies. She plans to stop all ceremonies starting June 13 - three days before gay couples may legally wed.


Oppressive Communists

Cuba once again demonstrates its intolerance:
Cuba has authorized sex-change operations and will offer them free for qualifying citizens.

The move is the latest in a series of changes implemented by President Raul Castro since he succeeded his elder brother, Fidel, in February. Raul Castro's daughter, Mariela, heads Cuba's National Center for Sex Education, which strongly backs the new policy.

Health Minister Jose Ramon Balaguer signed a resolution approving sex-change surgery that was posted on the Internet over the weekend.

The procedure would be available to Cubans for free as part of their country's health-care system.



Newsflash: Karl Rove is a wretched excuse for a human being:

Karl Rove’s role in building, running and ruining the most corrupt, inept and politically polarizing presidential administration in U.S. history, is the stuff of legends. The below excerpts from Paul Alexander’s new book, “Machiavelli’s Shadow: The Rise And Fall Of Karl Rove“, gives a stunning picture of how Rove, within hours of Hurricane Katrina making landfall, put his political machine to work protecting George Bush, his administration and their Republican allies in the Gulf Coast region, by smearing both New Orlenas Mayor, Ray Nagin and Louisiana Governor, Kathleen Blanco.

With Karl Rove neutered and disgraced, Alexander found that people (politicians) directly involved in the disaster were finally willing to speak openly about the immoral, disgraceful and unforgivably political nature of the Bush Administration’s handling of one the worst natural disasters ever to strike the United States — and was widely viewed as a seminal moment in the downward spiral of George Bush, Karl Rove and the Republican party, from which they never recovered.
Read excerpts from Salon.


Killing the Gulf

The US is still poisoning the Gulf of Mexico:
Each spring, the cycle of death begins anew. Nitrogen and phosphorus, leached from fertilizer, pass from farmland into streams, from streams into rivers—the Mississippi, the Potomac, the Susquehanna—and then, finally, into some of the country's great bodies of water: the Gulf of Mexico, the Chesapeake Bay. There the chemicals collect each summer, spawning the growth of algae, which deplete the water of oxygen and lead to ghostly aquatic wastelands. Marine life, if mobile enough, will swim away; the rest will suffocate and die.

Scientists have monitored the growth of these so-called dead zones since the late 1970s. They have tried to promote policies to reduce their size, without much success. Last summer, the dead zone along the Gulf of Mexico coast spanned nearly 8,000 square miles— its third-largest occurrence on record and roughly the size of Massachusetts.

Although states have tried to address the problem, cooperation among them is suffering, and federal leadership and funding are lagging.