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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Newspapers on Your Home Computer? That's So 1981

by Jay Allbritton
In this week's episode of On The Media, Bob Garfield discusses this YouTube clip of a news report from 1981 that looks at the latest technological breakthrough--reading newspapers on your home computer.



Here's OTM's coverage:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nate Silver Ruins A Perfectly Good Trumped Up Scandal

by Jay Allbritton
We had a white hot political scandal on our hands for a second when a right wing subsidized newspaper reported that most of the Chrysler dealerships being closed by the Obama administration are... Republican donors!~ Uh oh! Impeachment looms.

Then Nate Silver went to work:
A meme that is currently picking up traction in the conservative blogosphere is that the list of dealerships to be shuttered as a result of Chrysler's bankruptcy contains a disproportionate number donors to Republican candidates. There have been furious efforts to prove this contention by looking up campaign contributor lists at the Huffington Post, Open Secrets, and other places.

There is just one problem with this theory. Nobody has bothered to look up data for the control group: the list of dealerships which aren't being closed. It turns out that all car dealers are, in fact, overwhelmingly more likely to donate to Republicans than to Democrats -- not just those who are having their doors closed.
KO has fun with the corpse of this idiotic meme:

It's Time to Play--Is It Real or Is It Satire?

by Jay Allbritton
Alright Station Nation, this is the ultimate test. Is this video of freakishly tall young white boys droning out right wing blather an horrendous attempt at forging a rap anthem for disaffected rich kids OR is it a weak attempt at a joke that with a little production value and a little better writing could have been Colbert-worthy?

What do you think?



Remember, we've seen this before and frankly, I never got an answer back when this turd dropped:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Craig T. Nelson Considers Opting Out of America

by Jay Allbritton
Coach needs to take next season off. The pressure of running the Minnesota State football program has gotten to the guy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sotomayor Polling Well Early On

by Jay Allbritton
From Salon blog The War Room:
A new poll out from Gallup shows a plurality of Americans have a generally favorable opinion of the Sotomayor nomination. In a survey taken Tuesday night, after the announcement was made, 19 percent of respondents rated the pick as "excellent," while 28 percent said it was "good." By contrast, 20 percent said it was "only fair" and just 13 percent rated it as "poor." Another 20 percent of those polled had no opinion.
Gotta love the no opinion crowd.

She's also faring well in a Rassmussen poll.

Fox News Analyst's Analysis--Just Kill 'Em

by Jay Allbritton
Fox News Strategic Analyst Col. Ralph Peters says that he's not concerned about the human rights of terrorists. He thinks they should all be killed. In fact he says, "Fight for human rights; kill terrorists." Let's watch:



The problem is, we don't know which detainees are really terrorists. Peters admits that he doesn't care. Well, good for him, but that is fucked up. Some of these people were sold into detention by locals with a grudge or out to make a quick buck.

A highly disputed report that says 1 in 7 terror detainees that were released from Guantanamo are suspected to or confirmed to have returned to militant activities. That means 6 out of 7 were released and did not participate in militant activities. Wouldn't that mean they probably weren't terrorists in the first place? Doesn't matter to Col. Peters.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

On Verge of Getting Officially Primary'd, Arlen Specter Goes Hollywood

by Jay Allbritton
According to TPMDC, Pennsylvania Representative Joe Sestak is privately telling supporters that he's planning on making a Senate run. A final decision is expected soon.

So, will Arlen Specter make a big move to the left in order to thwart this challenge, knowing that no matter how far left he runs, he'll still be able to have the center to himself in the general election? A crucial indicator will be Specter's final stance on EFCA. He's talking compromise, which will likely end in him endorsing the bill and voting for it and smiling while he does it, kinda like his reaction to the president's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. The unions are waiting.

Tonight Specter makes his debut as a limosine liberal at a swanky DNC fundraiser in L.A. I never get invited to anything.... [sigh]. Wonkette provides supplemental snark.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sotomayor Nomination Very Smart Politics

by Jay Allbritton
The front line of the Republican Party just got up off the floor from their phony allergic convulsive reaction to the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor. Most of the country is still figuring out how to say her name--Mike Huckabee thinks it's Maria--and these fakers are acting like she's Harriet Miers. Not even close, my friends, and what's so sad is, any child can see that President knew they were going to have this childish reaction and he's laughing his ass off.

Huffington Post's Dylan Loewe has his finger on it:
Should she be confirmed, Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic on the bench, chosen at a time when the Hispanic vote has emerged as a critical component to sustaining a Democratic majority over the long-term... In the wake of an anti-immigrant nativism that came to define the Republican presidential nominating contests, Obama won two-thirds of the Hispanic vote, fourteen points higher than John Kerry's share four years earlier... Obama may stand to gain more, not from corralling a majority of Democrats to vote in favor of Sotomayor, but from inspiring the most virulent elements of the Republican party to oppose her... [I]f they follow through, if they do decide to spend the next two and half months waging an impossible fight against a nominee whose confirmation is all but guaranteed, they may cause permanent damage. If the Hispanic community abandons the Republican party altogether, the Republican party can abandon any hope of regaining power in American politics.
Lowe goes on to point out that Sotomayor was nominated by for the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush. she was also previously confirmed by 8 Republicans that are still in the Senate. The unreasonable act is going to look more anti-hispanic and anti-woman than it will anti-Democrat.

Prop 8 Upheld

by Jay Allbritton
California's Supreme Court did not strike down Prop 8. They did allow all the people who married while same-sex marriage was legal to remain married. So, once again, it's on. Another ballot initiative on the matter will come at the time of activists' choosing, perhaps as soon as next year.

Sotomayor Nominated, Prop 8 Ruling Soon

by Jay Allbritton
Big news day brewing as President Obama picks Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter.

A ruling from the California Supreme Court on Prop 8 is expected at 1pm Eastern, 10am Pacific. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Mile 2009

by Jay Allbritton
My former home town of Gainesville, Florida, does an annual tribute to the troops called Memorial Mile. I post about it every year. Here's a picture of this year's Memorial Mile taken from the blog Sheverb.

Here's my post about it from last year.

I Am Now Officially More Worried About the Economy Than Paul Krugman

by Jay Allbritton
"I would not be surprised to see flat to positive GDP growth in the United States, and maybe even in Europe, in the second half of the year." -- Paul Krugman, speaking at a seminar in UAE.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

News Mixed On Battle Against Taliban

by Jay Allbritton
According to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Mike Mullen, a side-effect of the success our 21,000 troop surge in Afghanistan might be the destabilization of Pakistan.

So far indications are mixed about whether Pakistan's army can handle the overspill. The Times Online rpeorts that the Pakistani army has taken an important hill. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that the Taliban still hold some large towns nearly a month into a massive military offensive by the Pakistani army.

Cheney Rules! Just Ask Anyone to the Right of Vlad the Impaler

by Jay Allbritton
The Associated (with Bush) Press is licking Dick Cheney up one side and down the other today with two pro-Dick columns featured heavily on all things Yahoo. Of course, considering the AP's editor, this is no surprise.

Friday, May 22, 2009

This is Being Kept Safe?

by Jay Allbritton
According to an unreleased Pentagon report, one in seven of the 534 prisoners already transferred abroad from Guantánamo Bay, are engaged in terrorism or militant activity.

This is what Dick Cheney calls keeping us safe? Can you imagine what will happen when the first documented case of a terror detainee Barack Obama allows to be released returning to "militant activity" appears? I'll tell you this, John Boehner and Glenn Beck will cry.

Incidentally, many civil liberties groups dispute the Pentagon's findings. The report is expected to be released very soon, since there are quite a few organizations that have filed requests for it under the Freedom of Information Act.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

NCNA's Newest Member

by Russ Weiss
The National Council for a New America describes itself as a "forward-looking grass roots caucus...(that) will engage in a conversation with America that seeks to remove ideological filters." It's co-founders include such non-ideologues as Eric Cantor, Bobby Jindal, John Boehner, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, John Cornyn and Newt Gingrich. New Guard, meet the Old Guard.

Their mission is to "engage with and empower the American people to develop innovative solutions that meet the serious challenges confronting our country. It is the right time (when isn't it the right time?) to begin a thoughtful conversation about the future of this country."

Always looking for fresh faces and input, the NCNA has invited the newest star on the political horizom - Ida. This 47-million year old primate should provide the NCNA with the knowledge gleaned over eons of quiet, thoughtful observations.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jesse Ventura Preys on Sean Hannity

by Jay Allbritton
Put in your contacts, Sean. That's not Alan Colmes.

"The Most Difficult Presidential Incumbent to Defeat in American History"

by Jay Allbritton
On Huffington Post, Dylan Loewe argues that President Obama's weekend appointment of moderate Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, a potential 2012 presidential contender, as Ambassador to China "a masterstroke of political strategy". And he's right, not only did the move eliminate Huntsman, but it also functions as effective outreach to the Mormon community that may feel a bit alienated from the GOP, whose chair says the party's voters will not nominate a Mormon.

In his evaluation of the move, Loewe looks at the landscape for the 2012 election. He makes a very bold claim:
Anyone smart enough, capable enough to compete against Obama is going to be smart enough not to run. When Obama kicks off his re-election campaign, he'll do so with a two million member donor base already in place. He'll do so with over one million volunteers ready to be reactivated. In his first month, he'll likely raise more than $100 million dollars. His re-election will dwarf his first campaign is size and scope, just as his first campaign dwarfed its online fundraising predecessor in Howard Dean. Just with sheer organization, President Obama will be the most difficult presidential incumbent to defeat in American history.
I've always seen Obama as being secure based entirely on the fact that he has absolutely no viable opposition on the horizon. But Loewe is right, Obama's edge is just as much in his campaign machine as it is in the vaporization of moderate Republican challengers.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nostra-Byron-Dorgan-Damus

by Jay Allbritton
I'm not sure when Rick Sanchez became the hammer of the people, but I like it. By the way, he hasn't aged a day since the first time I saw him, hunched over a map of Cuba doing commie-baiting scare shtick on local TV in South Florida. The man is Richard Alpert.

Anyway, in this clip he gives credit to Senator Byron Dorgan for absolutely nailing it in 1999 when he said that in ten years we would look back in regret at the deregulation of credit-default swaps. In fact he argued against the idea as early as 1994. So, none of that no-one-could-have-seen-it-coming garbage.

Monday, May 18, 2009

CQ Shows Us the Rumsfeld We Fully Expected

by Jay Allbritton
CQ's expose of the insane cover pages Donald Rumsfeld allowed to adorn intelligence briefings cements Rumsfeld's place as one of America's all time theocrats, despite the fact that many observers attest that Rummy was not a zealot.

Not only did he fuck up the war, but he completely ignored the spirit of religious freedom in America in what looks like a naked attempt to manipulate an idiotic president. I really didn't think there was any chance this dude could be a bigger fuck-up than I thought he was. Life is full of surprises.

Of course we always knew Rummy was a titanic asshole. The feature Robert Draper wrote that accompanies the briefing covers in CQ is a must read that shows just how deeply disliked this guy was by people who were supposed to be on his side.

A little over three years ago, Rumsfeld was confronted by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern. Here is Countdown's coverage of that priceless moment:



Nicole Sandler, host of the Radio or Not podcast and frequent substitute Air America guest host, recently spoke to McGovern at length. The podcast can be downloaded here.

What Maureen Dowd Wrote When Obama Was Accused of Plagiarism

by Jay Allbritton
Looks like Maureen Dowd stepped on a journalistic landmine--the old email from a friend that works its way, damn near verbatim, into your column. Happens all the time. Problem was that passage was from a post by TPM's Josh Marshall. Oopsie. Marshall won't comment on this, which is nice of him because it really looks like an honest mistake. But it is not a small mistake. This is clearly accidental because she's way too good of a writer to need any help. But it's so bloody unprofessional that her editors should probably shut her down for the summer just for that reason, not to mention that this is the former home of Jason Blair and Judith Miller.

But don't listen to me because I'm not the most sympathetic person when it comes to Dowd. She writes some great stuff and I really like it when she's on TV speaking extemporaneously, but when she injects the physical appearance of her subjects or debunked nonsensical gossip about her subjects into her work, it can have disastrous effects. Her tone during the 2000 presidential campaign was relatively common among members of the media. She was the worst offender when it came to shitting on Al Gore for all the wrong reasons.

However, her coverage of the 2008 election was pretty good. Looking back to her words from February of 2008, is particularly interesting given the current circumstances. Remember when Barack Obama was attacked relentlessly by conservatives, the media and the Clinton campaign for what they were calling plagiarism? Guess who had something to say about it? Maureen Dowd, that's who.

Here's some of what Dowd wrote (I assume):
Doin’ it her way, Hillary huffed to reporters on her plane: “If your whole candidacy is about words, they should be your own words.”

I guess that means if your whole candidacy is anti-words, you don’t have to use your own words.

The Clintons are known political cat burglars. They pilfered Republican jewels in the ’90s, and Hillary has purloined as much as she can stuff in her pantsuit from her husband and Barack Obama.

She changed to Change. She co-opted “It’s time to turn the page” and “Fired up and ready to go.” She couldn’t wait to shoplift the words “yes” and “can” from Obama’s trademark “Yes, we can!” — (which he appropriated from Cesar Chavez) — even though she was cagey enough to put them in separate slogans, “Yes, we will!” and “Americans still have that can-do spirit.”

Bill, master thief, got in on the act, too. After Obama said that his election would tell the world that America is back, Bill said that Hillary’s election would tell the world that America is back.

Although the only solid voting bloc in Wisconsin Hillary seemed to get was women over 60 years old, she did seem happy that the press had “finally,” as she put it, scrutinized him. America’s pretty boy was getting muddied up.

The Clinton camp has spent days trying to undermine Obama’s chief asset, the elegant language that has sparked a generational boom.

“We’re seeing a pattern here,” Hillary enforcer Howard Wolfson said, in a conference call with reporters Tuesday. Yeah, we are. She’s losing, and looking for anything to bruise Obama.

Obama swiped a couple distinctive riffs about words and aspirations — his supposed specialty — from his pal Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts, thereby violating the new cardinal rule not only of politics but of life: Don’t do anything you don’t want to see on the top favorites of YouTube.
RealClearPolitics blogger Tom Bevan wonders if a conservative like Charles Krauthammer had lifted Marshall's work, would Marshall be willing to comment then? The passage in question says:
More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when we were looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.
If Krauthammer had lifted that passage, we would all be worried about hiding from alien bodysnatchers, not petty cut-and-paste malpractice.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

President Obama's Commencement Speech at Notre Dame

by Jay Allbritton
President Obama reached back for some campaign mojo today for his commencement address at Notre Dame.
UPDATE: Bloggers, remember to always check your embeds, especially from YouTube, there are people out there who will post a clip claiming it's one thing, for example: this speech, then halfway in they sneak attack with disgusting propaganda. Not on my watch, mother bitches!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Riddle Me This, Gibbs...

by Jay Allbritton
Fellow Politics Daily blogger and occasional IST contributor Tommy Christopher got in a couple of very good questions in at a White House press briefing last week. I especially liked the way he drew a connection between the President's willingness to withhold torture pictures because doing so will endanger the troops with the President's unwillingness to stop the firing of gays in the military, especially gay interpreters, despite the fact that failure to do so will also endanger the troops.



Tommy's post about the exchange at PD can be read here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"This Amateurish Technique is Harmful to our Long-term Interests"

by Jay Allbritton
Ali Soufan, a former FBI interrogator, who testified at Wednesday’s Senate subcommittee hearing about why "enhanced" interrogation techniques, explains why those techniques were amateurish and harmful to our country's interests.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just what could go wrong here?

by Russ Weiss
The NY Times reported yesterday that Boy Scouts in Imperial, California are being trained to "confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence." Methinks someone has been running Red Dawn on a continuous loop far too long!

"The training, which leaders say is not intended to be applied outside the simulated Explorer setting, can involve chasing down illegal border crossers as well as more dangerous situations that include facing down terrorists and taking out "active shooters" like those who bring gunfire and death to college campuses."

Which reminded me that Tim McVeigh was a registered Republican, Army veteran, security guard and former Boy Scout. McVeigh was also a 2nd Amendment advocate, took guns to school to impress classmates and read Soldier of Fortune magazine.

Yeah, what go possibly go wrong here?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Explaining Cheney

by Jay Allbritton
Dick Cheney's recent behavior has been so strange that everyone has a theory about why this guy is self-destructing before our eyes. Oliver Willis sarcastically attributes Cheney's behavior, which now includes speaking out on EFCA, to a secret desire to help Democrats.

My theory is that he's doing what an awful poker player does. He goes over the top every hand no matter what cards he has. Right now he's looking at this:

Then flapping his flippers and squacking, "Meh, I'm all in, meh!"

Republicans Off and Running in Florida Senate Race

by Jay Allbritton
Marco Rubio released his first official ad, which firmly places Governor Charlie Crist in President Obama's lap.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Worst. Fake. Media. Ambush. EVER!

by Jay Allbritton
Bill O'Reilly sent his producer to ambush Janeane Garofalo, she promptly deals with him.



Tommy Christopher has a broader look at the ongoing back and forth between Janeane and the boys at Fox.

Jesse Ventura Wants To Enroll Dick Cheney in Swimming Lessons

by Jay Allbritton
Larry King had Jesse Ventura by the set to pull on his suspenders for the hour! Speaking of torture, Jesse had a few keen ideas about some quality time, a waterboard and the former Vice President.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The New Bullshit--President Obama Wants Capitalism to Fail

by Jay Allbritton
Dr. Monkey has some thoughts that I tend to agree with on why the happiest people in the world seem to live in godless nations with tax rates.

So, since we're in an economic freefall--at least, depending on who you ask--the newest GOP talking point, already pinging around the echo chamber and out the pie-hole of Rush Limbaugh, is that Obama is raising unemployment on purpose so that we can become more socialistic. Though the study linked above indactes that would make most of us happier, I somehow doubt that the President has any plans of trying to get re-elected with ten to twelve percent unemployment. Thanks for playing, schmucks.

What is truly annoying about this meme is that just two days after being flambayed by Wanda Sykes for saying he hopes the President fails, Limbaugh is now propping up a deranged conspiracy theory that has the President himself somehow hoping to fail in order to usher in socialism.

This kind of thing makes it very difficult for me to feel any sympathy for Limbaugh just because a comedian called him out for his shitty attitude with some highly inappropriate 9/11 "humor". God forbid anyone should give this asshole a small taste of what he dishes out daily.

Still, for as cutting as Sykes may have tried to be, the sharpest moment of the night in my opinion, the joke with some real animosity behind it, was when President Obama called out Michael Steele. The subtle jab was played off by Steele as "good love," but the President's demeanor carried a great deal of racial subtext that I'm not capable of articulating.



At the end of the joke-cluster, Obama told Steele that Rush Limbaugh did not qualify as a troubled asset. And Steele laughed. Oh yes. It's on tape. How long before Steele apologizes to Rush for that?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Comedian In Chief

by Unconventional Conventionist
He's hilarious! And not in that "Hillary" hilarious kinda way until a way bit into the monologue.




Continues! [He get's serious near the end, and so will I, but still, watch.]



The guy has charm and wit all over the place. The country's favorable/unfavorable numbers are all moving in the right direction, save for those few dinosaurs who just can't cope.

"Tone At The Top" is a subject that I think is really overlooked, and Obama does it very well. Bush? HAHAHAHAHA! Puh-LEASE.

There's just a few things Mr. O, that you need to REALLY pay attention to. The whole "torture" thing and especially the whole "states secrets" thing. You didn't get to them in your funny business, but they remain funny business.

Step up and do the right thing on both issues.

Yes, You can.

TAGS: , , ,

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Then Bush Said to Obama, "That Guy's a Piece of Work, Isn’t He?"

by Jay Allbritton
Ken Layne at Wonkette has a funny snip from President Obama's second book The Audacity of Hope. In this anecdote newly elected Senator Obama tells the story of his first face-to-face encounter with freshly re-elected President Bush, who gives Obama sage advice and commiserates with the newbie over a common political foe. It's [spoiler alert] Alan Keyes.

Here's a look back at Dubya's debate performance in 2000 against Alan Keyes and John McCain, moderated by Larry King. This is some serious bullshit:


Friday, May 08, 2009

Director of White House Military Affairs Resigns Over Manhattan Flyover Debacle

by Jay Allbritton
When the unbelievably stupid not-Air Force One fly over/photo-op of Manhattan happened Director of White House Military Affairs Louis Caldera, said he took full responsibility for the fuck-up. That sounded a lot like previous massive fuck-ups in which someone in the government, up to and including current and former presidents, takes responsibility, then no one in the government so much as mentions it again, much less resigns. So, the fact that Caldera resigned today shouldn't pass without some kind of acknowledgment that the bar has been raised on government accountability to the minimum acceptable level.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Party of One

by Jay Allbritton
The boss of the incredible shrinking Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, invited Colin Powell to hit the road. "What Colin Powell needs to do is close the loop and become a Democrat, instead of claiming to be a Republican interested in reforming the Republican Party. He's not. He's a full-fledged Democrat," Limbaugh said.

Even I'm starting to cringe at the woeful state of the Republican Party. This is such a selfish mov3e by Limbaugh. It clearly benefits Democrats, Limbaugh and maybe even Powell at the expense of the what's left of the Republican Party.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are managing to look less divided than they actually are. President Obama's most brilliant move as a politician was to gravitate to the center of his own, suddenly bloated, party. His politics truly are the politics of bipartisanship, but it's the bi-partisanship of the DLC and the progressive caucus. By putting the center there, he has reinstated the true center of American politics. I will not be surprised if the Democratic Party splits when the unifying force of his presidency is removed.

Then the era of the Bull Moose begins, anew.

I'm Obsessed With Pennsylvania Senate Race

by Jay Allbritton
First of all, I have got to stop giving a crap about a Senate race that's 18 months off. Having said that, the latest Kos/Research 2000 poll shows Pat Toomey comfortably ahead of Tom Ridge. Huh? I mean, that makes perfect sense, but it goes against a poll out two days ago that showed Ridge crushing Toomey.

Assuming the new poll is accurate, then order has been restored to the universe. Arlen Specter read the Republican electorate in Pennsylvania correctly--they have moved to the right, so much so that even a popular Pennsylvania Republican like Ridge could beat the ultra-con Toomey.

It looks like the polls are academic; Ridge is not running.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Sessions to Replace Specter as Ranking Member of Senate Judiciary Committee

by Jay Allbritton
Rachel Maddow looks back at the harrowing past of the Republican Senator, Jeff Sessions, that will replace Arlen Specter as the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This committee determines whether President Obama's nominee to replace outgoing Supreme Court Justice David Souter gets an up or down vote for confirmation before the full Senate.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Next Up: Glenn Greenwald

by Jay Allbritton
President Obama and Paul Krugman had an off the record dinner conversation. That makes me feel a lot better. The President has mentioned numerous times that he did not want to get caught up in the White House bubble, but it may not be possible for the president to completely avoid the bubble effect of the presidency. Sitting face-to-face with Krugman is a great way of penetrating that bubble. Krugman has gone to great lengths not to talk about the meeting, omitting all mention of it from his blog until today when he wrote, "Andrew Leonard and Calculated Risk want to know why I didn't blog about dinner at the White House. Um, because the conversation was off the record."

That call for a dedication: here's "Loose Lips" by Kimya Dawson:

Politics is Easy, Comedy is Hard

by Jay Allbritton
I know that Arlen Specter feels obligated to look independent in light of his recent party switch, but dropping some hard boiled rhetoric about the courts doing justice by seating Norm Coleman is areal good way to talk Democratic voters into voting against his ass (and the rest of him) in the Democratic primary.

David Kurtz makes the arguement that Specter was kidding. That's a very good possibility. You know is not kidding? Rep. Joe Sestak, Specter's likely opponent in a Democratic primary, is who. Here he is making his case:



On the other side of the equation, a new poll shows Tom Ridge leading Pat Toomey 60-23. Conventional wisdom was that the enourmouslead Toomey held over Specter was due to the Republican electorate moving far to the right. Ridge, however, is far more moderate than Toomey. Maybe this whole thing comes down to this--Pennsylvania's just not that into him.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Could You Imagine the Look on Scalia's Face?

by Jay Allbritton
Hendrik Hertzberg argues that Al Gore should be appointed to the Supreme Court.

The biggest objection to putting Al Gore on the Supreme Court, I assume, would be that he’s not a lawyer. But is this really a bug rather than a feature? Gore spent sixteen years in Congress, where he helped make the laws, and eight as Vice-President, where he took care that the laws were faithfully executed. His perspective would fill some giant blind spots on the present Court, which is made up entirely of former federal appeals-court judges who have little or no political experience, have never been elected to anything, and have a strikingly narrow experience of life in general.

A law degree is probably a helpful credential, all other things being equal, for a trial judge or an appeals-court judge. But it is far from essential in a Justice of the Supreme Court. The heart of a Justice’s job is interpreting and applying the Constitution, and for that things like a knowledge of history (including Constitutional history), a feel for the workings of government, a strong moral sense, an ability to think and write clearly, and a temperamental affinity for the long view—all of which Gore has in spades—are much more important than a professional familiarity with the details of contract or case law. Gore would make a superb addition to the Court. And, of course, it is pleasant to imagine the opportunity his appointment would afford the four remaining members of the Bush v. Gore junta, especially Antonin “Get Over It” Scalia, to contemplate and, perhaps, repent of their sins.

You would be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of Al Gore than I. But Gore--who would probably balk at the offer--is too big for the Supreme Court. Gore's job in politics is to evangelize on behalf of the environment. For every poisonous South Park broadside against him, there's a class full of students at every level that now takes the environment seriously.

As Hertzberg points out in his article, picking Gore would mean sacrificing longevity. Gore's not an old man, but you could expect decades more tenure from another selection. I'm willing to take the trade if President Obama decides the country needs Justice Gore. But like Hertzberg, I believe it's very unlikely.

Jeb in '12?

by Jay Allbritton
Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast foresees a Jeb Bush run for president in 2012. I think her logic makes sense, but I think Jeb is smart enough to know that his real shot is in 2016, when a lot of the Bush dynasty talk would be muted by the high likelihood that his most likely Democratic opponent would be Hillary Clinton. Of course, all bets are off shoud President Obama's popularity take a hit between now and mid-2011.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Jon Stewart or: Dr. Strangelove Full Title Reference

by Scientist
Last week during a discussion on U.S. interrogation practices with Cliff May of the "Foundation for the Defense of Democracies [sic]" Jon Stewart said that he believed President Harry Truman was a war criminal for authorizing the use of two atomic bombs over Japan. Two days later Stewart called for a do-over on the issue and called it a "stupid thing to say." Is it stupid? The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ultimately killed about 220,000, the majority of which were civilians. It seems pretty clear cut right? I say we all write our elected officials to get this Stewart guy off the air. Maybe it's time we let those with conservative tendencies have their go at comedy news (see "The 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour"). On second thought maybe Stewart's on to something and we should embrace the complexity. Keeping in mind that complexity often doesn't hug back.

Is Mr. Truman a war criminal? Legally a war crime includes the "wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, and any devastation not justified by military, or civilian necessity." To be sure historians over the past six decades have debated whether the atomic bombings were a "military necessity." The landscape of the debate (see this for a nice survey) includes the number of U.S. casualties following a land invasion of Japan, the leanings of Emperor Hirohito towards a surrender prior to August 1945, and the ability of Japan to maintain meaningful defense through the end of 1945, the weight placed by the Truman administration on anticipated post-war diplomacy with the Soviets; just to name a few. If he'd been taken to court my guess is that Truman would have been found not-guilty shortly after the Chicago Tribune headline "Truman Found Guilty" was published.

So it's debatable whether Mr. Truman did or did not commit a war crime. Maybe it was just a boring old regular crime. The kind of crime you shrug your shoulders about, say "that's some fucked up shit" and thank The Hague you won. What's that? Not ratified? Sweet.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Don't Let Your Kids Anywhere Near This Guy

by Jay Allbritton
Pam Spalding of the blog Pandagon sounds the alarm about abstinence shill Keith Deltano. This is the first time I've seen this mark-ass buster's routine, and I must say, he rockets up the charts of frauds operating in bad faith. Watch as he blatantly lies about the effectiveness of condoms, then holds a cinderblock over the nads of a bound teenager. He also busts a rhyme, which is about as authentic as his stats about condoms.

Friday, May 01, 2009

So Long, Souter

by Jay Allbritton
Supreme Court Justice David Souter's retirement, reportedly, will occur at the end of the court's current term. Two things about Souter, a fairly reliable liberal vote on the closely divided court, I am extremely grateful for:
  • He did not feel compelled to share the ideology of the president who nominated him
  • He didn't retire last year
Souter is rather young for a Supreme Court Justice. He's not even 70 yet, making him the youngest liberal on the court. Justice John Paul Stevens is 89. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 76. Stephen Breyer is 70.

Craig Crawford has an interesting article about Souter's independent streak rearing it's head at his confirmation hearings.

According to Jefferey Toobin (via Wikipedia), Souter was profoundly changed by Bush v. Gore:
Toughened, or coarsened, by their worldly lives, the other dissenters could shrug and move on, but Souter couldn’t. His whole life was being a judge. He came from a tradition where the independence of the judiciary was the foundation of the rule of law. And Souter believed Bush v. Gore mocked that tradition. His colleagues’ actions were so transparently, so crudely partisan that Souter thought he might not be able to serve with them anymore. Souter seriously considered resigning. For many months, it was not at all clear whether he would remain as a justice. That the Court met in a city he loathed made the decision even harder. At the urging of a handful of close friends, he decided to stay on, but his attitude toward the Court was never the same. There were times when David Souter thought of Bush v. Gore and wept.
Seems like it's not a far leap to say that Souter decided in the wake of Bush v. Gore that he would not allow the beneficiary of the case he considered to be nothing short of the bane of American Justice to fill his seat on the court. I find that deeply touching.

It's way too early to start predicting who the White House will choose. I think it's almost politically mandatory that a woman get the next seat. I only ask that when the administration makes its choice that they take a look at the person's tax records with the Hubble Telescope. After Daschle, Geithner and several other fully or partially botched nominations, the White House has to show that it can vet properly.

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