SocraticGadfly: 2/22/09 - 3/1/09

February 28, 2009

A-Roid now lies about his lies

Alex Rodriguez is now claiming part of why he stopped taking steroids after 2003 was a serious neck injury he said he had that year (about halfway down the story), which he also, conveniently, didn’t tell the Texas Rangers about.

BUT, per, A-Roid missed just one game that year, and won his first MVP.

Update, per comment: In a comment, Joe says A-Roid did have a neck injury in 2003. Says the stRangers shut him down for more than a week.

But, as he notes, this was spring training.

First, did he lie about how this scared him off using steroids that year, since he tested positive in 2003?

Second, did he lie about claiming NOT tell the stRangers about it?


Yes and yes.

Joe didn't leave any more comment in the post, so I don't know if he was just shedding factual light or he's an A-Roid shill.

Oh, beyond that, speaking as a long-time Cards fan, Joe? When I hear serious neck injury, I think Chris Duncan, or Larry Walker before that.

If this is the neck injury A-Roid meant, did he lie about it being serious?

You know my answer.

Running again our latest poll, A-Roid vs. “Buy That Man an Orchidometer” Barry Bonds:

Free polls from
Which player do you dislike more?
Barry Bonds Alex Rodriguez   

Buffett – my derivates don’t stink

Warren Buffett tells Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, in essence, “invest as I say, not as I do,” as he tries defending his own company’s investing in what he famously once called “financial weapons of mass destruction.”

Obama – prayer-vetter in chief

The White House doing advance vetting of invocations before ceremonial events is wrong on so many different First Amendment and other levels I don’t even know where to begin.

Plus, it won’t work as a “bipartisanship outreach” to the Religious Right if part of the reason for vetting the prayers is to keep them from being too faith-specific, or otherwise politically incorrect.

(Or to keep them from praying that, in a riff on the Lord’s Prayer, President Obama would not only deliver us from evil, but “lead us not further into Afghanistan

Plastic bag tax in Texas?

Even if Texas state Rep. Rafael Anchia’s seven-cent plastic bag tax fails in the Texas Legislature, nonetheless, it’s a sign of Lone Star environmental progress for it just to get a respectful consideration.

That said, I don’t favor state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte’s idea of a more voluntary plan, where plastic-bagging retailers would have to offer alternative reusable bags and recycling bins.

Of course, Wal-Mart supports this idea, and not only because it has recycling in place. Nobody besides real environmentalists like me use its front-doot plastic bag drops, and it charges, it sells, reusable bags.

The world’s largest retailer does NOT want to pay a seven-cent-a-bag tax at all.

Anchia has introduced Van de Putte’s bill in the Texas House as “Plan B.”

I disagree with that, both tactically and strategically.

You never introduce Plan B until Plan A is exhausted.

And, Plan B isn’t really much of a plan.

WaPost ombudsman has backhanded non-defense of George Will

Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander resorts to hack journalism to attempt a defense of George Will’s ax-grinding anti-global warming column of Feb. 15.

If you read through Alexander’s own column, you’ll see him trot out the following claims:

1. Moral equivalence between global warming recognizers and deniers (putting “falsehoods” in scare quotes is a good tip-off);
2. Scientific equivalence between the two (putting “falsehoods” in scare quotes is a good tip-off).

Yet, he ultimately can’t do it.

He says he believes WaPost op-ed staff (that’s YOU, Fred Hiatt, ultimately) are simply wrong in asserting, and continuing to assert, that Will’s claims about polar ice levels are supported by the Arctic Research Climate Center. He also notes that somebody should have called the center before Will’s column ran.

Let’s see Hiatt answer this.

‘Touching’ Morning News editorial ignores natl healthcare boat

The Dallas Morning News today had a touching editorial on the fatherly dedication of David Cameron to his son, Ivan, afflicted with cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

David Cameron also just happens to be the leader of Britain’s Conservative Party. As a result of all the time spent with his son, he would…

Strengthen Britain’s National Health Service if he came to power.

And, the editorial ends shortly thereafter, with a “silence gives assent,” it would appear, nod toward Cameron’s plan.

The same week that President Barack Obama announces a plan for a major overhaul in American healthcare, at least moving our country toward national healthcare, sure to generate GOP opposition…

And the Snooze either cannot or will not do a second-grade logic level of connecting the dots to its tacit support for the leader of Britain’s conservatives in expanding national healthcare there.

February 27, 2009

Why does Rick Perry hate the unemployed?

We know he doesn’t believe in evolution, by some of the company he keeps, so he can’t believe that people are unemployed due to Social Darwinism.

Maybe, like some of his Religious Right friends, he believes in the success gospel, in prosperity theology, and so he thinks they’re cursed.

It’s clear, though, that he, along with fellow Southern Republican wingnut governors, hates the unemployed.

Let’s hope the 2010 elections give him a reason to hate himself.

And, if state unemployment eligibility rules get nationalized in the process, GREAT!

Will Obama actually get us out of Iraq?

Short answer? Maybe. With more of the standing caveats.

You have to scroll almost all the way to the end of the NYT story to read the caveats, hedges, or whatever:
Representative John M. McHugh of New York, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said Mr. Obama had reassured him that he would revisit the plan if circumstances changed.(My emphasis.)

Remember, during the Democratic primaries, Obama’s withdrawal statements were always much more blanket-like in nature.

Then, in the general election, he started hedging his bets. He said his decisions were contingent on military advice, etc.

That said, NOTHING has changed in Iraq in the last 48-72 hours to change military advices.

What HAS happened is that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have kicked Obama in the shins. If nothing else, this is cover for the midterm elections.

People who claim otherwise don't know how to read political tea leaves, or the fine print in newspaper stories, either.

Besides, even if he does remove all troops from Iraq, will he remove them from the Middle East?

I certainly hope I'm wrong. But, I'm not holding my breath.

SCATblogging the Obama stimulus plan

All of you who doubt my Friday SCATblogging genius at snarkily one-upping catblogging will now have to think again! Seneca County (Ohio) Agency Transportation, or SCAT, hopes to get Obama stimulus money for three vehicles and a new dispatch system.

And, this ain’t just SCAT change, either. It’s $1.225 million the agency seeks.

More seriously, read the full story for how one relatively small-population northern Ohio county is already trying to get its ducks in a row to try to land the extra federal largesse.

Always check ratings and more on apartments

Now that my current landlord has increased the check-out liability period from one month to two (recession should be BETTER for apts with housing bubble burst, so it ain’t needed) AND dinged me a fine on something not totally my fault, and a mental slip to the degree it was,

ALWAYS… visit apartment ratings sites before leasing. And believe them.

Not to name names, but, if you’re looking at 212 W. Wintergreen Road in DeSoto, suburban Dallas, Texas, do investigate first.

Axis of climate evil, anyone?

Well, now we know just how opposed the Bush Administration was to real science, with word it was one of four countries to oppose the insertion of an illustrative graphic in a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The other three?

Russia, China and Saudi Arabia.

Axis of climate evil, anyone?

Judd Gregg already had some ‘commerce’ going

It looks like some conflict of interest potentials, or worse, over he and his brother dipping their hands into taxpayer money to help fund some sweetheart real estate deals is why he really didn’t want to be Obama’s Commerce Secretary.

The potential problems reportedly turned up during White House vetting. Team Obama had already had Big Bill Richardson get shot down over a pay-to-play issue, and had Tim Geithner and Tom Daschle raise the tax issue, so, Gregg stood not a snowball’s chance in the Senate, I’ll guess.

And, this wasn’t minor stuff.

Read the full story to see how Judd funneled more than $65 million of federal money to help his brother, Cyrus, redevelop a shuttered Air Force base. In exchange, Judd got some nice investment money off Cyrus’ company.

World turmoil to follow recession?

Michael Klare raises some scary but realistic thoughts about a possible rise in revolts and riots — already happening revolts and riots in a number of places — if the current recession bites hard.

Problem area No. 1? Petrostates, of course. Gulf sheiks, West African dictators, and South American New Peronists all fell in love with $140/bbl oil last summer. Well, knock off a digit; it’s now $40/bbl. Klare spells out specific ways in which crimped spending in these countries could be problematic.

Problem area No. 2? Sub-Saharan Africa. Foreign aid from the developed world will be cut back, and, when oil prices start bouncing back up, probably won’t respond quickly enough. Certainly, special programs such as funding various projects to “green” this part of the world will get their funding cut.

Problem area No. 3? Spillover points, where these problems run along international borders, at times compounded with other problems. Think Kashmir and Iran/Iraq for starters. In other cases, it may be internal, as in Bolivia.

If you follow Peak Oil issues much, you know Klare. Read the whole article.

Obama full of hot air on CEO pay and tax reform?

Ted Rall notes that, behind the faux “cap” on CEO pay, mock outrage pours a new glass of Kool-Aid for Obamiacs while diverting his administration away from acting on what the real outrage is that his mock populism tries to cover up.

He also says that the cap itself, if real and not faux, would extend a few levels of executives deeper than I actually does.

On taxes, some Democrats note that Obama’s tax bill still has too many loopholes for the rich. BUT… which rich?

The ones like those at Goldman Sachs, Obama’s No. 1 contributor for most the election cycle?

That said, even Democrats haven’t made enough noise about regulatory reform of the financial system.

February 26, 2009

GOP full of it on small biz claims

From the claim against President Obama’s proposed tax bill that most small businesses would be hurt by it to the old, now renewed claim that small businesses are the engine of American job creation, the GOP is simply full of it.

For small businesses whose owners file under personal income taxes, 95 percent will fall below the $250K cutoff for bumping taxes up.

As for job creation? Many small biz are solo partnerships, like lawyers or real estate agents who work at home without even a secretary.

Of small biz that do create other jobs? Remember, an independent McDonald’s franchisee or Dollar General store is a small biz. Is that the type of jobs we want to make up the bulk of new American jobs?

Finally, while small businesses may indeed create many new jobs, about 1 in 3 fail after a year; a second 1 in 3 within 3-5 years.

So, small businesses are also the greatest job destroyer in America.

The GOP will never tell you that, though.

Wondering aloud about the no-work Texas Lege

Does the 140 days of its session include all the days off it takes? It's like almost every week is a four-day work week.

I don't ever want to hear a state politician talking again about Members of Congress taking off so much.

Dear Bobby Jindal – it’s called Google

You might try fact-checking yourself before your next big speech, lest somebody else does it later.

Question to you, Mr. Governor: Did you deliberately choose the Sheriff Lee story because you figured that, since he died in 2007, you could get away with a whopper like this?

And, why, when the GOP and RNC Michael Steele claims the party needs to get with it, technology-wise, does it continue to have prominent members trip themselves up with falsehoods that are so easily checked online?

Here’s 25 random Cardinal thoughts for you

Visit Yahoo for the link.

Obama plans to cut Big Ag subsidies

President Barack Obama wants to put a $500,000 income cap on farm subsidies and phase out direct payments to the largest farms as part of his new budget.

Amen to that.

Now, if Farm Belt state governments would only follow suit and stop giving the Monsantos of the world tax credits.

Poetic thoughts while waiting for Joan Baez (extended play)

I wrote the following poem while waiting to meet a friend of mine who had tickets for Joan Baez’s Dallas concert Feb.24. This is an “extended play” of an earlier version.

Halfway sellout
Real liberals of another era
Trying to recapture
Cash-on-demand nostalgia
For the price of admission.
I don’t sign every petition
And I don’t avoid Wal-Mart every day of the year.
But, if I asked you,
Mr. ’60s – and Mr. ’90s corner office – were good to me,
What all is in your IRA?
Or your company’s 401,
Or if you ever tried to get it to divest
Some of the stocks you suspect it might have,
What would you say?
I don’t have a corner office.
Or a 401(k).
Or an IRA.
But, as much as possible,
I still own my own brand.

Old man, take a look at my life,
You could be like I am.
When did you trade your life identity
For your job identity?
You and your fellow yuppies,
The not-yet-digested piglet
Stuck in the gullet of the American python.
Oh, yes, you played with greed
After you quit playing with grass,
And greed swallowed you,
Far more than the grass ever did.

No, old man, on second thought,
DON’T take a look at my life.
Indirectly, you’re already screwing it up enough,
Trying to turn the Me Generation
Into the Me Millennium.

Old man, get away from me.
I don’t wanna be like you are.

Public – NO more auto bailout spending

Per a new Gallup poll, nearly three-quarters of Americans oppose spending more money to bail out the U.S. auto industry.

Opposition is highest among the young, conservatives and Republicans.

February 25, 2009

Non-combat troops in Iraq WILL SEE COMBAT

OK, now that the facts are in that the word “non-combatant” doesn’t mean Jack:
Some of the U.S. forces likely to remain in Iraq after President Barack Obama fulfills his pledge to withdraw combat troops would still have a combat role fighting suspected terrorists, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Let me spell it out for you Kool-Aid drinking Obamiacs:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that a holdover, or "residual," force would number in the tens of thousands.

His spokesman said Wednesday that assuming there is such a force, it would have three primary functions: Training and helping Iraqi forces; protecting Americans and U.S. assets in Iraq and limited counterterrorism operations in which Iraqi forces would take the lead.

On the signature issue that got him the Democratic nomination (even with Hillary’s campaign management schwaffles, she still would have won, otherwise) …
“I think a limited number of those that remain will conduct combat operations against terrorists, assisting Iraqi security forces,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. “By and large you’re talking about people who we would classify as enablers, support troops.”

He’s a fucking liar.
“We are now carefully reviewing our policies in both wars, and I will soon announce a way forward in Iraq that leaves Iraq to its people and responsibly ends this war,” Obama said in his address to Congress on Tuesday.


Non-combatants will conduct combat operations.

Enablers? That’s any Obamiacs who are going to try to claim down is up now that the cat is fully and officially out of the bag.

SCOTUS: Government can play religious favorites

That’s the bottom line from Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling that, just because a Utah city, Pleasant Grove City, has a donated Ten Commandments display, it doesn’t have to allow similar religious monuments from other groups.

Justice Samuel Alito even recognized the danger:
He acknowledged that government ownership of monuments cannot be “sed (as) a subterfuge for favoring certain private speakers over others based on viewpoint.”

Maybe it cannot legally, but it can in actuality. And it will be.

SCOTUS ruled unanimously in overturning the Tenth Circuit Court of Appleals.

Summum, the religious group filing the suit, vowed to carry on the legal battle.

That said, is Summum a nutbar group?


Is the First Amendment supposed to allow government to legally pick and choose whether it can define a group as nutbar or not, directly or indirectly?


At least, that’s the way I read it.

Now, over at Washington Monthly, some post commentators say the Supremes did not have a choice, since when Summum appealed from Utah to federal court jurisdiction, it only did so on the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment and NOT the Establishment Clause.

Well, SCOTUS, both in allegedly "liberal activist" and "conservative" majorities, has gone beyond the remit of the grounds of argument of a case at district and appellate levels before. Does not happen a lot. But, it has been done.

If nothing else, Souter could have mentioned more Establishment Clause issues in his separately filed concurrence.

Or, the Court could have done that en banc, while not actually arguing the Estblishment Clause itself, by taking the step of remanding the case back down, with explicit instructions to litigate the Establishment Clause.

As for the way it was actually argued: who becomes/is responsible for the monument's maintenance when the owner dies? And many similar questions.

The Amerikan creative genius… or is it?

Conor Clark rightly calls Obama out on his false claims that Americans invented the automobile and solar technology.

This is why I do not watch the SOTU by presidents of either party. Boosterism. Ugh.

Hero pilot ‘Sully’ wrong on airline dereg

Hero pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger told a House subcommittee yesterday airline deregulation was driving pilots like him from the cockpit.


Not so fast, there, sir.

Airline deregulation allows middle-class Joes like me (no Jane at home with me) to fly cross-country in coach for less than $400, often less than $300. Pre dereg, adjusted for inflation, I’d be paying $1,000 a ducat or so.

Therefore, lower-end middle-class Joes like me wouldn’t be flying. Airlines would then run fewer flights.

And, pilots wouldn’t have cockpits to vacate in the first place.

At Dallas City Hall, Leppert groans while Hunt smiles?

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert said a few days ago he was unhappy with the Army Corps of Engineering for its allegedly slow pace on checking the quality of Trinity River levees.

Well, now that the Corps has found major levee problems, ones too big for even Perot money, or John Wiley Price shakedown best buddies, to fix, he’s probably wishing he’d kept his big mouth shut.

The report also found recent stupidities, like the new Dallas County Jail’s basement being dug into a levee.

Leppert tried to spin the findings vis-à-vis the Trinity toll road, but even supporters aren’t buying:
Michael Morris, director of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments and one of the road's top supporters, said the news could eventually mean a halt to the toll-road work.

“It's a big deal,” he said.

And critics of the roadway, including Dallas City Council member Angela Hunt, who in late 2007 led an unsuccessful ballot initiative to take the four-and-six-lane toll road out of the Trinity River Corridor, say the findings ought to be red flags.
“What’s it going to take to get them to give up on this road?” Hunt said. “We already have an unsafe levee system, even without pouring tens of millions of tons of concrete into our floodway.”

More than this, Angela, more than this.

You were around a decade ago. You know the lies by deception of not mentioning a toll road in the original bond vote.

And, Tom? I’d just drop that idea of taking over DISD until you get your own house in more order.

The economic crack-up WAS bipartisan

In vetting the claims in President Obama’s State of the Union address, the Washington Post takes him to the fact-checking woodshed on a couple of issues.

One of them was his subtle, or not-so-subtle dig at the GOP, attempting to lay all the blame for the current economic situation at its feet.

Guess B.O. didn’t want to throw the name of his own “economic czar,” Larry Summers, into that mix now, did he?

The Larry Summers who, as Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, pushed so hard for financial dereg in general? Or the folks like Sen.-Banking, Chris Dodd, or Sen-MBNA, now Veep-Stanford Investments, Joe Biden, who were okey-dokey with loosening the reins of federal regulatory oversight, right?

I’ve said in the past and will say again, my rule-of-thumb blame-assigning on this issue is 2/3 Republican, 1/3 Democratic.

We don’t torture? Do we?

So, why did the “we don’t torture” line in Obama’s State of the Union address get so much GOP applause?

Given his administration’s ambiguous-at-best, temporizing-at-worse stance on Guantanamo- and rendition-related issues, I don’t believe his “We don’t torture” claim.

Given the injuries of former Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed, beaten up to the day of his release to Britain – the day AFTER the What-a-gon’s claims – empiricial evidence also says otherwise.

Why did that get so much GOP applause, anyway? Does the Congressional GOP have a sense Obama will strongly oppose the Leahy-Conyers “truth and reconciliation” drive? Will he try to eviscerate such a bill in Congress? Will he have AG Holder ignore it if passed? Would he even dare veto such a bill?

More on Obama’s non-SOTU State of the Union speech

B grade overall; less than that on content

Sorry to Mike Madden as well as Josh Marshall and others. It’s always been called SOTU for previous first-year presidents.

Weirdly, the Dallas Morning News Sunday weekly TV insert called it SOTU, but its daily prime-time programming list on Tuesday didn’t.

That said, from what I’ve read about it (I was at a Joan Baez concert!), and my overall impressions of Obama already, I’d give it a straight B. Better than that on delivery, a bit lower on content.

I don’t believe his claims that his proposed housing bailout bill will distinguish “underwater” honest buyers from spec buyers, because it has no mechanism to do that! (And, I’m far from the only person to point that out.)

Nor, given his administration’s ambiguous-at-best, temporizing-at-worse stance on Guantanamo- and rendition-related issues, do I believe his “We don’t torture” claim.

Why did that get so much GOP applause, anyway? Does the Congressional GOP have a sense Obama will strongly oppose the Leahy-Conyers “truth and reconciliation” drive? Will he try to eviscerate such a bill in Congress? Will he have AG Holder ignore it if passed? Would he even dare veto such a bill?

Beyond that, Obama’s subtle, or not-so-subtle, attempt at GOP-only blame-casting for the financial excesses of this decade gets taken to the fact-checking woodshed by the Washington Post.

Guess B.O. didn’t want to throw the name of his own “economic czar,” Larry Summers, into that mix now, did he?

Note to George Will about global warming

Not only was your column of a week ago deliberately and deceitfully wrong, polar ice cap melting is getting worse. It’s speeding up. Arctic ice last year was at its lowest recorded level ever, and signs of Antarctic warming are increasing.

Poetic thoughts while waiting for Joan Baez

I wrote the following poem while waiting to meet a friend of mine who had tickets for Joan Baez’s Dallas concert.

Halfway sellout
Real liberals of another era
Trying to recapture
Cash-on-demand nostalgia
For the price of admission.
I don’t sign every petition
And I don’t avoid Wal-Mart every day of the year.
But, if I asked you,
Mr. ’60s – and Mr. ’90s corner office – were good to me,
What all is in your IRA?
Or your company’s 401,
Or if you ever tried to get it to divest
Some of the stocks you suspect it might have,
What would you say?
I don’t have a corner office.
Or a 401(k).
Or an IRA.
But, as much as possible,
I still own my own brand.

The latest from the ‘Toyota could do it again’ department

Can you picture a hybrid with a body made from seaweed-derived plastics? Toyota can.

So, tell me, why should we pound $30 million of sand down the rathole of GM’s bunghole?

More reasons not to send more troops to A-stan

Ted Rall has a whole laundry list.

There’s no guarantee it will do anything about opium/heroin production.

Our troops may actually be the cause to, not the solution for, anarchy in Afghanistan.

It doesn’t get at the jihadi roots in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Obama may be deliberately mischaracterizing the situation there.

Read the full column for more.

Ooops on that NASA CO2 satellite

It’s now sitting at the bottom of the ocean.

Seven seconds after the ignition of the third stage, the payload fairing — a nose cone that protects the satellite as it rises through the atmosphere — failed to separate.

I say Rex Tillerson inserted some secret ExxonMobil tracking device!

February 24, 2009

Bernanke – Obama Admin needs to do more on banks

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the Senate Finance Committee today we need “strong government action to stabilize financial institutions and financial markets.”

If not, he said, the current recession definitely could extend into 2010.

No, he didn’t use the “financial N-word,” but I think you can count Big Ben as another voice for “doing whatever it takes” with bad banks.

Homes, yes; cars and banks, no

In what might be called the “duh” poll of the day, Gallup finds that the public is OK with bailout help for homeowners, but not elsewhere.

Gov Helmethair trails Kay Bailey Cheerleader

Rick Perry trails Kay Bailey Hutchison in Republican primary polling. And trails by a considerable margin.

Why is polling this early out so important?

Because, by Texas law, Perry can’t raise money while the Texas Legislature is in session.

KBH is trying to make financial hay while the sun shines, and the polling info is a major tool in her arsenal.

Judis to progressives – Keep Obama honest from left

Amen to John Judis’ call for progressives, from the ground up, to keep President Barack Obama’s feet to the fire to deliver some mess of pottage that can at least halfway be Change We Can Believe In.

Says Judis:
I think the main reason that Obama is having trouble is that there is not a popular left movement that is agitating for him to go well beyond where he would even ideally like to go. Sure, there are leftwing intellectuals like Paul Krugman who are beating the drums for nationalizing the banks and for a $1 trillion-plus stimulus. But I am not referring to intellectuals, but to movements that stir up trouble among voters and get people really angry. Instead, what exists of a popular left is either incapable of action or in Obama's pocket.

I’ll riff on that last line.

That’s why people like me are the unpopular left to not just full-fledged Obamiacs but to most MSLBs, who are more the neo-lib intelligentsia.

Judis goes on to note the differences between now and FDR, who DID have an organized, or semi-organized, real Left, personified by Huey Long, pushing him hard.

Instead, MSLBers may slap Congressional Democrats, especially Harry Reid, around a bit, while going in the tank for Just.Another.Politician.™

Bill Moyers still needs to come clean on gays and 1964

As Jack Shafer puts it at Slate, the beef isn’t with Moyers pushing the FBI for tougher vetting of White House staff in 1964 to find possible gays; it’s with him not coming clean on that today.

His memory isn’t faulty, not at all; just his accessing is.

Maybe that’s why he still hasn’t completed his promised White House years memoir.

Brits even more secretive on Iraq than U.S.

British Defense Minister Jack Straw has officially vetoed publication of British Cabinet minutes about the run-up to the Iraq war.

That action is a first under Britain’s Freedom of Information Act.

And, here’s your hypocrisy alert pull quote:
He added that the public interest in disclosure of the minutes could not "supplant the public interest in maintaining the integrity of our system of government.”

Actually, Jack, I think you just threw government integrity under the bus.

Read the whole story for more.

Even Utah Gov. thinks Congressional GOP is hacks

When the Republican governor of a state as conservative as Utah, Jon Huntsman, thinks his party’s Congressional representation is a bunch of bloviated ideology-driven hacks, it’s bad.

Actually, Huntsman said they were “inconsequential” and that he “didn’t even know them.” I’m scraping off the layers of politeness.

Question is, how much more will it take for the Congressional GOP to stop driving off a cliff?

‘Nationalization’ or ‘takeover’

Americans’ support for more active government intervention with insolvent banks is all in the language, by a 17 percentage point difference.

If Obama addresses the issue in the State of the Union address tonight, will he use “takeover”? Or another word that Americans might understand even more, and sounds more palatable, such as “repossession”?

Even better, as part of this, and something rather than nothing by itself, would have been expropriation of bonuses of C-suite execs, damn the language of contracts, which can be overriden in such cases anyway.

Is the Colorado running dry?

Silly question for those of us who know Lake Mead has a 50 percent chance of going dry in 20 years.

But, if you’re NOT familiar with the idea, the proof that the Colorado River system is in danger continues to accumulate, and in a way that scares Colorado boosters who know they’re generally last in line for the river drainage’s water, even though much of it starts there.

Same old Ken Salazar?

High Country News says his recent comments about the West being the “engine for the clean energy economy” may mean clean energy elsewhere, at the price of slapdash green energy development in the interior West.

The blog post concludes with some “tells” to look at in the

A green victory over Big Ag chemicals

Last month, a panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said commercial pesticide applicators Clean Water Act point source permit, a HUGE win against Big Ag, and part of a recent trend. As Felice Pace notes, the Supreme Court has already let stand a Ninth Circuit ruling that requires spraying buffers along salmon streams.

So, this may be appealed to the full Sixth Circuit, but it probably won’t go beyond there to SCOTUS. And, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee, the bailiwick of the Sixth Circuit, ain’t exactly the heart of environmentalism, unlike the Ninth Circuit’s area, which makes this win all the bigger.

Pace also wonders if the timber industry, especially out in that Ninth Circuit area, will see the handwriting on the wall. If it doesn’t, and doesn’t ink some sort of negotiated settlement, your next lawsuit is coming.

February 23, 2009

As the newspaper world turns

The parent of Philly’s two dailies files for bankruptcy, and, so too does New Haven, Conn.’s parent company.

So much for Obama press openness

Glenn Greenwald, near the bottom of this column, shows Team Obama already lining up sycophants in the media on Gitmo and civil-liberties related issues, among other things.

And, on one of those other things, Just.Another.Politician.™ may even been looking at cutting Sociable Security bennies, and even has Ezra Klein bamboozled. Or maybe Ezra did it to himself.

Add to that either a clusterfucked level of disarray, a Gen-X sense of noblesse noblessitude amongst press office staff, or a combo of the two, and you really have fun.

MUCH more on that from David Johnston. A WH press office staffer saying – not asking – he’s going off the record? And, on the first phone call? And, over just being asked to spell his name and give his job title?

And, Jack Shafer details how Team Obama is already pulling another page from the Bush playbook – using anonymous folks for backgrounders at pressers.

I already am getting more and more confirmation for another Green presidential vote in 2012, or Socialist, if I have that option.

Nothing ‘quasi’ about Obama State of the Union

Despite Josh Marshall’s apparent attempt to cut Obama some PR slack, tomorrow night, President Obama will do what other first-year presidents due in their first February in office.

Deliver a State of the Union address. (It’s listed as such in the Dallas Morning News TV insert.)

When a normally reputable blog/online newsmag does this, yeah, it does deserve to get a raspberry both from conservatives, and from left-liberals, and from anybody else who wants more honesty, less PR.

That starts with an expected 5 percent dropoff for the first quarter, followed by about 2 percent in the second quarter.

The 2 percent slump – but it ain’t THAT bad

A group of economic forecasters expects that much downturn in the U.S.economy this year.

That starts with an expected 5 percent dropoff for the first quarter, followed by about 2 percent in the second quarter.

Activity is supposed to pick up in the second half of the year, but at a lesser pace than previously projected.

So, that all said, the current recession sounds like it will still turn out to be not so bad as the 1980-82 recession, despite what all the hyperventilating Gen-X pundits say.

Leahy willing to investigate Dems on civil liberties, too

Now that Sen. Pat Leahy has said he will look at Congressional Democrats as well as BushCo Republicans on warrantless wiretapping, torture and other civil liberties issues, the GOP’s resistance to his “truth and reconciliation commission” idea has lost about its only rational plank.

Here’s one reason we need to investigate:
Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr., who served as chief counsel for the Church Committee and has called for a new commission, said there is no telling what a thorough investigation may turn up. He recalled his shock as he sat in a secure room at the C.I.A. in 1975 and read that the agency had recruited the Mafia in a scheme to kill Fidel Castro.

“It may seem that we already know a lot,” Mr. Schwarz said. “But based on my experience, I’m certain there’s a lot that went on the last eight years that we still don’t know.”

Indeed, how many things besides TIP, Werewolf, etc., are still hidden from light?

First CO2 satellite going into orbit

About half the carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels is currently unaccounted for. Orbiting Carbon Observatory, NASA’s first satellite dedicated to CO2 tracking, should change all that.

Ooops on that satellite, though!

It’s now sitting at the bottom of the ocean.

Believe Obama Admin or lying Gitmo prisoner injuries?

Last week, the Obama Administration’s Pentagon claimed Guantanamo met all Geneva standards.

The injuries of Binyam Mohamed, beaten up to the day of his release to Britain – the day AFTER the What-a-gon’s claims – say otherwise.

I emphasize the Obama Administration’s Pentagon, as B.O. could put an end to these bullshit lies.

Hat tip to Greenwald, for also reporting Obama staff is already lining up sycophants in the media on this and similar issues.

MUCH more on that point from David Johnston. A WH press office staffer saying – not asking – he’s going off the record? And, on the first phone call? And, over just being asked to spell his name and give his job title?

Are you surprised? Or, are you ready for more protesting-too-much Obamiac outrage?

I already am getting more and more confirmation for another Green presidential vote in 2012, or Socialist, if I have that option.

We need to fire KBR

But, can we? Per this provocative Salon story, are today’s professional soldiers too “addicted” to video games and high-end cafeteria food to even sign up for the Army, let alone fight a way?

If true, Charlie Rangel’s right. Reinstate the draft.

February 22, 2009

Bank nationalization just around corner at Citigroup

The government could wind up holding as much as 40 percent of Citigroup stock shortly.

Citi reportedly wants to keep the government “infusion” no higher than that, BIUT…

If it’s no fessing up to being that sick, it doesn’t have much talking space.

More on the Citi situation here

Joel Kotkin enviro-stereotyping in California

According to neo-pseudo-centrist (best political label I can hang on him, implying he’s a kinder, gentler paleo-neo-con hybrid) Kotkin, environmentalists are why California is in the crapper. Or, to be more specific, they’re the prime cause of California’s narcissism:
The modern environmental movement often adopts a largely misanthropic view of humans as a “cancer” unalloyed evil, gobbling up resources and spewing planet-heating greenhouse gases.

This is wrong historically, sociologically, environmentally and more.

First, to the degree the “cancer” complaint is real, it’s not new, nor did it start with an environmentalist.

The non-environmentalist Ed Abbey said, back in the 1960s:
Growth for growth’s sake is the theology of the cancer cell.

I’m not saying that’s WHY California has this idea of “growth,” but Abbey was right.

Second, humanity IS spewing planet-heating greenhouse gases. And many people not in California and not narcissists know that. Nothing “misanthropic” about stating facts. Is Kotkin denying anthropogenic global warming?

Even in California, not every environmentalist is an actor, a politician or a Bay Area poseur, either. (Those that are, are plenty enough, and certainly deserve Kotkin’s skewering, but his brush is incredibly broad.)

On the last page of his screed, Kotkin claims Silicon Valley isn’t likely to produce a bunch of new jobs. Tell that to Google, Apple and other folks.

Time for a HEALTHIER free school lunch

Chef Alice Waters makes the case for getting Big Ag’s often unhealthy crap, often little better than decried fast food and vending machine food, out of school cafeterias.

Needed – skeptical left-liberal think tank

Something that’s got new creative thought to the left of the Democratic Party.

Something that would hire me, a newspaper editor looking for an employment stimulus:

212 W. Wintergreen Road, #2073
DeSoto, TX 75115
936-419-1539 (cell); 972-223-7111 (home)

OBJECTIVE: A mutually beneficial job and career path where I can use my decade and more of skills, experience and training in news writing, persuasive writing, creative writing, copy editing, assignment editing, desktop publishing, photography, photo editing, teaching and more.

NEWS WRITING – Texas Press Association first place award, news writing; North and East Texas Press Association, first place, news writing;
PERSUASIVE WRITING – Texas Press Association and North and East Texas Press Association, first place, editorial writing; training in persuasive communication and public speaking.
CREATIVE WRITING – Second place, TPA, headline writing; fourth place, feature writing; adult education instructor, English composition;
DESKTOP PUBLISHING – First place, TPA, page design, twice;
ASSIGNMENT EDITING – Experience working with staff writers, freelancers, part-time correspondents, multiple newspapers;
COPY EDITING – Experience editing works of staff writers, freelancers, and submitted articles;
PHOTOGRAPHY/PHOTO EDITING – Photography, photo editing work, multiple newspapers;
TEACHING – College adult education instructor in English composition, other liberal arts;
MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP – College senate, student president. Started class by petition; North and East Texas Press Association Journalist of the Year; National Merit Scholar.
PUBLIC SPEAKING – Trained in speaking; spoken before various civic groups.

Jubak – Giethner’s TARP 2.0 might be OK

I think MSN financial analyst Jim Jubak is being pretty charitable with his interpretation of Geithner’s Know-Nothing performance last Tuesday, but, Jim has had a lot of good takes on our economy the last three years, so maybe I can up my charitable level a couple of degrees myself.

And, Jubak shows that even economics types can tell a funny, too, when talking about bankers’ new version of the N-word:
No one in the Obama administration wants to say that some banks will be nationalized if they fail the stress test, because the term is as emotionally charged as "communist" and "Red Sox fan" are.

Well, that’s understandable, but there are alternate words to use, like “repossession” or something.

That said, part of the issue is going to be transparency. Will Geithner at least partially reveal stress-test results to the general public? Will he at least partially reveal what his “questions” are on the stress test?

Stay tuned.

The stupidity and arrogance of California Democrats

California Senate Democrats should have accepted Republican Abel Maldonado’s open primary deal and passed a budget long before they did.

It shows the arrogance of the “left-hand” side of the two-party duopoly in fine, or not so fine, fettle, like a poster at Kevin Drum’s blog calling it “insidious.”

If anything, if third parties play it right, should this get voter approval (I hope Der Ahhnold comes out for it strong and early, to offset the MASSIVE Republican and Democratic attack ads) will be better off than before.

Now, will the system, similar to Louisiana’s, help or hurt third-party candidates?

I say help, overall – if third parties use their brains.

First and foremost, in an open primary system, third parties CANNOT afford to have pre-primary internecine warfare. They must caucus and settle on a single official candidate for each race.

Let’s put it this way – if Darrell Issa is dead-set against it, it MUST be good, right?
“The concern is that you will institutionalize a process in which you will have circumstances in which neither a Democrat or Republican is on the ballot,” said Kurt Bardella, a spokesman for Representative Darrell Issa, a Republican from Southern California.

That all said, California Dems were idiots for opposing the Maldonado deal as long as they did.

Given the diversity of California, I HUGELY welcome the open primary system, and hope we see a Green, from SF, a Socialist from Santa Cruz, and even a Libertarian from the interior north, all win elective office -- the higher the better.

How dumb is Dallas Morning News on hiring practices?

Via a friend forwarding Twitter info from a friend who reportedly is in the know, the Snooze allegedly wants to hire new editorial staff conversant in new media.

This was just after its latest massive editorial firing dump.

Especially given that the Snooze is battling (and not entirely successfully, from what I had heard a while back) an age discrimination suit, if anybody, anywhere, mentioned the word “younger” in part of the hiring talk, I see Lawsuit No. 2 just around the corner.