Saturday, January 31, 2009

Letters, Oh I Get Letters

From the letters section of The Pilot:

Since Dusty Rhoades is such an authority on almost all subjects large and small, I wonder if he could explain why it's bad for Gov. Blagojevich of Illinois (and under impeachment) to offer to sell the senatorial seat of President Obama, but it's OK for ex-President Clinton to have sold a pardon to criminal Mark Rich for a donation to the Clinton Foundation?
Bill Rose

A number of responses spring to mind, and I can't decide which would be best:

1. Gee, I don't know, Bill. Can you point out to me when I actually said that about the Rich pardon?

2. Gee, I don't know, Bill. Maybe you should ask Marc Rich's lawyer: Scooter Libby.

3. Gee, I don't know, Bill. Maybe you ought to ask the two special prosecutors the Republican Congress appointed to look into the matter , neither of whom found any grounds to indict, probably because emails uncovered during the course of the investigation revealed that the donation to the Clinton Library (by Rich's ex-wife, not Rich) was provided a full year before Scooter Libby requested that she approach Clinton for a pardon.

4. Bill, you do realize that Bill Clinton isn't President anymore, right?

5. I'm not real sure where you're going with this, Bill. Are you trying to say Blagojevich ought to walk?

Feel free to make your own suggestions.

It's a purely academic exercise, since the powers that be at the paper have "suggested" I not respond to these goobers in the column because we don't want to 'lower the discourse to their level." This naturally raises the question of why they're printing the damn letters in the first place if they lower the level of discourse, but never mind.

Of course the reason the Rich pardon is now being dredged up over and over is because it's really the only thing the wingnuts have to try to derail the confirmation of Eric Holder as Barack Obama's Attorney General, since Holder was the Deputy AG who was vetting the pardon requests for Clinton. And that effort really has nothing to do with Holder's qualifications, or even with Marc Rich. It's just more obstructionism by the party that got their asses kicked in the recent election.

If the Republicans do go there, however, I hope Holder and the Dems will be smart enough to shove wingnut hero Scooter Libby's name into at least every other sentence of their responses. I'd like to see Scooter brought up often enough in the context of the Holder vote that it becomes a drinking game. "Every time you hear 'Scooter' or 'Libby' you have to take a shot!"

I mean, what have they got to lose? Republican votes? As the recent dispaly of partisanship by the House GOP over the stimulus package shows, you can give them all the bipartisanhip you want and they'll still vote along party lines against you.

Holder may have made an egregious mistake in the Rich pardon, but at least he doesn't try to argue with a straight face that torturing people is okay.

Friday, January 30, 2009



"In his Inaugural Address, President Obama promised to put an end to the petty politics that have come to dominate Washington.

Yet, today that message is threatened as the White House and their allies are making political threats rather than crafting a bipartisan economic stimulus plan," Cantor said. "Yesterday's vote was only the beginning of the process and House Republicans are committed to working with President Obama to find real economic solutions. We should not allow politics to destroy this process. Threats from unnamed White House sources undermine our national spirit of bipartisanship."
"In addition, President Obama should immediately disavow plans by some political groups who announced they will run attack ads against Republicans.

"Committed to working with President Obama to find real economic solutions"? You mean the way the Republicans demanded concessions, the Democrats gave them, and every single one of you voted against the bill anyway? This is like saying Lucy is "committed to working with Charlie Brown to kick the football". And a Republican, of all people, is now whining about "attack ads"? Awwwwwww, you're about to make me bust out crying.

Fuck you, Rep Cantor, and the swaybacked refugee from a glue factory you rode in on. This bill contains exactly the sort of things Barack Obama ran on: tax cuts for the middle class. Investment in infrastructure and schools. Investment in alternative energy. You know, the sort of things your party spent the whole election making fun of, because you had no plan of your own to offer other than more Bushonomics. And guess what? The people liked what they heard. Obama and Congressional Democrats won, and won big.

Even after all that, Barack Obama held out his hand to pull you onto the train, and you slapped it away. So stand on the station platform as the train pulls out without you. Stand there and cry.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Big Dog on Ice

"Big Dog" is a quadripedal robot being designed by Boston Dynamics for DARPA. Its ostensible purpose will be to carry supplies on the battlefield for the Army.

Personally, I find the way it moves more than a little creepy. SF geek that I am, I keep thinking of Cordwainer Smith's manshonyaggers.

So maybe the guy shouldn't be kicking it like that.

The Problem Is Worse Than We Knew

Construction signs warn of zombies:

Hmmmm....anyone seen Jonathan Maberry in the Austin area?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What a Dick

Former Republican House majority leader Dick Armey demonstrates what passes for reasoned debate among Republicans these days:

"Income redistribution!"

"Give it a rest!"

"I'm glad I'm not your husband!"


This is why your party got their asses kicked, Dick. No ideas, no attempt to persuade either the viewer or your opponent, just smugness, condescension and assholery from grouchy old farts who don't even realize how far behind the curve of history they've slipped.

But do keep it up. Remind us of why your kind should never again hold power in this country.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Concern Troll Is Concerned

From the Pilot Letters Section:

I do not usually read Dusty Rhoades in The Pilot, but I did see the Jan. 18 column on Sarah Palin.

Even President Obama would not endorse this pathetic, backward and small-minded-thinking article using the Beverly Hillbillies to project a point about Palin. Perhaps a column like this sells newspapers to a select few, but it certainly detracts from a positive attitude when Obama is working so hard to bring all Americans together, regardless of their political choice.

Rhoades should contain his self-appointed lofty ego and be more focused on uniting our country.

.Jack Duvall


In Internet-speak, a "concern troll" is one who pretends to be on the side you're on, but who, in reality, is just trying to silence criticism of his actual position by expressing his "concern" over "tone" or, in this case, lack of a "positive attitude."

However, there's usually a "tell" that gives them away. Can you spot the "tell" in Jack's letter that lets us know he really isn't sincerely behind the Obama message of bringing people together?

Quote of the Day

At some point—it might actually coincided with the election of George W. Bush—conservatism ceased to be a philosophy that traced its roots back to Edmund Burke and became nothing more than a "f*** you, liberal bastards" attitude.

-Lev, commenting at Balloon Juice

If anyone on the McCain campaign chose Palin because she would drive liberals crazy, my hat is off to him!

-Ann Coulter

Sunday, January 25, 2009

MEMENTO Republicans: Is Conservatism a Form of Brain Damage?

Latest Newspaper Column:

Well, the Obama inauguration has come and gone, and the transfer of power, as always, went peacefully -- if, that is, you define "peacefully" as "there were not actual tanks in the street, unless you count the great rolling behemoth that is the new presidential limo."

It was a happy day for many, but it was a real field day for the people I call the "Memento Republicans."

In case you'd forgotten, the "Memento Republicans" can't seem to remember relatively recent events and particularly what positions they've taken from one day to the next. The name is a reference to the award-winning movie Memento, which is about a man with a brain injury that leaves him unable to remember what happened yesterday. This makes his quest to find his wife's killer rather interesting.

A "Memento Republican" can serenely and without shame level a blistering criticism against a Democrat one day for something they'd ignored or even praised before.

Among the most prominent sufferers from Memento syndrome is radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh recently told his listeners that he'd been asked by "a major American print publication" to offer a 400-word statement explaining his "hope for the Obama presidency." Limbaugh said he needed only four: "I hope he fails."

Apparently the Oxycontin Limbaugh admits to abusing has eaten the part of his brain that holds his memories of Bush presidency and the many times he railed against critics of Dubbya as people who were "rooting for America to fail."

In those days, wanting the president to fail and wanting America to fail were one and the same, and they were wrong. Now, in Limbaugh's memory-impaired state, it's patriotic to want Obama to crash and burn.

A symptom of Memento syndrome that appears frequently among Republicans is the recurring delusion that George W. Bush was a great president because only one multi-victim terrorist attack occurred on U.S. soil during his presidency.

This indicates a severe failure of memory. After all, shortly after 9/11, we experienced an actual biological attack on our soil via anthrax. We also experienced a series of terrorist attacks in 2002 by D.C. sniper John Allan Muhammad and his underage protégé Lee Boyd Malvo. At least "terrorist attack" is what the Virginia Supreme Court called Muhammad and Malvo's well-planned killing spree.

Then there was the case of Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, a Muslim who drove his SUV into a crowd at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in his words, to "avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world." Taheri-Azar wrote in a letter that he "was aiming to follow in the footsteps of one of my role models, Mohammad Atta, one of the 9/11/01 hijackers" and that "people who fight in the cause of Allah are not guilty."

Sure sounds like a terrorist to me. If you've forgotten the anthrax attackers, John Allen Muhammad and Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, and still claim Dubbya kept terrorist attacks from occurring on U.S. soil, you may be a Memento Republican.

Perhaps the most advanced case of Memento syndrome is that suffered by columnist, author, and frequent Fox News commentator Ann Coulter, who was absolutely shocked -- shocked I tell you -- at the "disrespect" shown to departing President George W. Bush.

She decried the spectators as the "Hope-and-Change crowd," which moments earlier had showered Bush with boos when he walked onto the stage. "That must be the new tone we've been hearing so much about," she said. "We're not the ones who booed a departing president." Liberals, Coulter went on to say, "are the ones booing, heckling and publicly fantasizing about the assassination of those who disagree with them on policy matters."

No, Ms. Coulter, you're the ones -- or, more correctly you're the one -- who publicly mused whether it would be better to "impeach or assassinate" a sitting president, namely Bill Clinton. You're the one who referred to a former senator who disagreed with you on policy matters as a "faggot."

And, Ms. Coulter, as for your frequent whining about the "liberal media" -- well, a few bloggers on the Web may have said some unkind things about Bush, and a few people in the inauguration crowd may have booed him, but I don't recall any of them being invited onto the "liberal media" over and over, as you have. But I guess, being one of those Memento Republicans, you've forgotten that you've sowed the wind, and now you're surprised to reap a whirlwind.

Either that or you're a cynical con artist who thinks your audience is so dumb they won't remember the things you've previously written and said, so long as you keep dishing out the big bloody chunks of red meat to throw them.

But I'll be charitable, as I am to all Memento Republicans, and put your problems down to some form of brain damage, because I'm a compassionate guy.