Thursday, February 26, 2009

Beast, not vanquished

One of the troubling side-effects of failing to criminally prosecute prominent political leaders who commit crimes is that, even if they leave office with historically low public approval ratings, they are still granted undue respect (however minimal) and platforms from which to inject their poisonous bile into mainstream discourse. A society that believed in its own rhetoric about the "rule of law" would not allow this to happen.

UPDATE: Tristero expresses my thoughts exactly:
These people make me sick. All of them. The only audience Perle deserves is the judge at a trial for his war crimes. And I'm absolutely positive, as the evidence accumulates of Perle's critically influential role in the moral cesspool that was, and remains, the Bush/Iraq war, no one will find him entertaining in the slightest.

Time to send this group another contribution

Advancing the cause of
working in league with abortion providers and gay-rights groups "to destroy any vestiges of traditional marriage and traditional values that are left in our country."
You betcha - sign me up!

Be sure to check out "Ben's" comment in that link - it's great.

Happy Birthday, Fats!







Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Precipice?

Those of us living deep in red state territory and surrounded by the likes of TexasFred may not be shocked by stories like this but that doesn't mean we're not concerned. We may watch Alexandra Pelosi's upcoming documentary with a sense that we are already war weary and the real fighting hasn't even started yet. I've had that feeling a lot lately - tired and discouraged, yet full of apprehension that the worst is yet to come. It's not hard to imagine what might push us over the brink, but do any of you have any thoughts about what might pull us back from the edge?

Quote of the Day

Digby, bless her:
It appears that there is no aspect of the Bush administration that wasn't run by a malevolent and/or incompetent "Brownie" to some extent or another. At this point, it's hard to ignore the possibility that this was the plan all along.
Well, yeah.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Quote of the Day

Following that last post, here's Thers (H/T Christy Hardin Smith at Firedoglake):
What needs to be understood is that there is absolutley no incentive for anyone connected with "conservatism" to not be crazy. All of the established "conservative" thinkers have pretty sweet gigs, and they're not about to do something stupid like admit global warming is real, the "media bias" thing is a cop out, gays deserve equal rights, handling the economy involves more than tax cuts for rich people, Western Europe isn't a cesspit, torture is bad, universal healthcare would make sense, and so on, ad infinitum, they just gotta spite 'em. "Conservatism" as we know it is pretty much at the Jim Jones level, only shabbier.

Irony is Dead, Example # 59,786,639,678....

Glenn Greenwald has another good post up today in which he discusses the threadbare neocon tactic of accusing anyone who disagrees with them about our Israel policies of being "anti-semitic." Among other things, he points out how the destructiveness of this tactic lies not only in its ability (now thankfully fading, according to Greenwald) to stifle honest debate, but also in its trivializing of the whole issue of anti-semitism and bigotry. Greenwald and others have also noted that many rightwingers display the same level of disingenuousness in their discussions of racial bigotry, a dynamic that went on full display a little closer to home here recently.

Readers of this blog who have followed any of my links to Mike's place, Rhetoric and Rhythm, may recall the ubiquitous wingnut troll, Mark, our longtime sparring partner who refuses to post under his name anymore because, well, who the hell cares why. He has also started showing up over at Donna's place, Happiness Anyway, lucky gal, and he apparently reads my blog but, to my great relief, seems to have decided that it is beneath him to leave comments here - thus saving me the trouble of deleting his comments because I am far less tolerant of his bullshit than either Donna or Mike. Anyway, for your Friday jollies, check out how, in in this comment thread, he accuses me of being a bigot, while simultaneously over here accusing Donna and me of political opportunism in pointing out the racism of the recent New York Post cartoon controversy. Priceless.

Question

If Cambodia can bring their own to trial for war crimes 30 years after the fact, why are we in this country talking about a statute of limitations on prosecuting torture? (H/T to Atrios for the Rachel Maddow video)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Thanks, but n...er, well...Thanks!"

When it comes to money, Texas Republicans stand on principles. Youbetcha, they not only stand on 'em, they grind 'em into the dirt with their bootheels!

UBS and Phil Gramm

As we watch UBS circle the drain, it is worth revisiting this article describing Texas' own Phil "Bunchawhiners" Gramm's connection to that august institution:
Critics have charged that Gramm's action as a senator helped lay the groundwork for some of the problems in the housing and oil markets. But it's hard to pin any of the UBS debacles on the former Texas senator. At UBS, Gramm held the post of vice chairman, a position Michelle Leder dubbed in these pages as "the greatest job in business" for its combination of high status and low work rate. Gramm was a lobbyist and adviser, not an operating executive. And he had nothing to do with the forces that impelled banks and banking executives into foolish behavior in recent years; cheap money, greed, and a bubble mentality are far bigger than Gramm. But UBS's continuing travails should lead us to wonder how effective Gramm is as an elder statesman. As an adviser, an economist, an expert in the ways of Washington and in the American financial system, part of Gramm's job surely was to advise the bank how to stay out of investment and regulatory trouble. Oops!
No kidding. We might also wonder what it might have been like had this "elder statesman" been given the job of Treasury Secretary in the US which is very likely what would have happened had John McCain managed to become President, which is to say of course that no matter how bad things are, they could always be worse.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Your minimal daily requirement

Of Perspective, brought to you by The Anonymous Liberal, and

Of Moral Clarity, brought to you by Diane at Cab Drollery (emphasis mine):
The continued use of euphemisms aside, all three processes are illegal in civilized countries which rely on the rule of law to promote justice. Enhanced interrogations are torture. Extraordinary renditions are kidnappings. Military commission trials are show trials without even the minimum of due process. We can no longer stand by and allow their continuance, not even by a well-intentioned man who promised us change. We must demand that President Obama stop irrevocably these crimes against humanity.

If we don't insist on this by a massive campaign at the congressional and White House level, then we will continue to be complicit in this horror. It's time to stop it, all of it.

And speaking of specious charges of racism

Anyone remember how Roland Burris kept hollering that it was "racist" not to seat him? Yeah, well, some weren't buying it then and still aren't buying it now.

When wingnuts try to be funny

It's never pretty. Case in point. I'm no fan of Al Sharpton, whose overblown claims of racism diminish the charge (in the exact same way as rightwing claims of antisemitism), but as they say: even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and in this case I think the Reverend has it right. There is so much wrong with this sick cartoon it's hard to know where to start, so the racism of it is as good as any. But I would also add the obvious point that the shooting of this poor chimpanzee who was a PET, and the horrible mauling of the owner's friend is a multi-layered tragedy that has no place on anyone's cartoon page.

UPDATE: Of course, as we World-O-Crappers well know, wingnuts are at their funniest when they are trying to be serious.

This one is for Freewheel!

Found over at The Aristocrats:

They're back!

Yup, talking 'bout the Texas lege whose sole purpose is, apparently, to provide fodder for the annual feature in Texas Monthly magazine called "The Bum Steer Awards." And while great hilarity is certainly a predominant feature, not all is fun and games. Meet Rep. Frank Corte, from San Antonio no less, who just wants to "help" women (emphasis mine):
State representative Frank Corte from San Antonio has proposed a bill that would require a doctor to perform an ultrasound at least two hours before a woman has an abortion. The bill reads that the image must be shown to the pregnant woman, and, if a heartbeat is present, it must be made audible for the woman to hear.

Despite how the bill currently reads, Corte told KENS 5 he doesn't want it to be mandatory that a woman has an ultrasound. He just wants it mandatory that a doctor offers an ultrasound.
I guess he hasn't read his own bill. I'm so sick of these mysogynist assholes whose dishonesty and hypocrisy seem bottomless. Maybe one day we'll have a country that relegates these kind of bullying tactics to the fringes of society where they can be treated with the ridicule and contempt that they so richly deserve, but if Texas Republicans have any say it won't happen any time soon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Move over Madoff

And let a Texan show you how it's done!

UPDATE: Ruth and Susan also comment, as well they should!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Worth asking ourselves

The "liberal legal scold":
Do we now just explicitly consider ourselves immune from the treaties we signed?
We have a lot to answer for as a nation if we insist on filling our prisons with pot smokers while letting those who authorized this remain free.

Another "war" that needs to end

Our nation's drug laws so need to change.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Loss

Thoughts go out to the families and friends of those killed in last night's plane crash near Buffalo.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Newsflash

Racists don't like to admit that they're racist. I like using TexasFred to illustrate this point, but this post serves that purpose too and has the added benefit of being linkable. TexasFred, you know, doesn't like for me to link to him. Makes him mad, and Lord knows we don't want to make TexasFred any madder than he already is.

I suppose my own perspectives on this issue are influenced by the experiences of my mother. She was raised as a woman of privilege in the deep south and I recall conversations with her about the struggle she experienced during the civil rights movement of the 60's and early 70's as it gradually dawned on her how racist the attitudes she had grown up with were. She was mortified, but then she is a woman of rare compassion and introspection and I've always felt lucky to have learned from her.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

Is this a groundhog?



Heydave sends this great picture of something that sure LOOKS like a groundhog - anyone know what it is? Ruth?

Happy Groundhog Day



Everyone should celebrate this day by watching this, one of life's Great Romantic Comedies, over and over again.

That was a pretty good Super Bowl, huh? I was sorry to see the Cardinals lose, but the Steelers did outplay them. I thought The Boss did alright by the halftime RockAPalooza, and I cried when Jennifer Hudson sang the Star Spangled Banner, but then, I'm an idiot that way.