Friday, October 30, 2009


It looks like Santorum really is thinking about running for president and is trying to separate himself from the disastrous Bush administration. This should be hilarious, since he supported Bush's policies in Iraq in order to protect us from fictional monsters (or something) and then justified his support with b.s. evidence of Iraqi WMDs.

Though, honestly, the hardest thing for Santorum to do will be to distance himself from himself. I can't see anyone rallying around the cry of "Vote Santorum: He'll take away your birth control!"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

From the Office of Things I'd Love To See

From the office of Rep. Alan Grayson

Recently, it was suggested by Fox News' Bill O'Reilly that I was unwilling to be on his opinion program. Mr. O'Reilly went so far as to send the network's Teabagger cheerleader, Griff Jenkins to ambush me outside my office, but I was too busy to speak with him at that moment.

Primarily, Mr. Jenkins wanted to speak with me about an off-hand comment I made and for which I apologized. I shouldn't have referred to a lobbyist as a "K Street Whore" for a couple of reasons: A) It's insensitive and B) the lobbyist isn't selling, she's buying. It's the Republican Party that is acting like a party of whores by selling off their honor and even the lives of their constituents by opposing health care in order to please their insurance lobbyist customers.

I would note, however, that it seems unlikely Mr. O'Reilly truly cares about what he calls "irresponsible" language. Just ask Andrea Mackris.

On the other hand, I would be glad to meet with Mr. O'Reilly or one of his reporters, with a few stipulations:
  1. Knowing Fox News' penchant for deceptively editing statements by Democrats, Mr. O'Reilly will agree to air the entire, unedited interview.
  2. In order to ensure this promise is kept, a member of Representative Grayson's staff will be allowed to videotape the interview as it is conducted and the Congressman reserves the right to publish that video on YouTube should Mr. O'Reilly edit the video or refuse to air it.
  3. The interview will take place in Representative Grayson's Congressional office.
I must admit that I feel disappointed about the animosity I feel emanating from Fox News and Mr. O'Reilly in particular and I would like to take the first step in repairing the relationship. Knowing how much Mr. O'Reilly enjoys a good falafel, I have ordered 100 falafels to be delivered to Fox News headquarters building tomorrow at noon. I hope that Mr. O'Reilly and his staff will accept this peace offering and I'm sure other members of the media might like to capture this delivery for posterity.

I'm looking forward to the interview!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oh no! The stupid! Aieeeeeee!

Apparently, the rest of us are entitled to our math--which most people simply know as, you know, math--and Hannity is entitled to "the math." Which is also known as "the stupid."

Who's got the ego?

Bush, January 2007:
We stopped an Al Qaida plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast. We broke up a Southeast Asian terrorist cell grooming operatives for attacks inside the United States. We uncovered an Al Qaida cell developing anthrax to be used in attacks against America. And, just last August, British authorities uncovered a plot to blow up passenger planes bound for America over the Atlantic Ocean.*

For each life saved, we owe a debt of gratitude to the brave public servants who devote their lives to finding the terrorists and stopping them.
Then this happened yesterday:
In his continuing effort to thank the law enforcement personnel who stopped alleged terrorist plotter Najibullah Zazi, President Obama on Thursday called the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Denver and spoke to FBI Special Agent in Charge Jim Davis and about thirty of his fellow JTTF members.

Davis tells ABC News the call from the president was a huge boost to morale for agents still working the case.

"I've been doing this for 25 years and I'm not aware of any time the president has ever called the special agent in charge of a field office to communicate his thanks for an investigative effort," Davis said.

* (Of course these claims weren't true.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Conspiracies abound

So this idiot grows a beard, lies about being a Muslim convert, gets an internship at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, steals a bunch of their stuff and then writes a book with his dad claiming there's a muslim conspiracy to undermine American national security.

Republicans have picked it up, screaming for an investigation into the findings.
Mrs. Myrick and Republican Reps. John Shadegg of Arizona, Paul Broun of Georgia and Trent Franks of Arizona called Wednesday for an investigation by the House sergeant-at-arms into whether CAIR was successful in planting congressional interns.

"If an organization that is connected to or supports terrorists is running influence operations or planting spies in key national security-related congressional offices, I think this needs to be made known," Mr. Broun said.
Of course the main congresspeople pushing this are clearly a bit nutty and the guy who sent his son undercover is a major nutjob who's convinced Obama's a Muslim who wants to bring Sharia law to the United States, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't look at the evidence they claim demonstrates (in the words of North Carolina Republican Rep. Sue Myrick) a "concerted effort on the part of radical Islamists to infiltrate our major institutions."

And here's the evidence, taken from a memo stolen from the CAIR offices:

It reads: We will focus on influencing congressmen responsible for policy that directly impacts the American Muslim community. (For example congressmen on the judiciary, intelligence and homeland security committees.) We will develop national initiatives such as a lobby day and placing Muslim interns in Congressional offices.

In other words, the undercover investigation came up with nothing. This is simply a typical PR planning memo in which a group seeks to get a hearing for its constituents by getting people near those who can make a difference. If you think there's something special about this, however, check out the mission of the conservative Leadership Institute, which uses almost precisely the same language.
The Leadership Institute’s mission is to increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in the public policy process. To accomplish this mission, the Institute identifies, recruits, trains, and places conservatives in government, politics, and the media.
Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute has been creating and farming out conservative ideologues for 30 years now and there's nothing wrong with that. Right wingers have every right to build a base of support for their beliefs. If, however, CAIR is a conspiracy, then the Leadership Institute has been operating a conspiracy since 1979.

The truth is, getting an aide position in Congress is a complicated and often grueling process and getting a position on a committee that deals with defense and security requires a thorough background check. So the Muslim aides to congresspeople have to have proven their loyalty to the U.S.

Arguing with these people about this won't help, of course. As Blackwell himself once wrote, "Those fully convinced of a conspiracy theory take any contradictory information as proof positive of just how clever the masters of the conspiracy are."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Returning to Ron Radosh

Four years ago, I pointed out that I didn't think much of Marty Peretz, who praised Ron Radosh's book, Red Star Over Hollywood: The Film Colony's Long Romance With The Left. I pointed out that the book that Peretz claimed to be "wise" and "honest" was written by a hack who had written things like this:
On the other side of the divide are self-described progressives steeped in existential depravity. They are people with a memory eviscerated over time. For them rap is music and manners are arbitrary rules. Having lived only in a debased culture, they do not have standards on which to rely except the popular dogma of environmentalism, and the avoidance of discrimination.
These are not the words of someone who seems capable of fair-minded wisdom and I said as much. But the (admittedly great) Daniel Radosh came to his dad's defense, saying that he had spoken with his father about the column who told Daniel he'd "never seen (the column) before," despite it being his byline. "Some intern at the Hudson Institute is so about to get fired," Daniel added.

Now this one piece doesn't really matter in the big scheme of things. Radosh has proven that he's a less than fair-minded observer time and time again since then. However, it seemed important to bring up today, as Radosh jumps onto the nutty "Bill Ayers wrote Dreams From My Father" bandwagon.

The "evidence" that Ayers wrote Obama's book is, to be sure, ridiculous. The evidence to suggest that Ron Radosh is projecting is pretty strong.

At the time I first brought up Radosh's writings, I attempted to contact The Hudson Institute to find out what sort of mix-up had occurred to allow an article to be published under someone else's byline, but no one would return my calls. Still, four years after I first brought this up and seven years after it was first published, the column is still available with Radosh's byline.

It is reasonable to assume that, despite the suggestion by Daniel that his father was miffed by the column, Ron Radosh either has no problem with his name being attached to an essay he didn't write or he lied about not having written. To his own son, no less.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Is it just me?

I'm strangely excited by our plan to bomb the moon, so I'll be getting up in the middle of the night to check it out.

P.S. Just found out that you can download Le Voyage Dans La Lune here for free. Film geeks take note.

Idiot caller seeks to renew pre-Mayflower America

So, Mike Signorile opened up the lines on his radio show and "Jim from Oklahoma called."

SIGNORILE: Jim from Oklahoma, you're on the Michelangelo Signorile show. Hi, Jim.

JIM: Uh, yeah, uh, I'm going to lead an overthrow. I've got a small group here in Oklahoma and we're planning on conducting this small coup.

SIGNORILE: Wait, you're going to stage a coup yourself? Out of Oklahoma?

JIM: Yeah. Yeah. I've got a clan of people--I wouldn't say clan--a group of people out here, we plan on marching to the White House.

SIGNORILE: What are you going to do?

JIM: We're going to take over and get this country back online to where it was 400 years ago.
Oy, are these people dumb.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Admission of failure

Shorter Andrew Sullivan:
As the editor of The New Republic, I printed things I knew weren't true.
P.S.: This drives me apeshit:
I always viewed The New Republic not as a tablet of liberal stone, but as a place where liberalism should be unafraid of challenges to it, and where lazy liberalism needed to be given a work-out. I enjoyed driving many liberals a little crazy in the untraditional, experimental - and often conservative and libertarian - pieces I commissioned...
Since a magazine's slant can only be defined by the pieces it runs, then it can't, by definition, be considered liberal if it's running "conservative and libertarian" pieces. And The New Republic hasn't really been liberal since. Say what you will about the right wing magazines, but at least they understand you don't hire an editor who opposes the bedrock principles on which the magazine was founded.

Hate crime laws led to the Holocaust?

Rep Louis Gohmert (R-TX) says so. Seems to me that the exact opposite would be true, but, then again, I'm not stupid enough to believe Jonah Goldberg's stupid fucking book.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Sestak playing rough

It's one thing to create a web site pointing out Specter's long history as a Republican, but tracking down this old ad and bringing Santorum into the mix...ouch.

The killer bit, really, is the "I'm Arlen Specter and I authorize this message" tagline.


Monday, October 05, 2009

Creepy dudes and double standards

So, on Thursday, David Letterman revealed he had had sex with female employees. What was interesting to me was that, as the story has unfolded, it was clear that Letterman never even thought of giving in to the extortionist. It was also clear that some attempt had been made to make sure that Letterman hadn't used his authority to pressure those women into sex with him.As the Times reported:
According to one person inside the company, CBS executives did quietly seek and receive assurances that none of the women Mr. Letterman was talking about were under age and that no woman who was involved with him had felt threatened about her job.
Still, it was, as Letterman said, creepy. There's a reason that the military, for example, outlaws any such relationships between leaders and their subordinates: One can never know for sure how coerced one might feel when the boss comes onto him or her.

So the right, which considers Letterman an enemy, decided to believe the worst about him. (Emphasis Nitpicker's.)
"Letterman is seemingly learning that sexual harrassment and libel can be detrimental to a career. The irony is rich, particularly in light of those aspiring politicians struck down by the Leftwing celebrity media for running while Republican. Sort of like driving while black....the profiling can be a pain in the ass. So, I wonder if David Letterman was engaged in this sexual harassment while he was making jokes about Willow Palin?" - Wizbang

"Just as he must have an office full of people who can write jokes and comic routines — who must share a lot of not-that-businesslike comraderie — he needs pretty ladies to keep his senses well-honed. It's part of the structure of a business that revolves around a performer. The funnyman needs his supply of sex, and the paying career positions on the staff can be used to create a pool of potential sexual partners who will keep the old man bolstered up." - Ann Althouse

"Letterman is a hypo-creep who makes millions belittling people who disagree with his politics while he is abusing his power over his female staff." - Legal Insurrection

"As reader John Tuttle writes: “It’s ‘office romance’ when Democrats do it. It’s ’sexual harassment’ when Republicans do it. Time to repeal sex harassment laws.

"There does seem to be a double standard here..." - Instapundit
As I've said, I have no idea whether sexual harassment or abuse of authority actually occurred because I have no idea whether a) Letterman was the one to initiate the sexual relationships or b) whether those advances were unwelcome. Still, Letterman's right. It's creepy.

Yet there clearly is a double standard here and it's Letterman who's being held to it by those righty blogs.

On Thursday another report came out from the New York Times detailing the ways in which Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) may have violated ethics regulations in order to cover up an affair with a former aide, Cindy Hampton. We've known since June that Ensign had this affair with the aide and we've known since July that Ensign's parents paid off the aide to the tune of nearly $100,000.

The whole sordid affair is made worse by the fact that Doug Hampton, the husband of Ensign's mistress, was also an Ensign aide, so, if undue influence was used to initiate the sexual relationship, then two jobs--the family's entire income--may have hung in the balance based on Cindy's answer to Ensign's advances.

But with months to address the issue, I can find no posts on any of these blogs--or any righty blogs--which suggest that Ensign is guilty of sexual harassment.

Yet look at the actions of the two men: Letterman refused to give in to a blackmailer and contacted the police. Ensign, on the other hand, called his parents and had them cut a check to the Hamptons, snagged Doug Hampton a job and then, it seems, probably violated ethical regulations in dealing with Hampton too soon on legislative matters. In other words, Letterman admitted his error and help catch a crook; Ensign did everything he could to cover up his error and may have become a crook himself.

So, just like Letterman's case, I have no idea whether Ensign is guilty of sexual harassment. I do know, though, that one of those men sure is acting guilty. And the right is doing its best to ignore that.

A question about Mark Kirk...

Just watched a Maddow piece on Republicans pushing their own foreign policy and I've got a question: If Mark Kirk was willing to conduct his own discussions with the Chinese and tell them not to believe his own country's numbers, then shouldn't he have his security clearance reviewed? After all, he has made a big deal about the fact he's a intel officer as a Naval Reservist (and I've made a big deal in the past about some of the falsehoods he spread about his own service)--meaning he has to have a top secret clearance--and those get pulled all the time for things much less serious than subverting American foreign policy while dealing with a Communist government.

Reality calling

Limbaugh, Friday:
The world has rejected Obama.
The World, Today:
The United States is the most admired country globally thanks largely to the star power of President Barack Obama and his administration, according to a new poll.

It climbed from seventh place last year, ahead of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan which completed the top five nations in the Nation Brand Index (NBI).

"What's really remarkable is that in all my years studying national reputation, I have never seen any country experience such a dramatic change in its standing as we see for the United States for 2009," said Simon Anholt, the founder of NBI, which measured the global image of 50 countries each year.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Yet another reason I'll never understand Republicans...

They're ecstatic their own country missed out on this...

But, to them, this is a party.

That's just weird.

Update: Literally rooting against their own country at the Defending the American Dream Summit.