Saturday, January 24, 2009

Just doin my job

Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the US Airways pilot that safely landed flight 1549 in the Hudson River is a real American.

He does the right thing in a terrible situation, averts a catastrophe and saves 155 lives - then says 'We were just doing our jobs' - that's American. What a guy.

From the Indiana Gazette.com:

Hudson River pilot: We were just doing our jobs

By JASON DEAREN, Associated Press Writer
Published: Saturday, January 24, 2009 6:42 PM EST


DANVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Thousands of people holding signs and waving American flags cheered wildly Saturday to honor the pilot who safely landed a US Airways jetliner in the Hudson River. He told them he and his crew were only doing their jobs.

Chesley "Sully'' Sullenberger was given a hero's homecoming, complete with a marching band, in Danville, the San Francisco suburb where he and his family live.

Sullenberger said he was grateful for the outpouring of support since the Jan. 15 emergency landing, and that he and his crew were only doing their jobs.

"Circumstance determined that it was this experienced crew that was scheduled to fly that particular flight on that particular day," he told the crowd.

"But I know I can speak for the entire crew when I tell you we were simply doing the job we were trained to do."

Read the rest

Generations of Service - Ron Revier and Jim Keller

From the Daily Camera:

FHS choir directors inducted into hall of fame

Camera staff report
Friday, January 23, 2009

BOULDER, Colo. — Fairview High School choir directors Jim Keller and Ron Revier were inducted into the Colorado Music Educators Association Hall of Fame on Friday.

Keller and Revier have been with Fairview since the early 1970s, and were inducted at the CMEA Convention in Colorado Springs.

“I am delighted that Jim Keller and Ron Revier are receiving this well-earned statewide recognition from their colleagues and I congratulate each of them for their service to our students and their commitment to artistic excellence,” Boulder Valley School District Superintendent Chris King said.
-----------
I graduated from Fairview HS in 1975 and had choir classes with both Ron Revier and Jim Keller.

Both of them were outstanding teachers and FUN. They've given so much of their lives to our community I think it's only fitting that they be honored this way.

Congratulations gentlemen!

Doug Wray '75 (Concert choir)

More Lies Found in Haggard/Church Coverup

From Yahoo News: (all emphasis mine)

Disgraced pastor faces more gay sex accusations
By ERIC GORSKI, AP Religion Writer Eric Gorski, Ap Religion Writer – Sat Jan 24, 1:23 am ET

DENVER – Disgraced evangelical leader Ted Haggard's former church disclosed Friday that the gay sex scandal that caused his downfall extends to a young male church volunteer who reported having a sexual relationship with Haggard — a revelation that comes as Haggard tries to repair his public image.

Brady Boyd, who succeeded Haggard as senior pastor of the 10,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, told The Associated Press that the man came forward to church officials in late 2006 shortly after a Denver male prostitute claimed to have had a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with Haggard.

Boyd said an "overwhelming pool of evidence" pointed to an "inappropriate, consensual sexual relationship" that "went on for a long period of time ... it wasn't a one-time act." Boyd said the man was in his early 20s at the time. He said he was certain the man was of legal age when it began.

Reached Friday night, Haggard declined to comment and said all interviews would have to be arranged through a publicist for HBO, which is airing a documentary about him this month.

Boyd said the church reached a legal settlement to pay the man for counseling and college tuition, with one condition being that none of the parties involved discuss the matter publicly.

Boyd said a Colorado Springs TV station reached him Thursday to say the young man was planning to provide a detailed report of his relationship with Haggard to the station. Boyd said the church preferred to keep the matter private, but it was the man's decision to go public.

The disclosure comes as Haggard, 52, is about to give a series of high-profile interviews to promote the cable documentary about his time in exile. He is scheduled to appear on CNN's Larry King Live on Thursday, the date of the documentary's premiere, and already has taped "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

In early 2007, New Life Church disclosed that an investigation uncovered new evidence that Haggard engaged in "sordid conversation" and "improper relationships" — but didn't go into detail. Earlier, a church board member had said there was no evidence that Haggard had sexual relations with anyone but Mike Jones, the former male prostitute.

Haggard confessed to undisclosed "sexual immorality" after Jones' allegations and resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and from New Life Church, where he faced being fired.

Anticipating criticism of the settlement with the former church volunteer, Boyd said Friday that it was in the best interests of all involved. He would not name the volunteer or the settlement amount.

"It wasn't at all a settlement to make him be quiet or not tell his story," Boyd said. "Our desire was to help him. Here was a young man who wanted to get on with his life. We considered it more compassionate assistance — certainly not hush money. I know what's what everyone will want to say because that's the most salacious thing to say, but that's not at all what it was."

He said that "secondarily, it's not great for our church either" that the story be told. Boyd said Haggard knew about the settlement two years ago.

In a letter e-mailed Friday to New Life Church members, Boyd said of the settlement and agreement not to talk: "This decision was made not as an attempt to conceal wrongdoings, but to protect him from those who would seek to exploit him. His actions now suggest that he has changed his mind."

The letter said the church "received reports of a number of incidents of inappropriate behavior" after Haggard's fall. "In each case, we have tried our very best to do the right thing each time, including disciplinary action when appropriate."

Boyd said the "inappropriate behavior" referred to the man who was the volunteer involved with Haggard. After Haggard's fall, another church staff member resigned after admitting to what was described as "sexual misconduct."

Boyd said the church will not take action against the man if he tells his story in the press.

"We have legal standing to do that, but not the desire to," he said.

Boyd said he had spoken to the man once and came away with the impression that he was speaking out because of the documentary. "I think what caused this young man to be a bit aggravated was Ted being seen as a victim, when he himself had experienced a great deal of hurt," Boyd said. "I seriously doubt this man would have come forward if the documentary had not been made."

A spokeswoman for the documentary, "The Trials of Ted Haggard," declined to comment Friday.

David Clohessy, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests — which has largely focused on the Catholic sexual abuse scandal but also speaks out on cases involving Protestant clergy — said the new disclosures about Haggard are more disturbing because they involves a church volunteer.

"Technically, legally, they were both adults," Clohessy said. "Psychologically and emotionally, Haggard was dramatically more powerful. ... By definition, any sexual contact between a congregant and minister is inherently abusive and manipulative."

In an AP interview this month before an appearance in front of TV critics in California, Haggard described his sexuality as complex and something that can't be put into "stereotypical boxes."
----
Oh no, the church didn't pay any hush money. Heaven forbid.

Victory Without Honor

From NBC DFW sports:

Blowout Remorse: Team Apologizes for 100-0 Win School calls victory "shameful"

By SCOTT GORDON
Updated 6:33 AM CST, Fri, Jan 23, 2009


A Dallas school whose girls basketball team beat another team, 100-0, has apologized, calling its win "shameful" and "a victory without honor."

The Covenant School of Dallas also has asked to forfeit the Jan. 13 game against Dallas Academy.

The Dallas Academy's athletic director, Jeremy Civello, said The Covenant team kept its first-string players in the game almost until the end and didn't let up until the 100th point in the fourth quarter.
------
Hm. Who would Jesus stomp?

Hat tip to the Drudge Retort.

Did Israel Test a Horrific New Weapon in Gaza?

Alternet has this:

More from Al-Jazeera English:

Medics working in the Gaza Strip have condemned Israel's use of suspected "new weapons" that inflict horrific injuries they say most surgeons will not have seen before.

Dr. Jan Brommundt, a German doctor working for Medecins du Monde in the south Gazan city of Khan Younis, described the injuries he had seen as "absolutely gruesome." [...]

When detonated, a DIME device expels a blade of charged tungsten dust that burns and destroys everything within a four-meter radius.

Brommundt also described widespread but previously unseen abdominal injuries that appear minor at first but degenerate within hours, causing multiple organ failure. He said:

"Initially, everything seems in order ... but they will present within one to five hours with an acute abdomen which looks like appendicitis, but it turns out on operation that dozens of miniature particles can be found in all of their organs.

"It seems to be some sort of explosive or shell that disperses tiny particles at around 1-by-1 or 2-by-1 millimeters that penetrate all organs, these miniature injuries, you are not able to attack them surgically."

The doctors said many patients succumb to septicemia and die within 24 hours.

Colorado Media Still Bright Red with Streaks of Yellow

All of these stories are courtesy of Media Matters.

Propaganda/Noise Machine

KCOL's Weinman and Fallen continued conservative drumbeat claiming New Deal did not work
Keith Weinman and Gail Fallen of KCOL parroted other conservative media figures to assert that President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was a failure. Fallen stated that "government intervention only prolonged the Depression," while Weinman claimed a stimulus program "like FDR's" would "spread out the pain" of the current economic crisis. Numerous prominent economists have rejected such assertions, including Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, who wrote that Roosevelt's short-term successes were constrained because "his economic policies were too cautious." Read more

Caldara again suggested Obama is a Marxist
Echoing a label he has used previously to smear President Barack Obama, Independence Institute President Jon Caldara on a Newsradio 850 KOA Inauguration Day broadcast claimed Obama's inaugural address contained an "undercurrent" of "Marxism" and "the siren songs of socialism." Read More

BALLOT ISSUES

While condemning Amendment 23, KFKA's Oliver omitted that she opposed ballot measure to fix it.
Amy Oliver of the Independence Institute continued her pattern of misinformation regarding Amendment 23 and the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, calling the former during her KFKA broadcast a "cash cow, the one that absolutely drains the general fund," and asserting it is responsible for a projected state budget shortfall in the current fiscal year. Oliver omitted that she publicly opposed a defeated 2008 ballot measure that would have eliminated Amendment 23's requirement that the state increase public school funding annually by at least the rate of inflation plus 1 percent. Read more

TAXES

KNUS' Andrews purveyed misinformation about oil shale reserves, president's tax plans
On his KNUS Backbone Radio broadcast, John Andrews failed to challenge the false claim by his guest, former Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Holtzman, that "800 billion barrels of oil [are] under the ground under the Green River basin in northwestern Colorado alone." Further, Andrews parroted the inaccurate assertion, made by many in the media, that President Barack Obama has proposed tax credits "refundable to folks who don't pay any taxes in the first
place." Read more

LABOR

Gazette, Daily Sentinel, Caplis, and Rosen repeated distortion that labor bill would end secret ballot in union elections
The Gazette of Colorado Springs, The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction, KHOW's Dan Caplis, and KOA's Mike Rosen are the latest in the Colorado media to assert inaccurately that proposed legislation known as the Employee Free Choice Act would eliminate workers' "secret" or "private" vote to organize unions. In fact, the EFCA would eliminate employers' right to insist that workers hold an election on whether to unionize; employees still would have the choice of whether to hold such an election. Read more

Friday, January 23, 2009

Non-Humor

From Dependable Renegade: (go to the link to see the image)
Drunken Negro Face cookies, honoring Obama's inauguration, for sale at a bakery here in my neighborhood. And the creator doesn't understand what was wrong with them.

A shocked customer tells My Fox NY that Ted Kefalinos, proprietor of Lafayette French Pastry, asked her, "Would you like some drunken negro heads to go with your coffee? They're in honor of our new president. He's following in the same path of Abraham Lincoln; he will get his."
So that's how it's going to be? Folks, you're setting yourselves up for a whopper of a second loss. Please, continue. It's always fun to watch an idiot nail their feet to the floor before a race.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

CSUPD CIC AFU

OMFG. Go read. Student journalism at it's best.

Just in case the college decides to censor this, it's all here:

Abuse of Power

Tapes, officers say suspended police chief used questionable tactics
J. David McSwane

Issue date: 1/20/09 Section: News
Media Credit: Aaron Montoya






While the sudden suspension of CSU Police Chief Dexter Yarbrough last month came as another shocking challenge facing a transitioning administration, several campus officers say his absence comes as a breath of fresh air to the department -- putting what several independent sources called his "reign of terror" on hiatus.

Listing numerous accusations of improprieties ranging from falsifying police documents, to mandating the special treatment of student athletes, to teaching students illegal police tactics, several timid police officers say the President's Office had plenty of alarming evidence to take action long ago but turned a blind eye to a handful of alleged abuses of power.

Barred by state personnel law, the university hasn't released any information about Yarbrough's paid administrative leave and an ongoing investigation headed by Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

But evidence delivered to top administration and later obtained by the Collegian shows CSU kept many of the chief's questionable dealings quiet for years.

Despite a consistent flow of complaints of harassment, fraud and threatening behavior to the school's Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (OEOD) and to former CSU President Larry Penley, Yarbrough was promoted last year to vice president of public safety in addition to being chief of police.

He was handsomely rewarded with a $156,000-a-year salary, easily making him the highest paid law enforcement officer in the state.

Both the university and sources close to the investigation confirmed that the inquiry stemmed from "fresh" complaints from within CSUPD.

However, Yarbrough's history of alleged misbehavior and questionable treatment of officers and students called him to answer to OEOD and the district attorney throughout his tenure.

Crack, sex and violence

Audio recordings of his class lecture turned into OEOD and Penley last year demonstrate what many allege and describe as the chief's rogue and potentially illegal police tactics.

In one classroom lecture in spring 2008, Yarbrough advised his students -- including many aspiring police officers -- to provide illicit drugs to informants as payment for information.

"We may decide to give the informant 10 of those (crack cocaine) rocks. OK," Yarbrough said to his criminal investigations class, for which he is additionally compensated as an adjunct instructor.

In the recording, one student sought clarification on the chief's advice, saying:

"So if a police officer gives an informant 10 rocks of crack, and they end up in the hospital, are they responsible for it at that point? … Because I could just say the police gave it to me?"

To the student's question, Yarbrough responded:

"Let me tell you what I would do: You give it to them, but you let them know that, hey, if you get caught with this, you know, don't say my name. Or if they get sick or something, I never gave them those (drugs).

"Didn't I tell you guys that sometimes the police lie? Didn't I tell you guys that? If I didn't, there you go."

In another recording, Yarbrough alluded that sometimes police should cut corners because "if you want the police to play fair, the police can play fair. OK. But watch out when you go out at night, and watch your crime rates go up. The police can play fair. Do you really want the police to do that?"

In a later lecture, the chief, who was a Chicago policeman prior to entering academia, said sometimes excessive and violent force against a suspect is a "reality of law enforcement."

"If there's a news conference going on, I can't get in front of a crowd and say. 'He got exactly what the f*** he deserved.' You know the police should have beat him, you know. I used to beat ass when I was in Chicago, too. I can't say that.

"I'd have to say, 'Well, you know we're going to have to look into this matter seriously … all of our officers, we like to think that they operate with the utmost integrity and ethics … All of that sh** sounds good. That sh** sounds real good, but in the back of my mind, damn. He got popped. If he would have done it the way we used to do it in Chi town (Chicago), man, none of this sh** would have happened."

Larimer County District Attorney Larry Abrahamson says providing drugs to informants is never acceptable, regardless of the outcome for a police investigation.

"I would certainly look at it in this jurisdiction very suspiciously," Abrahamson said. "There is no legal defense for that transaction, and I know that our local law enforcement does not condone that sort of activity."

The tapes were recorded by Aaron Gropp, a 38-year-old graduate student and former Larimer County Sheriff's deputy. Gropp said he began recording lectures after what he called "asinine" and "wrong" statements from Yarbrough, including what he thought to be sexual harassment and possible admission of criminal culpability.

"He constantly said things that were illegal," Gropp said. "… I was flabbergasted. He just completely dissolved and undermined the credibility of every officer at CSU."

The lecture that inspired him to gather recordings, Gropp said, was one in which he says Yarbrough told the class "women want the dick, even when they say 'no.' They want the dick."

"In my book he just kind of condoned rape," Gropp said. "I was just floored … that was when I decided to start recording things and file a complaint."

Gropp brought his collection of recorded lectures along with complaints from other students in the class to OEOD, but no public action was taken against Yarbrough.

The university, Gropp said, gave him "the run around," and he stopped attending class after Yarbrough was informed of the inquiry, which the university closed in the fall.

The university has offered Gropp an alternative assignment to complete the course.

Citing a personnel investigation in cooperation with the CBI, CSU officials haven't provided details as to why the chief was suspended indefinitely Dec. 19 and escorted out of his department while students were away on break.

A top university spokesperson confirmed that the current investigation is not related to the student's tapes or other previous allegations.

"All of the findings and results, including any potential actions taken by the previous university administration in response to the findings of that investigation, are closed per state statute," said spokesman Brad Bohlander in an e-mail.

Dissension in the ranks

Officers interviewed credited the chief for robustly increasing the department's budget, allowing for much-needed equipment like new cruisers and rifles but said they weren't surprised by Yarbrough's in-class comments.

"He says things in that class that ex-cons don't even write about," said one officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid potential backlash from Yarbrough and CSU. "Yarbrough made us look bad. The reason no one came forward was Yarbrough would punish you -- visibly."

Since his arrival in September 2003, Yarbrough quickly established a culture of oppression, fear and intimidation within his ranks and drove out anyone who challenged him, sources said.

Lt. Karl Swenson, a campus bomb expert and former CSUPD officer, was one of those people who crossed the chief.

When Yarbrough's police cruiser sustained damage to its front end in March of 2005, he asked Swenson and another officer, Sgt. Edward Bozic, to file a report as a hit and run, police reports and e-mails indicate.

But upon inspection of the damage, Swenson, a trained accident reconstructionist for the department, determined that the damage was consistent with the operator of the vehicle hitting a curb or rock -- a structure very similar to a scuffed rock just outside Clark A where Yarbrough parked to teach his class.

After looking into the matter, Swenson wrote his police report -- that Yarbrough had hit something and was not the victim of a hit and run -- and approached the chief about the incident, but the chief told him not to investigate any further.

Yarbrough then ordered Bozic to write a separate report, which was filed in lieu of Swenson's report, sources say.

"The chief ordered Bozic to change it until it fit," one officer said. "That screams of corruption. We don't even have internal investigations … in those incidents, (Yarbrough) had so much power over his subordinates … he could do whatever he wanted, and the President's Office wouldn't listen, and the vice president wouldn't listen."

But Swenson kept a copy of the original report and took it along with a summation, photos and an e-mail exchange to DA Abrahamson's office, where it was swiftly evaluated and thrown out.

"We reviewed the report, looked at it and determined at that time that it wasn't something that was necessarily criminal in nature," Abrahamson said. "I know Karl was concerned that we look at it. There were allegations that the report was falsified."

Sources say Yarbrough then systematically drove Swenson out of the department by eliminating his duties and, at one point, attempting to turn his office into a storage closet before ultimately banning him from the building.

"He's run off damn near everybody who was in the organization when he arrived," said another officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In another instance, an officer making a routine arrest from a bank of active warrants was publicly reprimanded for arresting a student athlete without first discussing it with the chief, sources said. The chief took over the investigation and changed policy to provide special treatment for student athletes.

After the incident, officers pursuing warrants must first call dispatch to ask if the student's name is listed on the roster, which Yarbrough ordered to be kept in dispatch, sources say.

Bohlander said CSU in no way condones the special treatment of student athletes and declined further comment on the allegations.

In a separate issue, an officer who filed a complaint with the university against CSUPD received a settlement and was relocated to another department, according to a seven-page settlement obtained through Colorado's open records laws.

Cpl. Veronica Olivas agreed to a settlement in January of 2008 to not pursue legal action against CSU and, specifically, Assistant Chief Frank Johnson. Olivas signed a confidentiality agreement, barring Johnson and her from commenting on the issue. Olivas relocated to Housing, where the university agreed to pay her a salary of $66,000.

'The wicked witch is dead'

In addition to the five or so complaints to the university, sources said, Yarbrough routinely exercised autonomous and discomforting rule of the flow of information to the media and commandeered CSUPD facilities.

By the time of his suspension, the chief utilized three separate offices, two of which were the former resources library -- filled with criminal procedure and law books -- and the conference room.

Yarbrough's eventual acquisition of the conference room was never justified to the staff and left officers with only holding cells and interrogations rooms to interview victims of crime, sources said.

"The sun rose on the police department that was free from intimidation, manipulation and corruption," one officer said of the news that Yarbrough was suspended. "This isn't an agency that does this -- it's a man."

Another officer, weeks prior to the announcement of Yarbrough's suspension told the Collegian, "I feel like I'm working for a criminal. People are afraid. What he is and what the officers are is two different things."

Once using phrases like "reign of terror" and "juvenile" to describe the CSUPD work environment, that officer now says, "The wicked witch is dead."

An officer close to the current investigation says of the complaints being reviewed:

"Everything that led up to his suspension was done quietly, secretly and in about the course of four to six weeks. All the new information was enough to get him suspended."

University officials say CBI's involvement in the investigation reflects a desire to have an objective look into the personnel complaints, but the officer also said the school requested the bureau's assistance when it was clear that the "possibility of criminal culpability was there."

The investigation committee, which includes OEOD Director Dana Hiatt, delivered an official copy of complaints to Yarbrough Monday, officers questioned by the committee said.

Interim President Tony Frank, who suspended Yarbrough after only a short time at the CSU helm, has promised a speedy investigation but declined further comment, citing an ongoing personnel investigation.

A report in the Maroon, the University of Chicago's student newspaper, indicated that Yarbrough might have applied for a similar post there. The article has since been removed from the paper's Web site. Reporters there have not returned calls from the Collegian.

Yarbrough did not return calls and e-mails from the Collegian over three weeks time.

Bozic and Penley did not return calls made by the Collegian.

Enterprise Editor J. David McSwane can be reached at tips@collegian.com.

Dear Chris Wallace

Dear sir,

Thank you for being the punctillious little snot you are.

You are an outstanding example of why this President has been needed.

Please, never change, I don't want people to forget in four years.

Obama Takes His Oath of Office Again

I think this event should become emblematic of this President:

When a high official made an error in full view of public, rather than deride or correct him, President Obama followed his lead, then immediately rescheduled the ceremony and had it done properly.

I begin to think Roberts fucked up the oath on purpose, hoping to help sow rumors of 'invalidity' - which any good lawyer knows, is the beginnings of a lawsuit - or impeachment.

Really sad guys. REALLY SAD.

But at least now we know Chris Wallace is satisfied.

Well... as satisfied as he's likely to get in this life.

Light of Day

Dependable Renegade has the goods:

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 21, 2009

EXECUTIVE ORDER

- - - - - - -

PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to establish policies and procedures governing the assertion of executive privilege by incumbent and former Presidents in connection with the release of Presidential records by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) pursuant to the Presidential Records Act of 1978, it is hereby ordered as follows:

... Executive Order 13233 of November 1, 2001, is revoked.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,

January 21, 2009.

----------

Now, hopefully, the truth will begin to emerge.

Thank you Mr. President.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Staff Sergeant Justin Bauer

A wonderful post over at VoiceOfLongmont.

Go read it.

And while you're reading it, remember why this young man died - because a President of the United States lied to take us into war. That's been established quite clearly. To those who keep refusing to see the truth, you are fools and worse. There were no WMDs, they were never found.

The death of any person in uniform diminishes us as a nation. This young man's life should not have been spent this way and George Bush should be held to task for it.

I'm also afraid that some on the right saw this funeral as more than just burying a soldier, I suspect they felt they were burying their hopes for our nation with him. In truth, this excellent young man and those like him ARE the hopes of our nation - and we must never sacrifice such a precious treasure for anything less than the truth. The fact that our government sanctioned torture puts our military at greater risk. If we torture, other nations will too. I'm glad to see President Obama immediately rescinded the Executive Order allowing it.

Rest in Peace Justin Bauer, a nation mourns your loss - as well as that of your brothers and sisters. May no more of you be sacrificed for this war based on a lie.

Bring them home.

NOW.

Thank God the Rule of Law has returned.

Never Fails

I knew the second that Supreme Court Judge John Roberts bobbled the words to the inaugural oath the wads of fuck that masquerade as human beings would pounce on it to screech "He's not the President!!" - and sure enough, Chris Wallace was all over it.

Hey, Chris, a Supreme Court Judge gave the oath, if the wording varied slightly I suspect it's well within his authority to allow it.

Jesus Christ, do these jackasses EVER not take the cheap shot?

Chris Wallace must be a huge disappointment to his father.

What a jerkoff.

I'm not linking to it because I'm sure it will be on the news endlessly for the next month.

Hey. News Flash to all the wingnut shitheads out there - Obama is the President. The election is over. You LOST. BADLY. Now stop acting like children. Actually, DON'T - keep acting like Ritalin-starved hyperactive brats, that will really help you NOT get your 'party' back together in time for the next savage beating of an election. By all means, run PALIN.

You shall have no other gods . . .

I’m beginning this at 11:10 Tuesday 22, immediately after having watched the inauguration of Obama on TV. It was indeed a stirring and historical event, the inauguration speech full of moving and inspiring rhetoric and memorable lines, shots of weeping girls and women everywhere, all very heartwarming. And yet, in spite of Obama’s explicit scolding and chastisement of cynics who think nothing can change for the better, I’m an old dog resistant to learning new tricks. Maybe I’ve been reading too much Joe Bageant and “Gloom and doom report.” But actually, I’m not really cynical so much as I’m worried.

My last post here (“News flash,” 22 Nov 08), almost two months ago but two weeks after the Great Victory, was a gentle, Onion-like satire depicting the public’s perception of Obama as a sort of Christ-like miracle-worker. What I saw this morning only more strongly confirmed that impression. There was a distinct air of adoration, even worship, which made me very uneasy. Notwithstanding the title of this post, it doesn’t really have much to do with idolatry, though a case might be made for that. It’s just that I think everybody is expecting entirely too much of this man, much of which may simply be impossible for him or anyone else to accomplish, not just in four years, but ever. I’m sure he will effect a great deal of beneficial change, but I’m equally sure that he will not meet everyone’s expectations, simply because many of those expectations are wildly unrealistic. He is human, and therefore fallible. He will inevitably make mistakes; and unfortunately, much of what he does right will probably be perceived as wrong by those who had a conflicting agenda. And when he is seen to make mistakes, whether real or perceived, he will be mercilessly and savagely crucified, not only by his diehard enemies but by all his worshipers who expected him to fulfill all their dreams. For those Christians familiar with the Passion narrative, remember what happened to Jesus between Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday. Every president, of course, has a honeymoon of indeterminate duration, and what happens when the honeymoon is over and his worshipers discover he has clay feet, and how he deals with their disillusionment and fury, will to a great extent determine what the remainder of the term will be like. We can only hope and pray for the best, or even just the acceptable, but an inveterate cynic and curmudgeon finds that difficult to do with any conviction.

Guilty As Sin



and if we're not going to try him for treason, he should be judged on his abyssmal record.

Monday, January 19, 2009

COWs and COLTs at the Inauguration

From Slashdot.com
(The Nuts and Volts of News for Nerds)


Presidential Inauguration Hardware and Other Challenges
Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Monday January 19, @05:11PM
from the big-spend-for-one-off dept.


holy_calamity writes

"The FBI has released images of some of the kit that will be deployed to safeguard Obama's inauguration, including mine-proof armored trucks like those used in Iraq to protect against IEDs, and a large armored chamber that any bombs will be shoved inside to be transported away and perhaps detonated inside. Interesting, even though the really good stuff is presumably being kept under wraps."

Relatedly, necro81 writes

"The Inauguration of Barack Obama tomorrow is expected to put considerable stress on the cellphone network around Washington, DC. The expected crowd could top two million people, and many of them are expected to call, text, tweet, photo, and blog their way through the event. In response, the major wireless carriers in the area have spent millions of dollars upgrading their local networks and will bring in extra 'cells on wheels' (COWs) and 'cells on light trucks' (COLTs). They are also requesting that attendees limit their usage during the event, and avoid bandwidth-heavy activities — like uploading photos — until afterward."
Ya gotta love it. Thinking ahead. Planning. Precautions. It's like we have a real government again.

Religion Clause

Howard M. Friedman has an outstanding blog about legal issues around religion. I strongly recommend it.

This post, about clergy 'visiting' children during school lunches is fascinating.

The comments are great, including this one:

Anonymous said...

-American Atheist

http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2009/01/aclu_protests_lunchtime_prosel.php

The ACLU of Michigan has sent a letter (PDF here) to the superintendent of South Haven Public Schools asking the school to change their policy of allowing a local youth minister and lunchroom volunteer to proselytize students in the lunchroom during school hours.

The letter, sent to superintendent Robert Black, urges the school to prevent Mike Dubbink, the youth minister at Hope Reformed Church in South Haven, from recruiting students for his church and speaking to them about religion while acting as a lunchroom volunteer at the middle and high schools. In a press release, the ACLU says:

"Parents, not the public schools, are responsible for deciding when and whether their children receive religious education," said ACLU lawyer James Rodbard. "Public schools should create an environment where students of all faiths feel comfortable and they should protect children from religious coercion by school volunteers."

According to the letter, an outside volunteer, who is also a youth minister at the Hope Reform Church in South Haven, was permitted by South Haven Schools to come to the middle and high school during classroom hours and solicit students to participate in religious activities through the Hope Reform Church.

"We are extremely troubled," read the letter, "not only by the fact that the South Haven Schools are allowing select ministers to proselytize during school hours, but also that some school administrators are actively participating in these unconstitutional activities."

During one incident, the ACLU has learned that the youth minister and the South Haven High School Assistant Principal forced a student into an isolated room and attempted to pressure the student to pay for a church-based retreat that the student signed up for during school hours, but did not attend. During this ordeal, the student was not permitted to call his parents and in fact, his parents were never notified that he signed up for the church retreat.

In the letter, the ACLU of Michigan urged the superintendent "to assure that all students' constitutional rights are protected by putting an end to the unlawful practice of permitting and/or encouraging religious leaders to proselytize students at South Haven Schools."

The letter was sent after the parent of a student at the school contacted the ACLU and informed them of Mr. Dubbink's actions. When such letters are sent, they often result in lawsuits if the school refuses to change the policy being challenged. I'll be curious to see the school's response.

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This just monstrous. Who would Christ coerce?

Martin Luther King



(Video link)

Forty-one years ago today marks the anniversary one of the most poignant, courageous, and relevant speeches in the life of Martin Luther King. The (Beyond Vietnam) speech was a complete denunciation of the Vietnam War; he did so against the advice of his associates in the NAACP. But as Dr. King so aptly stated, “my conscience leaves me no other choice.”

With the Beyond Vietnam speech he expressed the view that civil rights was more than a black issue, nobody is free if we allow the rights of anyone to be abused. He was our conscience; his ideas embody what we pretend to be, what we wish to be. He championed the potential good in mankind and demanded that Christians live up to their namesake. He also realized that you couldn’t demonstrate against injustice in the cities of America and accept injustice as in our self-interest abroad.

Forty-one years ago Dr. King called the US government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world” (we have done nothing to relinquish that title). He stated, “ silence is betrayal, to not speak out against the forces of racism, extreme materialism and blatant militarism is unconscionable.” He also stated, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death” and “those that make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

This speech is like ripping today’s headlines from the newspaper; the war in Iraq is a reprise of Vietnam. There is no question what Dr. King’s position on Iraq would be. He spoke with such clarity and truth. As a visionary and orator Martin Luther King was without equal.

Richard Hansen

From First Draft

And here I thought I didn't like him... some heartfelt sentiments from First Draft.

Hat tip to the Fightin Cock Flyer.


Good grief. You'd think the GOP would be able to find Presidents that MORE people like! Note that is the first poll after the election/inauguration! Bush 43 started out worse than Nixon and went downhill. A LOT.

You don't have to be a statistician to recognize that trend.

Milk and Honey



from Fightin' Cock Flyer.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Some of the things I read...

...honestly... me make want to vomit1. I'd link to them, but why throw pennies into that cesspool2. Suffice to say there are some microscopically-tiny minds out there, not to mention souless things that masquerade as human beings... and they breed like flies3.

You can hear these inhuman slime-creatures belching out endless encomiums and praise for the sad little man who did so much damage to our beloved country - they're loud, repetitive and really repulsive. While I'm all for freedom of speech4, I don't appreciate KKK5 or Nazi rallies6 but I understand they're allowed to speak too - though they would instantly silence forever (if only they could in their sad, pathetic dreams) anyone that spoke out against them7. There's always a tiny group of extremist loons who will bellow their ignorance for all to hear. God forbid we silence those... things - people would lose sight of how truly wrong and evil they are. Better they continue to serve as an example of how insidious and relentless the darkness is.

An overwhelming majority of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. Only 16% of Americans think things are going well. 16% - that's called a 'fringe' - I'll go further and call it a 'lunatic fringe' since in my opinion you'd have to be fucking crazy to think Bush did a good job.8

Bush came into office promising 'limited government' and 'humble' foreign policy. What he delivered was economic collapse, government bailouts and clumsy, heavy-handed nation-building wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as bungled disaster response and no followup9 among his endless string of screwups, malaprops and misdeeds.

Using the ever-lionized Ronald Reagan10 as a yardstick: 'are we better off than we were' four or eight years ago? Apparently 16% of the American population thinks they are11. Then again, Barbara Bush made light of Katrina's refugees' conditions by saying 'it's working very well for them'. What collossal arrogance and stupidity. Runs in the family I guess12.

All things considered though, I have to say I was greatly moved by the sight of hundreds of thousands of Americans singing 'This Land is Your Land' in front of the lovely Lincoln Memorial. When the camera panned across the crowd you could see it stretched all the way back to the Washington Monument. It gave me hope that the shadow that's fallen across America will soon lift13.
_________________________
1. Cambells-chunky-soup-style, projectile mode.
2. All sorts of hideous things surface and it takes days to hose off the driveway.
3. Having little else to do with themselves.
4. Even when it's attack-speech spattered with spittle and bile.
5. That once ran Longmont.
6. Thankfully we don't have to tolerate that insanity here... yet.
7. Since just killing people (at least in broad daylight) went out of style some time ago with the advent of law and police.
8. I swear, the GOP could elect a cold meatloaf and 16% of the voters (right-wing locksteppers) would praise it's performance.
9. I.E. he lied - start to finish
10. Even Nixon called him 'strange' and 'not pleasant to be around' in his infamous Oval Office audio tapes.
11. I say we move em all here, they'd likely love this.
12. Although actually fighting in the wars they start doesn't.
13. No matter how much money is poured into reviving the rapidly-dessicating husk that was the GOP.

Not to Worry

Washington D.C. Police have posted signs reading:

"Warning, Prostitution Free Zone"

In light of the past eight years, this is irony beyond irony.

Some folks wonder if it will work, I think it will - besides, the hookers will be plenty busy across town - servicing the hordes of still-weeping McCain supporters and their pals from the banking, realty and insurance rackets. Here's hoping the ladies can keep up with demand.

Hat tip to Drudge Retort!

This Land

HBO has forced this video off the video.

They are, in my personal opinion, filth.

The American people own that video.

PUT IT BACK UP.

d



Look at the crowd! The neocons never inspired this country this way - and never will.

While this makes my heart soar, I'm sure it brings them nothing but shame - as it should - they have failed our country.

Now a real statesman will help us join together - e pluribus unum.


What a joy to see Pete Seeger still singing - he's been the heart of true American patriotism to me for decades.

THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND
words and music by Woody Guthrie

This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I've roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

Go ahead and laugh

Today's Doonesbury says it all in the last panel.

No Laughing!!

Jesus' General has this:

Sunday, January 18, 2009
Plumbing the Outer Limits of Stupidity

Conservatives are getting so extreme in their efforts to deny critics the ability to satirize them that even some conservatives are themselves getting annoyed by it all. It had to happen, because doing ridiculous things in all seriousness in order to undercut satire in advance will eventually make you look too stupid to be worth satirizing; some conservatives may have finally reached that low point.

…Oh, who am I kidding — there is no "low point" for them. They'll find something worse in a couple of months and I'll have an even harder time writing about it. So not only is satire apparently dead, at least where American conservatives are concerned, but the ability to underestimate how stupid they will behave has also died a grisly, painful death — and in both cases, the coup de grace is Joe Wurzelbacher, a.k.a. Joe the Plumber, going to Israel to report on the Israeli assault on Gaza from the perspective of the "average Joe."

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There's more and it gets even better.

JC Christian, Patriot and my personal hero.

A Nation Rejoices

Look at these photos at Dependable Renegade.

These are not stops - but the sides of the tracks as the train passes.

No wonder the wingers are going batshit, it has to be intimidating.

I refer you to this lovely little missive and emphasize the date.

It is now five years later - did these collossal wads think for an instant we'd forget? Read through this hideous little screed and you see the entirety and enormity of the neocon's failure.

And the fact that Obama really will reunite the country is very likely to shatter the Neocon dream into millions of quivering gobbets (all screeching and howling in their tiny little demon voices).
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Four More Years! AKA: Take That, You Sons of Bitches

So, George W. Bush won. And he's done so by a solid margin. The Democrats' attempted coup managed to last all of eight hours. Not only is the President the first candidate to win a majority of the vote in a Presidential Election since 1988, but he also won more popular votes than any other candidate in history. The Democrats spent months telling us that high voter turnout would equal a win for them but, as it turns out, when 60% of the electorate showed up at the polls it translated into a Bush lead of nearly four million votes. In short: take that, you sons of bitches.

The Democrats are now talking about how this is a signal that Bush should 'bring the country together'. Translated into American, this means 'now that you've won, you should surrender to us.' The hell with that. We've won. Winning means not having to say you're sorry. Bush already brought a majority of Americans together: they voted for him. He doesn't need to reach out to them: they need to reach out to him.

If anyone needs to work to 'bring the country together' it's those on the left who have divided it so badly. Those who sought to destroy this great man should get down upon their knees and beg the victors for mercy. And maybe, just maybe, we'll let a few of them linger on for the simple reason that they amuse us. My life's goal is to see the Democratic Party virtually obliterated and left as a rump of people like Stephanie Herseth who both mostly agree with us anyways and are easy on the eyes.

That's the future of the Democratic Party: providing Republicans with a number of cute (but not that bright) comfort women.

Let's face a hard truth: this was the bitterest Presidential campaign in living memory. The Democrats and their allies staked everything on the defeat of this President. All of the resources they had accumulated over a generation of struggle were thrown into this battle: and they have failed. Despite all of their tricks, despite all of their lies, the people have rejected them. They mean nothing. They are worth nothing. There's no point in trying to reach out to them because they won't be reached out to. We've got their teeth clutching the sidewalk and out boot above their head. Now's the time to curb-stomp the bastards.

The first obvious major fight is going to be over the confirmation of the next Chief Justice of the United States and probably a new Associate Justice as well. The reason for saying this should be obvious: William Rehnquist is an ill man and, I think, the obvious candidate to replace him is none other than Clarence Thomas who would be, of course, the first black Chief Justice but who would also, much more importantly, be the most conservative one in living memory. His seat could then be given to another solid conservative and then, once Stevens, Ginsberg, or O'Conner goes, we can get a real conservative majority on the court: and keep it for a decade or more.

It's worth stepping back to think about the scale of what we have accomplished. We've fought back and won against the most destructive attack in the modern history of Presidential campaigns. Despite all of the books, movies, television shows: despite the seeming involvement of all of Hollywood and all of Academia, they lost. They used every trick in the book against us: and they lost. We now control the White House, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and a majority of State Governorships. The Republican Party is now, truly, the majority party in the United States.

This is a mandate. Not only for the President to carry on and win the War on Terrorism, but also to make other needed reforms. To begin: the massive landslides for the eleven state Gay Marriage amendments, even the one in Oregon, show that the Federal Marriage Amendment will carry if it proves to be needed. Better still, with these majorities, the President will have a real shot at enacting some form of entitlement reform in the coming years.

This is a decisive moment in American history. There's no denying this fact. The nation stood at the crossroads yesterday and the people choose to go the right way. They rejected the Democrat Party and the pernicious things that those people stand for.

Michael Moore and his ilk have been rejected by the people. Treason didn't carry the day. Forgeries and lies failed to produce the results that they wanted.

It was closer than we'd like, of course. Far too close. I still can't believe that anyone voted for John Kerry. John Kerry was a personification of everything that's wrong with the Democrat Party today. A traitor in his youth, he proposed policies of economic division at home and which would have brought military defeat abroad. The once-proud Democratic Party of people like Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson has been reduced to such a level as to become little better than the party of AIDS, abortion, adultery and appeasement.

But, whatever, we won: to hell with the rest of them. Those who didn't support Bush can go and perform a certain anatomically impossible act. They lost, now they can sit in the back of the bus.

Thank God Almighty.
posted by Yoshi at 10:21 AM
----
The current events must be searingly painful to the author of the above.
I'll weep a little for him. *sniffle* There, I'm done.

Thank God Almighty indeed.

Obama won by 9,124,522 votes (at least) - sixth largest victory margin of all time and the largest ever by a non-incumbent. (fivethirtyeight.com)

Oh Adam, the numbers say it so well.

Angst

You simply have to read this.

That last 'graph made me mist up.

I can't write any more now, the tears...

Taibbi for lunch

firedoglake always has the goods.

Today they highlight Matt Taibbi roasting Thomas Friedmann's book 'How Green Was My Mustache'

Taibbi really lets him have it too.

Friedman’s language choices over the years have been highly revealing: When a man who thinks you need to break a vase to get the water out of it starts arguing that you need to invade a country in order to change the minds of its people, you might want to start paying attention to how his approach to the vase problem worked out.Thomas Friedman is not a president, a pope, a general on the field of battle or any other kind of man of action. He doesn’t actually do anything apart from talk about shit in a newspaper. So in my mind it’s highly relevant if his manner of speaking is fucked.


and this

To review quickly, the “Long Bomb” Iraq war plan Friedman supported as a means of transforming the Middle East blew up in his and everyone else’s face; the “Electronic Herd” of highly volatile international capital markets he once touted as an economic cure-all not only didn’t pan out, but led the world into a terrifying chasm of seemingly irreversible economic catastrophe; his beloved “Golden Straitjacket” of American-style global development (forced on the world by the “hidden fist” of American military power) turned out to be the vehicle for the very energy/ecological crisis Friedman himself warns about in his new book; and, most humorously, the “Flat World” consumer economics Friedman marveled at so voluminously turned out to be grounded in such total unreality that even his wife’s once-mighty shopping mall empire, General Growth Properties, has lost 99 percent of its value in this year alone.

So, yes, Friedman is suddenly an environmentalist of sorts.

Lovely. Go read the whole thing.

Watching someone catch a neocon desperately trying to shed his skin is high entertainment.

Whiskey for breakfast

Ye God I love Whiskey - Whiskey Fire that is.

Today Molly Ivors has a wonderful piece about GOP whining:

January 18, 2009
You Want Some Cheese With That?

by Molly Ivors

As Thers notes, Barack Obama is very, very popular, and the American people are ready to give him plenty of time and resources to lead us out of the various shitholes left by the exiting administration.

But not everyone is happy.

Whining is never becoming, but sometimes it's really goddamn funny. Twenty-something McCainiac S.E. Cupp, for one.

But I was just starting to rejoin the general population and eat solid foods again. And now I must brace myself for Tuesday, when all of Washington, the country -- the world! -- boogies down in honor of the man I was absolutely certain would be a mere momentary distraction.

The Franklin Mint is telling me that I need to honor this historic election by buying commemorative coins bearing Obama's face. Life magazine thinks I should own its picture book, "The American Journey of Barack Obama." And Comcast has decided that I should want to watch Obama coverage 24 hours a day on their new channel devoted to The One.

In the face of all this excitement, it's not an easy thing, moving on, especially for young conservatives, who don't have decades of experience behind us dealing with losses to Kennedy, Carter and Clinton. Many of my friends who worked for McCain had hoped to find jobs in his administration -- but now they're merely lawyers, bankers and consultants again, and in some cases have gone back to companies that no longer have room for them and industries that have been decimated by the economic crisis. I'm a political writer and commentator, so Obama's election is actually good news for me, professionally. I now get to respectfully disagree, rather than obsequiously concur.

Let's parse this astounding piece of unintentionally revealing tripe, shall we?

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and the 'parsing' is glorious.

Go read it and laugh out loud.
I did.