19 November, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

And you thought that, with the McCain/Palin ticket going down in flames, we wouldn't have fun ethics complaints against Sarah Palin to play with:

A resident of Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-AK) hometown of Wasilla filed a new ethics complaint against the governor, arguing that her recent media blitz broke state ethics rules because portions of the interviews took place in the governor’s office. The Anchorage Daily News reports:

Jane Henning, a North Slope worker from Wasilla, said he filed the complaint with the attorney general. He says Palin is promoting her future political career on state property, pointing in particular to the governor’s Nov. 10 interview with Fox News Channel host Greta Van Susteren. […]

“The governor is using her official position and office in an attempt to repair her damaged political image on the national scene,” Henning wrote.

The state executive branch ethics rules say officials can’t use state resources to help or hurt a political candidate. Or a potential candidate.

Makes you wonder how many ethics violations she'll have racked up before she plays Don Quixote with national politics again, dunnit?

As far as the far-right conservative future, Kathleen Parker has a few thoughts about that. The religious frothers won't like them one bit:

In September, Kathleen Parker, a conservative syndicated columnist, raised quite a few eyebrows when she explained that Sarah Palin had no business running for national office. "If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself," Parker said, before urging Palin to quit the Republican ticket. She was rewarded with literally thousands of angry right-wing emails.

Parker, to her enormous credit, continues to push back against conservative orthodoxy. In a Washington Post piece today, she encouraged the Republican Party to realize that its religious-right base is a leading cause for the party's electoral troubles.

[T]he evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.

Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party. And, the truth -- as long as we're setting ourselves free -- is that if one were to eavesdrop on private conversations among the party intelligentsia, one would hear precisely that.

The choir has become absurdly off-key, and many Republicans know it.

But they need those votes! So it has been for the Grand Old Party since the 1980s or so, as it has become increasingly beholden to an element that used to be relegated to wooden crates on street corners.

Parker is surprisingly candid in her assessment, criticizing the Republican Party for having "surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows." By becoming the party of the Dobsons and Robertsons of the world, the GOP, Parker insists, has alienated "other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle."

Expect two things: few Republicons will take her sound advice, and she's going to get creamed by the fanatics. But I'm happy there are, at least, a few lone voices of near-reason out there on the right. Maybe once the lunatics implode, that means we'll have a conservative moment worth contending with again.

Before they head over to Parker's place with pitchforks and torches, I hope they make a stop at Bill O's:
For years, Bill O’Reilly has been ranting about an alleged “War on Christmas,” claiming liberals are unjustly replacing “Christmas” festivities with “Holiday” festivities. News Hounds notes that O’Reilly isn’t practicing what he preaches, as he is showing off a “holiday reading list” on his website...

"Friendly fire," eh, Bill? Wonder if he'll end up on Focus on the Family's list of businesses and entities who don't say "Merry Christmas." That would be amusing to the extreme.

It's a day ending in y, so you know Dana Perino's said something stupid:

Ever since Iraq’s cabinet “overwhelmingly approved” a proposed security agreement that mandates the full withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of 2011, the White House has been engaged in a rhetorical dance — in large part due to President Bush’s long-held opposition to “artificial timetables.”

On Monday, White House press secretary Dana Perino tried to mold the agreement to fit her boss’s view, saying that the withdrawal timeline contained within is only “aspirational” and tied to conditions on the ground remaining favorable. (It’s not). Today, Perino went further, claiming that the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) represents a celebration of victory in Iraq:

Q: Can you remind us again why this agreement is not the timetable that the president fought so hard against? […]

PERINO: This is a mutually agreed to agreement. And that’s what one of the things that is different about an arbitrary date for withdrawal when you say you’re going to leave win or lose. We believe that the conditions are such now that we are able to celebrate the victory that we’ve had so far and establish…a strategic framework agreement.

"A mutually agreed to agreement" that'll allow us to "celebrate the victory." She sounds like she's been listening to Sarah Palin, doesn't she? Good to see that the tradition of Bush-league stupidity is alive and well. I was afraid they'd get less amusing in the waning days of their rule.

Some rats are jumping ship and striking out for reality, though:

When it comes to the Bush administration's environmental policies, there's a fairly predictable pattern -- scientists will weigh in, career EPA employees will agree with them, and Bush's political appointees will ignore all of them.

This one, though, is a little unusual.

The Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing new air-quality rules that would make it easier to build coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other major polluters near national parks and wilderness areas, even though half of the EPA's 10 regional administrators formally dissented from the decision and four others criticized the move in writing.

Documents obtained by The Washington Post show that the administration's push to weaken Clean Air Act protections for "Class 1 areas" nationwide has sparked fierce resistance from senior agency officials. All but two of the regional administrators objecting to the proposed rule are political appointees.

Got that? Several regional EPA administrators are opposing Bush's new air-quality rules for national parks and wilderness areas, despite having been appointed by Bush.

It's only a matter of time before Bush's dog Barney bites him, too, I suspect.

But there is a drop of comfort for the Cons today. They didn't lose Missouri:

It took a little longer than expected, but we now know the results of the presidential race from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Missouri, the lone holdout, was called today for McCain.

With all jurisdictions reporting complete but unofficial results, McCain led Obama by 3,632 votes Wednesday out of more than 2.9 million cast -- a margin of 0.12 percentage points.

Cold comfort indeed when set against this:

I was holding off a bit, waiting to see if there'd be a statewide recount, but thankfully, Senator and convicted felon Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) conceded this afternoon.

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens has conceded defeat to Democratic challenger Mark Begich in the Alaska Senate race.

Stevens, 85, was the longest serving Republican senator in the chamber's history.

"Given the number of ballots that remain to be counted, it is apparent the election has been decided and Mayor Begich has been elected," Stevens said in a statement."

Stevens' concession officially makes Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich a senator-elect, and officially brings the Senate Democratic caucus to 58. There are, of course, two remaining races that are unresolved: Minnesota (where a statewide recount began today) and Georgia (where there will be a runoff election on Dec. 2).

Dear, oh dear. I do believe that's what's called an overfuckingwhelming majority.

The era of neocon ascendency is over. Thank you for playing.


Anonymous said...

Don't they need 60 to prevent filibusters? That's an overwhelming majority. And they certainly can't count on I-is-for-idiot Lieberman...

Cujo359 said...

Yes, it takes at least 60 Senators to invoke cloture, which means there can't be a filibuster. Actually, though, they've had the number of Senators they've needed to control the legislative agenda for two years now - 51. And they don't need Joe Lieberman to vote their way. Harry Reid, as leader of the majority, gets to decide the schedule of all bills. Any bill the Democrats didn't want to appear on the floor wouldn't appear.

That means no one gets their pork unless the Democratic leadership lets it happen.

Reid has not used that ability to help anyone but the telecomm companies and the folks who brought you Gitmo and Iraq.

Nicole said...

It always cracks me up (and makes me feel a little sick) that a phrase that was meant to be more inclusive is now drawing out the cat o' nine tails from people who claim "Happy Holidays" excludes them.

Get over it. Say Merry Christmas to your friends and family, if you want, and then move to a compound so you can cut yourself off from the "flaming, terrorist lib-rals who hate Jeebus!"

Cujo359 said...

No kidding, NP. Nearly every major religion celebrates the Winter solstice. What's wrong with acknowledging that fact?

Actually, I can answer that. To the people who complain about the phrase, it means they're not having things their own way, and that's just wrong.

Nicole said...

@Cujo: And these selfish "My way is the only way" people are the same people who claim to approach everyone with open arms and an open heart and Christ-like love.

Go figure.