31 December, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Holymotherfuckingshit I am tired.  And it's late, so I'm afraid it's just a link dump for you, my darlings, and then I am scampering off to bed.  Pretty weak tea for the last day o' the year, but it can't be helped.  I'll try to add some concentrated snark to spice things up.

It turns out the Unheroic Trio sucks at Google-fu.  You remember how they were demanding the Obama Administration not release those Yemeni detainees back to Yemen?  Well, Obama's gonna need a time machine to grant that request - seeing as how they were returned nearly two fucking weeks ago.  And if that time machine's available, they'll need to go back and raise a stink about Bush et al shipping a further fourteen to Yemen.  Otherwise, they might look like total fucking hypocrites.

Oh, wait.  It's too late for that, too, isn't it?  Besides, the administration's already told them to bugger off.

Newt Gingrich gets dumber and dumberer.  Now he's wailing that the Obama administration cares more about terorrists' rights than American lives.  You know, this shit gets shat by the right wing every time somebody commits a crime and ends up being treated with the minimum of courtesy the Constitution demands.  All I can say is, I hope Newt gets mistaken for an enemy combatant someday, and discovers just why those protections are essential.  Let's sell him some flammable underwear and stick him on a plane, shall we?

Romney's former spokesman thinks Hawaii "seems like a foreign place," and that somehow justifies Con criticism of Obama's handling of the Crotch Bomber.  Yeah, it doesn't compute for me, either.  But what can we say?  These poor fucktards are getting desperate - I mean, look at National Review's Marc Thiessen, who's trying to say that the Bushies handled shoe bomber Richard Reid in federal court because they just didn't realize they stuff him in military custody and whop him with a military tribunal - even though they'd greenlighted military tribunals a whole month before.  I'd like pathetic fucking excuses for $1000, Alex.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration points out to craptastic critics by saying this Prez don't need to pose like Bush:
"The difference is this: President Obama doesn't need to beat his chest to prove it, and - unlike the last Administration - we are not at war with a tactic ("terrorism"), we [are] at war with something that is tangible: al Qaeda and its violent extremist allies. And we will prosecute that war as long as the American people are endangered," [White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer] wrote.
Too fucking right.

But this will probably sail right over the head of administration critics, who now want the head of Janet Napolitano because she wasn't emotional enough on teevee.

And as if that's not enough, some blithering idiot is on about "security moms."   Please, show me this enormous herd of extremely stupid mothers who think a neutered terrorist and a measured, sane response from Democrats is reason to vote for the people who sent their sons to die in Iraq and destroyed their ability to feed their surviving kids to boot.  Once the media has explained this phenomenon to me, I'd then like to hear why, after the Richard Reid shoe bombing attempt, reporters asked Bush about his vacation plans, but somehow failed to mention that terrorist incident.  I've cleaned out my earwax especially for you.

Perhaps Pete King could follow my lead and remove the blockages apparently plaguing his own ear canals.  He'd like us to believe that President Obama refuses to use the word terrorism.  In fact, he sez, "Even when the president gave his speech at West Point about the troops going to Afghanistan, he didn't use the word 'terrorism.' He spoke of 'extremism.'" Funny, Steve Benen found no fewer than six uses of the exact word "terrorism" and variations thereof in Obama's West Point speech.  Perhaps the problem is that King inhabits a completely different reality than the rest of us.  Either that, or his selective hearing is remarkable.

Here's a paragraph on the affair that must be memorialized:

"It seems to me that if the aftermath of the Crotchfire Attack on NWA Flight 253 proved anything about Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.), it's that his main strength as a national security expert is to have excellent intel on the location of various television cameras and the means to get in front of them very quickly. His alacrity, naturally, comes at the expense of his ability to say anything sensible to those cameras once he's found them, but in the current media universe that doesn't matter: the shininess of pointless political static supersedes the need to actually broadcast anything remotely intelligent."
All too true.  Beautifully put, sir.

And, finally, in news not directly related to Crotchfire Attacks, the next time Cons bring up death panels, remind them that it's their stupidity that shall cause many old folk to die in 2010:
Or, to be more specific, death and tax-avoidance:
Starting Jan. 1, the estate tax -- which can erase nearly half of a wealthy person's estate -- goes away for a year. For families facing end-of-life decisions in the immediate future, the change is making one of life's most trying episodes only more complex.
"I have two clients on life support, and the families are struggling with whether to continue heroic measures for a few more days," says Joshua Rubenstein, a lawyer with Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP in New York. "Do they want to live for the rest of their lives having made serious medical decisions based on estate-tax law?"
According to the article, another elderly rich guy is considering euthanasia. Another one wakes up every few days and asks, "What day is it? Is it Jan. 1 yet?"

Is it any wonder I like cockroaches better than Cons?

Science Book Bonanza

Blogging shall be thin tonight for two reasons.  One, it's another bloody holiday week, which means I'm stuck at work with no hope of early escape.  Two, I decided to nose around Amazon for a few books to order, seeing as how the parents had sent me a hefty certificate for Christmas.

A hundred bucks, tops, I told myself.  That'll give me a nice selection of tomes and leave enough for music afterward.

Ask me how that plan worked.  Go ahead, ask.


Well, actually, not that bad.  I escaped after several hours having spent only twice what I'd planned.  And I justify the expenditure by recalling that I worked the entirety of the Christmas holiday, and I've been trapped at work with no unpaid time off this week, which leaves a surplus in the budget that'll cover music.  Don't ask me how winnowing the music list is going.  If you must, see bolded answer above.

Forget music.  Let's talk about books.  This was a science odyssey, which meant considerable searching through Science Blogs for recommendations, warnings, and so forth.  If you're interested, I found a few good lists: the Pop-Sci book meme, favorite volcano books, and Wayne Ranney's Great Geology Books I Have Read (see sidebar).  I'm fairly excited to have discovered his blog in the process of seeking science books - I've got his Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau, and it's delicious.  I know he knows his shit, so his recommendations have weight. 

Here's how I shop for science books these days: I find stuff that looks interesting, then search Science Blogs and Google for the title and/or the author to make sure I'm not wasting money on bullshit.  It's not totally foolproof, but it works to some degree.  I've avoided a few stinkers since I've started doing that.  And I've been tempted to buy the iPhone a few times simply because I'd have that resource at my fingertips when I'm torn in Barnes and Noble or Half-Price Books.


I ended up with some brilliant stuff that I'm terribly excited to get.  And here's the list, in no particular order:

 The Seven Hills of Rome: A Geological Tour of the Eternal City.  I need more geology that deals with areas other than America, and found this.  It's written by actual geologists.  And it does more than just geology: there's a bit of stuff in there that discusses the human impact on the area, which is awesome.

Devil in the Mountain: A Search for the Origin of the Andes  .  I mean, here we have a book talking about how the Andes formed.  Woot!

Proust Was a Neuroscientist.  I wasn't sure about this one, but in my searches on Science Blogs, it came highly recommended.  And it's bargain priced.  So what the hell, why not?

Dry Storeroom No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum (Vintage)  .  I love love love Richard Fortey.  And in the blurb for this book, it talks about it having too much information.  With Richard, too much is never enough.  Mine all mine!  I read the first few pages, and along with the science stuff, he has a description of the Natural History Museum's architecture that had me salivating.

The Mountains of Saint Francis: Discovering the Geologic Events That Shaped Our Earth (St. Francis).  This is a book on Italian geology written by Walter Alvarez.  Yes, that Walter Alvarez.  It looks fascinating, and again, it's a book with incidental extras.

The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution  .  Written by biologist Sean Carroll, whose Endless Forms Most Beautiful is an excellent book, so this should be utterly awesome as well.

Biostratigraphy of China.  This is going to be a tough read - it's a professional book for professional geologists.  But I've been wanting some stuff on Chinese geology, and this has got some of that, along with a lot of other stuff.  And it's super-cheap - the thing usually retails for $175, but Amazon's got it for $33.  So, why the fuck not?  I can Google the big words.

Fossils: The History of Life.  Another Richard Fortey book.  Need I say more?  I didn't think so.

Three Gorges of the Yangzi River: Choncqing to Wuhan (Second Edition) (Odyssey Illustrated Guides)  .  This one's more of a travel book, but it's got a hefty chapter on geology, and looks like it's got a lot more interesting stuff than just "see this tourist trap, stay at this hotel."  And it was bargain priced, so hey, go for it, right?  Especially since anything on Chinese geology is incredibly hard to find - unless you're going for professional manuals.

Mountain Geomorphology (Arnold Publication).  I have no real idea what this is, but it's geology and it's about mountains and it's written by professionals, so that's enough for me.  We're learning geomorphology, kiddies!

The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition--with a new Introduction by the Author  .  I've been meaning to read Dawkins's first book for quite some time.  I believe now is a good time.

And that's just the stuff I bought.  There's a bunch more on my wish list waiting for paperback editions and so forth, because I had to stop somewhere.  Eventually, I'll be picking up The Age of Wonder, Fire Mountains of the West, Before the Deluge (nothing to do with Noah - we're talking about the Three Gorges Dam in China), and Why Evolution is True (yes, I'm a bad Jerry Coyne fan - haven't picked this up yet, and now I'm waiting for the paperback).  At some point, I have to go on an astronomy spree, because there are books by Phil Plait and Neil DeGrasse Tyson I want.  Brian Switek's first book, Written in Stone, isn't too long in coming, and I've been waiting too long for this book to wait one second longer than absolutely necessary.

In the meantime, I'm sure there'll be about twelve billion books emerge that I didn't know existed but desperately need to own.  That's just how it is round here.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm starving to death.  Didn't eat whilst shopping.  Too involved with the books.

30 December, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

I almost didn't post this today.  Work sucked, I'm suffering the after-effects of insomnia, and all I really want to do is curl up with Amazon and spend my certificate.  But the stupid, it was too burning and rich to pass up.  How can I not blog stupid of the caliber I saw today?

I'll tell you, one terrorist sets himself on fire, and the entire right wing utterly shits itself. They're obviously too excited to think clearly.  Otherwise, they might've reconsidered the wisdom of politicizing this, in light of a few inconvenient facts:
A variety of congressional Republicans seem awfully anxious to play partisan games with the terrorist threat, and exploit the Abdulmutallab plot for electoral gain. The risk, of course, is that by starting the fight, the GOP attack dogs may be confronted with issues they're unprepared to deal with.

There is, for example, the fact that the nominated head of the TSA can't get confirmed because of Republican obstructionism. Then there's the fact that congressional Republicans also opposed funding for the TSA, including money for screening operations and explosives detection systems.

And then there's this unpleasant tidbit.
Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.
American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia, where they entered into an "art therapy rehabilitation program" and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.
As Ron Chusid put it, "Just imagine the Republican response if Barack Obama or Bill Clinton had released prisoners to enter an 'art therapy rehabilitation program.' This sounds almost as silly as an American president sitting and reading a children's book while the country is under attack."

Deary, deary me.  Art therapy for terrorists.  Why, that sounds like some dirty librul idea!  Do you think the Teabaggers will understand that art therapy for terrorists IOKIYAR?  I somehow think not.

Not to mention, guess who didn't want funding for TSA for things like "screening operations and explosives detection systems"?  Yup, that would be the Cons.  Worser and worser.

Meanwhile, some Cons have finally decided it's better to look like raving buffoons than indulge in continued blatant hypocrisy:
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) doesn't want Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to face criminal charge in a federal court. Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge doesn't want Abdulmutallab to have legal rights.

I had the same thought Josh Marshall had about the search for elusive consistency.
Remember, the AbdulMutallab case is virtually identical to the Richard Reid "Shoe Bomber" case from December 2001 -- to an uncanny degree. Same explosive, (PETN), same MO (blowing up an airliner bound for the US), same failed attempt.
It's really about as close to identical cases and you get. And, of course, Reid was tried in civilian courts and is now serving a life sentence. Seemed to work fine in his case. And unless I'm misremembering, I don't remember anybody criticizing this approach at the time.
Most of the criticisms we're hearing are pretty silly. But that's where the buck stops. It happened. Obama's president. It's natural that the political opposition will try to pin it on him. But can we at least get some demagoguing that isn't so transparently ridiculous and easily refuted by pointing out the policy the accuser followed when they were in charge?
Right. The Reid and Abdulmutallab cases offer nearly identical circumstances -- same chemical, same target, same intended consequence, same month of the year, same twisted ideology. Reid was charged, convicted, sentenced, and locked up for life. Neither conservatives nor liberals whined about it. But if the Obama administration subjects Abdulmutallab to an identical process, Republicans are outraged? Either they're idiots or they think we are.

You know, the hypocrisy was better.  I mean, at least it didn't make them look so bloody fucking stupid.

And it really doesn't help when Karl Rove thinks six days is shorter than seventy-two hours.  Seems someone failed the greater-than/less-than portion of math, and can't tell time to boot.  Pretty fucking sad, innit?

Meanwhile, the unheroic trio's terrified of the idea that icky people from Yemen might come back and kill them in their beds:
Sen. Joe Lieberman, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham wrote a letter to President Obama today asking he halt any transfer of the six Yemeni detainees being held in Guantanamo Bay.

The trio of senators, who often see eye-to-eye on national security issues, said the transfer of the detainees would be "highly unwise and ill-considered."

Lieberman (I-CT) McCain (R-AZ) and Graham (R-SC) asked that until the United States is sure the detainees "will not return to the battlefield," all transfers to Yemen should cease.

A senior administration official tells TPMDC that Obama's Guantanamo review specifically identifies each detainee.

The task force evaluates detainees and the threat they pose, to determine whether they should be prosecuted, detained, or transferred, the official said.

The administration has worked with the government of Yemen to make sure all appropriate security measures are taken when the detainees are transferred, and Obama "will not release any detainee who would endanger the American people," the official said.

The official said Gitmo has been used by Al Qaeda as a rallying cry and recruiting tool, and the administration maintains that closing it is a national security imperative.

That, of course, has not stopped these three schmucks from shitting themselves in fear.  One gets the sense that maybe they don't know what the fuck they're talking about.

And Pat Buchanan's calling for torture without wanting to call it torture:
Pat Buchanan couldn't miss out on a chance to join in the chorus of psychopathic right-wingers who have been responding with their usual grotesque visions of xenophobic hatred after the Christmas Day failed attack on Flight 253.
Buchanan: ...frankly if that means you have to deny him pain medication because he's badly burned, I think you go ahead and do that. I'm not arguing for torture, but I am...

Spencer: You just did.
Tell you what, Pat.  How about you burn your dick off, we'll withhold the morphine, and then you can tell us that's not torture.  Maybe we'd even take you seriously.  Really.

And speaking of being taken seriously, who the fuck thought it was a good idea to have Ben fucking Stein opining on this subject?   ZOMG.

But not all of the stupidity's been about self-castrated terrorists.  No, there's plenty of other dumbfuckery going on.  Do you want to know how fucked up the Cons in the Senate are?  Sen. Jim Bunning had a hold on one of Obama's appointees because he wanted to address the critical issue of Canada's refusal to import candy-flavored cigarettes.  And that's not all!
That would be mind-numbing enough if it were an isolated incident, but inane Senate holds on qualified nominees have become painfully routine. The General Services Administration has been without an administrator because Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) blocked the president's nominee -- he wanted more funding for a federal office building in downtown Kansas City. The president's nominee for the U.S. ambassador to Spain faced a hold because Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wanted more information about the dismissal of AmeriCorps' inspector general.
Something tells me governing these United States is going to be next to impossible as long as the Senate rules allow complete fucktards to throw nonsensical tantrums.

And speaking of nonsensical, Bobby Jindal, who apparently believes New Orleans and other coastal Louisianan cities look better underwater, wants the EPA to lay off the regulations.  The man apparently can't choose between paying a little now and paying a fuck of a lot a few months from now.  Yeesh.

Finally, what does a Con do when he wants to beat another Con?  Why, cry "homo!" of course:
Illinois Republican Andy Martin is about as slimy as they come. He gleefully accepts credit for starting a nasty smear campaign against President Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, and continues to ramp up the hate as he runs for a seat in the U.S. Senate:
Andy Martin, a noted conservative dirty trickster, put out a spot on local radio in which he pushes a "solid rumor" that fellow Senatorial aspirant, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), "is a homosexual."
"I helped expose many of Barack Obama's lies in 2008," the ad goes. "Today, I am fighting for the facts about Mark Kirk. Illinois Republican leader Jack Roeser says there is a 'solid rumor that Kirk is a homosexual.' Roeser suggests that Kirk is part of a Republican Party homosexual club. Lake County Illinois Republican leader Ray True says Kirk has surrounded himself with homosexuals."

In a stunning move, the Illinois Republican Party has denounced Martin and his tactics. Maybe Republicans is learning?

I wouldn't bet on it.  Especially not after the Teabaggers pile on the Illinois Con Party for siding with a dirty rotten rumored homo.  But at least the IL Cons tried a little decency for once.  Much more than can be said for most of the rest.

You all stay classy, there, Cons.

29 December, 2009

One o' Those Days

The workday, to put it mildly, sucked leper donkey dick.  I'm going to try to get to Happy Hour in a bit, but if all you get is this lousy picture, at least you'll know why.

Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity

Everybody knows the health care reform bill passed the Senate, right?  Yes.  Good.  Then we can move on to the stupid.  Newt Gingrich is already moving on to the stupid.  He's moving right to committing the Cons to running on the promise to repeal the bill.  I can't wait to see that.  I think Steve Benen's pretty excited, too:
"Every" Republican candidate will pledge to repeal popular consumer protections? Caps on families' medical expenses? Cost-containment measures? Deficit-reduction provisions? Subsidies for families who can't afford coverage? I really doubt it.
Thing is, they may be forced to run on repeal.  The Teabaggers are demanding it.  And it doesn't seem Cons will be able to pacify them with non-committal, Mitch McConnell-style prevarication.

This is going to be hysterically funny to watch.  I don't know if the usual summer movie fare can compete.

For a really good time in the meantime, go check out some lame Con excuses as to why the Medicare prescription drug boondoggle they foisted on the country without paying for is totally legit, whereas a health care reform bill that's fully paid for is not.  It's priceless.  Hard to choose my favorite, but I think Olympia Snowe's lameassery is a definite contender.  I'll let you lot decide:
The AP's Charles Babington reports that most GOP officials no longer want to talk about their own record.
Six years ago, "it was standard practice not to pay for things," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. "We were concerned about it, because it certainly added to the deficit, no question." His 2003 vote has been vindicated, Hatch said, because the prescription drug benefit "has done a lot of good."
Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said those who see hypocrisy "can legitimately raise that issue." But he defended his positions in 2003 and now, saying the economy is in worse shape and Americans are more anxious.
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said simply: "Dredging up history is not the way to move forward."
Translation: we fucked up and we don't want to talk about it because we were really hoping you'd all forget just how fucking stupid we are.

And, finally, the next time some Con starts whining about bipartisanship, remind them that their plan all along has been to play the obstructionist dickweed game for partisan political gain.  Arlen Specter knows - he was there, and he's revealed their dirty little secrets.

Most of My Certainties Are Gone

And here I didn't think I liked Alicia Keys much. Alas for my certainties, Stephen Colbert has shattered them.

The Colbert Report
Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down

Colbert Report Full Episodes
Political Humor

I'd be worried if I'd actually enjoyed Snoop Dog's performance in the previous episode, but nope. Still don't like rap. Do, however, like this Alicia Keys song.

What's next, Stephen? Which illusions will you shatter next?

(And yes, I am just now catching up on Daily Show and Colbert Report.  I'm a bad, bad fan.)

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

It's the Monday after a long holiday weekend.  Let the tidal wave of stupidity be unleashed.  Grab your life preservers, my darlings, and let's get swimming.

Of course, the big news over the weekend was the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight.  On a brief side note before we get to the stoopid, al Qaeda might want to take note of the fact that Americans on airplanes tend to tackle terrorists before they can cause much mayhem.  As far as striking terror into the hearts and minds of anyone aside from timid Cons, having a terrorist neuter himself on a jet just kind of doesn't seem like something you all should be claiming credit for.  It's embarrassing.

But not quite as embarrassing as the Con response.  For instance, there are those Cons screaming for Janet Napolitano's head because they can't understand sentences of more than five words.  Yes, indeedy, she did say "the system worked."  She said that when she was talking about the response to the attempted attack.  I know Cons love a quote mine almost as much as DIsco does, but this is ridiculous.

Then there's the freakout over the fact that Abdulmutallab wasn't put on a no-fly list despite the fact his father alerted U.S. officials that his son was becoming a religious extremist.  Cons seem to think the vague concerns of a dad equal solid, actionable intelligence.  Let's dispatch that hysteria right now:
But it's worth appreciating the larger context, and understanding why the warnings didn't prompt immediate, wide-reaching action.
When Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's father in Nigeria reported concern over his son's "radicalization" to the U.S. Embassy there last month, intelligence officials in the United States deemed the information insufficient to pursue. The young man's name was added to the half-million entries in a computer database in McLean and largely forgotten.
The lack of attention was not unusual, according to U.S. intelligence officials, who said that thousands of similar bits of information flow into the National Counterterrorism Center each week from around the world. Only those that indicate a specific threat, or add to an existing body of knowledge about an individual, are passed along for further investigation and possible posting on airline and border watch lists.
"It's got to be something that causes the information to sort of rise out of the noise level, because there is just so much out there," one intelligence official said.
The report entered on Abdulmutallab, 23, after his father's Nov. 19 visit to the embassy was "very, very thin, with minimal information," said a second U.S. official familiar with its contents.
We're dealing with a situation in which Abdulmutallab's father, justifiably concerned, felt like his son might become dangerous. He didn't have any information about a specific plot, but he wanted the authorities to be aware of the potential problem. U.S. officials added Abdulmutallab's name to a list -- a rather long list.

And therein lies the point. U.S. officials learn about all kinds of potentially dangerous people, all over the globe, every day. Most of these people have never committed an act of terrorism, and never will. A tiny fraction will consider violence, a tiny fraction of them will actually attempt mass murder. It's literally impossible to launch investigations into every one of them. It's not that officials "had real details about an Islamic maniac and did nothing about it"; it's that officials had vague details and lacked the capacity and wherewithal to take immediate action.
Let's say we had the resources to investigate all 500,000 names on that "mebbe" list.  I'll bet good money that we'll find that a good number of those folks got put there because of an angry ex-lover wanting to cause trouble.  More will be there because some paranoid assclown freaked out over the fact that their neighbor speaks Arabic and goes to the mosque.  Quite a few more will be on the list because they have a similar name to someone else who might be a terrorist.  Some folks will be on it because their name's misspelled.  More folks will be there because they're attention-seeking morons who like to shock friends and family with outrageous claims.  Some will be mentally ill folks incapable of tying their shoes, much less working for al Qaeda, and in another day and age would be running around claiming to be Jesus.  And a bare handful will, like Abdulmutallab, be al Qaeda patsies who really do want to commit terrorist acts but can't figure out how to detonate a bomb without burning off their own balls.

The ones who are credible, verifiable threats, along with quite a few people who don't belong there but end up sanctioned because everybody's paranoid, are on the no-fly list.  That's how these things work.  You cast a net, sweep up most of the fish, and always find you've got unintentional dolphins in the net and one or two tuna merrily swimming away.  And no one, not the military, not law enforcement, not Homeland Security, has the resources to investigate every vague claim that the finned creature gliding through the water is actually the tuna you missed.

Sorry for the terrible metaphor, but stupid claims deserve painful metaphors in turn.

So, now that it's obvious the system won't bar every man with a worried father from getting on airplanes, what do the Cons want to do?  Why, profile all the dirty A-rabs!
In the wake of the failed terrorist attempt aboard a Northwest airlines flight on Christmas Day, the right wing is renewing its pleas for more profiling of Muslims:
Radio host Mike Gallagher: “There should be a separate line to scrutinize anybody with the name Abdul or Ahmed or Mohammed.(Note: Those are some of the most common names in the world.)
Rep. Peter King (R-NY): “100 percent of the Islamic terrorists are Muslim, and that is our main enemy today. So why we should not be profiling people because of their religion?

Wow, that'll be really helpful!  That'll catch all the terrorists!  They can never get around that security measure - unless, of course, they fly under the name John Smith and wear a cross.

On Faux News, Mike Gallagher was even more helpful, suggesting we should "scrutinize young Middle Eastern men to stop this."  As C&L's Dave Neiwert pointed out, there's a problem with this idea:  "Nigeria is not in 'the Middle East,' and the suspect in this case was not 'Middle Eastern' -- he was African." 

So much for Cons' plans to protect us all.

Joe Lieberman, of course, is jumping past increased security and contemplating war with Yemen instead.  I can't believe this assclown caucuses with the Dems. 

Meanwhile, Steve Benen wants to know where the right-wing freakout over a terrorist being held on American soil and charged in American courts is.  Spencer Ackerman asked Crazy Pete Hoekstra that very same question, and all he got was this lousy fundraising email:
When I asked earlier today where the outrage was from Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) over the fact that his worst nightmare — the imprisonment of terrorists in civilian Michigan prisons — had come to pass with the detention of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, I had no idea that he’d send out a fundraising email for his gubernatorial campaign based on his myopia. It’s such a cartoon it might as well have come with anime drawings of dragons and robots in the margins.

They just don’t get it. The system didn’t “work” here. Far from it! It is insulting that The Obama administration would make such a claim, but then again, these are the same weak-kneed liberals who have recently tried to bring Guantanamo Bay terrorists right here to Michigan! … I have pledged that I will do “everything possible” to prevent these terrorists from coming to Michigan.
Hey congressman! The guy who tried to blow up Northwest Flight 253? He is in prison — right there in Michigan! He has been! For days! Has Michigan exploded yet? No? Well, what might that mean for your contention? You know, the one that you’re asking supporters to fund?
If you agree that we need a Governor who will stand up the Obama/Pelosi efforts to weaken our security please make a most generous contribution of $25, $50, $100 or even $250 to my campaign.
He might even use it to purchase a clue.
Purchasing a clue does one no good if one doesn't invest in a brain first, so I'd suggest to crazy Pete that a good set of gray matter be first on his shopping list.

In other stupid news.... Conservadems, having failed to defeat health care reform, are now setting their sights on defeating the cap-and-trade bill.  If they can't have Americans dying from uninsured illnesses, I guess they'll settle for a slower death by global warming.

Conservadems don't really belong in the Democratic party at all - not with their Con tendencies - but don't expect many of them to make the same switch Griffith did.  He's not exactly feeling the love from his new party.

But enough about Conservadems, let's get back to Cons - mostly because the Conservadems haven't yet perfected weapons-grade stupidity of the Cons' caliber.  And there's a love story to be told - the love of Pete Sessions for crook and contributor Allen Stanford:

Now that's loyalty.

When a top supporter gets busted by the Feds for allegedly running a massive Ponzi scheme, most big-time pols are usually pretty quick to distance themselves. (See Crist, Charlie, for the locus classicus of the genre).

Not Pete Sessions though. Hours after Allen Stanford was charged by the SEC for swindling investors out of around $7 billion, the Texas congressman, and chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, sent the following email, signed "Pete":

I love you and believe in you...If you want my ear/voice -- e-mail.
Aww, isn't that sweet?

Pete's attempt at excusing himself is very nearly as weak as Mark Sanford's lousy excuses.  Wuv, twue wuv, Con style!

For those who've missed the Cons' old stimulus stupidity, here's a good roundup of the recent idiocy. They're awfully fond of that cash that supposedly isn't doing a damned bit of good.

And, from the department of not surprised comes this not-surprising news:
The political action committee behind the Tea Party Express (TPE) -- which already has been slammed as inauthentic and corporate-controlled by rival factions in the Tea Party movement -- directed around two thirds of its spending during a recent reporting period back to the Republican consulting firm that created the PAC in the first place.

Our Country Deserves Better (OCDB) spent around $1.33 million from July through November, according to FEC filings examined by TPMmuckraker. Of that sum, a total of $870,489 went to Sacramento-based GOP political consulting firm Russo, Marsh, and Associates, or people associated with it.

Grassroots GOP style.  Gotta love it.

And now, I'm going to leave the water and go sunbathe.  I'm afraid getting this soaked by stupidity has left my toes a little pruney.

28 December, 2009

Totally Random Observation

As most of you probably know by now, judge shows are my weekday weakness - having them on in the background provides the proper drumbeat of stupidity for the political stupidity o' the day.

Right now, there's a woman on Judge Jeanine Pirro who looks just like Kevin Bacon.  I don't think Kevin's a particularly handsome man, but his features look even more bizarre on a female.

I feel traumatized...

27 December, 2009

A Thought on Cons and Security

Ladies and gentlemen, America's contender for Buffoon of the Year, Rep. "Crazy" Pete Hoekstra:
Some have wondered this year if, in the case of a deadly terrorist attack, Republicans could bring themselves to put patriotism over party, and rally behind a president they disagree with.

I think we're getting a sense of the answer.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) said Sunday that it is fair to blame the Obama administration for the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit on Christmas Day.
Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Select Intelligence Committee said that the administration has not taken the threat of terrorist threats on the U.S. seriously.
Asked by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace if it is fair to blame the Obama administration for the attacks, the Michigan Republican replied "Yeah, I think it really is."
Not quite 48 hours after a Nigerian man -- who got a visa to enter the United States from the Bush administration -- unsuccessfully tried to kill Americans, Pete Hoekstra, one of Congress' more offensive buffoons, is going on national television to blame the Obama administration. [emphasis added]

I know I shouldn't be surprised, but this is nauseating.

To rationalize his insane criticism, Hoekstra said he felt comfortable blaming the administration for an attack that didn't occur because, "The Obama administration came in and said we're not going to use the word terrorism anymore, we're going to call it man-made disasters, trying to, I think, downplay the threat from terrorism."

By any reasonable measure, this is breathtakingly stupid.
It certainly is.  It's stupid on the merits, and it's stupid because it opens a door that just begs to be walked through.  You dumbshits want to have a debate about who's at fault for failures in airport security?  Two words: Richard Reid.  Did you blame the President then?  No?  Then STFU.

Still babbling?  Let's babble then.  Let's babble about who's giving terrorists visas to come to America and try to blow up our planes.  I have just two words for this debate as well: Bush Administration.  See bolded text above.

Still babbling?  Very well, then.  Let's ask why TSA's been having some issues lately.  Let's discuss the importance of leadership, let's contemplate the fact that the TSA, currently, has no leader, and then let's ponder why they've gone eleven fucking months without someone in the point position:

One of the country's most important national security posts remains vacant. A single senator is holding up confirmation of the man nominated to head the Transportation Security administration.
 50,000 Transportation Security officers screen, inspect, question, and observe at the nation's airports to keep dangerous people and items off planes. Senator Jim Demint believes giving them collective bargaining rights would hurt security.

That's right.  A Con is keeping the TSA headless.  So, Cons, if you want to have this conversation, by all means, let's.  I'll be happy to run through your security failures and your America-hating, terrorist-loving ways.  And if you howl that it's all so unfair, just remember one thing: you're the ones who established the rules for the "debate."

America's Cons: now with more buffoonery!

Update: Yet more buffoonery!   Sen. Jim "Let Me Just Put a Hold on This Critical Nomination" DeMint takes the opportunity to fearmonger about unions.  What a shocker, right?

'Til Death

Just got done watching a show called Ancestors of Ancient Rome, which reminded me of some of my favorite people in the ancient world.

Back when I was a fresh young college student, I took Western Civilization I from the incomparable Roz Ashby and Ken Meier, and they introduced me to worlds I'd never known.  You've heard of the Romans, and you know the Romans filched a lot of their culture from the Greeks, but they also took a lot from the Etruscans.  And I fell in love with the Etruscans because of one piece of art:

This is a sarcophagus for an old couple.  It's always given me a wonderfully warm feeling.  There's something about folks who don't mind being portrayed in their old age.  And their devotion to each other is delightful. 

Funerary art's usually thought of as somber, and people who could afford such luxurious grave goods usually liked to be portrayed as something more than ordinary.  But the Etruscans were different.  Their tombs were homey, depicting more cozy scenes of life and love.  Such as this one:

Isn't that lovely?  They seem to have cared a great deal for each other.  Their tombs are hospitable places, where you feel like wandering in with a glass of wine and a bit of food and curling up for quality time with friends and family, laughing and chatting and generally having a grand time.  They built cities for their dead, complete with streets and houses and couches.  Death doesn't seem to have held any terrors for them.  We talk a lot about celebrating life, but we certainly don't follow through on that lip service with our cemeteries.  The Etruscans, on the other hand, very much did.

Not everybody was a couple, mind you.  Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa apparently chose to go it alone:

And yes, that's what she looked like in life.  Forensic artists reconstructed her face from her bones, and discovered that the Etruscans had a talent for capturing real folks in their art.  Study of her bones also showed that she spent a lot of time on horseback, which is interesting.  Etruscan women didn't live a cloistered life.  They got to go riding and feasting and having all sorts of fun.  Scandalized the Greeks, that did.

They knew how to live, and they knew how to give their dead a proper send-off.  Can't ask for much more than that, now, can we?

Things to Entertain and Enlighten You

Still on holiday, I'm afraid.  But if you're looking for things to do on a Sunday afternoon, I've gots 'em.

If you're in a political wonk mood, Ezra Klein's got up a series on the filibuster that's a must-read.   Start with the first link, and then read his interviews with Barbara Sinclair, Tom Harkin, Andy Stern, and Jeff Merkley.

Steve Benen has an interesting post up on visionary incrementalism.  And a lovely deconstructions of Con stupidity surrounding one very inept terrorist.  As he points out, Pete Hoekstra's a shameless buffoon.  Think Progress, quickly assessing Hoekstra's mental age, helps him play connect the dots.

Not ready to face pollyticks just yet?  In the mood for some sublime satire?  Why, then, Richard B. Hoppe has just the thing for you!  Do not miss Dr. Boli's Celebrated Magazine.  I spent an instructive day at work perusing the pages of this plethora of pontification.  It's delightful.

And don't forget to check out the weapons-grade stupidity Ed Brayton found for us.

Right, then.  Enjoy your Sunday, my darlings, and I shall see ye later.

26 December, 2009

Magnificent Moment

Clear, cold skies in Seattle tonight.  I was just outside smoking, and looking at the stars.  The moon is down, the skies are dark, and the stars were sparkling like tiny clusters of hyperactive Christmas lights, flashing through red and silver and gold.  The atmospheric conditions are making them look larger, brighter, and more twinkly than usual.  One of those utterly magical moments, courtesy of the cosmos.

Thank you, Universe. 

Boxing Day is a Very Dangerous Day

Happy day after festivities, when many of you are contemplating neon orange socks or other useless gifts, and wondering who this year is going to piss you off enough to assuage the guilt of regifting.

Some of you might not be contemplating anything due to your pounding hangover.  In that case, you've done Christmas right.  I just hope you remembered not to do anything that would have continuing effects:

I know of at least one person who wasn't considering the consequences of their actions:

He'd best not wear any tight shirts whilst that chest hair's growing back in.  Women know what I mean.

Speaking of hair, someone wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas:

I apologize for any nightmares that might result.

I do hope your holiday photos turned out well.  Certainly they couldn't be much worse than this:

Moral: be careful what you're wearing when you take your kiddie to see Santa.

I hope that, along with the neon orange socks and the candy you can't eat due to tree nut allergies and that sort o' thing, that you got something well worth having.  Conspicuous consumption is, after all, the reason for the season.

No, alas.  The best presents ever were discontinued due to the potential for third-degree burns and radiation poisoning. But I suppose endless boxes is some consolation.

Some cats are confused by our traditions:

If your cat asked you that question, you should show him or her this educational video:

After all, it's only 364 days until the next Conspicuous Consumption Day.  Education can never start too early.

Just don't get so wrapped up in educating your cat that your forget the after-Christmas clearance sales.  You'll need hideous wrapping paper for the regifting you plan to do, but there's no reason to pay full price for it.

Rest up, my darlings.  We all need to be in prime shape for the New Year, after all.

25 December, 2009

Merry Catmas!

I'm having a hard time wishing you a Merry Catmas because there's a cat in the way.  I'm coming at the keyboard from some very interesting angles indeed, trying to get around her dear little noggin.

But it's worth the effort to bring you some fine Catmas cheer:

Oh, dear.  That wasn't the cheer I was looking for.  How about...

Hmm.  Not too cheery, either.  Lessee.... perhaps this kitty will be full of holiday happiness:

O-kay.  Not so much.  Any happy kittehs?  Anybody?  Bueller?

Well, what would make kittehs happy?

Wrong season for that, I'm afraid.  But it's a season of forgiveness as well... right?

Apparently not.  Ah, well.  All will be well as soon as Santa gets here!

Ahhh... oops.

Well, my darlings, we may not have happy kittehs (except for the one currently monopolizing my lap), and Santa may be dead, but at least we still have each other.

And what to my wondering eyes does appear - hark! A kitteh with a smile, not a sneer!

Merry Catmas, my wise and wonderful readers!

Oh, all right.  Merry Doggiemas, too!

And now, a word from the cantina lawyer:

Merry Christmas Disclaimer

Please accept without obligation, express or implied, these best wishes for an environmentally safe, socially responsible, low stress, non addictive, and gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday as practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice (but with respect for the religious or secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or for their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all) and further for a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated onset of the generally accepted calendar year (including, but not limited to, the Christian calendar, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures). The preceding wishes are extended without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee(s).

To Yer Posts, Sailors!

(Postdated so ye olde crew makes it aboard. New content be below.)

It be that time again!  Time for ye to pick yer best elitist bastardry and get aboard!  We be sailin' Christmas weekend, if time an' tides be on our sides.  Get yer links in to me no later than end o' day December 26th.  We be sailin' out from Last Hussar's Barracks, and ye don't want to be late when ye're dealin' wi' a captain named Last Hussar, now, do ye?

If ye've never sailed before, here's how it be done:

1. Pick a blog post o' yours that hits the stupid where it hurts.

2. Send us the link at elitistbastardscarnival@gmail.com.

That be it.  Simple enough, innit?

And if ye see a bit o' elitist bastardry while ye be out and about on the intertoobz, be sure to send us the link.  A crew's just not complete without a few press-ganged folk.

See ye aboard!

24 December, 2009

Merry Catmus Eve!

Due to my wonky work schedule over the holidays (i.e., having to work the entire stretch), posting will be light-to-nonexistent for a few days.  Pollyticks can wait.

Besides, cats are more fun.  Especially when there's decorations involved.

Just be careful when decorating the cat:

If you find a fat man in a red suit clawed to death tomorrow morning, interrogate your feline:

If you're at a loss as to what to get your cat, you might find some clues in a traditional holiday song:

Appears to be a bit of overcrowding in Bethlehem:

Christmas Day can be a very dangerous day:

Inanimate objects aren't safe:

Let's hope Santa's a glass-half-full guy who's not a dog lover:

I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday.  Even if you take some foolish risks:

23 December, 2009

Your Daily Dose of Health Care Reform Stupidity

It's actually a little boring now that it's clear the Cons have met their Waterloo.  It will all be over at 8am Christmas Eve, as long as Joe Lieberman doesn't stampede.

This seems to have prompted Sarah Palin to whip out the ol' death panel argument again:
Just one day after her deranged "death panel" nonsense was named the "Lie of the Year," Palin decided to raise the specter of her insane accusation all over again.
"NOW w/the Prez "threatening" &Congress "rushing" is when we MUST pay more attention than ever 2what this HealthCare Takeover is all about," Palin wrote in one tweet. "[M]erged bill may b unrecognizable from what assumed was a done deal:R death panels back in?"
To translate this into English, the former half-term governor believes President Obama is "threatening" someone -- she wasn't clear on who -- while lawmakers are "rushing." Given that the health care reform debate lasted nearly as long as Palin's entire tenure as governor, it's hard to believe the process really has been "rushed."

Nevertheless, she believes it's important that "we" carefully scrutinize what the "takeover is all about." Who, exactly, is taking over what is, alas, still unclear.

She goes on to suggest the conference report may be "unrecognizable" from the legislation, and "death panels" -- which never existed in our reality -- may be "back in" after the White House's intervention.

As Alex Koppelman put it, "[B]ecause Democrats are just dying to sneak in a provision that would allow them to kill your loved ones."

These idiots are so fucking pathetic.

Other Cons are wailing and moaning because the bill includes some perks:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters yesterday that it took quite a lot of effort to shape a health care bill that could generate as broad a base of support as this one.

"There are 100 senators here, and I don't know that there's a senator that doesn't have something in this bill that isn't important to them," Reid said. "If they don't have something in it important to them, then it doesn't speak well of them."

That last part seems to have made an angry group of Republicans that much more furious. The accusation, of course, is that the bill is now loaded with "pork," as the Wall Street Journal put it, as senators were "bought off."

As Eric Boehlert explained, the complaints sound a little silly.
For anybody who's spent more than three weeks inside the Beltway, the allegations of legislative arm-twisting certainly sound naive, since that's how the D.C. game has been played for going on two centuries now. But nonetheless, conservatives insist Democrats have stooped to some kind of historic low.
But I can't help wondering what Nick Smith thinks about those claims. Because back in late 2003, when was serving as a Republican member of Congress from Michigan, Smith opposed the Bush White House's attempt to revamp Medicare when the issue came up for a vote in November. Republican leaders quickly realized that night that they didn't have the votes and started leaning on their own members.
At the time, House GOP leaders literally promised to deliver $100,000 in campaign contributions to Smith in exchange for his vote. The attempted bribery of lawmakers on the House floor was so obscene, it prompted yet another Ethics Committee investigation into Tom DeLay's antics.

By comparison, Democratic "sweeteners" on health care are about as common as the sunrise. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) was in a position of leverage before the motion to proceed, so she secured some funding for her state. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) was a long-time holdout, so he sought some extra Medicaid money for Nebraska. All kinds of senators received all kinds of inducements, prompting Republican apoplexy, as if this were some kind of unprecedented abuse.
To which Ben Nelson said, fine.  If that's the way it's gonna be, if they're really that upset, he'll just have Reid take out Nebraska's incidental extras.  And then, no doubt, have immense amounts of fun explaining to the good folks of his state that, if Cons hadn't thrown a tantrum, they'd have a lot more funding to play with.  Oopsies.

This is quite possibly the first time I've felt a little bit of admiration for that rat bastard.

And here's another bit of unexpected admiration: I actually think Max Baucus did a brilliant job of bawling out Cons:
In an uncharacteristically impassioned and frank speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) challenged “courageous” Republicans to “break from their leadership” and “work together to pass health care reform.” Baucus argued that the Republican party was more interested in winning seats during the 2010 election than offering sensible alternatives to the health care crisis. He also accused the Republican leadership of pressuring members of ‘Gang of Six’ to abandon bipartisan negotiations.

Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) “wanted to pass health care reform,” Baucus insisted. “They asked very good questions,” but “one by one by one they started to drift away. They wanted to pass health care reform, they wanted to act in a bipartisan basis but they were pressured, pressured from their political party not to do it.”


“I just want the public to know that we worked very hard to get a bipartisan bill that side of the aisle started working with us but gradually they began to bleed politically,” Baucus said. They realized “that they would do a better chance in the 2010 elections by just not working with us, but just attack attack attack attack attack and try to score political points to defeat any honest effort to get health care reform.”

I never thought I'd ever say this, but... "You go, Max!  Woot!"

So, soon, we'll be on to conference.  There's already some talk of what we might expect.  There won't be miracles - far from them - but it looks like earlier benefits are very much on the tableRep. Grijalva, a progressive champion, will certainly be pushing for them.  We'll see what else ends up on the table.

And Dems are already setting Cons up for a fall.  If we get early implementation of some of those benefits, it just might work.

If you've got some time on your hands, and want to learn more about what improvements should be made, Ezra Klein's got a "Letters to Health Care Santa" series going that's definitely worth a look.  So far, we've heard from George Halvorson, Diane Archer, Alain Enthoven, David Cutler, Austin Frakt, and Jacob Hacker.  It's fun, creative, and full of good ideas.  Go enjoy.

Barring any extraordinary stupidity, this is probably the last dose we'll have for a while.  If you stumble across anything that's too stupid to ignore, or too thought-provoking not to share, please do drop it in comments.

Good Atheist Reading

Got a little distracted tonight.  Blame Jerry Coyne, who directed me to Greta Christina's 10 most popular essays on AlterNet.  Right now, I'm on "3 Silly Religious Beliefs Held By Non-Silly People." 

Whether you're an atheist looking for some excellent reading, or a religious sort wondering what atheists really think, they're well worth reading.  Go check them out whilst all's quietish on the pollyticks front.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Whelp.  It's Christmas week, which means political news is thin on the ground, folks probably aren't paying all that much attention to pollyticks, and embarrassed politicians are trying to slip their embarrassing news in under the radar.  Politicians like Parker Griffith, who finally admitted what he really is:
Alabama's 5th congressional district is among the most conservative in the country to represented by a Democrat. After Blue Dog Parker Griffith abandons his party and becomes a Republican today, the pairing will make a bit more sense.
According to two senior GOP aides familiar with the decision, the announcement will take place this afternoon in Griffith's district in northern Alabama.
Griffith's party switch comes on the eve of a pivotal congressional health care vote and will send a jolt through a Democratic House Caucus that has already been unnerved by the recent retirements of a handful of members who, like Griffith, hail from districts that offer prime pickup opportunities for the GOP in 2010.
The switch represents a coup for the House Republican leadership, which had been courting Griffith since he publicly criticized the Democratic leadership in the wake of raucous town halls during the summer.
By any reasonable measure, any time a party gets a member to switch sides, it's something of a coup. But in this case, Parker Griffith has practically been the definition of a DINO (Democrat In Name Only). Just this year, he voted against the economic recovery package, the federal budget, health care reform, energy policy, and Wall Street reform. The guy even voted against equal pay for women when Congress approved the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

For all intents and purposes, Parker Griffith has been a far-right reactionary since the day he took the oath of office. He fit in with congressional Democrats about as well as Dick Cheney would fit in at Netroots Nation.
He's out of the closet.  Good for him.  And, might I say, good riddance to him.  The fewer closet Cons in the Democratic party, the better.

The poor schmuck's making the same calculation Arlen Specter did when he swapped the R for the D, but in Parker's case, it won't be nearly so easy.  You see, the Dem base can be wooed by a change of heart, and there's room in the big tent for Conservadems (not that a pending primary has meant that Specter's been all that conservative, mind).  But the Con base consists of rabid right-wing reactionaries, and they're giving him a different sort of warm welcome than poor old Parker might've expected:
Two prominent names in the conservative movement -- Erick Erickson at RedState and The Club For Growth -- have promised Griffith will have a tough time convincing Republicans to vote for him, despite the fact that he's now one of their own. Griffith, a self-professed Blue Dog Democrat, has been far to the right of House Democrats this year, even promising to vote against another term as Speaker for Nancy Pelosi.
But those stances aren't enough for Erickson and the Club, both of which say the GOP primary will be a tough one for the Democrat-turned-Republican.

From Erickson's post:
Being a Republican should be about more than just the letter next to a person's name. We can improve that seat. 
Here are Griffith's earmark requests. He voted for Pelosi for Speaker. He's actually been more regularly with Pelosi than Jim Marshall (D-GA). We can pick this guy off and get a real Republican in that seat.
Again, changing the letter next to your name does not magically make you one of us.
At the Club For Growth's website, Andrew Roth breaks down the conservative group's take on the Griffith switch. Though, like Erickson, the conservative group sees the switch as bad news for President Obama, the Club says Griffith doesn't make the conservative grade...
Not feeling the love, there.  And remember, these folks are fanatics - he won't win them over by turning on a dime.  No, they want somebody pure.

As for his electoral chances.... um, not too good:
When Rep. Parker Griffith (the brand-new R-AL) switched parties today, he increased the number of candidates he has to face before getting reelected by a factor of three.

Both Republicans who were already vying for the chance to face Griffith in the general election next year say they'll stay in, eager to square off against Griffith sooner rather than later. And in a fiery statement this afternoon, the state Democratic party promised to find a new candidate to run for the seat.

All I can say is: enjoy lying in that bed you made, Parker.

At least there's one less Blue Dog to contend with.  Now, if some of the other Cons in Dems' clothing would be so kind as to make the official switch, we can focus less on primary challenges and more on finding strong candidates to run against the newly-minted Cons, who will be busy discovering just how little love the Con base shows to former Dems, and everything will be much simpler and more entertaining.

In other news, it appears that while Michael Steele has been busy humiliating the RNC publicly, he's also been running a nice little racket for himself on the side:
Michael Steele was able to parlay a series of failures and fiascoes into becoming the clownish chairman of the Republican National Committee. After securing the gig, Steele was able to parlay his chairmanship into becoming a surprisingly well paid personality on the speaking circuit.
Michael S. Steele, Republican National Committee chairman, is using his title to market himself for paid appearances nationwide, personally profiting from speeches with fees of up to $20,000 at colleges, trade associations and other groups - an unusual practice criticized by a string of past party chairmen.
Mr. Steele, elected in January to the $223,500-a-year RNC post, is working with at least four outside agencies in Washington, New York, Boston and Nashville that book the speaking engagements. He charges between $8,000 and $20,000 for an address, plus first-class travel and lodging expenses.
The Republican National Committee has been awfully tolerant of Steele's incompetence, mismanagement, and humiliating gaffes this year. But this is a revelation that may put Steele's job in jeopardy.

Several former RNC chairmen said on the record that Steele's lucrative little scheme is hard to defend. Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., RNC chairman under Reagan, said, "Holy mackerel, I never heard of a chairman of either party ever taking money for speeches.... The job of a national chairman is to give speeches. That's what the national party pays him for."
Well, apparently, Steele doesn't think they pay him enough.  Either that, or he figures he's got a very narrow window of opportunity: after all, the RNC's probably going to get rid of his arse as soon as they decently can, and then he won't have the title to attract all those undeserved dollars.  But it certainly tells you what his priorities are.  Hint: they ain't the Con party's well-being.

There's bad news for anti-ACORN crusaders: no damned proof at all of any funding violations whatsoever.  Not that a good debunking's ever stopped right-wing fanatics, but perhaps it'll help keep innocent folks from being deluded by their shrieking.

And, finally, your laugh o' the day:
President Bush’s presidential library at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas (the “George W. Bush Presidential Center”) will house a think tank called the George W. Bush Institute, which will promote ideas centered around “the principles of freedom, opportunity, responsibility and compassion.” The Huffington Post reports that the Institute will co-produce a new television show titled “Ideas In Action”...

"Ideas In Action."  ZOMG.  Well, we know there's not going to be any truth in it whatsoever, or it would've been called "Bad Ideas in Action."  Prepare yourselves for lies, damned lies, and more unintentional hilarity than you could possibly keep up with.

Maybe it's a good thing we're about to get a couple of relatively quiet days.  We'll need that time to prepare ourselves for the onslaught of stupidity sure to come...