Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: April 2009

Yay, Republicans! Thank you for stripping the pandemic preparedness money out of the stimulus package. God knows, we’ll never need that!



Joe Biden won’t be taking Air Force One anywhere anytime soon and he recommends that we all stay off of airplanes and other forms of public transportation. That’s okay. The government can always bail out the airlines, I guess.


Bill Kristol explains why Specter’s defection is a good thing for the GOP:

… I wonder if today’s Arlen Specter party switch, this time to the president’s party, won’t end up being bad for President Obama and the Democrats. With the likely seating of Al Franken from Minnesota, Democrats will have 60 seats in the Senate, giving Obama unambiguous governing majorities in both bodies. He’ll be responsible for everything. GOP obstructionism will go away as an issue, and Democratic defections will become the constant worry and story line. This will make it easier for GOP candidates in 2010 to ask to be elected to help restore some checks and balance in Washington…

He’s also the guy that thought Sarah Palin was a superb choice for McCain’s VP.


Recent studies reveal that conservatives actually are as stupid as they look:

Results indicate that political ideology influences biased processing of ambiguous political messages and source in late-night comedy. Using data from an experiment (N = 332), we found that individual-level political ideology significantly predicted perceptions of Colbert’s political ideology. Additionally, there was no significant difference between the groups in thinking Colbert was funny, but conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements. Conservatism also significantly predicted perceptions that Colbert disliked liberalism.


In solidarity to the cable mothership’s fair and balance mantra (i.e. It’s a fair bet the coverage will balance the naked facts with rightwing spin and propaganda), the FOX network is refusing to air President Obama’s one-hundredth day prime time press conference. So you will have to watch it on one of the other networks. Of course, the FOX  channel has not forfeited their right to subtly editorialize concerning the event. The program that will run in the time slot? Lie to Me.


Okay, Arlen Specter was never one of those Republicans. He always looked like a politician who was accidentally mislabled at the factory. But his switching of parties sort of makes the argument that the the GOP is a big tent party lose even more of its credibility. Of course, every time a Republican opens his mouth these days it seems like he/she is channeling Glenn Beck. So, I suppose the only reason the Republicans would even need a big tent is if Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich needed to do a costume change at the same time.


It’s official! Dick Cheney is a bigger Nazi than …um…a Nazi.

Hanns-Joachim Gottlob Scharff (December 16, 1907 – September 10, 1992) was a German Luftwaffe interrogator during the Second World War. He has been called the “Master Interrogator” of the Luftwaffe and possibly all of Nazi Germany; he has also been praised for his contribution in shaping U.S. interrogation techniques after the war.

Merely an Obergefreiter (the equivalent of a senior lance corporal), he was charged with interrogating every German-captured American fighter pilot during the war after his becoming an interrogation officer in 1943. He is highly praised for the success of his techniques, especially considering he never used physical means to obtain the required information. No evidence exists he even raised his voice in the presence of a prisoner of war (POW)….

Scharff was opposed to physically abusing prisoners with the intent to obtain information. Taught on the job, Scharff instead relied upon the Luftwaffe’s approved list of techniques which mostly involved making the interrogator seem as if he is his prisoner’s greatest advocate while in captivity.


While pantywaist liberals are busy driving their electric cars and wringing their green thumbs over made-up science about global warming and other inconvenient truths, the rightwing blogosphere is keeping things real:

Maybe long-time Earth Day advocate Ira Einhorn took the whole “recycling” thing a little too far when he “composted” his girlfriend’s remains in a trunk in his closet…

Back in 1970, Earth Day was a grassroots hippie event. The organizers chose April 22 – which just “happens” to be the birthday of their Soviet Communist hero, Lenin

That’s what I’m talkin’ about! In your face, Al Gore.


We have all cut the previous administration plenty of slack for over-reacting to 9-11. It was a scary time. Who wouldn’t over react? However, it is beginning to appear that the real panic came after the US  Iraq invasion. Apparently, this rush to torture was largely about trying to produce evidence that Saddam was linked to al Qaida and 9-11.

The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist. Such information would’ve provided a foundation for one of former President George W. Bush’s main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003. In fact, no evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network and Saddam’s regime.

Well now it makes perfect sense! Information gained by torture is rarely true. And, of course, that is exactly the kind of intelligence we wanted.


Remember when conservatives were crazy-smart guys with big vocabularies, an ivy-league education and a dapper bow tie? Yeah, me neither:

The larger point is that Fox News is simply not conservative.  The fact of the matter is, I find NPR and even News Hour more conservative than Fox – but in a different sense, I suppose, than the standard boiler plate conservatism that has so infested American politics.  What I mean to say is that the conservatism of Fox News tends to be wrapped up in loud, divisive, trashy television that is cheap and ugly and reactionary and essentially all things distasteful that conservatives should look at with scorn and antipathy.  The measured, reserved, thoughtful and culturally sensible tone of NPR is far more conservative.  I’d rather my kids listen to it than watch Glenn Beck.  I’d rather they listen to Fresh Air than Rush Limbaugh.  Why have conservatives let go of the high culture war?  Why have they conceded defeat there – in the arts, in literature, in music – trading it instead for trash television and cheap rhetoric?

A Baptist pastor tells his story of border patrol abuse, Constitutional neglect and personal loss of dignity. It is outrageous on so many levels.  ACLU pinkos types can lament how American citizens’ basic rights are being jettisoned by this hamfisted war on immigration. Rightwing Libertarians can claim another poster child for the cause against Big Brother. And Bible-believing Christians can reverently scratch their heads and ask why this banged-up preacher seems to have so totally missed that he, like thousands of martyrs who proclaimed Christ crucified, has been counted worthy  to share in the sufferings of Christ. Funny, I heard somewhere that Christians are suppose to rejoice in this sort of stuff.


I can’t help but wonder if the Yale hazing rituals made our former Fratboy President a little clueless about what constitutes inhumane treatment of unsentenced detainees:

Here are details of the methods described in the memos: WATERBOARDING :: This technique induced a sensation of drowning. The detainee would lie face-up and strapped down with his head inclined down. A cloth was placed over his face on which cold water was poured for periods of at most 40 seconds. “This creates a barrier through which it is either difficult or impossible to breathe,” one memo said. Each session could last no more than two hours. “Water may be applied for a total of no more than 12 minutes during any 24-hour period,” the memo said. :: Former US President George W. Bush authorised the CIA to use waterboarding in interrogations of senior al Qaeda suspects after the September 11 attacks. It was used against the suspected planner of the attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, and two others – senior al Qaeda members Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the government memos said. :: Human Rights Watch says waterboarding dates at least to the Spanish Inquisition and was also used in Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s. OTHER METHODS :: Placing an insect into a “confinement box” was sought as a tactic on Zubaydah. He could be kept in a larger box in which he could both stand and sit for up to 18 hours, but would not spend more than an hour at a time in the “smaller” box. Interrogators planned to tell Zubaydah they were putting a stinging insect into the box but it would actually be harmless “such as a caterpillar.” :: In “walling,” the interrogator would pull a detainee toward him, then slam him against a “flexible false wall” in a technique designed to create a loud sound and shock the prisoner. A detainee may be walled once to make a point or 20 to 30 times when interrogation requires “a more significant response to a question.” :: Sleep deprivation, in which detainees were shackled in a standing position, was used on more than a dozen detainees for more than 48 hours, on three detainees for more than 96 hours and on one detainee for the maximum allowed of 180 hours. :: Three interrogation techniques are typically used as a starting point to show the detainee has no control over basic human needs. They are “nudity, sleep deprivation (with shackling and, at least at times with use of a diaper), and dietary manipulation,” according to one memo.


Apparently, the same “haves” who are against government taxing them to help the “have nots” have no problem sending their hard-earned money to buy these sorts of trash and trinkets:

Eric Odom, who administers the Tax Day Tea Party Web site and is helping organize and fund multiple events, said they were “ecstatic” with the results they’re seeing at their online store, which has recorded $48,000 in sales.

It’s a “values” thing.


I can think of no better day than Resurrection Sunday to let Jesus out of the tomb. For too many years, Evangelicals have mindlessly reduced the glorious gospel of our Lord and Savior to a political and social agenda designed to make people behave better. And in God’s divine providence it has come a cropper. So rather than wringing our hands over Roe v. Wade, the ban on school prayer and other action items, maybe its time to remind ourselves that Jesus didn’t die for Republicans, Southern Baptists or supply-siders. He died for sinners. And even if we could pray our rosaries, cross our fingers,  hold our breathe and make the world a more moral place––that has never been Christ’s mission:

Leading evangelicals have admitted that their association with George W. Bush has not only hurt the cause of social conservatives but contributed to the failure of the key objectives of their 30-year struggle.

James Dobson, 72, who resigned recently as head of Focus on the Family – one of the largest Christian groups in the country – and once denounced the Harry Potter books as witchcraft, acknowledged the dramatic reverse for the religious Right in a farewell speech to staff.

“We tried to defend the unborn child, the dignity of the family, but it was a holding action,” he said.

“We are awash in evil and the battle is still to be waged. We are right now in the most discouraging period of that long conflict. Humanly speaking, we can say we have lost all those battles.”

Despite changing the political agenda for a generation, and helping push the Republicans to the Right, evangelicals have won only minor victories in limiting the availability of abortion. Meanwhile the number of states permitting civil partnerships between homosexuals is rising, and the campaign to restore prayer to schools after 40 years – a decision that helped create the Moral Majority – has got nowhere.

But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us – Romans 5:8