Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for August, 2011

One sane Republican

Posted by Charles II on August 31, 2011

Via Barbara Morrill at DK, Think Progress links to a Financial Times interview of Chuck Hagel telling the truth.

“Does anyone not believe what’s happened here the last couple weeks in the market was not a complete, direct result of the lack of confidence that came out of that folly, that embarrassment?” he asked.

Posted in Republicans | 3 Comments »

Schadenfreude, Bill O’Reilly edition

Posted by Charles II on August 31, 2011

Keith had a good time with this story last night. Gawker:

Last summer, Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly came to believe that his wife was romantically involved with another man. Not just any man, but a police detective in the Long Island community they call home. So O’Reilly did what any concerned husband would do: He pulled strings to get the police department’s internal affairs unit to investigate one of their own for messing with the wrong man’s lady.

“The order was to investigate this detective not for any misdeeds,” the source said, “but to see if they could get anything on him. Delargy also told him to tell the detective to back off.”

Delargy told Harasym that the investigation was highly sensitive for two reasons, the source said: 1) It was ordered directly by then-police commissioner Lawrence Mulvey, and 2) O’Reilly was at the time considering making a major donation to the Nassau County Police Department Foundation, a private not-for-profit foundation Mulvey helped found in 2009 to raise money for construction of a planned $48 million police training facility at Nassau Community College.

The alleged adultery is, of course, no one’s business except the interested parties. The alleged bribery, intimidation, and misuse of official resources, on the other hand….

Posted in abuse of power, Fox Noise, rightwing moral cripples | 1 Comment »

Wilkerson: I’ll Testify Against Cheney If Someone “Pinochets” Him

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 31, 2011

President Obama, your move:

The former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell pledged Tuesday to testify against former Vice President Dick Cheney if he is ever tried for war crimes.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson told Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman that he would participate in a trial even if it meant personal repercussions.

“I, unfortunately — and I’ve admitted to this a number of times, publicly and privately — was the person who put together Colin Powell’s presentation at the United Nations Security Council on 5 February, 2003,” Wilkerson said. “It was probably the biggest mistake of my life. I regret it to this day. I regret not having resigned over it.”

Let’s see if it’s possible for the Obama administration to prosecute people who aren’t gay servicemembers.

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This is a public announcement (Murdoch phone hacking update)

Posted by Charles II on August 30, 2011

I just like the title (“This is a public announcement”), since it’s how perhaps the stupidest advertisement on TV–one that plays over and over on Countdown– starts. Presumably it is intended to imply that it is a public service announcement, which it definitely is not. But just the raw stupidity of saying on television, “This is a public announcement” appeals to something in me.

Anyway, phone hacking, which seems to have announcements in the same level of stupidity. James Robinson, The Guardian:

The names of several News of the World journalists who ordered a private detective to hack into mobile phones belonging to six public figures will not be publicly disclosed after Scotland Yard intervened to prevent their publication.

The names were passed to Steve Coogan on Friday by Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who worked for the paper, in compliance with a high court order the actor obtained earlier this year.

The names are critical to the phone-hacking investigation because they could show how far the practice was widespread at the paper, which was closed down by Rupert Murdoch last month, despite consistent denials from its owner News Group Newspapers. Coogan is one of several celebrities suing the paper for breach of privacy.

Similar high court orders have contained restrictions on publishing the names of News of the World journalists on the grounds that doing so could compromise Operation Wheeting, Scotland Yard’s ongoing investigation into phone hacking, by tipping off potential suspects.

Haven’t the suspects been pretty well tipped by a deluge of publicity?

Polly Curtis, The Guardian:

The Conservative party will not face an official inquiry into allegations that it broke electoral law by failing to declare News International’s payments to its former head of communications, Andy Coulson, after the elections watchdog concluded that there was insufficient evidence of a breach.

The Electoral Commission had been asked to investigate a series of payments amounting to a six-figure sum made to Coulson by News International in the months after he arrived at Conservative campaign headquarters in 2007, as well as a company car and health insurance he received for three years.

The Electoral Commission said there was no evidence that the payments related to his political activity with the Conservative party in any way.

He’s being paid, by a newspaper which is corrupting the government, to serve in that government, and there’s no evidence of a connection?

James Robinson, The Guardian:

Stuart Kuttner, the former managing editor of the News of the World, was taken into police custody for a second time on Tuesday, Sky News reported.

It is understood that the 71-year-old, who was arrested earlier this month, was answering police bail.

Kuttner was taken into custody by the Metropolitan police on 2 August. It is thought he was orginally arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and on suspicion of corruption contrary to the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. He was bailed until the end of the month.

Why Kuttner was re-arrested is unclear.

Posted in abuse of power, corruption, Rupert Murdoch, wiretapping | 2 Comments »

The more things change, the more I like the past

Posted by Charles II on August 30, 2011

AI was better 30 years ago, but it didn’t have voice synthesizers (from BoingBoing via Arequipa01 at Barry Ritholtz).

Posted in Just for fun | Comments Off on The more things change, the more I like the past

Eric Cantor To Missouri: Drop Dead.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 30, 2011

I was wondering when this would happen:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is suspending payments for some projects in tornado-ravaged Joplin because of immediate disaster needs along the East Coast after Hurricane Irene. Some spending for other storm-related and flood-related damage in other parts of the country also has been delayed.

A FEMA spokesman said Monday that the agency’s disaster fund has dipped well below $1 billion.

As a result, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said Monday the agency will not consider any new applications for what it calls permanent repair work in pre-Irene disasters.


But Missouri’s two U.S. senators are still angry over cutbacks facing Joplin.

“Recovery from hurricane damage on the East Coast must not come at the expense of Missouri’s rebuilding efforts,” said a statement from Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican. “If FEMA can’t fulfill its promise to our state because we have other disasters, that’s unacceptable.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, said she will work to make sure Joplin’s repairs are fully funded.

“FEMA should be prepared for all types of disasters and have the resources to respond rapidly and stay until the work is done,” her statement said.

Why is this happening?

Because Eric Cantor would rather see the residents of Joplin starving to death in the streets than spend a penny more on disaster relief — much less actually tax rich people to help pay for it:

Just as Republicans held the country hostage over the debt ceiling (“give us what we want, or else”), Cantor is now trying to do the same over disaster relief (some of which may be needed in his home state of Virginia, which is in Irene’s path). As his spokesperson explained, “Eric has consistently said that additional funds for federal disaster relief ought to be offset with spending cuts.”

It’s one thing to demand offsets in theory, or even at the negotiating table, quite another to do so with a major hurricane bearing down, with a natural disaster possibly at hand. It would be like if a dying man desperately needed a blood transfusion but you refused to give him any unless he gave you his house and car. (Which is actually how health care works in the U.S., but let’s not go there.)

This was Cantor’s response to the earthquake that caused significant damage along the east coast, including in Virginia, it’s his response to Irene, and it’s his response to disaster relief generally. No money unless money is cut elsewhere. In other words: Give us what we want, or else. And you can be sure he won’t agree to cuts to military spending. He just wants to cut programs he’s ideologically opposed to — relatively insignificant funding for, say, public broadcasting, or more significant funding for the poor and those who otherwise are vulnerable and need government help, like Social Security and Medicare.

Consider the message he’s sending to the people along the east coast, in Irene’s path. We’ll help you but only if we can also weaken programs that help you. You get some disaster relief, but, otherwise, screw you. That’s what this comes down to. (Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, has pre-emptively declared a state of emergency. Cantor apparently doesn’t care.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

A great nomination…but will he serve?

Posted by Charles II on August 29, 2011

The choice of Alan Krueger as head of the Council of Economic Advisers is one of the Obama Administration’s best nominations. I’d put Dawn Johnsen and Elizabeth Warren a notch higher, but Krueger is definitely top tier. Along with the Canadian economist David Card, he helped debunk the myth that raising the minimum wage causes job loss. Certainly the departure of Austen Goolsbee is a a plus no matter who replaces him, and that includes Ron Paul. From correspondence with Goolsbee, I came to the conclusion that he’s a completely empty suit, someone with no principles whatsoever, and very willing to sacrifice the powerless on the altar of neoliberalism. Goolsbee is University of Chicago (though not their notorious economics department), which may explain this Atrios post.

Steve Benen, who Atrios is quoting, says that because Senate confirmation is required, Krueger might get to serve sometime around 2018. Unfortunately, that does seem to be the drift of things. The Senate Republicans give a–holes a bad name.

Posted in Obama Administration, ratf*cking, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer | Comments Off on A great nomination…but will he serve?

What “The People’s View” Would Rather You Didn’t See Right Now

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 29, 2011

As some of you may know, Ray Sandoval, the New Mexico OFA Director, saw fit in a recent OFA e-mail to quote an entire blog post from Spandan Chakrabarti, whose blog is called “The People’s View” and who also posts as “Deaniac83” at DailyKos, as a way to attack the progressive movement, especially those who publicly take issue with the doings (or not doings) of Obama and his coterie.

But Chakrabarti wasn’t always a My-Obama-Right-Or-Wrong kinda guy. In fact, back on October 30 of 2007, he stated that Obama had lost his vote for, in Chakrabarti’s words, Obama’s “decision to pander to some in the African American religious community in order to surrender his principled support for equal rights for all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity”. As Chakrabarti would go on to say:

Lest you think this is because I was personally offended as a gay man, you are right. But it wasn’t only because of that that I made this decision. I draw the line in the sand when politicians pander to any group and sacrifice their stated goals of equal dignity under law and associate themselves, willingly, with known bigots of any kind, be they racists, sexists or homophobes. This is such a line. Obama has crossed it. Good riddance, Barack Obama.

That really must have been a line drawn in the sand, because it didn’t last very long. Hint: Next time, draw such lines in freshly-poured concrete. Better yet, don’t make such claims if you aren’t willing to stand behind them.

Posted in 2008 | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on What “The People’s View” Would Rather You Didn’t See Right Now

Grauniad discovers Minnesoda

Posted by Charles II on August 28, 2011


They mention the 4 pound mosquitoes in passing, but don’t explain that the Kevlar canoes are to repel the piranhas which infest Minnesota’s lakes.

Posted in Minnesota | 5 Comments »

The Bankers’ Katrina

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 28, 2011

Greg Palast says that we needn’t worry about the Hamptons (though I wouldn’t be so sure about Queens or Harlem — or Rikers Island), as they’re taken care of — he helped write the evacuation plan for them round about twenty years ago.

Unfortunately, he didn’t write the plan for New Orleans, or else the persons on whose former domicile sites yuppie development are planned would still have their homes, and be living in them:

The last hurricane to hit Long Island, far fiercer than Katrina, took two lives, not 2,000.

But then, the Hamptons isn’t New Orleans, is it?

In 1992, a big storm washed into 190 houses on West Hampton Dunes, getting many grade-B film scripts very wet.  The federal government, with your tax dollars, rebuilt every single home on the beach (average value then, $2 million each)––and even rebuilt the beach with an endless samba line of trucks filled with sand, care of the Army Corps of Engineers.

There’s a photo of one, in case you’d like to move in.  (Shouldn’t we each get at least a weekend in the surf for our money?)

Now look at Patricia  Thomas’ home in the Lafitte Housing Project in New Orleans.  I met her a year after the city flooded; she and her cousin and her cousin’s two kids, just off the bus from refugee centers in Texas, were told that if they returned to their homes, they would be arrested.  It’s been six years and they still are not allowed back in.  Doesn’t matter:  three years ago, their houses were torn down to make way for yuppie condos, for the nouvelle carpetbaggers who will enjoy Lafitte’s locale near the French Quarter.

Go read the whole thing. (While you’re over at Greg’s place, stop over to read his piece on how known scumbag Piers Morgan tried to ruin him on New Labourite Tony Blair’s behalf. Amazing stuff.)

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