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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Afghani redo

The "UN backed" election commission in Afghanistan (I put "UN backed" in quotes because the "Afghan" election commission now has only 1 Afghan, with 1 Canadian, 1 US, and 1 Dutch making up the rest of the group....)

Anyway, the UN dominated election council has slashed Karzai's corrupted vote total to safely below 50% forcing a runoff election.

This would seem to be a cop out way for NATO to restage the very corrupt election.

(There is the possibility of a coalition government without a runoff, but neither Karzai or Abdullah seems prone towards that,)

Picture of the Day

(An Iraqi woman casts her ballot in the country's first primary election to choose candidates for January's nationwide vote. The primary was ordered by anti-American cleric Muqtada Sadr in an attempt to get his loyalists primed to increase his party's share of parliamentary seats. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images.))

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ultra Dry

You gotta love this response from Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton
Q What does the President think about the Justice of the Peace in Louisiana who won't marry interracial couples?

DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY BILL BURTON: I've seen the story and I've looked into this a little bit. And I found that actually the children of biracial couples can do pretty good....

Very dry since, you know, his boss, the President of the United States, is one of those "children of biracial couples."

Palin death pact

It's my sense that Sarah Palin will not run in 2012. However, the situation is lining up for a tremendous GOP primary/Sarah Palin death pact, with Palin easily winning the primaries only to be obliterated in the general.


Think Boehner's feeling the pressure of holding onto the Minority Leader's slot? He donated a whopping $535,000 to the NRCC.

I think this is Boehner's way of saying, "Cantor may be a better spokesman, but I'm $$$$."

(Also in the campaign finance reporting, The Obama campaign still has $9 million cash on hand.)

Quote of the Day

Michael Steele: "Moo. Moo."

Nice work if you can get it.....

The health care sector has spent $263 million this year lobbying Congress for changes to reform plans, a government watchdog group estimates.

That's about $500,000 per Congressman and Senator just this year.

(And that would be assuming they're all getting paid equally. The figure is probably higher as I'd bet Ron Paul, Kucinich, Feingold, etc, haven't really been fed.)

Figure this out

How is it that the South, after their vehement partisan rhetoric against the Stimulus bill, are receiving the majority of benefit in the first government analysis?

Doesn't that "Chicago politician" know how to run a patronage program?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stupid, stupid, stupid....

How much is that mailing list of the Christian right worth? They'll believe anything.

Oh, and as I predicted, the freakout by the right over next week's multinetwork public service promotion, "I Participate," is already starting. (Both articles promoted on Drudge.)

I guess we know who is buying all those blankets with armholes.

Sarah Palin to campaign for my Gov Rick Perry

I'm terrified to think how far right he's going to go to try and win that primary.
After Palin resigned in July, Perry said he was proud to have Palin's support and boasted that she was planning to come to Texas to campaign for him. "If there's a bigger endorsement in the Republican universe, I don't know who it is than Sarah," he said at the time.

Trouble brewing for Reid?

The majority Democrats inside the Democratic Caucus are getting pretty fed up with Harry Reid's stewardship. Although she doesn't have a direct say, the eyerolling and evident frustration of Nancy Pelosi seems sybolic of the growing impatience with Reid.

From the current tone, it's feeling more like there will be a leadership battle after the 2010 elections.

Reid was elected as a Minority leader whose job was to finagle and negotiate. Now that there's a strong majority, the personality requirements have changed.

My vote is for Chuck Schumer who seems to be leading the opposition.

(This challenge might just be a feint to pressure Reid on Healthcare.)

Pakistan's in a war

The Pakistani Taleban conduct coordinated assault style attacks on three law enforcement facilities, killing at least 20.

If you didn't see it.....

Chris Matthews just tore apart two "tea party" folks last night. (How dare he ask them to defend the logic of their positions!)

(Not Great, but revealing.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fear of the brown - Part III

It's a really ugly race day for the Republicans. First you have the impossible, but Republican primary rewarding, invocation of illegal immigrants in the Census, now this.

Four Republican Congress people, Shadegg, Myrick, Braun, and Franks are calling for the House Sargeant at Arms to examine all Muslim interns to be sure they're not terrorists.

No, really. They're serious.


"I'm not trying to be an obstructionist here. To the contrary, I'm saying, Can we all get in the room and have a Rodney King moment?"


Scoring points off illegals.

Two Senators try (very late) to add legislation to ask census responders "if they're here legally."

This is patently ridiculous grandstanding as 1) It's too late and all the census stuff has already been printed, and 2) There's no way this Congress goes along with that.

This is all about slimy immigration/race politics, and two Senators, David Vitter and Utah's Bob Bennett, trying to score points with their base ahead of career threatening primaries next year. And with the way the Census and primaries are timed closely together early next year, this "fear of the brown" kind of position will guarantee Vitter and Bennett their anti-immigrant/anti-Census FoxNews face time right when they need it most.

It's really pretty disgusting.


Politico has an interesting note that lots of Bush admin memoirs will be coming out in 2010.

Notably, George Bush's memoir is slated to be released "next fall," which could mean that it will come close before the 2010 elections. (And Rumsfeld's is slated for "autumn.")

If they want to make money, they'll be sure to sell them before the election.

A long, cold, wet slog

The Pakistani military is being drawn into a winter campaign in the Afghan/Pak mountains. If the militants got to pick a time and place to fight....


The NYTimes has an article on how hybrids may soon be "enhanced" with artificial sounds so that pedestrians can hear them coming.

Because our current vehicles make noise, people are trained to that. So, instead of people getting used to quiet cars, we're going to noisy the quiet ones up.

I think it ends with us being stuck listening to a cacophony of people's ringtones constantly on as the blare of traffic.

US soccer news - Charlie Davies injured in car crash

I don't know if anyone else cares bout the US national Soccer team, but Charlie Davies was pretty seriously injured in a car crash in Virginia yesterday. Prognosis is six months to a year for recovery. They had to put a steel rod in his legs. (BBC, too.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Political bits - "What up?"

(AP) It's a little complicated, but Obama's meeting with Spanish PM Zapatero today is layered with meaning. If you'll remember, Zapatero came to power after the complicated politics around the Madrid bombings and Iraq. Shortly after coming to power, Zapatero rather quickly pulled out of Iraq and served as a European voice against Buch policies. Since that time, George Bush very publicly refused to meet with him, so Obama's meeting today is another symbolic world stage "turning of the page."

(Politico) Price-Waterhouse can't run away fast enough from that propagandist "report" they provided for the insurance industry.

(DMRegiuster) Fears in Iowa that the increasingly "Christian" tilt among Republican caucusgoers may end up making that state's early "primary" less important (and less profitable.)

(Politico) The NRCC (Repub Congressional Committee) links to an altered video of Hitler praising Nancy Pelosi.

And, For some reason, I find it incredibly funny that Michael Steele's new RNC blog is titled "What up?"

Quote - Lindsey Graham town hall

"I'm not going to leave the Republican Party," Graham said when one questioned asked him why he hasn't yet joined the Democrats. "I'm going to grow it. We're not going to be the party of angry white guys."

His comments were met with a salvo of boos and shouts of "Ron Paul!"

I think the paranoid right's head will explode next Monday

Starting next Monday, all the TV networks are going to spend a week promoting the "I participate" program, which is intended to promote volunteerism.

But it's the scope, I think, that's going to be the shocker. Take a look at the list of primetime shows participating. The "tag" looks like it's going to be on almost every primetime show, and huge numbers of them are actually writing the program into their scripts.

Amidst it all, I think the fact that this was a Obama-McCain joint call from the campaign will be a lost. I think the paranoid right will see this as Obama taking over their TV.... trying to indoctrinate them.

It sounds like this may be inescapable, so, I'm hunching the response will be crazy. Stay tuned.

Rushing the "super bunker buster."

The Pentagon is speeding up delivery of a colossal bomb designed to destroy hidden weapons bunkers buried underground and shielded by 10,000 pounds of reinforced concrete...


One of the two Afghans on the election council resigns because he said the "the three foreigners on the panel — one American, one Canadian and one Dutch — were "making all decisions on their own.""

(The "election panel" was two Afghans and three NATO folks?)

Thought for the Day

Tens of thousands of right wingers protest against Obama in Washington and they get an entire media weekend discussing their "case."

Tens of thousands of gay people show up in Washington, and no one notices.

Jim DeMint must be so proud....

A few right wingers in the US have succumbed to the lobbying, flashing back to their heyday of Reagan/Bush I in supporting the rightist military Honduran coup, but let's remember who they're getting in bed with....
Suspicious deaths. Beatings. Random police shootings. Life under the de facto government of Honduras at times feels uncannily like Latin America's dark past of military rule....

If you're looking for a way to burn ten minutes.....

John Stewart skewers CNN.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
CNN Leaves It There
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Monday, October 12, 2009

I may get rid of my Governor.

I know people outside Texas probably don't care, but I can't hold it in. It's looking more and more like Teas Gov. Rick Perry knowingly acted to thwart the investigation into the execution of what's increasingly looking like an innocent man.

The latest is that the now dismissed head of the commission is talking about "pressure" he felt, and the Gov's office refusing to release potentially exculpatory documents they received as part of the last minute appeal for stay of execution.

It doesn't appear they've broken any laws, but Perry already isn't very popular in Texas, and is facing an already tough primary. On the downside, this will only force "secession"/anti-evolution Perry further into the arms of the crazies as he tries to survive the primary.

Also: Beyond the politics, there is the issue of the execution of a potentially innocent man. I'm kinda staying out of that because I don't know all the details, but if he was innocent and executed (and Gov. Perry is making that very hard to determine,) we also need to talk about that.

Conflicting logic

As part of their anti-bill propaganda, the health industry is distributing a study they crafted and paid for which claims that insurance rates will have to increase substantially if the current healthcare plan passes.

But wait.... I thought the industry told me just two months ago that a public option (now likely included in some form) was going to be "unfair competition" which, you would think, would pressure prices down, no?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thought for the Day

If you go back in the history of war, the general's answer is always to ask for more troops.

That doesn't necessarily mean it's the wrong answer, but it's always the same answer.


(AP/BBC) Pakistani commandos retake their national military headquarters freeing some 20+ hostages.

(Chronicle) Texas Gov. Rick Perry's office is looking guiltier and guiltier on their very political effort to shut down a commission looking into the execution of a possibly innocent man.

(TimesOnline) A "nuclear engineer" at Europe's CERN lab was arrested on terrorist charges.

(TimesOnline) An interesting article effectively advocating buying the Taleban foot soldiers. (Doubling the current Taleban pay rate to $20 per day per individual "would cost just $300,000 a day, compared with the $165m a day the United States is spending fighting the war.")

And, (AP) As the hype for the 2012 film cranks up, let's remember that the Maya think it's garbage and are really, really sick of talking about it.