March 31, 2009
Asked if Washington would attempt to shield Israel from criticism if it wins a seat on the council, [US ambassador to the UN Susan] Rice said, "The Human Rights Council has the potential to be and should be a venue for dealing with the most egregious instances of human rights abuses."Um, notice that she didn't, you know, actually answer the question. Huh.
"And we are running for a seat on the council because we believe that human rights are universal, they need to be universally respected," she added.
Personally, I don't care either way about Glenn Beck, since I have scant opportunity to see or hear his various productions. But this review of his show by Keith Olbermann fanboy Brian Stelter and some other guy did have one interesting comment from a critic.
The "conservative" writer David Frum said Mr. Beck's success "is a product of the collapse of conservatism as an organized political force, and the rise of conservatism as an alienated cultural sensibility."
Scare quotes and change in hue were my doing, by the way.
March 30, 2009
When President Obama signed the omnibus land conservation bill this afternoon, he again broke his campaign promise to post bills on the Web for five days before adding his signature.
The bill passed the House last Wednesday, but the White House did not post the document for comments until Friday, leaving just two weekend days for the public to register comments.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs addressed the shortened time saying: "Although not perfect, I think the president has made a greater step forward in transparency and feels like we're making progress on ensuring that the American people can see and read what their president is going to sign into law."
Gibbs was later tried for and found guilty of heresy for his statement that Barack Obama is "not perfect."
Seriously, though, I'm starting to wonder whether or not I'll actually ever receive my free unicorn.
Update: I should note that the article goes on to mention that this is the sixth out of nine bills that Obama has signed so far that he's neglected to post online for the promised five days. It also gives the White House's lame excuse that the President is leaving for his tour of Europe and Turkey on Tuesday. Yeah, so? Why not wait until he gets back to sign this? It's not like this was an emergency, and the public would have had extra time to view the bill for even more of that promised transparency.
Why, if I didn't know any better, I might think that he didn't give a shit about keeping his promises.
According to a Dallas television station, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is in danger of losing his Dallas-area townhome.
At issue is approximately $1,500 in late fees reportedly owed to a homeowner association.
The station, KTVT, reports that Mayor Nagin could lose the home in the suburbs of Dallas over the issue.
The Mayor and his wife own the home in Frisco. It is a 1,700 square foot home that the Mayor purchased after Hurricane Katrina in 2007.
Court papers show that the homeowners association will foreclose on the property April 7.
The court filings also show that the association placed a lien on the townhome back in February.
After 10 weeks in office trying to save the U.S. economy, President Obama is ready to take on the world economy.Har! That's a good one, Richard! Wait, you weren't kidding? Oh. Huh. Okay, then.
At any rate, The Rockstar-In-Chief is heading off on his first overseas tour since he took office:
Still new on the world stage at 47, Obama will meet privately with at least six presidents, prime ministers and a king in London, then five more as he travels on to France, Germany, the Czech Republic and Turkey. He'll attend three summits, deliver two major addresses and hold a roundtable with students in Istanbul. He'll take time out to see Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and sightsee from Strasbourg to Istanbul.Hopefully, he'll have enough DVDs of classic American movie favorites for everyone. And, maybe, an appropriate gift for the Queen. Perhaps a bust of Oliver Cromwell.
The goal of the trip, says Denis McDonough, deputy national security adviser, is nothing less than "restoring America's standing in the world."Translation: sucking up to the Europeans and talking surrender in Iraq and preemptive surrender should Iran do anything provocative.
It will produce at least two story lines: one symbolic, one substantive.Who can blame them? I mean, this is the only country in the world where a dangerously unqualified empty suit who's never held a job for more than two years or so can, with the help of the media, bluff his way into the most powerful office in the free world. It's a real Horatio Alger story.
In the first, Obama will likely be greeted warmly by Western European leaders, thanks to his popularity among their constituents. Barack Obama, for most Europeans, embodies the American dream," says Karen Donfried, executive vice president of the German Marshall Fund, which promotes trans-Atlantic cooperation. "It's what Europeans love about this country."
The second and more important theme is about dollars, pounds and euros. Although the president is popular, the U.S. financial collapse precipitated much of the world's problems. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., says foreigners "blame the model that we exported."Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. John Kerry, once again demonstrating his love for America.
Europeans who for years fretted over military preparedness and the threat of terrorism now are consumed with a financial meltdown that has cost millions of jobs — even those of government leaders from Iceland to Latvia. Obama's task is to lead by example and persuade colleagues to take many of the steps the United States has taken to fix their economies.Uh-huh. Because we're doing so well since Barack took over. Besides, aren't the leaders of Europe already leading Obama by example? I mean, we haven't exactly been doing a great job with the free-market thing over the past few years, but I could've sworn that we've been rushing headlong toward European-style socialism a bit faster since, oh, January 20th or so. Maybe it's just me.
Oh, and there goes Richard with his jokes again, cracking wise about how the Euros have been fretting about "military preparedness" for years. Good one, Rich. Good one.
March 29, 2009
Whoops! Wrong candidate. Anyways, it matters because of this:
The woman appears to resemble Ashley Biden, 27, a social worker for a Delaware child-welfare agency.I doubt she does any dirty work, being daddy's little girl and all, but she at least oversees the people who take children out of the homes of their parents for doing things that she herself does freely. Shouldn't there be consequences for that? If her dad weren't her dad, and this tape popped up, wouldn't the state of Delaware be investigating this?
So sorry, Ed, I can't agree to let this go. And no, this doesn't put me on the level of noted Trig Truther Andi Sullivan.
March 28, 2009
March 27, 2009
Officials told the BBC that they had detected what may be the missing Caesium-137, adding that it may have been melted down.
The Caesium-137, encased in lead, was lost this week when workers at a cement plant demolished an old factory.
The material was part of a measuring instrument and is extremely dangerous.
Caesium-137 is a radioactive isotope, formed mainly through nuclear fission. The smallest amount can cause infertility, cancer and even death.
Eight trucks worth of scrap gathered at the disused factory in Tongchuan city were sold to a local steel mill, according to official news agency Xinhua.
Local environmental officials told the BBC they were mounting a clean-up operation at the mill in Fuping county.
The BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Beijing says China has an appalling record on industrial safety - there are around 30 cases of radioactive material being lost every year.
Sure, federal disaster declarations have been issued, but where are the FEMA workers? And will the victims be given cash cards? Will the HuffPo report that corn-fed Midwesterners have resorted to cannibalism when they've run out of, um, corn-feed or whatever the hell it is that they eat?
I'm sure this totally scandalous scandal will be used as a yardstick to judge Barack Obama and his presidency. Yeah.
March 26, 2009
By the time [current White House Chief of Staff Rahm] Emanuel joined Freddie Mac, the company had begun to loosen lending standards and buy riskier sub-prime loans. It was a practice that later blew up and contributed to the current foreclosure crisis.And the howls of OUTRAGE and subpoenas and calls for people like Emanuel to have their bonuses taxed at 90% or more start coming in three...two...never. Yeah. It's good to be a friend of The One.
In his investigation, Falcon concluded that the board of directors on which Emanuel sat was so pliant that Freddie Mac's managers easily were able to massage company ledgers. They manipulated bookkeeping to smooth out volatility, perpetuating Freddie Mac's industry reputation as "Steady Freddie," a reliable producer of earnings growth. Wall Street liked what it saw, Freddie Mac's stock value soared and top executives collected their bonuses.
Another focus of Freddie during Emanuel's day—and one that played to his skill set—was a stepped-up effort to combat congressional demands for more regulation.
During a September 2000 board meeting—midway through Emanuel's 14-month term—Freddie Mac lobbyist R. Mitchell Delk laid out a strategy titled "Political Risk Management" aimed at influencing lawmakers and blunting pressure in Congress for more regulation. Through Delk's initiative, Freddie Mac sponsored more than 80 fundraisers that raised at least $1.7 million for congressional candidates despite a federal law that bans corporations from direct political activity.
Update: A clarification is in order. The article doesn't mention whether or not Emanuel got bonuses for his 14-month stay at Freddie Mac. What it talks about is that for his duties, which apparently "required little effort," he made $320,000. Also, two years after leaving the mortgage firm, he "reported an additional sale of Freddie Mac stock worth between $100,001 and $250,000." That's still a hell of a lot of money for helping to cause the mortgage meltdown.
"I want to believe him, but I don't think that this ... is helpful," she said.I think you could apply that to just about any policy that he's proposed so far.
By the way, read the whole article and tell me this isn't going to be a disaster for charitable organizations.
Oh well, the other countries will love us again. Those rubes from Texas and Arizona probably didn't vote for Hopenchange anyway.
March 25, 2009
This is the resignation letter sent by Mr. Jack DeSantis, an executive VP at AIG, to Edward Liddy in the wake of Liddy's testimony. Read it all and not simply because it is a fantastic example of very polite bitchslapping. Read it because it details just how utterly everyone is lying about the AIG bonus situation.
This is one of my favorite bits:
You’ve now asked the current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. to repay these earnings. As you can imagine, there has been a tremendous amount of serious thought and heated discussion about how we should respond to this breach of trust.
I commented in another context that I was more than a bit confused as to why bonuses were being given considering the financial performance of AIG. It is now apparent that these are retention payments and were the carrot to get people to stay through this utter mess. People with skill were needed to stay and this was the incentive to get them to do so. I see nothing improper about that. The employees were being asked to take a huge risk and this was the reward. Fair enough. Now these same employees are being fucked over utterly becuase of the shifting political winds.
Look, I understand the rage and the fury and the argument that we own AIG, we get to set the pay is valid. But these were completely legal contracts that were not renegotiated and which it appears were going to be honored, hell, were honored, until the shrieking began. That's horrifying to me. Contract law is contract law and the notition of post-contractual revision due to external pressure is appalling. A strong argument can be made that these contracts should have been rescinded and/or renegotiated. But they *weren't*. That means they are valid and "omg but but but it's UNFAIR" is not proper justification of retraction now. If that is the case, then not a single fucking contract is worth the paper it's printed on. Not a one.
Then there's this:
Jesus. Fuck. Really, that's the only response to that. I'm not sure I have the words for how terrifying it is that public officials feel perfectly free to set a howling mob on private citizens. What is the point? What purpose will be served other than the obvious political theater?
Ace mentioned having Obama Fatigue. I'm sick of it all. I am standing open mouthed watching the destruction of all I hold dear, namely the concept that we are a nation of laws not men, and it is difficult to maintain any type of rational response in light of all that is going on.
It comes down to this, tomorrow it can be anyone. Anyone at all. The ravening hordes are at the gates and I am running out of shells.
Annnnnd that got a bit more emotastic than anticipated, my apologies. Girls and guns later in recompense.
March 23, 2009
I should say I regret nothing about my blogging about Sarah Palin last year and would do it again - with feeling - if such a duplicitous farce of an apparatchik were to be advanced as a possible leader for the US in the future. None of the crucial factual evidence for her constant fabulisms was ever provided and the MSM, as uninterested in the truth as they are eager for their own reputations, curled up into a little ball of deference.Wow. I guess the dementia really has set in if Excitable Andi (sorry if I ruined the surprise for you) is remembering the MSM treating Sarah Palin with "deference." It is to laugh.
Oh, and he regrets nothing about what he did? He doesn't regret his insane conspiracy theories about Trig Palin's parentage? I guess not. Being in love with Obama means never having to say you're sorry. And why not? He still has his cushy job blogging for a publication that doesn't apparently care that they have a crazy person on their staff. If I ever have a public breakdown like that, I can only hope my employer is so supportive.
Anyway, I hope your innocent beagles get out of the fire that I hope you die in, Andrew. After all, it's not their fault that you're a repellent piece of shit. Plus, I'm a dog person.
March 22, 2009
March 20, 2009
Gee, it looks like Barack Obama's video mash note to the Iranian leadership didn't lead to us automatically becoming BFFs:
Iran's supreme leader said Friday that world powers had been persuaded they could not block Iran's nuclear progress -- making no mention of a warm new-year's message sent by President Obama to his country, Reuters reported.
Neither Ayatollah Ali Khamenei nor Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad noted Obama's attempt to make a "new beginning" with their country in recorded messages they issued to mark the Iranian New Year.
B-but, this is "smart diplomacy." If we just talk to our enemies potential friends, everything will be hunky-dory, right Barack? Yeah.
Before I do my part as a good conservative by laying off Dear Leader, I've got to say that I'm not Outrageously Outraged!TM at this. However, is it too much to ask that the effing President of the effing United States act a little more, I dunno, presidential?
Exit question: Why is Trig dressed like a miniature 70's-era Elton John?
Update: I love me some Jeff Goldstein.
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