Shot by Extreme Liberal – this is one of my all time favorite sunsets, I did a painting of it too.
A huge congratulations to Rima Fakih for winning the Miss USA pageant, we in Michigan are proud of you. Hooray! Even if the Teabaggers and right-wing bigots feel empowered, the rest of the United States of America including the judges of the Miss USA pageant are much better people than the media would want you to believe. With as much attention as those nutballs get, you would think the whole country is Islamophobic, but alas, America proves once again that the loudest voices aren’t necessarily the majority.
But of course the bigoted, hateful, right-wing in this country doesn’t like that idea at all. Apparently they believe America is a melting pot, but you can only put white people in that pot. From a TPM story on the win….
A new Miss USA was crowned last night, the first time a Muslim, Arab-American woman won the honor. But for Daniel Pipes, a neocon pundit who writes for the National Review and was a Bush appointee to the Peace Institute, that’s one too many.
On his blog yesterday, Pipes pointed out five other Muslim women who’ve won beauty contests in the U.S., Britain and France over the last five years.
“They are all attractive, but this surprising frequency of Muslims winning beauty pageants makes me suspect an odd form of affirmative action,” he wrote.
That “suspicion is borne out,” he wrote, because of one pageant winner at North Carolina A&T University who wore a hijab under her crown.
Pipes does not explain why Miss A&T’s hijab proves his suspicion that a handful of Muslim beauty pageant winners are the result of some “odd form of affirmative action.”
I have to call out TPM for not even mentioning Rima Fakih’s name. I’m sure it was just an oversight, but it plays into the idea that pageants are superficial, you mean she has a name?
We could debate the whole idea of beauty pageants in general, but let’s leave that for another day. Hooray for Arab Americans and hooray for Michigan, we are proud of you Rima.
Al Giordano over at The Field has an excellent piece that I HAVE to share with you even if you are growing tired of me bitching about Glenn Greenwald and Janey Hamsher, two opportunistic “self-labeled” progressives who really just have a joint hatred for Barack Obama that binds them together. The topic, of course, is the appointment of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Al gives us this excellent paragraph to chew on….
Now, it has been entirely predictable that the board members of Poutrage, Inc. – those self-proclaimed “progressive” pundits who have never been community organizers and resent Obama and all the rest of us that have actually done that work and won political battles because they keep failing at it – are caught up in their cyclical careerist protagonism over the Kagan nomination. I won’t mention any names, but of course Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher are up to their Johnny-one-note tricks of getting their faces on the cable talk shows and in the media by proclaiming themselves “progressives against an Obama proposal” on any particular policy. They are as predictable as they are unconvincing, and although they always lose, they never change their bumbling tactics, I conclude that they are not interested in winning the issues they claim to care about. They are only interested in their own careers and egos and in fooling the gullible to send donations to their projects of self-enrichment. The issues are merely the means to try to make themselves relevant to the national discourse.
Did you see Glenn Greenwald on “Press the Meat” Sunday? You could see the foam coming out of his rabid mouth, I swear. His kind, and I include Hamsher and Uygur in that grouping, are using the same tactics as the Republicans and Tea Partiers, taking a sliver of truth and misrepresenting, exaggerating and twisting it to fit their own narrow interpretation. The most glaring example of his exaggerations came when he made the comment something to the effect…”The Obama Administration wants to take away Miranda rights” “wanting to rewrite our core protections of Miranda and being brought before a judge” or some sort of horseshit like that. They have taken what Attorney General Eric Holder alluded to in an interview and twisted it to fit with their warped world view. They seem to enjoy attacking people based on what they think might happen and of course when it doesn’t happen as they set it up, they move on to the next “poutrage”. How many true progressives are still falling for their crap? It’s no wonder they made a blatant appeal to the Tea Partiers, they are simply in it for their own egos and self-interest. As the awesome Kay in Maine pointed to in a comment on her blog, White Noise Insanity, Jane Hamsher is trying to use the Senate’s vote to audit the Fed – to raise money. No shit, she’s claiming credit for it and trying to raise money from her knuckle-dragging followers. Check out this link, but please don’t give to that opportunistic (insert your choice word here).
Al Giorgano goes on to take on Cenk Uygur, one of the Hamsher gang and VP of Poutrage Inc.
The other “Progressives Against Obama” member I’ll take to the woodshed today is radio and TV host Cenk Uygur, for whom the Kagan nomination likewise is not really about Kagan but about Obama himself. He writes:
“My problem with her is my problem with Obama. Cheney and Bush moved the ball 80 yards down-field (sic, as anyone who knows the NFL spells it downfield, without hyphen), whether that was on executive power, warrantless wiretapping, pre-emptive wars or just about any other issue you can think of. And Obama’s bold and brilliant response is to move the ball 10 yards in the opposite direction. Not good enough. Not remotely good enough…
“He is never going to throw the ball down the field. If you like two yard pick-ups by a running-back going straight up the middle, you’ll love Obama. It’s the Eddie George presidency. What he doesn’t seem to get is that the other side is eventually going to get the ball back and then it won’t seem like a major accomplishment that we went from our own two-yard line to our own twelve-yard line. It’ll be viewed as a tremendous disappointment.”
Actually, Mr. Uygur, you ought to get to know the games of football and of politics before nominating yourself as head coach or quarterback. You should at least know the rules of the game. In football, moving the ball ten yards downfield is precisely good enough. It is called gaining a first down, that which allows your team to remain in possession of the ball and keep battling downfield toward touchdowns and field goals, while denying the opposing team time on the clock to do so.
The name-dropping of running back Eddie George is also revealing as to just how greatly Uygur’s comparison fails epicly: Eddie George, at Ohio State University, won the Heisman Trophy in 1995, and he rushed for more than 10,000 yards in only eight years in the NFL (presidents, by law, can’t last more than eight) and George helped bring his middling team to the Super Bowl in just four years, one first down at a time. In his first season with the Houston Oilers-cum-Tennessee Titans franchise (when George earned the NFL’s Rookie of the Year title), the team won just eight games to eight losses. By 1999, the Titans had 13 wins to three losses and went to the Super Bowl.
What got them there? First downs and ball possession, largely thanks to Eddie George: That team won by running the ball up the field three or four yards per play.
Guys like Solomon and probably Uygur (the jury is still out on the latter) are a bit distinct from pond scum like Greenwald and Hamsher, who are only in it for their own protagonist careers. The former are more akin to those fans in the bleachers always screaming at the quarterback to throw the long ball even against teams skilled at interceptions.
The football metaphor gets a little tiring, but the idea that President Obama needs to go for the long ball instead of chipping away at the opposition to me is short-sighted. The health care reform package is a great analogy for this. Had Obama gone for the public option or single payer, we would have gotten “jack shit” out of the whole process. I’m glad he took the tactful route and made some incremental change which can be built upon in the future. Kind of like getting a first down or running a screen pass that gets you 40 yards. We still have the ball and we’re heading down field. Ugh, enough of the football metaphor.
I think it is incumbent upon us true progressives (I’m a liberal, damn it) to drive these posers from our party. There is nothing worse than someone who claims to be on your team but wants everything done the way they want it done – or else. These assholes are doing nothing but helping Republicans take control of our government again, I guess so they have something to raise money off. If we go back and see how they used Bush/Cheney to further their own self interests, it looks like they’ve just changed their target and are now shooting at their own, kind of a “friendly fire” incident. It’s at this point that I would love to launch into a tirade of expletives, but I’ll keep it family friendly.
My awesome grand-daughter just keeps getting cooler and cooler all the time. Her first Peace sign, I’m teaching her well. :) I have real posts coming later, sorry for the few days I took off, busy with life, you know?
Shot by Extreme Liberal
This is so freakin awesome. It crystallizes everything that’s happening in Washington in :54 seconds.
This is classic TV, spread it around the internets……
The attacks on Elena Kagan about her not hiring many minorities when she was Dean of the Harvard Law School are stupid in many ways. One of her professors at Harvard, Randall L. Kennedy (a black man), has written a post over at Huffington Post telling why this is so wrong. A piece from that piece….(emphasis mine)
She was in one of the first classes on race relations law that I taught at Harvard Law school. I recall vividly that she was an outstanding student — so much so that I recommended her with superlatives to my former boss Justice Thurgood Marshall. I thought that she would be an excellent clerk for him partly because she was so able analytically and also because her quiet but passionate commitment to equality before the law would fit in so well with “Mr. Civil Rights.” I was delighted when Justice Marshall offered her the clerkship and was unsurprised later when the Justice told me that her work for him had been exemplary.
Now really, with that kind of cred on civil rights, someone is going to accuse her of not being sensitive to minorities? Give me a break, please. This next bit reminded me of my first thought when I heard the criticism about who was hired while she was the Dean at Harvard Law. I work at a university and have been on selection committees for faculty, certainly not Harvard type faculty. But my first thought was, the Dean doesn’t freakin interview anyone. They certainly can if they want, but usually the Dean will just meet the candidates and weigh in with the committee with his thoughts. From Randall’s post…
First, it is mistaken to suggest, as some have, that the Dean of Harvard Law School is responsible for all that happens or does not happen with respect to hiring. The Dean is the single most influential member of the faculty. One does not get hired at the law school without the Dean’s blessing. At the same time, the Dean does not have the power on her own to hire someone to the faculty. To be hired, a candidate must receive at least a majority, usually a super-majority, of votes. The Dean can seek to persuade, but the Dean at Harvard Law School cannot force professors to move when it comes to faculty hiring, traditionally the most contentious arena of struggle at a famously contentious institution.
Second, Kagan was attentive to issues of race in faculty hiring. I say this on the basis of what I observed as the Chair of the Harvard Law School’s Entry Level Appointments Committee, a Committee on which, as Dean, Kagan also sat. I often agreed with her assessments of candidates but sometimes disagreed. Even when I did disagree, however, I found her judgments to be eminently sensible. She evaluated candidates carefully and generously, deploying her tough-minded independence but also paying close attention to the opinions of her colleagues.
So really now, you liberals who are looking for reasons to reject her, find something else. Or better yet, come to your senses and help us win in 2010 and 2012 instead of undermining our elected leader.
From Alan Grayson on Real Time with Bill Maher. It was in regards to the Arizona law and the tea party in general. I may be paraphrasing, go Alan….
“This is the death rattle of racism”
Rachel Maddow had a couple of segments last night on Elena Kagan’s nomination to the SCOTUS with Glenn Greenwald “spewing” anger and hatred (see previous post) and Lawrence Lesig, a Harvard Law Professor and friend of Elena Kagan’s defending her…..well, basically he took on Greenwald’s hyperbole. Here are the links to the segments on Rachel’s blog. The case against Elena Kagan and the case for Elena Kagan. There was follow-up to their appearances and the following is from Lawrence Lesig on the Huffington Post…
What struck me yesterday as I researched the issue, however, was how hyperbolic Glenn’s campaign had become. No doubt Elena Kagan has not written as extensively as Cass Sunstein, or Pam Karlan. But to say that “she’s somebody who has managed to avoid taking a position on virtually every single issue of importance over the last two decades,” or that “[s]he’s managed to remain a totally blank slate” is just disqualifying hyperbole. Kagan has written a corpus of work that earned her tenure at Chicago about the First Amendment. (Read Geoff Stone’s description of that work here). When she came to Harvard, she wrote an extraordinarily important piece about the nature of executive authority and the president’s control over the executive. Those are two important areas of federal law that Justice Kagan will have to address. To pretend in the face of this work that she remains “a totally blank slate” is absurd.
The next bit is in reference to Glenn Greenwald misleading people into thinking that Elena Kagan agreed with the Bush administration on executive powers, go to this link to read it, it’s pretty wonky. Here is Lawrence’s wrap up which I think puts Greenwald in his place, although I’m sure he’s busy typing like crazy on his Dell computer with more of his hatred towards anything Obama. Go Lawrence….
This is my “falsehood” “spewed on TV.” Except that whether it was “spewed” or not, it isn’t false. Glenn has repeatedly suggested that Kagan’s 2001 article shows that she believes the President has the power “instead of” Congress. That characterization of Kagan’s view is flatly wrong. It was wrong to suggest she had said that about the ordinary work of administrative agencies. It was super-wrong to suggest she had said that about anything to do with the President’s power to wage war. To link the two together in a single sentence would confuse — even if the grammar were clear. And to hear people echo the words of Glenn, it is clear his confusion has spread.Chill, Glenn. Dial down the outrage. Dial back the hyperbole. And stop calling those who applaud you liars. No doubt there are other progressives the President could have nominated with a clearer public record. I can well understand the frustration of some that the President didn’t pick one of these others, even if I don’t share it.
But you can make your point well enough without painting everyone else as liars or constitutional crazies. If I was confused by the “vagueness” in your “grammar,” I apologize. I wouldn’t have used it had I not read you repeat the thrust of the point again and again. But now that you’ve clarified it — now that you’ve acknowledged that the 2001 piece does not support the Bush/Cheney doctrine of “executive power” — let’s move on. There are wildly more important battles to fight in our common campaign against the corruption of Congress. Winning that battle would ultimately be more important to progressives and our democracy than the difference between the justices Barack Obama could appoint.
Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but the President gets to pick the nominees for the Supreme Court, right? Did I miss some new law that makes Glenn Greenwald the person who gets to pick the nominees? Glenn Greenwald is one of those bloggers that often has very great stuff to say, he was particularly good during the Bush years but after seeing him on the Teevee recently and reading some of his writings about the nomination of Elena Kagan, I’m second guessing whether he was making shit up about Bush too. There are many examples of his misleading, mischaracterizing and in some cases lying about Elena Kagan’s record. I’ve gone out and looked at some of his stuff and found some pretty over the top hyperbole, here is one example…(emphasis is mine)
Well, I think that, to begin with, it’s very difficult to know what it would mean, because she’s somebody who has managed to avoid taking a position on virtually every single issue of importance over the last two decades.
That’s weird, because just since her nomination, I’ve heard all sorts of her positions and even more about her character and some pretty awesome references too. He goes on in the same paragraph with more…
And in order to know what the impact of a Supreme Court nominee will be, it’s important not only to assess them in isolation, but also relative to who they’re replacing. And there’s a very substantial likelihood that Kagan is more conservative than the justice she’s replacing, which is John Paul Stevens, which means even if she’s a relatively decent person and a good Democrat, the effect that she would have, very likely, is to move the Court to the right.
So let’s see here, “a substantial likelihood” that Kagan is more conservative…based on what? Is it just his opinion or is there some basis for it? From all I’ve read from Mr. Greenwald, I haven’t found his specificity on why he thinks she is so conservative or moderate or not perfect in his mind. He goes on to say that she would, “very likely”, move the court to the right because she’s replacing John Paul Stevens, WHO WAS NOMINATED BY A REPUBLICAN. More hyperbole from Greenwald…
But I think the real issue is, we know virtually nothing about what she thinks about anything. She’s managed to remain a totally blank slate. She has no experience, not even just not as a judge, but even in court, in a courtroom.
Now this is where Glenn crosses the line in my opinion and begins to act like he personally should have some say in who President Obama picks “we know virtually nothing about what she thinks about anything”…as if he were on the selection committee. He sure thinks highly of his own opinion, that’s for sure. In reading a lot of his writing, you would think that he was elected president in November of 2008 and was given the right to pick the supreme court nominees. Hey Glenn, when you get elected president (cough) then you can pick a supreme court nominee. Until then, quit acting like we owe you something, it makes you look like a whiny malcontent. I suspect that if he didn’t use over-the-top rhetoric, he might be more persuasive but as it is, he looks like a jilted lover or something. He was on Rachel Maddow last night and clearly has a lot of pent-up hatred, and based on his over-the-top rhetoric on health care reform, I would say he doesn’t care for Barack Obama. Here is some more over-the-top hyperbole…
Nothing is a better fit for this White House than a blank slate, institution-loyal, seemingly principle-free careerist who spent the last 15 months as the Obama administration’s lawyer vigorously defending every one of his assertions of extremely broad executive authority.
Woe, now she is a “principle-free careerist” huh? I would say that given Glenn Greenwald’s stream of bullshit against Elena Kagan, that he is lacking in some principles too. I read on his wikipedia entry that he quit practicing constitutional law after 10 years because “I was bored with litigating full-time…”. So litigating bored him, huh, had to make a career change. So tell me why I should listen to a “quitter”? The only thing he keeps coming back to is a lack of information about her opinions, so apparently he just projects whatever the hell he wants on her and then hates her for it.
It’s even less surprising that Obama would not want to choose someone like Diane Wood. If you were Barack Obama, would you want someone on the Supreme Court who has bravely insisted on the need for Constitutional limits on executive authority, resolutely condemned the use of Terrorism fear-mongering for greater government power, explicitly argued against military commissions and indefinite detention, repeatedly applied the progressive approach to interpreting the Constitution on a wide array of issues, insisted upon the need for robust transparency and checks and balances, and demonstrated a willingness to defy institutional orthodoxies even when doing so is unpopular? Of course you wouldn’t. Why would you want someone on the Court who has expressed serious Constitutional and legal doubts about your core policies?
Ahhhhhhh, you see here where his head really is. He just plain hates Barack Obama, because he isn’t Hillary, I suspect. Claiming that Obama’s core policies are the opposite of Diane Wood’s, who was the horse he wanted in the race, is way over the top. It just reeks of “sore loser” to me. It’s so much like a jilted lover who sees everything through a veil of hatred towards that person. Like I said before, if he didn’t go so far over-the-top, he might be more convincing in his arguments, but he apparently lets his emotions take over…which lays waste to his arguments.
I don’t claim to know a shitload about Elena Kagan, but I do know a lot about the president I voted for, Barack Obama, and I certainly respect his intelligence and his respect for the constitution and I am very comfortable supporting whoever he picks to be on the SCOTUS. It isn’t blind faith, like I’m sure the trolls will put in their comments, but living in the real world where people vote, lawmakers make laws, presidents get to nominate people and sore losers get to whine like little children.
When you step back and look at the Republican Party over the last two years, it looks very much like a fourth grade classroom. As the party of “nuh uh”, they look like they are just playing the opposite game, you know, the one where the pest in the class says the opposite of everything you say. This phenomenon has caused many Republicans to contort their positions and actually attack bills that they themselves were sponsors of and in some cases actually wrote. If that isn’t an example of a juvenile game, I’m not sure what is. I posted about the critics of the Obama administration (through Politico) who tried there hardest to make the BP Oil spill President Obama’s Katrina. Without any real knowledge of what the administration was doing, the reich-wing cooked up the “Obama’s Katrina” narrative, even though everyone with any knowledge of what was happening knew it clearly wasn’t true. The AP went fishing for a story to that effect and found out the truth. From a story at Huffington Post.
This came from Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.: “The American people deserve to know why the administration was slow to respond, why necessary equipment was not immediately on hand in the area and why the president did not fully deploy Cabinet-level federal officials” to the Gulf Coast until April 30.
There is so much wrong with that statement including the truth, but what strikes me is that apparently he is saying that the federal government should have had equipment on hand and in the area in case a private Oil Company (British), should have an accident. Isn’t that some form of socialism, when the government is meddling with private businesses? Now maybe he is saying the government should have shifted all the resources of the federal government to get “necessary” (whatever the fuck that means) equipment in the area “immediately”. Now considering this accident is unprecedented and all the greatest minds in our country are trying to figure out how to stop the flow, maybe Mike Pence can tell us what “necessary” equipment he is talking about. Here is the AP’s conclusion followed by some details of exactly what the Obama administration did…
While the Obama administration has faced second-guessing about the speed and effectiveness of some of its actions, a narrative pieced together by The Associated Press, based on documents, interviews and public statements, shows little resemblance to Katrina in either the characterization of the threat or the federal government’s response…
…Before noon the next day at the Interior Department, which oversees offshore drilling projects, the department’s No. 2 official, Deputy Secretary David Hayes, raced to grab a commercial jet for New Orleans without even time to pack a bag. He sets up shop at a government command center already monitoring events.
“We obviously knew this was a bad situation,” Hayes said in a recent interview. “But we were not in a mindset where we thought we were dealing with a major oil spill.”
And you know this was before the spill started, he went down there immediately when it was just an explosion and loss of life, which warranted a response from the Administration, if only these people had been around when Katrina happened instead of Ole’ Brownie. More details about the response, suck on it Mike Pence…
Two days after the fire erupted, Obama convened an Oval Office meeting to get the latest on what still was viewed largely as a major accident and rescue effort – 11 workers could not be found.
He asked departments to respond aggressively to help in the rescue and assess the environmental fallout. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs in a statement called the response “the No. 1 priority.”
A team representing 16 agencies and offices that included the Pentagon, the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Interior and Homeland Security was formed. As a precaution, 100,000 gallons of chemicals to break up oil on the waster was sent to three Gulf Coast locations.
The next bit of juvenile behavior I’ll point out is the idea that we no longer mirandize American citizens accused of a crime. In 1966, the Supreme Court set out guidelines for what must be said to someone who is arrested. I won’t paste them here, everyone knows them if they ever watched Dragnet or Adam 12. All civilized countries have similar guidelines or laws that are meant to protect the rights of their citizens, you know those basic human rights that the Republican Party no longer support. I just heard one of the biggest village idiots within the Republican party, Rudy Giuliani, on “This Week with Jake Tapper” express that idea as clearly as any. They believe that giving rights to anyone is giving rights to terrorists, it’s black and white to them. It’s similar to the people who don’t have a problem with stopping Latinos in Arizona, they don’t see how American citizens will lose rights under the plan. As long as they don’t think it will directly affect them, they are cool with taking away other people’s rights. That is exactly why the founding fathers put habeas corpus right in the main text of the Constitution.
(to be continued)
OK, maybe it isn’t 20%, it might be 25%…..or it could be less than 20%. But a certain percentage of the American people are batshit crazy. I’m not talking about people with mental impairments and I’m not disparaging anyone who has one. I’m referring to people who either through profound ignorance, bigotry or the mindless following of charismatic leaders (Rush and Glenn come to mind)…are easily led down whatever path they stumble upon. TPM has a story about a poll which asked about the “birther” phenomenon, you know those folks who think President Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii. The pollsters pressed the people for details and the results are kind of interesting and prompted me to write this post. From TPM…
As part of its general national survey of adults in late April, ABC/WaPo asked, “where was Barack Obama born, as far as you know?” The initial answer was 68% United States, 14% another country. ABC then pushed the undecideds, by asking for their best guess. After those leaners were pushed, the final result was 77% United States, 20% somewhere else.
Now if this poll is to be believed, 20% of the American people believe something that has been proven to be false with hard evidence, lots of it and I’m not going to present it here. I’ve seen the birth certificate and the certificate of live birth and the newspaper announcement of the birth in the Hawaii paper. Anyone who thinks his conspiracy to become president started at birth, well let’s just lock those people up right now!!!! What is so interesting about these poll results, though, is that 1/3 of those who believe he wasn’t born in America actually approve of the job he is doing. Whaaaaaa? That means 6.6% of the general population can actually believe a conspiracy even when they approve of the target of that conspiracy, I think I’ve met some of these people….it always results in me shaking my head like a snow globe and saying “Whaaaaa?” More from TPM…
The same ABC/WaPo polling sample had Obama’s approval rating at 54%, with 44% disapproving. This puts Birther approval of Obama at about 20 points behind the norm. The poll of American adults has a margin of error of ±3.5%.
I’ve typed it before, the 54/44 number really is pretty good for a president who won with 53% of the popular vote and has taken on some big issues like health care. On top of that, he’s been fighting against a very well financed campaign and a Republican party that has tried every single trick they can find to try to stop the president from doing anything. Can you imagine how much higher his approval rating would be if the misinformation and lying campaign that has been going since he took office hadn’t taken place? So many of the people in the disapprove category are just ignorant of the truth, they have sources of information like Rush and Glenn that are intentionally faulty, they lie with no conscience and continue to do it even when confronted with the truth, they are playing this group for suckers. And if the shoe fits…
Bob Cesca points us to this poll finding that proves my point in this post, it looks like it’s more like 28% rather than 20%.
We have some new national polling coming out tomorrow on offshore drilling. The most astounding number from the poll? 28% of Republicans said the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico made them more likely to support drilling off the coast to an equal 28% who said it made them less likely to be supportive. 44% said it made no difference to them and that’s understandable, but why would an oil spill make you more supportive of drilling?