And in response, to help Matt Campbell, click here (to say that King is nuts is an understatement).
What made me turn my attention to this matter was this recent column from Cal Thomas (hardly a relation), in particular the following…
Helen Thomas’ real sin — in addition to the obvious — is that she exposed Washington journalists as having strong personal opinions about the subjects they cover.
And with that in mind, I give you the following from C. Thomas about a certain former first lady and Democratic presidential candidate (here)…
In his July 10 nationally syndicated column, Cal Thomas discussed a July 7 New York Times article that reported that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) “said she believed in the resurrection of Jesus, though she described herself as less sure of the doctrine that being a Christian is the only way to salvation.” Thomas asserted: “This is a politician speaking, not a person who believes in the central tenets of Christianity.”
Talk about your “strong personal opinions”…
And besides, the whole dustup over Helen Thomas is the tempest in the proverbial teapot when you consider the following from here, namely that…
On May 31st Israeli commandos killed at least nine unarmed volunteers attempting to take humanitarian supplies to Gaza.
According to eyewitness reports and forensic evidence, many of these aid volunteers were shot at close range, including a 19-year-old American citizen killed by four bullets to the head and one to the chest fired from 18 inches away.
Israel immediately imprisoned eyewitnesses and hundreds of other aid participants, confiscated their cameras, laptops, and other possessions, and prevented them from speaking to the press for days. Among the incarcerated were decorated U.S. veterans and an 80-year-old former ambassador who had been deputy director of Reagan’s Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism.
When they finally emerged and were able to tell their stories, many described horrific scenes of Israeli commandos shooting people in the head, of those tending the injured being shot in the stomach, of people bleeding to death while flotilla participants waved white flags and pled for help.
They also described being beaten brutally by Israeli forces, again and again – including those on ships that, in the U.S. media’s judgment, experienced “no violence.” A 64-year-old piano tuner from California, Paul Larudee, described hundreds of Israeli commandos boarding his ship. When he refused to cooperate with them, soldiers then beat him numerous times both on board the ship and after he was imprisoned on land.
And given all of this, the only thing a pompous windbag like Cal Thomas can find to complain about is a moment of frustration (carried to excess, I’ll admit) by a member of the profession to which he allegedly belongs as well.
The matter truly at issue here, however, has to do with at least one service member’s remains buried on top of another at Arlington, as noted here by Salon from last November…
The top official at Arlington National Cemetery claims he was unaware of the most recently reported burial error at the cemetery, possibly, he says, because he was away at the time it occurred. Cemetery employee records, however, show Superintendent John Metzler present and working at Arlington when the cemetery discovered this most recently disclosed burial foul-up…
Arlington officials also continue to struggle to locate key paperwork that must be completed when remains are moved. The paperwork would confirm that Air Force Master Sgt. Marion Grabe’s remains were moved and explain the circumstances surrounding that decision. The Army, which oversees Arlington, has been unable to locate any such documents.
The still-missing burial paperwork adds to the mounting evidence suggesting that top Arlington officials may have disregarded cemetery rules in this case. The explanation from Metzler, meanwhile, raises serious questions about the conduct of top cemetery officials with respect to repeated burial mix-ups at Arlington. Cemetery officials have already established a pattern of incomplete, inconsistent or contradictory responses when asked by Salon to account for misplaced or misidentified remains at the cemetery.
…over the course of many months, as Salon has investigated problems at Arlington, statements from cemetery officials have been wildly inconsistent and contradictory about this and other burial mix-ups. Some of the statements, most issued via cemetery or Army spokesmen, have appeared in previous Salon articles, but this full pattern has not been assembled until now.
Among Salon’s earliest queries on the subject was this one, sent in writing to cemetery spokeswoman Kaitlin Horst last July 10: “Is (Deputy Superintendent Thurman) Higginbotham or (Superintendent John) Metzler aware of any information that suggests that in some cases, the person identified on a headstone may not, in fact, be the person buried underneath that headstone?” Salon asked. “For example, has the cemetery ever begun digging a grave, only to find that there is already someone there, though the grave is unmarked?”
Horst responded via telephone some days later. “The answer to that is no,” she said. “To the best of our knowledge, we are not aware of any situation like that.”
Ten days after submitting that question, Salon obtained proof that in 2003, the cemetery went to bury a service member in a grave only to find unmarked remains in that spot. The response from the cemetery was to cover up the unknown remains with dirt and grass and walk away. Cemetery officials then kept that secret for six years until Salon brought the case to the cemetery’s attention.
There are no words that I can add that would truly communicate what an affront all of this is to the dignity of our men and women in the armed services. And I don’t mean to allege purposeful negligence here so much as I’m alleging managerial incompetence.
Let’s just say that the terminations of Metzler (an appointee of Poppy Bush, for the record) and Higginbotham were both long overdue.
Update 6/11/10: Hat tip to Atrios for this (shame indeed)…
“This is Congress at its best,” said (House Minority Leader John) Boehner at the beginning of a rant on the scores of House and Senate hearings on the oil spill.
“Why don’t we get the oil stopped, figure out what the hell went wrong, and then have the hearings and get the damn law fixed,” Boehner said at his weekly press conference.
Yep, as noted here, Boehner and his pals know a lot about trying to mess up congressional hearings, as they did last March 25th on the occasion of the energy bill sponsored by Dem Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts; a whole parade of global warming denialists held court while Congress continued (and continues) to struggle with passing legislation aimed at reversing the effects of climate change, which hastens the warming of the planet and the consequent spreading of sickness and disease among the very young, very old, and everyone else.
Oh, and did you also know that, according to this, Boehner thinks that taxpayers should foot the bill for the BP cleanup in the Gulf?
Maybe Boehner won’t think hearings into the Deepwater Horizon explosion and wreck and the subsequent cleanup are such a joke if gooey tar balls from oil and dispersant start washing up onto the shores of the Ohio River.
…is the Justice Department up to the job (presumably, of enforcing the type of racial compliance Ferris wants to see)? I’d say no, based on how it handled the voter intimidation case involving the New Black Panther Party on Election Day 2008.
Two Panthers were “deployed” in “military style uniforms” at a polling station on Fairmount Street, according to the original Justice Department complaint, and one of the men “brandished a deadly weapon” – a nightstick.
The complaint, initiated during the Bush administration, said the men “made statements containing racial threats and racial insults at both black and white individuals” and “made menacing and intimidating gestures, statements, and movements” toward those helping voters.
The two men, the national Panthers leader, and the party itself were named in the complaint. When they didn’t respond, the case was won by default. At which point the Justice Department could have sent a message that voter intimidation by armed members of hate groups will not be tolerated.
But Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department dropped the case against all but the guy with the club. His punishment? He can’t display a weapon at a polling place in Philadelphia through 2012. Hate groups must be shaking in their jackboots.
(Also, I suppose I should probably get myself exercised over Ferris’s version of what happened last year with the Valley Swim Club in this screed, in which he complains that “This case should have been settled amicably, but lawsuits were filed – including one from the Justice Department. The club declared bankruptcy last fall and this month’s sale is the result.” To which I respond that, yeah, well, the Justice Department is supposed to get involved when people’s civil rights are violated. And I don’t think anything more needs to be said in response – if I do, Ferris will just come back a month later and say the same thing he said before, no matter how wrong it is.)
However, I know for a fact that the following comment (in response to the “Black Panther” thing) was submitted but not published (from here)…
Assuming this comment is allowed, I should point out the following. On November 4, 2008, Greg Sargent of TPM followed up on the Black Panther thing, calling Obama campaign volunteer Jacqueline Dischell, who confirmed that two Black Panthers guarded the polling place in question, which was a nursing home. One was an officially designated poll watcher (not sure by whom) and the other was his friend. The one holding the nightstick didn’t stay there all day, leaving hours before the other man. The McCain-Palin campaign heard about them when they both were there, sent some people over to take pictures with their cell phones, and started baiting the two. One of the two men gave someone in the McCain-Palin group “the finger.” Some time later, camera crews from Fox News showed up and started interviewing people at the polling place. That’s the story. There was never any voter intimidation. That’s why Holder slapped the guy with the nightstick on the proverbial wrist and dropped all other charges.
Adherence to conservative orthodoxy is one thing, Inky (bad as it is). Journalistic malpractice is another.
WASHINGTON — Republicans remain confident of making big gains in the fall elections, but as the midterm campaign begins in earnest, they face a series of challenges that could keep the party from fully capitalizing on an electorate clamoring for change in Washington.
Republicans continue to have much in their favor, and over all appear to be in a stronger position than Democrats. They continue to benefit from a widespread sense among voters that government has gotten too expansive, with Mr. Obama’s health care bill as Exhibit A. The economic recovery remains tepid, with unemployment still high.
Republicans raised more money than Democrats last month, a reflection of the optimism about the potential for gains in November among the party’s contributors.
Gee, that’s interesting, particularly given that, as noted here (h/t The Daily Kos)…
The Republican National Committee announced Friday it raised $6.8 million in April and had $12.4 million on hand at the end of last month. That monthly haul is some $3.5 million less than the Democratic National Committee raised: the DNC took in $10.3 million and had $15.1 million in the bank at the end of the month.
And talk about having its thumb on the metaphorical scale when it comes to reporting – Jeff Zeleny and Carl Hulse of the Times had no trouble tracking down Republican politicians and operatives, but I guess the Dems were all in hiding wearing tie dye, ingesting hallucinogenic drugs and singing hosannas to Ward Churchill or something (joke), since none could be found for the story.
And by the way, if you want to know which party is actually trying to help get this country back on its feet, as it were, as opposed to which one isn’t, try reading this.
Democrats see more opportunity in attacking the Tea Party right’s stance toward programs that, however pricey, have built durable constituencies. In the Times/CBS poll, Tea Party enthusiasts expressed more support than other Americans for cuts in Social Security, Medicare, education and defense.
I haven’t seen a poll anywhere conducted on behalf of any group noting the same degree of support for this country’s defense spending as I’ve seen for support of Social Security and Medicare, by the way.
The Achilles’ heel for Democrats is the political zeitgeist of 2010. Costly stimulus and health care bills make it hard to argue that the Obama administration is making government leaner; now the specter of an untamed oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico clouds the argument for effective government, too.
You can legitimately question some of what the Obama Administration has done in the Gulf, though BP said early on that they knew what they were doing when they plainly didn’t, but how is the aftermath of the spill NOT an indictment of the laissez-faire capitalist BS of Dubya and his pals?
Particularly when you consider the following (here)…
Despite obvious hazards and dangers, as well as inadequate safety practices, a succession of administrations, including Barack Obama’s, have backed corporate strategies strongly favoring the exploitation of oil and gas reservoirs in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico and other environmentally sensitive areas.
On the government’s side, this outlook was first fully articulated in the National Energy Policy (NEP) adopted by President George W. Bush on May 17, 2001. Led by former Halliburton CEO Vice President Dick Cheney, the framers of the policy warned that the United States was becoming ever more dependent on imported energy, thereby endangering national security. They called for increased reliance on domestic energy sources, especially oil and natural gas. “A primary goal of the National Energy Policy is to add supply from diverse sources,” the document declared. “This means domestic oil, gas, and coal.”
As the NEP made clear, however, the United States was running out of conventional, easily tapped reservoirs of oil and natural gas located on land or in shallow coastal waters. “U.S. oil production is expected to decline over the next two decades, [while] demand for natural gas will most likely continue to outpace domestic production,” the document noted. The only solution, it claimed, would be to increase exploitation of unconventional energy reserves — oil and gas found in deep offshore areas of the Gulf of Mexico, the Outer Continental Shelf, Alaska, and the American Arctic, as well as in complex geological formations such as shale oil and gas. “Producing oil and gas from geologically challenging areas while protecting the environment is important to Americans and to the future of our nation’s energy security,” the policy affirmed. (The phrase in italics was evidently added by the White House to counter charges — painfully accurate, as it turned out — that the administration was unmindful of the environmental consequences of its energy policies.)
The Deepwater Horizon explosion, we assuredly will be told, was an unfortunate fluke: a confluence of improper management and faulty equipment. With tightened oversight, it will be said, such accidents can be averted — and so it will be safe to go back into the deep waters again and drill for oil a mile or more beneath the ocean’s surface.
Don’t believe it. While poor oversight and faulty equipment may have played a critical role in BP’s catastrophe in the Gulf, the ultimate source of the disaster is big oil’s compulsive drive to compensate for the decline in its conventional oil reserves by seeking supplies in inherently hazardous areas — risks be damned.
So long as this compulsion prevails, more such disasters will follow. Bet on it.
In which case the utterly unscrupulous and ruthless demand for oil by BP and other corporate bad actors will be an “Achilles’ heel” not just for a politician regardless of party, but of the entire planet.
Bye Arlen – he did some good things, but more bad than not sadly (once more, with feeling)…
I thought this was really nice tribute from the Joe Sestak for U.S. Senate campaign.
…Senator Jim Bunning (R-I Hear Voices) recently introduced an amendment that would require legislators to make all bills public for 72 hours, with legislative text and an official budget analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), prior to being considered. Democratic senators blocked the amendment.
It is unfortunate that the Democratic leadership has decided it would be easier to rush their legislation through rather than honoring the people’s right to know. At healthtransformation.net, we have posted a petition to Washington to support the principle of Senator Bunning’s amendment by requiring Congress to make all bills public for 72 hours before voting.
Openness is never a bad thing, I realize, even though this is tantamount to a publicity stunt by the about-to-retire Sen. “High And Tight” Bunning (can YOU read a nearly 2,000 page bill in three days? I can’t). And Gingrich is right that the amendment was voted down in the Senate.
However, this TPM story from last month tells us the following…
Accepting Republican demands, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to post health care reform legislation online for 72 hours before a final vote on the bill, The Hill reports.
House Republicans, including Minority Leader John Boehner, have introduced a petition to require three days for lawmakers to read the final bill before voting. Two Democrats, Brian Baird and Walt Minnick, have also signed on. At today’s press conference, Pelosi said she would “absolutely” support the petition.
Besides, House Bill 3200 has been available from the House HELP site for months (how else do you think Bucks County’s big mouth pundit J.D. Mullane was able to supposedly find his “angel of death” clause?), as has the HELP bill from Sen. Bob Casey’s site, among other places.
Oh, and the following should be noted from here concerning Mr. Former House Speaker Who Resigned In Disgrace and his alleged “openness”…
Gingrich was the author of an infamous secret memo to GOP leaders in 1995 titled “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control”, which one of America’s foremost linguists called an outline of a strategy to frame the word “liberal” as “something akin to traitor” in the media. This was in line with his once-described goal of “reshaping the entire nation through the news media” (New York Times,12/14/94).
And I’m still waiting to hear about Newt’s space-based air traffic control system, by the way (from here).
Ten years ago, we effectively had no broadband marketplace. Dial-up Internet was common, but not ubiquitous. Consumers had a choice of service providers, but they were typically confined to walled gardens of preselected or preferred content. The broadband revolution led us out of that desert. Instead of dog-paddling, we could surf the net, choosing between broadband service offered by traditional phone and cable companies and, now, wireless companies as well.
Compare that to the last decade of success at government dominated companies like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, GM or Chrysler.
Of course (as alluded to here, concerning what is probably the “granddaddy” of all the Repug big lies out there, right next to Casey Sr. not being allowed to speak at the ’92 Democratic National Convention because he was pro-life), if it weren’t for the “government,” there probably wouldn’t be an internet at all, something the Journal and their Repug playmates are counting on people to forget (heaven forbid that Al Gore actually get any credit here, right?).
Also, it’s a good thing Hatch and DeMint opposed the “stim” and the 7.2 billion for “complete broadband and wireless Internet access,” right (here – snark)? Especially since the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued a report from the summer of ’08 that lists the U.S. as 15th in broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants (here, with Japan, France – sacre bleu, wingnuts! – and Korea 1, 2 and 3 respectively).
And it wasn’t that bad “gumint” that was found guilty of violating Net Neutrality principles by “secretly degrading or blocking peer-to-peer traffic — specifically that used by BitTorrent,” was it? Nope, it was Comcast (here).
And by the way, to learn more about the principles of Net Neutrality (which, not coincidentally, debunk in total this ridiculous Journal column), click here.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. It is a time for women across America to highlight the importance of prevention and to celebrate the millions of breast cancer survivors across our nation. This year, it is also a time to recognize the looming danger of government-run health care and what it could mean for America’s women. If Democrats in Congress pass a bill that allows Washington to take over health care, future generations of American women may be at risk.
Shadegg then goes on to say that he “offered an amendment that would have ensured that US (breast cancer) survival rates remain high and women had the option of choosing (another health care plan). But Democrats shot it down.”
This tells us more about Shadegg’s amendment, which would have…
… require(d) the Government Accountability Office to perform an annual study of breast cancer survival rates. Based on the study’s findings, if five-year survival rates for breast cancer decreased by more than .1 percent, women and families with at least one female member would be allowed to purchase health insurance that does not meet the requirements set forth in the bill, 22-36.
So basically, the amendment would not have “ensured” anything, except portability of insurance if the GAO allowed it.
And as far as Shadegg’s record on women’s health issues is concerned, the following should be noted from here…
• (He) twice co-sponsored legislation to override the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone (RU 486), a safe and effective early abortion medication. [H.R.3453, 108th Cong. (2003); H.R.1079, 109th Cong. (2005)]
• Twice co-sponsored legislation crafted establishing “personhood” at the moment of fertilization. [H.R.552, 109th Cong. (2005); H.R.618, 110th Cong. (2007)]
• Co-sponsored legislation forcing women to undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound procedure before receiving abortion care. [H.R.5032, 110th Cong. (2008)]
• Voted to de-fund Title X, the nation’s only federal program dedicated exclusively to family planning and reproductive-health services. [House vote #614 (8/2/95)]
• Voted five times to deny federal employees the right to choose a health plan that covers abortion care. [House vote #526 (7/19/95); House vote #320 (7/17/96); House vote #288 (7/16/98); House vote #301 (7/15/99); House vote #422 (7/20/00)]
• Voted against contraceptive equity for federal employees – a provision of law that ensures health plans cover birth control equally with other prescription medications. [House vote #493 (10/7/98)]
• Voted twice to eliminate funding completely for all international family-planning programs. [House vote #358 (9/4/97); House vote #360 (8/3/99)]
And to get an idea of how this has worked for Shadegg’s constituents, this tells us that teen birth rates have risen sharply in his state. Also, this Think Progress post tells us more about Shadegg’s flair for demagoguery; he claimed that the congressional Democrats are trying to give us “full on Russian gulag, Soviet style health care.”
Actually, given Shadegg’s contempt for basic women’s health care, a gulag might one day be more preferable as a location to obtain services than his own state if it continues on its present, ruinous path.
Update 11/7/09: Wow, I’d never consider bringing the young one to my job, and he’s way older than this baby Shadegg uses as a prop here (words fail me).
So let me get this straight – Fix Noise talking head Gregg Jarrett allows all kinds of cross talk with serial propagandist Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee (basically putting out there a “tenther” argument), but when Rob Andrews makes a remark about trying to get a moment of “fair(ness) and balance,” Jarrett the utter tool goes off on him (h/t HuffPo).
While many of us are rightly gratified by the news that Troy Davis has been granted a new trial, I think it is important to consider how long a shot his appeal to the Supreme Court truly was (as the New York Times tells us in an editorial here today, Davis was convicted of the 1989 murder of an off-duty Savannah police officer and had resided on Georgia’s death row ever since; many witnesses have since recanted their testimony, according to Amnesty International).
The Times’ editorial also points out the frightening extent to which Antonin “Red Queen” Scalia and Clarence Thomas felt “considerable doubt” that Davis’ claim was “constitutionally cognizable” (and by the way, kudos to Prof. Alan Dershowitz for claiming here that Scalia’s remarks are an “outrage against his church,” which would be the Roman Catholic one, by the way…not sure exactly what it says about those in the hierarchy of my faith that that needs to be pointed out a Jew, and I use that term towards Dershowitz with all due respect).
As the Times tells us, the supposed legal rationale for Scalia and Thomas’ dissent in the Davis case was the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, which the two claimed “prevent(ed) the courts from intervening on behalf of a death row inmate who claims to have proof of his own innocence” (fortunately, Justice John Paul Stevens explained in a separate opinion that Scalia and Thomas were wrong).
And Elaine Cassel of Counterpunch tells us here that…
The Antiterrorism Act of 1996 was a response to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. (Authors David) Cole and (James X.) Dempsey describe the Act as a massive assault on First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, and petition, and a deeper entrenchment of the “guilt by association” tradition active in the FBI.
As noted above, the Act removed barriers to FBI investigation of activities protected under the First Amendment. It also removed some restrictions on the famous FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Court–where federal judges sit in secret to consider, and mostly approve, Justice Department requests for widespread surveillance of “terrorists,” including pen registers and “trap-and-trace” surveillance, methods that can capture income and outgoing telephone calls. The law also opened the door for the Immigration and Naturalization Service to deport mostly Muslim citizens. The deportations were based on largely secret evidence, and no overt acts needed to be alleged.
And this tells us that the 1996 Act “was introduced as part of Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America, passed with broad bipartisan support by Congress.”
More fool them, including President Clinton for signing it into law.
Finally, bmaz of firedoglake makes the following points here about the Supreme Court verdict that granted Davis a new trial…
Scalia is right, this particular form of relief is exceedingly rare (that is the only thing he is right about here). What is even more shocking is that it got done in this case, with this court, at this time. While Davis’ family and attorneys maintained their optimism relief would be granted, scant few other folks experienced in these things did including, quite frankly, me. Sonia Sotomayor did not participate, so the majority had to find five votes somewhere, and this is a real head scratcher. The majority opinion was unsigned, but an attached concurring opinion was noted as “Justice Stevens, with whom Justice Ginsburg and Justice Breyer join, concurring”. Thomas, predictably, tagged along with Nino on the dissent. That would appear to mean the majority found two more votes for Davis among Kennedy, Alito and Roberts. Now that is shocking.
At the very least, I hope this prods Congress into reviewing the ’96 Act reinstituting the legal protections that were foolishly gutted in the panicked wake of the ‘90s terrorist attacks (all of this occurred before 9/11, of course).
However, since this Congress is primarily the bunch that gutted FISA last year, I’m definitely not holding out much hope.