Friday, July 30, 2010

On The Internets 07.30.2010

Kind of sums up my current feelings on the futility of the war in Afghanistan. From today's NY Times, "A corrupt judiciary and the lack of government services have made it easy for the Taliban to gain a foothold in rural areas. At least the Taliban judicial system is swift and free of bribes, said Nuria Hamidi, a provincial council member. 'They are solving issues quicker than the government, and people in the bazaar say, ‘I had this problem or that problem and the Taliban solved it,’ she said"
  • Is there a new kickback scandal involving Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)? The prominent Republican is being accused of steering federal money to his former aides in exchange for campaign contributions. "Since 2008, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby has steered more than $250 million in earmarks to beneficiaries whose lobbyists used to work in his Senate office — including millions for Alabama universities represented by a former top staffer. In a mix of revolving-door and campaign finance politics, the same organizations that have enjoyed Shelby’s earmarks have seen their lobbyists and employees contribute nearly $1 million to Shelby’s campaign and political action committee since 1999, according to federal records."
  • It doesn't matter what the facts actually are, because the right-wing spin (translation: lie) machine operates 24 hours a day. Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), who toyed with the idea of his state seceding from the United States, was on Bill Bennett's radio show touting his non-existent accomplishments in health care. Bennett teed up the lie by saying, "You’ve got the best health care in the country, now I think, don’t you? Because of your tort law?" Perry, naturally, agreed. "Yes, we do," he said. Except Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country - 26%. The national average is 15.4%. There are more uninsured Texans than there are people in 33 states! And, the insurance costs in Texas are among the highest in the country. Guess that tort reform didn't magically reduce costs.
  • Once again, the callousness of the Republican Party comes shining through. House Republicans voted down a bill that would give free healthcare to 9/11 first responders. These folks who risked their lives to help people are victims of 9/11 as well. But House Republicans just gave them the finger (just like they give to every American who is not a wealthy CEO). Pathetic.
  • Steve Forbes, who tried running for President as a Republican a number of times yet failed to get the nomination, has penned a new column at Politico. In it, he offers a shining example of the duplicitous nature of the right wing attacks on President Obama. The right has been howling for the last 18 months about socialism and how the President is "nationalizing" industries. Naturally, it is a bogus allegation. But to someone like Forbes, it is the truth. One of the industries supposedly taken over by Chairman Obama is the US auto industry. It has been a conservative talking point for over a year. Now that the auto industry is finally turning around, paying back the money it was given by the government, and showing a profit, Forbes sweeps in and says Obama deserves none of the credit. "Realistically though, the president cannot take credit for GM’s post-bailout success. GM’s management is using solid, conservative, free-market management principles to get the company back to long-term profitability." Huh. So, the commies in the Obama administration "took over" GM, installed new leadership, and yet its success is due to "conservative, free market management principles?" Which is it? Was GM "nationalized" or did it utilize the free market principles Forbes likes so much. Make up your minds, guys!
  • I have to say that I am extremely disappointed in the Anti-Defamation League. The respected civil rights organization, founded in 1913, whose stated purpose is to "fight anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defend democratic ideals and protect civil rights for all" has come down on the side of bigotry by publicly coming out against the Islamic Community Center called the Cordoba House being built in New York City (critics refer to the center as the "Ground Zero Mosque"). In its statement, the ADL says it supports freedom of religion, except in this case, "We categorically reject appeals to bigotry on the basis of religion, and condemn those whose opposition to this proposed Islamic Center is a manifestation of such bigotry. However, there are understandably strong passions and keen sensitivities surrounding the World Trade Center site...Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right." First of all, for the five thousandth time...the center is not at the World Trade Center! It's a full two city blocks away. Second, it actually is about rights. It's about the First Amendment and some peoples' curious understanding of the concept of freedom of religion. Of all organizations, I would have thought the ADL would have grasped this.

  • The lovely and talented St. Vincent is back out on the road and has just announced that she will be performing this Sunday (August 1) at Central Park's Summerstage. The show begins at 3 pm at Rumsey Field. More information can be found here. Also, I just found this video of her performing on the street in Chicago. She plays an acoustic version of "Actor Out of Work."
  • St Vincent performs for WBEZ Music at Pitchfork Music Festival 2010 from WBEZ on Vimeo.

  • As a cat lover, this saddens me greatly. The Humane Society in Omaha is running out of room for cats. They have too many, and may have to begin to euthanize the cats that have been there the longest to make room. So, the Humane Society is waiving the cost of obtaining a cat for the next few days. The cats will be spayed/neutered and microchipped. The only cost is a $13 license fee. So far, no cats have been killed this year, and they don't want to start now. I went last night, and am picking my new cat after I get done with work!
  • Slayer has just announced it is releasing three different live DVDs! "Live Intrustion" was recorded on March 12, 1995 at the Mesa Amphitheater in Mesa, AZ, "War at the Warfield" was filmed at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco, CA on December 7, 2001, and "Still Reigning" was filmed at the Civic Center in Augusta, ME on July 11, 2004 and recreates Slayer's thrash/punk, 28-minute classic 1986 album "Reign In Blood." NICE!
  • This is so awesome. Check out this photo array of some of the best bar bands of the 1970s. What a hilarious decade (from a fashion perspective).


T. Paine said...

If Shelby is guilty, he should be prosecuted and removed from office. (Just like what SHOULD have been done to the criminal Charlie Rangel.)

Just a guess, but I bet Alan Grayson is the guy you don't think belongs on that list of the Top 10. For the record, I agree with over half of them.

I understand your thoughts on the Cordoba House and am inclined to agree with you on this issue. Had it been built right at ground zero, however, my opinion would be different.

Dave Splash said...

I want Rangel out, too. If he's guilty (and it looks like he is) he should be forced to leave Congress. But the media is fixated on Rangel and largely ignoring other ethics scandals with John Ensign and now with Shelby.

Grayson was the guy, but only because he's only served one term. Not enough to really warrant being on the list since almost no one even knows who he is.

T. Paine said...

I applaud your consistency with Rangel, Dave. For the record, I agree with you on Ensign too.