From The Colbert Report April 1, 2009.
The Fine Line is a new index that is just as meaningless as the Dow Jones, but it always goes up.
From The Colbert Report April 1, 2009.
The Fine Line is a new index that is just as meaningless as the Dow Jones, but it always goes up.
I'm sure by now most people have heard the story about the man who got a DUI while driving home on a motorized barstool. Rachel sat down with the owner of the company that made the racer, Vonn Watson. This one was just too much fun not to share for anyone that hadn't already watched it.
As John noted, Ed Schultz is going to get his own show at MSNBC called The Ed Show beginning this Monday, April 6th. Keith asked Ed what he had in mind for the show and Ed said he'd like to focus on working people and every day Americans and their concerns.
John McCain has a budget proposal of his own. He admits that he doesn't have the votes for it, but that's not going to stop him from proposing it. I wonder what the Republican members of the Budget Committee think of this? And as John said, "didn't McCain lose the election?".
David Shuster's Hypocrisy Watch for April 1, 2009.
Neocons never die. They just keep giving themselves new names. After claiming "mission accomplished" in Iraq, it seems the PNAC crowd has done just that with their latest attempt at re-branding, The Foreign Policy Initiative. Rachel Maddow brings in Matt Duss from Think Progress to fill us in on their recent make-over. You can read more about this group in Matt's post over at the Wonk Room: Foreign Policy Initiative: Housebroken Neocons? From the article:
Attending the Foreign Policy Initiative’s inaugural conference on Afghanistan today at the Mayflower Hotel, I was struck by how very little that was said was controversial. And that’s really the point — in the wake of Iraq debacle, for which the neocons are widely and rightly held responsible, it simply won’t do to bang the drum for American military maximalism. One has to be a bit slicker than that. And these guys are nothing if not slick.
As their website makes clear, FPI intends to re-brand and mainstream-ize neoconservatism as a “reasonable” and “moderate” — and of course “serious” — alternative to the rising tide of isolationist sentiment in American politics (the fact that no such tide of isolationist sentiment is rising in American politics is entirely beside the point.) This strategy was evidenced in the morning’s first panel, as Robert Kagan praised President Obama’s “gutsy and correct decision” on Afghanistan, but warned that “the United States is at a tipping point between desire to maintain extensive engagement in the world, as it has done since World War II, and the temptation to pull back…[Obama] has decided to maintain the commitment.”
Transcript below the fold.
From Countdown March 31, 2009.
That‘s next, but first time for COUNTDOWN‘s number two story, tonight‘s worst persons in the world.
The bronze is shared by two men who we will identify in a moment. They believe to stop drug use here, we need to adopt a system used in Singapore. Public man number one says, “now, they have no drug problem in Singapore at all, because, number one, they hang drug dealers. They execute them.”
Number two, “the market is very thin because when they catch you using, you go away with mandatory rehab. The United States does not have the stomach for that.” So public man number two says, “I think it‘s time we get the stomach for that. I would dramatically expand testing. I would try to use rehabilitation. I would make it mandatory. I think we have every right as a country to demand of our citizens that they quit doing illegal things which are funding, both Afghanistan and in Mexico and Colombia, people who are destroying civilization.”
Who are these dangerous men, proposing these socialistic, invasive, totalitarian measures that are used in some other country called Singapore? Who wants to hang drug dealers and mandate drug tests and have federal drug rehab centers? Maybe Barack Obama and Michael Moore? No, Bill O‘Reilly and Newt Gingrich. Bill apparently went to Singapore on one of his tours of the east, if you know what I mean. And that Singapore, which has had one-party rule since 1959, has censorship and doesn‘t have jury trials.
Our runner-up, a two-fer for Bill-O. On his own, no Newt requited. Not happy that a Spanish magistrate is investigating possible indictments on war crimes of six ex-Bush administration officials, led his show with an announcement, right from the files of William Randolph Hearst from 1898, “Spain, insulting the USA.” Well, he knows how to fix that. “So here‘s the deal, Spain. If this”—“so here‘s the deal, Spain: if this action goes forward, you‘ll be insulting American, implying we are the problem in the terror war. Unless this action is condemned by Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero, then I am not going to that country.”
That will show them! The prime minister should issue a one-word statement, gracias. Say, Bill, if we begin an investigation of these six Bushes in the U.S., will you promise not to go here either? As promised, there‘s a Bill-O two-fer. He also reiterated his delusion about the It Happened to Alexa Foundation, where Bill-O was thoroughly criticized for having the gal to address a fund raiser for rape victims, after twice publicly blaming rape victims, then sending a producer to stalk a woman who wrote a blog post about his hypocrisy.
UPS promptly dropped out as an advertiser in protest of Bill-O‘s victimization of Amanda Terkel of ThinkProgress.org. That‘s not how he sees it, of course. “Far left zealots have attacked a rape victim and her family because they asked me to speak at their fund raiser. Democratic operative John Podesta and NBC boss Jeff Zucker allowed underlings to trash the It Happened to Alexa Foundation, causing Alexa Branchini and her family great distress. Well, now we have some good news. A charity has donated 20,000 dollars to help Alexa‘s cause. And Raptor Technologies, which makes computer software, has donated 15,000.
By the way, Mr. Podesta and Mr. Zucker have donated nothing. One other footnote, disappointingly, the UPS Corporation helped Podesta and Zucker in their evil deed. Czech is quite surprised. UPS needs to wise up fast.”
You saw what I did to Spain, UPS. By the way, Jeff Zucker did not make a donation to the It Happened to Alexa Foundation because I did of 25,000. Let‘s see if Bill really cares about the foundation enough to mention that on the air?
But our winner, Congressman John Shimkus, Republican of Illinois, with two fascinating and utterly contradictory statements. A, Congressman Shimkus on why there isn‘t global warming. “Today we have about 388 parts per million of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. I think in the age of the dinosaurs, when we had most flora and fauna, we were probably at 4,000 parts per million. There‘s a theological debate that this is a carbon-starved planet, not too much carbon.”
Number one, Carbon and Carbon Dioxide are not the same thing. Number two, the only theological debate over how much carbon the plan needs would be taking place in the church of the Labrea Tar Pits. Number three, didn‘t the freaking dinosaurs go extinct? Or do they just have a bad public relations person?
But I‘m digressing. B, Congressman Shimkus on why it doesn‘t matter anyway. “The Earth will end only when God declares it‘s time to be over. A man will not destroy this Earth. This Earth will not be destroyed by a flood. I appreciate having panelists here who are men of faith, and we can get into the theological discourse of that position. But I do believe that God‘s word is infallible, unchanging, perfect.”
So a man pressing a button to start a nuclear war, that would be God‘s infallible word? Why do we bother trying to govern? Can‘t he do something about the budget deficit? By the way, as you hit me over the head with your Bible, Congressman, there ain‘t a word in it about those dinosaurs you mentioned earlier.
Congressman John Shimkus of Illinois, today‘s worst person in the world! Dinosaurs.
Rachel Maddow and Matt Taibbi on the Obama administration's lastest nominee for the number two spot at Treasury, Neal Wolin.
MADDOW: Irony alert, jobs at President Obama‘s Treasury Department have been hard to fill. In the worst job market in at least 27 years, some jobs, like the job of cooling the economic meltdown, apparently have not been seen as worth taking.
Nine days ago, the president told “60 Minutes” that essentially, he couldn‘t give top treasury jobs away. People kept backing out because of expected scrutiny or embarrassment or low pay or all of the above.
But tonight, good news-bad news developments here. First the good. In the last week or so, the president has announced six new picks for top treasury jobs. Now choices for 10 of the top 23 treasury jobs have been announced, nominated or confirmed, which I think means they‘re running ahead of the Republican National Committee on that.
The bad news? One of the newly announced job candidates, the guy tapped to be the deputy secretary of the treasury, the second in command to Tim Geithner - he has a worrisome line on his very distinguished resume.
While serving as general counsel in the Clinton Treasury Department, Neal Wolin reportedly played a role in the drafting of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1989. Gramm-Leach-Bliley overturned Depression-Era regulations and wisdom and made it OK for commercial banks and investment banks and insurance companies to all be the same thing, to merge with one another.
After decades of that being against the rules, Gramm-Leech-Bliley let giganto-mega companies form in the financial sector, companies that were essentially too complex to police well and also too big to fail.
Gramm plus Leech plus Bliley in 1999 equals trillion-dollar bailout 10 years later. Reporter Greg Sargent at “The Plum Line” reports that Stuart Eisenstadt, a deputy treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, confirmed that as treasury‘s general counsel at the time, Neal Wolin, quote, provided the technical and legal drafting for the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
And now, with the seminal act of today‘s global crisis on his resume, Neal Wolin is on track to be the deputy secretary of the treasury. A Treasury Department spokesman did not refute the report about Mr. Wolin today but told us that “Plum Line” took the quote about him from Stuart Eisenstadt out of context.
The treasury secretary today told us, quote, “Mr. Wolin supervised a few of the lawyers who worked on it but he didn‘t do any of the legal writing or drafting of the legislation.”
So Mr. Wolin supervised the writing of this deregulation that effectively mugged the country but he didn‘t personally write it. He supervised the writing. He didn‘t write it. That‘s going to be the only defense here?
h/t The Political Carnival and The Plum Line
Joe the Plumber gets called out for being the clueless shill he is. He hasn't read the bill and can't answer questions about it, but he's more than happy to take someone's money to go out there and campaign against it. There's the face of the Republican Party, folks. Doesn't have a friggin' clue and willing to say anything for money.
From The Plum Line, whose title I stole for this post and could not have stated any better:
Oof. Looks like Joe the Plumber’s campaigning against the Employee Free Choice Act in Pennsylvania didn’t go so well.
Mr. Plumber, whose appearances were organized by the anti-EFCA group Americans for Prosperity, admitted he knew “little” about the legislation after being confronted with questions at one of the events yesterday in Harrisburg by a Pennsylvania progressive group. He was also heckled by dozens of Pennsylvania union workers, according to a local report.
And after his rough time in Harrisburg, he skipped a subsequent rally in Philadelphia, according to union officials who were there.
Here’s some video of the grilling Mr. Plumber took from the group, Keystone Progress, which prompted the irritated plumber to respond: “I know a little about a lot of things. But I don’t know a lot about everything.”
Pressed on the specifics of the law, Mr. Plumber repeatedly refused to answer, and finally lost his cool, telling his questioner: “Drop it, brother, drop it. I never said I was an expert, man.”
Not an expert indeed.
GROSS: Are you saying that you think Vice President Cheney is still having a chilling effect on people who might otherwise be coming forward and revealing things to you about what happened in the Bush administration?
HERSH: I’ll make it worse. I think he’s put people left. He’s put people back. They call it a stay behind. It’s sort of an intelligence term of art. When you leave a country and, you know, you’ve driven out the, you know, you’ve lost the war. You leave people behind. It’s a stay behind that you can continue to contacts with, to do sabotage, whatever you want to do. Cheney’s left a stay behind. He’s got people in a lot of agencies that still tell him what’s going on. Particularly in defense, obviously. Also in the NSA, there’s still people that talk to him. He still knows what’s going on. Can he still control policy up to a point? Probably up to a point, a minor point. But he’s still there. He’s still a presence. And again, because of the problems this administration’s having filling jobs, a lot of people who served in the Bush Cheney government, particularly even in the White House people on most sophisticated staffs are still there. You simply can’t get rid of everybody, you may not even want to. Some are professional people. But Cheney is, I would never call it admiration, but, you know, formidable, yeah, this guy. This guy is the real McCoy.
They also discuss Hersh's recent article in the New Yorker, Syria Calling: The Obama Administration’s chance to engage in a Middle East peace.