Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Link Dump

The boys at Jalopnik put up their post-mortem: 7 Cars That Killed Pontiac

Should-be NY Times columnist Daniel Larison just destroys the Dick Cheney Fan Club...

Using David Frum as his shovel, James Wolcott buries the GOP.

[via Wolcott] The best analysis of what ails the Republican Party I've seen—The Mahablog:
Most political parties exist to represent some part of public opinion. But today’s GOP drives away any part of the public that doesn’t represent its opinion.

In many ways, IMO, the Republican Party is acting like an apocalyptic cult — a small number of true believers waiting for some Big Cataclysmic Event that’s going to change everything, to their advantage. For that reason, present reality doesn’t interest them, because present reality is just a temporary aberration (which it may be, but not in the way they think). Thus, movement conservatives brush off opinion polls that show their positions to be wildly unpopular. They don’t need to worry about election losses, shrinking party membership, an aging political base, or senior senators who jump ship. They don’t need to change with the times. They’ll be vindicated when the Mother Ship arrives. You’ll see.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Next Unemployment Statistic...

Needs to be the goddamn idiot who thought a photo-op of a jetliner escorted by fighter jets flying into New York Harbor was a good fucking idea. Can him and every asshat up the chain that stamped it for approval.

It was apparently the Defense Department using a decoy-version of Air Force One and two F-16s so they could film it over the Statue of Liberty or something. The DoD did notify the FAA and NYC authorities, yet seemingly NO ONE thought to raise their hand and fucking scream "BAD IDEA, PEOPLE!"

Get In Line

So, does the Swine Flu have to wait for SARS and the Asian Bird Flu is done with me before it moves in to kill me and everyone I know and love?

File Under Y2K and all the other Pandemic Pandemonium...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Quote of the Day

Who said this?
"The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention . It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.

The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called 'universal jurisdiction.' Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution."

Conservative hero, Republican demi-god and greatest and Most-protective President Ever spineless pussy, America-hater, enemy enabler, U.N. bootlick and closet Muslim, Ronald Reagan, from his signing statement ratifying the UN Convention on Torture from 1984.

[via Sullivan]

Mr Furious Heartily Recommends...

PINEAPPLE EXPRESS Freaking hilarious. I was worried this would be to much insider pot humor for a guy who did less inhaling than Bill Clinton, but this quickly develops into a buddy / action flick that hits all the right notes. Rogan and Franco are great—Franco as Sol the pot-dealer is the best stoner since Brad Pitt as Floyd—and the supporting cast is strong as well. Even Ed Begley, Jr., and I HATE Ed Begley, Jr.

A KNIGHT'S TALE Another flick I was nervous to pull the trigger on. Picking dud movies is a capital offense in our house since our opportunities are few and far between. It was on cable recently, so I TiVo'd it. It's a bit off-beat, what with the contemporary music and dialogue, but a thoroughly engrossing and entertaining flick.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bombs Away

Shep Smith has seemingly strayed from the dark side of late, and here he lets loose on two FOX News clowns "debating" torture.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Policy Shift or Strategy?

Either way, it's good news. Tapper:
President Holds Open Door For Prosecutions
President Obama suggested today that it remained a possibility that the Justice Department might bring charges against officials of the Bush administration who devised harsh interrogation policies that some see as torture.

He also suggested that if there is any sort of investigation into these past policies and practices, he would be more inclined to support an independent commission outside the typical congressional hearing process.

[...] in clear change from language he and members of his administration have used in the past, the president said that "with respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General within the parameters of various laws and I don't want to prejudge that."

This is very good news. It also lends some credence to the theory that Obama was playing chess by releasing the memos only after a court ordered response to FOIA request "forced him" to, using that to gin up public outrage, and THEN assign any investigations / inquiries / truth commissions to other, more neutral parties...

For that to happen, pressure must still be applied constantly to Obama, Holder and also to Congress.

[via Benen]

Monday, April 20, 2009

If This is "Looking Forward," Then I Don't Like What I See

The initial statements by Obama regarding the reluctance or refusal to prosecute those parties involved in the Bush Torture Regime seemed to refer specifically only to the CIA officers who, one could argue, were told what they were doing was both necessary and legal. As Hilzoy says...
I'm uneasy about prosecuting people who rely on the OLC, which they ought to be able to rely on. (I think that relying on legal interpretations offered by the people charged with interpreting the law for the executive branch is very different from "just following orders.")

I don't agree with that completely, and think that's far too lenient. I think those officers should be removed from their posts and forced to testify against those who devised this illegal system. They might not go to jail, but they don't get to walk away clean and they will serve some function.

Further consideration, in no small part to Smitty's comment, leads me to make a sort of Faustian bargain to sacrifice the smaller fry for the bigger fish: If fully exposing this whole affair and nailing Bybee, Yoo, Addington, Bradbury—and, yes, Bush and Cheney—means granting immunity down the chain, I can live with that.

What I cannot accept is this [from today's White House press briefing]:
Q: So I understand, you're saying that people in the CIA who followed through in what they were told was legal, they should not be prosecuted. But why not the Bush administration lawyers who, in the eyes of a lot of your supporters on the left, twisted the law -- why are they not being held accountable?

MR. GIBBS: The President is focused on looking forward, that's why.

Fuck that. That is effectively stamping "APPROVED" on what has happened. It is setting precedent, and it is making clear that people in power are above the law. That cannot stand.

I'll let the better writer take it from here...
You know what? I'm focused on looking forward too. And as I gaze into my crystal ball, I see a world in which members of the executive branch take it for granted that they can do whatever they want with impunity. Why not break the law? Why not eavesdrop on Americans? Why not torture people? Why not detain citizens indefinitely without charges? Heck, why not impose martial law and make yourself dictator for life? There is nothing to stop the people who make these decisions. They have nothing to fear. Because once they've made them, their actions are back there, in the past that no one ever wants to look at.

[...] I do not want a world in which members of my government can break the law with impunity. I do not want a world in which some people are above the law. In a perfect world, we would not need to prosecute people to achieve these results. But the past eight years have shown us that we don't live in that world."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What He Said...

Just back from our road trip, and I've yet to catch up on everything that happened while I was away, but I was aware of the impending release (or not) of more Bush "torture memos." As I said the other day, I am believe the memos should be released with the minimum (if any) redaction.

Obama released them in full—withholding only CIA agent's identities—that is to be commended. But, what the memos reveal—still not having had a chance to read them myself—is so abhorrent that their release accompanied by a statement that nothing will be done about it is almost worse than covering the whole thing up...

UPDATE: Dahlia has more.

UPDATE 2: A good, but flawed, piece by Andrew Sullivan. He is too soft on the operatives that performed and oversaw these activities while directing his ire at the Bush higher-ups, and of course he stupidly asserts "everyone" got sucked down the 9/11 wormhole, but his point at the end about an Obama long-term strategy here is worth considering. Yes, it might be grasping, but it does seem logical that the release of these documents is designed specifically to generate the heat to force an investigation. Let's hope.

UPDATE 3: Kevin Drum makes his case for supporting Obama's non-prosecution stance. He makes some good points, but they only go so far: 1. This has always been a top-down concern for me—throwing a couple low-level agents under the bus a la Lynndie England is not what I'm after—it's Yoo, Bybee, Addington and Cheney, etc. I want against a wall. 2. "Following orders" is a fucking cop-out. Nobody involved in this sordid affair was in any doubt about it's legality—these memos are pure after-the-fact CYA documents. Agents need to be fired, supervising "doctors" stripped of medical licenses, lawyers disbarred—all of that at a minimum.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Link Dump

Harry Reid is a worthless sack of shit. The latest proof.
[h/t Angelos]

Matt Taibbi on the transformation of Glenn Beck from lesser-known, crazy right-wing asshole to...a-list, certifiable, apeshit-crazy, paranoid, crybaby nutjob in a frying pan and on steroids..

I find myself falling neatly between Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald on the release of the torture memos. Yes, you can, Mr. President.

Daniel Larison pours Krauthammer and others on the right, a big ol' cup.

von, the conservative over at Obsidian Wings, tries to counter Ezra Klein's point about the tax burden of the wealthiest Americans...and fails miserably. The comments are awesome.

Uphill Battle

Joe Klein is doing yeoman's work of late making up for the rest of the supposedly "liberal"'s atoday's:
World's Stupidest Argument
Bush flunkies trying to argue that Obama is more polarizing than Bush was. Given the fact that Obama had to take dramatic action, at home and abroad, to start lifting the country from the mess Bush made almost everywhere--and also begin to turn the country away from the myopia and greed of the Reagan era--it's amazing that he hasn't raised more dust or teabags. And, I should add the fact that the alleged polarization mostly results from the fact that Obama gets extremely low ratings from self-identified Republicans, who constitute an extremist shard of a party at this point, is a badge of honor.

In the long run, it's a safe historical bet that Bush will prove more polarizing than Obama because he was such an abject failure in the job--I doubt we'll ever see Obama submerge to approval ratings in the mid-20s, or launch wars peremptorily without cause or purpose. The constant sniping from Rove, Wehner and the others during Obama's first 100 days is a deeply neurotic reaction to the enormity of their own cockups in office. It shows a profound lack of class or grace, but then, that's no surprise with these guys, is it? They ran the country like thugs, and thugs they remain.

Klein has to bust his ass to counter asshats like Halperin...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter's Over—Watch Your Back!

It's the day after Easter, and you know what that means...

Best. YouTube. Ever.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


The Family Furious is headin' out, road trip-style. Mrs F is supposed to go wedding gown shopping with her best friend in NYC, so we decided to make a pseudo-vacation out of it. A couple stops along the way, a couple days in and around New York and then back again. One wants to think that North Carolina is closer to NYC than Michigan, but it's actually almost exactly the same distance—actually slightly further...

Denizens of Gotham, beware. I'll be on the streets with two little girls, lookin' to rumble.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Bring It On Home

Opening Day was yesterday (stupid ESPN Sunday Night game doesn't count), but I was on deadline and the Sox were ppd, so I let it go by without swinging. Boston got things rolling Tuesday and Josh Beckett looks like his dominant self. I look forward to the first match-up against Cream Cheese Sabathia.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Opposite of Curb Appeal

John at Sweet Juniper has another fantastic photographic piece on Detroit. He grabbed his camera and stitched together a panorama of "a street here where 60 out of 66 homes were vacant or abandoned on a single block."

Check it out.
[NOTE: click the picture to view the whole thing—
takes a minute or two to load]

What a waste. Half of those houses were once homes I'd've dreamed of—tons of 20s bungalows... I heard/read that people are going back into some areas in Detroit and "re-settling"—groups of friends and families getting together to buy up a whole block for pennies on the dollar and creating their own neighborhoods. If I lose my job in Asheville, that might be our best option! Who else wants in?

UPDATE: Found a link at BoingBoing: Artists buying cheap houses in Detroit

UPDATE 2: I remember now—Mrs F heard this NPR/Michigan Radio story. Sounds like it's a bit more in the gestational stage than I might have implied...

Monday, April 06, 2009

“Who Are The Ad Wizards Who Came Up With THAT One?”

So Mrs F has been telling me all about how great the new little sliders* at Burger King are—"They're fantastic! I'm gonna look 'em up right now."

[Reaches for laptop, types "Burger Shot" into Google.]

"What?" I ask in response to her astonished expression.

"'Urban Dictionary' says a burger shot is..."

Hysterical laughter ensues. Neither of us has ever heard of that phrase before, but still cannot believe that's what Burger King went with.

*I hate that term—it's totally unappetizing to me—whether it's White Castle or Bobby Flay using it.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Fascinating... has a column by Rush Limbaugh's cousin. It's pretty good...
Even though our ideologies do not align, I have always admired Rush for his humor and savvy. I would like to believe that he has created a semi-tongue-in-cheek persona for entertainment's sake, a self-aware self-parody, the original Stephen Colbert. While his haters have always been too busy running in angry frenetic circles to notice the irony, Rush Limbaugh, the caricature, has had the time of his life; and there's something to admire in he who gets the last laugh.

Rush once told me, "The only way to make millions is for half the nation to hate you." He told me this at his mom's funeral when I was 13, and I think the reason he was talking business was because he was trying not to look so sad.

[...] Yet lately, I must admit, being a Limbaugh has been a little tough. When listening to Jon Stewart or just about everyone lay into the latest outrageous thing Cousin Rusty has said, it just doesn't seem like he's in on the act, and that makes it hard for me to separate my cousin from his persona. Maybe it's just me -- afraid of facing my student loans in our crumbling economy, or maybe I have officially become one of the "crazy liberals" my uncles always warn me of, but it seems that Rush is no longer just playing the political game he plays so well. Rather, he has been attacking hope, and now it feels like there's little room for that.

Personally? I'd change my name...
[h/t Sullivan]