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Showing posts from May, 2009

Washing my feet; or, once again Delawaredem intentionally misses the point

In the wake of the slaying of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita KS , Delawaredem takes this opportunity to write: I have just ordered a gallon of water for Steve Newton to use to wash down his foot. See, we were right. There are right wing extremists who are so pro-life that they will kill to make their point. They are terrorists and deserve to be treated as such. I first have to admit that I didn't get to wash down his foot , unless DD is suggesting either (a) some bizarre Catholic rite of contrition I've never experienced; or that (b) he wants me to be more hygenic before I put it in my mouth. Here's a simple response, that should not be difficult for him to comprehend: kiss my ass [and I'm not washing it first]. This is a wonderfully cynical example of Delawaredem's faux outrage, designed to score political debating points and (as always) to stifle political discourse that makes him uncomfortable. The game that DD and company love to play is this: conflate

Mike Matthews Rocks

He consistently manages to crack me up and get me all outraged in the same fell swoop... Today Mike takes up the cause against the gut-churning insidery self-dealing of a certain former Democrat House speaker, whose Democrat state representative daughter sits on the Democrat-controlled committee in the Democrat-controlled legislature of Democrat-run Delaware that ensures his ridiculously exorbitant salary. I hope Mike never decides to just give in to the dark side and orlandogeorge his way through life... ...or should I say orlando gorge..... ? ADDENDUM : I love harmony in the Delaware blogosphere, when we can put our juvenile tiffs aside and agree where stinky shit stinks, no matter what side of the aisle it happened to plop in : Burris keeps it short and sweet. Cassandra offers constructive thoughts, with a subtext of similar outrage.

A three-legged Libertarian stool?

So yesterday I blogged about Bruce Bartlett's strange description of Libertarians , which is still strange and inaccurate, but did get me started thinking.... Libertarians miss the point of American politics, I think, because we often focus way too much on way too many things, and because we're absolutists in our thinking. I'll use Miko's comment to illustrate my point [which is not to lampoon it at all; Miko is one of the most rational libertarians who comments here]: This is a bit like complaining that a prison-reform group wants to free all falsely convicted inmates instead of taking seriously the idea of providing them with better meals. I can see pragmatists endorsing the gradualist strategy, but for those of us that believe war is murder, taxation is theft, and regulations are designed to keep a large under-class dependent on the corporate and statist elite for their survival, the goal has to be ending the corrupt system rather than redecorating it. Sure, we m

Is General Petraeus positioning himself for a post-Army political career?

Interesting question, but it is what came to mind when I read this : During an interview today with Fox News, CENTCOM commander General David Petraeus said the US government had been “rightly” criticized for violating the Geneva Convention in recent years. The general added that he thought going forward it was important for the US to live up to the agreements it made internationally. Petraeus defended the ban on “enhanced interrogation techniques,” saying it had taken away a tool used as a moral argument against the US on the international scene. He insisted that while “there might be an exception” he felt that the Army Field Manual was “generally sufficient” for interrogations. I am well aware that Petraeus had generally denied any political ambitions, but this kind of statement is one that you'll usually only see out of a general officer contemplating his positioning for a new career. He can simultaneously be tough on defense [obviously], while demonstrating that moral rec

Unbelievable Failure in Leadership

The bloated patronage government of Wilmington led by Mayor James M. Baker has managed to turn fear-mongering over public safety cuts into the real thing, while also raising every tax, fee, fine, and levy it could muster. Wilmington Budget Includes Layoffs May 29, 2009 Adam Taylor - News-Journal WILMINGTON -- City Council passed a $145 million operating budget Thursday night that includes layoffs of 17 police officers and eight firefighters . It also includes double-digit hikes in property taxes, water-sewer fees and a per-employee tax on all but the smallest businesses throughout the city. Fines for parking tickets and red-light camera fines will go up as well. Councilmen Steve Martelli, Justen Wright, Mike Brown and Trippi Congo voted against the budget. Martelli, a former city policeman, said he did so because he doesn't think the city worked hard enough to cut spending. "The city should have looked into that as hard as the state government did, but it didn't,&

The interesting upswing in the media and political importance of (some) Libertarians

As the GOP disintegrates into the Old Confederacy, Buffalo Commons & Lawn Jockey Party, Libertarians of all stripes come into play. The GOP needs them, after two decades of dissing them, to rebuild. The Dems want them, because if they can get them focused on social and foreign policy issues instead of economic issues, they can cement their (they'd like to believe) permanent political majority. Meanwhile, as usual, Libertarians waste more and more of their time conducting internal purges over miniscule differences that would have befuddled Stalin and Trotsky. Nobody, however, really wants Libertarians as Libertarians, any more than the Dems really want queers as queers or the GOPers really want real fiscal conservatives as real fiscal conservatives . So what they do, as Bruce Bartlett does today at Forbes , is use the term Libertarian as a crude caricature to make those who use it appear to be idiotic bumpkins who need handlers: On the surface, there would appear to be

Shorter General Casey: "We're getting the Pusan Perimeter ready to use again"

This will really help ratchet down tensions regarding a possible new Korean war (as well as get us prepared for that military draft Kilroy is worried about ): US Army Chief of Staff General George Casey today insisted that the army was “prepared” to fight a war against North Korea, in the event one broke out. Given the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Gen. Casey conceded that “it would probably take us a little bit longer to shift gears” into fighting a more conventional conflict with the massive North Korean army. You may recall that Casey is the fellow who promised us the other day that the Pentagon was planning on staying in both Afghanistan and Iraq for at least another ten years . What's happening here is that (a) we are reaping the whirlwind of nearly two decades without a real foreign policy for dealing with the world that was destabilized by the end of the Cold War; and (b) we are being prepared for a return to the permanent war state necessary to keep the Defen

Wonder if Jack Markell and the folks at Leg Hall are reading this...

... in which the Feds are threatening California with the loss of billions of dollars of stimulus money if the Governator and the General Assembly follow through with a pay cut for unionized home health care workers? From the LATimes : Reporting from Sacramento -- The Obama administration is threatening to rescind billions of dollars in federal stimulus money if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers do not restore wage cuts to unionized home healthcare workers approved in February as part of the budget. Schwarzenegger's office was advised this week by federal health officials that the wage reduction, which will save California $74 million, violates provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Failure to revoke the scheduled wage cut before it takes effect July 1 could cost California $6.8 billion in stimulus money, according to state officials. The news comes as state lawmakers are already facing a severe cash crisis, with the state at risk of running out

Delaware Attorney General's Office and the strange sound of silence in the DSU slaying case

I don't often blog about DSU, given my position there, but this isn't really a post about the university, or even about the tragic events that took the life of Shalita Middleton in fall 2007. It's about the absence of outrage. The charges against Loyer Braden have been dismissed, not just because the Attorney General's office apparently failed to share exculpatory evidence with the defense, but also because a key witness recanted testimony tying Braden to the homicide. Here's the key paragraph from the WNJ story today : Braden’s murder trial was dismissed last week by a Superior Court judge who said prosecutors withheld key evidence that could have compromised the former DSU student’s right to a fair trial. The evidence was a witness’ statement to Dover police identifying someone other than Braden as the shooter. What's missing in this picture? How about somebody in State government, State politics, or even the News Journal calling for a serious investiga

It's About Time : Medical Marijuana in Delaware

Senator Margaret Rose-Henry, Wilmington Democrat and advocate of a compassionate approach to drug abuse issues, has introduced legislation to legalize marijuana sale and use for medical reasons. Medical marijuana bill introduced News-Journal - Ginger Gibson Sen. Henry confident she has votes to pass measure this year Under Senate Bill 94 , residents would be allowed to have up to 6 ounces of marijuana, considered a month's supply, Henry said, and would be issued identification cards to prevent them from being prosecuted for having that amount or less. The state would also license centers to grow and sell marijuana to be sold for medicinal purposes. Nationwide, efforts like Henry's got a boost last week when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to California's medical marijuana law, allowing the law to stand and the sale of medical marijuana to continue. Henry said her proposal would not decriminalize marijuana or prevent people who sell or purchase it il

Sottomayor. Ricci v DeStefano, and the curious difficulty involved in parsing today's news

Obviously--and it could not have happened any other way--the ideological lines have been drawn with President Obama's nomination of of Federal Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sottomayor to the Supreme Court. First, let me point out personally that nothing in the nomination surprises me: Sottomayor had long been feted as a potential Obama nominee, and her views are in fact predictably Statist [“The Second Amendment applies only to limitations the federal government seeks to impose on this right," which means the States and municipalities can restrict any weapons they so choose for any reason.], but in replacing Associate Justice David Souter I'm not opposed to some affirmative action. If we're going to have another Statist with traditional liberal/progressive views on the Court, then having a female Hispanic with traditional liberal/progressive views as opposed to another old white guy is probably not a horrible development.... In other words, having watched the SCOTUS dr

Iraq and Afghanistan for ten more years....

There is a saying in the military: "You will fight the way you train." It means that if you cut corners in training, you won't know how to do the right thing in battle. Military historians also have a concept, less succinctly expressed, that nations tend to fight the wars they plan for, regardless of whether those particular wars still make sense. Shorter: tail wags dog. In that vein, it is disturbing to discover that the change of presidential administration has actually given the Pentagon, if anything, an expanded sense of its own importance in future foreign policy planning: WASHINGTON -The Pentagon is prepared to leave fighting forces in Iraq for as long as a decade despite an agreement between the United States and Iraq that would bring all American troops home by 2012, the top U.S. Army officer said Tuesday. Gen. George Casey, the Army chief of staff, said the world remains dangerous and unpredictable, and the Pentagon must plan for extended U.S. combat an

"Don't ask, don't tell" may be on the chopping block, but apparently nobody knows where the hell the ax is

Kafka, not Dana , would be the appropriate reporter for this story, as the AP chronicles the fascinating waffle of the Obama administration and the so-far successful public foot-dragging of senior military officials: President Barack Obama's top military adviser said Sunday the Pentagon has enough challenges — including two wars — without rushing to overturn a decade-old policy that bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military and incites political and social factions on both sides. Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he is working on an assessment of what — if any — impact overturning "don't ask, don't tell" policies would mean for the military and its culture. In the meantime, the Pentagon plans to follow the existing rules, which say gays and lesbians can serve in the military if they do not disclose their sexuality or engage in homosexual behavior. "The president has made his strategic intent very clear, th

May 25, 1974 - Grateful Dead - UC Stadium - Santa Barbara, CA

Love 'em or hate 'em, the Grateful Dead are the ultimate American rock band. No other was more storied, more enduring, or more reflective of American music to its roots. Here is a nice performance by them 35 years ago today , on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon in California, in front of their infamous "Wall of Sound" . (The recording has initial tweaks as they work out the mix). The Wall of Sound was probably the most complex and fine-tuned PA system ever devised. Basically it allowed the band to play in front of the PA, without need of stage monitors, so they would be hearing exactly what the audience was. It barely lasted a year (1974), since the band had to haul it around the country in three tractor-trailers (in the midst of the first oil supply problems). The band basically went broke from it... Opening Acts : Maria Muldaur; Great American String Band; Elvin Bishop Set List: I U.S. Blues Mexicali Blues Deal Jack Straw Scarlet Begonias Beat it on

Memorial Day

I don't do abstract really well on Memorial Day, or Veterans' Day, or any other day when I remember the brothers and sisters who put boots on the ground wherever they are sent. Part of the reason I feel so passionately about the need to examine, criticize, and debate American military policy, and part of the reason that I have become increasingly non-interventionist in my foreign policy views is that the lives of these American citizens are important. Even those who never actually fired a shot in anger, but spent the long years training, the long nights awake and shivering, doing the things that needed to be done that nobody else wanted to do.... On Memorial Day I will remember three soldiers from the Virginia Army National Guard who are no longer with us. One reader stopping by here will recognize at least two of the names; to pretty much everybody else they will remain just that ... names without stories attached. I could tell the stories. I could make my evocation of

Once again: you don't get to criticize your largest creditor...

... even when it used to be one of your favorite mantras. From WaPo : BEIJING, May 24 -- For the second time this year, a top U.S. official visiting China has declined in advance to publicly discuss Beijing's human rights record, a shift in practice that comes almost exactly two decades after the Tiananmen Square massacre. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who collided with Chinese authorities in 1991 when she unfurled a banner memorializing those who died in the square, arrived here Sunday saying only that she planned to discuss climate change with Chinese officials. At a briefing in Washington before leaving for her week-long trip, Pelosi declined to say whether she planned to discuss human rights with her hosts. Instead, she said only that she would focus on securing support for a global pact on reducing carbon emissions, in advance of a major international gathering on climate change scheduled for December in Copenhagen. "We have to . . . learn from each other as we go forw

Joe Klein on Charles Krautheimer: you'd be better without that wheelchair, buddy....

In the tasteless comment of the month you've got to give it to Time's Joe Klein, talking about conservative columnist Charles Krautheimer : "He became ground zero among the neo-cons, but he's vastly smarter than most of them," said Time's Joe Klein, an admirer and critic who praised Krauthammer's "writing skills and polemical skills" as "so far above almost anybody writing columns today." "There's something tragic about him, too," Klein said, referring to Krauthammer's confinement to a wheelchair, the result of a diving accident during his first year of medical school. "His work would have a lot more nuance if he were able to see the situations he's writing about." Yeah, Joe, like the governor of New York might be doing a better job if he could actually see the problems of the people in his State, too, right? [h/t Alphecca ]

Time for Admiral Mullen to go...

Last week the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff discovered that our air raids were killing large numbers of civilians in Afghanistan to the point where those deaths could compromise our ability to win the war, but he couldn't think of anything better to do... This week, the venerable Admiral has twigged onto the fact that our operations in Afghanistan are de-stabilizing Pakistan, and once again--predictably--he can't think of anything better to do: Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen insisted that the United States has “a clear national security interest” in taking on the Taliban in Afghanistan and that the 21,000 additional troops coming in the surge is “about right.” At the same time, Adm. Mullen cautioned that the attempt to reverse the Taliban’s gains in Afghanistan could have dire consequences for neighboring Pakistan. “We can’t deny that our success in that regard may only push them dee

Cartoon Worth A Thousand Words...

Credit : News-Journal

Words never mentioned in the President's speech today

Bagram. Extraordinary rendition. The CIA network of secret detention facilities on foreign soil. None of these issues has been acknowledged by the Obama administration. Not to mention this passage on the State secrets doctrine that somehow neglects to mention how many times the Obama DOJ has already invoked it in court: Now, along these same lines, my administration is also confronting challenges to what is known as the "state secrets" privilege. This is a doctrine that allows the government to challenge legal cases involving secret programs. It's been used by many past Presidents -- Republican and Democrat -- for many decades. And while this principle is absolutely necessary in some circumstances to protect national security, I am concerned that it has been over-used. It is also currently the subject of a wide range of lawsuits. So let me lay out some principles here. We must not protect information merely because it reveals the violation of a law or embarrassme

Shocker : Obama Puts Lawyer for Polluters in Charge of DOJ Environmental Enforcement

Yet more corporate shuttle politics in Obama-land : Obama Nominates Superfund Polluter Lawyer To Run DOJ Environment Division President Barack Obama has nominated a lawyer for the nation’s largest toxic polluters to run the enforcement of the nation’s environmental laws. On Tuesday, Obama “announced his intent to nominate” Ignacia S. Moreno to be Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division in the Department of Justice. Moreno, general counsel for that department during the Clinton administration, is now the corporate environmental counsel for General Electric, “ America’s #1 Superfund Polluter “: Number five in the Fortune 500 with revenues of $89.3 billion and earnings of $8.2 billion in 1997, General Electric has been a leader in the effort to roll back the Superfund law and stave off any requirements for full cleanup and restoration of sites they helped create . This February, General Electric lost an eight-year battle to “prove that parts of

Obama the Miracle Worker : Dick Cheney's Favorability Rating on the Rise

A politically-independent friend and former candidate for office in Delaware (legislature) has left me two incredulous messages in his own down-to-earth way saying : "These guys (Obama et al) are starting to make Bush-Cheney look better and better." Apparently he was closer than he thinks : Poll: Favorable opinions of Cheney rise WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As Dick Cheney prepares to give a major speech on the battle against terrorism, a new national poll suggests that favorable opinions of the former vice president are on the rise. But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Thursday morning, indicates that a majority of Americans still have an unfavorable opinion of Cheney. Fifty-five percent of people questioned in the poll say they have an unfavorable opinion of the former vice president. Thirty-seven percent say they have a favorable opinion of Cheney, up 8 percentage points from January when he left office. My friend has consistently shared my disdain and co

Dana Garrett nails it on President Obama's disdain for civil rights and constitutional protections

Chronicling the visit of some human rights activists to the White House , where they discovered that the new President is mulling a policy of completely unconstitutional preventive detention for terror suspects [which you should read in its entirety], Dana closes with a paragraph that proves his intellectual integrity: Imagine their shock. Here they thought that at a minimum they would be talking to a President who wouldn't be as insensitive as George Bush on the human and legal rights of the detainees, only to confront a President who is considering creating a policy (and a political legacy) of disenfranchising these detainees of their rights in perpetuity. The differences between Obama the candidate and Obama the President are so vast they make one's head swim. That sort of intellectualy consistency is why Dana Garrett represents the progressive conscience of the Delaware blogosphere.

Thinking about poverty and the purpose of cities...

Things have been up in the air real-world-like, so it has taken me nearly a week to get to Pandora's interesting post on being poor in the city [via WaPo ]. Worth reading, but boils down to three major observations: (a) poor people get victimized by higher prices because supermarkets and discount shopping are not available in the inner cities; (b) poor people in the inner cities have difficulty making good plans; and (c) consumption taxes hit poor people harder. This is Pandora's conclusion: How in the world are people supposed to attain the American Dream when the entire system seems to function as a vicious cycle designed to make sure they don’t get ahead - even when they’re doing everything right? And she also notes in the comments: There’s an extra price - in money and time - for the poor, and it is levied due to their reliance on public transportation, lack of appliances (washer/dryer), and inability to get a bank account. I'm going to take a different route

Another campaign promise biting the dust?

Apparently if the Obama administration has any plans to ditch don't ask, don't tell in the American military, they haven't gotten around to explaining it to the defense industry lobbyists they placed in charge of the Pentagon: The Pentagon says it has no plans to repeal the don't ask-don't tell policy for gay troops. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Tuesday that the military's top leaders have only had initial discussions with the White House about whether gay troops should be open about their sexuality. Under current rules, openly gay troops can be discharged from the U.S. military. Morrell said the White House has not asked for the 1993 policy to be scrapped. "I do not believe there are any plans under way in this building for some expected, but not articulated, anticipation that don't ask-don't tell will be repealed," Morrell told reporters at the Pentagon. President Barack Obama committed during the 2008 presidential campaign t

Run, Jesse, Run!

Ventura is hilarious in this video...especially at the end. As brash and abrasive as Hannity is with any opponents, it says a lot for the force of Jesse Ventura's personality that he had Hannity almost looking scared and hardly willing to shout down Ventura's interruptions. I think Ventura is looking at a 2012 independent run for the presidency. You heard him mention Perot... He may repeat Obama's line about "inheriting a mess" and deflect for Obama...for the moment...but I suspect Ventura believes that the "mess" will get no better under anything Obama is doing...he knows Obama is extending the middle east wars Ventura so opposes, as a big example. Ventura is being Mr. Nice Guy until the time is right to strike. As a wrestler and entertainer, Ventura knew that setting up your moves well in advance was what made them so devastatingly well-executed, grabbing the audience by the gut in bold swift strokes in what is a choreographed fight.... as are

Bell to bell and the morality of employee pay cuts...

With many Delaware teachers now working Bell to Bell as the DSEA attempts to make a point about the inequity of across-the-board State employee pay cuts , the blog and public reactions are mixed: Dana stands with the teachers at Delaware Watch. The mostly anonymous commenters at Fix Red Clay mostly think the teachers have pretty good jobs and are acting like spoiled brats. There is no party line at Delawareliberal: some for, some against, some confused. It is interesting to see many supposedly pro-union folks (with Dana as a notable exception) suddenly willing to throw the DSEA under the school bus, and who mouth the narrative so easily: Things are tough all over, you ingrates. Other people have had to take pay cuts. Man up, you wimps. [I'm sort of channeling my inner jason here.] What is truly intriguing about this situation is the absence of any real consideration of the morality of the situation. For example, the operative moral impulse here is, Treating employees

Governor Mark Sanford : Part of the Solution

No sooner than Lindsey "I'm a Winner!!" Graham wrote off libertarian ideas from the GOP , the Republican Governor of his state, Mark Sanford, stepped up to rebut Graham's stupidity. "There was almost a pejorative comment a moment ago. Sen. Graham spoke and said “I’m not a libertarian,” whatever, whatever, as if that’s an evil word. Liberty is the hallmark of the American experiment … People say, you know, “Mark, you’re kind of libertarian,” you know, and they say it as if it’s an evil word, like you’re a communist or something. I’m like: Throw me in that briar patch … I’ve been accused of being a libertarian and I wear it as a badge of honor." - Governor Sanford Thanks to Reason's blog Hit & Run for the link and the Campaign for Liberty for the video.

Worst caption of the day

Despite smiles, Obama, Netanyahu Seem Far Apart Smiles?

Far More Alarming Than Any "Right Wing Militia"

...or "Boy Scouts Meet the American Police State". As an enlisted Army Light Infantry veteran with active duty tours in two foreign theaters, one an occupied city and one a combat zone, also Airborne-qualified with prior service in the 11th Special Forces Group, and eventual officer commissioning into the Delaware National Guard, I find utterly disturbing these pictures and quotes from the New York Times May 13 article "Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and More". IMPERIAL, Calif. — Ten minutes into arrant mayhem in this town near the Mexican border, and the gunman, a disgruntled Iraq war veteran , has already taken out two people, one slumped in his desk, the other covered in blood on the floor. The responding officers — eight teenage boys and girls, the youngest 14 — face tripwire, a thin cloud of poisonous gas and loud shots — BAM! BAM! — fired from behind a flimsy wall. They move quickly, pellet guns drawn and masks affixed. “United States Border Patrol! Put