Palin Caught In A Naughty Monkey Trap

Via HuffPo's Shannyn Moore

Everyone knows how to catch a monkey even if you've never had to. Basic concept. Put a banana in a jar and make sure the mouth of the jar is bigger than a monkey paw, yet smaller than the banana. When the monkey gets hold of that banana, he won't let go, even if it means his hand is stuck in the jar.

Sarah Palin finds herself in a similar predicament. Her Alaska Fund Trust is the perfect golden banana. It happens to be inside the legal jar created by Thomas Daniel's ethics investigation findings. You see, Mr. Daniel concluded Palin had used her official title of governor to raise money for a "slush fund" to pay her legal bills. That's a no-no, silly monkey!

With his findings, Mr. Daniel gave the Naughty Palin Monkey an out..."LET GO OF THE BANANA!" To avoid an ethics hearing, Palin could give back the money raised by the fund. Then, there would be no finding of guilt. Not only did she not let go of the money, her fund trust kept their campaign up and begging-thereby making the banana fatter and more golden.

This week, the report of a "jar" was leaked. Palin, her spokesmodels, and attorney have curious explanations:








I don't have a lot of experience with monkeys. If I were rooting for a trapped monkey, I'd tell them to let go of the banana...the "jar" is real.

Follow Shannyn Moore on Twitter

Boehner: GOP Does Have A Health Care Bill, But We Might Not Release It

Via PlumLine

The plot thickens: Turns out the GOP does have a health care bill, after all. But we may never get to see it.

Greg Sargent noted this morning that Roy Blunt, the chair of the House GOP Health Care Solutions Group, had seemed to suggest that Republicans would be better off politically if they didn’t release their own bill, though he later clarified this statement. Left unclear was the question of whether any such bill exists.

Now House GOP leader John Boehner has weighed in, and he has confirmed that, yes, there is such a bill — and it’s almost finished, too. As Boehner put it a little while ago: “We’re continuing to put the final touches on our bill as the Democrats are continuing to put the finishing touches on their bill.”

Neither Boehner nor his office, however, will say whether this bill will ever be released. Republicans are waiting to see what Dems do first.

A question lingers: Did Blunt know about this bill before suggesting Republicans might not release anything, or was a bill nearly completed without the knowledge of the House GOP Health Care Solutions Group’s supreme leader?

Chris Matthews Almost Killed G. Gordon Liddy On Live Television Tonight

Via Gawker

Chris Matthews had former Nixon henchman/radio talk show host/Birther G. Gordon Liddy on Hardball tonight to talk about the dumb Obama birth certificate controversy and Liddy looked as though he might die on the air while Matthews surgically debunked him.

Over the last few days and weeks, as the Birther movement has slowly crept up into the national conversation, many people have wondered, "Just what exactly would satisfy these people?" Well, here's the answer that many have suspected, compliments of G. Gordon Liddy—nothing! Matthews serves Liddy a virtual buffet of evidence here that would seemingly cause any reasonable human being in possession of the capacity for abstract thought to concede this ridiculous argument, but it's beyond obvious that even if Matthews had produced a video of Barack Obama getting leied by a Hawaiian nurse shortly after exiting his mother's womb in 1961, G. Gordon Liddy was going to walk off of the Hardball set tonight holding fast to his imbecilic position, muttering indecipherable horseshit about "Kenya" and "illegal aliens" on his way out the door.

Jon Stewart Eviscerates The 'Birther' Movement

Via HuffPo

In a lengthy opening segment, Jon Stewart took on "birthers" last night, mocking their internal leadership and the media figures and politicians who support them. If you don't know by now (which is totally possible as a rational adult who does not engage with the lunatic fringe) "birthers" think that our president is not an American citizen, but instead a citizen of Kenya, who, through a massive government and familial conspiracy, tricked the American people into electing him.

Despite OVERWHELMING evidence that Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen, "birthers" have created a media frenzy of late that has prompted conservative representatives to introduced the so called "birther bill" that would call for presidential candidates to provide their birth certificates before running. There has been some very responsible reporting on the subject, if you can ever call engaging crazy people responsible, by Rick Sanchez, Chris Matthews and others who called these people crazy and showed copies of the president's birth certificate amongst other documents proving he was born in Hawaii.

Still, the subject hasn't really been delved into with the amount of scrutiny it deserves until the "Daily Show" does a segment on it.


Dump The Sick

Via Bob Cesca

A former senior executive with Cigna, Wendell Potter, testified on the Hill today that his former employer routinely "dumped the sick."

"[T]hey confuse their customers and dump the sick, all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors," former Cigna senior executive Wendell Potter said during a hearing on health insurance today before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. [...]

"They look carefully to see if a sick policyholder may have omitted a minor illness, a pre-existing condition, when applying for coverage, and then they use that as justification to cancel the policy, even if the enrollee has never missed a premium payment," Potter said. "…(D)umping a small number of enrollees can have a big effect on the bottom line."

Small businesses, in particular, he said, have had trouble maintaining their employee health insurance coverage, he said.

"All it takes is one illness or accident among employees at a small business to prompt an insurance company to hike the next year's premiums so high that the employer has to cut benefits, shop for another carrier, or stop offering coverage altogether," he said.

That last part -- the insurer hiking rates on small businesses forcing them to stop coverage -- is what prompted me to drop my health insurance, or else go bust. They hiked my small business premium to a level that was practically equal to all of the rest of my monthly overhead. I had no choice.

I can't repeat this enough: Private health insurance is a criminal enterprise and the only way out is a robust public option. Contact your representative now! And while your phone is warmed up, give a ring to the Coaltion of the Corrupt & Spineless.

Pervy Flesh-Peddler Bill O'Reilly Plays Erin Andrews Peephole Video On-Air

Via Gawker

Yesterday we noticed that Fox News was hyping a Bill O'Reilly "investigation" into the naked Erin Andrews peephole video incident, prompting us to wonder, "Will the ole smut-merchant show the video on the air?" Well, of course he would, duh!

Now, O'Reilly, and Fox News in general, have a long history with this sort of thing. He'll bloviate righteously about softcore porn on YouTube or underage strippers or how the Make-A-Wish foundation turned down money from a bikini car wash fundraiser or whatever, and all the while he'll have salacious clips running over the audio of he and his guests mouthing off about the gross injustice of whatever it is they're talking about. So you just knew that O'Reilly would take this whole thing straight into the gutter, and he did not disappoint.

While O'Reilly is setting the segment up by giving background on the story to his viewers, footage of the "criminal" video is played. He then turns to his guests, the standard set of painfully Aryan Fox News babes, to begin their discussion, but before he does he says speaks righteously about the video clip he just played on his show:

We're not gonna show you anymore of that ladies and gentlemen...I gotta show you what they think is criminal intent here, but, you know, I'm not gonna show anymore video of it because this is ultra-disturbing and I think it's a very serious crime.

Classic. Just classic Bill O'Reilly slimeballage, wrapped up neatly under the guise of "investigative reporting."

Now, ESPN is taking a hard line against any news organization that shows footage of the video or even publishes still images taken from it. Today they lashed out at the New York Post, effectively issuing a "you're dead to me" order to the paper and banning the Post and it's reporters from all aspects of the ESPN empire after they ran still photos from the video in Tuesday's edition of the paper. It'll be interesting to see if they do the same thing with Fox and/or other Rupert Murdoch media properties after this.

TARP Inspector General Debunks His Own False $23 Trillion Bailout Estimate

Via Think Progress

Yesterday, TARP Inspector General Neil Barosky released a report which crudely tallied up the cost of every economic rescue program proposed during the current crisis — including those that have been discontinued or never even began — to state that the total scope of all financial rescue programs comes to about $23.7 trillion. Cable news hosts ran wild with the report, using it to claim that taxpayers will “ultimately” wind up paying $23 trillion in “bailouts.”

The number continued to be cited on cable last night and this morning, with Fox News even claiming that $23 trillion will be the final cost of TARP alone. But Barofsky himself appeared on CNN to explain that the actual outstanding amount for the financial rescues is closer to $3 trillion, including loans that have yet to be repaid. Watch a compilation:

Barofsky’s report clearly states that “these numbers may have some overlap, and have not been evaluated to provide an estimate of likely net costs to the taxpayer”:

[S]ome of the programs have been discontinued or even, in some cases, not utilized. As such, these total potential support figures do not represent a current total, but the sum total of all support programs announced since the onset of the financial crisis in 2007.

But this doesn’t go far enough in explaining how unlikely we are to ever come close to spending so much money. As Floyd Norris explained in the New York Times, Barofsky’s estimate “assumes that every home mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac goes into default, and all the homes turn out to be worthless. It assumes that every bank in America fails, with not a single asset worth even a penny. And it assumes that all of the assets held by money market mutual funds, including Treasury bills, turn out to be worthless.” If this doomsday economic scenario were ever to occur, the American currency would be rendered worthless.

Media Matters pointed out that both USA Today and the CBS Evening News used the same misleading number. And as Norris put it, publishing such a meaningless number makes Barofsky seem like nothing more than “an irresponsible headline hunter.”

The Birthers: Who Are They and What Do They Want?

Via Gawker

Liz Cheney and Lou Dobbs have recently defended the "birthers," the dumb group of internet psychos who think it's impossible that a black man could've been democratically elected president. Where did they come from and what do they actually believe?

Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961. Here is is birth certificate. Hawaii was and is an American state. When Barack Obama was elected, he was 47 years old and had lived in the US since 1971. According to the Constitution, the president must be a natural-born citizen 35 years old or order who has lived in the US for 14 years. Barack Obama is eligible to be the president. It's that simple. Unless you're in America's fastest-growing group of nuts with modems, the Birthers! Then it is much more complicated, and stupid.

Who Are They? Where Did They Come From?

It's hard to say who was the first Birther. It was obvious that a segment of the American people would reject the legitimacy of Barack Obama's presidency, as they rejected Bill Clinton and as others rejected Bush (though Bush actually legit wasn't elected fyi). It is just weird that they all decided on such a lame and easily disproved conspiracy theory.

So. Right. First off, a black man named Barack Hussein Obama becomes a Senator and delivers a rousing speech on national television. Certain people are going to assume he is a Muslim, and certain other people are going to try to convince everyone that he's a Muslim. Rumors and smears like this are hard to track back to individuals, as they form and are molded in lengthy chain email forwards and pseudonymous message board posts. But Andy Martin, a crazy and litigious antisemite, is credited with amping up the Muslim rumors mere weeks after the 2004 Democratic National Convention. His "press release" was picked up, of course, by Free Republic, a message board for the nuttiest of the right-wing nuts. Martin's "secret Muslim" theory led to the "Islamic madrassa" story.

In October of 2008, Martin filed another of his many, many lawsuits, this one against the state of Hawaii, demanding they "verify" Barack Obama's birth certificate. At this point, though, Martin was claiming that Obama's "real father" was a radical Hawaiian journalist, so it is not entirely clear if he is actually a birther, or just a fucked-up attention-seeker.

Jerome Corsi, bizarro all-purpose conspiracy theorist and smear artist, has done more than perhaps anyone else to further the Birther movement. As the superstar co-author of the anti-John Kerry Swift Boat book, he had a platform and an audience of die hard crazies willing to promote anything he wrote. And so he detours into claims that Obama's birth certificate is a forgery while promoting his book of more traditional smears and innuendo. And he writes for World Net Daily, a daily repository of conspiracies, lies, and insanity. The right-wing "news" site publishes a new piece on the Obama birth conspiracy every day. You've got to keep the suckers coming back! Don't forget to stop by World Net Daily's Birth Certificate Store!

Alan Keyes has weighed in, of course, with yet another of the many lawsuits.

And there is 9/11 Truther Philip Berg, who apparently just decided he needed a new conspiracy theory, and so he filed his own suit, and attempted to take it to the Supreme Court.

But in a "movement" like this, the real major players are the hundreds of hapless morons who believe the conspiracy, not necessarily the ones trying to sell it to them. You can find them in every comments section on the internet.

What Do Birthers Believe?

It is hard to pin down and explain what the birthers actually believe, because it an ever-shifting series of assertions, arguments, and insinuations that change on a dime depending on the audience and facts presented, but we will give it a shot.

Basically, birthers believe that Barack Obama is not a legitimate president, because he was not born in the United States. But, faced with rather overwhelming evidence that he was born in the United States, some birthers are even now changing their stories and claiming that he's not eligible because he was born a dual citizen (of the US and either Kenya or... Britain), making him, again, not eligible.

But these are the more popularly accepted theories:

  • Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Obama's mother was living in Kenya with Obama's father, and after his birth, she took him back to Hawaii to register his birth, because... she knew one day he would run for president? Birthers claim Obama's paternal grandmother admitted to being present during Obama's birth, in Kenya.
  • Barack Obama is a citizen of Indonesia, where his sister was born.
  • Barack Obama's real middle name is "Muhammed."
  • Barack Obama's birth certificate is a forgery.
  • Barack Obama's birth certificate isn't a forgery, but they used to give those out to people who were born overseas (this was what they had to settle on once Hawaiian officials confirmed that his birth certificate was real).
  • Hawaii didn't give out birth certificates to kids born overseas at the time of Obama's birth, but his mother lied about where he was born (and sent out two newspaper announcements!) in order to procure one.

But the details don't make sense, and don't matter. Here's a representative paragraph from a birther website:

Depending on what his long copy vault birth certificate states, this may or may not deepen the problem. If it states either of the two hospitals and the hospital records prove that he was in fact born in one of the Hawaiian Hospitals, then the location of his birth will definitely prove he is entitled to be a US Citizen in accordance to the 14th Amendment. This of course does not necessarily give him the necessary status of a natural born citizen.

If Obama issues another birth certificate that states, also, that he was born in Hawaii, in a hospital, he still might not be a natural born citizen. They'll come up with a reason why, however, should this chimerical document ever surface. For fun, here is another sentence from the same site: "If his long form birth certificate states he was born at home, then this in itself does not prove that he was born, and in fact could lead to greater problems."


Those Who Would Grant Them Legitimacy

These are the worst of the worst. These are the semi-"repsectable" "mainstream" pundits, writers, and politicos who know Obama is eligible to be President, but stoke the fires of nuttery in order to keep the base riled up, and maybe to win the attention of a few more suckers. From Lou Dobbs to Liz Cheney to Camile Paglia to Sean Hannity, hacks who don't give a shit will throw the birthers a bone to retain their ears and eyeballs.

A more insidious form of conspiracy stoking is the sort of concern trolling performed by "intellectual" hacks like Jim Geraghty, who list and describe the theories, say they don't necessarily believe in all of them, but conclude that there just isn't enough evidence to be sure. These provide cover to the craziest and most extreme of the nutjobs: see, even the respectable National Review agrees with me!

Why This is a Bad Thing

Quite simply, the crazier and more radical the right wing fringe gets, the more dangerous they get. "Mainstream" voices legitimatizing their radical beliefs just intensifies the nut's feeling that something needs to be done, because the country is in a crisis. Encouraging people to believe the president is illegitimate encourages them to believe that he needs to be removed by any means necessary. It's stupid. It's dangerous.

And while it's fun to watch it destroy the Republican party, a radicalized Republican party controlled by the far right fringe still has a decent chance of coming back into power. That's the way the system works.

Barack Obama Is Buying You Health Insurance!

Via Wonkette

It’s almost like this guy wants America to have some kind of good health-care system for everybody, even the AARP — the main voters/money-holders of the United States. “I understand how easy it is for this town to become retarded,” Obama just said. Oh and Obama is talking about that dickwad senator who wants to “break” Obama by defeating health care reform. You can’t break a muslin, dummy!

Whoa Hey, the FreeRepublic Website Is Overthrowing the U.S. Government

Via Wonkette

This would be terrifying if it wasn’t about some lamer old wingnuts and their message board: The person who runs is cold gonna overthrow the U.S. government — that means you, blackenstein — and ho ho, no more taxes on the millionaires! Hooray! Anyway, folks, things are getting Seriously Weird with the wingnuts, birthers, paultards and other middle-aged white suckers who bought into that whole Reagan thing 30 years ago and, whoops, are still poor and doomed.

And then, in 2008, Americans mysteriously voted in droves for a common African Soviet from, er, Hawaii, who has been president now for what, six months? And this NON-PRESIDENT is, uhm, trying to get some health coverage for these poor dumb AM-radio listeners, so …. OVERTHROW THE GUBMINT.

What will happen? How many will shoot up Holocaust museums, or start car-bombing the hip hop? And how thankful should we all be that these people are so goddamned obese that simply getting up from the ‘puter table is pretty much out of the realm of possibility?

If we could get millions of Americans to march on Washington, what would we do? [FreeRepublic]

Live and Let Die

Via John Cole

Wingnut extraordinaire Doug Ross, the unhinged knucklehead who served as a static display of statistical incompetence as he spent weeks accusing the Obama administration of rescuing only Democratic Chrysler dealerships, is out with another blockbuster, and the usual idiots are linking him, having learned nothing:


Actually, I’ve been leaked details of the plan, and Doug has missed something. The plan is to only euthanize the white folks. Merry Kwanzaa, bitches.

Tragic California Budget ‘Fix’ Awaits All Other Bankrupt U.S. States, Too

Via Wonkette

Huzzah for the Golden State, where crazed prisoners will soon wander freely and the poor will wrestle for rat crumbs and all the parks will be closed and all the counties will be robbed of various monies and the GOP threatens to wreck even this rotten deal, because there is still a chance to make things even worse. Feeling smug out there, rest of America? Don’t. You’re next.

California is famously First In Everything — except “first in flight,” because that’s North Carolina. The first Reaganites? Yep. What about the first goths? Probably! The first gay people? Of course. All American trends, good or bad, come from California’s hundreds of miles of sad-ass stucco suburbs. And one of the craziest California fads, the bizarre Prop. 13 cap on property taxes which is completely to blame for, among other things, the pathetic collapse of the state’s once-grand public schools, is mostly to blame for the state’s chronic inability to pay for shit.

Anyway, the awful new budget compromise is exactly the kind of fun trend you can expect to hit most every other state in the union, soon!

The bottom is not in sight. Nationwide, general revenues entering state coffers were expected to drop 2.2 percent this fiscal year, the first decrease since the 1983 recession, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. So far, 42 states have responded by paring about $31 billion from budgets, the group said.

How the books were balanced — tax and fee hikes, cuts to schools and services, or a painfully calculated blend of both — varied from legislature to legislature ….

“California always stands out just because of its sheer size. Other states do kind of look over there to see what California’s actually doing.”

Impact of California’s Proposed Budget Fix May Be Felt at All Levels [Washington Post]

Colbert Takes On Cheney And Chuck Todd Over Torture Investigations

Via HuffPo

Stephen Colbert used his segment "The Word" last night to mock detractors of investigating the Bush administration for torture. He singled out Fox's Steve Doocy and NBC's Chuck Todd, for saying the investigations would become a witch hunt and food fight respectively, and took shots at Cheney and the producers of "24" for approving torture in the first place.


Crazy Ass Bachmann's Health Care Plan - Get Treated at a MinuteClinic

Via Dump Bachmann

We could change the Tax Code, and we could allow Americans to purchase their health care the same way they purchase their car insurance--across State lines, buy in pools, bring down the price, have true competition, and allow small clinics like the MinuteClinics, for instance in Minnesota, to be set up all across the United States.....

This is another example of Bachmann trivializing a serious problem. MinuteClinic only treats minor medical problems.

The Glenn Beck Conundrum

Via Gawker

Last week Glenn Beck went utterly berserk on his radio show when a caller challenged his opposition to the Obama healthcare reform plan. Last night Beck appeared on Bill O'Reilly's show to explain his ridiculous on-air behavior. Let's discuss it.

If you've heard the clip of Beck's freakout, you know that it was epic and childish and over the top and a million other things, but more than anything it felt like something that was painfully staged. When I first listened to the now-infamous audio clip, I remember being overcome with the feeling that Beck went on the air that day fully planning to go off on the first person to challenge him, just to get people talking about him, which is why I personally opted not to post it after it'd been passed over by our day editors, despite a steady flow of email tips alerting us all to it.

I tell you all of this to get to a larger point, which is this; working as the night editor here I'm sort of forced to watch Beck and occasionally post clips of his ridiculous antics. As much as I wish we could just all ignore him, the fact remains that he's a guy who's given a considerable amount of airtime to express his views each day on the nation's highest rated cable news network, thus, since this is a website that chronicles the media (among other things), attention must be paid to Glenn Beck, sadly. But it's something that's becoming increasingly hard to do, not only because I feel that by doing so that I'm sort of feeding the beast, but also because I just don't believe this guy is for real anymore. Sure, I do believe he's a conservative, but I just don't buy that he's as much of a wacko conservative as he makes himself out to be on his show. I've gone back and forth in my mind for a while and have finally come to an absolute conclusion—I think that Glenn Beck is a guy who looked out across the vast expanse of America and saw a nation filled with paranoid dipshits waiting to have their irrational fears confirmed and exploited by an expert modern charlatan, a role he's been all too happy to fill.

So I guess what I'm trying to say here is that Glenn Beck's lack of authenticity, or, better stated, my perception of his lack of authenticity, is really beginning to bug the shit out of me. And that's just freaking sad, isn't it?

Anyway, Beck tells O'Reilly that his rant on the radio last week was real. Needless to say, I don't believe him

Megan Fox Can Save Mark Sanford

Via Barely Political

Things to Say During Sex

Via LemonDrop

Finally, an invention for people who are socially awkward in bed -- a handy-dandy chart of things that are OK (and not OK) to say in bed.

For example, it may seem puzzling to some that "I'm going to nail your ass" is on the "Good" side of the chart, until you find its counterpoint on the "Bad" side and read "I'm going to pound the farts out of you.'" That is bad!

So before you accidentally confess how much you love the comedic stylings of Howie Mandel, consult the list. Always consult the list!

*Bonus* whenever you click on it, a totally random and hilarious picture pops up.

Dr. Pedobear Will See You Now

Via Wonkette

No, not at all!

According to famous wingnut blog “The Drudge Report,” it is about a giant looming Pedobear who will “fix” your “health” by, uhm, raping children.

Is that what you people want?

Alaskan Ethics Investigator: Palin Used Her Office for Personal Financial Gain

Via Gawker

An ethics investigator's report leaked to the press says that Sarah Palin has been "securing unwarranted benefits and receiving improper gifts" through the legal defense fund set up for her by John Coale, the Scientologist husband of Greta Van Susteren.

Reports the Anchorage Daily News:

An investigator for the state Personnel Board says in his July 14 report that there is probable cause to believe Palin used or attempted to use her official position for personal gain because she authorized the creation of the trust as the "official" legal defense fund.

In his report, (Thomas) Daniel said his interpretation of the ethics act is consistent with common sense.

An ordinary citizen facing legal charges is not likely to be able to generate donations to a legal defense fund, he wrote. "In contrast, Governor Palin is able to generate donations because of the fact that she is a public official and a public figure. Were it not for the fact that she is governor and a national political figure, it is unlikely that many citizens would donate money to her legal defense fund."

Palin's crackpot mouthpiece Meg Stapleton issued the following statement in regards to the matter, claiming that the whole thing still isn't resolved:

There is no final report. The Investigator is still confidentially reviewing this matter. It appears suspect that in the final days of the Governor's term, someone would again violate the law and announce a supposed conclusion before it is reached.

And, naturally, Palin took to her Twitter page to say basically the same thing:

However, Thomas Daniel claims that his report is final and that the case is closed and that Palin is guilty of violating Alaskan ethics laws, so somebody's full of shit and we'll give you one guess as to who we think that person is.

Ethics Investigator Rules Against Palin [Anchorage Daily News]

Lou Dobbs Now Firmly Ensconced as Leader of the 'Birther' Movement

Via Gawker

Oh for the love of God when will the Republican's extra-chromosome wing let this go?! Sadly, not anytime soon, what with Lou Dobbs beating back Alan Keyes and Sean Hannity to take over as captain of the USS Dipshit.

Yes, despite overwhelming evidence proving that Barack Obama has a birth certificate that clearly shows he was born in the U.S., the "birther" movement marches on, and now CNN's Lou Dobbs has all but taken over as its most "credible" mouthpiece. This whole thing is truly beyond ridiculous, to the point of being surreal, yet here is Dobbs, CNN's wacky old Mexican-hater, jumping on the crazy train. This is, I think, the fifth time he brings the birth certificate thing up on his show.

One last word about this—the thing that I've personally had the most trouble understanding about the "birthers" is how they can possibly discount the birth announcement below that ran in the Honolulu Advertiser announcing the birth of a son to a Mr. and Mrs. Barack Obama on August 4, 1961, which just so happens to be the president's birthday. Now, I can sort of maybe understand the argument that official documents like birth certificates can be forged to cover something up, but what explanation do the "birthers" have for this piece of historical newsprint, something that's been preserved on microfiche for years now? I mean, in order to discount this you'd have to make the argument that Obama's family planted this item in the paper almost 50 years ago just in case he was to someday run for president. It's just all so ridiculously nonsensical.

Image via

Peggy Noonan Joins Twitter and Maybe 21st Century

Via ValleyWag

The 'computer man' introduced Peggy Noonan to the splendor of Twitter, guaranteeing some truly amazing columns will be forthcoming

In her debut tweet, the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan claimed to have arrived in the 21st century. We'll just see about that.

Right Wingers Ready for Violence to Defend the Rich, White Way of Life

Via Rude Pundit

Lost amid the sublime delights of hearing Glen Beck totally lose his shit and screech like a wounded weasel in a bear trap on his radio show was his suggestion on the July 13 edition of his Fox "news" show, The Cleveland Steamer with Glenn Beck, that people should arm themselves for a coming revolution. No, really. In a conversation with NRA CEO Wayne "That Is a Gun in My Pants and I'm Not Happy to See You" LaPierre over whether Sonia Sotomayor would interpret the 2nd Amendment the way they believe it ought to be interpreted, Beck offered, "Would you say that our president or our government's stock market really is gun sales. That when gun sales go down -- everybody wants to say, 'Well, I protect guns for hunters,' even though -- I mean, look, I came from a family of hunters. I get it. But that's not -- the Founding Fathers weren't like, 'Well, we might want to go out and, you know, shoot some squirrel.' They did it because of an out-of-control government. And as gun sales go up, that's because we don't trust the government. That is -- that is the fundamental guttural understanding of the Second Amendment. People don't trust the government, they go out and buy a gun."

Did you get that? If you don't trust the government, go out and buy a gun. Because why? Because you can use the muzzle to push the buttons in a voting booth? Or because you can use it to shoot and kill any government motherfuckers who are going to...well, do what?

See, all the savage (and Savage) talk on the right that has inspired wackanoids to go out and shoot up unitarian churches and Holocaust Museum guards is for punk ass reasons. Glenn Beck, who may truly be straitjacket-and-rhino-tranq-his-ass crazy, and his ilk on markets large and small are whipping their frightened, underinsured, teetering on the brink listeners and viewers to a peaking froth because of their idiots' understanding of policy and history. They've reduced the American Revolution to being about taxes. Well, sure, and when a foreign government at the point of a gun and bayonet forces them to pay their tribute to the king, join their military, and quarter their soldiers, then we can talk.

The nation is always filled with wannabe revolutionaries. Usually they crop up when the actual physical well-being of themselves or others is threatened. Like, you know, back during 'Nam, when the federal government used troops to stop protests and a draft was sending people to a war they didn't want to fight. The Weather Underground (who have, indeed, had their welcome worn out for them) and other groups used violence as a tool because they saw the government violently oppressing them, through bullets at Kent State, through police clubs in Chicago. In other words, if the government was going to enforce its will and suppress the people by drawing blood, well, the thought goes, why not draw some, too? (Aside: it's one reason why non-violence is a truly revolutionary method of protest against those who are violent. Our visceral response is to want to kick some ass when someone tries to kick ours.)

So what is driving the good right wing to talk more and more openly about arming themselves for some coming uprising? Has Barack Obama sent the FBI to break down law-abiding conservatives' doors, take their guns, shoot their women, and rape their dogs? Did Joe Biden start an enemies list and had a handcuffed Sean Hannity dragged to a prison where he can be beaten until he gives the whereabouts of Steve Doocy? Holy shit, an ignorant outside observer might think, what is so deadly that a media figure like Beck is, in essence, telling people to buy guns now?

And the answer is a slight raise in the marginal tax rate on the wealthy? An attempt to provide health care to uninsured Americans? A legally-elected government in a representative democracy spending money in the way those campaigning said it would be spent? If Ben Franklin were around, he'd scoff, "Pussies," beat Glenn Beck unconscious with his cane, let Thomas Paine sodomize him, and head back to Paris for more time with whores.

(An uncomfortable tangent: Sometimes, within the rhetoric of insanity, violence can seem logical. Randall Terry and his pro-life legion of Jesus toesuckers believe that abortion is murder. The Rude Pundit's said it before: if you are so deluded as to think that women's health providers who do abortions are baby murderers no matter what the trimester, then you better be throwing your ass in the way to stop it, taking whatever consequences come like a good terrorist. Randall Terry is an attention-craving slugfucker whose cause should end up with him in prison, but he at least seems to think there are lives, not pocketbooks of the wealthy, on the line.)

Birther Takes a Tweety Beating

Via Think Progress

Over the past several months, the right wing has been advancing the discredited myth that President Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen. These so-called “birthers” claim that Obama hasn’t produced his a valid birth certificate to prove that he is eligible to be president. (He has). CNN’s Lou Dobbs is the latest to traffic in this nonsense, despite the fact that his own guest-host debunked the “birther” claims on Dobbs’s show.

Today on MSNBC, host Chris Matthews interviewed Rep. John Campbell (R-CA), co-sponsor of a bill that would require candidates for president in the future to present a copy of his or her birth certificate “to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications” for president. “The proposal is not crazy,” Campbell said in defense of the measure. “Congressman, nice try,” Matthews replied. “What you’re doing is appeasing the nutcases…you’re verifying the paranoia out there,” he said. Matthews then held up a copy of Obama’s birth certificate and said, “That’s the way to deal with this, mail this birth certificate to the whacko wing of your party.”

Matthews asked Campbell seven times if he believes Obama is a natural born U.S. citizen, and after a series of dodges, Matthews said, “You are feeding the whacko wing of your party.” Campbell finally answered, “As far as I know, Yes.” “As far as you know? I’m showing you his birth certificate!” Matthews exclaimed:

MATTHEWS: It’s on the screen now, take a close look. It says “Barack Hussein Obama.” He was born August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, is that a state? Yes it was. His mother was caucasian, his father was African. What more do you want? He’s male. He was born, by the way at 7:20 P.M. in the island of Oahu. What more do you want? I mean, I’m serious, you say “as far as you know?” You are playing to the crazies.

“Was he born in this country?” Matthews asked again. “Yes, I believe so,” Campbell replied. “Ok, finally we’re making progress,” Matthews said. Watch it:

Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) was recently barraged by birthers at a local town hall meeting in Delaware recently and was forced to inform the crowd — much to their dismay — that Obama is indeed a natural born citizen.

Also... too...

Via Bob Cesca

Vanity Fair copy-edited Sarah Palin's resignation speech, and it's a thing of beauty.

Only when you see the text with the corrections made can you truly appreciate how terrible that speech was.

Here's a sample:


It Took Sarah Palin's Wee Brain 27 Minutes to Compose 5 Conjoined Tweets

Via Gawker

Surely you've read the Twitter works of noted wordsmith Sarah Palin and wondered to yourself, "How does she string together such poetry so effortlessly?" Very, very slowly!

Now, we follow Palin's trainwreck Twitter account, which we sincerely feel is the best thing the internet has ever produced, so we're well-versed in her unique brand of tweet-buffoonery, but what we hadn't noticed previously was the time it takes for her to condense the broad thoughts conjured up by her leviathan intellect down to 140-character tweets. The hitch in catching on to this was taking notice of her tweets within the first hour of their publication, when they're still logged chronologically on Twitter dashboards by the system in minute time frames.

Check out the tweets in the screengrab below caught by Eric Spiegelman earlier tonight. These five tweets are all conjoined, all part of the same dipshit-y thought, which was another one of her maniacal rants about the endless stream of ethics complaints logged against her. Starting with the first one at the bottom, take a look at the time lapse in between the posting of each tweet. In total, it took Palin 27 minutes to spit out this one thought, and it was still expressed almost completely incoherently.

On a related note, a new poll released yesterday had Sarah Palin within six points of Barack Obama in a hypothetical 2012 Presidential Election Death Match.

Finally, in one last bit of Sarah Palin hilarity, Vanity Fair had their literary editor take a red pen to Palin's rhetorical abortion of a resignation speech from a couple of weeks ago. We highly recommend checking it out.

Rachel Maddow Eviscerates Pat Buchanan Again

Via Gawker

Remember last week when Pat Buchanan, noted fighter of white male oppression, went on Rachel Maddow's show and launched into one of the more staggeringly imbecilic rants in the history of political punditry? Last night Maddow re-visited that whole episode.

Sifting through Buchanan's now infamous rant point by point, Maddow used her show's final segment last night to correct the avalanche of factual errors spewed out by Buchanan in that interview. It, Maddow's "corrections and clarifications," was a thing of beauty to watch, downright surgical in precision, even though it would have been all the more better if Maddow had booked "Uncle Pat" to sit in on the whole thing and look angry and miserable when he wasn't hurling hate speech laced with old man spittle. Oh well.

Free AK-47 With Purchase of New Truck

Via Think Progress

Mark Muller, the president of Max Motors in Missouri, is offering a gift certificate for a Kalashnikov AK-47 rifle to anyone who purchases a pick-up truck. Muller, whose business slogan is “God, Guns, Guts, and American Pick-Up Trucks,” said the response to the offer has been very strong. “There is a lot of worry about crime, we have a methamphetamine problem around here and people just want to protect themselves,” said Muller. The UK Telegraph notes that there may be other dynamics at play:

Never before, however, has the AK-47 been used to sell cars in Missouri. For all its gimmickry, the interest in Mr Muller’s newest promotion reflects rising concern among gun owners that President Barack Obama will eventually seek to tighten the rules on ownership, despite his promises to the contrary.


"C" Street Pancake & Whorehouse Rebranding: GOP Cheaters Need Our Discreet Counseling!


A little creative re-branding has worked wonders for the likes of Diddy (now back to Puff Daddy), Joe Lieberman, and the Volkswagen Beetle. So why not for C Street?

In recent weeks, the secretive Christian fellowship group, whose red-brick townhouse on Capitol Hill has for years served as an in-session dorm for religious lawmakers, has been getting some unwanted publicity. Thanks to its ties to three recent Republican sex scandals -- those of Nevada senator John Ensign, South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, and former congressman Chip Pickering -- C Street has started to get a reputation as somewhere between a halfway house and frat house for conservative politicians looking to cheat on their wives while convincing themselves they're still upstanding guys.

Hence the need for some re-branding. It's likely no coincidence that both Politico and Roll Call have stories out today about C Street, in which a bevvy of current and former lawmakers portray the house -- as well as The Fellowship, the shadowy religious movement, also known as The Family, with which C Street is affiliated -- as a benevolent prayer group that offers "crucial counseling" to its powerful members, helping keep them on the straight and narrow.

The list of current or former members of Congress who have spoken on the record for recent news stories on C Street includes Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rep. Joanne Emerson (R-MO), Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), former Ohio GOP congresswoman Deborah Pryce, former Oklahoma GOP congressman Steve Largent, and former Pennsylvania Democratic congressman Tony Hall.

Here's one typical explanation of the group's value to its mostly Republican members, given by Forbes, to Politico:

One thing about having members meet with members is they kind of understand what each other goes through and the stresses and the pressures and those kinds of things. And one member can tell another member, 'I don't think that's the right thing for you to do.'

But it's worth noting that the re-branding seems only to add to the evidence that C Street and the Fellowship serve first and foremost as a way for Republican family values politicians to discreetly deal with their extra-marital affairs.

Politico reports that the Fellowship focuses on what its leaders call the "'up and out,' or powerful politicians struggling to confront their personal demons." And Hall, the former Democratic congressman, explained to Roll Call what he sees C Street as being for: "These men [Ensign, Sanford, and Pickering] are good men. They made mistakes and they're paying for it. And that's what these ministries are about."

That explanation, which jibes with Forbes's, makes clear that dealing with extra-marital affairs is absolutely central to C Street's purpose.

It's also worth noting that the recent re-banding -- like many such efforts -- offers what you might call a skewed perspective.

Referring to Ensign's affair, which was discussed at C Street, ex-Oklahoma GOPer Largent told a local newspaper last week: "Our feeling is that if anybody does that and does it willfully that we are asking them not to live at C Street anymore."

We hate to point this out, but....Ensign still lives at C Street. Guess he must not have had the affair willfully.

More broadly, here's the major problem that's elided by the image of the benevolent prayer group: it's one thing for lawmakers to have a group of trusted friends and peers with whom they can talk about their personal lives. But, for a range of pretty obvious reasons, when prominent elected officials cheat on their spouses (OK, wives), they often commit other, non-sexual transgressions -- which go to their official responsibilities -- in trying to cover it up. That puts their religious confidants in the compromising position of knowing about non-personal wrongdoing that the public has a right to be aware of, but being obligated by the bonds of the group to keep it secret. Indeed, that seems to have been exactly what happened in the Ensign case, in particular with Sen. Tom Coburn, who has refused to speak publicly about what he told Ensign, citing his role as a "physician and as an ordained deacon."

Perhaps not surprising, then, that a source close to C Street told Politico: "If there isn't a discussion at some point about how they do their ministry, there needs to be."

How Do Obama's Ratings Compare?

Via (Political Hotsheet)

Today marks six months since Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States and according to the latest CBS News Poll, conducted July 9-12, 2009, his overall approval rating stands at 57 percent - his first approval rating below 60 percent and his lowest since becoming president.

How does this compare to past presidents?

At 57 percent, President Obama's approval is slightly higher than that of his immediate predecessor, George W. Bush (53 percent) and 18 points higher than the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton (39 percent) at similar points in their presidencies.

Still, President Obama's current marks are lower than those given to some earlier presidents: George H.W. Bush (67 percent), Jimmy Carter (62 percent), John F. Kennedy (75 percent), and Dwight D. Eisenhower (73 percent).

His approval rating is similar to that of President Ronald Reagan (59 percent), whose early months in office were also plagued by the nation's economic troubles. (It should be noted, however, that the unsuccessful assassination attempt made on President Reagan's life just 69 days into his presidency may have had an impact on his rating.) President Richard Nixon received a similar approval rating six months into office as well.


Approve Date
Obama 57%
G.W. Bush 53% 6/2001
Clinton 39% 6/1993
G.H.W. Bush 67% 7/1989
Reagan 59% 6/1981
Carter 62% 7/1977
Nixon 58% 7/1969 (Gallup)
Kennedy 75% 7/1961 (Gallup)
Eisenhower 73% 7/1953 (Gallup)

What does the six month approval rating tells us about a president's future success? Well, it's a mixed bag.

President Bush 41 and President Carter started out strong, but the nation's economic problems (and foreign policy issues in Mr. Carter's case) eventually took a toll on their approval ratings (a low of 31 percent for Mr. Bush and 26 percent for Mr. Carter). Neither were re-elected to a second term.

Richard Nixon was re-elected, but the Watergate scandal forced him to resign from office. Upon leaving office, just 24 percent of Americans approved of the job he was doing, according to a Gallup Poll. At one point his rating reached 67 percent.

An improved economy and a tough stance against the Soviet Union propelled Ronald Reagan to a second term. His highest approval rating in a CBS News Poll was 67 percent.

As for President Clinton, many were critical of his priorities early, but the economy rebounded and he was re-elected. He would eventually be impeached by Congress but not removed from office. He reached his highest approval rating of 73 percent multiple times, including after the vote by the U.S. Senate NOT to convict him of perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

In August 2001, George W. Bush's approval rating was 50 percent -- the last time CBS News measured his rating prior to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. After that, his approval rating skyrocketed, reaching a high of 90 percent in October 2001. He was re-elected in 2004 but his approval rating suffered due to the ongoing war in Iraq and a sagging economy.

In November 2008, just before the election of Barack Obama, only 20 percent of Americans approved of the job he was doing as president – the lowest rating of any President. Mr. Bush has the distinction of having the highest approval rating for a president as well as the lowest.

Recent history indicates that the condition of the economy has been key to the success and failure of many presidents, but unforeseen events like scandal or war, can also impact views of a presidency.


Approve Disapprove Date
George W. Bush 90% 5 10/2001
George H. W. Bush 88% 8 3/1991
Harry Truman 87% 3 6/1945 (Gallup)
Franklin Roosevelt 84% 9 1/1942 (Gallup)
John F. Kennedy 83% 5 4/1961 (Gallup)
Dwight Eisenhower 79% 11 12/1956 (Gallup)
Lyndon Johnson 79% 9 2/1964 (Gallup)
Bill Clinton 73% 24 1/1998
Gerald Ford 71% 3 8/1974 (Gallup)
Richard Nixon 67% 19 11/1969 (Gallup)
Ronald Reagan 67% 18 4/1981
Jimmy Carter 64% 20 4/1977


Approve Disapprove Date
George W. Bush 20% 72 11/2008
Harry Truman 22% 64 2/1952 (Gallup)
Richard Nixon 24% 66 8/1974 (Gallup)
Jimmy Carter 26% 26 7/1979
George H.W. Bush 31% 59 7/1992
Lyndon Johnson 35% 52 8/1968 (Gallup)
Bill Clinton 36% 51 9/1994
Gerald Ford 37% 39 1/1975 (Gallup)
Ronald Reagan 41% 47 1/1983
Dwight Eisenhower 48% 36 3/1958 (Gallup)
Franklin Roosevelt 48% 43 8/1939
John F. Kennedy 56% 29 9/1963 (Gallup)

Jennifer De Pinto is manager of election and survey information for CBS News. Poll Positions is weekly Hotsheet feature on polling trends from the CBS News Survey and Polling Unit. Click here for more posts from the series.

As Yet Unanswered Ed / Rush Challenge

You're a coward, Rush!!

I've always thought that...
... ALWAYS thought that.

The Rude Pundit on Monday's Stephanie Miller Show

Via Rude Pundit
Here's the Rude Pundit's latest appearance on The Stephanie Miller Show. Thrill to the undercurrent of unspoken want as they discuss more Republican shenanigans and abject failure at the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearings:

Dems Rip Eric Cantor For Secret Plot To Make Obama Own Economy

Via Plum Line

House Dems are tearing into the GOP leadership over Greg Sargent's post reporting that Republicans had put in place a concerted strategy to make sure that Obama owns the economy. House Dem leadership aide Doug Thornell emails:

This confirms what we thought the entire Republican brain trust has been up to for six months — nothing. When you are suffering embarrassingly low poll numbers, maybe it’s time to come up with some ideas instead of playing `gotcha’ games.

Thornell also argues that today’s Washington Post poll, which contains some bad news for Obama also has plenty of it for Republicans, too. The internals show that Bush still owns the economy, with nearly twice as many blaming Bush (62%) than blame Obama (32%) for the country’s economic situation.

What’s more, the poll also finds that voters trust Obama over the GOP to handle the economy, health care, and the deficit by lopsided margins. Indeed, as Matthew Yglesias notes, some of the numbers might make Congressional Dems more inclined, rather than less, to get behind Obama’s agenda. Of course, that’s presuming those Dems don’t just rely on headlines and the cable nets for their grasp of public opinion.

Yet Again, Email + Republican Elected Officials = Repulsive Racism

Via Wonkette

Hey, we’ve gone all week without some fuckface old Republican getting caught sending hateful racist email about the Obamas. Maybe racism really is on the wane, in America. Maybe old white GOP officials have finally realized it’s not super funny to send hilarious jokes about the coloreds, to everybody, about the president. Ha, right. The latest batch of foul, blatant racism comes from “City Councilman Gary Frago,” in some place near Merced, California. And he’s not sorry, either! “I’m not the only one that does it,” Frago told the Merced Sun-Star. Yeah, we’ve noticed.

In all, the Sun-Star obtained seven e-mails that Frago sent from October 2008 to February 2009 from an anonymous source.

Some compared Obama to O.J. Simpson while others suggested that “nigger rigs” should now be called “presidential solutions.”

Perhaps the most overboard e-mail was sent on Jan. 15. It read: “Breaking News Playboy just offered Sarah Palin $1 million to pose nude in the January issue. Michelle Obama got the same offer from National Geographic.”

The newspaper tracked down the person who sent the emails to Frago — as always, Frago simply forwarded these humorous items to everyone in town. And you know what? The guy who sent ‘em to Frago didn’t find anything racist about these racist emails, either! Niggers are just a naturally funny subject, to everyone:

Rieger said the jokes he sent had no racial meaning. “As far as I’m concerned the e-mails need no explanation,” he said. “I sent them out, I’m not concerned with it,” he said.

Rieger also said he had no idea what Frago’s constituents might think of the e-mails. “I’m sure if I was black I’d have a different idea of what was funny,” he said. “I got black friends that I would tell these jokes to and they would roll on the floor in laughter.”

Sure you do, “Rieger,” sure you do.

Questions raised about councilman’s conduct after discovery of racist e-mails [Sun-Star]

Mark Sanford Bitchslaps Soulmate In Open Letter

Via Gawker

In an groveling open letter, Gov. Mark Sanford calls his whole affair his "funeral," negating all the warm fuzzies his sultry Argentinian shoved-under-the-rug soulmate felt from his love letters. Those flames of love burn, baby, burn.

We'd hate to be Maria Belen Chapur about now. Her heart once swelled with pure angel-kissed amor for the *ahem* handsome American hombre. Their's was a transcendent love detailed in Mark Sanford's by now widely read lovemails. Now, it's "wrong," a "funeral," a "misfortune," a "failure." Them's the dangers of dating Republican, Maria. They're just not that into you...once they're discovered.

So, Mark Sanford has ditched MBC to lead the righteous life of quoting scripture, fake-smiling next to his wife, and groveling in the mud for public forgiveness.

A few soundbites:

I have struggled with how best to convey my regret in letting so many down, and in that regard I realize this op-ed does not do justice to the process of saying "I am sorry."


It is true that I did wrong and failed at the largest of levels, but equally true is the fact that God can make good of our respective wrongs in life. In this vein, while none of us has the chance to attend our own funeral, in many ways I feel like I was at my own in the past weeks, and surprisingly I am thankful for the perspective it has afforded.


In this regard I think all that has transpired will be particularly relevant in the way I deal with the legislative body and other state leaders going forward. Micah 6:8 asks us to do justice, love mercy, and to walk humbly, and as I begin these steps into the last 18 months of this administration, it will indeed be with a more contrite and humble spirit.


Finally it is at your funeral that you in many ways not only can see most clearly the things that really matter in life, but where one gets the best glimpse of who your real friends are – and how much they matter. For that reason, I want to thank so many for their kindnesses and support over the years and for their kindness in this latest chapter in our book together as South Carolinians.