27 January 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

Let us welcome Ray and his first post on From Pine View Farm.

I look forward to many more.

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By their hypocrisy shall ye know them:

A Utah retailer of family-friendly tapes and DVDs – Hollywood films with the “dirty parts” cut out of them – has been arrested for trading sex with two 14-year-old girls.

Orem police say Flix Club owner Daniel Dean Thompson, 31, and Issac Lifferth, 24, were booked into the Utah County jail on charges of sexual abuse and unlawful sexual activity with a 14-year-old.

Sounds like he–and the unnamed 14-year-old girl–would have been better a lot better off if he had just watched the movies off to which to get his rocks.

(Aside: Of all the things that set me off, false holier-than-thou hypocrisy is just about at the top of the list. Since it has a lot of practitioners, I guess I should just get used to being set off.)

Via Susie.

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27 January 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

Susie lays it out.

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27 January 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

The following is an excerpt from a New York Times article dated 10/7/1931 during the last days of the Hoover administration:

Census authorities are moving apple sellers from their list of jobless to the category of “employed” because they say many people selling “unemployed apple” are earning a good living.

“It’s a great life.”

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26 January 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Geek Stuff

Jeffrey Powers from Geekazine explains how:

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26 January 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

I earlier shared my views on “legacy.”

I pointed out that a legacy is not something that can be created, but rather is the accumulation of a career of behavior.

Take a look at the results of a career:

Legacy

How did it happen? Find out here.

Via Digby.

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26 January 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

I understand that, on Monday, the Current Federal Administrator will deliver his final “State of the Union” address.

Just as a reminder, the Constitution of the United States of America (which the Current Federal Administrator has ignored at his whim) mandates that persons have rights the President

shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

(We’ll forget that horseshit about taking care that the laws be faithfully executed and such–that’s clearly not relevant in This Day and Age.)

Me, I’m more interested in reality.

So, on Monday evening, I think I shall go up into the attic and dig out my copy of Tarzan Meets the Ape Men from Mars, so I can indulge in something more securely connected to reality than anything that would come from the mouth of the Current Federal Administrator.

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26 January 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

AKA Reaganomics voodoo economics.

The Big Lie of Republican economic policy.

From Fact Check dot org. Follow the link for a more nuanced explanation, including very a description of the very limited circumstances in which there may be a soucon of truth hidden in the Big Lie:

Q: Have tax cuts always resulted in higher tax revenues and more economic growth as many tax cut proponents claim?

A: No. In fact, economists say tax cuts do not spark enough growth to pay for themselves.

But it is without doubt that Republican tax cuts make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

That’s why Republicans have to lie about them.

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A Charge To Keep

George W. Bush is famous for his attachment to a painting which he acquired after becoming a “born again Christian.” It’s by W.H.D. Koerner and is entitled “A Charge to Keep.” Bush was so taken by it, that he took the painting’s name for his own official autobiography. And here’s what he says about it:

    I thought I would share with you a recent bit of Texas history which epitomizes our mission. When you come into my office, please take a look at the beautiful painting of a horseman determinedly charging up what appears to be a steep and rough trail. This is us. What adds complete life to the painting for me is the message of Charles Wesley that we serve One greater than ourselves.

So in Bush’s view (or perhaps I should say, faith) the key figure, with whom he personally identifies, is a missionary spreading the word of the Methodist Christianity in the American West in the late nineteenth century.

(snip)

Only that is not the title, message, or meaning of the painting. The artist, W.H.D. Koerner, executed it to illustrate a Western short story entitled “The Slipper Tongue,” published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1916. The story is about a smooth-talking horse thief who is caught, and then escapes a lynch mob in the Sand Hills of Nebraska. The illustration depicts the thief fleeing his captors. In the magazine, the illustration bears the caption: “Had His Start Been Fifteen Minutes Longer He Would Not Have Been Caught.”

So Bush’s inspiring, prosyletizing Methodist is in fact a silver-tongued horse thief fleeing from a lynch mob. It seems a fitting marker for the Bush presidency. Bush has consistently exhibited what psychologists call the “Tolstoy syndrome.” That is, he is completely convinced he knows what things are, so he shuts down all avenues of inquiry about them and disregards the information that is offered to him. This is the hallmark of a tragically bad executive. But in this case, it couldn’t be more precious. The president of the United States has identified closely with a man he sees as a mythic, heroic figure. But in fact he’s a wily criminal one step out in front of justice. It perfectly reflects Bush the man. . . and Bush the president.

Like everything else about the Current Federal Administration, the explanation is an illusion founded in a delusion.

For a definition of the Tolstoy Syndrone, go here.

Via Dan Froomkin.

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25 January 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break, Political Theatre

From Fact Check dot org:

Dems:

A radio ad sponsored by Hillary Clinton reprises her misleading claim that Barack Obama likes Republican ideas. Obama has responded with an ad that makes a half-true accusation that Clinton “championed” NAFTA. We find that both claims are misleading and that the candidates are, in fact, making mountains of molehills.

Specifically, we found that:

  • Clinton’s ad falsely implies that Obama supported “special tax breaks for Wall Street” and running up the deficit, and that he opposed minimum wage increases while refusing to deal with the housing crisis. In fact, Obama voted to increase the minimum wage and actually supported some cost-cutting measures that Clinton opposed.
  • Obama’s claim that Clinton flip-flopped on NAFTA is half-true. She did change her position, but she did so long before she began running for president.
  • In fact, the two candidates vote with Democrats more than 90 percent of the time and voted with each other 94 percent of the time. Interest groups give them nearly identical ratings for being liberal.

Update, Jan. 24: The Associated Press reported, about the time we were posting this article, that both campaigns had pulled these two ads off the air.

Repubs (no reports of any pull back from them):

In last night’s debate, held days before Tuesday’s Republican primary in the Sunshine State, the remaining GOP candidates came up with a few new factual distortions and repeated several old ones. Among them:

  • McCain said he had won the Republican vote in both the South Carolina and New Hampshire primaries, where independent voters also participate. One exit poll showed him narrowly prevailing with Republicans in New Hampshire, while another didn’t. And the same poll that favored him in that state had him losing the GOP vote to Huckabee in South Carolina.
  • McCain all but denied that he had said he didn’t know much about economics. In fact, he did say that he needed “to be educated” on the subject.
  • McCain also said he voted twice to make Bush’s tax cuts permanent – but doesn’t mention that he initially opposed them.
  • Romney falsely portrayed Hillary Clinton’s proposed health care plan as an all-government program. It’s not.
  • Huckabee once again claimed the FairTax would benefit everyone. That’s not possible.

Editorial comment. (Caution: May have to click through some ads, but it’s worth it.)

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Turn off the switch:

Nuclear reactors across the Southeast could be forced to throttle back or temporarily shut down later this year because drought is drying up the rivers and lakes that supply power plants with the awesome amounts of cooling water they need to operate.

Utility officials say such shutdowns probably wouldn’t result in blackouts. But they could lead to shockingly higher electric bills for millions of Southerners, because the region’s utilities could be forced to buy expensive replacement power from other energy companies.

Already, there has been one brief, drought-related shutdown, at a reactor in Alabama over the summer.

“Water is the nuclear industry’s Achilles’ heel,” said Jim Warren, executive director of N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, an environmental group critical of nuclear power. “You need a lot of water to operate nuclear plants.” He added: “This is becoming a crisis.”

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23 January 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

“I have no recollection of that at this point in time.” (Familiar phrasing to those of us of a Certain Age.)

(“Because, well, there’s no evidence to belie my statement, however much I be lying.”)

18 1/2 missing minutes of tape reprise.

Only this time, it’s not measured in minutes.

It’s measured in years.

Years of lies and perfidy.

President Bush’s White House early on scrapped a custom archiving system that the Clinton administration had adopted under a federal court order. From 2001 to 2003, the Bush White House also recorded over computer backup tapes that provided a last line of defense for preserving e-mails, even though a similar practice landed the Clinton administration in legal trouble.

As a result, several years’ worth of electronic communication may have been lost, potentially including e-mails documenting administration actions in the run-up to the Iraq war.

They can’t live up to their lawful obligation to preserve public records.

But these, natch, are the same folks who think they should know our every communication.

They call it the “Protect America Act.”

Yeah.

Right.

It is the “Destroy American Liberties Act.”

The so-called “Protect America Act of 2007,” which we are calling the “Police America Act,” allows for massive, untargeted collection of international communications without court order or meaningful oversight by either Congress or the courts. It contains virtually no protections for the U.S. end of the phone call or email, leaving decisions about the collection, mining and use of Americans’ private communications up to this administration.

Oh, yeah, and corporations that broke the law should be excused from that, I guess, because, well, King George the Wurst is the law.

Just ask him.

And wingnut fellow traveler Harry Reid is right there behind it:

Harry Reid — who has (a) done more than any other individual to ensure that Bush’s demands for telecom immunity and warrantless eavesdropping powers will be met in full and (b) allowed the Republicans all year to block virtually every bill without having to bother to actually filibuster — went to the Senate floor yesterday and, with the scripted assistance of Mitch McConnell and Pat Leahy, warned Chris Dodd, Russ Feingold and others that they would be selfishly wreaking havoc on the schedules of their fellow Senators (making them work over the weekend, ruining their planned “retreat,” and even preventing them from going to Davos!) if they bothered everyone with their annoying, pointless little filibuster.

To do so, Reid announced that, unlike for the multiple filibusters from Republican colleagues, he would actually force Dodd and company to engage in a real filibuster. This is what Reid said:

    [I]f people think they are going to talk this to death, we are going to be in here all night. This is not something we are going to have a silent filibuster on. If someone wants to filibuster this bill, they are going to do it in the openness of the Senate.

That is what Democrats have been urging Reid to do to the filibustering Republicans all year — in order to dramatize their obstructionism — but he has refused to make them actually filibuster anything, generously agreeing instead that every bill requires 60 votes. Instead, he reserves such punishment only for the members of his own caucus trying to take a stand for the rule of law and the Constitution, those who are trying finally to bring some accountability to this administration.

It is time to restore the rule of law.

Honestly, folks, those who willingly give up their liberties are those who are not worthy of them.

Call, write, email, or fax your Senator or Representative incongrously assembled and remind him or her that this is used to be should be was conceived as a nation ruled by law, not by despotism.

Portions via Atrios.

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This is what my son is fighting for.

Of course, this is old news:

US President George W. Bush and his top officials ran roughshod over the truth in the run-up to the Iraq war lying a total of 935 times, a study released Wednesday found.

Bush and his then secretary of state Colin Powell made the most false statements as they sought to drum up support for the March 2003 invasion to topple Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the study alleged.

In a damning report, the Center for Public Integrity found “935 false statements by eight top administration officials that mentioned Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, or links to Al-Qaeda, on at least 532 separate occasions.”

Happy now?

H/T to Linda.

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Josh Marshall reviews the S. C. Democratic debate here:

Fact Check dot org reviews the claims:

In one of the liveliest debates of the 2008 presidential campaign, the three top Democrats slugged it out in Myrtle Beach, S.C. We noted some low blows:

  • Clinton falsely accused Obama of saying he “really liked the ideas of the Republicans” including private Social Security accounts and deficit spending. Not true. The entire 49-minute interview to which she refers contains no endorsement of private Social Security accounts or deficit spending, and Obama specifically scorned GOP calls for tax cuts.
  • Obama falsely denied endorsing single-payer government health insurance when he first ran for the Senate, saying, “I never said that we should try to go ahead and get single-payer.” But in fact he gave a speech in 2003 saying, “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer health care program.”
  • Edwards misleadingly claimed, “I was the one who beat John McCain” in a recent CNN poll. The problem is that there is a more recent CNN poll, one that shows either Clinton or Obama beating McCain and doesn’t include Edwards.

Hillary Clinton’s quick moves to hit below the belt gives me the willies.

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21 January 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: America's Concentration Camps

What’s it like to attempt to defend prisoners imprisoned with no charges, granted no rights?

Here from the lawyers who have taken pro bono cases for the wretches swept up in the Bushie dragnet:

That the U.S. government even debated whether detainees have a right to representation should make us all shiver. What the attorneys endured will leave you laughing, gasping – or both.

After David McColgin took on a client in 2004, he spent a year and a half just trying to meet the man.

“We couldn’t see him without a signature,” the veteran federal defender said, “but we couldn’t get his signature without seeing him.”

Then again, his colleague Christi Charpentier noted, it’s hard to get a client to trust you if he thinks you’re either a secret agent or a powerless pawn.

“He wanted us to bring him cigarettes,” she said of one wary detainee. “And we couldn’t.”

Even good news from Gitmo is maddeningly surreal, as federal defender Shawn Nolan experienced.

“I got an e-mail last February from the government saying, ‘Your clients are eligible for release.’ ”

“I e-mailed right back asking, ‘What does this mean?’ ”

Despite all his efforts, he’s still waiting for a response.

But wait! There’s more!

Follow the link to read the whole damned sad story of the perfidy of the Current Federal Administration.

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was the predecessor of Bushonomics, and about as destructive.

Paul Krugman (emphasis added):

But where . . . was the clear declaration that Reaganomics failed?

For it did fail. The Reagan economy was a one-hit wonder. Yes, there was a boom in the mid-1980s, as the economy recovered from a severe recession. But while the rich got much richer, there was little sustained economic improvement for most Americans. By the late 1980s, middle-class incomes were barely higher than they had been a decade before — and the poverty rate had actually risen.

The Republican Party, now and ever the Party of Privilege.

Via Susie.

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21 January 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: It Is To Laugh

From El Reg:

Italian nude models have hit art schools where it hurts by resolutely refusing to get their kit off in a strike over pay and conditions, the Times reports.

The protestors are demanding “professional recognition” and full-time contracts in an industry where just 50 of 300 nude models have “fixed annual contracts”, while the rest are paid by the hour.

Antonella Migliorini, 42, described posing naked as a “tough, cold job”. She said: “We are not porn stars. If you’re lucky enough to have a full-time job you might make €25 an hour.”

Migliorini further bemoaned that art schools “do not show us much consideration – our privacy is violated”. She explained: “Once a group of about 30 Japanese tourists turned up and started taking photographs. I had to cover myself up quickly.”

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20 January 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Theatre

From the Onion:


Immigration: The Human Cost

H/T to Raymond.

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20 January 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: First Looks

Raymond Krauss will soon be joining me in blogging From Pine View Farm.

He has already made contributions here and here. Soon he will be contributing directly.

I think his thorough research and incisive reasoning will make this a much more interesting place to be.

More news at it develops.

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20 January 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Drumbeats

On the Media explores two beating drums in the Bushie campaign to monger more war:

First: The Current Federal Administrator’s tour of the Middle East. From the website:

President Bush returned this week from the Middle East, where he toured with a three-point agenda: peace, Iran and oil. According to The Week’s Susan Caskie, editorials from the region were all in agreement – thumbs down.

Go to the website or listen here (MP3):

Second: The claims of Iranian speedboats threatening U. S. warships:

Both Iran and the U.S. released doctored videos recently of a January 6th confrontation in the Strait of Hormuz. The Washington Post’s Bill Arkin says the awkwardly produced videos, plus a prankster called the ‘Filipino monkey,’ have overshadowed the real story in the media.

The story analyzes the how both the tapes–the one released by the Pentagon and the one released by Iran–were doctored.

Go to the website or listen here (MP3):

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