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Month: September 2009

Senate Finance Committee Ignores Public in Public Option Debate

Senate Finance Committee Ignores Public in Public Option Debate

From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — After a half-day of animated debate, the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday rejected efforts by liberal Democrats to add a government-run health insurance plan to major health care legislation, dealing the first official setback to an idea that many Democrats, including President Obama, say they support.

All of the other versions of the health care legislation advancing in Congress — a bill approved by the Senate health committee and a trio of bills in the House — include some version of the government-run plan, or public option.

But the Finance Committee chairman, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, long ago removed it from his proposal because of stiff opposition from Republicans who call the public plan a step toward “socialized medicine.”

So Max Baucus, a DEMOCRAT who is in the MAJORITY party of the Senate and heads the Finance Committee, cut the public option from the bill even though 65% of Americans are in favor of the idea.  How did this Democrat get so much power?  Who’s ass was he kissing?  Seriously… the Democrats whipped the Republicans last November and gained control over White House and increased their numbers in Congress, yet they act like they lost.  They act like they think they are doing us a favor by listening to the losers on the Right who DO NOT represent the people.  Why is that?  How come the Democrats can’t govern like they have a mandate when they really do have one?

Max Baucus is NOT doing his job.  He is not a representative of the people.  Who could he be representing?  Could it be Satan?  No…  You want to know who?


As his committee has taken center stage in the battle over health-care reform, Chairman Baucus (D-Mont.) has emerged as a leading recipient of Senate campaign contributions from the hospitals, insurers and other medical interest groups hoping to shape the legislation to their advantage. Health-related companies and their employees gave Baucus’s political committees nearly $1.5 million in 2007 and 2008, when he began holding hearings and making preparations for this year’s reform debate.

Top health executives and lobbyists have continued to flock to the senator’s often extravagant fundraising events in recent months. During a Senate break in late June, for example, Baucus held his 10th annual fly-fishing and golfing weekend in Big Sky, Mont., for a minimum donation of $2,500. Later this month comes “Camp Baucus,” a “trip for the whole family” that adds horseback riding and hiking to the list of activities.

To avoid any appearance of favoritism, his aides say, Baucus quietly began refusing contributions from health-care political action committees after June 1. But the policy does not apply to lobbyists or corporate executives, who continued to make donations, disclosure records show.

Read it all.  Get mad.  If you live in Montana, vote the guy out of office.

Glenn Beck Brings Freak Show to Seattle Tomorrow

Glenn Beck Brings Freak Show to Seattle Tomorrow

This Staturday, the mayor of Mount Vernon is going to give Glenn Beck the key to the city.  If it was closer, I would go up there and let everyone in Mount Vernon know what I think of Glenn Beck…

From the AP:

Mount Vernon Mayor Bud Norris came up with the idea to honor Beck, proclaiming Sept. 26 as “Glenn Beck Day” as a way to honor his success as a nationally known broadcaster. The event at which Beck is scheduled to speak sold out.

But, I just found out that I don’t have to drive for over an hour to flip him off in person.  All that I need to do is go down to Safeco field.

From the Seattle PI:

The Emerald City is hosting a man who calls Barack Obama a “racist,” sees a back-to-school presidential speech as “indoctrinating” children and defends an obscure 18th Century constitutional provision that set in place the slave trade and capped taxes at $10 a slave.

While paying good money to see such a lunatic is hard to fathom, the Seattle PI continues:

Still, there are plenty of “wing nuts” to give Beck a warm welcome. The private reception-with photos ($500) is sold out as well as the private reception-without-photos ($250) and the on-field seats with lunch ($100).

I will most likely walk down there just to gawk at the folks that look to him as a hero (and laugh at them).

Has Anybody Seen this Man?

Has Anybody Seen this Man?

George-Bush-with-Flag Has Anybody Seen this Man?

Where did he go?

David Michael Green wants to know why all those people that loved him back in 2001, 2002, and 2003 have abandoned him.

…the troglodytes of the right seem to have disappeared their former grand hero almost completely these days.  Isn’t that odd?  They never talk about him anymore, as if he had never even existed.  They seem quite desperately to want to vanish him entirely, like the body of some beaten-to-death prisoner at Abu Ghraib. 

Hmmm.  Wonder why?  Wonder what gives? 

I’ll go out on a limb here and speculate that it might have something to do with the fact that the Bush presidency was a spectacular failure.  You know, a total train wreck.  A complete cock-up.  A gigantic exercise in FUBAR so bad that nobody wants to be associated with it, anymore than with syphilis or projectile vomit.

It’s a very entertaining column that also grabs on to the new “well Bush wasn’t really a conservative” argument and throws it back in the faces of those who dare to use it.

Oh, I know what it was.  They’re angry that he didn’t slash taxes during his presidency!  That’s obviously it. 

Maybe they’re fuming because he didn’t put real regressive, pro-government, pro-executive branch, pro-corporate, 13th-century-social-policy-preferring, justices on the Supreme Court – people like John Roberts or Sam Alito, for example. 

There’s much, much more here.  Go read it.

Obama Backsteps on Unlawful Detentions

Obama Backsteps on Unlawful Detentions

This is disappointing:

The Obama administration has decided not to seek new legislation from Congress authorizing the indefinite detention of about 50 terrorism suspects being held without charges at at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, officials said Wednesday.

Instead, the administration will continue to hold the detainees without bringing them to trial based on the power it says it has under the Congressional resolution passed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, authorizing the president to use force against forces of Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

In concluding that it does not need specific permission from Congress to hold detainees without charges, the Obama administration is adopting one of the arguments advanced by the Bush administration in years of debates about detention policies.

But President Obama’s advisers are not embracing the more disputed Bush contention that the president has inherent power under the Constitution to detain terrorism suspects indefinitely regardless of Congress.

The Justice Department said in a statement Wednesday night that “the administration would rely on authority already provided by Congress” under the use of force resolution. “The administration is not currently seeking additional authorization,” the statement said.

The department pointed out that courts would continue to review the cases of those held without charges through habeas corpus hearings. The Washington Post first reported the decision.

Sarah E. Mendelson, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who led a study about closing Guantánamo, said forgoing legislation was “overall a good step” because it prevented Congress from making things worse. “We don’t know if it closes the door definitively on efforts to institutionalize detention without charge,” she added, “since the White House might seek to do this by itself.”

That’s two steps back maybe one step forward.

A fear-mongering, power-grabbing president created the Guantánamo Bay detention camp without explicit congressional backing, so an emboldened, pragmatic president ought to be able to undo it in the same way.  It looks like Obama has backed away from being that president.

As far as the ridiculous politically charged fears of holding terrorists on American soil – it’s completely irrational.  We have hundreds, maybe even thousands of very despicable American people incarcerated in maximum security prisons on our soil already.  Are you scared?  I’m not, and I wouldn’t be scared if our government tried and convicted some despicable Middle Eastern people and held them in maximum security prisons on our soil.

Obama is a constitutional lawyer.  He knows the right thing to do, and he spoke about it last May.

There is also no question that Guantanamo set back the moral authority that is America’s strongest currency in the world. Instead of building a durable framework for the struggle against al Qaeda that drew upon our deeply held values and traditions, our government was defending positions that undermined the rule of law. In fact, part of the rationale for establishing Guantanamo in the first place was the misplaced notion that a prison there would be beyond the law — a proposition that the Supreme Court soundly rejected. Meanwhile, instead of serving as a tool to counter terrorism, Guantanamo became a symbol that helped al Qaeda recruit terrorists to its cause. Indeed, the existence of Guantanamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.

So the record is clear: Rather than keeping us safer, the prison at Guantanamo has weakened American national security. It is a rallying cry for our enemies. It sets back the willingness of our allies to work with us in fighting an enemy that operates in scores of countries. By any measure, the costs of keeping it open far exceed the complications involved in closing it. That’s why I argued that it should be closed throughout my campaign, and that is why I ordered it closed within one year.

… It is my responsibility to solve the problem. Our security interests will not permit us to delay. Our courts won’t allow it. And neither should our conscience.

… In our constitutional system, prolonged detention should not be the decision of any one man. If and when we determine that the United States must hold individuals to keep them from carrying out an act of war, we will do so within a system that involves judicial and congressional oversight. And so, going forward, my administration will work with Congress to develop an appropriate legal regime so that our efforts are consistent with our values and our Constitution.

Obama should just forget about the fickle congress and do what he said back in May:  Close Guantanamo, move the remaining prisoners to maximum security prisons on American soil, try those we can prove committed crimes, and develop a system consistent with our constitution and values that deals with those who are truly at war with us.

UPDATE:  A few hours after posting this, I read this column on by Glenn Greewald, who is very thorough as always.  He is glad that Congress has been taken out of the loop.

…nothing good — and plenty of bad — could come from having Congress write a new detention law.  As bad as the Obama administration is on detention issues, the Congress is far worse.  Any time the words “Terrorism” or “Al Qaeda” are uttered, they leap to the most extreme and authoritarian measures.  Congress is intended to be a check on presidential powers, but each time Terrorism is the issue, the ironic opposite occurs:  when the Obama administration and Congress are at odds, it is Congress demanding greater powers of executive detention (as happened when Congress blocked Obama from transferring Guantanamo detainees to the U.S.).

LOLzPorn site is a funny new site

LOLzPorn site is a funny new site

A couple days ago I was chatting with a friend bouncing ideas off each other and he was asking me what I thought about the website ?

funny-pictures-cat-is-a-zombie LOLzPorn site is a funny new site

see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I told him that I thought it was a pretty funny site.  He next asked me what I would think about a site that posts porn images with funny LOL speak captions.  As we discussed this,  would we both started laughing and determined that it was a fun idea. After all, what could be funnier than LOL porn?

From that conversation, (Not Safe for Work) was born. From the site:

At LOLzPorn you’ll find the Interweb’s funniest sex pictures. Because breathing heavy and laughing are nearly the same thing!

Here is a redacted version of an image on the site (Clicking image will open NSFW version):

cheezburger-300x192 LOLzPorn site is a funny new site

In a nutshell, LOLzPorn is a fun place to find hot nude pics with silly captions added.  You’ll ROFL from some of the clever captions on the images.  The site has everything from sexy pics to shocking photos.  This is a twist on the classic porn images found all over the internet.

Friday Night Videos – Bobby Bare, Jr., Harry Nilsson, and Birds

Friday Night Videos – Bobby Bare, Jr., Harry Nilsson, and Birds

Bobby Bare, Jr. loves Seattle (especially Ballard), so he comes here a lot. Tonight’s he’s bringing along his band to the Tractor Tavern. You should go to the rock ‘n roll show.

Here’s a video from a full band performance he did in Portland about a year ago.


I loved Harry Nilsson’s “Coconut” song when I was a kid, and it’s been going through my head for the past few days.   It’s from his album Nilsson Schmillson that alos includes his hit single, “Without You.”

I found this Jarbas Agnelli video on the Harper’s site last week.  It’s called “Birds on the Wires.”

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.

I know it’s only wired crows, but I like it, like it, yes I do.