Friday, April 1, 2011

Another Sign of the Apocalypse - Snooki Edition

Snooki Earns Higher Speaking Fee Than Toni Morrison - The Famous - omg! on Yahoo:
"Rutgers University recently booked Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison for its commencement address in May for a price of $30,000. Meanwhile, the university recently had Rolling Stone cover girl Snooki on campus for an hour-long Q&A, shelling out $32,000 for the 'Jersey Shore' star."

Miley Cyrus On hard work

Miley Cyrus needs a good lobbyist to ward off Rebecca Black | Timothy P. Carney | Beltway Confidential | Washington Examiner:
"'It should be harder to be an artist,' Cyrus told Australia's Daily Telegraph. 'You shouldn't just be able to put a song on YouTube and go out on tour.'"

I can't possibly comment on this.

Sean Duffy caught lying.

Of course they wouldn't actually ever say "he lied to us"

Stiglitz on where we are

Balloon Juice » “The Fat and the Furious”: "Of all the costs imposed on our society by the top 1 percent, perhaps the greatest is this: the erosion of our sense of identity, in which fair play, equality of opportunity, and a sense of community are so important. America has long prided itself on being a fair society, where everyone has an equal chance of getting ahead, but the statistics suggest otherwise: the chances of a poor citizen, or even a middle-class citizen, making it to the top in America are smaller than in many countries of Europe. The cards are stacked against them. It is this sense of an unjust system without opportunity that has given rise to the conflagrations in the Middle East: rising food prices and growing and persistent youth unemployment simply served as kindling. With youth unemployment in America at around 20 percent (and in some locations, and among some socio-demographic groups, at twice that); with one out of six Americans desiring a full-time job not able to get one; with one out of seven Americans on food stamps (and about the same number suffering from “food insecurity”)—given all this, there is ample evidence that something has blocked the vaunted “trickling down” from the top 1 percent to everyone else."

Trumping Fox

Donald Trump - Fox News - Mondays With Trump | Mediaite:
"Need to add some spice to your Monday morning? Fox & Friends has announced just the thing for the media nerd that simply can’t get enough of the most attention-grabbing potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates yet: “Mondays with Trump,” a brand new segment where “The Donald now makes his voice loud and clear on Fox” on the news of the day."

Rant About Incompetent Property Management

I will preface this with a note that I am not at the moment going to name the incompetent boobs that manage  our complex because I will probably manage to say something that will get me sued but ...

We live in a reasonably nice apartment community here in the Atlanta area. Posted rent is about 900 bucks a month for a 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment. Nothing exciting, not great, not bad .. just a decent apartment in a non-terrible neighborhood.

The property management company is just fucking appallingly incompetent. It started the first month after we were moved in. We got a "dear deadbeat" (yes it was that rude) letter from them because we had  underpaid our rent by a fraction of the amount of the water bill. The reason that we had done that was that we received the water bill AFTER we had paid the rent for the month (and after the first of the month) and had estimated the bill. We were $6 short on our estimate ...

There was a dead spot in the floor in the hallway. It was there when we moved in. We reported it. Nothing was done. It was still there a month later when the new maintenance manager came around to do an inspection. He agreed that something would need to be done and we would have it fixed within a week. 2 weeks later they were reminded of this and THEN they sent a carpet installer to look at it. After another week it was fixed.

The (in)security gates are in sad shape. They work, then they don't work and now the one to let us OUT works but the one that lets us IN is broken and has been for over a month. The line I got on this from the property manager today was "well it is hard for us to fix it when it is always raining". Now it has been raining the last couple days but that doesn't really explain the previous 3 weeks.

Not to mention the mold problem that we have going on in both bedrooms. There is a serious condensation issue and as a result we now have mold on the casements in both bedrooms. We have reported it twice, the most recent time in mid-February, just before we went on vacation. Nothing, to our knowledge, had been done.

Last night we heard this strange hammering sound outside and realized it was out air conditioning unit. So I turned off the unit and made a mental note to give them a call today to come take a look. This morning, I heard the sound of water dripping. I wandered around the apartment looking for it and finally realized it was in the utility closet. There was over an inch of water in the bottom and there was water dripping from the interior part of the a/c unit (part is outdoors part is indoors). Needless to say I called the management office and to their credit they came over promptly.

Turns out that there was ice on the interior of the unit. I know nothing about a/c so I have no idea how that happens. The fellow said that it was best to let it melt by itself and he would come back this afternoon to check out the unit both inside and out (I had told him about the racket it was making outdoors last night). He vacuumed up the water and put a bucket under it to catch the remaining drips. This was 10 AM.
At 3 PM I checked and all of the ice had melted and I had yet to see any sign of the fellow that was supposed to be back to fix things. Figuring that it was friday afternoon and not wanting to have someone get ordered to come over at 530 to do a rush job, I gave the office a call and reminded them (nicely ... really) that they still had to come back to check on it. The manager assured me that they were going to be back this afternoon and I went back to watching tv.
At 5:00 I took a stroll down to get the mail, amazingly enough located by the management office. While I was getting  my mail my cellphone rang but it was in my back pocket so I let it go to voicemail. It was from the property manager telling me what I already knew, that the air intake had frozen up and they were waiting for it to clear of ice. Now note that I had told them 2 hours before that the ice was melted.
Since I was right by the office anyway I went in to have a little chat with the property manager. I explained my point of view that he was not exactly running a quality organization and it was hard to see how they cared in the slightest about maintenance in the complex (I haven't mentioned the broken lights, lack of general maintenance and altogether shabby appearance that had come about). The property manager assured me that the team did care about the quality of work being done but he was at a bit of a loss to explain what evidence there was of that.
Since I was already cranky, I asked about the work order for the mold in the bedrooms. He looked them up and said "yes we dealt with that". I asked for details and it was clear from the response that the worker had come in, given a wipe to dry up the condensation and closed the ticket. Needless to say I was less than enthused with this.
As I finish typing this, the maintenance supervisor is in the apartment dealing with the a/c unit. He basically passed the buck on everything to "it is hard to get good help". As long as it get fixed ...


CEO Pay up 27% Worker Pay up 2%

ThinkProgress » In 2010, CEO Pay Went Up 27% While Worker Pay Went Up 2%: "At a time most employees can barely remember their last substantial raise, median CEO pay jumped 27% in 2010 as the executives’ compensation started working its way back to prerecession levels, a USA TODAY analysis of data from GovernanceMetrics International found. Workers in private industry, meanwhile, saw their compensation grow just 2.1% in the 12 months ended December 2010, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics."


 I apologize in advance for this but it had to be shown.

Honestly thought this was a joke because it is so stupid

Arizona’s Flab Tax - Swampland - "Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, as part of a broader package to reduce costs of Medicaid in Arizona, is proposing an annual $50 charge for patients who are obese. The Wall Street Journal called this a 'Fat Fee,' though it could go by many other names: Corpulence Cost, Plumpness Payment, Overweight Outlay, Stoutness Setback, Big-Bottom Dollar. Wordplay aside, if her proposal is approved by the state legislature and the federal government lodges no objections, it would mark the first time Medicaid patients have been financially punished for what the state deems unhealthy habits."

I'll Take Stupid Constitutional Amendments for $500 Alex

Dopiest Constitutional Amendment of All Time? | Capital Gains and Games: "This is really mind boggling in its insanity. It appears to say that outlays in fiscal year 2012, which begins on October 1, 2011, may not exceed 18 percent of GDP in calendar year 2010, since that is the last full calendar year before the beginning of the next fiscal year. I assume that is so that members of Congress will have a guide for the coming year's appropriations. Right at the moment, we think GDP was $14,657.8 billion in 2010, so that means that outays in FY2012 could not be more than $2,638.4 billion. But GDP generally rises over time. The CBO expects that calendar year 2012 GDP will be $15,858 billion. Assuming that Congress was somehow or other able to meet its spending target of $2,638.4 billion, that would equal just 16.6 percent of calendar 2012 GDP. The same thing would happen year after year, forcing down spending as a share of GDP under the guise of balancing the budget."

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rick Mercer on Voting

Rick Mercer - RickMercer: "So please, if you're between the age of 18 and 25 and you want to scare the hell out of the people that run this country, this time around do the unexpected. Take 20 minutes out of your day and do what young people all around the world are dying to do."

On Criminalizing Attempted Suicide While Pregnant

Pregnant Women Need Support, Not Prison » Blog of Rights: Official Blog of the American Civil Liberties Union:
"The facts of this case are heartbreaking. On December 23, 2010, Shuai, a 34-year-old pregnant woman who was suffering from a major depressive disorder, attempted to take her own life. Friends found her in time and persuaded her to get help. Six days later, Shuai underwent cesarean surgery and delivered a premature newborn girl who, tragically, died four days later.

On March 14, 2011, Shuai was arrested, jailed, and charged with murder and attempted feticide. Had Shuai, who is being represented by National Advocates for Pregnant Women and local attorneys, not been pregnant when she attempted suicide, she would not have been charged with any crime at all."

FDA to KV Pharma ... Not so fast

FDA Reverses Decision to Give Drug Company Right to Ripoff Pregnant Women | FDL Action:
"This is a rare piece of good news reflecting the positive impact investigative journalism and public outcry can have. The Food and Drug Administration has partly reversed its horrible decision to grant a drug company an exclusive monopoly over an already commonly used medication, which allowed that company to jack up prices 15,000%. From the Washington Post:"

KV Pharma is still a nasty-ass company.

Just in case anyone cares, this is a list of some of their other products. I know that I will do my best to avoid buying them

They operate as Nesher Pharmaceuticals and as Ther-Rx. It is in the latter guise that they have turned into unconscionable greedheads.
But we don't need government regulation ... the market always works ... right ...

Fuckwittage: Sean Duffy and Joe Johns Edition

Sean Duffy To CNN: TPM Selectively Edited My Video! | TPMDC:
"On CNN Newsrom today, CNN reporter Joe Johns accused TPM of posting a 'selectively edited' version of the town hall appearance where Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) discussed 'struggling' to live on his $174,000/ year salary. The accusation came by way of Duffy's office, which Johns reported said the clip had been deliberately cut to leave off Duffy saying he would support cutting his salary."

However, if you watch the full video it actually makes Rep Duffy look even more clueless (imho)
Go over to TPM and see the full and edited versions and tell me if CNN is being used to try to make TPM look like Breitbart?

GOP Stupidity: Tom Marino Edition

Frosh GOPer On Foreign Affairs Committee Wonders If Obama Will Attack 'Africa' After Libya | TPMDC: "'The bottom line is I wish the president would have told us, talked to Congress about what is the plan. Is there a plan? Is the mission to take Gadhafi out?' Mr. Marino asked.... 'Where does it stop?' he said. 'Do we go into Africa next? I don't want to sound callous or cold, but this could go on indefinitely around the world.'"

Animal Rights Advocate Posts Nonsense, Hilarity Ensues

From over at Respectful Insolence comes this gem. Needless to say the poster is asked to support his claims. Needless to say, no citations are forthcoming.


1) Less than 2% of human illnesses (1.16%) are ever seen in animals. Over 98% never affect animals.
2) According to the former scientific executive of Huntingdon Life Sciences, animal tests and human results agree “5%-25% of the time.”
3) Among the hundreds of techniques available instead of animal experiments, cell culture toxicology methods give accuracy rates of 80-85%
4) 92% of drugs passed by animal tests immediately fail when first tried on humans because they’re useless, dangerous or both.
5) The two most common illnesses in the Western world are lung cancer from smoking and heart disease. Neither can be reproduced in lab animals.
6) A 2004 survey of doctors in the UK showed that 83% wanted a independent scientific evaluation of whether animal experiments had relevance to human patients. Less than 1 in 4 (21%) had more confidence in animal tests than in non-animal methods.
7) Rats are 37% effective in identifying what causes cancer to humans – less use than guessing. The experimenters said: “we would have been better off to have tossed a coin.”
8. Rodents are the animals almost always used in cancer research. They never get carcinomas, the human form of cancer, which affects membranes (eg lung cancer). Their sarcomas affect bone and connective tissue: the two are completely different.
9) The results from animal tests are routinely altered radically by diet, light, noise, temperature, lab staff and bedding. Bedding differences caused cancer rates of over 90% and almost zero in the same strain of mice at different labs.
10)Sex differences among lab animals can cause contradictory results. This does not correspond with humans.
11) 75% of side effects identified in animals never occur.
12) Over half of side effects cannot be detected in lab animals.
13) Vioxx was shown to protect the heart of mice, dogs, monkeys and other lab animals. It was linked to heart attacks and strokes in up to 139,000 humans.
14) Genetically modified animals are not like humans. The mdx mouse is supposed to have muscular dystrophy, but the muscles regenerate with no treatment.
15) GM animal the CF- mouse never gets fluid infections in the lungs – the cause of death for 95% of human cystic fibrosis patients.
16) In America, 106,000 deaths a year are attributed to reactions to medical drugs.
17) Each year 2.1 million Americans are hospitalised by medical treatment.
18) In the UK an estimated 70,000 people are killed or severely disabled every year by unexpected reactions to drugs. All these drugs have passed animal tests.
19) In the UKs House Of Lords questions have been asked regarding why unexpected reactions to drugs (which passed animal tests) kill more people than cancer.
20) A German doctors’ congress concluded that 6% of fatal illnesses and 25% of organic illness are caused by medicines. All have been animal tested.
21) According to a thorough study, 88% of stillbirths are caused by drugs which passed animal tests.
22) 61% of birth defects were found to have the same cause.
23) 70% of drugs which cause human birth defects are safe in pregnant monkeys.
24) 78% of foetus-damaging chemicals can be detected by one non-animal test.
25) Thousands of safe products cause birth defects in lab animals – including water, several vitamins, vegetable oils, oxygen and drinking waters. Of more than 1000 substances dangerous in lab animals, over 97% are safe in humans.
26) One of the most common lifesaving operation (for ectopic pregnancies) was delayed 40 years by vivisection.
27) The great Dr Hadwen noted “had animal experiments been relied upon…humanity would have been robbed of this great blessing of anaesthesia.”
28) Aspirin fails animal tests, as do digitalis (heart drug), cancer drugs, insulin (which causes animal birth defects), penicillin and other safe medicines. They would be banned if vivisection were believed.
29) Blood transfusions were delayed 200 years by animal studies.
30) The polio vaccine was delayed 40 years by monkey tests.
31) 30 HIV vaccines, 33 spinal cord damage drugs, and over 700 treatments for stroke have been developed in animals. None work in humans.
32) Despite many Nobel prizes going to vivisectors, only 45% agree that animal experiments are crucial.
33) The Director of Research Defence Society, (which serves only to defend vivisection) was asked if medical progress could have been achieved without animal use. His written reply was “I am sure it could be.”
Posted by: sean micheal | March 30, 2011 3:29 PM

How the insane people think

Black Run America: Atlanta Suburbs Too White | Occidental Dissent: "No one in their right fucking mind wants to live under the incompetence and corruption that comes with an African-American controlled city government. While n***** aren’t exactly zombies, they have overrun Atlanta in much the same way. They also have reinforcements coming from up North."

The Rude One On Birthers

The Rude Pundit: "With Obama, you can't be taken seriously if you say you just don't like a n***** president (except by your mule-raping relatives), but you can say that you don't believe that Obama was really born in America. However, since very little would change policy-wise if you're right, then the only reason to think that you're right and everyone else is involved in massive cover-up is that you are a fucking racist bag of shit."

Amazon vs Record Companies - Get out the popcorn

Amazon on Cloud Player: we don't need no stinkin' licenses: "That's Amazon spokesperson Cat Griffin's response to questions over whether the company's new music storage and playback services require licenses from the record companies to operate. Amazon seems to insist that since users are uploading and playing back their own music, the original download licenses still apply and no new licenses are necessary—a seemingly logical conclusion that the record industry disagrees with."

Arrested for "Attempting to participate"

Man jailed in new kind of terrorist case for Canada - The Globe and Mail:
"Mr. Hersi is now jailed awaiting trial on what amounts to a new kind of “terrorist” case for Canada. He stands accused of “attempting to participate” in terrorist activity and counselling unspecified persons to do the same."
That Canada has the kind of law that makes this possible scares the shit out of me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Video - Mr. Freeze - Six Flags

I love rollercoasters

Fuckwittage: indiana Abortion Law edition

ThinkProgress » VIDEO: Indiana GOP Rep Says Women Will Pretend To Be Raped To Get Free Abortions: "I just want you to think about this, in my view, giant loophole that could be created where someone who could — now i want to be careful, I don’t want to disparage in any way someone who has gone through the experience of a rape or incest — but someone who is desirous of an abortion could simply say that they’ve been raped or there’s incest."

Matt Barber: in his own Words

Lest anyone think that this asshole was misquoted

ACT! for America are the ones that are Un-American

Matt Barber is such a sweet man

Barber Slams "Anti-Christ Activists" In "The Pro-Sin Movement" For Criticizing His Comments On Gay Suicide | Right Wing Watch: "On Monday, Right Wing Watch reported on Matt Barber’s claim that the disproportionately high rate of suicide among gay youth was because “kids who are engaging in homosexual behavior often look inward and know that what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, is immoral, and so they become depressed and the instances of suicide can rise.”"

breaking: GOP Pisses Off Blue Dogs

Senior Blue Dog Says House GOP 'Talked Down' To Them On Budget | TPMDC:
"Rep. Colin Peterson (D-MN), a founding member of the Blue Dogs, told TPM he didn't think the talks were 'all that effective' because House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had 'talked down to them' during a recent meeting."

Nice going!

on Bribery in Florida

Let's say it again: Florida's legislators are for sale - St. Petersburg Times: "The twisted logic used in the Capitol, and what your legislator will try to tell you, is that it's better for the Legislature to be paid off directly.

See, they will write it down in a separate little report. So this is all about 'informing the public' and 'transparency.'

If they try to give you this line, just ask this question:

'So, is it legal to make unlimited payoffs to 'leadership funds' that are operated directly by the leaders of the Legislature, or not?'


Alan Greenspan can STFU

Wonk Room » After Presiding Over Financial Meltdown, Greenspan Returns To Criticize Financial Reform: "The financial system on which Dodd-Frank is being imposed is far more complex than the lawmakers, and even most regulators, apparently contemplate. We will almost certainly end up with a number of regulatory inconsistencies whose consequences cannot be readily anticipated. Early returns on the restructuring do not bode well."

Ron Paul is an idiot

Does Ron Paul Want To Stop The Supreme Court From Ruling On Prop 8? | The New Civil Rights Movement: "Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced the Orwellian-named “We The People Act” again last week, which seeks to prohibit the Supreme Court — and all federal courts — from ruling on cases involving religious liberty, sexual orientation, family relations, education, and abortion. This would effectively allow the fifty states fifty different codes on all social issues, and devour the “full faith and credit clause,” also known as Article Four, Section 1, of the United States Constitution, as well as weaken due process under the Fourteenth Amendment."

Things that make no sense

The Conservative States Of America - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:
"Conservatism, more and more, is the ideology of the economically left behind. "
There is no group that should be LESS interested in conservatism than those that are getting screwed in the current economy. I honestly do not understand how it is so easy to get people to vote against their own economic interests so that rich folk can get richer.

Fuckwittage: GOP Misusing DMCA

GOPers Demand Sean Duffy Salary Tape Be Pulled From The Internet (VIDEO) | TPMDC: "First the Republican Party in Polk County, Wisconsin, pulled the tape of Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) fretting about making ends meet on his $174,000 a year salary from its own website. Now they want it gone from the whole Internet."

Russ Feingold has this about right

Russ Feingold: Jeffrey Immelt must go - The Plum Line - The Washington Post: "It’s everything that’s wrong with corporate power today: News broke last week that General Electric, America’s largest corporation, made $14,200,000,000 in profits last year and paid $0 in taxes -- that’s right, zero dollars in taxes. At the same time, C.E.O. Jeffrey Immelt saw his compensation double. Now I hear that GE is expected to ask 15,000 of their unionized workers to make major concessions in wages and benefits.

But what really adds insult to injury is the prestigious and influential position Jeffrey Immelt holds as chair of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. That’s wrong. Someone like Immelt, who has helped his company evade taxes on its huge profits -- and is now looking to workers to take major pay cuts after his compensation was doubled -- should not lead the administration’s effort to create jobs..."

Sullivan gets it just right

Gandhi Too, Ctd - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan: "When will these people realize that a man whose greatest love was for another man - whether he was celibate or not - was fricking gay. Being gay is not about having sex, or the umpteenth time. It's about being emotinally and sexually attracted to someone of the same gender. If the facts Lelyveld gathers are correct, then Gandhi was gay, even though those who still have no clue about homosexuality deny it. The same goes for Lincoln. You can put any cultural or historical gloss on it - and, yes, gayness required elaborate forms of euphemism and artifice in days gone by. But a passionate and long-lived crush on another man, romantically and sexually, even if nothing happens, is called homosexuality. Deal with it."

On What really helps

Balloon Juice » And When You Starve To Death, John Boehner Will Become Enlightened: "If you want to help a hungry person, donate food to your local food bank and donate cash to your local Democrats. If you want to feel good, create a “circle of protection” via prayer. There’s nothing wrong with feeling good, but your good feelings are not going to win the class war that Bittman writes about so eloquently in his column."

On Economic Stimulus

Spend $$$ on a computer, you promote the making of more computers. Spend $$$ on a movie, you promote the making of more movies. (!) Spend $$$ on a bicycle you promote the making of more bicycles. Spend $$$ on a bomb…

PZ Meyers on Death

Ray Comfort is gonna die : Pharyngula:
"A stress test is where they make your heart work very, very hard while they examine it; I was put in a kind of exercise/torture device and told to start peddling as hard as I could, while electrodes all over my naked chest were recording the electrical activity, and the doctor made sonograms of my heart, which I could watch as I worked up a good sweat. And it was reassuring: my heart was strong, unscarred, beating well, with no irregularities. I made it through the whole test and did well. Then it was over, and I got out of the device, and that's when the trouble began."
Well worth the read.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fuckwittage: Tweet of the day edition

Twitter / @Jonah Goldberg: I will never forgive Obama ...: "@JonahNRO
Jonah Goldberg
I will never forgive Obama for taking the fun out of getting rid of Muamar Qaddafi."

Even if this could be spun as a joke it is despicable

Adam Serwer brings us A Birtherism Lexicon

A Birtherism Lexicon:
"This seems like a good opportunity to write a birtherism lexicon to distinguish varieties of birtherism."

Adam Serwer has a very nice piece. Go read it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

President Obama on Libya - The Text

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on Libya

National Defense University
Washington, D.C.

7:31 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Tonight, I’d like to update the American people on the international effort that we have led in Libya –- what we’ve done, what we plan to do, and why this matters to us.
I want to begin by paying tribute to our men and women in uniform who, once again, have acted with courage, professionalism and patriotism.  They have moved with incredible speed and strength.  Because of them and our dedicated diplomats, a coalition has been forged and countless lives have been saved.
Meanwhile, as we speak, our troops are supporting our ally Japan, leaving Iraq to its people, stopping the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and going after al Qaeda all across the globe.  As Commander-in-Chief, I’m grateful to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and to their families. And I know all Americans share in that sentiment.
For generations, the United States of America has played a unique role as an anchor of global security and as an advocate for human freedom.  Mindful of the risks and costs of military action, we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges.  But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act.  That’s what happened in Libya over the course of these last six weeks. 
Libya sits directly between Tunisia and Egypt -– two nations that inspired the world when their people rose up to take control of their own destiny.  For more than four decades, the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant -– Muammar Qaddafi.  He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world –- including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.
Last month, Qaddafi’s grip of fear appeared to give way to the promise of freedom.  In cities and towns across the country, Libyans took to the streets to claim their basic human rights.  As one Libyan said, “For the first time we finally have hope that our nightmare of 40 years will soon be over.”
Faced with this opposition, Qaddafi began attacking his people.  As President, my immediate concern was the safety of our citizens, so we evacuated our embassy and all Americans who sought our assistance.  Then we took a series of swift steps in a matter of days to answer Qaddafi’s aggression.  We froze more than $33 billion of Qaddafi’s regime’s assets.  Joining with other nations at the United Nations Security Council, we broadened our sanctions, imposed an arms embargo, and enabled Qaddafi and those around him to be held accountable for their crimes.  I made it clear that Qaddafi had lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to lead, and I said that he needed to step down from power.
In the face of the world’s condemnation, Qaddafi chose to escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the Libyan people.  Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked.  Journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed.  Supplies of food and fuel were choked off.  Water for hundreds of thousands of people in Misurata was shut off.  Cities and towns were shelled, mosques were destroyed, and apartment buildings reduced to rubble.  Military jets and helicopter gunships were unleashed upon people who had no means to defend themselves against assaults from the air.
Confronted by this brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, I ordered warships into the Mediterranean.  European allies declared their willingness to commit resources to stop the killing.  The Libyan opposition and the Arab League appealed to the world to save lives in Libya.  And so at my direction, America led an effort with our allies at the United Nations Security Council to pass a historic resolution that authorized a no-fly zone to stop the regime’s attacks from the air, and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people.
Ten days ago, having tried to end the violence without using force, the international community offered Qaddafi a final chance to stop his campaign of killing, or face the consequences.  Rather than stand down, his forces continued their advance, bearing down on the city of Benghazi, home to nearly 700,000 men, women and children who sought their freedom from fear.
At this point, the United States and the world faced a choice.  Qaddafi declared he would show “no mercy” to his own people.  He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment.  In the past, we have seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day.  Now we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city.  We knew that if we wanted -- if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.
It was not in our national interest to let that happen.  I refused to let that happen.  And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. 
We struck regime forces approaching Benghazi to save that city and the people within it.  We hit Qaddafi’s troops in neighboring Ajdabiya, allowing the opposition to drive them out. We hit Qaddafi’s air defenses, which paved the way for a no-fly zone.  We targeted tanks and military assets that had been choking off towns and cities, and we cut off much of their source of supply.  And tonight, I can report that we have stopped Qaddafi’s deadly advance.
In this effort, the United States has not acted alone. Instead, we have been joined by a strong and growing coalition. This includes our closest allies -– nations like the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey –- all of whom have fought by our sides for decades.  And it includes Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, who have chosen to meet their responsibilities to defend the Libyan people.
To summarize, then:  In just one month, the United States has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure an international mandate to protect civilians, stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre, and establish a no-fly zone with our allies and partners.  To lend some perspective on how rapidly this military and diplomatic response came together, when people were being brutalized in Bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a year to intervene with air power to protect civilians.  It took us 31 days.
Moreover, we’ve accomplished these objectives consistent with the pledge that I made to the American people at the outset of our military operations.  I said that America’s role would be limited; that we would not put ground troops into Libya; that we would focus our unique capabilities on the front end of the operation and that we would transfer responsibility to our allies and partners.  Tonight, we are fulfilling that pledge.
Our most effective alliance, NATO, has taken command of the enforcement of the arms embargo and the no-fly zone.  Last night, NATO decided to take on the additional responsibility of protecting Libyan civilians.  This transfer from the United States to NATO will take place on Wednesday.  Going forward, the lead in enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians on the ground will transition to our allies and partners, and I am fully confident that our coalition will keep the pressure on Qaddafi’s remaining forces. 
In that effort, the United States will play a supporting role -- including intelligence, logistical support, search and rescue assistance, and capabilities to jam regime communications. Because of this transition to a broader, NATO-based coalition, the risk and cost of this operation -- to our military and to American taxpayers -- will be reduced significantly.
So for those who doubted our capacity to carry out this operation, I want to be clear:  The United States of America has done what we said we would do.
That’s not to say that our work is complete.  In addition to our NATO responsibilities, we will work with the international community to provide assistance to the people of Libya, who need food for the hungry and medical care for the wounded.  We will safeguard the more than $33 billion that was frozen from the Qaddafi regime so that it’s available to rebuild Libya.  After all, the money doesn’t belong to Qaddafi or to us -- it belongs to the Libyan people.  And we’ll make sure they receive it.
Tomorrow, Secretary Clinton will go to London, where she will meet with the Libyan opposition and consult with more than 30 nations.  These discussions will focus on what kind of political effort is necessary to pressure Qaddafi, while also supporting a transition to the future that the Libyan people deserve -- because while our military mission is narrowly focused on saving lives, we continue to pursue the broader goal of a Libya that belongs not to a dictator, but to its people.
Now, despite the success of our efforts over the past week, I know that some Americans continue to have questions about our efforts in Libya.  Qaddafi has not yet stepped down from power, and until he does, Libya will remain dangerous.  Moreover, even after Qaddafi does leave power, 40 years of tyranny has left Libya fractured and without strong civil institutions.  The transition to a legitimate government that is responsive to the Libyan people will be a difficult task.  And while the United States will do our part to help, it will be a task for the international community and –- more importantly –- a task for the Libyan people themselves.
In fact, much of the debate in Washington has put forward a false choice when it comes to Libya.  On the one hand, some question why America should intervene at all -– even in limited ways –- in this distant land.  They argue that there are many places in the world where innocent civilians face brutal violence at the hands of their government, and America should not be expected to police the world, particularly when we have so many pressing needs here at home.
It’s true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs.  And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action.  But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right.  In this particular country -– Libya  -- at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale.  We had a unique ability to stop that violence:  an international mandate for action, a broad coalition prepared to join us, the support of Arab countries, and a plea for help from the Libyan people themselves.  We also had the ability to stop Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks without putting American troops on the ground.
To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and -– more profoundly -– our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are.  Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries.  The United States of America is different.  And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.
Moreover, America has an important strategic interest in preventing Qaddafi from overrunning those who oppose him.  A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya’s borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful –- yet fragile -– transitions in Egypt and Tunisia.  The democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship, as repressive leaders concluded that violence is the best strategy to cling to power.  The writ of the United Nations Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling that institution’s future credibility to uphold global peace and security.  So while I will never minimize the costs involved in military action, I am convinced that a failure to act in Libya would have carried a far greater price for America.
Now, just as there are those who have argued against intervention in Libya, there are others who have suggested that we broaden our military mission beyond the task of protecting the Libyan people, and do whatever it takes to bring down Qaddafi and usher in a new government.
Of course, there is no question that Libya -– and the world –- would be better off with Qaddafi out of power.  I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means.  But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.
The task that I assigned our forces -– to protect the Libyan people from immediate danger, and to establish a no-fly zone -– carries with it a U.N. mandate and international support.  It’s also what the Libyan opposition asked us to do.  If we tried to overthrow Qaddafi by force, our coalition would splinter.  We would likely have to put U.S. troops on the ground to accomplish that mission, or risk killing many civilians from the air.  The dangers faced by our men and women in uniform would be far greater.  So would the costs and our share of the responsibility for what comes next.
To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq.  Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our troops and the determination of our diplomats, we are hopeful about Iraq’s future.  But regime change there took eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives, and nearly a trillion dollars.  That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.
As the bulk of our military effort ratchets down, what we can do -- and will do -- is support the aspirations of the Libyan people.  We have intervened to stop a massacre, and we will work with our allies and partners to maintain the safety of civilians. We will deny the regime arms, cut off its supplies of cash, assist the opposition, and work with other nations to hasten the day when Qaddafi leaves power.  It may not happen overnight, as a badly weakened Qaddafi tries desperately to hang on to power.  But it should be clear to those around Qaddafi, and to every Libyan, that history is not on Qaddafi’s side.  With the time and space that we have provided for the Libyan people, they will be able to determine their own destiny, and that is how it should be. 
Let me close by addressing what this action says about the use of America’s military power, and America’s broader leadership in the world, under my presidency.
As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than keeping this country safe.  And no decision weighs on me more than when to deploy our men and women in uniform.  I’ve made it clear that I will never hesitate to use our military swiftly, decisively, and unilaterally when necessary to defend our people, our homeland, our allies and our core interests.  That's why we’re going after al Qaeda wherever they seek a foothold.  That is why we continue to fight in Afghanistan, even as we have ended our combat mission in Iraq and removed more than 100,000 troops from that country. 
There will be times, though, when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and our values are.  Sometimes, the course of history poses challenges that threaten our common humanity and our common security -– responding to natural disasters, for example; or preventing genocide and keeping the peace; ensuring regional security, and maintaining the flow of commerce.  These may not be America’s problems alone, but they are important to us.  They’re problems worth solving.  And in these circumstances, we know that the United States, as the world’s most powerful nation, will often be called upon to help.
In such cases, we should not be afraid to act -– but the burden of action should not be America’s alone.  As we have in Libya, our task is instead to mobilize the international community for collective action.  Because contrary to the claims of some, American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves.  Real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well; to work with allies and partners so that they bear their share of the burden and pay their share of the costs; and to see that the principles of justice and human dignity are upheld by all.
That’s the kind of leadership we’ve shown in Libya.  Of course, even when we act as part of a coalition, the risks of any military action will be high.  Those risks were realized when one of our planes malfunctioned over Libya.  Yet when one of our airmen parachuted to the ground, in a country whose leader has so often demonized the United States –- in a region that has such a difficult history with our country –- this American did not find enemies.  Instead, he was met by people who embraced him.  One young Libyan who came to his aid said, “We are your friends.  We are so grateful to those men who are protecting the skies.”
This voice is just one of many in a region where a new generation is refusing to be denied their rights and opportunities any longer. 
Yes, this change will make the world more complicated for a time.  Progress will be uneven, and change will come differently to different countries.  There are places, like Egypt, where this change will inspire us and raise our hopes.  And then there will be places, like Iran, where change is fiercely suppressed.  The dark forces of civil conflict and sectarian war will have to be averted, and difficult political and economic concerns will have to be addressed. 
The United States will not be able to dictate the pace and scope of this change.  Only the people of the region can do that. But we can make a difference. 
I believe that this movement of change cannot be turned back, and that we must stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles that have guided us through many storms:  our opposition to violence directed at one’s own people; our support for a set of universal rights, including the freedom for people to express themselves and choose their leaders; our support for governments that are ultimately responsive to the aspirations of the people.
Born, as we are, out of a revolution by those who longed to be free, we welcome the fact that history is on the move in the Middle East and North Africa, and that young people are leading the way.  Because wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States.  Ultimately, it is that faith -- those ideals -- that are the true measure of American leadership.
My fellow Americans, I know that at a time of upheaval overseas -- when the news is filled with conflict and change -- it can be tempting to turn away from the world.  And as I’ve said before, our strength abroad is anchored in our strength here at home.  That must always be our North Star -- the ability of our people to reach their potential, to make wise choices with our resources, to enlarge the prosperity that serves as a wellspring for our power, and to live the values that we hold so dear.
But let us also remember that for generations, we have done the hard work of protecting our own people, as well as millions around the globe.  We have done so because we know that our own future is safer, our own future is brighter, if more of mankind can live with the bright light of freedom and dignity. 
Tonight, let us give thanks for the Americans who are serving through these trying times, and the coalition that is carrying our effort forward.  And let us look to the future with confidence and hope not only for our own country, but for all those yearning for freedom around the world.
Thank you.  God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)  Thank you.   
                           END                  7:58 P.M. EDT

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stunning Development - Ayers Admits to writing Obama's Book

Oh stop, you know that I can tell sarcasm when I hear it.
The amusing part is that the youtube user that posted this doesn't seem to be able to do so.

Sad really.

Geekery: Wifi Radio

MightyOhm » Blog Archive » Jan’s Wifi Radio has a modern look: "Not content to simply duplicate my work, he added a few creative twists of his own, including a custom handmade case made of alucobond, MDF, and real wood veneer that gives his finished radio a nice, modern look. Inside, a hacked WL-520gU wireless router running OpenWrt runs the show and an ATmega microcontroller programmed with BASCOM interfaces with a rotary encoder and graphical LCD display."

Georgia Tax Reform Benefits Rich Hurts low income.

Tax bill resuscitated |

"Ries said the plan really benefits white-collar entrepreneurs who file their business taxes using the individual income tax schedule. The tax council wanted to devise a scheme to attract those kinds of businesses, and the jobs they create, to the state by offering a more forgiving tax structure.

It does mean that lower-income taxpayers who itemize their deductions now could see their taxes increase, so lawmakers are trying to find a way to fix that, she said. Ries said that likely will mean saving some common deductions, but placing a cap on them to favor those hurt most by the new measures."

Imagine my shock.
Full disclosure, this is a very good bill for me. Doesn't mean that I think it is a good idea

Jay Bilas' Bracketology

 This amuses me to no end.
via Lawyers, Guns & Money

On Biden's Closet

Balloon Juice » Stenographer Banished to Closet:
"The proper response to being “shooed back inside” a closet buy some staffer is to tell them to go fuck themselves, walk out with your head up, and then proceed to make their lives miserable in your paper. Not to whine about it after accepting the treatment. They have to be hiding something, right? Otherwise why do they want you in a holding room? And why do you call yourself a reporter and let them treat you that way?"
Whichever staffer thought this was a good idea should be looking for work on Monday.

On Padded Bikinis for Little Girls

Zandar Versus The Stupid: This Week's WTH:
"(CNN) -- No stranger to controversy, U.S. retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has come under fire for offering a push-up bikini top to young girls. Its 'Ashley' bikini -- described as 'padded' and a 'push-up' -- was posted on the Abercrombie Kids website earlier this week."

I always feel that walking into Abercrombie & Fitch (I have a 15 year old) is like walking into a kiddie porn shop but this is extreme even by their bizarre standards.

Concern Troll is concerned

CBO Says Health Care Bill Will Cost $90 Billion More Than Originally Thought | Rise of the Center:

"This stuff is way over my head… but during the run up to the passage of the bill, I saw a lot of data tossed about that struck me as being some pretty big assumptions, and I seriously doubt some of the cuts that are built into these assumptions will actually pass. Hopefully this potential shift wont be so big as to make it so the bill actually adds to the deficit… but I wouldn’t be surprised."

Translation: I was lied to by the evil Democrats.

These so-called centrists make me ill.

Juan Cole on Libya

An Open Letter to the Left on Libya | Informed Comment:
"I would like to urge the Left to learn to chew gum and walk at the same time. It is possible to reason our way through, on a case-by-case basis, to an ethical progressive position that supports the ordinary folk in their travails in places like Libya. If we just don’t care if the people of Benghazi are subjected to murder and repression on a vast scale, we aren’t people of the Left"

This is an interesting and quite persuasive piece from someone that I respect a lot.

One problem that i have with it is that large portions of it read to me as "Libya is different than SOMEWHERE because ..." where SOMEWHERE is any place that is used as part of an argument against intervention by the US. This kind of situational ethics scares me for some reason.

Another major problem is that it assumes something not yet in evidence. Namely that there will not be a requirement for ground troops. If this does not turn out to be the case then a large chunk of his argument fails.

I hope that he is correct and I will be more than happy to say I am wrong if in 90 days this is over, Qaddafi is gone and there are no American troops stationed in Tripoli. Check back mid-June.

A Fraud Upon the People of Guatemala

WOMEN'S LENS - Un coup d'oeil féminin: La Première dame du Guatemala: «Je divorce pour me marier avec le peuple»:
"La Première dame du Guatemala, Sandra Torres, obligée de divorcer de son mari, le président Alvaro Colom, pour pouvoir briguer sa succession en septembre, a justifié sa décision jeudi par sa volonté de se «marier avec le peuple»."

These people should be ashamed of themselves. They are cynically getting divorced so that she can run for president.


A Geraldine Ferraro Quote

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

John Cole won't miss her, nor will I.