Blagojevich Appoints Burris

December 30, 2008

What are this guy’s balls made out of?

“Governor Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois said Tuesday that he will appoint Roland W. Burris, a former Illinois attorney general, to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant seat in the United States Senate, setting up a potential battle with Senate leaders who say they will not seat anyone whom he appoints.

Mr. Blagojevich faces federal corruption charges, including accusations that he tried to sell Mr. Obama’s former seat for a high-paying job or money. Impeachment proceedings against the governor are under way in the Illinois House, and 50 United States senators, President-elect Obama and state officials have called for his resignation.

Mr. Blagojevich, who has denied all wrongdoing, had not been expected to try to fill the seat in defiance of Senate leaders, who have indicated since two days after the governor’s arrest on Dec. 9 that they would not recognize his choice.” (from NY Times)

Bob Herbert doesn’t think it’s a good idea to let him just fade off into the sunset:

“When Mr. Bush officially takes his leave in three weeks (in reality, he checked out long ago), most Americans will be content to sigh good riddance. I disagree. I don’t think he should be allowed to slip quietly out of town. There should be a great hue and cry — a loud, collective angry howl, demonstrations with signs and bullhorns and fiery speeches — over the damage he’s done to this country.

This is the man who gave us the war in Iraq and Guantánamo and torture and rendition; who turned the Clinton economy and the budget surplus into fool’s gold; who dithered while New Orleans drowned; who trampled our civil liberties at home and ruined our reputation abroad; who let Dick Cheney run hog wild and thought Brownie was doing a heckuva job.”

I agree. There should be some form of reckoning for this administration.

Read Herbert’s whole article here.

1991

December 28, 2008

I’m looking California…and feeling Minnesota…

Israel Pounds Gaza

December 28, 2008

Israel has begun massive, spohisticated airstrikes against Gaza in retaliation for primitive rocket attacks:

“Israeli warplanes pounded Hamas installations across the Gaza Strip on Saturday and early Sunday in retaliation for rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel. At least 225 Palestinians were killed and more than 400 wounded, Palestinian health officials reported, one of the highest daily death tolls in decades of conflict.
After the strikes, which created panic across the strip, filled hospitals with the injured and sent black clouds billowing into the sky, Palestinians launched dozens of rockets into southern Israel, killing a man in the town of Netivot and wounding at least four.”

Unsurprisingly, there’s a domestic political calculus invovled here, as the Labor/Kadima Parties attempts to stave off charges of weakness from the conservative Likud Party:

“The assault occurred at a time of political uncertainty in Israel, with elections scheduled for February to choose a successor to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is stepping down in the wake of corruption charges. Likud party leader Binyamin Netanyahu, who leads in recent polls, has accused the government, led by the Labor Party, and the centrist Kadima party, led by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, of not doing enough to act against Hamas.”

A Hamas-Israel ceasefire ended December 19th. Israel has maintained a strict embargo against Gaza, which has caused tremendous economic and humanitarian cost. Hamas expected the embargo to be lifted at the end of the ceasefire, however Israel refused, arguing, “Hamas had not kept its pledge to bring the rocket fire to a halt.

“Over the past week, the number of rockets and mortar shells being fired into southern Israel increased dramatically, with more than 60 fired Wednesday and more than 80 Thursday. The rise has sown fear in Israeli towns, but there had been no fatalities among Israelis during the week until Saturday.”

As the LA Times reports:

“As Palestinian medical officials put the death toll at 271 and said many were unarmed civilians, the scale of the bloodshed unsettled the Middle East and alarmed world leaders involved in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.”

Juan Cole points out the disconnect between the US response to these attacks and that of the rest of the world, including the EU and the UN:

“The UN Security Council held a special evening session on Saturday and issued a call for an immediate ceasefire. The attacks drew a furious response from the Arab world. Egypt, which has collaborated with Israel in blockading the Gazans, branded its partner’s air strikes ‘murder.’ The US, which for some odd reason holds an irrational hatred of the Palestinians, branded the dead Gaza policemen ‘thugs’ and blamed the massive aerial strikes solely on Hamas, the fundamentalist Muslim party that controls Gaza.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, outgoing president of the European Union, issued among the more measured responses: ‘The President of the Republic expresses his lively concern at the escalation of violence in the south of Israel and in the Gaza Strip. He firmly condemns the irresponsible provocations that have led to this situation as well as the use of disproportionate force. The president of the republic deplores the significant loss of civilian life and expresses his condolences to the innocent victims and their families.’

Sarkozy ‘requests an immediate cessation of rocket fire directed at Israel as well as of Israeli bombardment of Gaza, and he calls on the parties to exercise self-restraint. He reminds everyone that there is no military solution to Gaza, and demands the implementation of a durable truce.'”

Dozens of innocent bystanders were killed in the Israeli attacks.

Glenn Greenwald adds:

“Here, as but one illustrative example, is Caroline Kennedy — who, in order to win her Senate seat, is self-consciously trying to turn herself into a Barack Obama clone — responding recently to a question about Israel from Politico:

QUESTION 8: Do you think Israel should negotiate with Hamas? Do you agree with Israel’s Gaza Strip embargo? Would you support an Israeli airstrike on Iran if they felt Tehran’s nuclear program represented a threat to their survival?
ANSWER: ‘Caroline Kennedy strongly supports a safe and secure Israel. She believe Israel’s security decisions should be left to Israel.’

What could be more absurd than that? Apparently, not only should we continue to feed Israel billions of dollars a year of American taxpayer money and massive amounts of weapons — thereby ensuring that the world, quite accurately, perceives their actions as American actions — but we should then take the position that they are free to do anything they want with it, no matter how extreme or destructive to our interests, and our only view on all of it should be that we blindly support whatever they do.”

Exactly.

Pakistan, while pledging not to attack India first, has begun moving 20,000 troops from the Afghan border east to the border with India:

“Pakistan has begun moving some troops away from its western border with Afghanistan and has stopped soldiers from going on leave amid rising tensions with India, Pakistani officials said Friday.

Two of the officials said the troops were headed to the border with India in the east.”

Juan Cole offers some analysis:

“This troop movement appears to be preventative, and to have been made possible by the advent of cold weather in the north, which would have made it impossible for that division to operate in any case.

It may also be that the troop movement is an attempt by Pakistan to put pressure on the US to pressure India to back off. The US wants the Pakistani army fighting the Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, which abut Afghanistan and serve as bases from the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan could be signalling that if it has to worry about a military challenge from India, it can hardly pursue campaigns like the recent one at Bajaur, a far north tribal agency. “

WTF??!!

December 27, 2008

Xmas brings out the best in all of us. You just don’t talk during Benjamin F$%#ING Button, is all. Just common sense.

From philly.com:

“A South Philadelphia man enraged because a father and son were talking during a Christmas showing of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button took care of the situation when he pulled a .380-caliber gun and shot the father, police said.”

He “took care of the situation.” T.C.S.

Happy Holidays!!

“Barack The Magic Negro”

December 27, 2008

Sorry, folks for the long break from posting while we were enjoying (more like enduring) the Christmas festivities. I was pleased to see, however, that the Republicans did not forget about us a gave us a beautiful Xmas gift. Via Steve Benen:

“[GOP operative] Chip Saltsman distributed a CD containing “Barack the Magic Negro” as a Christmas greeting to members of the Republican National Committee. Saltsman, Mike Huckabee’s former campaign manager and former chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, used the music as part of his campaign to lead the RNC.

Despite the controversy that ensued in response to Saltsman’s offensive choice in music, Republican officials were noticeably silent about the issue.”

So what’s this CD all about? Take a gander:

“The CD, called ‘We Hate the USA,’ lampoons liberals with such songs as ‘John Edwards’ Poverty Tour,’ ‘Wright place, wrong pastor,’ ‘Love Client #9,’ ‘Ivory and Ebony’ and ‘The Star Spanglish banner.’

Several of the track titles, including ‘Barack the Magic Negro,’ are written in bold font.

The song…debuted on Limbaugh’s show in late March 2007”

That’s right, Limbaugh’s been pushing this song for almost a year now, and Republicans have had no qualms about appearing on his show over and over again.

Republicans. Like school in the summertime…no class.

The Obama camp released its internal report on contacts with Gov. Blagojecvich’s office. The results are unsurprising:

“The accounts support your statement on December 11, 2008 that you “have never spoken to the
Governor on this subject [or] about these issues,” and that you “had no contact with the
Governor’s office.” In addition, the accounts contain no indication of inappropriate discussions
with the Governor or anyone from his office about a “deal” or a quid pro quo arrangement in
which he would receive a personal benefit in return for any specific appointment to fill the
vacancy.”

Read the entire report here.

So will this finally make the right wing shut up? Probably not.

Teixeira Going To The Yankees

December 23, 2008

Looks like Mark Teixeira is going to sign an 8-year deal with the Yankees for $180 million plus a $5 million signing bonus. He turned down an 8-year deal worth $170 million offered by the Red Sox. The Sox reportedly upped the offer since. The Yankees now have the four most expensive contracts in baseball.

Here’s the report from Reuters.

1990

December 22, 2008

Story Of My Life.