Archive for June 2007
Member: WARREN BELL (Appointed by Bush)
Bell is a Burbanker, having spent most of his life in television. Until recently – when the show was canceled – he was executive producer of According to Jim, a successful ABC sit-com that was in the running for least funny network comedy series along with George Lopez, and writer/producer of shows like Ellen and Coach, which were much better.
But none of that is why he’s on the CPB Board. This is:
Additionally, in 2005, Mr. Bell began writing humorous columns for National Review Online, as well as contributing to NRO’s daily group blog, “The Corner.”
And this – especially this:
Mr. Bell has been involved with many civic organizations, including the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, the Jewish Federation, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Well, what d’ya know? The FDD again, this time allied with AIPAC, the single most powerful hardline, hard-right, pro-Israel lobbying organization in the country. Amanda at Think Progress was under no illusions at the time of his appointment as to what it was all about.
Apparently Georgia wants to be Texas when it grows up. The sequence of events in the Genarlow Wilson travesty gets more nonsensical by the day.
- A Douglas County Superior Court judge throws out Wilson’s sentence and orders him released.
- The State AG, falsely claiming that he has no choice, holds up the release and files an appeal.
- In a transparent bid to lower the level of anger that is aimed at him for this action, he asks for the hearing process to be expedited so it can be held at the earliest possible date. That request is denied.
- A different Douglas County Superior Court judge then cancels the bond hearing altogether because, he says, Georgia law doesn’t allow child molesters out on bail.
Dr. Francys Johnson, the NAACP’s Southeast Regional Director, put it in a nutshell: “The NAACP is convinced that justice has taken a summer vacation in Georgia.”
I told you it gets worse. You can’t say you weren’t warned.
Second-in-command and presumably waiting her turn for the Chair is a woman whose resume makes Halpern’s look soft as a melted marshmallow.
Vice Chair: GAY HART GAINES (A recess appointment by Bush)
Where to start? How about here:
She is currently a member of the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Madison Council of the Library of Congress. She has served as a board member of the Hudson Institute, the Best Friends Foundation, and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, where she was also president of the Palm Beach Chapter for three years. She was a charter member of GOPAC, which she chaired from 1993-1997, and chairman of the National Review Institute from 1991-1993.
AEI, HF, and HI are the three most powerful, richest, and most virulent neoconservative think-tanks in the country. They’re where the likes of Newt, Dick Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Bill Kristol, et al, make their home. They’re also the source of a good deal of conservative pundit welfare, paying large salaries and/or stratospheric speaking fees to – in addition to those named above – Ann Coulter, Norman Podhoretz, Charlie Krauthammer, and Mark Steyn, among many others. Gaines is a member of two and on the board of the third.
But that’s just for starters.
Digby isn’t happy about PBS hiring Frank Luntz. Well, who is?
There must be something in the air. First, Matthews feels the need to give Ann Coulter a full hour to spew genocidal vomit and now I find that PBS has hired the notorious fraud Frank Luntz to analyze “public feedback” on the Democratic debate. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. He is one of the architects of the Republican Revolution and along with Newt Gingrich is the man most responsible for the distorted, propagandistic political discourse we spend our lives on the blogs trying to unravel. He has no business “interpreting” Democratic voters’ reaction to Democratic candidates based upon his political affiliation alone. But the fact that he has been completely discredited as a pollster and analyst by his own profession should make him radioactive for any respectable news organization. I can’t imagine what is wrong with PBS that they don’t know about this man.
But that’s not all.
Something odd is going on at PBS lately. They also invited that Coulter wannabe Melanie Morgan on Lehrer recently, apparently under the misapprehension that she was a sane spokeswoman of the right, and she proved to be a complete disaster. Now they have hired straight up right wing political operative Luntz to “interpret” the impressions of Democratic voters. Are they getting their bookers from the Heritage Foundation web site too?
It isn’t “lately”, Digs. It’s been going on for years. I’ve been writing about it for years.
It bubbled to the surface two years ago when Ken Tomlinson, the neocon camp-follower Bush named to the CPB Board, was discovered to have been deliberately politicizing PBS programming, accusing it of “liberal bias” and hiring conservative “consultants” (read: Hatchetmen) and lobbyists with CPB money but without bothering to tell his own Board what he was doing.
An ad hoc group of eleven NYC businessmen is offering to put up as much as a million dollars to get Wilson out of jail on bond.
A New York City investment fund manager and 10 other businesspeople are offering to put up $1 million in bond money to release Genarlow Wilson from prison pending the appeal in his child molestation case, Wilson’s attorney announced this afternoon.
Whitney Tilson, the founder of T2 Partners and the Tilson Mutual Funds, and the 10 other unnamed contributors are ready to wire the money on Wilson’s behalf on 24 hours notice, said Wilson’s attorney, B.J. Bernstein.
“The goal of this bond is to help a young man in Georgia get his life back,” Tilson, also a founding member of Teach for America, said in a prepared statement Bernstein’s office distributed today.
Basically, Tilson and his group are giving Georgia yet another chance to do the right thing and not be stoopid and/or contemptibly mean assholes. This case has already gone far beyond where it should have – and would have if Wilson was white.
Back in the dim, dark days of 2000 when Dick Cheney chose himself to be Bush’s running mate out of a field of thousands, you may remember that there was some relief expressed in both the press and the blogosphere that the inexperienced lout would have a Vice President with experience and “gravitas” (remember that word?). Those of us aware of Cheney’s past and Halliburton’s present were appalled. Our counter was – “Who are we electing, exactly? Who’s going to run the show, Bush or Cheney?” We suspected that the inept Texas Gov would get run over top of by the hard-right machine of a man who’d cut his teeth in the Nixon White House and learned where the ropes-and-pulleys of power were under Reagan.
We sort of forgot that question over the next few years as Bush became the public face of every decision and Cheney hid out in his bunker, emerging only occasionally to make the rounds of the propaganda networks, Fox and CNN, to insist, in that flat, gray, voice that brooked no questions let alone dissension or argument, on the certainty of WMD’s in Iraq before retreating behind a wall of secrecy and rumors of ill health that bubbled into the public sphere through layers of leaks in a process eerily reminiscent of the last few Soviet Premiers before Gorbachev.
It seems we were right to be concerned and wrong to let Cheney escape the spotlight for so long. More than that, we underestimated the extent to which an inexperienced, not very bright president who, like a lazy middle manager in a branch bank, saw his role primarily as one of delegating responsibility to other people, was willing to turn power over to others with stronger presences and less malleable opinions.
As a result, we wound up, it seems, not with one president but with three co-presidents: Bush, Cheney, and Karl Rove.
You read right. Where dies he think it is, Constitutionally speaking? He doesn’t say.
Vice President Dick Cheney’s office refused to cooperate with an agency that oversees classified documents, then tried to abolish the office when it challenged the actions, House oversight committee Chairman Henry Waxman said.
The National Archives’ Information Security Oversight Office is charged by presidential order with ensuring that classified information and documents are properly handled by executive branch agencies.
According to a letter from William Leonard, director of the oversight office, Cheney’s office argued it did not meet the definition of an executive branch agency and therefore was exempt.
When Leonard unsurprisingly refused to accept this absurd interpretation, Cheney threatened to abolish the ISOO altogether, claiming there’s a “presidential order under consideration” right now that would do just that.
It’s all about making sure nobody can see – ever – Bush Administration documents that Cheney wants only loyal Bushies who can be trusted to a) keep their mouths shut, or b) twist whatever they find in the presidential papers to reflect the party line. In the background is the Bush Library to be built at SMU.
PALATINE, Illinois (AP) — An elementary school science teacher in this Chicago suburb doesn’t have to turn on the news for an update on NASA’s space mission. She just turns on her video baby monitor.
Since Sunday, one of the two channels on Natalie Meilinger’s baby monitor has been picking up black-and-white video from inside the space shuttle Atlantis. The other still lets her keep an eye on her baby.
“Whoever has a baby monitor knows what you’ll usually see,” Meilinger said. “No one would ever expect this.”
Live video of the mission is available on NASA’s Web site, so it’s possible the monitor is picking up a signal from somewhere.
“It’s not coming straight from the shuttle,” NASA spokeswoman Brandi Dean said. “People here think this is very interesting and you don’t hear of it often — if at all.”
Meilinger silenced disbelieving co-workers by bringing in a video of the monitor to show her class on Tuesday, her students’ last day of school. At home, 3-month-old Jack and 2-year-old Rachel don’t quite understand what their parents are watching.
“I’ve been addicted to it and keep waiting to see what’s next,” Meilinger said.
Summer Infant, the monitor’s manufacturer, is investigating what could be causing the transmission, communications director Cindy Barlow said. She said she’s never heard of anything similar happening.
“Not even close,” she said. “Gotta love technology.”
Oklahoma, a state which, it’s been claimed, once revered common sense and had both feet planted firmly on Mother Earth, seems in the last 25 years to have completely lost its collective mind. For example, it has foisted such outstanding examples of political and intellectual looneyism on an unsuspecting nation as Sens Jim “Global Warming Is a Liberal Scam!” Inhofe and Tom “There Are Lesbians in the Lavatories!” Coburn. Whatever common sense existed in OK has clearly fled, looking for less arid pastures.
But the CW may be wrong yet again, for it seems Oklahoma has always nursed a strain of loopyism comparable to that found in the lesser films of the Ritz Bros. Case in point:
In 1957, Oklahomans buried a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere wrapped in a sheet. Why? Ah, to celebrate their 50th anniversary as a state, of course.
If the connection between a 1957 Belvedere and Oklahoman statehood doesn’t immediately leap to mind, join the crowd. There isn’t one. If they’d buried a John Deere, that would at least have reference to their farming history. But no. They buried a car that was built in Michigan and named after an English butler in Connecticut. They thought it would be “fun”.
On Friday, in a paroxysm of long-suppressed glee and amidst a carnival of news photographers and media attention the likes of which we haven’t seen since Paris Hilton got into a car last week, they dug it up again. It’s the 100th anniversary of statehood, you see, and when they celebrate great moments in their history, that’s what Oklahomans apparently do. They bury things and then dig them up.
The National Catholic Register reports that the president of the apparently ironically named Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Renato Martino, is telling Catholics they should withdraw all support from Amnesty International. Three guesses why and you won’t need the last two.
Abortion has driven a wedge between the Catholic Church and an organization that began as an ally.
Amnesty International (AI) was founded in 1961 by Peter Benenson, a British convert to Catholicism. But today, as a result of Amnesty International’s recent decision to promote abortion rights, Church leaders say that Catholics should withdraw all financial support from the London-based human-rights organization.
“I believe that, if in fact Amnesty International persists in this course of action, individuals and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support, because, in deciding to promote abortion rights, AI has betrayed its mission,” Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said in an e-mail interview.
Sadly, a man I used to greatly respect for his dedication to justice for all has caved in to his church’s primeval stance.
The abortion policy has already cost Amnesty International the support of one long-time Catholic backer: Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan.
Said Father Berrigan, “One cannot support an organization financially or even individually that is contravening something very serious in our ethic.”
This was a man who fought for the right of Catholic Americans to divorce, who supported Bill Baird when he was illegally passing out condoms in public, and who supported Roe v Wade because he had seen the results of too many back-alley abortions. After being beaten about the head and shoulders with the blunt instrument of ultra-conservative Catholicism for 40 years, he has apparently had enough. Perhaps Benedict threatened to ex-communicate him if he didn’t publicly renounce AI, I don’t know.
Yesterday the Mass legislature defeated an amendment to the State Constitution that would have put an anti-gay marriage ballot initiative in front of voters next year. This wasn’t a surprise. Even though the forces from the religious right who have poured people and money into the state since the Mass Supreme Court overturned anti-gay marriage laws only needed a quarter of the legislature to back them up – 50 votes – the word was they didn’t have it.
And they didn’t. The measure lost by 5 votes. New Democratic Gov Patrick Deval put a lot of time and energy into cooling down any potential hotheads, which was good of him and maybe it made a difference. But the truth is that the right-wing whackos who have been inundating us with prophesies of doom if the Supreme Court’s decision wasn’t overturned have been terminally embarrassed by the total lack of any negative effect of the law. Or any positive effect, for that matter. No one can find any difference in the way life proceeds in the state of Massachusetts between pre-gay marriage years and post-gay marriage years.
The sky, you see, contrary to all the predictions by the members of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family who’ve been shooting off their mouths for the last 3 years, didn’t fall. Crops didn’t fail, goats weren’t born with two heads, straight marriage rates didn’t change, teenagers didn’t start fornicating in the streets, and Satan didn’t buy a place in Back Bay.
Really, nothing happened. Nothing.
Like everybody else, I found it amusing – and sad – that the current president, persona-non-grata in 90% of the world’s countries and merely tolerated by the rest, had to flee to the home of an infamous dictator like Enver Hoxha to find a sympathetic audience. But then today, Peter Lucas – a political reporter who just finished a book about Albania – pointed out in a Globe Op-Ed that it wasn’t really Bush they were cheering. It was the US – and Bill Clinton.
Albania’s love affair with the United States did not begin overnight. It started when President Woodrow Wilson, after World War I, stood up to the victorious nations of Europe and insisted that Albania, made up of one of the oldest peoples of Europe, was a true nation and that its borders had to be preserved and protected.
Back then the so-called victorious Great Powers — Britain, France, and Italy — wanted to divide Albania up among its neighbors, as a sort of reward for fighting and defeating the German/Austrian coalition.
Serbia was slated for a piece here, Greece a chunk there, and Italy a section of the coast. But for Wilson standing up for Albania, the tiny, poor and defenseless country would have disappeared. So it is no small wonder than many an Albanian boy born after 1919 was named Wilson.
DLC Mastermind and GOP camp-follower Bob Shrum actually had the balls to go on last night’s Daily Show and refer to himself as a progressive. And not just a progressive, but a leader of the progressive movement over 25 years.
It would appear that the Republicans aren’t the only ones living in BizarroLand.
Ready for a third party now?