Archive for May 11, 2010
So, who is Arlen Specter? (Hint: He’s whoever he has to be to get re-elected.)
The Washington Post on Saturday: “Pentagon Asking Congress to Hold Back on Generous Increases in Troop Pay:”
Congress has been so determined to take care of troops and their families that for several years running it has overruled the Pentagon and mandated more-generous pay raises than requested by the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. It has also rejected attempts by the Pentagon to slow soaring health-care costs — which Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has said are “eating us alive” — by raising co-pays or premiums.
Now, Pentagon officials see fiscal calamity.
In the midst of two long-running wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, defense officials are increasingly worried that the government’s generosity is unsustainable and that it will leave them with less money to buy weapons and take care of equipment.
With Washington confronting record deficits, the Pentagon is bracing for an end to the huge increases in defense spending of the past decade. On Saturday, Gates is scheduled to give a “hard-hitting” speech in Kansas on fiscal discipline, in which he will warn military leaders that “we’ll have to take some dramatic measures ourselves to sustain the force we have,” his press secretary, Geoff Morrell, told reporters.
That said, I was alerted to this Newsmax article via an email today: “Outrage: Obama Administration Targets Military for Pay Reductions.“
(1) Far as I can tell, there aren’t going to be any “cuts” to what we pay the troops; just fewer “generous increases.”
(2) Yes, technically, the “Obama administration” is looking to reduce the military budget but may I suggest this alternative headline: “Bush-Appointee, Defense Secretary Bill Gates, Targets Military Pay.”
(3) Why aren’t wingers and Teabaggers applauding this because hey, it shrinks the government and that’s what they’re all about, right?
Huh? Huh? Huh?
Those aren’t exactly the words we’re hearing from the corporate media are they? As a matter of fact, Diane Sawyer (ABC Evening News) reported tonight that the size of the mass is “shrinking.” (Yeah, of course it is, because BP has sprayed chemicals on the oil to make it sink so the televised pictures don’t blow our minds.)
Check out this video from a private airplane that flew over the Gulf on May 7. A few screenshots here:
Quotes from the pilot:
It’s a “red mass of floating goo.”
“We counted 30 boats in the pictures, all floating around while this stuff was headed for shore. Nobody seems to be able to do anything about it.”
“The Gulf appears to be bleeding…it’s hopeless.”
To get back to land, “all we had to do was follow the red — there was a perfect line of it leading from the rig toward the shore.”
John McCain, running in a tough primary race in Arizona, is out with a new ad. Yep, John McCain, who has been in Washington SINCE 1982, thinks it’s time to “complete the dang [border] fence.”
After 28 years, you’d think he could oh, I don’t know, maybe have gotten that done by now?
In November, HarperCollins (owned by Rupert Murdoch) will publish Sarah Palin’s second book, “America by Heart: Reflections on Family and Faith and Flag.”
According to HarperCollins, the new Palin book will be a “tribute to American values” with “reflections from classic and contemporary readings that have moved her.”
But HarperCollins indicated that readings in “America By Heart” will be drawn from a variety of literary sources ranging from “the nation’s founding documents to great speeches, sermons, letters, literature and poetry, biography and even some of her favorite songs and movies.”
No wonder she needs a “collaborator,” which brings me to the let’s-get-real portion of this post. How about this for a title:
If you enjoyed our coverage of New York City’s High Line raised park, we think Telok Blangah Hill Park’s dizzying infrastructure will “elevate” you to an ever higher level. Located in Singapore, the park’s fly-over style “walkways” are reminiscent of those ancient rope bridges you see suspended over caverns in movies, giving you the very rare experience of viewing towering treetops from a monkey’s perspective. The pathways and suspension bridges are anything but rickety though. In fact, many of them are elegant works of art and architectural precision. But at 120 feet above the forest floor at their highest points, they aren’t for the faint of heart!
Okay, here we go. PaulRademacher.com has come up with a good way to help visualize the size of the Gulf oil slick: Superimpose it over a state or two:
Outrageous. And of course, it’s growing by the minute.
Go to the link above for more options.
This is bad: Why did Elena Kagan Go to Bat for Monsanto’s GMO Alfalfa?:
It’s a good thing for Elena Kagan that there’s no non-GMO litmus test for Supreme Court nominees. She’d flunk.
As Solicitor General, Kagan is supposed to represent the interests of the American people in matters that come before the Supreme Court. Instead, she has gone to bat for Monsanto Co.
In a case that is currently being considered by the court, Monsanto is trying to overturn a 2007 California decision that imposed a nationwide injunction on planting the company’s genetically modified alfalfa.
In March, Kagan’s office interceded on Monsanto’s behalf even though the government was not a defendant in the appeal. The original suit was brought by Geertson Seed Farms and a collection of environmental groups. The plaintiffs claimed that pollen from Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa could contaminate neighboring plots of conventional alfalfa, causing irreparable harm to Geertson’s non-GMO business.
The more I learn about Kagan the less I like her.
Happening now outside the White House (via Mark Knoller):
This morning we are learning that Elena Kagan, Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, has reversed her prior position that SCOTUS nominees should be required to answer direct questions during their confirmation hearing. Now that she’s the one in the hot seat, she doesn’t think that should apply.
Think about it for a second. It’s called a “confirmation hearing” for a reason. Confirmation hearings are held to confirm that a nominee is qualified to be on the court. As it is, nobody seems to know where Kagan stands on the issues — even her close friends – so the confirmation hearing will be critical in terming whether she should, in fact, be confirmed. Refusing to answer questions turns the confirmation hearing into a farce and we serfs are effectively told we should sit down, shut up, and trust Obama’s judgment in appointing someone who could affect our lives for the next 30 or 40 years.
That is unacceptable.
Here’s more from the New York Times’ aptly titled, Searching for Elena Kagan:
President Obama may know that his new nominee to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, shares his thinking on the multitude of issues that face the court and the nation, but the public knows nothing of the kind. Whether by ambitious design or by habit of mind, Ms. Kagan has spent decades carefully husbanding her thoughts and shielding her philosophy from view. Her lack of a clear record on certain issues makes it hard to know whether Mr. Obama has nominated a full-throated counterweight to the court’s increasingly aggressive conservative wing.
And Glenn Greenwald:
The only antidote for Kagan’s deliberate blank-slatism would have been for her to forthrightly answer questions about her legal and Constitutional views during her confirmation hearings. But now that she’s the nominee, she’s had a sudden change of heart and decided that such candor is not really advisable after all. I still genuinely hope she will change her mind yet again and be forthcoming about what she actually believes. But if she doesn’t, we’ll witness the truly absurd spectacle of putting someone on a deeply divided Supreme Court for the next 3 or 4 decades — the last venue that occasionally safeguards core liberties by a fragile 5-4 majority that she could easily obliterate — without having any clue as to what she thinks about much of anything, all while Democrats and progressives cheer for her as though they’re remotely able to know what they’re cheering.
We have some new national polling coming out tomorrow on offshore drilling. The most astounding number from the poll? 28% of Republicans said the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico made them more likely to support drilling off the coast to an equal 28% who said it made them less likely to be supportive. 44% said it made no difference to them and that’s understandable, but why would an oil spill make you more supportive of drilling?
I saw an pro-Elena Kagan television advertisement this morning.
That’s a first, and I don’t think it’s a good thing.
What’s next? Actual campaigns for SCOTUS?
Oop, and here it is: