Saturday, May 9, 2009

Stephen Colbert: The Thinking Person's Political Pundit

Yes, I know that Stephen Colbert isn't really a political pundit. He's a comic. A comic genius, in my opinion.

And, with his lampooning of conservative pundits like Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, he scores direct hits, time after time.

You could argue that these people are easy targets, since they are clearly unhinged.

Au contraire, mon ami.

Do you know how difficult it is to parody someone who is already a walking cartoon?

Hell, during the presidential campaign, the Saturday Night Live writing staff decided that they just couldn't improve on what Sarah Palin actually said during her Katy Couric interview... and Tina Fey simply repeated, verbatim, Palin's verbal diarrhea.

So when Stephen Colbert is able to take the lunatic rantings of Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, or Glenn Beck (who's in a league of his own when it comes The Nutso™) and actually make it funnier, my hat is off to him:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Sean Hannity's Liberty Tree
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorGay Marriage

Thanks, Mr. Colbert, for making me laugh.

Friday, May 8, 2009


These GOP clowns are really starting to get on my nerves.

Now they've launched a NEW "Be afraid... be VERY AFRAID!" campaign.

Here's the latest StupidCrazy© from these sleazebags:

Not only that, some members of the Very Serious Media™ are actually giving this piece of excrement credence, saying "it's a winning issue."

It's not. It's pure, unadulterated bullshit, designed to scare the crap out of low-information voters (or, as John Oliver calls them, "Stupid People").

This is how the Big Lie™ works, folks. You tell a lie LOUD enough and LONG enough, and people will start to believe it. Not just stupid people, either.

The GOP needs to be ridiculed for their assumption that Americans are nothing more than stupid, cowardly sheep.

Here's one counter for their nonsense:

Please, join me in refuting this crap every chance you get.

HT to Media Matters.

Another Reason Why I Like Our President

There are a number of things I disagree with President Obama about.

While he was still the junior Senator from Illinois, while I understood his reasoning, he still broke my heart with his FISA vote. I'm not happy with his administration allowing the telecoms immunity from civil suit over the whole domestic spying question.

Not prosecuting the reptilian bastard attorneys who misconstrued the law so they could give the green light to enhanced interrogation techniques torture rankles me.

Not prosecuting those at the highest level (i.e., Cheney and his entire cabal) who pushed said attorneys for that "legal decision" is, I think, a mistake.

While Obama
has forbidden torture and "extraordinary rendition" of terrorism suspects, rendition is still okay under certain circumstances.

Yes, it bothers me. I could go on, but I won't. You get the gist.

But today, in a rejection of the pretend-cowboy "you're with us or against us, there's a new sheriff in town" style of diplomacy as practiced by the last occupant of the White House, President Obama has announced that
as promised, he will address the Muslim world directly.

This pleases me no end.

After a long, dark journey, we finally have a President who understands that the first step in solving problems is not to issue ultimatums, threats, or strut about like a banty rooster.

It is instead, to extend one's hand, and make the effort to engage in open dialogue.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Asshat of the Week: Michael Savage!

This is sort of a no-brainer, and it couldn't go to a more deserving person.

In my previous post, I was chortling about the Smack Down™ delivered to Savage by National Public Radio (NPR) "Talk of the Nation" (TOTN) host Neal Conan yesterday.

You can read the pertinent part of the interview below, or listen to it here, direct from NPR. The great part is at about 06:40 in.

But his very brief TOTN appearance isn't why Michael Savage deserves this award.

Savage merits Asshat of the Week Recognition for the following reason:

In spite of his
own past statements that U.S. lawmakers should institute an "outright ban on Muslim immigration" into the United States, and Muslims should be "deported" simply because they are Muslims, Savage has announced that because the British barred his entrance into the UK, he is going to SUE!

Savage announced on his show "The Savage Nation" yesterday that "this lunatic (British Home Secretary) Jacqui Smith, in my opinion, has defamed me, and if possible, I will sue her personally."

Wow. You can't make this stuff up!

Congratulations, Mr. Weiner.

h/t to Media Matters.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Absolutely The Best Radio Show Host of the Week: Neal Conan, of National Public Radio!!!

Today, while zipping down the road to pick up some lunch, I was, as usual, tuned to National Public Radio (NPR). "Talk of the Nation," hosted by Neal Conan, was on.

Before I even knew for sure what the topic of discussion was, the person Neal was talking with (obviously by phone) was already grating on my nerves. His tone of voice and demeanor bespoke arrogance and ugliness.

He was belligerent and berating with Mr. Conan, and accused the host of "lumping him in with" the terrorists that are listed as unwelcome in Britain... then it hit me:

is Michael Savage that Neal Conan's speaking with!

I didn't recognize his voice because I don't listen to him. There are enough unpleasant things that I have to deal with every day, so (being
no masochist) I decided long ago that there is no need to subject myself to some of them voluntarily.

Having already caught the news online earlier in the morning, I was aware that the very disagreeable Mr. Savage had recently been declared persona non grata in Great Britain.

In a sound bite played by Conan, British Home Secretary Jaqui Smith said (in reference to Mr. Savage), "I don’t think free speech should be a license for people to preach or to promote hatred or to exhort other people actually to carry out criminal acts."

Savage ranted at Conan a bit, defended his own right of free speech, and then denigrated British Home Secretary Smith as
an "abject clown."

"Hmmm," I thought. "Savage goes straight to the ad hominem attack, not actually discussing the issue at all."

Though I knew that listening to Savage was likely to make me want to break something, I decided I'd tough it out, it could be amusing listening to Neal Conan spar with him.

Before the program got very far along, however, an amazing thing happened.

Neal opened the line for callers, and... oh, heck.

Here's the transcript. Yeah, I paid NPR $3.95 for it.

Read it yourself (all emphasis is mine):

CONAN: Let’s see if we get a caller in on the line. 800-989-8255, email: Our guest is Michael Savage, the host of “Savage Nation,” learned earlier today that he’d been banned from entering the United Kingdom.

Jeffrey is on the air. Jeffrey is calling from Des Moines, Iowa.

JEFFREY (Caller): If you listen to Michael Savage - if every time he says Islam or Muslim, you insert either Jew or Christian, he would be off the air in one day. I’ve had…

Mr. SAVAGE: Wait! I don’t want to listen to this foaming lunatic. I came on the air to give you my opinion, not to listen to someone in pajamas in a mental asylum in Iowa. So if…

(Sound of laughter)

JEFFREY: You know…

Mr. SAVAGE: No, no, you listen to me. You’re a nobody!

JEFFREY: (Unintelligible)

CONAN: Michael Savage?

Mr. SAVAGE: You’re nobody and I’m not going to talk to you!

Now, Neal, if you’d like to continue the discussion, I’ll do so. Otherwise, I have more important things to do than talk to someone in pajamas in an institution in Iowa.

CONAN: Then go do them, please.

Mr. SAVAGE: Thank you. (click)

Neal Conan, Host of "Talk of the Nation," tells Michael Savage, asshat extraodinaire, to piss off and go away!

Neal Conan- You Da Man!

To my local station:

My membership check is on the way. This exchange alone was worth the price of admission.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Anchorage Daily News: "Aw, Those Citizen Bullies Are Picking on Little Sarah!"

On Sunday, May 3, the Anchorage Daily News (ADN) published online*** an "Our View" editorial that makes a concerted effort to marginalize most of the thirteen ethics complaints filed against Governor Sarah Palin by labeling them as "gadfly" politics.

The ADN maintains that the most recent complaint against Sarah Palin is little more than whining about the name of Sarah's legal defense fund, the "Alaska Fund Trust."

The ADN says that they don't like the name of the fund either, and that Sarah should change the name to reflect what it truly is, and everything will then be hunky-dory.

The ADN's fails to mention that according to the "Fund Trust" website, it was "created to defend the integrity of the Alaska Governor's Office from an onslaught of political attacks launched against current Governor Sarah Palin, the First Family, and state-employed colleagues" (emphasis mine).

The ADN thinks the ethics law is a good thing, but these darn people should just stop using it! According to the ADN, the filing of these complaints is just another way for political bullies to pick on poor Sarah, and that's an abuse of the law!

The ADN went on to say that the legislature should change the law to make it so that if a complainant "blabs" about their ethics complaint, it will be summarily dismissed... like it is right now for an ethics complaint filed against a legislator.

The ADN is wrong.

Though the ADN tries to paint them as such, none of the complaints I've seen are what I would call frivolous. Personally, I think that some of the complaints are for relatively minor offenses by the governor, but I also think that the governor is not above the law. Even when it comes to minor infractions.

ADN, you're missing completely the underlying reason for the complaints:

When it comes to ethical behavior , the governor should be setting the standard, not lowering the bar.

Sarah Palin, since coming into office, has demonstrated a regular pattern of utter disregard for legal ethical standards... at least as they might apply to her.

Yeah, the governor-appointed State Personnel Board "exonerated" her over the firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan... after Sarah filed a complaint against herself... a complaint accompanied by a press release from Sarah.

Funny how "confidentiality" didn't matter that time!

Yeah, Sarah "paid the state back" for those plane trips and per diem... but not until she was made to do so by the filing of an ethics complaint - a complaint made public.

The general confidentiality requirement for ethics complaints was incorporated for one good reason: for a state employee to bring ethics charges against another state employee (say, their boss), the whole matter needs to be confidential. This protects the reputation of the person being charged in the complaint until the facts are known, and protects the complainant from possible retaliatory measures by the person charged.

That makes sense.

The automatic dismissal of a "blabbed" ethics complaint against a legislator? I'll give you a clue: the legislature slipped this in there to cover their own butts. Can't have those pesky ethics whiners screwing things up!

So, rather than noting the courage it takes to publicly incur the wrath of the most powerful person in the state of Alaska... a governor whose lackeys called for a public "backlash" against complainants on the State website, the ADN chooses instead to dismiss the complainants as "gadflies."

Shame on you, ADN.

If, as the ADN suggests, the law is changed so that any ethics complaints against the executive branch cannot be "blabbed" about or it will be summarily dismissed, how many valid ethics complaints do you think will ever see the light of day?

My guess is somewhere between zero and none.

BOTTOM LINE: The ADN editors have a clear case of cranial rectalitis on this one.

*** The editorial appeared in print in today's paper, May 4. It was published online last night.