Monthly Archives: January 2008

Dem Debate Crack Van

Posts in the van belong to their posters. We are not responsible for headache, nausea, dry mouth, Chris Matthews’ mullet, or any resulting Obama or Hillary squee. Play nicely.

Update: Van closed. Thanks for coming by! Be here Tuesday for the crack van to end all crack vans on Super Tuesday.


I was 3 quadrillion percent* certain this would happen

From theTimes Picayune:

A federal judge reluctantly ruled Wednesday that the Army Corps of
Engineers is immune under federal law from responsibility for damages
resulting from the failure of drainage canal walls in New Orleans
during Hurricane Katrina.

But in shielding the agency from a portion of the literally
trillions of dollars of claims filed by New Orleans homeowners,
businesses and city agencies, U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval issued
a stinging condemnation of the corps and its actions in building the
citys hurricane protection system.

The suit sparked about 350,000 separate claims by businesses,
government entities and residents, totaling trillions of dollars in
damages against the agency.


The Importance of an Independent Student Press


In a rancorous dispute that has pitted student journalists against student government, the editors of Montclair State University’s weekly newspaper were forced to stop publishing last week after the student body president froze the paper’s financing.

The editors of the paper, The Montclarion, claim that the president, Ron Chicken, improperly used his authority, cutting off the newspaper’s funds to silence criticism of the student government.

The student body president, however, told the Montclarion’s editors that they had violated the by-laws of the student government association by hiring their own lawyer.

On the bruising civic proving ground of higher education, there is nothing novel in the fight between the editors of a college paper and the student legislators they cover.

“Those battles are usually fought on the editorial page,” said Frank LoMonte, the executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va. “It is unusual to take this extreme step of pulling the plug on funding.”

The dispute started in November, when The Montclarion’s editor in chief, Karl de Vries, protested at a meeting of the student government that it kept some of its sessions closed to the press. Before that meeting, a lawyer retained by The Montclarion had advised the student journalists about their rights under a state open meetings law.

After Mr. de Vries spoke, Mr. Chicken demanded copies of correspondence between the lawyer and the newspaper, Mr. deVries said in an interview, adding that he refused to provide it. The next day, Mr. Chicken sent a letter to the lawyer — whose fees were paid with student funds — firing him.

Via Romenesko.


Your President Speaks!

Yesterday, inTorrance, California.

I’ll Be Back… To Herald The Success

And your boy told me that you dreamt about a company and you started it in your kitchen. Isn’t it interesting? The company was started in the kitchen, and now he’s got the Terminator coming by to herald the success.

Grasping The Obvious

Fourth quarter growth slowed to .6 percent. In other words, there are signs that our economy are slowing.

In Other Words, There’s Before Since And After Since

We’ve been through problems before. As a matter of fact, we’ve been through problems before since I was your President.

What We Can Have (Next year)

We can have some smart policy out of Washington.

The Economy Defined

See, when you provide an incentive for a company to invest, they go out and buy a machine. And when they buy that machine, somebody has to put labor into the machine; somebody is working.

Who Are These People?

Now, people in our country — let’s be perfectly frank about it, you hear them say trade isn’t any good; it doesn’t help.

Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign

When 70 percent of that which you manufacture gets sold somewhere else other than the United States, they ought to have a sign walking in here and say, trade is not only good, it is great; and we want the federal government to make it easier for us to sell products.

International Trade Defined

When people are selling something overseas, it means somebody is working. And there’s a lot of customers overseas.

What They Got

In other words, they got their goods and services coming to our country without a lot of tariffs — and when we’re trying to sell into their countries, they’re taxing it, which makes it much harder to sell.


We’re saying to countries, if your goods and services are coming here — which, by the way, are good for our consumers; like if you’re a consumer you want a lot of choices, you want a lot of — you want a lot of different options.

You Got Nonexistent People

You got people in this country saying, oh, trade doesn’t matter.

Forgets Where He Is

I’m telling you it matters: It matters to our economy, and it matters to the jobs right here at Robinson Manufacturer — Robinson Helicopter.

Negotiation Defined

Well, we’ve negotiated free trade agreements. In other words, we sat down with countries and said, let’s get a free trade agreement in place.

There Was Four

And we reduced barriers and tariffs through the negotiations, and there are three such agreements before the Congress. There was four; Congress recently passed a deal with Peru.

He’s Not Sure There Is A 15% Tax

There’s a 15 percent tax on the helicopter you manufacture. I’ve been told there’s a 15 percent tax, I believe there’s a 15 percent tax, and I know that a free trade agreement will reduce that tax — which means it’s more likely you’re going to sell a helicopter into Panama.

What That Means

And when you’re more likely to sell a helicopter to Panama, it means you’re more likely to keep work, that’s what that means.

We Want To Worry

I mean, if we want to worry about our economy long-term, you need your government knocking down barriers to our products and on goods and services.

Voices In His Head?

Some say trade hurts our economy.

We’re In An Ideological Struggle With Dick Cheney?

You know, we’re in this ideological struggle against, I called them last night, “evil men,” and I meant what I said.

There Is Some Countries

There’s some countries around the world that have accumulated large amounts of money. Sometimes it’s our money.

Ew! Chunks On The Sheet!

I noticed the other day one of these Wall Street firms had a big chunk of foreign money invest on their — in their balance sheet.

Edwards Out

According to the entire world.

He kicked off his campaign in NOLA, and here’s words that were needed on the campaign trail:

Thank you, Sen. Edwards.


You WON!…If you had guessed 885 days…


That is if you had guessed it would take 885 days for FEMA to dispense funds for the rebuilding of New Orleans’ fire stations.

FromNew Orleans City Business:

FEMA dispenses $16.9M to rebuild N.O. firehouses

NEW ORLEANS – The Federal Emergency Management Agency today provided
nearly $16.9 million to rebuild and repair New Orleans Fire Department
facilities, including $3.1 million for rebuilding permanent facilities.


Meanwhile comedianDennis Leary’s group was actually rehabing firehouses almost a year ago


That site reminds us of this…

The NOFD lost 22 of their 33 firehouses, and 75-80% of the firefighters
lost their personal homes as well, and had family members evacuated
across the country. Yet during the storm and after the disastrous
breach of the levees, not one member of The NOFD abandoned their post
throughout the rescue and recovery mission, which lasted months.

One Million Killed In Chimpy’s Vanity War

That’s a lot ofblood on his hands.

More than one million Iraqis have died as a result of the conflict in their country since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, according to research conducted by one of Britain’s leading polling groups.

The survey, conducted by Opinion Research Business (ORB) with 2,414 adults in face-to-face interviews, found that 20 percent of people had had at least one death in their household as a result of the conflict, rather than natural causes.

The last complete census in Iraq conducted in 1997 found 4.05 million households in the country, a figure ORB used to calculate that approximately 1.03 million people had died as a result of the war, the researchers found.

The margin of error in the survey, conducted in August and September 2007, was 1.7 percent, giving a range of deaths of 946,258 to 1.12 million.


The research covered 15 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. Those that not covered included two of Iraq’s more volatile regions — Kerbala and Anbar — and the northern province of Arbil, where local authorities refused them a permit to work.

Rudy’s Campaign Go Splat

Some quality snark from the AP:

In the end, 9/11 wasn’t enough.

And you know, just because at one time, it was, doesn’t make it any less insulting today. When we look back on this time in history and thank God, we inch closer every day to being able to look back on it, we’re going to be amazed at how cheaply we allowed ourselves to be bought.

At least, at the very very least, we didn’t allow ourselves to repeat that mistake here.


Hillary’s Florida Speech

“We are Americans. We can make these decisions.”

This has been an intense election because people really care about what’s happening to our country. So many of the people who talk to me every single day are worried about the economy. They are worried about their health care. They are worried about their college education for their children. They are worried about whether we can restore our leadership and standing in the world. I am convinced that with this resounding vote, with the millions of Americans who will vote next Tuesday, we will send a clear message that America is back and we’re going to take charge of our destiny again.

I am so grateful to the countless Floridians who, on their own, organized, worked hard, talked to your friends and your neighbors. You made a very big difference and we know that as we move forward in this campaign all of your voices will go with me, because I am not only going to take my 35 years of experience to the White House, I am going to take your voices, your concerns, your hopes, your dreams.

We have a lot of tough decisions to make, but we are Americans. We can make these decisions. We can meet our challenges and seize our opportunities if we start acting like Americans again – we roll up our sleeves, we set about solving our problems.

Hat tip toVirgotex.


Alphonso Jackson signs off on Haley Barbour’s port plan

Alphonso Jackson is such a tool. He has approved MS Governor Haley Barbour’s plan to divert HUD Community Development Block Grants for housing to be used for port repair and expansion. And he did so even though he believed that MS was indeed diverting funds needed and intended for housing, something which Haley denies. From theSun Herald

GULFPORT –The U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development approved a state plan Friday to spend $600 million in
grants on the Port of Gulfport instead of housing.

advocates have been the loudest critics of the plan, and their concerns
were backed this week by two congressional Democrats – U.S. Reps.
Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif. – who urged HUD
Secretary Alphonso Jackson to oppose the plan.

But despite those
cries, Jackson sent a letter to Gov. Haley Barbour on Friday approving
the state’s plan to divert the $600 million, initially earmarked for
housing, to repair and expand the Port of Gulfport, the third-busiest
container port along the Gulf of Mexico.

Frank and Waters sent a
letter to Jackson on Thursday, citing a recent FEMA report that
estimated more than 40,000 Mississippians remained displaced after the
storm as of November 2007.

Opponents of the port spending say
curing the state’s profound housing crisis is a much more pressing need
than upgrading the port.

The money is part of $5.5 billion in HUD
Community Development Block Grants approved by Congress after Hurricane
Katrina. The Mississippi Development Authority, which answers to
Barbour, is charged with administering the grants.

The MDA disputes the claim that the money is being yanked from
affordable-housing programs. Barbour has said the state’s original
request in 2005 for Katrina-relief funding through HUD included the
port project, in addition to housing.

Barbour issued a statement
Friday, saying he appreciated HUD’s recognition; he said the port’s
restoration “has been a key component of Mississippi’s comprehensive
recovery plan since the fall of 2005.”

I bet he does appreciate Alphonso when even though Alphonso believes Haley is diverting the funds he finds a way to blame Congress…

In the letter from HUD, the federal housing secretary did express some qualms with the plan to move the money.

remain concerned that this expansion does indeed divert emergency
federal funding from other more pressing recovery needs, most notably
affordable housing,” Jackson wrote to Barbour.

But Jackson said
specific “congressional language” associated with the recovery grants
gave him little choice but to approve the diversion.

For some silly reason I thought when the Dems took back Congress we’d see an end to this crap but here is Water’s weak reaction…

Waters told
The Associated Press on Friday she could not understand why Jackson
believed he didn’t have the authority to reject the plan.

“I am suspicious that Barbour receives favored treatment with this administration. He kind of gets his way,” Waters said.

Vote for debate question on Gulf Coast

From theTimes Picayune

WASHINGTON — Encouraging allies to click away in pursuit
of cyber democracy, a coalition of activists is pushing
sponsors of this week’s California debates to ask the
presidential candidates about their plans to encourage
hurricane recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast.

The result: As of Tuesday afternoon, a question asking
the candidates whether they support the Gulf Coast Civic
Works Act, which would pay for infrastructure projects
employing local and displaced workers, has jumped to the
most-voted-for question among the more than 3,800 suggested
for Thursday’s Democratic debate. The same question
ranked No. 3 in votes among more than 3,500 proposed for
tonight’s GOP debate.

Both debates will be televised on CNN.

Click for the Color of Change link with easy instructions on how to vote for this question

Your President Speaks!

Today, inBaltimore, Maryland.

Brain Freeze

I thank very much Greg Carpenter, a former prisoner who is now a mentor, a leader in this program. And he’s — I appreciate his heart.

Where Did They Get That Idea?

There was the notion that somehow that there needed to be a clear separation of church and state, and therefore, we shouldn’t be using taxpayers’ money to help programs that were helping to meet important national goals.

When We Begin The Work

When we begin the work we didn’t settle for just opening an office in the White House; we opened 11 offices for faith-based and community initiatives throughout the federal government.

Those Distribute The Money

But most of the money — or all the money, for that matter — is appropriated to different Cabinet officers and their secretariats, and then those distribute the money.

Forgot The Main Tenet

That’s, after all, one of the key tenets of faith: Love a neighbor like you’d be — like to love — be loved yourself.

What He Got Him

And he started — got him a new job.

Still Does

Addiction is hard to overcome. As you might remember, I drank too much at one time in my life.

Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

Tony Farto Says 2 x 15 =

Q And on FISA, can you explain why the extension of — I think it’s two weeks — was deemed to be okay by the administration, but the 30-day proposal drew a veto threat; what’s the difference?

MR. FRATTO: Well, clearly, 30 days wasn’t needed. What less than 30 days — I think the House and the Senate members settled on 15 days, which is a brief time.

This Gaggle Was Held On Board Air Force One Flying To California; During This Chimp You Are Paying Chimpy ANd His Entourage’s Travel Expenses While He Raises Cash For The Republikkkan Party At Five Events

Q One more on fundraising. The President is doing five events, I believe, in three days. Can you just speak to that a little bit? Does this sort of set the tone in terms of his political intentions in raising money?

MR. FRATTO: He’s certainly committed to going out and raising money for the party and Republican candidates, and so you’ll see him doing a lot of this. This will be I think a very successful trip in terms of raising money.


Q Tony, why are all the fundraisers closed to the press?

MR. FRATTO: I’m sorry?

Q Why are all the fundraisers closed to the press?

MR. FRATTO: I think we have — sometimes we have fundraisers that are open, some — these are in private residences, I believe. Yes, private residences are closed, and — I don’t know. I don’t actually — never really knew the reason — (laughter) — but I’m happy with the practice. (Laughter.)

Today on Athenae’s Obsession with the Freepi: SOTU Review Edition

You just don’t know him like I do!

the people on here who hate Bush makes people like me wonder why the heck i stay here. This man has saved this nation in more ways than one, just because he isn’t a carbon copy of the know-it-alls on this site they don’t like him. well, goody for you, wonder if you’ll like an obama or hitlary any better?

Mercifully, it is his last State of the Union address. Perhaps he will admit that Peggy Noonan is right and that his great act as President was to destroye the coalition that was the Republican Party.

Okay – is there a genuine FREEPER left in FR? Some of you have that list of Bush’s accomplishments? WE need it now – before I puke on some of the posters here.

This is a conservative website, not republican. If Bush strays from conservative principles he should be crititized.

Even if Romney wins, I’m still gonna have a panic attack when W is no more.

That’s before it even STARTS.


The Bush Economy

I don’t see how a $600 or $1200 tax rebate in July is going to helpthese people hold onto their homes.

The number of U.S. homes that slipped into some stage of foreclosure in 2007 was 79 percent higher than in the previous year, a real estate tracking company said Tuesday. Many homeowners started to fall behind on mortgage payments in the last three months, setting the stage for more foreclosures this year.

About 1.3 million homes received foreclosure-related warnings last year, up from 717,522 in 2006, Irvine-based RealtyTrac Inc. said. Foreclosure filings rose 75 percent from the previous year to 2.2 million.

More than 1 percent of all U.S. households were in some phase of the foreclosure process last year, up from about half a percent in 2006, RealtyTrac said.


In December alone, foreclosure filings soared 97 percent from the same month a year earlier to 215,749. It was the fifth consecutive month in which foreclosure filings topped more than 200,000, RealtyTrac said.

In the fourth quarter, filings rose 86 percent from the prior-year quarter but only 1 percent from the third quarter.

Today On Holden’s Obsession With [Yesterday’s] Gaggle

Dana Peroxide Says Blame Condi

Q Thank you, Dana. Whose idea was it in the White House to give the appointment succeeding Senator Thompson as chairman of the key board to Paul Wolfowitz?

MS. PERINO: Whose decision was it? Well, the President makes those decisions. Was it the — this is the board that Paul Wolfowitz is now on at the State Department?

Q That he was made chairman of, succeeding Senator Thompson.

MS. PERINO: Is it a few weeks ago? I think it was at the — I guess it was at the State Department. That’s what we were asked a while ago. But it’s a State Department appointment, not a presidential appointment.

Q Okay, just confirming.

MS. PERINO: But I don’t know who at the State Department. I would assume ultimately Secretary Rice.

Dana Disses Chimpy

Q Is the country better off —

MS. PERINO: The what?

Q Is the country better off now than seven years ago?

MS. PERINO: Certainly seven years ago — well, seven years ago, right before September 11th, I think that people would say that the country certainly felt better off.

They’re Laughing At You, Dana, Not With You

Q Is there any doubt that the President has the power to use an executive order to tell agencies to ignore something Congress has done?

MS. PERINO: No, and there is legislative language — I’m sorry, language from — let me find it; I have it somewhere — there’s a couple of rulings from the Supreme Court that said report language is not — I don’t have it with me — can you get that to them? We’ll attach it to this transcript and release this transcript.

Q Are those directly on point or tangential?

MS. PERINO: What do you mean, “directly on point or tangential”?

Q Do they really count? (Laughter.)

Q — make this up. (Laughter.)

MS. PERINO: Here it is. It says the Supreme Court says report language is not legally binding. And here are the two cases: Lincoln versus Vigil —

Q Oh, that’s a recent one. (Laughter.)

MS. PERINO: And the Cherokee nation versus Leavitt. Because I know you’re diligent enough and have all sorts of time today, you will look those up.

Q Dana, what nation — Turkey nation?

Q Cherokee.

MS. PERINO: Cherokee.

Q Oh, Cherokee nation. (Laughter.)

FISA: Cloture Fails, Dodd Prevails — For Now

FDL recaps. Cloture failed 48-45, or by 12 votes. Somewhere in there, Republicans have to pick up 12 Senators willing to put the profits of the phone companies above the privacy of American citizens. Reid, who weeks ago would have been happy to let this one slide, has now been forced to co-opt a position of outrage, hanging it on the fact that Republicans weren’t allowing amendments to the bill. I’m not complaining; whatever gets him there gets him there.

The mushy middle, the Democrats who always end up screwing us over, who disappoint us time and time again by voting for bad legislation in the name of “bipartisanship” or who just plain don’t show up on big days, turned out in a big way today. Only three Dems crossed the line to vote with Republicans: Nelson ofFlorida Nebraska, Mark Pryor, andMary Landrieu Blanche Lincoln. They’re due a phone call, a fax, an e-mail, telling them they let us down.

You know who didn’t let us down? Our presidential candidates. Yeah, they probably were gonna be in town for the SOTU anyway, but they could have mucked around till the last minute, missed the vote, voted the other way to get this out of the way and avoid dealing with the inevitable “You voted against the Protect America Act!” bullshit on the campaign trail. It wasn’t in their interests to show up today, but it was in ours, and they showed up. Good on them. If you haven’t given a little scratch to your fave lately, I’d throw him or her a couple bucks with a note telling them way to go.

And let’s not forget the man who started it all with a simple “hold” on the bill because a bunch of people from web sites called his office and asked nicely. Who then picked up this ball and ran all the way down the field with it, and still isn’t giving it up, long after it might seem convenient to do so:

“This? This represents the amount of resistance Republicans have to my stunning powers of ass-kicking. That’s what this is.”

His speech today:

I’ve objected passionately to retroactive immunity—but I did not shut out debate. Republicans have frozen the Senate since debate began last week. And they unwittingly created a perfect microcosm of retroactive immunity right here in this body. Because both flow from the same impulse: shutting down the organs of government—the courts, or the Senate—when you are afraid you won’t get your way. That’s why President Bush wants his favored corporations saved from lawsuits.

Keep those calls and faxes going. We won an important fight today and sent a message to Republicans: This far, just this far, no more. To hold onto that is going to take some reminding senators, especially our Bush Dog friends, that while the phone companies won’t have their backs when the time comes, we will.


Thus Ends The “Success” Of The Surge


Influential members of Muqtada al-Sadr’s movement have urged the anti-U.S. Shiite cleric not to extend a cease-fire when it expires next month, officials said Monday, a move that could jeopardize recent security gains.


Al-Sadr’s August order for his feared Mahdi Army militia to freeze activities for six months was seen by U.S. commanders as a major factor in a nationwide reduction of violence.

SOTU open thread

Oyster predicts “the Gulf Coast and New Orleans will get a single, insubstantial mention.” I’m predicting there will be no mention. What do you think?

As well as any other predictions?

UPDATE:OUCH from BayouBuzz

UPDATE: Looks like Oyster has it right. From theWhite House website.

In addition, the President will honor the resilience of the people of
the Gulf Coast, and the contributions volunteers have made to the
region, by announcing that the United States will host the annual North
American Leaders’ Summit in New Orleans this April.

Dodd Video of Win

I really like how he spits out “Republican” like it’s a filthy bucket of mop water, and says “This is the US SENATE” with the unspoken “BITCH” at the end.

Blistering contempt is pretty much the only response Senate Republicans are due right now: