Monthly Archives: April 2009

Geeky I know, but I love that the White House has aflickr account. It features the First 100 Days-Delivering on Change behind-the-scenes photos by Pete Souza, some of which were released earlier this week, also available now at Available for download under Creative Commons license,too!




Best Question

Good reporter. Have a cookie. At 7:28 in, Andre Showell from BET points out that, you know, some parts of America have been in a recession for half a damn century, while middle-class white people pretended they didn’t exist, so let’s have some economic recovery that actually helps them this time around:


Lindsey Finds A Nut


Senator Lindsay Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said: “We are not
losing blue states and shrinking as a party because we are not
conservative enough. If we pursue a party that has no place for someone
who agrees with me 70 percent of the time, that is based on an
ideological purity test rather than a coalition test, then we are going
to keep losing.”

Linds, pet. The problem is that people don’t like Republicans anymore. The problem isn’t that you don’t have the right mix of pseudo-fascists and actual fascists who carry I AM A FASCIST cards and goose step to their beds at night. The problem isn’t that people disagree 30 percent of the time. The problem is that for 40 years you people have been stoking racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, anti-intellectualism and a general sense that if you drank this kind of cola and wore this kind of clothing you could come to the sleepover.

You were doing it in order to win elections, and I get that, but the problem is people believed it and now you have this following of rabid marmosets who chew off their own legs when you forget to distract them with something shiny on a string. The teabagging set believed your bullshit and they show up at the polls now, so you either have to give them up or you have to stop acting like it’s uncouth they like you. These are the choices you’ve given yourself.

In a way, it still seems like kind of a fluke, that America finally got fucked enough for this crap not to work anymore. I still shudder to think about Huckabee as the nominee because his folksy thing is just good enough that maybe the press would have fallen for him as the “regular guy,” I mean, he’s evil but he’s not an idiot. I shudder to think if McCain’s campaign had been smarter, because it still seems like we got away with something, having gotten most people to the point where they weren’t having it anymore.

But they aren’t having it anymore, and that’s what this whole story about rebranding and expanding the tent doesn’t get. Later in the story:

“Do you really believe that we lost 18-to-34-year-olds by 19 percent, or
we lost Hispanic voters, because we are not conservative enough?” he
said. “No. This is a ridiculous line of thought. The truth is we lost young people because our Republican brand is tainted.”

You lost young people because you suck. You lost young people not because of the branding or because you had too few pseudo-fascists but because young people figured out that you basically hated them and their biracial gay friends from France or whatever, with their iPhones, and they looked around at all your true-bue conservative leading lights, like fucking Box Turtle John and Huckaputz, and Jonah, and said, um, we’ll be down the hall where they’re not mocking poor people for being poor. That’s not a problem you can fix by coming up with a new slogan.

Though the portion of the economy that does branding studies and marketing campaigns thanks you for your stimulus.



John McCain’s First 100 Days

Attempt to imagine:

Asked about his testy relations with Congress during his lone
prime-time press conference (which scored near-record low ratings) in
late February, McCain retrieved one of his musty jokes from mothballs
as he cracked, “To quote Chairman Mao, `It’s always darkest before it’s
totally black.'” The beleaguered McCain congressional relations team
printed up T-shirts, which they still periodically display on trips to
Capitol Hill, with the inscription, “Is it totally black yet?” It is
ironic that McCain, the first president elected directly from the
Senate in 48 years and a legislator known for his willingness to work
with Democrats in the quest for compromise, is well on his way to
becoming the most veto-prone president since Harry Truman, casting 13
during his first 14 weeks in office.


Why we fight, reason #96,147

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Homophobistan), on the House floor earlier today:

UPDATED: The Matthew Shepherd Bill, Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H. R. 1913), was passed in the House of Representative this afternoon (despite the actions of people like Rep. Foxx) 249 to 175. If approved by the Senate, the bill will add sexual orientation, gender identity, gender and disability to the categories included in existing federal hate crimes law and would allow local governments who are unable or unwilling to address hate crimes to receive assistance from the federal government.

The Senate version of the bill is S.909, sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy. Rep. John Conyers sponsored the House bill.

Presidential Press Conference Crack Van

Posts in the van belong to their posters. Please check around your seat for belongings prior to exiting the van. In honor of BuggyQ joining the First Draft revolutionary collective, she gets the wheel until she crashes or gets sick of us, whichever comes first.

Update: Van closed. Thank you all for being surprising, troubling, humbling and enchanting guests!



Up for a vantomorrow night? It’s been a while, we could haul it out, give it a good spring cleaning.


Today’s Cabloid Follies

First we see CNN’s David Mattingly being attacked from 2 camera angles by mean fish.

Then Fox News is shocked their producer was able to call and get a hostage on the phone in the midst of being held hostage (hmm maybe they picked up the phone thinking it was a hostage negotiator?)


Fox was so proud that their producer “was able to generate so much information” via her super duper producer power of “just reading into it” as well as being able to see through the phone as to what was “possibly” occurring.

(Length: 2:40)

A National Conversation About Race

Remember when the Chicago Tribune was gonna have one?

“[T]he Trib . . . managed to do something I thought impossible in
the year 2009 in the city of Michelle and Barack,” Lowell Thompsonwrites
in a letter to the paper today. “Its staffers had written a whole
magazine titled ‘Art in Chicago’ without a single image of or by a
black artist.”

You can bet that if the entire magazine featured black artists without a single white person, the editors would have noticed.


Swine Flu: The Internet’s Fault

Seriously, CNN:

Some observers say Twitter — a micro-blogging site where users
post 140-character messages — has become a hotbed of unnecessary hype
and misinformation about the outbreak, which is thought to have claimed
more than 100 lives in Mexico.

“This is a good example of why
[Twitter is] headed in that wrong direction, because it’s just
propagating fear amongst people as opposed to seeking actual solutions
or key information,” said Brennon Slattery, a contributing writer for
PC World. “The swine flu thing came really at the crux of a media

I had my hands full killing journalism. Now you want me to kill, you know, pigs, and people? I’m one not very energetic girl, here. Gimme a break. Also:Embedded video fromCNN Video


Like Watching a Dog Do a Math Problem

Richard Cohen, ladies and gentlemen:

On April 16, President Obamareleased the now-infamous torture memos along with a coveringstatement that said the CIA’s old interrogation methods not only failed to “make
us safer” but undermined “our moral authority.” A week later, a woman
holding the hand of a child walked into a throng in Baghdad and blew
herself up. Apparently she had not heard of our new moral authority.

So, wait, releasing the memos was supposed to stop all terrorism ever? DAMN, no wonder people are so upset about them, because that hasn’t worked at all!

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If the threat of torture works — if it has worked at least once —
then it follows that torture itself would work. Some in the
intelligence field, including a former CIA director, say it does, and I
assume they say this on the basis of evidence. They can’t all be fools
or knaves.

Why not? There’s no shortage of them at the Washington Post.

But it is important to understand that abolishing torture will not make
us safer. Terrorists do not give a damn about our morality, our moral
authority or what one columnist called “our moral compass.” George Bush
was certainly disliked in much of the world, but the Sept. 11 attacks
were planned while Bill Clinton was in office, and he offended no one
with the possible exception of the Christian right.

Hah hah hah … wait. What? This argument is stuffed so full of straw you might as well stand it up in a field to scare the crows away. Obama didn’t say releasing the memos would make us safer, he said torture didn’t make us safer. Does a girl with a web site really have to explain the difference to a Washington Post columnist? Also, I just have to jump in to juxstapose a few sentences here:

If the threat of torture works — if it has worked at least once — then it follows that torture itself would work.


If Obama thinks the world will respond to his new torture policy, he is
seriously misguided. Indeed, he has made things a bit easier for
terrorists who now know what willnot happen to them if they get caught.

Follow all that? The threat of torture may or may not work, so knowing all the horrible things that might happen to you or not happen to you at American hands if you do terrorism will make you more likely to do terrorism, becausethat’s not in any way the threat of torture.I don’t want to hear one more word about standards and rigorous edting of newspapers from anybody at the Washington Post.

The horror of Sept. 11 resides in me like a dormant pathogen. It took a
long time before I could pass a New York fire station — the memorials
still fresh — without tearing up. I vowed vengeance that day — yes,
good Old Testament-style vengeance — and that ember glows within me

SO GO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT or shut the hell up. God. The world is not a vengeance buffet from which you can either choose an option or bitch that there’s nothing there you like. I’m sorry if the torture served up by Head Chef Bush didn’t tempt your appetite, Rich, but there’s plenty of places down the street for you to nosh.

I mean, really, you want vengeance? Teach some Afghan school children to read. Hell, teach some children around here to read. I don’t know what the hell it is with guys like this, who seem to be waiting for the proper avenue for their holy rage, but the world is not short of stuff you can do to piss the Taliban and Al Qaeda off, not the least of which would be to stop being such a wanker all the time.

I know it is offensive to compare almost anyone or anything to the
Nazis, but the Bush-era memos struck me as echoes from the past. Here,
once again, were the squalid efforts of legal toadies to justify the
unjustifiable. Here, again, was a lesson that needs constant
refreshing: Before you can torture anyone, you must first torture the
law. When that happens, we are all on the rack.

This whole column is just so typically Cohen: “I’m against torture, but not like a pussy or anything about it, because I swore eternal vengeance the likes of which the world has not seen, said vengeance to be expressed mostly in writing about how hippies suck. Torture works, in fact the threat of torture works, but releasing memos that basically point out you’re fucked if Americans catch you terrorism-ing willl never work, because Obama hasn’t stopped all suicide bombings ever. So there.”



Tuesday Afternoon “Whatcha Readin’?” Thread

They always tell you that when writing, write what you know.Well, I know books.Not all of them (yet, more’s the pity) but I always have at least one going, often more (right now it’s about 5, 1 fiction, 4 non-fiction).So I thought it’d be fun to tell you what I’m reading right now, and find out what all of you are reading, since I’m always looking for the next good read.

My non-fiction read at present isFounding Faith:Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America, by Steven Waldman (ISBN-13:978-1400064373).I’m big into history (no surprise, it being what I teach), and I picked this one up to get myself back in the American history mode (till my U.S. History didn’t make this term…sigh…).

I’ve been working my way through this one since January, dipping in and out as the spirit moves me (luckily, its structure lends itself to reading in installments).Until now, I’d spent most of my Founding Fathers energies on Adams (only one letter off from Adama—coincidence?I think not…).But the FF I’m most intrigued by after reading this is Madison.

more after the jump

Continue reading

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession With The Freeperati – Vacation edition

Good morning, everyone!
First of all, my thanks to the First Draftees who contributed to Ms. DeWitt’s Journalism class at Donorschoose – the hat I don’t wear is off to you!

Now – let’s get suited up and dip into the alleged minds of thehorrendus res publica, shall we?
Don’t forget – their inflammatory rhetoric is classified as propane language.

First tawdry tidbit in our hall of shame –Sarah cites Global Warming. Freepers light farts in protest!

Climate change: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin acknowledges global warming is affecting her state

Chicago Tribune ^

Posted onWednesday, April 15, 2009 9:47:45 AM bySub-Driver
Climate change: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin acknowledges global warming
is affecting her state But the former GOP vice presidential candidate
contends gas drilling will help curb rising temperatures
By Kim Murphy | Tribune Newspapers April 15, 2009
— Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin acknowledged Tuesday that global warming is
harming her state but said stepped-up natural-gas production could
mitigate its effects.
Palin spoke at a hearing before Interior
Secretary Ken Salazar — the third of a series he is holding across the
country to consider renewed oil and gas leasing on the Outer
Continental Shelf.
The 2008 Republican nominee for vice
president said relatively clean-burning natural gas can supplant
dirtier fuels and slow the discharge of greenhouse gases into the
“We Alaskans are living with the changes that you
are observing in Washington,” she said. “The dramatic decreases in the
extent of summer sea ice, increased coastal erosion, melting of
permafrost, decrease in alpine glaciers and overall ecosystem changes
are very real to us.”

For the Freepers, this must be like waking up the morning after their wedding night and finding the object of their affection standing over them with a knife and a determined look.

To: Sub-Driver

posted onWednesday, April 15, 2009 9:49:56 AM
(Had God not driven man from the Garden of Eden the Sierra Club surely would have.)

To: Sub-Driver
Huh? Say it aint so Sarah!

posted onWednesday, April 15, 2009 9:50:38 AM

To: Inyo-Mono
Its so sad how the GOP has let rhetoric and pseudo science take a hypothesis and make it political reality..

posted onWednesday, April 15, 2009 9:51:01 AM
(Ah, arrogance and stupidity all in the same package. How efficient of you. — Londo Mollari)

To: Sub-Driver
She’s joined Newt on the Global Warming Band Wagon.

posted onWednesday, April 15, 2009 9:51:41 AM
(( Rommell…you magnificent bastard . I READ YOUR BOOK !!! ))

To: Sub-Driver
I guess I’ll have to lust after another woman from now on…

posted onWednesday, April 15, 2009 9:52:02 AM

And all this time I thought you loved her for her mind…

To: Sub-Driver
The final nail. Palin – go away.

posted onWednesday, April 15, 2009 10:02:10 AM
(Pray for our country…)

To: Sub-Driver
Well see you Sarah… If you believe this nonsense, then I have to let you go.

posted onWednesday, April 15, 2009 10:04:31 AM

To: Sub-Driver
Oh my gawd – I just can’t believe it.
Back to the hunt for true conservative candidates.

posted onWednesday, April 15, 2009 10:06:27 AM
(The only time I want a Republican reaching across the aisle is to smack a liberal.)

There’s a few“she didn’t really mean it” types in Freeperville…

To: Sub-Driver
She acknowledges warming, but not as “man-made” warming.
posted onWednesday, April 15, 2009 9:51:12 AM

To: Sub-Driver
She acknowledges warming, but not as
“man-made” warming. She’s calling their bluff. If it’s warming, then we
need to develop more natural gas which has a low carbon footprint.

posted onWednesday, April 15, 2009 9:53:05 AM

To: Sub-Driver
I’ve seen some folks try to spin this as Gov Palin
recognizing Global Warming, but not necessarily subscribing a human
cause for it.
I’m a big Palin fan, but it pains me to point out that she’s talking
about “greenhouse gases” and “carbon footprints” and “green energy”.
She seems to have swallowed to kool-aid.

posted onWednesday, April 15, 2009 9:54:12 AM
(American Revolution II — overdue)

…but the majority of the responses are like this:

To: Sub-Driver
Is she turning into a loon?

posted onWednesday, April 15, 2009 9:54:11 AM

…rhymes with – “June”? Nope. “Spoon”? Nah. “Tune”? Uh-uh.
I’ve got it!!!


Well, what a wonderful way to start the day!
Lots more after the jump, soooooooo…

Ahem…tap, tap…is this thing on?

Good morning, First Drafters! I had quite a shock last night when I got an e-mail from the remarkable Athenae asking if I would be willing to take on the Tuesday guest post slot. I am, without a doubt, deeply honored to be asked. I’ll do my best to live up to the high standards that have been set around here, but Oyster left some big shoes to fill.

So here I am this morning, suddenly transformed from pseudonymous commenter to pseudonymous guest blogger, and, in the immortal words of Bert Lahr, “Shucks, folks, I’m speechless!”

We’ll see how long that lasts…

Until I find words, here’s a really cool link for those of you as fascinated by the swine flu as I am:

CDC Swine Flu Page

Isn’t it nice to actually get useful information from the government?

Go Look at what you helped to do

Back in October of 2006 I sent an email to Athenae which started with:“OK I have another idea…What do you think of the idea of trying to puttogether a First-Draft Krewe to go down to New Orleans for a weekend and gut a home?”

Athenae loved the idea and so did you. Some of you joined the Krewe and went to NOLA, while others of you donated money and supplies to make it all possible. And many more sent words of support. Here is thelink to Athenae’s post on the gutting of the home at 1773 Sere Street pictured below:

Fd krewe

The home was in pretty bad shape and honestly I thought it would end up being razed.

I was so wrong.

Sinfonian, who was a member of the Krewe, was in NOLA today and visited 1773 Sere Street and what he saw is just amazing…


Sinfonian has a great post on the Rest of the Story. And you First-Drafters helped in getting it started.

Specter switch

Arlen Specterannounced he is switching to the Democratic Party. His statement alsoincluded this:

My change in party affiliation
does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the
Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator
Jeffords’ switch which changed party control, I will not be an
automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees
Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.

Whatever my party affiliation, I
will continue to be guided by President Kennedy’s statement that
sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my
independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for
Pennsylvania and America.

The First One Hundred Days!!!

Is it me or is the idea of “grading” the president just something stupid the cable people cooked up to give themselves something to talk about so they wouldn’t have to talk about boring old policy and news and the law and stuff?

Does Obama deserve an A? A B? A C+? Who the hell cares? I’ll take my praise or criticism of the president the same way I take it of anything else: on an as-needed basis, when he does something nice or something tooly. Why do we need a designated grading period?