Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Days are here again

Just another average week

News Groper: These Blogs Are Not Real

November 7th, 2008

Anyone else get blitzed last night? by Barack Obama

Dammit! I forgot to vote! by George W. Bush

I voted for Obama by John McCain

The Jack Bauer guide to controlling your anger at the polls by Kiefer Sutherland

Judd Apatow

Kevin Smith, you appropriated my style for the last time by Judd Apatow

Racism is over so I retire by Al Sharpton


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Palin in spotlight as Republicans turn on each other

Rush Limbaugh, behemoth of rightwing radio, took to the airwaves to declare war on two enemies: Barack Obama and the Republican party. Bloggers at, an internet hub for conservatives, announced a boycott of Fox News and John McCain's aides fell over one another to leak embarrassing details about the campaign to the press.

Liberals, indulging in what the writer Andrew Sullivan termed "Palinfreude", were presented with a smorgasbord, ranging from the tale of how McCain's pro-Palin foreign policy adviser had his Blackberry confiscated in the closing days of the race, to how the party had paid for Todd Palin's silk boxer shorts.

The fighting consuming the McCain and Palin camps threatened to derail broader efforts to overhaul the Republican party after Tuesday's decisive defeat, for which some insiders blamed Sarah Palin. Veterans of the right gathered in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, on Thursday for a summit on the movement's future, but even as they did so, the blame went on.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is worse than I thought," Limbaugh told listeners. "What the Republican party, led by disgruntled and failed McCain staffers, is trying to do to Sarah Palin, is unconscionable ... There are country-club, blue-blood ... Republicans who want nothing to do with a firebrand conservative [who] can fire up people." He added: "We're going to be taking on two things here [over] the next four years: Obama, and our own party establishment."

Regulators shut banks in Texas, California

My Way


WASHINGTON (AP) - Regulators shut down Houston-based Franklin Bank and Security Pacific Bank in Los Angeles on Friday, bringing the number of failures of federally insured banks this year to 19.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of Franklin Bank, which had $5.1 billion in assets and $3.7 billion in deposits as of Sept. 30, and of Security Pacific Bank, with $561.1 million in assets and $450.1 million in deposits as of Oct. 17.

The co-founder and chairman of parent Franklin Bank Corp. (FBTX) (FBTX), Lewis Ranieri, is credited with inventing mortgage-backed securities two decades ago, but apparently was unable to save his own company from getting ensnared in the home-loan bust.

The bank's failure is a bitter irony because it is the mortgage securitization business of which Ranieri is known as a pioneer - the repackaging of home loans as bonds that are sold to investors - that was at the heart of the mortgage and credit crises. Last spring, the audit committee of the company's board found in an investigation certain weaknesses in accounting, disclosure and other issues relating to residential real estate loans.

Victory bump


Political Animal
As far as I can tell, there was very little positioning among Republicans for the next presidential race for about 48 hours after Barack Obama became the president-elect. But with only 1,460 or so shopping days until Election Day 2012, that apparently didn't last long.

Mitt Romney is off on a Caribbean cruise with influential conservative leaders. Romney, Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee are stepping up to help Sen. Saxby Chambliss' runoff campaign in Georgia. Huckabee is poised to kick off a national book tour ... in Iowa.

And then there's Bob Novak, fresh off his bizarre argument that Obama lacks a mandate, promoting his new favorite as the Republicans' future leader.

In serious conversations among Republicans since their election debacle Tuesday, what name is mentioned most often as the Moses, or Reagan, who could lead them out of the wilderness before 40 years?

To the consternation of many Republicans, it is none other than Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House.

Gingrich is far from a unanimous or even a consensus choice to run for president in 2012, but there is a strong feeling in Republican ranks that he is the only leader of their party who has shown the skill and energy to attempt a comeback quickly.

Even one of his strongest supporters for president in 2012 admits it is a "very risky choice." But Republicans are in a desperate mood after the fiasco of John McCain's seemingly safe candidacy.

Gingrich, of course, distinguished himself as a giant of the 2008 presidential campaign, arguing that "Saturday Night Live" should be sued for its skits about Palin, and laughing like a school-boy about the notion of improving fuel efficiency with properly inflated tires.

But Gingrich's ridiculousness notwithstanding, it's interesting how Republicans like Novak continue to look backwards. While Democrats chose a new, forward-thinking leader for the 21st century, Novak is arguing that the Republican Party needs to look to a failed former Speaker who made his mark in 1995, before becoming widely loathed by the electorate, and ultimately forced from office by his own Republican colleagues.

The GOP's Moses? I don't think so.

Mississippi students told not to say Obama's name

by David Edwards and Muriel Kane

A controversy has erupted at a Mississippi junior high school over allegations that a bus driver and a coach threatened students with punishment for saying Barack Obama's name.

The incidents became public when outraged parents called the studios of WAPT news in Pearl, Miss. Some said their children were threatened by a bus driver with being written up and taken to the principal's office, others that their children were told by a girls' basketball coach they would be suspended.

Reginald Simpson, a student at Pearl Junior High, explained that when students on the bus started saying, "Obama is our president," the bus driver told them she didn't want to hear his name. One kid said, "This is history woman," and according to Simpson, "She pulled over and kicked me and the kid off the bus." They were left waiting at the high school and later taken to their own school.

Obama Shows Us Where We're Headed, Where We've Been


by: Michael Winship, t r u t h o u t Perspective

The building with the white columns was once the place where slaves were auctioned off in St. Louis. (Photo: Reuters)

Whether you're Democrat, Republican or Mugwump, you look at Tuesday night's remarkable election results and the nationwide reaction and can't help but wonder at how far our young country has come - and, at the same time, how long it's taken.

You probably saw those photos of the big Obama rally in St. Louis, Missouri, a couple of weeks ago - 100,000 people attended. If you looked closer, in the background, you could see an old building with a copper dome turned green with age.

That used to be the courthouse. Slaves were auctioned from its steps, and in 1846 - 162 years ago - Dred Scott and his wife, two slaves, went there to appeal to the court for their freedom, arguing that they had lived in states and territories in which slavery had been outlawed and so should be let go.

They were, briefly, but soon were returned to slavery. When their appeal reached the United States Supreme Court in 1857, Chief Justice Roger Taney refused to free them. He ruled that slaves did not have the rights of citizens because Dred Scott and his wife were, quote, "beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."

Seventeen years later, January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and in November of that year, 145 years ago this month, he traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where the battlefield was still freshly soaked in the blood of North and South, to assure all Americans that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

And yet, more than a century would pass before we would come anywhere near making his words true.

It's God's fault

The cruel success of Prop. 8? Not Newsom, not gays. Blame You Know Who

Michigan just legalized medical pot. Liddy Dole is gone. John Sununu is gone. The Dems picked up at least six Senate seats. North Carolina went blue for the first time in more than three decades. A teen girl in California, for the third time now, won't be forced to notify her parents if she wants an abortion.

South Dakota easily beat back, for the second time, the most repellent anti-choice legislation in the nation. Colorado was close behind, trouncing an insidious proposition that would've deemed a zygote a whole little person. California will get high-speed rail. The smart black dude actually won.

It's almost a grand sweep. It's almost the most forward-thinking, thoroughly stunning election in American history, so much dead wood and so many old evangelical poisons swept from the national dialogue, it's as though we just swallowed a grand emetic of possibility, and purged like never before.


Amid the glory and the disbelief and the Obamapalooza, the thorn. The nail in the pudding. The kidney punch during the massage.

Some say the inglorious success of Prop. 8, the brutally regressive measure that removes the rights of very specific people who love very specific other people from ever marrying them, can be blamed on multiple factors.

Some say it was Gavin Newsom's smugness and political recklessness. Some blame Feinstein for daring to support Prop. 8's defeat. Some blame the black and Latino communities for their shocking and rather heartbreaking support of what essentially amounts to a civil rights abuse of the very kind they themselves fought so hard to overcome.

Or maybe it's all those sad, white, central portions of the state, the huge chunks of voters who live in places without much culture or perspective or major universities, who only hear certain strains of spiteful rhetoric and thin fearmongering, whose general lack of education means they apparently still believe certain flavors of love will poison everyone's soup and ruin the sanctity of the time-honored 50-percent heterosexual missionary position Christian divorce rate.

And I must say -- and you might not want to hear this -- a big chunk of blame for 8's passage has to go to the No on 8 campaign's initial arrogance, followed by their utterly limp reaction when the Yes campaign started attacking and gaining real steam. As one of my politically savvy Chronicle colleagues put it, "No on 8 was a bad campaign. Bad bad bad. Inept, amateurish, incompetent and, above all, guilty of committing the first and worst sin of politics: taking the voters for granted."

But I don't think it stops there. Because when you peel back all those surface factors, when you trace the line of quasi-reasoning back to its source, to the "real" reason many people voted for Prop. 8, I think the real blame lies with, well, the Almighty himself.

That's right, I blame God.

The 9 Most Inappropriate Soundtrack Choices of All Time

By Darach McGarrigle
Ronald Reagan Doesn't Understand Irony


"Born in the U.S.A." by Bruce Springsteen

Used in:

1984 Ronald Reagan campaign

Why they thought it would be appropriate:

Reagan was all about patriotism, and what's more patriotic than someone yelling the name of the country they were born in over and over? Plus, it got across the message that Reagan was born in the U.S.A. (where as his opponent, who knows?) and that he supports people who were also born in the U.S.A. (that's you, the voters!)

Why it wasn't:

Because every single verse is about how the US Government is one giant son of a bitch. You can see how Reagan could have been confused. The story it tells mimics his own life so closely. "Born down in a dead man's town" (born in Illinois). "The first kick I took is when I hit the ground" (became a movie star). "End up like a dog that's been beat too much" (ended up being the president of the most powerful nation in the world).

Bang Bang!

Yes, "Born in the USA" is a classic song about how "The Man" keeps you down. Reagan was running for his second term as "The Man." Appropriating the song as his own made him seem like that kid in grade school who'd try to deflect insults by pretending they were compliments ("If by assface you mean someone who's smarter than you, than yeah, I guess I am an assface, thanks").

Get Your War On: New World Order

In the wake of the Obama win, Accounts Receivable gives Accounts Payable a little heads up about exactly what kind of "change" Obama was really talking about all those months on the trail. Payable is NOT going to like this. Not one bit. But he needs to know. And Accounts Receivable is the man to tell him. Accounts Receivable is a really good friend, you know?

Watch for the coming "head explosions" and be careful not to get splashed with gooey stuff…

posted by Bill Arnett

…I'm having so much fun watching the "talking heads" of tv and radio trying to aver that this is still a "center-right" country and that Obama had better remember that as he leads us.

What a crock of crap! The reason Obama won is that people were sick of the center-right status quo with the rich and ultra-rich running roughshod over the needs and desires of the backbone of America, its citizens. If anything it was a complete repudiation of everything for which the republicans have come to stand for and no amount of denying it is going to change that.

That idiot bush barely squeaked out a victory both times he ran, yet claimed to have a mandate from the people to do anything he wanted. Well, Obama so totally blew away McCain/Palin in a manner that can leave no doubt that Obama has a genuine mandate from the people to undo the damage of eight years of republican/bush rule and restore sanity and a sense of purpose to America.

It won't hurt Obama at all to institute "left-wing" policies that watch out for the poor and do the things government is supposed to do best: be a financial engine that inspires creativity, educates its citizens, withdraws us from costly and foolish wars, and places the needs of Main Street (I hate that term but it does describe the middle and lower classes) ahead of Wall Street, with all its billionaires who need bailing out because they couldn't manage their own finances. If we're going to create and hand out jobs let's rebuild this country from the bottom up, the way is was originally done, by providing jobs with good wages, secure jobs that pay enough so that both parents in a household aren't forced to work two jobs and consequently have real problems educating their children.

No senior citizen or person incapacitated by illness should ever again have to debate whether they eat a can of cat or dog food or take their medicines tonight. No person that is ill should have to worry about seeing a doctor.

Want to truly fix the economy? Then let's destroy it completely and start over


On Halloween, The Associated Press continued a funereal drumbeat for the American economy with this headline: "Beaten down, American consumers burrow deeper."

It seems that consumer confidence has crashed, and the spooked populace is holding its cash tight. Amidst scary numbers and dire forecasts, the article managed to employ the word "grim" twice--as in, "retailers are bracing for a grim holiday-buying season"--and warned that there are no "silver bullets" to slay the approaching werewolf of recession.

Well, I've got an idea: Let's make this holiday-buying season as grim, slim and trim as possible. How about we just stop buying shit altogether? I mean it. Don't buy anything. No plastic crap from Wal-Mart, no superfluous clothes from department stores, no useless trinkets from the mega-mall. Not one goddamn thing that you don't really need. Just stop.

You want the CEOs to share the pain? Pull the dollar rug out from under them. Our economy--check that, their economy--depends on excess. It is bloated, inefficient, wasteful and incredibly damaging to workers, the environment, global social well-being and just about everything else that really matters. The more workers produce, the less they get paid, and the more their wealth gets redistributed upward to fat cats who are at this very moment floating away under golden parachutes, dreaming of their next scheme to get even richer.

In order to save this toxic economy, it will be necessary to destroy it. Our mantra now should be: "Shrink, baby, shrink!"

I know what you're thinking: Won't this hurt everybody? Won't people lose their jobs? Well, sure they will--but they already are! Beyond that, a lot of people's jobs are literally killing them, and many more do not pay a living wage in any event. This situation will not change until we rip up the current economic design that is based on squeezing every last penny out of every human and natural resource, and rescale the economy in a way that favors stability, frugality and local self-reliance over rapacious excess.

Our government has graciously opened the treasury to the "suffering" giants of Wall Street to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars--our dollars--much of which will be handed out as year-end bonuses to the very greedheads who created this mess. Well, here's a way to put the squeeze back on the D.C. whores and the Wall Street pigs: We can get our cut by creating a crisis that forces the government to shift untold billions away from stupid wars and corporate welfare, and back into our starving and crumbling communities.

Will Obama Administration Signal Return to Rule of Law?

President-elect Barack Obama will have a lot on his plate during his first 100 days in office.

Foremost among the pressing issues he faces: rebuilding America's reputation in the international arena, says Philippe Sands, author of "Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values." The book, excerpts of which appeared in a May 2008 Vanity Fair feature story, examines how U.S. lawyers abandoned the Geneva Conventions and other international protocols after the 9/11 attacks. (The Am Law Daily's Brian Zabcik conducted a two-part Q&A with Sands about the book in May. You can find those interviews here and here.)

The Am Law Daily caught up with Sands, a noted British professor and practitioner of international law who has been called to testify before Congress three times, to get his take on how an Obama administration might distance itself from the policies of its predecessor.

In your opinion, how far has the U.S. strayed from international norms during the past eight years?

The worst excesses occurred in the first term, but many were allowed to linger into the second. I think there was a conscious effort to do some minimal cleanup and we saw a few instances of what I call "re-engagement." But taken as a whole, the last eight years have been catastrophic for perceptions of the U.S. around the world and its capacity to fulfill its historic engagement with the rule of law. That's the crucial point.

Is the U.S. still that "beacon of law" to the international community?

We all hold the U.S. to a particular standard because it has been the global leader on the rule of law. And that has significantly eroded. But I think that people distinguish between the U.S. and the administration and so I'm hopeful that however bad it has been, this should not necessarily carry over to the next administration.

I take it the new administration has you hopeful?

With the election of a president who gives every appearance of having a strong connection to the rule of law, I think a lot of people are optimistic that this can be cleaned up. It hasn't been so bad that this is irreparable. The U.S. has a unique place in leading global efforts on the rule of law, which means while there has to be some looking to the past, it's equally important to assist the new administration in repairing the damage and moving on.

What preliminary steps should an Obama administration take that would reassure the international community that change is in the offing?

I think that there are words and then there are actions. I think it would be helpful to go into a little more detail and make explicit the U.S.' re-engagement with the rule of law domestically and internationally. The specifics of that mean no more torture, no more rendition, no more unilateral acts that blatantly violate rules, and developing timetables for shutting down Guantanamo and ending the "assault" on the International Criminal Court. [The U.S.] doesn't need to ratify the ICC but they need to stop demonizing it.

The new administration should also commit itself to strengthening the rule of law by signing on to existing international agreements or helping lead the negotiations of new agreements. In the early days words are going to be important, but a few actions are also going to be needed.

Obama on day one