Monday, February 9, 2009

Limbaugh Hears a "Who's Running the GOP?"

"He's a good man. He's not hated."
      -- Rush talking about Dubya,    Link 
"Why is Rush even talking about Bush? We don't care about Bush anymore 
  unless Bush is being tried for treason and the war crimes that he committed." 
     -- Cats r Flyfishn,    Link 
"Bush was the most partisan, most divisive president the nation has ever known, 
  and the ravings of a fat-assed drug addict do little to change that fact." 
     -- marlow      Link 
"Bush wasn't partisan and baggyballs Limbaugh wasn't 43's personal nuthugger 
 and all was well in delusional neoclownland." 
     -- Bozo the neoclown,    Link

Wall Street CEOs, investment bankers charged prostitutes on corporate cards, madam says

by John Byrne

Investment bankers racked up $100,000s in prostitution charges

Visa, Mastercard or American Express? Or maybe a credit card from JP Morgan Chase?

Wall Street CEOs, lawyers, bankers and media executives chalked up thousands of dollars in prostitution charges on their corporate credit cards -- swiping their cards for $2,000 an hour prostitutes, according to a New York madam who pleaded guilty last year.

Kristin Davis, the madam in question, went public to ABC News this week; ABC will be broadcasting her interview Friday at 10 pm. Davis says she has a list of 9,800 clients, many of whom she says New York prosecutors deliberately avoided when taking her case, even though she offered them her annotated client list.

In what's sure to create a media firestorm parallel to that of when a Washington, DC madam announced that she was publishing her client list (which included at least one senator), Davis' comments come at a time where incredible ire is already focused on Wall Street and banking executives. The pressure for her to release the list will certainly be immense.

But the pressure from New York's finest prosecuting team was nearly zero, Davis said.

"They showed no interest," Davis quipped, alleging that they ignored that numerous corporate titans had used her services.

"Some of these guys, I was invoicing on corporate credit cards," she said. "I was writing up monthly bills for computer consulting, construction expenses, all of these things, I was invoicing them monthly so they could get it by their accountants."

District attorney Robert Morgenthau's spokesman was said to have "no comment" on the handling of Davis' case or her allegations.

Davis provided the network with a print-out of her computerized client list, the same one she says that she offered the district attorney.

Among the names the network says it confirmed

* a vice president of NBC Universal (owned by General Electric)
* the part owner of a Major League Baseball team who "loves Kelsey"
* the CEO of one of the country's largest private equity firms who met "Cameron" at the Peninsula Hotel
* a major New York real estate developer who, according to the list, "will come to the door wearing women's panties"
* a partner at the Wall Street law firm Cravath Swaine Moore "looking for a party girl to come fully equipped" and spent a total of $20,000
* an investment banker from Lehman Brothers who saw "Kelsey and Keely together" and later saw "Aria and Skyler at the same time"
* an investment banker at JP Morgan Securities who "loves Brooke" and spent $41,600
* an investment banker at Goldman Sachs who "only wanted all-American girls" and spent $27,000
* a managing director from Merrill Lynch who saw "Lana" using the name "Nataly"
* a managing director from Deutsche Bank "who called about seeing Nataly again"

Keith Olbermann Special Comment: Cheney Doing the Work of Terrorists

Trial date set for Iraqi who threw shoes at Bush


BAGHDAD (AP) — The Iraqi journalist who threw shoes at former President George W. Bush will face trial Feb. 19 on the original charge of assaulting a foreign leader, a judicial official said Sunday.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi, 30, who is considered a hero by many Iraqis for his protest, has been in custody since the Dec. 14 outburst at Bush's joint news conference with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

He had been due to face a trial in December on a charge of assaulting a foreign leader but his defense team won a delay as it sought to reduce the charges to simply insulting Bush.

But Bayrkdar told The Associated Press that the trial will begin on Feb. 19 and the charge of assaulting a foreign leader will stand.

The case became a focus for Iraqis and others in the Muslim world who resent the U.S. invasion and occupation. Thousands demonstrated for al-Zeidi's release and hailed his gesture, which came in the waning days of the Bush administration.

But it also embarrassed al-Maliki, who was standing next to Bush at the time. Neither leader was injured.

The judicial spokesman refused to say what penalties al-Zeidi could face if convicted, saying "it's up to the court." The defense has said the assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

How Bad Is It?

Swampland -

This bad, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office shows us:


If you are having trouble reading the fine print: The blue line shows job losses in the 1990 recession; the red line is 2001, and the green line is the path we are on now.

UPDATE: To clarify, these are not projections. This is actual job-loss data.* Pelosi's office explains:

This chart compares the job loss so far in this recession to job losses in the 1990-1991 recession and the 2001 recession -- showing how dramatic and unprecedented the job loss over the last 13 months has been.  Over the last 13 months, our economy has lost a total of 3.6 million jobs – and continuing job losses in the next few months are predicted. 
By comparison, we lost a total of 1.6 million jobs in the 1990-1991 recession, before the economy began turning around and jobs began increasing; and we lost a total of 2.7 million jobs in the 2001 recession, before the economy began turning around and jobs began increasing.

*Pelosi's office says they used Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers.

Hundreds Attend Global Warming Protest

Cue the world's smallest violin

County Fair

by Eric Boehlert

The casual contempt for Obama--an unheard of phenomenon for the press eight years ago when Bush arrived in the Beltway--has already become impossible for many within the media industry to hide. Specifically the WaPo Lisa de Moraes and her unnamed television industry "suits" quoted her news article, "Obama's Preemptive Strike."

The premise is pretty simple: Obama may address the nation three times in primetime during the month of February. The Post's television writer treats this as a really big deal and inserts a how-dare-he attitude, as she wrings her hands wondering how many millions of dollars the networks might "lose" by, you know, handing over the public airwaves for relatively small blocks of time to the POTUS so he can address a national crisis.

"President Obama's desire to talk -- and talk, and talk -- to the American public could cost broadcast networks millions, and millions, and millions of prime-time TV dollars," wrote de Moraes. And yeah, good luck uncovering that kind of contempt when Bush addressed the nation in 2001 on network TV, even before the 9/11 attacks. The idea that it's newsworthy or unusual or a crisis for the TV networks when a president uses the public airwaves to address the nation is just absurd.

War on Words

by Michael Isikoff andm Mark Hosenball

Why Obama may be abandoning Bush's favorite phrase.

GOP Think Tank

A Turning Tide?

This week, out on the broad wastes of cable news drekdom and the uplands of Beltway journalistic drivel, a simple fact has gone almost entirely unreported: virtually everything congressional Republicans are saying about the Stimulus Bill wouldn't cut it in remedial economics. Not that there aren't legitimate policy differences and criticisms to be made of the outline plan before Congress. But to call the stevenpearlstein-blog.jpgRepublican complaints 'policy differences' would be to engage in what that old president used to call the soft bigotry of low expectations, as though a political party with as legitimately proud a history as the GOP could not be expected to produce more than economic illiterates.

The ground under our feet might feel firmer if this were just standard order rhetorical abuse. But the truth of it is genuinely frightening, especially since these fellows are planted in Congress rather than on one of the sidewalk corners in Union Square ranting about Socialism and Fluoride or Lyndon LaRouche.

But now there are some flickering signs that the tide may be turning, perhaps in response to just how nonsensical the conversation got earlier this week. For instance, in tomorrow's Post, business columnist Steven Pearlstein devotes an entire column to the fact most of Republicans on Capitol Hill don't even seem to grasp how a Stimulus Bill is supposed to work or even more basic stuff about demand, recession economics or even how jobs come into existence. As in, it's not a Stimulus Bill, it's a spending bill.

Tactfully, Pearlstein doesn't say explicitly for most of the article that it's Republicans he's talking about. You have to infer that from the names of the members he dings. But toward the end of the piece he can't seem to help cutting to the chase ...

what's striking is that supposedly intelligent people are horrified at the thought that, during a deep recession, government might try to help the economy by buying up-to-date equipment for the people who protect us from epidemics and infectious diseases, by hiring people to repair environmental damage on federal lands and by contracting with private companies to make federal buildings more energy-efficient.

What really irks so many Republicans, of course, is that all the stimulus money isn't being used to cut individual and business taxes, their cure-all for economic ailments, even though all the credible evidence is that tax cuts are only about half as stimulative as direct government spending.

It really does approach flat earth territory.

Brains 'are hardwired to believe in God and imaginary friends'

By Fiona Macrae

adam and eveReligion is part of human nature and our brains are hard wired to believe in God, scientists believe.

The evidence includes studies of babies and children which have shown the brain is programmed to think of the mind as being separate from the body.

This distinction allows us to believe in the supernatural, to conjure up imaginary friends  - and to conceive of gods, this week's New Scientist reports.

Other studies suggest our minds come with an overdeveloped sense of cause and effect, which primes us to see purpose and design everywhere, even when there is none.

Children as young as seven or eight believe that rocks, rivers and birds have been created for a specific purpose.

Taken together, the two traits mean were are perfectly programmed to believe in god.

Professor Paul Bloom, a psychologist at Yale University in the US, said: 'There's now a lot of evidence that some of the foundations for our religious beliefs are hard-wired.

'All humans possess the brain circuitry and it never goes away.'

Paul Krassner's Contributions to the Counterculture

FDA approves for sale drug made in DNA-modified goats' milk

Federal officials on Friday approved for the first time the sale of a drug made in animals genetically modified to secrete the compound in their milk. The drug comes from goats whose DNA was altered to produce a drug needed by patients with a rare blood disorder.

WASHINGTON — Federal officials Friday approved for the first time the sale of a drug made in animals genetically modified to secrete the compound in their milk.

The drug comes from goats whose DNA was altered to produce a drug for patients with a rare blood disorder.

Using animals as factories to produce medications needed by humans has been a long-standing goal. Federal officials emphasized that the technique has vast potential for patients and can be carried out without harm to the animals.

The drug approved Friday by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ATryn, is used to untangle blood clots in patients who lack sufficient quantities of antithrombin, a protein that acts as a natural blood thinner. Patients with hereditary antithrombin deficiency are at high risk during surgeries and childbirth, and the drug would be given in hospital settings. About one in 5,000 Americans has the disorder.

I'm reading newspapers again


Of course I've never stopped reading the Sun-Times. That's the start of my daily ritual. But while I used to read four newspapers every day, I found that, gradually, I wasn't. You know how it is. You get mired in the matrix of the web and think you're reading all the news you can handle. You have the papers, but they're unopened at the end of the day.

However, during the election season and the Inauguration euphoria, I renewed our subscription to the New York Times and remembered, at first almost unconsciously, how much I enjoy reading a newspaper. The pages follow in orderly progression. The headlines and artwork point me to stories I find interesting. I am settled. I am serene. I read, I think. I am freed from clicking and the hectic need to scroll, to bounce between links. I don't have search for the print stories. They find me.

This morning, I went to Huffington Post and realized it had become too slow for me. Perhaps as a strategy to generate more clicks and longer visit times, they make it tricky to get to the god-damned stories themselves. I was intrigued by the screaming top-page headline: "Generals on Obama's Iraq Decision." I clicked on it. No story, of course, but I found myself on the Politics page, where I found the same screaming headline at the top, then a photo (the same one from the top page), and then a headline under that photo. I clicked on that head, the same technique I had used on the page that brought me here. This time that took me to a story about top-level secret talks. Nothing about the generals. I backed up a page. Scrolled down. No generals anywhere below. Only now, while writing these words, did I realize that I should have clicked on the top headline on the Politics page, which had not changed , although now it linked to an actual story.

3m&t.jpgI guess I was a dummy. But I've had similar adventures on HuffPost many times. You click to a page, and then try to solve the mystery of where your desired story is on that page. Would it have been too much trouble for the original click to lead me directly to the promised story? No, but this way they got three times as many "page visits."


Jesus and Darwin