Wednesday, May 16, 2007

GOP Debate: Jack Bauer '08

A summary of others' live-blogging:

MCCAIN: Good lord, how often is he going to tell that drunken sailor joke?

GILMORE: Oooh, sneaky. In translation: "To hear which other candidates I'm talking smack about, you're going to have to visit my website."

We have entered the 'run to the right' part of the evening - any evidence of a liberal position will be posed as an accusation to be refuted.

GIULIANI: If he thinks he's going to get anywhere by talking about reducing abortion, his candidacy should be disqualified on account of he's delusional.

ROMNEY: "Being governor of Massachusetts proves that I am a true conservative because I've had to stand up to the horrible liberals there." Never mind that he only stood up after running and winning as a liberal.

QUESTIONS: Abortion abortion stem cells.

THOMPSON: Deep in the weeds of stem cells. Conclusion: There are already enough stem cell lines for promising research.

GIULIANI: "Legal abortion is about keeping the government out of people's lives so it's really conservative." Again, good luck with that.

HUCKABEE: At least Giuliani is honest about his position (slam at Romney?), but I'm better because "I value life" and that's "what separates us from the Islamic jihadist."

BROWNBACK: No abortions even for rape victims.

ROMNEY: My change of position on abortion is sincere. I swear. Really. Honest.

TANCREDO: He's seeing a lot of conversions among other candidates. His rehearsed laugh line of the night: Supports conversions on the road to Damascus, not on the road to Des Moines.

MCCAIN: We have to be bipartisan on immigration. Because of the planned Fort Dix attack.

ROMNEY: McCain is soft on immigration. "If you're here illegally, you should not have a special pathway" to become a permanent resident. Says "special pathway" about three more times. Then hits McCain on campaign finance reform.

MCCAIN: At least I'm consistent on campaign finance reform rather than changing position according to what office I'm running for. Because it's not like his positions have shifted at all since, oh, say, 2000. (Jerry Falwell, anyone?)

PAUL: When we go to war in haste, the wars don't end. (Is that like marry in haste, repent at leisure?) Keeps invoking Ronald Reagan to support his anti-Iraq war stance. Are they going to ask him about anything but Iraq?

GIULIANI: 9/11 gives me my moral authority and I will hammer that. Demands that Paul take back saying that US foreign policy had something to do with 9/11.

PAUL: "They don't attack us because we're rich and we're free, they attack us because we're over there."

Major crosstalk.

MCCAIN: Asked about Confederate flag. "Almost all parties involved" believe it's a good compromise to have it not flying on the state capitol but somewhere else on the grounds. And now can we please please please stop talking about this?

TANCREDO: "For every single scientist" who says people are responsible for global warming, there's another who says it's not. Oy.

And following up on the global warming question, he goes back to... Ron Paul's views on 9/11. Now we come to the "don't you just love torture?" segment.

McCAIN: No. (No applause)

RUDY: Fuckin 'a! Of course! (Much applause)

MITT: Hmm. Not so much on the torture -- but how 'bout this? Double the size of Guantanamo!! (Even more applause!)

BROWNBACK: Not going to involve UN in preemptive intervention if US lives are involved. (Not gonna involve UN in reproductive rights questions, either, one would presume.)

McCAIN: You know, it's these chickenhawk dipshits who support torture. Those of us who served see the big picture. (Tepid applause)

(I forgot that Gilmore was still running.)

GILMORE: I'll go to the UN -- and tell them what they're gonna let us do.

PAUL: In case of a terrorist attack... cut taxes! And spending! Because Keynes was a punk.

TANCREDO!!! GIVE ME JACK BAUER! Ethics and law "go out the window" when terrorism strikes.

GILMORE: Sure, there aren't any minorities in the race, but there will be some day. Don't sweat it.

MITT: Sure, I'm willing to change positions that might anger the Republican base -- for example, I like NCLB, because it fights teachers unions!

HUNTER: China. US on trade. Chinese military. Dissidents.

And that's it. Tom Tancredo is without a doubt the most lunatic fringe player I've ever seen run for president whose party actually let him on stage for a debate.

Of course you could go read Big Jolly post 60 times that somebody kicked somebody's ass, or this moron's view that Ron Paul represents the Democrat (sic) position. But it wouldn't be as hilarious, because they aren't kidding.

Update: Beldar Conehead and The Pink Lady also have pretty funny takes, again from opposite ends of the spectrum.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Rev. Jerry Falwell 1933-2007

Obituary at the Times. Steve Benen has the chronology:

March 1980: Falwell tells an Anchorage rally about a conversation with President Carter at the White House. Commenting on a January breakfast meeting, Falwell claimed to have asked Carter why he had “practicing homosexuals” on the senior staff at the White House. According to Falwell, Carter replied, “Well, I am president of all the American people, and I believe I should represent everyone.” When others who attended the White House event insisted that the exchange never happened, Falwell responded that his account “was not intended to be a verbatim report,” but rather an “honest portrayal” of Carter’s position.

August 1980: After Southern Baptist Convention President Bailey Smith tells a Dallas Religious Right gathering that “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew,” Falwell gives a similar view. “I do not believe,” he told reporters, “that God answers the prayer of any unredeemed Gentile or Jew.” After a meeting with an American Jewish Committee rabbi, he changed course, telling an interviewer on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “God hears the prayers of all persons…. God hears everything.”

July 1984: Falwell is forced to pay gay activist Jerry Sloan $5,000 after losing a court battle. During a TV debate in Sacramento, Falwell denied calling the gay-oriented Metropolitan Community Churches “brute beasts” and “a vile and Satanic system” that will “one day be utterly annihilated and there will be a celebration in heaven.” When Sloan insisted he had a tape, Falwell promised $5,000 if he could produce it. Sloan did so, Falwell refused to pay and Sloan successfully sued. Falwell appealed, with his attorney charging that the Jewish judge in the case was prejudiced. He lost again and was forced to pay an additional $2,875 in sanctions and court fees.

October 1987: The Federal Election Commission fines Falwell for transferring $6.7 million in funds intended for his ministry to political committees.

February 1988: The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a $200,000 jury award to Falwell for “emotional distress” he suffered because of a Hustler magazine parody. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, usually a Falwell favorite, wrote the unanimous opinion in Hustler v. Falwell, ruling that the First Amendment protects free speech. The original trial which was appealed to the USSC was satirized -- sort of -- in the film The People vs. Larry Flynt.

February 1993: The Internal Revenue Service determines that funds from Falwell’s "Old Time Gospel Hour" program were illegally funneled to a political action committee. The IRS forced Falwell to pay $50,000 and retroactively revoked the Old Time Gospel Hour’s tax-exempt status for 1986-87.

March 1993: Despite his promise to Jewish groups to stop referring to America as a “Christian nation,” Falwell gives a sermon saying, “We must never allow our children to forget that this is a Christian nation. We must take back what is rightfully ours.”

1994-1995: Falwell is criticized for using his “Old Time Gospel Hour” to hawk a scurrilous video called “The Clinton Chronicles” that makes a number of unsubstantiated charges against President Bill Clinton — among them that he is a drug addict and that he arranged the murders of political enemies in Arkansas. Despite claims he had no ties to the project, evidence surfaced that Falwell helped bankroll the venture with $200,000 paid to a group called Citizens for Honest Government (CHG). CHG’s Pat Matrisciana later admitted that Falwell and he staged an infomercial interview promoting the video in which a silhouetted reporter said his life was in danger for investigating Clinton. (Matrisciana himself posed as the reporter.) “That was Jerry’s idea to do that,” Matrisciana recalled. “He thought that would be dramatic.”

November 1997: Falwell accepts $3.5 million from a front group representing controversial Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon to ease Liberty University’s financial woes.

April 1998: Confronted on national television with a controversial quote from America Can Be Saved!, a published collection of his sermons, Falwell denies having written the book or had anything to do with it. In the 1979 work, Falwell wrote, “I hope to live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!” Despite Falwell’s denial, Sword of the Lord Publishing, which produced the book, confirms that Falwell wrote it.

January 1999: Falwell tells a pastors’ conference in Kingsport, Tenn., that the Antichrist prophesied in the Bible is alive today and “of course he’ll be Jewish.”

February 1999: Falwell becomes the object of nationwide ridicule after his National Liberty Journal newspaper issues a “parents alert” warning that Tinky Winky, a character on the popular PBS children’s show “Teletubbies,” might be gay.

September 2001: Falwell blames Americans for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the Pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’”

November 2005: Falwell spearheads campaign to resist “war on Christmas.”

February 2007: Falwell describes global warming as a conspiracy orchestrated by Satan, liberals, and The Weather Channel.

Let's hope this man finds the peace, love, and tolerance in the afterlife that eluded him on Earth.

Paul Wolfowitz as Christopher Moltosanti

The difference is that I don't think Dick Cheney is going to be forced to put him out of his misery. Oh, and I really like the Guardian because they don't censor the curse words:

An angry and bitter Paul Wolfowitz poured abuse and threatened retaliations on senior World Bank staff if his orders for pay rises and promotions for his partner were revealed, according to new details published last night.

Under fire for the lavish package given to Shaha Riza, a World Bank employee and Mr Wolfowitz's girlfriend when he became president, an official investigation into the controversy has found that Mr Wolfowitz broke bank rules and violated his own contract – setting off a struggle between US and European governments over Mr Wolfowitz's future.

Sounding more like a cast member of the Sopranos than an international leader, in testimony by one key witness Mr Wolfowitz declares: "If they fuck with me or Shaha, I have enough on them to fuck them too."

Don't get on any small airplanes, Wolfie. And don't go hunting with Big Dick, either ...

The remarks were published in a report detailing the controversy that erupted last month after the size of Ms Riza's pay rises was revealed. The report slates Mr Wolfowitz for his "questionable judgment and a preoccupation with self-interest", saying: "Mr Wolfowitz saw himself as the outsider to whom the established rules and standards did not apply."

The report brushed off Mr Wolfowitz's defence that he thought he had been asked to arrange Ms Riza's pay package, observing that "the interpretation given by Mr Wolfowitz ... simply turns logic on its head".

Evidently he forgot to use the Gonzales defense.

Speaking of dead men walking, this is the reason Abu G is still hanging on: he's Karl Rove's human shield ...

Rove, with his obsession with creating a permanent Republican majority by whatever means, found a most willing ally in the form of the lackey Gonzales. What better position than the Attorney General's office to put a thumb on the electoral scale, and what better lackey to put in that office than Bush's Fredo, the unimaginative, incompetent, real-estate lawyer lackey Gonzales?

Even with the resignation of the #2 guy at Justice -- that makes three, with Kyle Sampson and Monica Goodling, who has now been granted immunity from prosecution -- I believe "That's a question I hadn't considered" Gonzales is sticking around for a little while longer.

Human shield, human pinata, what's the difference.