01/16/2011 archive

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert

The Word – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Angriness

If incendiary rhetoric isn’t connected to the Arizona tragedy, it logically follows that it must be good.

For Dr. King

This diary is a re-publication of an essay from April, 2008.  It seems worth publishing again in honor of Dr. King.

I’m thinking about times almost forty years ago when I sang, “We Shall Overcome.” I’m remembering how I felt when I sang it, holding hands, swaying, anticipation in the air. I loved the idea of walking hand in hand, black and white together, and at the same time there was always a tension, a tightness in my jaw and in the pit of my stomach, the presence of fear. The song’s purpose was to get ready to do what had to be done. I’m committed to nonviolence, I recall thinking, but there are those who are not. They shot James Meredith, and lynched Emmitt Till, and burned Greyhound buses, and unlike me, they don’t want me to be safe. Uncertainty about what will happen tightens my jaw, while my heart commits me to the cause.

Divisional Throwball Playoffs: Sunday

2011 Throwball Playoffs

Once again I find myself more interested in the late rather than the early game, but I’ll try to work up some outrage for you anyway.

The early game starts on FOX at 1 pm according to all reputable sources and not the dumbass commentators who’s major qualification for their job is that they’re not quite brain damaged enough to be unable to read from a teleprompter.  In fairness they were probably shilling their pre-game program as well they might because who watches that boring crap anyway?

My mild favorite is the Seahawks who have the good fortune not to be the second most bitter rival of my second favorite team (second favorite team == Packers, most bitter rivals == Vikings).  What’s to like about da Bears?  They’re one of 2 original NFL franchises and they still play outside at Soldier Field.  Also I think they’re an easier opponent for the Pack if it should come to that.

The late game is at 4:30 pm on CBS and pits the loathsome Patsies against the only slightly less loathsome Jets.  What’s so loathsome about the Jets?  Outside of the rampant clubhouse misogyny and their status as one of the most Republican teams in the league (and in the NFL that’s saying a lot), they’re also freeloading squatters in Giants Stadium.  Buncha deadbeat Galts they are.

But the Patsies (look for ‘Gillette Stadium’) are even worse.  Their Hartford Hijack is unforgivable, or at least I’m not ready to make nice.

While it would be good to have the Jets kick their ass, it’s probably not possible so I’ll have to look forward to the Steelers kicking it in the Conference Championships next week or a repeat of Super Bowl XXXI.

The usual nonsense below the fold.

On This Day in History January 16

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

January 16 is the 16th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 349 days remaining until the end of the year (350 in leap years).

On this day in 1919, the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, prohibiting the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes,” is ratified.

The movement for the prohibition of alcohol began in the early 19th century, when Americans concerned about the adverse effects of drinking began forming temperance societies. By the late 19th century, these groups had become a powerful political force, campaigning on the state level and calling for total national abstinence. In December 1917, the 18th Amendment, also known as the Prohibition Amendment, was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification.

The amendment and its enabling legislation did not ban the consumption of alcohol, but made it difficult to obtain it legally.

Following significant pressure on lawmakers from the temperance movement, the House of Representatives passed the amendment on December 18, 1917. It was certified as ratified on January 16, 1919, having been approved by 36 states. It went into effect one year after ratification, on January 17, 1920. Many state legislatures had already enacted statewide prohibition prior to the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment.

When Congress submitted this amendment to the states for ratification, it was the first time a proposed amendment contained a provision setting a deadline for its ratification. The validity of that clause of the amendment was challenged and reached the Supreme Court, which upheld the constitutionality of such a deadline in Dillon v. Gloss (1921).

Because many Americans attempted to evade the restrictions of Prohibition, there was a considerable growth in violent and organized crime in the United States in response to public demand for illegal alcohol. The amendment was repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment on December 5, 1933. It remains the only constitutional amendment to be repealed in its entirety.

To define the language used in the Amendment, Congress enacted enabling legislation called the National Prohibition Act, better known as the Volstead Act, on October 28, 1919. President Woodrow Wilson vetoed that bill, but the House of Representatives immediately voted to override the veto and the Senate voted similarly the next day. The Volstead Act set the starting date for nationwide prohibition for January 17, 1920, which was the earliest date allowed by the 18th Amendment.Volstead Act, on October 28, 1919. President Woodrow Wilson vetoed that bill, but the House of Representatives immediately voted to override the veto and the Senate voted similarly the next day. The Volstead Act set the starting date for nationwide prohibition for January 17, 1920, which was the earliest date allowed by the 18th Amendment.

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour: n a special “This Week” Town Hall “After The Tragedy: An American Conversation Continued,” Christiane Amanpour anchors the first discussion with many of the men and women who had assembled in the Safeway parking lot when the shooting began. Among those who will join the Town Hall: family members of victims, citizens who took heroic action and community leaders. ABC News Anchor David Muir will be in the audience to restart a conversation about America and to probe the community’s reaction to some of the difficult questions raised by tragedy.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests Rudy Giuliani, Former NYC Mayor, Gov. Ed Rendell, D-Pa., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. and Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. who will discuss the aftermath in Tuscon.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests are  Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic Senior Editor, Norah O’Donnell, MSNBC Chief Washington  Correspondent, Gloria Borger, CNN Senior  Political Analyst and Reihan Salam, National Review.

They will discuss these questions:

Obama at two years: Can he calm the haters?

How will GOP presidential candidates handle Sarah Palin now?

Meet the Press with David Gregory: This Sunday, discussion and debate about guns in America and the tone of political discourse after Tucson, with Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Republican Senator from Oklahoma Tom Coburn. Also, we’ll hear the latest on the condition of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, from her friend Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

Joining ‘lurch’ for a special roundtable conversation: David Brooks of the New York Times, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal, Rev. Al Sharpton and Tim Shriver.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: This Sunday, on a special edition of State of the Union, we’ll spend the hour searching for answers as we look at the state of mental health.

First, an overview of schizophrenia and other potentially debilitating mental disorders with two specialized experts: Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, the executive director of the Stanley Medical Research Institute, and Dr. Lisa Dixon, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Then, did Jared Lee Loughner exhibit any behavior that would indicate he was dangerous? Could anything have been done to prevent him from acting? We’ll be joined by two professionals with a personal connection to schizophrenia:

Dr. Fred Frese, a psychologist for 40 years, is the former president of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Association, and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia as a young adult.

Peter Earley is a former national reporter for the Washington Post and author of a dozen books, including “Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness,” which details his journey seeking treatment for his adult son who was declared mentally ill.

Finally, we’ll talk with the co-chairs of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pennsylvania) and Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-California). Where can we go from here? What legislative obstacles stand in the way of meaningful reform?

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: An exclusive interview with the man who — until just days ago — was President Obama’s chief economic adviser. Former director of the National Economics Council Lawrence Summers gives his FIRST interview since leaving the White House. Why aren’t we seeing stronger job growth, when will the President tackle the deficit, and how much will the U.S. economy grow in 2011?

Then, what in the world? The Brits went ballistic over something President Obama said about France this week. Does America have a new BFF?

Next, America has more guns per capita than any other country on earth. The U.S. buys more than 50% of ALL of the new guns manufactured around the world. What is it about America and guns? And did that contribute to the tragedy in Tucson? An GPS panel – including French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy — looks at America’s unique gun culture, and what separates us from the rest of the world.

Finally, could you use a pay raise in 2011? Well, you may be better off than you think. India’s PM earns only $4000 a YEAR. How much $$$ does YOUR leader take home? We’ll take a last look.

Six In The Morning

America The Only Industrialized Nation Whose Conservative Political Party Works To Deny  Health Care For Its Citizens        

The Truth and Consequences of Repeal

Get ready for more theater on Capitol Hill. House Republicans plan to push through legislation this week to repeal the health care reform law.In deference to the new vows of civility, the tone of the debate may be a bit more restrained. But Republicans have already said that they will not strip the word “killing” from the bill – which is titled, “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” Civility apparently goes only so far.

While repeal will certainly pass the House, it has no chance in the Senate. So House Republicans are already planning other ways to undermine the reforms, like denying agencies enough money to hire personnel to carry out the program.

MLK: Be True to What You Said on Paper

“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered this speech in support of the striking sanitation workers at Mason Temple in Memphis, TN on April 3, 1968 – the day before he was assassinated

Prime Time

OK, so tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m the founder of 23 different radical leftist organizations including the Africans Fighting Racism and Oppression or AFRO, if you will, uh, the Black Revolutionary Organization or BRO, uh… and also the Black Revolutionary Underground Heroes…


Yeah, BRUH.

Well, the big news tonight is the Divisional Throwball Playoffs (which I intend to bump when we get past the ceremonial drek).  On broadcast only PBS is pushing a premier of Austin City Limits with The National and Band of Horses.  But there are other things to watch-

Why would they lie to me?

Because the truth hurts, Jazmine. The world is a hard and lonely place and nobody gets anything for free. And you want to know what else? One day, you and everyone you know is gonna die.


Obi-Wan Kenobi once said: “Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them.” Seems to be getting harder distinguishing reality from the illusions that people make for us OR from the ones that we make for ourselves… I don’t know, maybe that’s part of the plan. To make me think I’m crazy.

It’s working.


SNLGwyneth Paltrow and Cee Lo Green

BoondocksThe Real, A Date With the Health Inspector

And so, we’re raising the Terror Alert Level to intense orange-red, based on very credible, detailed information on a non-specific threat. Could it be a hijacking? Absolutely possible. Chemical or biological agent? You bet it could happen. Suicide bomber? Hey, you never know. But what we do know is that it’s absolutely, positively gonna happen today… maybe.

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 35 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Tunisia’s new leader takes power amid chaos

by Dario Thuburn, AFP

15 mins ago

TUNIS (AFP) – Tunisia’s new acting president pledged an open political system on Saturday following the abrupt end of former strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s 23-year rule as the Arab state veered towards chaos.

Soldiers and tanks were deployed around the capital Tunis after extensive looting of shops and homes and vandals set fire to the main railway station.

The crackle of gunfire echoed in the largely deserted streets of the city centre, which was sealed off by security forces to prevent protests.