Tim Geitner, Etc…

Gleaned from CSPAN Radio this morning: Geitner has support from Schumer and former Fed Volcker…the heavy hitters are coming out for Obama’s Treasury pik. Later: Remind me to look up the congresslady (I think it was Catnwell) asking geitner about “exotic tools…” not just for the infantile comic value of it, neither…it was a good line of questioning…

The Senate Committee on Finance is:

Bullshit Artists

Mr. Hartmann raises an excellent point regarding the Justice Roberts flub, re: the symbolism of it all. It’s the last thing the Bush administration will have anything to do with in any official capacity, the Bush-appointed Roberts swearing in the new President. And he screwed THAT up.

Filed under “Holy Shit” and “So This Is What A Preznit Looks Like”:

  • President Obama’s request to suspend all war crimes trials at Guantanamo was promptly accepted by military judges Wednesday in what may be the beginning of the end for the Bush administration’s system of trying alleged terrorists.
  • President Barack Obama’s first public act in office Wednesday was to institute new limits on lobbyists in his White House and to freeze the salaries of high-paid aides, in a nod to the country’s economic turmoil.
  • The new Obama administration circulated a draft executive order Wednesday that calls for closing the controversial detention center at Guantanamo Bay within a year and halting any war crimes trials in the meantime.
  • Early this afternoon at 1:15, the President will attend a swearing-in ceremony for the White House staff in the Vice President’s Ceremonial Suite on the 2nd floor of the EEOB. After the ceremony, the President will sign executive orders on Executive Branch ethics.

The Case For Caroline

The new senator from New York, no matter who is appointed, is going to be in quite a pickle.

This person will by default be the most junior senator. There will be no hefty committee appointments. There will be no seniority. It will be the last four years of a term previously occupied by a respected, feared, and loved legislator. The new senator will essentially be told to STFD and STFU.

So, I say, New York had better send somebody who’s already known, who’s already adored, and who already has a name in politics. It is the only way you folks are going to get heard in that august body.

Yep, I think New York needs Caroline Kennedy.

Just a thought.

Kucinich 2012

We here at the Serious Poo-Poo Institute of Technology have wondered for some time what the hell a guy’s gotta do around here to get impeached.

Now, we know.

An Illinois legislative impeachment panel started work on an unprecedented impeachment process Tuesday, taking the first steps toward removing Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office.

The embattled Democrat signaled he isn’t going down without a fight.

Lawmakers on Monday quickly shelved the idea of setting a special election where voters would fill the vacant Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama — the seat the governor is accused of trying to sell before his arrest last week on federal corruption charges.

But the House also voted 113-0 to create a bipartisan committee that will recommend whether Blagojevich should be impeached.

Pot Pourie

  • By the way. If you had your heart set on buying up “kucinich2012.com,” it’s too late. I just wish I could find a T-shirt.
  • Anyone else nervous that Obama has yet to name a Labor Secretary?

Pallets and Feckless Asshats

I wish I had written here what I was saying to people when talk first started about a “bailout.” I said this, and I quote: “I wonder how many millions of those dollars are going to leave the Treasury shrink-wrapped on pallets.”

From today’s The Washington Post:

In the six weeks since lawmakers approved the Treasury’s massive bailout of financial firms, the government has poured money into the country’s largest banks, recruited smaller banks into the program and repeatedly widened its scope to cover yet other types of businesses, from insurers to consumer lenders.

Along the way, the Bush administration has committed $290 billion of the $700 billion rescue package.

Yet for all this activity, no formal action has been taken to fill the independent oversight posts established by Congress when it approved the bailout to prevent corruption and government waste. Nor has the first monitoring report required by lawmakers been completed, though the initial deadline has passed.

Same shit. Different locale, different crisis. It is increasingly apparent that this bailout is more of the same, more of the disaster capitalists hard at work to strip you of your money. This time, though, it’s about more than money. They’re also working to strip you of the political power you worked so hard for. Because once they raid the Treasury, the President-Elect will have precious little resources to work with to get his agenda done.

Congress should be stepping in to shut off the spigots until the oversight requirements are met. I doubt that they will because Congress is a feckless asshat led by feckless asshats who watch The Feckless Asshat Show on channel Feckless Asshat.


  • The Coalition of the Willing shrinks: Bulgaria will pull its 155 troops out of Iraq on Dec. 31.
  • Remember, it’s not a “wedge issue.” It’s a “wedgie issue.” (As heard on The Stephanie Miller Show.)
  • “Brady, your sidebar is looking oldy moldy.” I know, I know. I will get to it one of these days.

Liars Liars

Joe Klein is very observant.

Politics has always been lousy with blather and chicanery. But there are rules and traditions too. In the early weeks of the general-election campaign, a consensus has grown in the political community—a consensus that ranges from practitioners like Karl Rove to commentators like, well, me—that John McCain has allowed his campaign to slip the normal bounds of political propriety. The situation has gotten so intense that we in the media have slipped our normal rules as well. Usually when a candidate tells something less than the truth, we mince words. We use euphemisms like mendacity and inaccuracy…or, as the Associated Press put it, “McCain’s claims skirt facts.” But increasing numbers of otherwise sober observers, even such august institutions as the New York Times editorial board, are calling John McCain a liar. You might well ask, What has McCain done to deserve this? What unwritten rules did he break? Are his transgressions of degree or of kind?

Keith may be sorry that MSNBC brought the Good Doc on board:

“The Rachel Maddow Show” was MSNBC’s top-rated broadcast Tuesday night, unseating Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown” as the network’s top show. Maddow drew 1.8 million total viewers compared to Olbermann’s 1.6 million. Maddow also outdrew Olbermann in the advertiser-friendly 25-54 demographic, taking 25,000 more young adults than her lead-in “Countdown.”

Even Joe Scarborough, who sparred with Ms. Maddow during convention coverage, had terrific things to say about this development.

TV folk are some of the craziest folk I know, as Krusty the Clown might say. But she is a good, good person. We probably don’t agree on anything politically. But she’s respectful of people, and it’s great. File this under, one of those good people doing well.

Which underlines why Maddow is destined for superstardom. She is a scrappy liberal who is so obviously smart, talented, and attractive that she can’t be denied, not even by those who disagree with the progressive world view vehemently. My lady friend swears I have a crush and will give me heck for this entry. But who amongst us doesn’t have a little Rachel crush goin’ on? Who?


The Nexus of the Health Care Crisis and Trans Discrimination

I think I have mentioned here at KIAV before that I have an uncle what used to be my aunt, three years my senior so he’s always been more of a brother than an aunt, er, uncle. On the family e-mail liszt recently, Uncle J. Bonk, who is an entreprenuer with his own business, offered a glimpse of an enormous frustration in that life. I asked him if I could share it here, and he said, and I quote, “It’s the facts Jack.”

I have worked on this a lot in my life, giving up “being right” about politics and trying to come from a place where I trust that in the hearts of my family members who vote for people like George Bush that you all feel like you are truly doing what is best for our country and for yourselves. 

Still, I have to say that it continues to be a struggle for me. The issues that I am passionate about are personal because they literally affect me personally. 

Equal rights and health care are top on my list. 

In America, because I haven’t had any surgery below the waist, I am considered female, and therefore my wife Jessica and I are NOT legally married, nor do we have access to a civil union that is recognized nationally. Therefore I am not covered under her health insurance. 

So in my world, those of you that are heterosexual and whose marriages are valid and who therefore receive benefits like healthcare coverage are receiving rights that I think I should have. Equal. Not special. Just the same as everyone else. 

Currently, I don’t have health insurance because I can’t afford to buy a private policy. I can’t be covered under Jessica’s insurance, so I go without it. Yes, I could go get a job with benefits but if I was a “Real Man,” I wouldn’t have to. I would be covered under Jessica just like every heterosexual person on the planet. 

How is that fair? And furthermore, how am I to NOT take it personally? It is personal. 

Right now, Jessica and I have been trying to get her pregnant for over a year. We officially now are considered to have fertility issues. Unfortunately, there is no fertility treatment that is covered under her insurance because she is not married. If she was legally married to a man, there would be NO issue and the doctors and insurance companies would be bending over backwards to help her get pregnant. But she is NOT married, so NO fertility treatment is covered. 

We have started to think about adoption. However, because we are not considered legitimate as a couple, we will most likely NOT be able to adopt together. Jessica will have to adopt as single mom, which means that if there is a heterosexual couple who wants the child they will get top priority over Jessica. I will most likely NOT be considered at all. 

So you see, I don’t share about politics because it is personal to me. When you vote for people like George Bush who want to make it a Constitutional amendment that essentially secures the idea that Jessica and I will NEVER be recognized as a couple, I find it hard to get past it. And in my opinion John McCain is basically a George Bush twin pushing “family values” which does nothing to bring the country together, but does everything to insure that Jessica and I will not be able to have a family. 

Maybe some of you could share with me how I might come to NOT take it all so personally. I’ve tried my best, but so far it still comes out feeling very personal to me. 

I think Uncle Bonk’s story effectively illustrates a whole mess of the ongoing current American dysfunction. If your gender I.D. or even just your sexual orientation isn’t “normal,” and if you insist on putting a shingle out, then screw*. You’re on your own. One thing universal health care would achieve would be a vigorous encouragement of small entrepreneurs like my Uncle, and small business is essential to the American economy. Vote Obama dammit.

By the way, if you need a good life coach, click here. He’s one of the best.

* Yes, I do watch Rescue Me. Big fan. Why do you ask?

A Statement About National Defense

Here is the full clip from what Thom Hartmann played on the air today, Frank Zappa on Crossfire, 1986. 21:17 in length and worth every second. The portion Thom played regarding our burgeoning fascist theocracy is at about 10:10. John Lofton resorts to Reductio ad Hitlerum at 15:56.

The Prince song they are discussing is (most likely) Sister from the album Dirty Mind, which actually was labeled with a content warning sticker when it was initially released. Whoa. Irony.

Frank Zappa’s vision was certainly clearer than that of most of the rest of us at the time.


While we’re embedding videos, might as well embed the Daily Show piece everyone is talking about. I don’t care what Jon Stewart says. The man is a journalist.

Nice Commercial and the Clinton Conundrum

This commercial spot is really good. It hits McCain hard but with charm and humor intact. This is the balance I hope the Obama-Biden campaign maintains throughout.

Meanwhile, in the “I Said Niggardly” department:

A black delegate for Hillary Rodham Clinton says she was called an “Uncle Tom” by Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, one of Barack Obama’s political mentors.

Chicago political consultant Delmarie Cobb says Jones made the remarks Saturday night while discussing her support for Clinton. She called the remark “fighting words” and unacceptable.

Jones, who also is black, said Monday that he never uttered the slur. He says he referred to Cobb and other Clinton supporters as “doubting Thomases.”

Actually, what Jones said was “Look. There’s Clarence Thomas.” I’d be offended, too.

Speaking of the Clintons, I can’t get a feel yet for if the Hillary folks are going to take it easy or if they plan on making some hay and continue the degrading process of thorougly poop-washing the Clinton legacy. Mrs. Clinton spoke about unity at the DNC today. But it is being reported that her husband expects a rusty trombone and a foot rub from Barack Obama. According to Howie Wolfson:

He feels like the Obama campaign ran against and systematically dismissed his administration’s accomplishments. And he feels like he was painted as a racist during the primary process.

“Senator Obama would go a long way towards healing these wounds if he were to specifically praise the accomplishments of the Clinton presidency in a line or two during his speech on Thursday” and “he could thank President Clinton for all of the work he did throughout his life to bridge the divides in our country.”

Also, there are reports that Bill is not happy with his convention assignment.

The former president is disappointed, associates said, because he is eager to speak about the economy and more broadly about Democratic ideas—emphasizing the contrast between the Bush years and his own record in the 1990s.

This is an especially sore point for Bill Clinton, people close to him say, because among many grievances he has about the campaign Obama waged against his wife is a belief that the candidate poor-mouthed the political and policy successes of his two terms.

Hillary and her supporters keep talking about how incredibly behind the presumptive nominee they are. But I wonder if she isn’t gonna pull an upper decker on this convention. I say stop those people at the Colorado border and turn them away. And I ain’t the only one sayin’ so.

Bless Her Heart

What Else, Robin?

  • If you’re in the mood for a light, stupid movie this weekend and you’ve yet to see Mike Judge’s Idiocracy, then go get it. It’s utterly dumb, but it’s very funny, and it’s also an effective satiric commentary on the wicked spectre of unchecked corporatism. Brawndow’s got electrolytes. It’s got what plants crave.