Lynching Illinois

blago2This will be short and quick – it’s late. It’s hard to be disgusted by politicians in this world of “Barack the Magic Negro” – but Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has taken it to new level. He has nominated Roland Burris to become the Senator to replace Barack Obama in senate, ignoring the pleas from everyone, in and out of his party to not do so and yet here he goes.   He doesn’t want us to base our decisions on Blagojevich’s issues, but on Buris’ own resumé. Illinois Democrats are brazenly bringing up race to goad the Senate into approving him. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill actually said “I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer and separate the appointee from the appointer.”   We are being told that there are no black senators so we need a black senator.   As a black American this notion is appalling – that just any black man will do. Just as Sarah Palin isn’t a replacement for Hillary Clinton – Roland Burris is no replacement for Barack Obama.

I know I don’t know him – but earlier this month he had the following to say:

“I certainly applaud her actions,” he said of Madigan in a December 13 press conference, according to WBBM. “Illinois is too important to its 18 million citizens to have a chief executive who is now incapacitated.

“The evidence that’s been presented is pretty appalling, should that come out to be the case of what our governor is attempting to do,” he said, according to WBBM.

Today he said he has “no opinion on the governor’s problems.”

Wonder what changed – oh yes, now he’s been nominated to be a Senator. I wonder what passed hands.

A random 10 Christmas card from the desert

 

Spaceship in the Desert

Spaceship in the Desert

From the Phoenix office of A Rubber Door – the Random 10 Christmas edition:

  1. Winter Wonderland – Aimee Mann
  2. Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
  3. Do They Know It’s Christmas – Barenaked Ladies
  4. There’s No Santa Claus – The Yobs
  5. Let It Snow – Dean Martin
  6. La Mari Morena – Septeto TrajeNuevo
  7. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – Sufjan Stevens
  8. My Merry Christmas Song – Johnny Cash
  9. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – Mahalia Jackson
  10. Christmas in Las Vegas – Los Straitjackets

Enjoying the plus 60 temps, but rainy skies here in Glendale, Arizona – home of the spaceship in the desert otherwise known as the University of Phoenix Stadium.

Hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas or if you don’t celebrate, this random holiday in December.

 

Spencer

Reprint: Bush’s Final F.U.:

Read this in Rolling Stone and it’s a must read.

Rolling Stone: Bush’s Final F.U.

Bush’s Final F.U.

The administration is rushing to enact a host of last-minute regulations that will screw America for years to come

TIM DICKINSON

Posted Dec 25, 2008 11:55 AM

With president-elect Barack Obama already taking command of the financial crisis, it’s tempting to think that regime change in America is a done deal. But if George Bush has his way, the country will be ruled by his slash-and-burn ideology for a long time to come.

In its final days, the administration is rushing to implement a sweeping array of “midnight regulations” — de facto laws issued by the executive branch — designed to lock in Bush’s legacy. Under the last- minute rules, which can be extremely difficult to overturn, loaded firearms would be allowed in national parks, uranium mining would be permitted near the Grand Canyon and many injured consumers would no longer be able to sue negligent manufacturers in state courts. Other rules would gut the Endangered Species Act, open millions of acres of wild lands to mining, restrict access to birth control and put local cops to work spying for the federal government.

“It’s what we’ve seen for Bush’s whole tenure, only accelerated,” says Gary Bass, executive director of the nonpartisan group OMB Watch. “They’re using regulation to cement their deregulatory mind-set, which puts corporate interests above public interests.”

While every modern president has implemented last-minute regulations, Bush is rolling them out at a record pace — nearly twice as many as Clinton, and five times more than Reagan. “The administration is handing out final favors to its friends,” says Véronique de Rugy, a scholar at George Mason University who has tracked six decades of midnight regulations. “They couldn’t do it earlier — there would have been too many political repercussions. But with the Republicans having lost seats in Congress and the presidency changing parties, Bush has nothing left to lose.”

The most jaw-dropping of Bush’s rule changes is his effort to eviscerate the Endangered Species Act. Under a rule submitted in November, federal agencies would no longer be required to have government scientists assess the impact on imperiled species before giving the go-ahead to logging, mining, drilling, highway building or other development. The rule would also prohibit federal agencies from taking climate change into account in weighing the impact of projects that increase greenhouse emissions — effectively dooming polar bears to death-by-global-warming. According to Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, “They’ve taken the single biggest threat to wildlife and said, ‘We’re going to pretend it doesn’t exist, for regulatory purposes.’”

Bush is also implementing other environmental rules that will cater to the interests of many of his biggest benefactors:

BIG COAL  In early December, the administration finalized a rule that allows the industry to dump waste from mountaintop mining into neighboring streams and valleys, a practice opposed by the governors of both Tennessee and Kentucky. “This makes it legal to use the most harmful coal-mining technology available,” says Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. A separate rule also relaxes air-pollution standards near national parks, allowing Big Coal to build plants next to some of America’s most spectacular vistas — even though nine of 10 EPA regional administrators dissented from the rule or criticized it in writing. “They’re willing to sacrifice the laws that protect our national parks in order to build as many new coal plants as possible,” says Mark Wenzler, director of clean-air programs for the National Parks Conservation Association. “This is the last gasp of Bush and Cheney’s disastrous policy, and they’ve proven there’s no line they won’t cross.”

BIG OIL  In a rule that becomes effective just three days before Obama takes office, the administration has opened up nearly 2 million acres of mountainous lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming for the mining of oil shale — an energy-intensive process that also drains precious water resources. “The administration has admitted that it has no idea how much of Colorado’s water supply would be required to develop oil shale, no idea where the power would come from and no idea whether the technology is even viable,” says Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado. What’s more, Bush is slashing the royalties that Big Oil pays for oil-shale mining from 12.5 percent to five percent. “A pittance,” says Salazar.
BIG AGRICULTURE  Factory farms are getting two major Christmas presents from Bush this year. Circumventing the Clean Water Act, the administration has approved last-minute regulations that will allow animal waste from factory farms to seep, unmonitored, into America’s waterways. The regulation leaves it up to the farms themselves to decide whether their pollution is dangerous enough to require them to apply for a permit. “It’s the fox guarding the henhouse — all too literally,” says Pope. The water rule goes into effect December 22nd, and a related rule in the works would exempt factory farms from reporting air pollution from animal waste.

BIG CHEMICAL  In October, two weeks after consulting with industry lobbyists, the White House exempted more than 100 major polluters from monitoring their emissions of lead, a deadly neurotoxin. Seemingly hellbent on a more toxic future, the administration will also allow industry to treat 3 billion pounds of hazardous waste as “recycling” each year, and to burn another 200 million pounds of hazardous waste reclassified as “fuel,” increasing cancer-causing air pollution. The rule change is a reward to unrepentant polluters: Nearly 90 percent of the factories that will be permitted to burn toxic waste have already been cited for violating existing environmental protections.

Environmental rollbacks may take center stage in Bush’s final deregulatory push, but the administration is also promulgating a bevy of rules that will strip workers of labor protections, violate civil liberties, and block access to health care for women and the poor. Among the worst abuses:

LABOR  Under Bush, the Labor Department issued only one major workplace-safety rule in eight years — and that was under a court order. But now the Labor Department is finalizing a rule openly opposed by Obama that would hamper the government’s ability to protect workers from exposure to toxic chemicals. Bypassing federal agencies, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao developed the rule in secret, relying on a report that has been withheld from the public. Under the last-minute changes, federal agencies would be expected to gather unnecessary data on workplace exposure and jump through more bureaucratic hurdles, adding years to an already cumbersome regulatory process.

In another last-minute shift, the administration has rewritten rules to make it harder for workers to take time off for serious medical conditions under the Family and Medical Leave Act. In addition, the administration has upped the number of hours that long-haul truckers can be on the road. The new rule — nearly identical to one struck down by a federal appeals court last year — allows trucking companies to put their drivers behind the wheel for 11 hours a day, with only 34 hours of downtime between hauls. The move is virtually certain to kill more motorists: Large-truck crashes already kill 4,800 drivers and injure another 76,000 every year.

HEALTH CARE  In late August, the administration proposed a new regulation ostensibly aimed at preventing pharmacy and clinic workers from being forced to participate in abortions. But the wording of the new rule is so vague as to allow providers to deny  any  treatment that anyone in their practice finds objectionable — including contraception, family planning and artificial insemination. Thirteen state attorneys general protested the regulation, saying it “completely obliterates the rights of patients to legal and medically necessary health care services.”

In a rule that went into effect on December 8th, the administration also limited vision and dental care for more than 50 million low-income Americans who rely on Medicaid. “This means the states are going to have to pick up the tab or cut the services at a time when a majority of states are in a deficit situation,” says Bass of OMB Watch. “It’s a horrible time to do this.” To make matters worse, the administration has also raised co-payments for Medicaid, forcing families on poverty wages to pay up to 10 percent of the cost for doctor visits and medicine. One study suggests that co-payments could cause Medicaid patients to skip nearly a fifth of all prescription-drug treatments. “People who have nothing are being asked to pay for services they rely upon to live,” says Elaine Ryan, vice president of government relations for AARP. “Imposing co-pays on the poorest and sickest people in the United States is cynical and cruel.”

NATIONAL SECURITY  Under midnight regulations, the administration is seeking to lock in the domestic spying it began even before 9/11. One rule under consideration would roll back Watergate-era prohibitions barring state and local law enforcement from spying on Americans and sharing that information with U.S. intelligence agencies. “If the federal government announced tomorrow that it was creating a new domestic intelligence agency of more than 800,000 operatives reporting on even the most mundane everyday activities, Americans would be outraged,” says Michael German, a former FBI agent who now serves as national security policy counsel for the ACLU. “This proposed rule change is the final step in creating an America we no longer recognize — an America where everyone is a suspect.”
John Podesta, the transition chief for the Obama administration, has vowed that the new president will leverage his “executive authority” to fight Bush’s last-minute rule changes. But according to experts who study midnight regulations, there’s surprisingly little an incoming executive can do to overturn such rules. The Bush administration succeeded in repealing just three percent of the regulations finalized before Bill Clinton left office in 2001. “Midnight regulations under Bush are being executed early and with great intent,” says Bass of OMB Watch. “And that intent is to lock the next administration into these regulations, making it very difficult for Obama to undo what Bush just did.”

To protect the new rules against repeal, the Bush administration began amping up its last-gasp regulatory process back in May. The goal was to have all new regulations finalized by November 1st, providing enough time to accommodate the 60-day cooling-off period required before major rule changes — those that create an economic impact greater than $100 million — can be implemented.

Now, however, the administration has fallen behind schedule — so it’s gaming the system to push through its rules. In several cases, the Office of Management and Budget has fudged the numbers to classify rules that could have billion-dollar consequences as “non-major” — allowing any changes made through mid-December to take effect in just 30 days, before Obama is inaugurated. The administration’s determination of what constitutes a major change is not subject to review in court, and the White House knows it: Spokesman Tony Fratto crowed that the 60-day deadline is “irrelevant to our process.”

Once a rule is published in the Federal Register, the Obama administration will have limited options for expunging it. It can begin the rule-making process anew, crafting Obama rules to replace the Bush rules, but that approach could take years, requiring time-consuming hearings, scientific fact-finding and inevitable legal wrangling. Or, if the new rules contain legal flaws, a judge might allow the Obama administration to revise them more quickly. Bush’s push to gut the Endangered Species Act, for example, was done in laughable haste, with 15 employees given fewer than 36 hours to review and process more than 200,000 public comments. “The ESA rule is enormously vulnerable to a legal challenge on the basis that there was inadequate public notice and comment,” says Pope of the Sierra Club. “The people who did that reviewing will be put on a witness stand, and it will become clear to a judge that this was a complete farce.” But even that legal process will take time, during which industry will continue to operate under the Bush rules.

The best option for overturning the rules, ironically, may be a gift bestowed on Obama by Newt Gingrich. Known as the Congressional Review Act, it was passed in 1996 to give Congress the option of overriding what GOP leaders viewed at the time as excessive regulation by Bill Clinton. The CRA allows Congress to not only kill a new rule within 60 days, but to do so with a simple, filibuster-immune majority. De Rugy, the George Mason scholar, expects Democrats in the House and Senate to make “very active use of the Congressional Review Act.”

But even this option, it turns out, is fraught with obstacles. First, the CRA requires a separate vote on each individual regulation. Second, the act prohibits reviving any part of a rule that has been squelched. Since Bush’s rules sometimes contain useful reforms — the move to limit the Family and Medical Leave Act also extends benefits for military families — spiking the rules under the CRA would leave Obama unable to restore or augment those benefits in the future. Whatever Obama does will require him to expend considerable political capital, at a time when America faces two wars and an economic crisis of historic proportions.

“It’s going to be very challenging for Obama,” says Bass. “Is he going to want to look forward and begin changing the way government works? Or is he going to look back and fix the problems left by Bush? Either way, it’s a tough call.”

[From Issue 1068-69 — December 25, 2008 - January 8, 2009]

Reversal of fortunes for the Phillies and Eagles

For most of my life I have been a Phillies fan first and Eagles fan second. Some of my earliest memories are of watching the Phillies at my father’s feet. The switch began in the late 80′s as I learned about football, the Eagles got better, and the Phils became atrocious. I had always felt that the Phillies had surrendered this city to the Eagles because this city was first and foremost a baseball town. The Eagles owned this town as recent as two years ago. What a difference two years makes.

Flash to Winter of 2008, the Phillies are World Champs and the Eagles have become a team that has underperformed just as the Phillies had done for most of this decade. I had often said that the Phils need to look at how the Eagles are run and learn a lesson. I don’t see lessons for the Eagles to learn from these Phillies, but they should be disappointed that they haven’t been able to turn all that savviness into a title. And now they’ve lost this town; at least for now.

These things are fleeting. If the Eagles turn this around next year, they could be the toast of the town. That will require Jeffery Lurie to instigate the changes that Andy Reid is unable to. Otherwise this team will suffer the fate of the Phillies of the 90′s: they will become a ridiculed and forgotten team in a city they owned.

(Sorry for any typos. This post was written on an iPhone.)

The NFL – the no fun league

It’s bad enough I have to watch the Cardinals (I’m in Arizona). The NFL is putting a buzzkill on a game that’s already out if hand.

I’m currently watching the Cardinals playing the Patriots and after a touchdown, Wesley Welker was penalized for doing a snow angel after scoring. Why can’t the players simply have fun? Doesn’t the NFL realize a little fun is important? Otherwise we might as well be watching the NAL – the national accounting league.

How to guarantee your child has no future

Thanks to Grace for bringing me out of my shell.

If there is ever any proof that morons are in fact allowed to breed, there can be no more proof than the story of the Campbells from Lehigh Valley, PA.  They’re in a disagreement with ShopRite because the supermarket refused to put their son’s name Adolf Hitler Campbell on a birthday cake.   Yep, that’s right – they named their son after the worst mass murderer of the last century.  Could there be any greater commentary about their hopes and prayers for their children – might as well skip the bottle of milk and start serving them forties of Budweiser instead and teaching him how to make a shiv.  Of course their daughter JoyceLynn Aryan Natian (you can’t make this shit up) will fare no better.  A stripper pole in her bedroom is the training she’ll need for her bright future.

I actually have no problem with this. Other parents out there are probably wishing it was this easy to tell what kids you want you children to avoid.  It’s like putting a bright orange radioactive sticker on your kid’s forehead.

Apparently they’re upset that ShopRite refused their request (as ShopRite had done in years past – one year they requested a swastika on the cake).  Yes you have a right to be a moron – but it goes both ways. ShopRite has every right to say “we don’t want you as a customer”.  I can’t imagine ShopRite asking an employee to even put that on a cake.  I can’t imagine these people even eating that cake.  Anyway, if you’re going to name your child Adolph Hitler, or Attila the Hun, or Idi Amin – you probably should expect some  repercussions. You also should probably expect your kids to be pissed at you.

One thing this story did do for me, is confirm my distaste for Walmart.  I thought I needed no more reason than the fact that their new logo is a sphincter, but they’ve given me more reason. Yes – Walmart agreed to put the name on the Campbell’s birthday cake – which as I said before, is their right.  Just as it’s my right to never shop there ever again.