The – 777.68 Point Plunge

by matttbastard

Bailout compromise bill fails.  Dow subsequently plummets by a record figure (nine-eleven-shmine-eleven).  TSX also plummets by a record figure, throwing a wild card onto the Canadian election table.  All this capped off a day in which global markets took a major league ass-whipping (most of which, it should be noted, occurred before the bailout flame-out).

To quote Paul Krugman (who, in turn, quotes himself)

So what we now have is non-functional government in the face of a major crisis, because Congress includes a quorum of crazies and nobody trusts the White House an inch.
As a friend said last night, we’ve become a banana republic with nukes.

Heck of a motherfucking job, kiddies.

Not that I’m fully convinced, contra certain quarters I normally find myself agreeing with more often than not, that it was imperative to pass this bill right fucking now (an ambivalence further cultivated by the knowledge that the much-ballyhooed $700 billion figure was arbitrarily yanked out of some Treasury Department flunky’s ass because they “just wanted to choose a really large number” to put the fear of smoking guns and mushroom clouds into everyone’s heads).  Nor is it at all apparent that Paulson’s preferred solution to the credit crisis was the only viable one (see this list of alternative proposals not currently on the table, h/t Sarah J via tweet).

But if this:

really is the primary reason House Republicans chidlishly chose to flip the bird to Democratic and Republican House Leaders (not to mention Secretary Paulson, President Bush, and John “Coalition Builder” McCain), then each and every one of the GOP dissenters up for reelection in November deserves to be unceremoniously turfed from office for being a bunch of petty, shallow, self-absorbed drama-queens apparently more concerned with partisan preening than the economic health of the nation (if not the world).

Speaking of petty, shallow, self-absorbed drama queens and partisan preening:

From the minute John McCain suspended his campaign and arrived in Washington to address this crisis, he was attacked by the Democratic leadership: Senators Obama and Reid, Speaker Pelosi and others. Their partisan attacks were an effort to gain political advantage during a national economic crisis. By doing so, they put at risk the homes, livelihoods and savings of millions of American families.

Barack Obama failed to lead, phoned it in, attacked John McCain, and refused to even say if he supported the final bill.

Just before the vote, when the outcome was still in doubt, Speaker Pelosi gave a strongly worded partisan speech and poisoned the outcome.

This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country.

No, Senator McCain, this bill failed because you, someone who has applied to become leader of the fucking free world, couldn’t whip your own goddamn party (the GOP, aka the party of fiscal responsibility, ideas and utter fucking bullshit) into line, you puerile sack of monkey shit.  You demonstratively “suspended” your campaign, snatched the ball out of Pelosi, Paulson and Bush’s hands, started to do an endzone celebration on the 20 yard line and quite spectacularly fumbled it before crossing the goal.

As Marc Ambinder observed:

Two thirds of…Republicans voted for its defeat…after a weekend of telephone call diplomacy from McCain.

Nancy Pelosi may have given a partisan speech, but she was able to get most of her Democrats on board….

Mother fuck ‘em and John Wayne.

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More on Sarah Palin and Book-Banning

by matttbastard

The Nation has just published a very informative investigative piece by Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, further exploring the connections between Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin and the Christian right.  The entire article is worth reading, but I wanted to highlight the following passage, which sheds more light on a now-infamous alleged incident from 1997 involving Palin and the Wasilla Public Library:

Much has been made of Palin’s gestures toward book-banning as mayor. To understand what happened, it’s useful to realize that the Mat-Su Valley was in the middle of a roiling controversy over a book by [Howard Bess, a local retired liberal Baptist minister], titled Pastor, I Am Gay. Bess, 80, is deeply respected by the Valley’s small progressive community. Educated at Northwestern’s Garrett Biblical Institute — now called the Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary — he comes from a Baptist tradition committed to church-state separation. In 1980 he left his church in Santa Barbara, California, to become pastor of Anchorage First American Baptist. Over the years Bess developed an intense concern about gay rights, and he went out of his way to welcome gay people into his Anchorage church. After he had served seven years at First Baptist, the board of the church asked him to lower his profile on the issue. Unwilling to do so, he resigned, took early retirement and ended up moving to Palmer to pastor a tiny liberal congregation, the Church of the Covenant, which he did without pay.
Bess published Pastor, I Am Gay in 1995. It recounts his experiences ministering to gay men and lesbians, calls for the church to take a stand against discrimination and even draws parallels between the experience of gay people and that of Jesus. “They are despised and rejected,” he wrote. “They suffer and are acquainted with infirmity. They are rejected by a perversion of justice. Is it possible that the will of the Lord will prosper through them?”

Local conservatives, including at Wasilla Assembly of God, mobilized against the book. Christian bookstores as well as secular retailers refused to sell it. Bess donated two copies to the Wasilla Public Library, but they vanished from the shelves, so he donated more. The atmosphere toward Bess was toxic; a 1997 cartoon in the Frontiersman showed a slobbering, doll-clutching pedophile approaching his church, whose sign said, Wasilla Church of the Covenant. Howard Bess, Pastor. All Sinners Welcome! Bible Interpretations to Suit Your “Lifestyle.”
Most reports have said that, when asking about banning books, Palin never mentioned any specific titles, but the presence of Pastor, I Am Gay in the library was, at the time, a matter of fierce contention. “I’m as sure that that book was at issue with Sarah Palin as I am that I’m talking to you right now,” said Bess.

Providential coincidence, or small-town cheap homophobic conspiracy?  Stay tuned, true believers.

Related: Fareed Zakaria dons his Captain Obvious pajamas, declaring Palin to be “utterly unqualified to be vice president”; has the bar on Palin been set so low that it’s entirely possible for her to ‘win’ Thursday’s VP debate?

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

I Heart Conservative Ethics (Almost as Much as Conservatives Heart Uppity Women)

by matttbastard

A now-infamously short-lived Conservative candidate may be facing a REAL shit-creek legal situation (sans paddle, of course).

dBO @ Birth Pangs:

Rosamund Luke, purportedly a member of R.E.A.L. women and until a week ago Conservative candidate for the Halifax riding, may be facing a criminal investigation regarding the disappearance of funds allocated to her [organization] by Status of Women Canada, under the New™ guidelines established by the Harper government.

Ms Luke was the executive director of an organization called All Women’s Empowerment and Development Association, the beneficiary of $142,700 federal grant last March from Status of Women Canada. The funding was meant to fund a 12-month pilot project to integrate low-income immigrant women into Nova Scotia’s small business community. About $130,000. is missing, according to the two remaining board members who fired Ms Luke. The association, whose goal was to bring economic independence to immigrant women, provided financial help to only seven women. Seven women.

That total does not include Ms Luke, who may have been quite well served by her turn as director of the organization. Transparency and accountability, it’s the Conservative way of doing business.

Heh.  Indeed.

(PS–read the whole damn thing)

Related: NDP MP Peter Stoffer’s letter to Auditor General Shelia Fraser formally requesting an investigation into the circumstances of how the grant was awarded:

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Sheila Fraser, FCA
Auditor General of Canada

Office of the Auditor General of Canada
240 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G6

Dear Ms Fraser:

I am writing to you to formally request an investigation by your office into a $142,700 grant by Status of Women Canada to a group calling itself the All Women’s Empowerment and Development Association (AWEDA).

I’m confident you are aware of recent media coverage concerning the Halifax-based organization as well as the controversy concerning its executive director Rosamond Luke and her political activities on behalf of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Most recently, today’s Halifax Chronicle Herald reports deeply worrying details about the decision by AWEDA’s board of directors to remove Ms. Luke from her position “citing accounting irregularities”.

The department’s Grant and Contribution disclosure record states that the $142,700 grant was awarded on March 2008. It also says that the project it is purposed to be in support of as follows: “This 12 month pilot project is designed to enable and integrate low-income immigrant women in Nova Scotia society through entrepreneurship, self-employment and micro enterprise projects.”

The very same Chronicle Herald article states that the doors of the program, opened near the Armdale Rotary, have now been closed – only six months into the 12 month pilot project.

I am personally supportive of the mission of the grant, and am now grievously worried that public funds approved by parliament for one purpose may have been used for a very different one. This is why I am hoping your office will take appropriate measures to ensure that this was not the case.

I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.

Sincerely,

Peter Stoffer, MP
Sackville—Eastern Shore

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Obama/McCain Debate LiveTweet/Drinking Game

by matttbastard

Via my homegrrl Sylvia/M:

First Presidential Debate Drinking Game/LiveTweet TONIGHT at 9 p.m. EST!For McCain:

  • “maverick”
  • “my friends”
  • “went against my own party”

For Obama:
“reached across party lines”
“reached across the aisles”
BFP mentioned when he lulls his head around to keep from looking at the camera.
“America wants change…”

skdadl adds:

For McCain: any mention of his time as a POW.

Oh, did you know that he was a POW? Well, he was. John McCain was a POW. You can’t be reminded of that often enough…

Here are the hashtags so far:

  • #obamashot
  • #mccainshot
  • #lehrershot (“for every time Jim Lehrer says “Senator, 2 minutes”” as per NPR Politics)

Feel free to add your own shot/hashtag suggestions in comments and yours truly will update this post.

Update: Sylvia/M adds:

  • McCain reference to “change” = double shot
    Mention of “hope” = shot
    Obama’s “Now, listen…” = shot
  • References to “Main Street” = shot

Update 2: Lauren @ Feministe expands for teh mainstream:

twitter.com/matttbastard

election.twitter.com

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The Grits Go There

by matttbastard

Liberals call out Conservatives on Bernier-Couillard scandal, Uncle Steve goes on the defensive:

The Liberal Party called on members of the Harper government today to divulge any information in their possession on the Bernier-Couillard affair to the RCMP.

While the RCMP refused to comment on its investigation, Liberal candidate Bob Rae said that people with information on the matter should not wait for the Mounties to come to their doors.

“The RCMP is investigating this with the seriousness it deserves. In contrast, the Harper government has shown an appalling lack of judgment on this whole affair. It has no choice but to fully co-operate with the RCMP now,” Mr. Rae said in an early morning statement.

The Liberal Party was picking up on a report in The Globe and Mail that the RCMP are pursuing the politically charged investigation in the midst of the federal election campaign.

[...]

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said he knows nothing about the investigation, but he nonetheless added that members of his government are not the target of the probe. Trying to contain any political fallout, a bristling Mr. Harper returned at the end of a news conference to a question from a Globe reporter who asked whether it would be appropriate for the RCMP to interview Mr. Bernier during the election campaign.

[...]

“I want to make it absolutely clear, because I do not want this story distorted: There is no suggestion that the RCMP is investigating Minister Bernier. Period. Quite frankly, any question that tries to suggest otherwise is misleading and inaccurate,” Mr. Harper said.

[...]

“Let’s be very clear: Mr. Bernier and nobody in this government is under investigation by the RCMP. The RCMP, we understand from stories, may be investigating some private individuals, but frankly I do not know if that’s true and I do not know the details,” he said.

As they say, developing.

Related: RCMP actively probes Couillard affair, patronage allegations surface: The Globe and Mail.

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