Travesty: Bush to receive 'International Medal of Peace' on 20th World AIDS Day

For the man who is leaving national and international wreckage strewn about, this is incredible. And to top it off, the award will be presented by megachurch pastor Rick Warren.

President George W. Bush will be presented with the “International Medal of PEACE” by Dr. Rick Warren on behalf of the Global PEACE Coalition during the Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health, to be held at the Newseum in Washington, on the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, Dec. 1.  This award is in recognition of the President’s tireless efforts and unprecedented contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

“No world leader has done more for global health than President Bush,” Warren said. “The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief [PEPFAR] has saved millions of lives in the past five years, so it is fitting that he be awarded the first ‘International Medal of PEACE.’

…The “International Medal of PEACE” is given to honor outstanding contribution toward alleviating the five “global goliaths” – giant problems negatively impacting society worldwide, including pandemic diseases, extreme poverty, illiteracy, corruption and injustice and spiritual emptiness. The PEACE Coalition is a network of churches, businesses and individuals cooperating together to solve humanitarian issues through the PEACE Plan, an effort to mobilize millions of Christians to Promote reconciliation, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick and Educate the next generation.  

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Floods & Farmers: The Strange and Unexpected Impacts of Auto Bailouts

This is a revision of a very long comment at Emptywheel’s, which kicked off with my expressing wrath and contempt over the fact that a GM dealer in my area insisted on locating his showroom in a floodplain near a freeway exit.

Claiming that GM required him to have ‘freeway visibility’, he absolved himself of any responsibility for flooding impacts to downriver farmers or salmon spawning, and denied that any flood costs could be attributed to his actions.

This obstinate and unreasonable GM dealer is an example of how a Dodge Ram can end up damaging local agriculture producers; by locating in a floodplain, this GM dealer made me view the entire auto industry with absolute contempt.

But there are larger, bigger issues in play — and in thinking through the Bigger Picture, I began to see that protecting the opportunities for America’s auto producers to build more ‘green’ technology may hold the potential for other shifts in the ways they do business. Change often leads to unexpected outcomes, and building ‘green’ vehicles may produce other changes in the ways that dealers market, support, and service customers.

Here is one attempt at a hopeful view of what MIGHT result from (more…)

SexyBack

bushsigns.jpg

Ohio State freshman Justin Higgins explains at PJ Media  why the kids don’t want to party with John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and John Boehner:

Conservatism needs to become sexy again.

I give up.

No.

Really.

When exactly was conservatism "sexy"? I don’t remember it even looking good at closing time after quite a few drinks and maybe even a little blunt force head trauma. In fact, based upon the most recent election, it appears that quite a few people who jumped in bed with conservatism eight years ago spent the last year or so  doing the walk of shame and secretly hoping they didn’t catch herpes.

But let’s indulge OSU Buckeye Justin and find out what it takes to make young conservative junk in the box pop up and say "Hello!":

We need to emphasize the elements of conservatism that empower the individual, expand liberty, and defend freedom. We need to break down issues like earmarks into simple terms, and explain that it’s not about changing the rules in the Senate. It’s about fixing our government and building a future without debt, a future with strong American consumers making individual decisions. We need to talk about the elements of conservatism that create a strong culture, instead of talking about the “inside baseball” issues surrounding the Supreme Court. We need an ambassador to the idealists just as John McCain or Mitt Romney were ambassadors to the pragmatists who focused on policy solutions but not public relations solutions. To win the youth, conservatism needs to become “sexy” again, and we have to start talking about issues in a way that shows that they matter to my generation.

We don’t have to dumb down our agenda or abandon our principles for populist rhetoric, but we need a strategy that convinces people they need to vote for America’s future, and that the Republican Party isn’t the party of old ideas or “rich white guys.” As much as I hate to admit it, the Democrats have successfully made that our image.

So it was really unfair of Democrats to force a bunch of white Republican guys to pose for a picture when they were celebrating ‘empowering the individual and expanding liberty’ by limiting a woman’s ability to make reproductive choices for herself. Although it was still kind of sexy because vaginas were tangentially involved and, when you’re a young Republican, sometimes that’s considered sniffing distance… if you’ll forgive the entirely inappropriate and ill-chosen colloquial expression.

And while  breaking down "issues like earmarks into simple terms" doesn’t sound particularly conserva-sexy,  when you consider the alternative it’s positively Boehner-inducing.  

Great Big Barrels of Sexist Stupidity Here, Folks

Many of you have heard about the Iowa Hawkeye fans who — though attached to other persons — decided to get it on in a restroom at the Metrodome last week as their team pounded their hosts the Gophers, 55-0. They were nabbed by the cops.

The man involved, a twentysomething, went back home to his girlfriend, and nothing further seems to have happened to him.

The woman involved? Her crime was not just to be fooling around while married, but also to be a cougar, apparently — she was 38 to his 26. And for that, she has been punished by the loss of her job and career, with her marriage no doubt soon to follow. All because she and some other Hawkeye fan had apparently decided, in a moment of drunken silliness, to act out a Penthouse Forum letter.

And in case you think that I’m only imagining a double standard here, look at the difference in how the two parties to the sex act are viewed on various sports blogs. The guy gets the virtual pats on the back for scoring, the woman loses her job AND has the Scarlet Letter virtually stitched onto her naked chest: (more…)

One Last Thing for Bush To Do

medal of freedom

From the never-been-right-ever Bill Kristol come these fine words of wisdumb:

"One last thing: Bush should consider pardoning–and should at least be vociferously praising–everyone who served in good faith in the war on terror

. . .

The CIA agents who waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and the NSA officials who listened in on phone calls from Pakistan, should not have to worry about legal bills or public defamation. In fact, Bush might want to give some of these public servants the Medal of Freedom at the same time he bestows the honor on Generals Petraeus and Odierno. They deserve it."

Yes, in the immoral words of William "the Bloody" Kristol, we should be hailing as heroes the people who did not have the courage to stand up against this tyranny that is George W. Bush, and his company of traitors.

Bill Kristol’s not suggesting Medals of Freedom for the few, the proud, and the dedicated who did fight to defend our Constitution, and to defend our freedoms. It is they who are our heroes, the ones who dared to say,"No."

RIP Tanta

Tanta was an example of what is best about the blogosphere: someone with real expertise–expertise (on mortgage finance) that at one point seemed obscure, until it became utterly critical to all of our lives–who contributed pseudonymously and humorously to the great enlightening conversation we conduct in the blogosphere.

Tanta passed away this morning of ovarian cancer.

Calculated Risk has a long post reflecting on her contributions. Here’s my favorite paragraph:

Tanta liked to ferret out the details. She was inquisitive and had a passion for getting the story right. Sometimes she wouldn’t post for a few days, not because she wasn’t feeling well, but because she was reading through volumes of court rulings, or industry data, to get the facts correct. She respected her readers, and people noticed.

I never met Tanta in person, though I remember the joy I had one day when I mentioned her in a post and she emailed me and I discovered she was reading me and I was reading her. It so happens that that exchange came about because she was kicking the NYT’s ass on their inadequate coverage of the mortgage crisis. 

Today, the NYT honored her with an obituary.

My condolences to her family and loved ones. I am thankful that she shared her expertise at a time when we were all so frantically trying to learn about it.

Laissez Faire Zombies

Was just listening to Insane Hannity on the radio. He was banging on *against* Obama’s plan to put 2.5 million people to work New Deal/CCC style.

It’s fascinating when you think about it. When FDR came to office he too faced a lot of popular opposition…from socialists and fascists who thought he wasn’t going far enough. There were virtually no populist voices pushing for a laissez-faire non-response to the depression.

What a different ideological world we live in today: Even as laissez faire decomposes, its corpse walks the earth in the form of a massive "populist" right-wing of entertainer-commentators on TV and radio. How will this effect Obama’s ability to carry out bold initiatives that go against laissez-faire ideology?

We Loved Her Way Back When

More than one year ago, before she became a Big TeeVee Cablefest Host, Rachel Maddow produced a revelatory segment of her "Campaign Asylum" series.  She featured the GOP presidential candidates’ appearance among the Wingnutty Wingnuts of Wingnutville — the Values Voter Summit, where a choral group performed the lovely re-purposed composition "Why Should God Bless America?"  Full of reasons why He never would and shouldn’t anyhow, since we Americans are full of sin and tarnation, the song has special resonance, I think, in light of the featured role played by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright later in the campaign.

As Rachel points out, why does the Right always get a pass on this craziness?  

Why is okay for rightwingers to sing out — in newly written words to a national hymn no less! — all the reasons why God shouldn’t be expected to bless America in our blasted and damned state?  But let one African-American preacher in Chicago challenge American foreign policy hegemony launched into other peoples’ holy places with the barrel of a gun on behalf of the nozzle of a gaspump, and all hell breaks loose for weeks on cable.

But a whole song expounding on why God shouldn’t bless America, and no one even makes a peep except our Rachel? 

And when one candidate talks about the threat posed by "this problem of transvestites who want to be schoolteachers," no one breaks out laughing?  I mean, who knew?  This is an urgent problem Values Voters are concerned with?

And why is okay for a creepy right-wing visigoth/ghoul to ask all the candidates what they intend to do to "counteract the homosexual agenda?"  I get the feeling that the survey-says high-score answer has something to do with pink triangle badges, boxcars, and quarantine camps.

I like the rocking-back-and-forth motion Alan Keyes gets going as he says that "the government is obliged. to. respect. those. natural. rights."  It’s really a shame that subsequent GOP debates excluded John Cox and Alan Keyes.  But we can see why: these two made Tom Tancredo, Sam Brownback, and Duncan Hunter look too middle-of-the-road on the great grassroots GOP highway.  The big-money men who (used to?) control the GOP needed to trim around the edges so that the acceptable alternatives ended up who they were.

As Democratic nominee Barack Obama sorta-kidded John McCain only one year later at the Alfred E Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, "That’s a tough primary you had there, John.

(Enjoy the humorous stylings of President-Elect Barack Obama’s Al Smith Dinner speech from just last month here and here.  Our next President is really funny, not just heh-heh Jon Stewart funny.  And enjoying every minute of it.)