The Purple Pinup Guru Platform

When purple things are pulsating on your mind, I'm the one whose clock you want to clean. Aiding is Sparky, the Astral Plane Zen Pup Dog from his mountain stronghold on the Northernmost Island of the Happy Ninja Island chain, this blog will also act as a journal to my wacky antics at an entertainment company and the progress of my self published comic book, The Deposit Man which only appears when I damn well feel like it. Real Soon Now.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


First we'll puncture Palin.

She is an ugly idiot. She hangs out with actual nutbars who want to secede from the US to keep it for Big Oil and to make life worse for the native people. And she'll attend a church who has hosted both White Ayran Resistance and West African Witch Hunters (the ones who murder hundreds of innocent kids in the name of Christ). Just saying.

And her gem of a dad says "Asians make her uncomfortable."
... Palin, though notoriously ill-traveled outside the United States, did journey far to the first of the four colleges she attended, in Hawaii. She and a friend who went with her lasted only one semester. "Hawaii was a little too perfect," Palin writes. "Perpetual sunshine isn't necessarily conducive to serious academics for eighteen-year-old Alaska girls." Perhaps not. But Palin's father, Chuck Heath, gave a different account to Conroy and Walshe. According to him, the presence of so many Asians and Pacific Islanders made her uncomfortable: "They were a minority type thing and it wasn't glamorous, so she came home." In any case, Palin reports that she much preferred her last stop, the University of Idaho, "because it was much like Alaska yet still 'Outside.' "
Chuck Heath's quip that his daughter Sarah Palin skipped out on her studies after one semester at Hawaii Pacific College because she didn't feel comfortable around so many Asians was intriguing not because of its blatant racism. The intrigue was that Palin didn't deny she said it.

Palin again fanned the latent bigotry among her fans with her book tour. She flatly said that she'd avoid the big city liberal media hotbeds and tour in mostly small and midsized towns in the heartland states. This was a not so subtle code guarantee that her audience would be overwhelmingly white, working class, and conservative. That's exactly the audience she got. It's an audience that won't make [the Rogue Maverick] uncomfortable.


And she's quite evil and disloyal - witness this:

Sarah Palin Leaves Hawaii Because of Visor Photo

Sarah Palin, famous for her “rogue” remarks during her bid with John McCain to become Vice President of the United States, has decided to leave paradise due to some photos of her that have been passed around the internet, television and print media.

Usually we try and stay away from the gossip columns of the news, but come on, we couldn’t pass this one up. We’ve included a photo here, well, because we wanted to, but we got the photo from TMZ who has many many more photos of the “incident” which come on, really shouldn’t be an incident. She’s visiting Hawaii, brought her visor, and blacked out her running mates name. What’s news about that?

She said on her twitter “cut sunny vacation short (thanks, desperate paparazzi).” Paprazzi is one thing, but it’s all the news sources (guilty as charged) making up reasons why this would be big news. Maybe it’s because she’s in obama land, or maybe she did want to go incognito as she mentioned. Either way, we’ll keep the news alive, because quite frankly, I didn’t even know she was in Hawaii.

Thing is this idiot could just gotten another hat; Subtlety not being her forte here. Actions do speak louder than words.

Sarah Palin actually has a LOT of political experience -- a dozen years in office. And during all of that time, she has consistently abused her power, feathered her own nest, lied, flirted with a radical secessionist group, and used government to reward her friends and punish her enemies.

One thing she is NOT is a regular Joe (or Jane) Sixpack. Palin majored in Broadcast Journalism, worked in TV, and was trained by Newt Gingrich's GOPAC political action committee over a decade ago, which is why she's so good at political debates, delivering speeches and not answering questions.

Note: there were a lot of wild or unproven rumors thrown around about Palin when she was first announced, notably that baby Trig was actually her daughter's (clearly not true) and that Sarah Palin had an affair with a former business partner of her husband's (documented only by the National Enquirer). Granted, the Enquirer has a better track record than most people give it credit for (coughEDWARDScough), but their evidence looks a bit thin here. What I hear from sources in Alaska is that Sarah Palin told friends that she had an "emotional affair" with the guy but never consumnated it, and I see no evidence to contradict that.


“The Palin family gets upset at personal issues. And at our level, they want to strike back.” -- John Harris, Alaska's Republican Speaker of the House

She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone. ... She is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom." -- Anonymous McCain adviser

I told her it was against the law to make such a large expenditure [$50,000 to renovate her office] without the council taking a vote. She said, “I'm the mayor, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can't.” - Nick Carney, former Wasilla council member who mentored Palin

[In 1996] I said, You know, Sarah, within 10 years you could be governor.” She replied, want to be president.”” - Laura Chase, Palin's campaign manager for mayor in 1996

"‘You should be ashamed! Stop blogging. Stop blogging right now!’ - Palin's assistant Ivy Frye, to a Wasilla blogger

“I'm still proud of Sarah, but she scares the bejeebers out of me.” - Laura Chase, her 1996 campaign manager

"She's the world's worst multi-tasker. She'll have a cell phone in one hand, the BlackBerry in the other while she is reading two position papers. You have to tell her prior to the debate, 'Put that down, breathe deep.' They [the McCain staff] are not going to know that." - a former aide

-- Quote Sources

Luxury Shopping with Public Money

Throughout her career, Sarah Palin has used government and campaign money to enrich herself. The most infamous example is her $150,000 shopping spree with disguised campaign funds at New York's fanciest department stores -- Neiman Marcus ($75,062.63), Saks Fifth Avenue ($49,425.74), and Bloomingdales (a mere $5,102.71). That was all spent in TWO WEEKS.

That doesn't include her styling -- $4,716.49 on hair and makeup in September alone. The highest paid employee of the entire McCain - Palin campaign team is not McCain's campaign manager or communications director; it's Amy Strozzi, Palin's travelling makeup lady, who made $22,000 just in the first two weeks of October. Granted, she was nominated for an Emmy for her makeup work on "So You Think You Can Dance?", but still. AND that doesn't count Ms. Palin's travelling hair stylist, Angela Lew, who made another $10,000 in those same two weeks (compared to $12,500 for McCain's campaign manager.)

Worse yet, the campaign tried to hide these payments by lying about what they were for. On the legally required spending report, Strozzi's payments were described as "Personnel Svc/Equipment", and Lew's were "Communications Consulting." And the $150,000 apparently wasn't enough. Despite Palin's lame denials, she continues to pick up more outfits on the campaign trail, including "a short, three-quarter sleeve jacket, a skirt and a couple other items" at the Ann Taylor Store at the Summit Sierra Mall in Reno just before she spoke there.

None of this is new. Back in Alaska, Palin pocketed $17,000 in government travel expense payments for food and lodging for the 312 nights she slept in her own house. $55 bucks a night, government reimbursement, for sleeping at home. Try that at your work.

She also took over $40,000 in travel allowances for both her and her husband Todd, who is not a government employee, got him a state-paid Blackberry, and took her daughter to stay in a $700/night New York hotel on the state's dime. Her excuse? She didn't take as much travel money as her predecessor Frank Murkowski. True, but she was only elected because Alaskans were so disgusted with him, so that's not saying much.

Even as Wasilla mayor, one of her first acts was getting the city to buy a white Suburban for her, which locals called the "mayor-mobile." She used her clout to get special treatment including a zoning waiver on her house (despite not keeping her promise to remove a fire hazard), and lots of free merchandise and services from businesses affected by city decisions (including what she called "an awesome facial", fresh salmon and "absolutely gorgeous flowers.") -- Sources

Cronyism - Hiring Unqualified Friends for High-Paid Government Jobs

As both mayor and governor, Palin immediately fired lots of highly skilled, experienced staff and replaced them with "her people." What that means in practice is that Alaskan government now has tons of Wasilla residents, high school friends of Palin and members of her church in high positions, in $80,000 -$120,000 a year jobs, despite minimal or no qualifications.

For example, she named Franci Havemeister (a high school friend) as director of Alaska's Department of Agriculture at $95,000. Asked for her qualifications, the former real estate agent said that she loved cows as a kid.

Debbie Richter and her husband were long time friends of the Palins and owned a vacation house together. First Palin hired Debbie as her campaign treasurer, based on some bookkeeping jobs Richter had done. Once elected governor, she put Debbie in charge of the multi-billion program that send oil money rebate checks to every Alaskan resident. Soon after, the program had a famous disaster, where the computers crashed and no one had backed up key files. (I work in computers as my day job, and we discussed this at the time last year, when no one had heard of Sarah Palin.) They had to recreate hundreds of thousands of records by HAND, and no one really can be sure how accurate these massive payments were.

Abuse of Power

Sarah Palin is extremely vindictive. In a unique twist, she attacks not only her own enemies but even people who have divorced her friends. The most famous case of course is her sister's ex-husband, Mike Wooten (an Alaskan state trooper). Palin's pursuit of him (and her husband Todd's pursuit) is somewhere north of abuse of power and just south of flat-out stalking; she and aides following her orders may actually face criminal prosecution for actions such as opening confidential Workers' Compensation files to use against him.

A bipartisan investigation issued a 263-page report - with a confidential 700 page appendix -- meticulously documenting how Palin and her husband abused power by using the governor's office to hound Wooten. 36 times, Palin, Todd or one of their staff members contacted the office of the chief State Trooper to express anger that Wooten was still employed. They even found out he was going to appear in costume as "Safety Bear" at the Alaska State Fair and got him removed. When a year and a half of this did not get Wooten fired (he was protected by a union), Sarah Palin fired Wooten's boss, and claimed Wooten was not the reason. (But when her staff called his successor, and then interviewed him, they asked about Wooten each time and didn't mention any of the other 262 troopers.)

But Wooten's not the only one. Palin also fired John Bitney, an Alaska state employee, and pressured the legislator who then hired him to fire the guy too. Bitney's crime? He dated (and later married) Debbie Richter (see cronyism) after Debbie's marriage to Scott Richter broke up. The Richters were close friends of the Palins and owned a vacation house together with them.

The Wooten case is the most disturbing, both because of Palin's obsessive attacks and the outrageous coverup that she and McCain officials waged against the official investigation of this abuse. In a nutshell: Wooten is an Alaskan state trooper in a bitter divorce and custody battle with Sarah Palin's sister. Even before she was governor, she filed complaints against him with the state police. (She says he tested his taser on his 11 year old boy (at the boy's request), drank beer in his police car and hunted without proper paperwork.) The police investigated the charges and suspended Wooten for five days (but did not fire him).

After she was elected governor, Palin repeatedly pushed the head trooper (Walt Monegan) to fire Wooten. Strangely, Todd Palin called Monegan into a meeting in the governor's office -- no actual government employees were there -- and argued for Wooten's firing. (Todd admitted to investigators that he had made "hundreds" of calls to get Wooten fired. He is cc'ed on most of Sarah Palin's important emails, and often shows up unannounced in official meetings.)

Not surprisingly, chief trooper Monegan replied that Wooten had been investigated and punished, and you can't just go and punish somebody more for no reason besides the governor's husband's anger. Palin doesn't get that. For her, power means the power to get rich, punish your enemies and give high-paying government jobs to your friends. -- Sources


I know, I know, "every politician lies." Well, no, that's not true. All politicians spin things to sound good for them, leave out inconvenient details, and make promises that they don't actually keep. But very few will flat-out lie to your face, when it's easy to prove that they are lying, and keep doing it even after they have been caught. Sarah Palin is that kind of liar. The most famous example is the "Bridge to Nowhere" but there are many. In her debate against Joe Biden, she said she and McCain supported letting bankruptcy courts restructure homeowner's mortgages (a lie) and repeatedly said Biden supported John McCain on Iraq until he was chosen as Obama's running mate (a flat-out lie. In fact, Palin also attacked Biden for opposing the surge, which he did, so she herself proved that she was lying). Palin also claimed that her administration fought to divest Alaska's investments in Sudan, because of the genocide in Darfur. That's also a lie. Her administration actually opposed a divestment bill, killing it. (At the very end of the session they said they support it, but too late get it passed.) In any case, she has the power to divest today, without any legislative action, but the state still holds $22 million of investments. When Katie Couric asked for an example of McCain pushing to regulate Wall Street, she said "I'll get back to ya on that" when she clearly had no intention of doing so (and of course didn't). There are dozens of examples. These aren't mistakes -- they are full, knowing lies.

The Bridge to Nowhere lie was amazing because, even after being caught lying, she kept repeating it every day for 10 days. It was as if she thought she could outlast the press, because if they kept pointing out that she was lying every day, it would look like they were biased against her. But, of course, when a candidate blatantly lies and keeps repeating the lie, that is in fact news. Most politicians either quietly drop the lie, or find weasel words that make it not exactly a lie. Palin kept repeating "I killed that Bridge to Nowhere and told the federal government, 'Thanks but no thanks. If we want a bridge, we'll build it ourselves.'" Except that Alaska (and Palin) DID want the bridge, and fought for it for years. She officially ended the program only after they lost the fight to get the feds to pay for it. And not only did Alaska (with NO taxes and billions in surplus oil revenue) not pay for it, they actually KEPT the federal money and used it for other projects -- including a $26 million road to nowhere on that same island, that stopped in a cul de sac right where the bridge would have been.

Supports Right-Wing Terrorism

Barack Obama has been rightly criticized (including by us) for his connections to former left-wing radical bomber William Ayers. But Sarah Palin actually has much closer ties to a militant separatist party in Alaska, whose founder was eventually killed while trying to buy plastic explosives.

The Alaska Independence Party is a radical group registered as a political party in Alaska. It calls for Alaska to leave the United States (to enjoy its oil wealth, no doubt) and claims that the Alaskan statehood vote was illegal. But that doesn't begin to describe the AIP's extremism. Its founder Joe Volger said "The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government. And I won't be buried under their damn flag." Volger is dead but still celebrated on the AIP website. He died in 1994 when a blackmarket deal to buy plastic explosives went bad. His body was found in a gravel pit east of Fairbanks, wrapped with a blue tarp and duct tape.

Official voter registration records show that Palin was never an official member, but her husband Todd was, from 1995 to 2002, and Palin attended several of their meetings and conventions. (The McCain campaign confirms that she attended their 2000 convention; AIP officials add that she also attended in 1994 and 2006). Several officials of the party thought Sarah Palin was a member before she became Wasilla mayor, and said so publicly. (One of them went on to say that members should "infiltrate mainstream parties.") As recently as this year (2008), Sarah Palin taped a special video for the AIP's convention, saying "we have a great promise to be a self-sufficient state" and "Keep up the good work and God bless you."

There are other signs of Palin's extreme right-wing views as well. Her family provided the Associated Press with a photo of Palin at her governor's desk - reading a copy of the John Birch Society newsletter. Ironically, AIP founder Volger once said that "The problem with you John Birchers is that you are too damn liberal!" -- Sources


Palin has fought public disclosure throughout her political career. Her first action when elected mayor (of a town of 5,000 people!) was to order city employees not to talk to any reporter. When she overruled the State of Alaska's scientists to fight against protections for polar bears, she blatantly lied and said publicly that the scientists supported her decision. When a reporter asked to see the scientists' emails under public records laws, she said it would cost over $468,784 for photocopy costs! And when a federal court ordered the documents released, they showed that the scientists opposed her all along.

She and her staff have adopted one of the Bush Administration's worst excesses, conducting state business on multiple private email addresses that are not backed up and not accessible to investigators (or historians), as all official correspondence is required to be. On October 10, 2008 an Alaskan court ruled that she was evading Alaska's open records law and ordered her to produce all emails concerning state business from private email accounts.

Most importantly, she and McCain campaign officials engaged in a furious coverup over the Mike Wooten Troopergate scandal (see Abuse of Power above). After police commander Monegan's firing, she claimed that neither she nor her staff had ever put any pressure on Monegan to fire Mike Wooten. That was all great until an audio tape emerged of a phone call, where Frank Bailey, one of her staffers pressured Monegan, saying "Sarah and Todd can't understand why Wooten hasn't been fired yet." A bipartisan legislative committee voted 12-0 to start an investigation, and Palin said she would cooperate with it 100%. Their report was due October 31st.

Then she was appointed as McCain's running mate, and noticed that October 31st was 4 days before the election. She not only stopped cooperating, but she ordered state employees to ignore subpoenas issued by the committee. She hired a private attorney (in addition to the state attorney general who represents Alaska and the governor), and her attorney attacked the investigation as biased. He even filed a new complaint against Palin with the state Personnel Board -- which is appointed by the governor -- and argued that only it has legal authority to investigate this matter. They tried to get Republican allies in the legislature to squash the investigation, but failed. Finally, Palin or her allies have sued several times to block the legislature's investigation, using the thin argument that the investigation is "not fair". Her attorney general ordered state employees to ignore their subpoenas and sued unsuccessfully to squash them. (Note that her attorney general was an small town lawyer unknown even to Republicans in the capital, Juneau. He owes all he has to her.) The only way to enforce the subpoenas is by vote of the legislature, but it won't be in session until next year. So Palin actually urged her staff to violate the law and ignore subpoenas which were upheld by the courts, knowing that they can't be punished until after the election. Eventually, courts ruled against her and Palin let her staff and husband answer questions, but too late to fit into the report issued by investigator Branchflower. She even had the nerve to complain that Branchflower didn't interview her -- after SHE refused his request request for an interview.

In the meantime, Palin and allies SUED to try to stop the report because it "wasn't fair." Their main evidence was that the man who oversaw the investigation was a Democrat, who said out loud that the report could hurt Palin. (Duh, it's an investigation of her for abuse of power!) Despite her arguments, the investigation was started by a 12-0 bipartisan vote (with 8 Republicans and 4 Democrats), and the same 12-0 majority voted to release it. The verdict: guilty of abuse of power, plus she lied about threats against her by Wooten, and her Attorney General stifled the investigation by not releasing emails.

It's a very disturbing sign of her governing style that she urges staffers to break the law and uses lawsuits to stop the investigation's report from even being made public. She is of course free to argue that the report is unfair, whatever it says, and the committee has no real power to punish her or her staff (except for violating their subpoenas). What is she so afraid of?


Quote Sources -- Back

Diva quote -- "Palin's 'going rogue,' McCain aide says", by Dana Bash, Peter Hamby and John King,, October 25, 2008

"Political Punch", by Jake Tapper, ABC-News Blog, October 28, 2008

"The Palin Problem", By Jon Meacham, NEWSWEEK, Published Oct 4, 2008 (October 13, 2008 issue)

"Biden Attacks McCain and Giuliani Over Troop Surge", by Brian Wheeler,ABC-News Political Radar Blog, November 26,2007

"Record Refutes Palin's Sudan Claim -- Palin Administration Against Sudan Divestment Before It Was For It, Documents Show", By JUSTIN ROOD, ABC-News The Blotter, October 3, 2008

Abuse of Power (TrooperGate) Sources -- Back

"Branchflower Report (on Troopergate) to the Alaska Legislative Council", by Stephen Branchflower, October 10, 2008

"Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes", by Jo Becker, Peter S. Goodman and Michael Powell, New York Times, September 13, 2008 pA1

"Supreme Court to hear Troopergate appeal", By SEAN COCKERHAM, Anchorage Daily News, October 3, 2008

"Colberg files suit to quash subpoenas TROOPERGATE: State attorney general wants them ruled invalid", By SEAN COCKERHAM, Anchorage Daily News, September 26th, 2008

"Troopergate Documents", by the Anchorage Daily News (an archive)

"Palin Had Another Private E-Mail Account, Company Says", by Karl Vick, Washington Post, October 1, 2008

Luxury Shopping With Public Money Sources -- Back

"Top Salary in McCain Camp? Palin's Makeup Stylist", By Michael Luo, New York Times, October 24, 2008

AP Investigation: Palin got zoning aid, gifts" By BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE, Associated press, September 29, 2008

"Palin Billed State For Nights At Home. Alaska Taxpayers Also Funded Family's Travel, Documents Show", by James Grimaldi and Karl Vick, Washington Post, September 9, 2008

"RNC shells out $150K for Palin fashion", By JEANNE CUMMINGS, POLITICO website,10/22/08 12:35 AM EDT

"Palin Adds to Wardrobe in Reno", by Anjeanette Damon, Reno Gazette-Journal: Inside Nevada Politics Blog, October 23, 2008

Supports Right Wing Terrorism Sources -- Back

Video Message to Alaska Independence Party, by Sarah Palin, 2008 (on Youtube)

"Members of 'Fringe' Alaskan Independence Party Incorrectly Say Palin Was a Member in 90s; McCain Camp and Alaska Division of Elections Deny Charge", By Jake Tapper, ABC-News Political Punch, September 1, 2008

Alaska Independence Party website

"Founder Of Group Palin Courted Professed 'Hatred For The American Government'; Cursed 'Damn Flag', By Greg Sargent, Talking Points Memo, September 2, 2008

Audiotape of Joe Vogler interview, 1991, from the Oral History Program in the Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks

"Remains of Alaska Separatist Are Identified",New York Times, October 15, 1994

"Freedom Fighter -- Alaskan Independence Party chairwoman Lynette Clark talks about why she doesn't identify herself as an American, and about her kindred spirit Sarah Palin.", by David Talbot, , September 10, 2008

"Another AIP Official Says Palin Was at 1994 Convention", By Jake Tapper, ABC-News Political Punch, September 2, 2008 " "

BBC: Sarah Palin Tea Party rally targets Nevada's Harry Reid

Palin: US is 'the last best hope of earth'

Thousands of supporters of the US conservative Tea Party movement have gathered in Nevada for a rally led by Republican politician Sarah Palin.

She urged the crowd to "fire" Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democrats who backed healthcare reform in November's mid-term elections.

About 7,000 people assembled outside the tiny former mining settlement of Searchlight, Mr Reid's hometown.

They waved American flags and signs saying "Don't Tread on Me".

A nationwide bus tour intended to drum up support for the Republicans is due to follow.

Mark Mardell
The second Palin-McCain rally didn't go quite as smoothly as the first
Mark Mardell
BBC North America editor

The US House of Representatives narrowly passed the landmark healthcare reform bill earlier this week, with no Republican backing, after hours of fierce argument and debate.

The act, at the heart of President Barack Obama's political agenda, extends coverage to 32 million more Americans, and marks the biggest change to the US healthcare system in decades.

Republicans say the measures are unaffordable and represent a government takeover of the health industry.

Vulnerable seat

Mrs Palin, a former vice-presidential candidate and ex-governor of Alaska, came to Nevada a day after leading a rally in Arizona in support of her 2008 presidential running mate, John McCain, who is facing a stiff challenge from a conservative Republican in his bid for a fifth term in the Senate.

Senator Harry Reid (centre) in Washington, 25 March
This election will be decided by Nevadans, not people from other states who parachuted in for one day to have a tea party -
Senator Harry Reid

Standing on a wind-whipped makeshift stage outside the desert town of 1,000, she told the cheering crowd that Senator Reid was "gambling away" Americans' future.

"Someone needs to tell him, this is not a crapshoot [a gambling game played with dice]," she said.

The big-government, big-debt spending spree of Mr Reid, Mr Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was over, she said, adding: "You're fired!"

A string of opinion polls have suggested that Mr Reid is vulnerable in politically moderate Nevada after pushing Mr Obama's agenda in Congress, the Associated Press news agency reports.

His standing has also been hurt by Nevada's high unemployment and other economic woes.

In a statement released on Saturday, Mr Reid took a sarcastic tone: "I'm happy so many people came to see my hometown of Searchlight and spend their out-of-state money, especially in these tough economic times."

He added: "This election will be decided by Nevadans, not people from other states who parachuted in for one day to have a tea party."

The bus tour will take in 42 cities and is due to end in Washington on 15 April, the deadline for filing federal tax returns.

The Tea Party movement takes its name from the Boston Tea Party of 1773, when colonists dumped tea off English ships to protest what they considered unfair taxation by the British.

Friday, March 26, 2010

 Sparky happy to shut the guru up for a minute

Japanese unleash Jedi Obama

Prez also available in James Bond and Samurai versions

Those of you who've been wondering why US prez Barack Obama has not yet solved world poverty and hunger, halted global warming and given a lovely puppy to each and every child on Earth will be relieved to learn he's still on the case, but has just been a bit tied up of late on intergalactic business:
Bond is a girly man ...

Obama with lightsaber battles Darth Vader
We kid you not. Ladies and gentlemen, look on in shock and awe at the mighty Japanese Barack Obama action figure (dreadful but entertaining English translation here).
Not a fan of Star Wars? No matter, because Obama is also available in exciting Samurai and James Bond versions, the better to dispense tough justice to those who threaten the American Way of Life™.
Obama with samurai sword and in James Bond pose with pistol
Well, we reckon Vladimir Putin won't take this provocation lying down. Look out for a "Vlad the Impaler" action figure forthwith, depicting the Russian hardman stripped to the waist and wrestling Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator. ®


 Barack Obama Action Hero Figurines
Via: BoingBoing

Barack Obama is a Ninja with a Lightsaber

Japan-based blogger Matt Alt has made an extraordinary discovery about America's new president. Why isn't the MSM covering this? Yet another example of citizen journalists breaking news that cowards like CNN are afraid to report, blogging truth to power. Snip:
This shot of our new Commander in Chief kickin' it under a kotatsu is only matched by the one where he's wielding a pair of gleaming katana blades. Check out the full photo set on the (Japanese language) Gamu Toys site. The doll is a 1/6 scale (roughly 12") figure produced by the Japanese Hong Kong based DID Corporation.
Link to Matt's blog post, and here's the source in Japanese. Really, that photo set is not to be missed. Previously on Boing Boing:
* Japanese monsters, and how to survive their wrath: YOKAI ATTACK
* Hunting for the Kappa Monster in Tokyo, part 1
* Hunting for the Kappa Monster in Tokyo, part 2

Arigatou gozaimasu to Steve Fenton for the tip-off.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sparky on his latest "GOP = terrorist" rant!

Yes I view the GOP as domestic terrorists - Why don't you? On Reagan - this is a quick cheat sheet:
Here's what I remember...
  1. Tax cuts to the top 6%, the largest next to W's ....
  2. The largest peace time tax increase for the middle class the very next year.
  3. Our Marines get bombed in Lebanon
  4. Reagan paying Hezbollah for a plane that they blew up regardless.
  5. Using Oliver North to sabotage Operation Eagle Claw killing US soldiers.
  6. Weapons shipped to Iran because they held our hostages till after the elections AKA the October Surprise engineered by George H. W. Bush.
  7. Savings and Loan failure and bailout
  8. An illegal war in Central America
  9. CIA Planes with arms go to Central America.
  10. Followed by the same CIA Planes coming back fill with coke to fund their illegal war flooding our streets with crack.
  11. Reagan's lack of reaction to AIDS and missing the chance to contain it.
  12. 2.6 trillion dollars of debt, spending more money then all the past Presidents combined.
  13. Reagan saying over 500 times "I don't remember at the Iran/Contra hearings" lying to Congress.
  14. Reagan telling the hearing that it was his idea for the Contra war and going around the Congressional ban saying "my heart says no, but my head says yes."
  15. Reagan is conservative wet dream that never happened.
  16. Reagan increased taxes for most people but not the rich.
  17. He increased Big Government, and thus increased the size of government.
  18. Reagan took our national debt from 838 billion to 2.6 trillion.
  19. Reagan ran illegal wars.
  20. He started the war on the middle class and unions that has left our country a wreck today.
  21. Sold Hollywood to the Chicago Mob.
  22. Named rivals as "names" to the HUAC.
  23. Sold California to Big Energy.
  24. Sold the country to Big Business.

There is very little that is really conservative about Reagan; Then, again there is very little truly conservative about today's so called conservative.


Here's the view of one of famous Chickenhawk Newt Gingrich's saddest minions — who had to pretend Ronald Reagan was a thinking caring person of character and principal (when everyone with a brain and memory saw him as a little pumped up toady who sold us out again and again) as the 40th president's scriptwriter :
Tony Blankley
Tony Blankley: A House Divided, Again

We are beginning to enter the Kansas-Nebraska Act stage of the socialist crisis of the republic. At our constitutional founding, the evil of slavery had been crudely evaded. In 1820, the Missouri Compromise was enacted, prohibiting the abomination north of latitude 36 degrees, 30 minutes (about the middle of Missouri.)

But with the western push of the frontier, a new compromise was needed. So the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 decreed that the "popular sovereignty" of each territory should decide whether it would be a slave or free state. But then, adherents of both the abomination and freedom migrated to Kansas to struggle -- with their bodily presence -- for their respective causes. First there was politics. Then the political rhetoric turned violent. Then real violence ensued. Kansas became known as "Bleeding Kansas." John Brown, most famously, applied unjustified, murderous violence for his righteous cause of ending slavery and was hanged, but the Civil War ensued because, as Abraham Lincoln sagely explained:

"A House divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.

"I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided.

"It will become all one thing or all the other.

"Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new -- North as well as South."

Now we enter our history's second stage in the struggle against the abomination of socialism. Just as slavery had been contained in the South, so entitlement socialism has, until this week, been more or less contained in service to only the poor and the elderly. And even those programs -- Medicare and Social Security -- rested on the principle of beneficiaries paying monthly premiums for the benefits they will get later. Only the poor under Medicaid received benefit without premium payment.

But now, just as the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 broke through the slave-state limitation to the South, the Democratic Party's 2010 health care law has broken socialism's boundary of being so limited. Now, the chains of socialism are to be clamped onto the able-bodied middle class -- not merely the already-presumed-helpless poor and old who have paid their insurance premiums.

Even the New York Times -- after the vote -- admitted what the bigger goal has been all along. In Wednesday's edition, "In Health Care Bill, Obama Attacks Wealth Inequality," David Leonhardt, pointed out: "Beyond the health reform's effect on the medical system, it is the centerpiece of his deliberate effort to end what historians have called the age of Reagan. Speaking to an ebullient audience of Democratic legislators and White House aides at the bill-signing ceremony on Tuesday, Mr. Obama claimed that health reform would 'mark a new season in America.' ... Above all, the central question that both the Reagan and Obama administrations have tried to answer -- what is the proper balance between the market and the government? -- remains unresolved. But the bill signed on Tuesday certainly shifts our place on that spectrum."

I thank the New York Times for that honest statement of historic fact.

For example, the new law takes away from insurance companies the right to charge for insurance based on actuarial risk, which is the essence of insurance. Now they will charge what the politicians tell them to charge -- and pay such benefits as the politicians order them to pay. They may for a while make money, but that will be at the sufferance of the politicians. One may call this mere regulation, but it is regulation to such a degree that it constitutes effective ownership of the insurance company. The former equity holders in such companies are now merely nominal owners. Also, the new law provides for taxes on investment income to pay for socialized health care: Sucking out the lifeblood of our economy to fund the deathbeds of the destitute.

These intrusions are combined with: (1) The nationalization of GM and Chrysler and the partial nationalization of the banks; (2) the establishment of trillion-dollar taxpayer-funded slush funds such as the stimulus package and the Toxic Asset Relief Program (TARP); and (3) the creation over 10 years of $10 trillion in new government debt, which steals from our children and grandchildren dollars yet unmade to pay foreign debt-holders. The result: The center of gravity of our economy moves from the private sector to the public sector.

And just as the free states could not tolerate the spread of slavery into their midst, so too, free, middle-class America -- if it still has its historic character -- will not tolerate the yoke of socialism put upon our necks.

First, the unambiguous will of the majority was defied by the vote of Congress on Sunday.

Come November, we will see whether the system can still turn the popular will into the constitutionally permissible legislative will of the majority. If it can, all will be well and the crisis will end. Rallying the vote between now and November is roughly equivalent to the early stage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act period, when people migrated to Kansas to support their convictions.

But come November, if the majority still opposes the socialization of health care delivery and the other central-government intrusions and yet the corrupt bargains and constitutional distortions of Washington deny the majority's will its just expression, then, for the second time in our history, we will enter that dangerous period in which America's house resolves its temporary division. Let us devoutly pray -- and commit ourselves to the proposition -- that this time, freedom shall be reacquired -- peaceably.


See - Tony thinks the GOP are a 'silent majority' when they are a manipulated vocal minority. Split into quasi-rational wannabe rich people who see Mitt as their Great White Hope and angry teabagging "Pebbles" Palin Pioneers who aspire to be the next Star Wars obsessed zombie headed Tim McVeigh or Asshat Andrew Joseph Stack.

I don't think anyone is buying it. Wonder where he was when Newt was banging his intern on the desk?
... Considering that most of the Republicans in these sex scandals are going after males, one can only imagine what their argument will be then. ...


During the Bush years, members of the far-right would often suggest that liberals were "with the terrorists" if we merely opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq, or if we opposed the policies of the Republican leadership at the time. In fact, any negative criticism of the president whatsoever was considered unpatriotic "while troops were in harm's way." That was the line we heard almost daily throughout the previous decade: don't undermine the commander-in-chief while troops were deployed in battle. Just don't. Or Sean Hannity will crush you with his mighty hairline!

But in general, there was this idea among Republicans that liberals were somehow emboldening the terrorists anytime we suggested that it might be a bad idea to eavesdrop on American telecommunications, or that it might be a bad idea to torture detainees, or that it might be a bad idea to invade Iran after having already invaded Iraq and Afghanistan to varying degrees of failure. Either we were with the administration, or we were with the terrorists.

We can debate at another time whether or not anyone is currently "emboldening" Islamic terrorists or putting the troops in jeopardy by constantly accusing their commander-in-chief of hating America, of hating white people, of hating freedom or of hating you personally.

The more important discussion during this groundbreaking week in American history is whether or not legitimate Republican and conservative leaders are instigating and inciting violence against the president, against Democrats, against liberals and, in some cases, against children.

And they are.

It's inexcusable and it's unforgivably irresponsible how top-shelf conservative players like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and even some members of the congressional leadership are using coded and not-so-coded language that speaks directly to a small, but trigger-happy right-wing. Unlike the policy-driven arguments made by mostly pacifistic liberals during the Bush years, this language is a direct and precise emboldening of right-wing extremism -- and terrorism. And the behavior from certain elements of the far-right can be defined as such. It's terrorism. No gray area here. Right-wing terrorism.
Are we waiting for another brave Veteran to die before we call them Terrorists?

Obviously, the far-right fringe is out of its mind about health care reform. And throughout the week, its behavior has gone from irresponsible, to racist, to unapologetically dangerous.

Earlier in the month, the far-right was up to its usual irresponsible behavior -- attacking a child. Immediately upon the president mentioning 11-year-old Marcelas Owens, whose mother died due to a lack of adequate health insurance, the usual suspects kneejerked into their predictable roundelay demonizing a little boy as yet another public enemy. In previous years, wingnut bloggers like Michelle Malkin have gone so far as to stalk children who somehow associated themselves with the Democrats. Glenn Beck once targeted and outed a Muslim parochial school in Northern Virginia and noted its specific location. World Net Daily printed the name of a school that performed a musical with gay themes last Thanksgiving. Fox News Channel and Rush Limbaugh have targeted principals and members of a kindergarten class for singing a song about the president (you know, the commander-in-chief who we're supposed to support no matter what, especially while troops are in harm's way).

And now they're questioning the veracity and patriotism of Marcelas Owens and figuratively jotting him down on their enemies lists -- knowing full well the kinds of gun-toting, reactionary freaks who take their words as gospel.

Elsewhere, Rep. Louise Slaughter received an assassination threat against the children of lawmakers who supported health care reform. I don't mind reporting that, mixed in with the usual array of angry far-right blasts, I've received several death threats via email. One email ended with a warning that I should "check on the kids."

Stay classy, wingnuts.

In the eyes of way too many far-right Republicans, this is a war. They believe the Obama administration, progressives, liberals and Democrats are destroying America and replacing it with some sort of weird Brundlefly composed of communism, socialism, Maoism, Nazism and -- shock horror! -- social justice.

On Capitol Hill last weekend, teabaggers were showing how not-racist they are by shouting racial epithets at African American members of Congress and spitting on them. Meanwhile, Glenn Beck seemed to believe that somehow Congressman John Lewis had no right to lock arms and march in the style of a civil rights activist, even though Lewis is, you know, one of the most well-known civil rights activists in the history of civil rights activism. "How dare he!" Beck screamed at his audience.

Mix this behavior into the same psychobomb of outrage that included printed signs held up by tea party activists calling for gun violence as a means of stopping health care reform. "Warning: If Brown Can't Stop It, A Browning Can." (For what it's worth, "a Browning" includes any number of types of firearms manufactured by the same company.)

Once reform passed through the House, and amidst an atmosphere of violent rhetoric, House minority leader John Boehner described the passage of health care reform as "Armageddon." The end of the world. In the parlance of the Bruce Willis movie of the same name: a global killer.

At around the same time, Tucker Carlson's cheap knock-off of The Huffington Post, the Daily Caller, published a front page banner headline implying that armed IRS agents in riot gear would be fanning out across the nation and into your neighborhood in order to force you at gunpoint to buy health insurance. Literally, war.

Sarah Palin reacted by urging her Twitter followers to "RELOAD" (her caps) and to target specific politicians. She included a link to a map of the U.S. pinpointing specific districts using actual graphics of rifle crosshairs.

Elsewhere, reports of vandalism against various Democratic offices were reported across several states in the east and Midwest. In a rare display of honesty, a far-right militia operative named Mike Vanderboegh claimed responsibility. Tell me if this doesn't sound like the maniacal threats of a terrorist:

"We can break their windows," he said. "Break them NOW. And if we do a proper job, if we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democrat party headquarters across this country, we might just wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary."

Violence and intimidation as a means of achieving a political end. And they haven't even ruled out the "muzzle of a rifle." How is this not terrorism?

And conservative leaders were outraged when Homeland Security released a report about right-wing extremism last year. Who us?! was the general reaction. At the very least, Secretary Napolitano deserves an apology.

The far-right is out of its mind with talk of violence and armed insurrection. There's no way to shove it all back into its crazy bottle. But what can and should be done at this point is for conservative leaders to stop inciting the extremism and, instead, to help marginalize the crazies. The only way to slow down this tide of right-wing terrorism is to strip it of its legitimacy -- legitimacy it's deriving from leaders like Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and John Boehner.

Instead, let's debate policy. Let's argue about the politics. Let's vigorously disagree about the future of America. But let's agree, however, that violence, racism, vandalism and, yes, terrorism should never be part of the equation. As leaders of the Republican Party, as leaders of the conservative movement in America, these men and women have a responsibility to verbally disarm the right-wing radicals and extremists who are well-known for their love of guns and of their predilection for violent intimidation. Terrorism. Yet so far, conservative leaders have only made matters worse.

UPDATE: And then there's this:

Law enforcement authorities are investigating the discovery of a cut propane gas line at the Virginia home of Rep. Tom Perriello's (D-Va.) brother, whose address was targeted by tea party activists angry at the congressman's vote for the health care bill.

We can only hope this turns out to be a prank, and not a deliberate attack against a lawmaker's family.


Aren't you so happy the GOP kept you all safe?

Sparky says:

Today we show you readers various terrorists of all stripes... I think the average American can see why they'll always fail in the Global Marketplace of ideas.

And yes as long as the GOP cozies up to Domestic Terrorists like the Teabaggers they're terrorists in this bloggers' eye.





Is Osama

bin Laden

out of touch?

Al Qaeda figurehead Osama bin Laden seeks to sway the US trial of former lieutenant Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a new tape threatening to kill any Americans caught by Al Qaeda. Has he taken note of his own operations over the years?

Related Stories
This undated file photo shows Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan. AP/File


Osama bin Laden has long been the star of Al Qaeda's propaganda operations. In his effort to paint the United States as an enemy of Islam – if not all of humanity – he's tailored and timed his comments in an effort to sway US elections, global warming policies, and decisions to deploy troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lurking behind all of it is always a threat that a new "spectacular" attack like the 9/11 plane crashes in New York and Washington that murdered almost 3,000 people will be carried out if, say, President Barack Obama sends more troops to Afghanistan.

But as the years have gone by without his threats backed up by solid action – no successful attack has been carried out by his group on US soil since 2001 – his comments have increasingly been treated as empty. The color-coded "threat level" alerts favored by US cable news networks in response to each Al Qaeda missive or tape in the years after those attack are now firmly a thing of the past.

While Al Qaeda central, as the group's founding leadership now based in Afghanistan and Pakistan is often called, has increasingly become irrelevant to the planning and execution of attacks on civilians in the US, there was something decidedly odd about Bin Laden's latest threat in an audiotape aired by the Arab language Al Jazeera on Thursday. (See audiotape below.)

Addressing the US desire to execute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed if he is found guilty for his involvement in organizing the 9/11 attacks – he has confessed to planning the murders both to an Al Jazeera journalist before his capture in Pakistan in 2003 and since, during questioning by military interrogators at Guantanamo Bay – Bin Laden said: "When America makes this decision, it will have made a decision to execute whoever of you is held prisoner by us."

Mr. Mohammed was close to Bin Laden and has claimed involvement in a number of attacks – both failed and successful – on US interests. But while such a threat would probably be ignored in any case, it's even less credible than normal, since Al Qaeda has already made a habit of killing US citizens in its custody. Mohammed himself was long believed to have personally murdered kidnapped American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002, a crime he admitted to while at Guantanamo, according to the Pentagon.

At least five Americans and civilians have been kidnapped and gruesomely executed by Al Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq. Given the group's track record of attacks on Americans – stretching back to the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 – one would assume that the chances of survival for any American who falls into Bin Laden's hands are low, whatever happens to Mohammed.

"It's the height of absurdity for anyone associated with Al Qaeda to even suggest that now, at long last, they're going to start treating captives badly," a US counterterrorism official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. "They may have forgotten Danny Pearl and all the others they've slaughtered, but we haven't."


David Frum, AEI SPLIT: Conservative's Position 'Terminated' By Major Think Tank

Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum has resigned from the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, Frum announced on his Web site Thursday afternoon -- a move which suggests the conservative movement has cut ties with Frum over the straight talk he has been providing all week.

[UPDATE: Frum tells Greg Sargent he and AEI parted ways over money, not ideology -- they offered him the chance to continue on at a salary of zero -- and that his criticisms of the Republican Party were "welcomed and celebrated" at the conservative think tank.]

Following the passage of health care reform in the House, Frum made waves with a column for declaring that health care had proven to been "Waterloo" for the GOP, not for Obama as Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) infamously suggested. Republican lawmakers quickly dismissed Frum, a prominent reformist conservative, as a mere "former staffer."

Then Frum said on "Nightline" that the Republican Party's lockstep with the Fox News attack machine has hurt the party, and that "we're discovering we work for Fox." That may have been the last straw for AEI.

"I have been a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute since 2003. At lunch today, AEI President Arthur Brooks and I came to a termination of that relationship," Frum wrote on his Web site. The full text of his "resignation" letter is below:

Dear Arthur,

This will memorialize our conversation at lunch today. Effective immediately, my position as a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute is terminated. I appreciate the consideration that delays my emptying of my office until after my return from travel next week. Premises will be vacated no later than April 9.

I have had many fruitful years at the American Enterprise Institute, and I do regret this abrupt and unexpected conclusion of our relationship.

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Very truly yours,
David Frum

While Frum has been willing to speak out on Republican failings, he's hardly become a liberal since leaving the Bush White House. In a column published Wednesday night, he recommended that Obama either ignore the issue of immigration reform or encourage "self-deportation."

But the conservative movement has a tendency to excommunicate anyone who breaks ranks, says Bruce Bartlett, who was fired by the National Center for Policy Analysis, another right-wing think tank, for writing a book critical of Bush policies. "In the years since, I have lost a great many friends and been shunned by conservative society in Washington, D.C," Bartlett wrote in the wake of Frum's resignation.

Bartlett, who served as a domestic policy aide for Ronald Reagan and a deputy assistant Treasury secretary under the first President Bush, claimed Frum told him privately a few months ago that conservatives on AEI's payroll had been "ordered" not to speak to the media about health care reform "because they agreed with too much of what Obama was trying to do." Frum himself certainly violated that order.

[UPDATE: Supporting Bartlett's claim, Paul Krugman points out that a 2003 health reform proposal from the Heritage Foundation, a think tank considered more right-wing than AEI, looks a lot like the bill Obama just signed.]

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Senate Begins Game Of Chicken With Unemployment Benefits: 'Coburn Has The Stamina Of Three Bunnings'

While Senate Democrats held a press conference celebrating their latest health care reform victory on Thursday afternoon, a Republican slipped into the chamber to move a bill that would extend soon-to-expire enhanced unemployment benefits -- paid for with $10 billion in unused funds from the stimulus bill.

With Democrats caught off guard, the clock started ticking on the bill's slog through the legislative process. Democratic leaders, who had planned to introduce the same bill without using funds committed to the stimulus, trudged into the chamber as Sen. Tom Coburn launched into an epic speech on the perils of deficit spending.

"We're going to be like the Athenian Empire," warned the Oklahoma Republican, standing alone on the Republican side of the room. "The real thing going on outside Washington is the fear that that's happening to us."

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) slumped in his chair, rubbing his temples in apparent agony.

After about 20 minutes, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) interrupted Coburn to ask: "How long are you going to talk?"

Coburn said he planned to talk for another 45 minutes. Reid turned around and left the room. He eventually returned with a motion to table Coburn's bill, which succeeded easily.

After the vote, Coburn's office released a statement blaming Democrats for blocking benefits. "The 59 Senators who voted no," the statement said, "may be the only 59 people in the country who believe the federal government is running at peak efficiency and can't be trimmed to pay for unemployment benefits for families who are struggling."

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) laid the groundwork for this fight back on Tuesday, when he introduced the Republican bill to little notice. It's an apparent effort to prevent the public relations nightmare that erupted when Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) prevented the Senate from passing a similar extension back in February, jeopardizing unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of people in an impromptu stand for deficit reduction.

A reporter asked Bunning how he felt that Coburn had taken up his cause. "I think it's wonderful," he said. (Bunning refused to take a question from HuffPost.)

The Senate adjourns for two weeks on Friday. If they leave without passing this extension, on April 5 laid-off workers will lose their eligibility for extra "tiers" of Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides up to 53 weeks of federally-funded unemployment checks on top of state-funded benefits. Newly unemployed workers will also lose their eligibility for subsidized COBRA health insurance.

Democrats asked unanimous consent to move forward with their version of the bill, but Coburn objected. Reid tried again with a version of the bill he said was partially offset, and Coburn, who is sometimes known as the Senate's "Dr. No," objected again. Democrats don't think Coburn is going to blink.

"Coburn has the stamina of three Bunnings," said a Dem aide. "I really believe this is a retaliation for the passage of health care."

The aide said Reid was not interested in cutting a deal that pays for unemployment benefits with stimulus funds, since offsetting the government spending by withdrawing money from another part of the economy essentially nullifies the stimulative effect of the benefits. "We're going to keep trying but I don't think we're going to get an agreement," the aide said. "They want to pay for unemployment insurance on the backs of out-of-work people and we're not going to do that."

Without a deal, the Senate will either stick around for the weekend or leave without finishing the bill.

"We're going to keep fighting back. My hope is we'll just stay and stay and stay," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in an interview with HuffPost. He said he hoped Democratic and Republican leadership will reach a deal before the break. In the meantime, he added: "Part of getting a deal is for people to see how strongly we feel. So that's our job, is to show spine."

"They're just playing games," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). "[Coburn's] motion is a motion to play games by taking money away from the Recovery Act."

Stabenow said that even if the Senate adjourns for its two-week break without finishing the bill, the measure would apply retroactively when it is finally passed -- meaning that laid-off workers will get their unemployment checks eventually if there's a delay. "We can't get it done right now, but it will be retroactive."

An advocate for extending benefits said that even if it applies retroactively, a congressional delay would hurt the unemployed.

"It will mean a stoppage and disruption in checks, and people who are so far into federal benefits probably can't float many weeks without their checks," wrote Judy Conti, a lobbyist for the National Employment Law Project, in an email to HuffPost. "And it's enormously disruptive to the state agencies."

Shortly after 6 p.m., Reid called all senators to the floor to try to work out a solution. This story will be updated.


'King of Heroin' Arrested In Mexico

MEXICO CITY — Federal police have arrested Mexico's "King of Heroin," a powerful drug trafficker allegedly responsible for running thousands of pounds of heroin into Southern California each year, authorities said Thursday.

Jose Antonio Medina, nicknamed "Don Pepe," was arrested in the western state of Michoacan on Wednesday and is being held for prosecution, said Ramon Pequeno, head of the anti-narcotics division of Mexico's federal police.

Medina, 36, ran a complex smuggling operation that hauled 440 pounds (200 kilograms) of heroin each month across the Mexican border in Tijuana for La Familia drug cartel, Pequeno said.

Jose Antonio Medina

Alleged drug trafficker Jose Antonio Medina is escorted by police officers during a press conference in Mexico City Thursday. (AFP/Getty Images)

The White House National Drug Threat Assessment says that while heroin use is stable or decreasing in the U.S., the source of the drug has shifted in recent years from Colombia – where production and purity are declining – to Mexico, where powerful drug cartels are gaining a foothold in the lucrative market.

Heroin production in Mexico rose from 17 pure metric tons in 2007 to 38 tons in 2008, with the increase translating to lower heroin prices and more heroin-related overdoses and more overdose deaths, according to U.S. government estimates in a report by the National Drug Intelligence Center.

Border Patrol agents seized 4.8 million pounds of narcotics at border crossings last year, and heroin seizures saw the most significant increase during that time, with a 316 percent jump over 2008.

Mexico and the U.S. are working together to counter a handful of increasingly violent drug cartels that supply most of the illicit drugs sold in the U.S. each year. The arrest came the day after top U.S. Cabinet officials, led by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, visited Mexico to underscore their shared responsibility for the country's drug-related violence.

Nearly 17,900 people have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon launched an assault on cartels after taking office in December 2006.

That violence continued Thursday in Ciudad Juarez, a border city of 1.3 million just south of El Paso, where police on Thursday found a decapitated man lying in a shopping center parking lot, his head inside a black plastic bag nearby.

Killings such as this are believed to be the result of drug cartels fighting among themselves for control of the drug trade, a lucrative business estimated to bring $25 billion in cash into Mexico each year.

Federal police in Mexico City said Thursday they had seized $1.7 million in small bills and arrested four men, two Colombians and two Mexicans, for allegedly running financial operations for cartels.


Isn't is strange the path to power the Bushes took was tainted with Opium and Heroin?