Wednesday, December 08, 2010


In Her Defense, I'm Sure the Moose Had It Coming

"Unless you've never worn leather shoes, sat upon a leather chair or eaten meat, save your condemnation."

You're right, Sarah, we'll all just go fuck ourselves now.

The snotty quote was posted by Sarah Palin on (like all the great frontier women who've come before her) her Facebook page to respond to the criticism she knew and hoped would be coming after she hunted, killed and carved up a Caribou during a segment of her truly awful reality show, Sarah Palin's Alaska, broadcast on The-Now-Hilariously-Titled Learning Channel.

I eat meat, chicken and fish, have shoes and furniture made of leather, and PETA is not ever going to put me on the cover of their brochure and for these reasons Palin thinks it's hypocritical of me to find what she did heart-stoppingly disgusting. I don't think it is, and here's why.

Like 95% of the people I know, I don't have a visceral (look it up) problem eating meat or wearing a belt. But like absolutely everybody I know, I don't relish the idea of torturing animals. I don't enjoy the fact that they're dead and I certainly don't want to volunteer to be the one to kill them and if I were picked to be the one to kill them in some kind of Lottery-from-Hell, I wouldn't do a little dance of joy while I was slicing the animal apart.

I'm able to make a distinction between you and me without feeling the least bit hypocritical. I don't watch snuff films and you make them. You weren't killing that animal for food or shelter or even fashion, you were killing it for fun. You enjoy killing animals.
I can make the distinction between the two of us but I've tried and tried and for the life of me, I can't make a distinction between what you get paid to do and what Michael Vick went to prison for doing. I'm able to make the distinction with no pangs of hypocrisy even though I get happy every time one of you faux-macho shitheads accidentally shoots another one of you in the face.

So I don't think I will save my condemnation, you phony pioneer girl. (I'm in film and television, Cruella, and there was an insert close-up of your manicure while you were roughing it in God's country. I know exactly how many feet off camera your hair and make-up trailer was.)

And you didn't just do it for fun and you didn't just do it for money. That was the first moose ever murdered for political gain. You knew there'd be a protest from PETA and you knew that would be an opportunity to hate on some people, you witless bully. What a uniter you'd be -- bringing the right together with the far right.

(Let me be the first to say that I abused cocaine and was arrested for it in April 2001. I want to be the first to say it so that when Palin's Army of Arrogant Assholes, bereft of any reasonable rebuttal, write it all over the internet tomorrow they will at best be the second.)

I eat meat, there are leather chairs in my office, Sarah Palin is deranged and The Learning Channel should be ashamed of itself.

Aaron Sorkin.Playwright, screenwriter and television writer

In political gamble, Reid seeks votes that are sure to fail

On Wednesday afternoon, the most powerful man in the U.S. Senate did something that sounds odd: He set himself up to lose an important vote.

Then he did it again, on another key issue.

And Thursday he'll do it two more times.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) planned votes where his favored bills were expected to fail. For Reid, failure is actually the point. He wants to put Republicans on record as blocking all four.

On Wednesday, he took up seniors' benefits and collective- bargaining rights for police and firefighters' unions, and on Thursday he will call votes on an immigration bill that would assist people who were brought to the United States illegally as children, and legislation that would provide health-care benefits for responders to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

These "test votes" are a sign of the sclerotic state of Congress, clogged by filibuster threats. Usually, it is the people out of power who resort to grand, futile gestures.

Now - in a political gamble - it's the guys in charge.

"Just because the party of 'Just say no' has been blocking all these initiatives, it doesn't mean we're not going to try," said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Reid. "At some point, you've got to take a stand, and let the chips fall where they may."

Senate Democrats, who hold a majority in the chamber, held their last "test vote" on Saturday - two, actually. The first proposal called for an end to tax cuts, passed under President George W. Bush, on income greater than $250,000 for a family.

Democrats needed 60 senators to agree. They got just 53.

Then Democratic leaders staged a vote to let the tax cuts expire only for income of more than $1 million per year for a family. That failed, too.

In theory, these votes were supposed to demonstrate that Republicans were favoring the rich at the expense of the middle class.

In practice, however, it demonstrated that Senate Democrats weren't strong enough to get what they wanted.

Two days later, President Obama and congressional Republicans went around them and cut a deal to keep all the tax cuts.

On Wednesday, however, Senate Democrats set out to use the same tactic.

Test votes have worked before, said Sarah Binder, a political science professor at George Washington University. Civil rights advocates, for instance, used them to attract attention to their cause: By showing their weakness in Congress, they gained public sympathy and strength.

But there is a risk.

"The question is . . . who gets blamed when they fail?" Binder said. "More often than not, it goes that the majority gets blamed for failing to govern, more than the blame gets passed to the minority."

Before the votes began, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) jabbed at Democrats for holding votes they knew they'd lose.

"They don't even intend to pass these items," McConnell said on the Senate floor. He compared the process to theater: "Are we here to perform, or are we here to legislate?"

The four measures at issue are:

l A bill that would send $250 checks to Social Security recipients who face a second consecutive year without a cost-of-living increase, a proposal that fell short in a House vote Wednesday. The Senate voted 53 to 45 - seven short of the needed 60 votes - on a measure to bring the bill to the floor for debate.

l A bill that would require states to give police and firefighters' unions "adequate" collective bargaining rights. This has been criticized as trampling on states' autonomy. That proposal failed in the Senate Wednesday on a 55 to 43 vote.

l The DREAM Act, a proposal that would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who came to this country as children and grew up to attend college or serve in the military. Critics say the legislation would amount to a kind of amnesty for lawbreakers.

l A bill that would provide long-term medical care for men and women who suffered health problems while responding to the Sept. 11 attacks or helping to clean up the wreckage. It has been attacked for its multibillion-dollar cost.

In each case, the Senate vote is not to approve or reject the bills. Instead, it is something far more confusing: a vote to end a filibuster - the Senate tradition where a bill's opponents can block it by standing up and talking themselves hoarse. Except now, the Senate does not usually require the stand-up-and-talk part.

Like nuclear war, a filibuster need only be threatened. To beat that threat, Reid needs 60 votes.

And no one expected he would have them.

So will the bills' supporters be pleased that he made the effort?

"What it shows is that his ability to lead has been severely impaired, over the last several months," said James Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police, which supports the Sept. 11 bill and is neutral on the collective-bargaining bill (the organization believes that Reid has watered it down severely).

Reid's strategy of a stage-managed failure, Pasco said, wouldn't exactly increase the order's faith in him.

"It's going to make us more cautious than we already were in throwing our support and our trust behind an individual" on Capitol Hill, Pasco said.

But Thomas Mann, a congressional analyst at the Brookings Institution, said this is the best option for Reid.

Mann said that someone needs to point out how often the filibuster threat is used now. In the mid-1980s, Congress voted on filibuster threats only about 10 times a year.

In the current Congress, the number was about 40.

"It really is bizarre, but because of the use of the filibuster, it is the majority that puts forward votes that they know they will lose," Mann said. But he said that at least Reid's effort demonstrates that the Senate's rules need to be changed: "In my view, they do it too little."

David A. Fahrenthold Washington Post

Exclusive: Sarah Palin Under Cyber-Attack from Wikileaks Supporter

The website and personal credit card information of former Gov. Sarah Palin were cyber-attacked today by Wikileaks supporters, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate tells ABC News in an email.

Hackers in London that the Palin team believe to be affiliated with “Operation Payback” – a group of supporters of Julian Assange and Wikileaks – have tried to shut down SarahPac and have disrupted Sarah and Todd Palin’s personal credit card accounts, SarahPAC aide Rebecca Mansour said.

“No wonder others are keeping silent about Assange's antics,” Palin emailed ABC News. “This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against his sick, un-American espionage efforts.”

Palin has criticized Wikileaks founder Assange, writing on Facebook that his “past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders?...Assange is not a 'journalist' any more than the 'editor' of al-Qaeda's new English-language magazine Inspire is a 'journalist.’ He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands."

Activist Gregg Housh told the New York Times "that 1,500 people were on online forums and chatrooms including, mounting mass and repeated 'denial of service' attacks on sites that have moved against Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks in recent days."

A cached page from shows Palin's site as a suggested target.

A technical aide said that the "DOS attackers, a group loosely known as Anon_Ops, used a tool called LOIC (Lower Orbit Ion Cannon) to flood The attackers wanted us to know that they were affiliated with through an obscure message in our server log file.“

The tech emailed this screenshot to show what he's talking about.

Mansour said that an employee called Todd Palin this afternoon and told him that his and his wife's account had been compromised and that a company in London was involved.

It wasn't clear whether the attack to the Palins' credit card account today was related to the attack on her website.

Anon_Ops describes itself as an "anonymous, decentralized movement which fights against censorship and copywrong." It has enlisted volunteers "create counter-propaganda, organizing attacks (DDoS) on various targets related to censorship (time, date and target will be published by that time)." For that reason, it is difficult to ascertain the exact motivation of any attacker.

Added Mansour, “the governor voiced her opinion knowing full well that she was speaking out against a shady disreputable organization with no regard for laws or human life. This is how they operate. The world should not be intimidated by them.”

Mansour added that Wikileaks supporters claim to be “in favor of free speech yet they attack Sarah Palin for exercising her free speech.” She said was not harmed because Palin’s staff was able to move quickly to protect the site.

-Jake Tapper CBS News