Chocolate Balls

Billy Donohue and his merry gang of holy thugs are in full-on outrage mode again:

A planned Holy Week exhibition of a nude, anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ was canceled Friday after Cardinal Edward Egan and other outraged Roman Catholics complained.

The “My Sweet Lord” display was shut down by the hotel that houses the Lab Gallery in midtown Manhattan. Roger Smith Hotel President James Knowles cited the public outcry for his decision.

Matt Semler, the gallery’s creative director, resigned in protest.

The six-foot sculpture by artist Cosimo Cavallaro was the victim of “a strong-arming from people who haven’t seen the show, seen what we’re doing,” Semler said.

But word of the confectionary Christ infuriated Catholics, including Egan, who described it as “a sickening display.”

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, fumed, “It’s an all-out war on Christianity. They wouldn’t show a depiction of Martin Luther King Jr. with genitals exposed on Martin Luther King Day, and they wouldn’t show Muhammad depicted this way during Ramadan. It’s always Christians, and the timing is deliberate.”

Good thing the artist doesn’t blog for Edwards- the Donohue might have turned purple and died on the spot.

At any rate, I guess we can safely conclude that what drives Jesus nuts really nuts is Jesus’s nuts.

*** update ***

Digby.



9 Months for Hicks

The details of the plea deal are out:

Australian David Hicks pleaded guilty at the Guant‡namo Bay Navy Base yesterday to supporting terrorism in exchange for a nine-month prison sentence under a plea deal that forbids him from claiming he was abused in U.S. custody.

In return, Hicks, 31, will be allowed to leave Guana‡namo within 60 days to serve out the sentence in his native Australia. He will be free by New Year’s Eve.

“They told us this was one of the world’s worst terrorists, and he got the sentence of a drunken driver,” said Ben Wizner, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Bush administration originally had sought life in prison for Hicks. But the presiding officer, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, disclosed that a Pentagon official had cut the deal.

Under the deal, Hicks agreed not to talk to reporters for a year, to forever waive any profit from telling his story, to renounce any claims of mistreatment or unlawful detention and to submit voluntarily to U.S. interrogation and testify at future U.S. trials or international tribunals.

And there you have it. One of the worst of the worst, as we are told, and even after abusing him and trying him in a kangaroo court of their own construction, the best our fearless leaders can get is 9 months. I sure feel safer now that this terrifying menace is off the streets. Maybe they should charge him with jaywalking to up the sentence?

That is how weak their case was, that is how weak this whole system is. The only security that this whole Hicks deal provides is security for the Government- Hicks can’t officially allege he was abused or talk to the press.

Pathetic.

*** Update ***

When did we become such a damned joke? You know who else is going to be forcing people to sign paperwork stating they were not abused?

Iran.

Seriously- we were told this guy and the others down there are the worst of the worst- real terrorist masterminds and vicious, murderous thugs, and that is why we couldn’t try them using ordinary means, etc. And the sentence they give this terrible menace is the legal equivalent of a wedgie.








Thank God For Chuck Schumer

And I am serious.

The more I learn about this administration, and how they have perverted EVERY single system of governance they have touched, the happier I am that Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy and Pat Leahy are going to give it to the GOP right and proper. From today’s WaPo profile about young Ms. Goodling:

When a college intern in the Justice Department whined that all he was doing was filing and answering phones, Monica M. Goodling took him aside. If he wanted to do “substantive work,” she told him, he was going to have to prove himself first.

The intern walked out of the office in a huff, and when he returned an hour later, Goodling took him aside again. “You’re fired,” she said.

“Some people in the office thought: ‘Wow! That was tough,’ ” said Mark Corallo, her former boss in Justice’s Office of Public Affairs, who recalled the incident. “But I thought, ‘Good for her.’ ”

Part of a generation of young religious conservatives who swept into the federal government after the election of President Bush in 2000, Goodling displayed unblinking devotion to the administration and expected others to do the same. When she started at Justice, “no job was too small for her,” and as she moved rapidly up the ranks, none “was too large,” Corallo said.

***

To her detractors, Goodling was an enforcer of political loyalty who was not squeamish about firings — of interns or of senior officials.

“She forced many very talented, career people out of main Justice so she could replace them with junior people that were either loyal to the administration or would score her some points,” said a former career Justice official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.

And so it is with EVERY department, every agency, every office this administration has touched. Fierce partisans, religious right radicals, and party loyalists have replaced the people who actually know things and care about things, to the detriment of the national good. Agencies no longer exist to do public works, or, in this case, to administer justice, they exist to keep Republicans elected, and the loyalists are in place and will say and do whatever they have to to keep it that way. When they get caught lying, they lie some more and hope the press will get distracted by a dead bimbo or a missing kid. In the off-chance the sophomoric pack of brats that is the national press catches (and yes, I am linking Duncan Black for the first time without calling him an asshole) a hint of a real story, they will simply lie to Congressional committees and catch amnesia.

And the rot is deep. Jim Henley is right (and not just because he invoked my name):

It will take a whole new cadre of Republicans to turn the party into something that deserves to be trusted with a meaningful share of American power. Those people don’t really exist yet. Put it this way: to the extent that they exist now, the “real Republicans” vituperate them and drive them off. You can see the dynamic whenever a formerly “reliable” blogger like John Cole or Der Commissar sets the Kool-Aid cup down and begins describing the jungle compound as it actually looks. You see it in the loathing for Chuck Hagel, who was all talk and no kissing until just this week. Behind George Bush is Alberto Gonzales. Behind Alberto Gonzales is John Yoo. Behind John Yoo are a dozen functionaries who think like him but whose names we don’t even know. In front of them all is a clown show of jesters and justifiers.

It’s a rotten bunch, and it’s a rotten bunch that has found every soft spot in the structure of American Constitutionalism and poked it out. It is pleased to have done so and, as the Stiftung explains, does not to this day question its rightness. What has to happen is thoroughly repudiating them and their works. A notoriously fickle electorate has to keep them at bay. An obviously venal opposition has to rebuild the cage of laws around itself rather than running joyously rampant. I don’t like our chances, honestly. If you want to maximize them, it means turning to Eve Tushnet’s maxim: “Politicians mostly do what they think they have to do.” We have to make them think they have to shore up what passed for delimited power if they want to keep their phony-baloney jobs.

It isn’t just a bad apple, as the whole barrel has gone bad. NASA, the FDA, Justice, FEMA, or, this week, the Department of the Interior and the GSA. Hell, do I even need to list them all? I am terrified to think what we will learn has been done with the IRS, and God only knows what is going on at Homeland Security. It is almost as if after years of accusing the Clinton administration of being the most crooked administration ever, they decided to experiment and see if they could be worse than their claims. Their success has been unparalleled in modern political history.

So let’s all hear it for Waxman, Leahy, Schumer, Kennedy, and all the other partisan attack dogs on the side of the Democrats. I don’t for one minute share their political beliefs, and I still think Schumer would run over a handicapped kid to get in front of a microphone, but I sure as hell am glad they are in office. The hacks and the partisans and the phonies and the frauds are in charge, they are deeply entrenched, and it is going to take a bunker buster to root ’em out.

This whole corrupt, incompetent, faith-based, crony-worshipping group of frauds needs to be decimated. The Republican party needs to be razed and built back up from the ground. All I can say to Chuck Schumer is:

“Praise the lord and pass the ammunition.”








Open Thread

A POLL:

Which administration official will be the next to experience memory loss in front of a Senate Committee?








NIT Champs!

First one since 1942:

Frank Young and the West Virginia Mountaineers shot past Clemson to their first NIT title in 65 years.

Young scored 24 points, including six 3-pointers, and De’Sean Butler added 20 points to help West Virginia beat Clemson 78-73 in the NIT championship game Thursday night. Young was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.

Young has stepped up in March. He averaged over 20 points in the Big East tournament. The senior followed that up with a stellar NIT to cap off his college career, averaging 22.3 points in five games.

It was the Mountaineers’ first NIT title since 1942, when Rudy Baric led West Virginia over Western Kentucky.

And it wasn’t even close. They were up 10-15 pts the majority of the game and the gap closed with the desperation trash fouls at the end.

Grats WVU.








It’s The Economy, Stupid

I wonder how much of an impact this may have played in the elections last year:

Income inequality grew significantly in 2005, with the top 1 percent of Americans — those with incomes that year of more than $348,000 — receiving their largest share of national income since 1928, analysis of newly released tax data shows.

The top 10 percent, roughly those earning more than $100,000, also reached a level of income share not seen since before the Depression.

While total reported income in the United States increased almost 9 percent in 2005, the most recent year for which such data is available, average incomes for those in the bottom 90 percent dipped slightly compared with the year before, dropping $172, or 0.6 percent.

The gains went largely to the top 1 percent, whose incomes rose to an average of more than $1.1 million each, an increase of more than $139,000, or about 14 percent.

The new data also shows that the top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans. Per person, the top group received 440 times as much as the average person in the bottom half earned, nearly doubling the gap from 1980.

The analysis of the data is recent, the impact this has on average Americans is much more immediate and could explain some of the simmering discontent in the voting public. Sure, there are other things to point to- discontent over Iraq, disgust with the policies of this administration, outrage over the rampant corruption and the serial lying, etc.

But economic issues are sort of the foundation, in my mind of thinking. If people are doing well, and are noticing that their own lives are getting better and they have some financial security and a little extra cash to spend, they will, as I see it, put up with a little more. When the vast majority of the American public is feeling the pinch AND having to put up with the aforementioned nonsense, ruling party beware.








Open Thread

Kyle Sampson. Discuss.