“My brother went to war tonight with the government,” Gerald Thornton said in an interview with a local television station after the incident. “He decided that he could no longer verbally work it out.”
On CNN, Mr. Thornton seemed to confirm reports that ticketing of his brother’s commercial vehicles were at the core of the dispute. Violations of his “constitutional protections” was also cited, without elaboration.
If Sen. Barack Obama wants to bring America together again, what better way than getting the Grateful Dead back together again?
The famously feuding surviving members of the band showed up Monday night for an primary-eve Obama rally at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco, the first time since 2004 that former bandmates Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart have performed together.
Sitting under a sign with the familiar skull and lightning bolt emblem that read “Deadheads for Obama ‘08,” the three living Dead all agreed the Illinois Democrat was their man. They said the fourth member, drummer Bill Kreutzmann, also was an Obama supporter and would have joined the party except for a previous engagement in Hawaii.
“I think that we all knew Obama was the guy for us, but we hadn’t talked about it because we’d all been doing our own thing,” said bassist Lesh, whose 18-year-old son, Brian, has been working as an Obama volunteer.
“We knew instinctively, intuitively that we were all together on this. We came together, and we’re doing it,” said guitarist Weir, who wore an Obama button pinned to the lapel of his sport coat.
The Set List
DEAD HEADS FOR OBAMA
San Francisco, CA
February 4, 2008
Playing in the Band*>Brown-Eyed Women†, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo†>New Minglewood Blues*, Come Together*
Deep Elem Blues, Friend of the Devil, Deal, Ripple
China Cat Sunflower*†>The Wheel*†>The Other One*>Sugaree* Eyes of the World*†>Throwin’ Stones*>Iko Iko>*†>Playing reprise*†
E. U.S. Blues*†%
Bob Weir, guitar and vocals; Phil Lesh, bass and vocals; Mickey Hart, drums and vocals; John Molo, drums; Jackie Greene, guitar, keyboards and vocals; Steve Molitz, keyboards and vocals.
* with Mark Karan, guitar; †with Barry Sless, pedal steel guitar; %with Hippie Bill, flag (Courtesy Dead.net)
As people across the country vote for a candidate to finally replace the scheming, intelligence-fixing architects of the Iraq quagmire, Bolton writes in the WSJ today, Our Politicized Intelligence Services:
Mr. McConnell should commit the intelligence community to stick to its knitting — intelligence — and return its policy enthusiasts to agencies where policy is made.
Bolton wants to “fix” the “politicization” of the intelligence committee — in other words, it’s failure to continue to march lock-step in support of Bush administration statements which directly conflict with intelligence assessments — by strictly enforcing the secrecy of National Intelligence Estimates against members of the intelligence community.
Funny stuff, coming from a key member of an administration which leaked partial and incomplete data to the New York Times, then quoted resulting stories as authority for the false propositions it planted.
Of course, if the Bush administration wants to leak select and misleading portions, they can be said to be merely “declassifying” material by executive fiat.
The utter disingenuousness of these people underscores why everyone needs to go out and vote for a President who won’t stock his cabinet and ambassadorships with liars, grifters, and mealy-mouthed ideologues.
UPDATE: Here’s a shocker — Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell on the veracity of John Bolton’s Op-Ed:
“the article you refer to is a gross misrepresentation of the professionalism of this community.”
But gross misrepresentation, after all, was the stock-in-trade of the administration in which Bolton served.
Iraqi officials on Saturday raised the death toll from Friday’s pet market bombings as more bodies were found and as badly injured people died from their wounds, bringing the total to 98 dead and 123 injured, according to the Interior Ministry.
A stream of cars carrying simple wooden coffins traveled to the southern city of Najaf, where those who are Shiite are usually buried, as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and other high ranking Iraqis sought to reassure Iraqis of their commitment to fighting the scourge.
Michael Kinsley hits the mark in today’s LA Times, at least with respect to the GOP’s love-fest with a mythical Ronald Reagan:
Meanwhile, the Republican primaries have turned into a Ronald Reagan adoration contest.
Mitt Romney, meanwhile, kept repeating, inanely, “We’re in the house that Reagan built.” Reagan “would say lower taxes”; “Reagan would say lower spending”; Reagan “would say no way” to amnesty for illegal immigrants; Reagan would never “walk out of Iraq.” And, by the way, McCain’s accusation that Romney harbors a secret timetable for withdrawal from Iraq is “the kind of dirty tricks that I think Ronald Reagan would have found to be reprehensible.”
A problem: Reagan actually signed the law that authorized the last amnesty, back in 1986. Romney deals with this small difficulty by declaring: “Reagan saw it. It didn’t work.” He offers no evidence that Reagan had a change of heart about amnesty, and learning from experience was not something Reagan was known for. The proper cliche is McCain’s: “Ronald Reagan came with an unshakable set of principles.” And — pointedly — “he would not approve of someone who changes their positions depending on what the year is.”
All of this is what Democrats these days would refer to as a fairy tale. There is no evidence that Reagan was bothered by the rough and tumble of political campaigns. Mischaracterization of an opponent didn’t even qualify as a “dirty trick” to Reagan, because of his fantastic ability to believe anything helpful.
Would Reagan “walk out of” Iraq? Far from clear. He scurried out of Lebanon in 1984 after things got hot there. During the Reagan years, the United States was pro-Iraq in its war against Iran, although we also sold weapons to Iran to raise money for a terrorist war we were secretly financing in Nicaragua, while denouncing terrorism. It’s hard to find any “unshakable set of principles” in this mess.
But the biggest fairy tale about Reagan is the most central one: about taxes and spending. It is one thing to sit in a North Vietnamese prison in the early 1970s, dreaming of a California governor who one day will balance the federal budget. It is another to imagine that it actually happened.
When Reagan took office in 1981, federal receipts (taxes) were $517 billion and outlays (spending) were $591 billion, for a deficit of $74 billion. When he left office in 1989, taxes were $999 billion and spending was $1.14 trillion, for a deficit of $141 billion. As a share of the economy, Reagan did cut taxes, from 19.6% to 18.4%, and he cut spending from 22.2% to 21.2%, increasing the deficit from 2.6% to 2.8%. The deficit went as high as an incredible 5% of GDP during his term. As a result, the national debt soared by almost two-thirds. You can fiddle with these numbers — assuming it takes a year or two for a president’s policies to take effect, or taking defense costs out — and the basic result is the same or worse. Whatever, these numbers hardly constitute a “revolution.”
This is a point I made several months ago, about Republicans fetishizing a mythical version of Reagan, one who possessed Solon-like judgment instead of incipient Alzheimer’s, and who practiced Periclean statesmanship instead of crude cowboy interventionism:
Reagan’s foreign policy with respect to the Middle East was extremely confused and ineffective. He led an ineffective intervention in Lebanon which ended in disaster and withdrawal. His administration brokered illegal arms deals with Iran, though the extent to which Reagan was even compus mentos is brought into doubt by Reagan’s later testimony during which it appeared he was unaware of much that was transpiring due to the early onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. The Reagan administration also gave money and arms to radical Islamists in Afghanistan, much of it to groups which later formed al Qaeda. His administration fostered cozier ties to Saddam’s Iraqi regime as well.
Reagan was popular, and his presidency was regarded as a successful one in large measure, certainly in comparison to the debacle of George W. Bush’s, but it also had marked scandals, its own misadventures, and serious moral failures. Moreover, as Kinsey again points out, it never embodied the specific virtues attributed to it by the clot of dim, fetishistic current GOP presidential hopefuls.
HAMILTON, N.J. (AP) — A civilian New Jersey State Police employee is accused of sneaking into a church to look at pornography on a nun’s computer. Police arrested Thomas G. Findler Wednesday and charged him with burglary and theft. Authorities say Findler had been sneaking into Grace St. Paul Episcopal Church in the night over the last three weeks to look at pornography. Wednesday morning, a church custodian found Findler, who worships at the church, on a nun’s computer. The custodian chased him out, right into a police officer who happened to be nearby.