Let Your Imagination Run Wild

Oh boy, Obama’s going to get his first crack at appointing a Supreme Court Justice. The only good news about it is that it’s one of the leftys.

Supreme Court Justice Souter To Retire

NPR has learned that Supreme Court Justice David Souter is planning to retire at the end of the current court term.

The vacancy will give President Obama his first chance to name a member of the high court and begin to shape its future direction.

At 69, Souter is nowhere near the oldest member of the court. In fact, he is in the younger half of the court’s age range, with five justices older and just three younger. So far as anyone knows, he is in good health. But he has made clear to friends for some time that he wanted to leave Washington, a city he has never liked, and return to his native New Hampshire. Now, according to reliable sources, he has decided to take the plunge and has informed the White House of his decision.

Factors in his decision no doubt include the election of President Obama, who would be more likely to appoint a successor attuned to the principles Souter has followed as a moderate-to-liberal member of the court’s more liberal bloc over the past two decades.

In addition, Souter was apparently satisfied that neither the court’s oldest member, 89-year-old John Paul Stevens, nor its lone woman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had cancer surgery over the winter, wanted to retire at the end of this term. Not wanting to cause a second vacancy, Souter apparently had waited to learn his colleagues’ plans before deciding his own.

Given his first appointment to the high court, most observers expect Obama will appoint a woman, since the court currently has only one female justice and Obama was elected with strong support from women. But an Obama pick would be unlikely to change the ideological makeup of the court.

See also:
Supreme Court Justice Souter To Retire
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Souter to retire: reports
Source: Justice Souter retiring
BREAKING NEWS: David Souter To Retire
NBC: Souter to retire from Supreme Court
David Souter
United States Supreme Court
The Justices of the Supreme Court

Well, Obama shouldn’t have any problem getting his nomination through a now filibuster proof Senate.

/God only knows what 40 year old, hard core left wing internationalist socialist heathen, to the left of Karl Marx, who believes that the Constitution is a living document and the Framers didn’t really mean what they wrote, he’ll appoint

Health Care, Conficker Style

This is certainly a disturbing development.

Conficker worm hits hospital devices

A computer worm that has alarmed security experts around the world has crawled into hundreds of medical devices at dozens of hospitals in the United States and other countries, according to technologists monitoring the threat.

The worm, known as “Conficker,” has not harmed any patients, they say, but it poses a potential threat to hospital operations.

“A few weeks ago, we discovered medical devices, MRI machines, infected with Conficker,” said Marcus Sachs, director of the Internet Storm Center, an early warning system for Internet threats that is operated by the SANS Institute.

Around March 24, researchers monitoring the worm noticed that an imaging machine used to review high-resolution images was reaching out over the Internet to get instructions — presumably from the programmers who created Conficker.

The researchers dug deeper and discovered that more than 300 similar devices at hospitals around the world had been compromised. The manufacturer of the devices told them none of the machines were supposed to be connected to the Internet — and yet they were. And because the machines were running an unpatched version of Microsoft’s operating system used in embedded devices they were vulnerable.

Normally, the solution would be simply to install a patch, which Microsoft released in October. But the device manufacturer said rules from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required that a 90-day notice be given before

“For 90 days these infected machines could easily be used in an attack, including, for example, the leaking of patient information,” said Rodney Joffe, a senior vice president at NeuStar, a communications company that belongs to an industry working group created to deal with the worm. “They also could be used in an attack that affects other devices on the same networks.”

Joffe, who is scheduled to testify before Congress on Friday, said he will ask lawmakers to remove the barriers to coordination between federal agencies so that cyberthreats like Conficker can be addressed.

In addition to the medical-imaging machines, Joffe said the working group has seen thousands of other machines located in hospitals reach out to the Conficker mastermind by contacting another computer on the Internet for instructions. Researchers have not determined the function of these machines. They could be a personal computer sitting on a secretary’s desk or more sensitive medical devices linked to patient care.

See also:
Conficker infected critical hospital equipment, expert says
Conficker Worm Hits U.S. Hospitals, Infecting Computers and Equipment
Conficker spotted in critical medical equipment
Hospital devices face threats from Conficker computer worm
Conficker infected critical hospital equipment
The Microsoft Tax: Windows Conficker worm hits hospital devices; Macintosh unaffected
Report: Conficker in attack mode
Conficker adds new weapon: spam
Conficker virus begins to attack PCs
SANS Internet Storm Center
Internet Storm Center
SANS Institute
SANS Institute
NeuStar
NeuStar
W32/Conficker.worm
Conficker
Protect yourself from the Conficker computer worm
Conficker Worm: Help Protect Windows from Conficker

Like with the swine flu, if everyone would just take basic, common sense precautions, they won’t have any problems with Conficker and won’t play a part in helping spread it to others.

/do your part, keep your Windows PCs up to date with the most current Microsoft patches and always run currently updated anti-virus and firewall software

Who’s In Your Wallet?

Today, with little fanfare, Congress gave Obama his 100 day anniversary present.

Congress Approves Obama’s $3.4 Trillion Spending Blueprint

The Democratically controlled Congress yesterday easily approved a $3.4 trillion spending plan, setting the stage for President Obama to pursue the first major overhaul of the nation’s health-care system in a generation along with other far-reaching domestic initiatives.

Despite a persistent recession and soaring budget deficits, Democrats overwhelmingly endorsed the president’s request for hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending over the next decade for college loans, early childhood education programs, veterans’ benefits and investments in renewable energy aimed at reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

Lawmakers also agreed to use a powerful procedural tool known as reconciliation to advance the president’s proposal to expand health coverage for the uninsured — a move that ensures Republicans would not be able to filibuster the legislation. Unlike in 1993, when then-President Bill Clinton unveiled a universal coverage plan that went nowhere on Capitol Hill, Obama has a strong mandate for change from both chambers of Congress and a mid-October deadline for key congressional committees to send legislation to the full House and Senate.

“This is very exciting,” said DeAnn Friedholm, health reform director for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. “Some of us have spent our entire careers trying to make sure we have a decent health-care system, and I think we’re on the precipice of being able to get that this time.”

The budget resolution didn’t win a single vote from Republican lawmakers, who were enraged that the deficit is projected to exceed $1.2 trillion next year. House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) called it an “audacious move to a big socialist government” that piles “debt on the backs of our kids and our grandkids.”

Still, the measure passed the House by a vote of 233 to 193 and the Senate 53 to 43. Only 17 Democrats in the House and three in the Senate voted against it, as did Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who announced Tuesday that he would leave the Republican Party.

See also:
Congress Passes $3.5 Trillion Budget
Congress adopts budget plan endorsing Obama goals
Congress passes budget, a boon for Obama
HOUSE PASSES BUDGET WITH NO GOP VOTES
UPDATE: US Chamber Of Commerce Urges Congress Reject Budget
Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees
Spending Like A Drunken Sailor On Crack
The Blueprint For The Total Destruction Of The United States Of America

gr2009032100104

Well, so much for fiscal responsibility. In fact, now, with a filibuster proof Senate, Obama and the Democrat Congress can now totally ignore Republicans and ram whatever they damn well want down our throats.

Pelosi: now we don’t have to ‘explain process’

Sen. Arlen Specter’s decision to switch parties will make it easier for Democrats to move forward with their agenda, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday.

Specter’s switch will give Democrats 60 caucus members in the Senate (assuming Al Franken wins his legal battle in Minnesota). That is enough votes to end debate on a bill and overcome Republican filibusters.

“Very exciting, very exciting for the American people, because now we can get things done without explaining process,” Pelosi told CNN’s Candy Crowley.

So now the Democrats will get busy behind closed doors turning Obama’s vision for bankrupting the country into spending legislation reality.

/this is what you get when 52% of the electorate votes to flush America down the toilet

Arlen Specter, Poster Boy For Term Limits

Arlen Specter switched parties? How can you tell?

He’s not prepared to have his record decided by Pennsylvania Republican primary voters? You bet your ass he’s not because he knows he’d lose badly. Specter has no principles or core values whatsoever, it’s all about him and his own self-preservation, he’s nothing more than a rank political opportunist and whore, who’ll turn tricks for whoever pays the most. Blaming conservative Republicans for his plight is just damn pathetic, especially after all the help the party gave him in his last election.

Not only has he now defrauded all the Republicans that voted for him, but remember, this is the jerk off that saddled us with Obama’s bloated, pork laden “stimulus” bill. What a mealy mouthed, sanctimonious, ass crack licking piece of weasel [expletive deleted]. Good riddance, he couldn’t even spell Republican anyway, let alone be able to define it.

See also:
Specter Joins the Democratic Party
Specter joins Dems; AP: Obama ‘thrilled’ with Senate pick-up
Official: Biden Pressured Specter to Join Democrats for 6 Years
Specter Switch Fulfills Rendell’s Wish
Biden, Casey, Rendell Lobbied Specter to Switch
Biden, Rendell and Specter
Specter’s Switcheroo
Obama will campaign for me, Specter says

So despite being poked and stroked, wined and dined by Democrats to switch parties for six years, watch Specter lie his ass off in a March 17th interview.

And just how big a hypocritical, amoral, malodorous scumbag underwear stain is Specter? Check this out.

Specter condemned Jim Jeffords’ party switch in 2001

When the Vermont Republican became an independent, Specter lost a committee chairmanship in the Senate’s resulting power shift. An angry Specter proposed a ban on such party switches.

When a Senate Republican left his party in 2001, elevating the Democrats to majority status, one member of the GOP was especially vocal about his displeasure: Arlen Specter.

Specter said then- Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords’ decision to become an independent was disruptive to the functioning of Congress. He proposed a rule forbidding party switches that had the effect of vaulting the minority to majority status in the middle of a congressional session.

“If somebody wants to change parties, they can do that,” Specter said at the time. “But that kind of instability is not good for governance of the country and the Senate.”

Now it is Specter switching parties, proclaiming himself a Democrat. While the move won’t throw one party out of power, it could potentially hand the Democrats a 60-vote majority and deprive the GOP of the ability to block legislation through a filibuster.

Eight years ago, Jeffords’ decision cost Specter his chairmanship of the Veterans Affairs Committee. Specter said at the time that he wanted the rule change to prevent a party switch that could decisively swing the balance of power in the Senate overnight, disrupting U.S. domestic and foreign policy.

He also said that Jeffords’ move would put Senate staff members out of work as committee chairmanships changed hands, and that he had already seen “a lot of crying” among staff members worried about their future.

And hey, looky here, this isn’t even the first time Specter’s sold out for political expediency.

Arlen Specter, not fit for a toilet seat, let alone a Senate seat. Any more pejorative adjectives would just be wasted on this assmunch of a huckleberry.

/this is exactly why we need term limits, to keep these corrupt political ticks, in both parties, with an unearned, sense of hubris and entitlement to their seat, from getting so entrenched in the Washington woodwork like this that they can’t be easily extracted when they develop the attitude that they’re above the will of the voters

Hold My Beer, I’m Going To Try Something

Who’s brilliant idea was this?

Source: White House was updating AF One file photo

An administration official says a presidential Boeing 747 and a fighter jet flew low near ground zero in New York City Monday because the White House Military Office wanted to update its file photo of the president’s plane near the Statue of Liberty.

This official said the White House Military Office told the Federal Aviation Administration that it periodically updates file photos of Air Force One near national landmarks, like the statute in New York harbor and the Grand Canyon.

Gee, flying a 747, being chased by F-16s, low over Manhattan, what could possibly go wrong with that?

Air Force One “Maneuvers” over New York City Cause Widespread Panic

F-16 Fighter Jets were seen escorting a 747 jumbo jet from the Air Force One fleet near the Statue of Liberty earlier today. The fly-by caused a brief period of widespread panic among the citizens of New York City.

The U.S. Defense Dept. issued a statement afterward, saying the maneuver was just a photo opp. After realizing how much people were traumatized, they later issued another statement and apologized to New Yorkers for the scare.

Really? A Photo Opp??

After watching the video below, you’ll understand why the people of NYC were so scared – watching a jumbo jet pitching, yawing and banking at a 45 degree angle back and forth while being chased by close flying fighter jets would scare anyone unaccustomed to it. Couple that with the fact that 8 years ago planes crashed into the World Trade Center, constant threats of terrorism and a general overall feeling of unease in a society and you have a lot of people on edge.

Does that really look like a “Photo Opp.” to anyone else? Those are emergency preparedness maneuvers – anyone who has ever been in the military knows that.

See also:
Air Force One Photo Op Triggers Panic in Manhattan
Air Force One Photo-Op Scares the Crap Out of Manhattan
A ‘Classified’ Photo Op Turns Into a Soaring Blunder for the White House
Air Force One Scares Us Shitless
Air Force One photo op startles New Yorkers
Air Force One lookalike buzzes Lower Manhattan; residents panic, two injured, White House apologizes
Buildings Evacuated as Jets Fly Low Over Manhattan
“Photo Op” flyover frightens New Yorkers, outrages many
Who Will Be Held Accountable for This Morning’s 9/11-esque Scare?
Plane stupid: Mayor Bloomberg outraged over military photo-op involving low-flying presidential jet

So, what does the Obama administration do in response to all the anger stemming from their dumbass “classified photo op”? Well, they do what they do best, they apologize.

White House Official Apologizes for Air Force One Photo Op in New York City

White House Military Office Director Louis Caldera apologized for any panic caused by a flight mission and photo op that looked like Air Force One and fighter jets heading toward the New York City skyline Monday morning.

Caldera said he approved the mission last week and that federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey.

But for people who work in the New York financial district, the event brought back nightmares of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Numerous buildings in lower Manhattan evacuated in a panic during this morning’s false alarm.

“It’s clear that the mission created confusion and disruption. I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused,” Caldera said in a White House issued paper statement.

See also:
Here Is the Guy Who Scared You This Morning, New York
White House Apologizes for Air Force Flyover
White House apologizes for Air Force One photo-op
An apology for Air Force One photo op
White House sorry for NYC flyover

The White House is sorry all right. Obama seems to like to apologize, especially for American history when he’s overseas, addressing foreign audiences. It’s amazing how they fit all those Keystone Kops into one clown car.

Hey Manhattan, at least you got your apology.

/Obama scares the [expletive deleted] out of me too, every day, and I’m still waiting for mine

Ramming Speed!

National Health Care With 51 Votes

Late last week President Barack Obama and Democratic congressional leaders agreed to use “budget reconciliation” if necessary to jam a massive health-care bill through Congress.

Most Americans probably greeted this news with the glazed eyes and yawns that should rightfully accompany any discussion of “the federal budget process” longer than 30 seconds. But this decision is a deeply troublesome attempt to circumvent the normal and customary workings of American democracy.

It’s a radical departure from congressional precedent, in which budget rules have been designed and used to reduce deficits, not expand the size of government. And it promises bitter divisiveness under an administration that has made repeated promises to reach across the partisan divide.

Reconciliation was established in 1974 as a procedure to make modest adjustments to mandatory spending such as farm programs, student loans and Medicare that were already well established in law. Over the past 35 years, it has been used only 22 times — and three of those bills were vetoed. There are good reasons it has been used so rarely.

The annual congressional budget resolution is simply an outline of federal spending anticipated for the coming fiscal year. It doesn’t appropriate any funds or carry the force of law, and as a practical matter only two parts of the resolution have any meaningful effect on the spending bills and other legislation that move through Congress during the remainder of the year.

First, the resolution sets limits for discretionary spending and allows procedural points of order to be raised later in the year against spending bills that exceed these caps. Second, the budget resolution may include a “reconciliation” figure. This is, effectively, a dollar amount assigned to a congressional committee, with instructions to produce legislation that decreases projected spending by the specified amount.

The power of a reconciliation bill is this: Senate rules allow only 20 hours of debate and then passage with a simple majority of 51 votes. This represents a lightning strike in the normal deliberative time-frame of the Senate. The historic precedent of open debate, and the requirement of 60 votes to close debate, are completely short-circuited.

Budget reconciliation was never intended to push through dramatic and expansive new programs. It was created as a way to help a reluctant Congress curb spending, reduce deficits, and cut the debt. Moreover, changes made under reconciliation expire after five or 10 years, depending on the budget. This is clearly not the appropriate process for implementing significant new policies.

See also:
Barrier to health care vote looks poised to fall
Deal may mean fast-track treatment for health care overhaul
Hatch, GOP leaders fight reconciliation
Obama Pressing for Budget With Reconciliation Language To Be Passed by 100-Day Mark
THE BUDGET RECONCILIATION PROCESS

Yes boys and girls, you’re about to eat the Democrat dream version of socialized medicine, whether you like it or not, with zero Republican input.

/and because of the outcome of the last two elections, there’s not a damn thing Republicans can do to stop it

Someone’s Lying

Pelosi Stirs Questions With Denial She Was Briefed About Waterboarding

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she was never told during a congressional briefing in 2002 that waterboarding or other “enhanced” interrogation techniques were being used on terrorism suspects.

But in a story published in the Washington Post in December 2007, two officials were quoted saying that the California Democrat and three other lawmakers had received an hour-long secret briefing on the interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, and that they raised no objections at the time.

Really Nancy? Porter Goss begs to differ.

Security Before Politics

Since leaving my post as CIA director almost three years ago, I have remained largely silent on the public stage. I am speaking out now because I feel our government has crossed the red line between properly protecting our national security and trying to gain partisan political advantage. We can’t have a secret intelligence service if we keep giving away all the secrets. Americans have to decide now.

A disturbing epidemic of amnesia seems to be plaguing my former colleagues on Capitol Hill. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, members of the committees charged with overseeing our nation’s intelligence services had no higher priority than stopping al-Qaeda. In the fall of 2002, while I was chairman of the House intelligence committee, senior members of Congress were briefed on the CIA’s “High Value Terrorist Program,” including the development of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and what those techniques were. This was not a one-time briefing but an ongoing subject with lots of back and forth between those members and the briefers.

Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as “waterboarding” were never mentioned. It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.

Let me be clear. It is my recollection that:

– The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists.

– We understood what the CIA was doing.

– We gave the CIA our bipartisan support.

– We gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.

– On a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda.

I do not recall a single objection from my colleagues. They did not vote to stop authorizing CIA funding. And for those who now reveal filed “memorandums for the record” suggesting concern, real concern should have been expressed immediately — to the committee chairs, the briefers, the House speaker or minority leader, the CIA director or the president’s national security adviser — and not quietly filed away in case the day came when the political winds shifted. And shifted they have.

Circuses are not new in Washington, and I can see preparations being made for tents from the Capitol straight down Pennsylvania Avenue. The CIA has been pulled into the center ring before. The result this time will be the same: a hollowed-out service of diminished capabilities. After Sept. 11, the general outcry was, “Why don’t we have better overseas capabilities?” I fear that in the years to come this refrain will be heard again: once a threat — or God forbid, another successful attack — captures our attention and sends the pendulum swinging back. There is only one person who can shut down this dangerous show: President Obama.

Unfortunately, much of the damage to our capabilities has already been done. It is certainly not trust that is fostered when intelligence officers are told one day “I have your back” only to learn a day later that a knife is being held to it. After the events of this week, morale at the CIA has been shaken to its foundation.

We must not forget: Our intelligence allies overseas view our inability to maintain secrecy as a reason to question our worthiness as a partner. These allies have been vital in almost every capture of a terrorist.

The suggestion that we are safer now because information about interrogation techniques is in the public domain conjures up images of unicorns and fairy dust. We have given our enemy invaluable information about the rules by which we operate. The terrorists captured by the CIA perfected the act of beheading innocents using dull knives. Khalid Sheik Mohammed boasted of the tactic of placing explosives high enough in a building to ensure that innocents trapped above would die if they tried to escape through windows. There is simply no comparison between our professionalism and their brutality.

Our enemies do not subscribe to the rules of the Marquis of Queensbury. “Name, rank and serial number” does not apply to non-state actors but is, regrettably, the only question this administration wants us to ask. Instead of taking risks, our intelligence officers will soon resort to wordsmithing cables to headquarters while opportunities to neutralize brutal radicals are lost.

The days of fortress America are gone. We are the world’s superpower. We can sit on our hands or we can become engaged to improve global human conditions. The bottom line is that we cannot succeed unless we have good intelligence. Trading security for partisan political popularity will ensure that our secrets are not secret and that our intelligence is destined to fail us.

The writer, a Republican, was director of the CIA from September 2004 to May 2006 and was chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 1997 to 2004.

So, who are you going to believe?

/I say let’s put Nancy under oath

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