There’s no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you

Bush Faithful Rewarded With Jobs – On the Way Out, He Placed Aides and Big-Money GOP Donors

Nearly half of Bush’s appointments after Election Day were filled by donors who gave a total of nearly $1.9 million to Republicans since 2003, according to an analysis of the postings. At least 20 of the positions were filled by former Bush aides, plus others filled by old hands from the administrations of Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

As the Post notes many of these positions are unpaid, but they are a way for loyal surrogates to exert influence in their little spheres of power from military colleges to presidential boards. Republicans, the party that bleeps like good little sheep about how bad government, turns out are like a bad case of head lice. You can’t pry them away from those sweet government jobs and perks.

Obama Justice Department Supports Bush ‘State Secrets’ Claims

In a move that’s sure to dismay some of President Obama’s faithful, the new administration today stood up in a federal appeals court and reiterated the Bush administrations’ arguments that victims of “extraordinary rendition” and torture should not be allowed to bring their claims in federal court because doing so would reveal “state secrets” and harm national security.

The exact torture procedures are pretty much known so on the administration that was supposed to bring real change ends up looking as ridiculous as the Bushies. ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero’s statement,

Eric Holder’s Justice Department stood up in court today and said that it would continue the Bush policy of invoking state secrets to hide the reprehensible history of torture, rendition and the most grievous human rights violations committed by the American government. This is not change. This is definitely more of the same. Candidate Obama ran on a platform that would reform the abuse of state secrets, but President Obama’s Justice Department has disappointingly reneged on that important civil liberties issue. If this is a harbinger of things to come, it will be a long and arduous road to give us back an America we can be proud of again.

More then disappointing. The Obama administration will continue to be embarrassed by this and reminded ad nauseum about their hypocrisy on this issue since the legal challenges will continue. Buck Naked Politics has some commentary and a good round-up of links for background, The Obama Administration’s First Civil Liberties Test: FAIL? (Commentary Round-Up)

Obama On Lessons Learned: I Should Have Started With No Tax Cuts And Let GOP Take Credit For Them

Reflecting further, Obama reminded the journalists present that the conservatives had originally expressed their approval of Obama’s plan to offer over $300 billion in tax cuts. But over time, they decided not to negotiate in good faith:

They were pleasantly surprised and complimentary about the tax cut that were presented in that framework. Those tax cuts are still in there. I mean, I suppose what I could have done is started off with no tax cuts, knowing that I was going to want some and then let them take credit for all of them. And maybe that’s the lesson I learned.

He added, “People have to break out of some of the ideological rigidity and gridlock that we’ve been carrying around for too long.”

Obama went on rip Republicans who now lecture about the need for fiscal responsibility. “It’s a little hard for me to take criticism from folks about this recovery package after they presided over a doubling of the national debt,”

If President Obama would simply regard the vast majority of Conservatives as petulent man-childs with a deeply ingrained behavoiral disorder, then adjust his strategy accordingly he might not get burned as often.

The Right must have gotten that fresh shipment of tin foil, Smoking gun: caller explains Stimulus as Obama plan to fund permanent Democratic patronage system

“Chicago Bob”, calling into a radio talk show, explains the need to rush on the Stimulus package before anyone gets a good chance to review its sordid details. The transcript:

“I really feel that what I’m gonna give you here is a smoking gun.

I’m a conservative Democrat and I’m from Chicago… and I, I feel that I was betrayed.

I was in a meeting after Obama got elected and I was told by the Democratic officials in that meeting that we were gonna give billions of dollars that was gonna come down the pike, our way, and what we were to do with it was we were supposed to do with it…

We are gonna build an army of Democratic patronage jobs…. gonna completely freeze up the Republicans forever and ever…

Anonymous caller Chicago Bob and the Holy Grail are frequently confused as being one and the same by Rightie pundits; so they jumped on this story, echoing it without question, like a starving dog on a Milkbone. If CB’s knowledge of Illinois politics is so deep he may have heard about this, Ex-Illinois Governor Ryan Convicted on 18 Charges

George Ryan A federal jury in Chicago has convicted former Illinois Governor George Ryan (R, age 72) of 18 corruption-related charges stemming from an FBI investigation into allegations that unqualified truck drivers could secure driver licenses in exchange for a bribe. Ryan faces a maximum penalty of 95 years in prison and $4.5 million in fines for racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, tax fraud and making false statements.

Ryan was governor from 1999-2003 and secretary of state from 1991-1999. The FBI investigation has resulted in charges against 79 state workers and lobbyists; 75 people have been convicted. No one has been acquitted.

Patronage and corruption in Illinois is not an exclusive franshise of Democrats.

Elena Kagan is a solid choice for Solicitor General of the United States Department of Justice ( she still has to be confirmed). The problem is that Holder was a solid choice as AG and has already backed off his position on torture and illegal renditions.

In her role as Dean of Harvard Law School, she has been highly praised by her colleagues for uniting a sometimes politically divisive faculty and for encouraging intellectual diversity. Eight former solicitors general–from both Republican and Democratic administrations–joined a letter wholeheartedly endorsing Kagan for the position.