"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." --Bishop Desmond Tutu

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Quite possibly the dumbest person in the US Senate

Wow, this is a powerful load of stupid.

"...like watching a car accident..."

Joe Scarborough looses it after watching a montage of Glenn Beck and his tearful act. The commentators even claim that he's a parody of Colbert (something I suggested). Enjoy!

Sick Around America

This should be interesting. A Frontline expose on healthcare in America entitled Sick Around America. The program airs tonight (March 31st).
As the worsening economy leads to massive job losses—potentially increasing the ranks of the tens of millions of Americans without health insurance—FRONTLINE travels the country examining the nation’s broken health care system and exploring the need for a fundamental overhaul. The scale of the problem now facing the Obama administration, FRONTLINE finds, is staggering, as lay-offs, major illness and other unexpected life changes leave more and more Americans uninsured, underinsured or uninsurable. FRONTLINE also goes inside insurance companies to question executives on their policies, programs and priorities and examines the problems in one state’s attempts at health care reform.
Perhaps it will be Sicko without the hyperbole.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Genius of the Teabaggers!


Deja vu all over again!

With apologies to Yogi Bera, these neocon motherfuckers must never be allowed near the reins of power in our country ever again.

Elliot Abrams:
[W]e are not talking about the Americans killing civilians, bombing cities, destroying mosques, hospitals, schools. No, no, no – weʹre talking about nuclear facilities which most Iranians know very little about, have not seen, will not see, some quite well hidden.

So they wake up in the morning and find out that the United States if attacking those facilities and, presumably with some good messaging about why weʹre doing it and why we are not against the people of Iran.

Itʹs not clear to me that the reaction letʹs go to war with the Americans, but rather, perhaps, how did we get into this mess? Why did those guys, the very unpopular ayatollahs in a country 70 percent of whose population is under the age of 30, why did those old guys get us into this mess.
The only phrase he's missing is that "we will be greeted as liberators." This tool (and all the other neocon tools like him) need to crawl back under their rocks and let the adults get on with the business of running the nation. This kind of child-like naivete can no longer be tolerated in the administration of our affairs.

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Was it over when the German's bombed Pearl Harbor?"

Over at DailyKos, Devilstower has posted an open letter to journalists asking (no begging!) them to do their jobs and correct the misinformation spewing from the gaping maws of the GOP's talking heads.

If Republicans were appearing on your news broadcasts and insisting that Barry Goldwater was the 38th president of the United States, or that the Chinese bombed Pearl Harbor, surely you would take a moment to halt the conversation and correct them. At least, I'd like to think so.

So why do you continue to allow Republican officials and conservative pundits to make statements such as "the Great Depression didn't end until World War II" or "the New Deal prolonged the depression" without comment? These statements are as incorrect as declaring Idaho a sovereign monarchy -- why are they constantly unchallenged?

Recovery from the Great Depression started in the first months of the Roosevelt administration and was directly attributable to the actions and programs that FDR undertook in his first 100 days. This is not an opinion. It's the conclusive verdict of history. It's a fact.

But we all know that Reality has a well-known liberal bias...

Glenn Greenwald hits it out of the park (again)!

In his most recent piece for Salon, he reflects on the difference between conservative support of Bush and liberal support of Obama and delivers (with ample evidence) the following perceptive conclusion.

A rational citizen, by definition, praises and supports political leaders only when they do the right thing (regardless of motive), and criticizes and opposes them when they don’t. It's just that simple. Cheerleading for someone because they're on "your team" is appropriate for a sporting event, not for political matters. Political leaders deserve support only to the extent that their actions, on a case-by-case basis, merit that support, and that has largely been the behavior of progressives towards Obama.

Hence: civil libertarian critics of Bush have vehemently criticized the Obama administration for embracing Bush’s secrecy theories, shielding government policies (including torture) from judicial review, denying all rights to Bagram detainees, and retaining some of Bush’s extreme detention powers, but have praised him -- often lavishly -- for restricting FOIA secrecy, banning waterboarding and CIA black sites, disclosing key Bush-era OLC memos, bringing charges against the last "enemy combatant" in America, and guaranteeing International Red Cross access to all detainees. Foreign policy critics have objected to Obama's escalation of our military presence in Afghanistan and drone attacks in Pakistan while praising him for preliminary changes in our tone (if not policy) towards Israel and his diplomatic overtures to Iran. Economic critics have attacked his bank rescue plan as a sleazy give-away to Wall Street and his excessive stimulus compromises, while praising his ambitious domestic budget and his core stimulus approach. In most areas, his record has been mixed, and thus progressive reaction to it has been as well.

And conservatives? Not so much...
The point, though, isn't so much the lockstep devotion to Bush among the conservative rank-and-file as it is the blindly uncritical, cult-like glorification of him by the Right's opinion-making leaders and their refusal to criticize what he did -- until they sought cynically to distance themselves from the stench of his failure late in his presidency (and anyone who doubts that should just click on the links in the first paragraph or read this). If one searches for it, one can find that devoted reverence towards Obama among some creepy cultists and overly eager supporters, but that has not been the predominant behavioral trait among progressives.
Nor is it the behavioral trait among the progressive leadership and opinion-makers.

Fire them all RIGHT FU*KING NOW!!!

Here is why the bailout is going to fail.
Recently, securities rated AAA have changed hands for roughly 30 cents on the dollar, and most of the buyers have been hedge funds acting opportunistically on a bet that prices will rise over time. However, sources said Citi and BofA have trumped those bids . . .”
So instead of doing what they're supposed to be doing, these shitpiles (Citi and BofA) are out there doubling-down on toxic assets with our money. Money that was intended to recapitalize them and free up the credit markets is being used to scoop up discounted toxic assets. Do we need any more reason to nationalize these fuckers, fire all the management and start again?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Where's the beef?

The GOP unveiled their "plans" for the economy today. Trouble was, there wasn't any substance to their "plan." It was some vague "blueprint." A hollow shell devoid of any real solutions to the problems faced by real Americans.
...[At] a news conference unveiling the plan, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner was peppered with questions about why he was offering only what he called a “blueprint” and not specific details. In fact, there were few specific numbers or line items — mostly just broad outlines.

“This is a blueprint,” Boehner responded, noting that House Republicans will bring their specific budget figures to the floor next week. “Wait till next week.”
Next week? Hmmm... But all is not well in GOPer Fantasy Budget Land (the Unicorns are restless!). Not everyone was happy with the rush-to-camera lead by Boehner and Pence.

[Ryan] and Cantor were reportedly told by Boehner and Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) they needed to move more quickly to counter Democrats' charge they were becoming the "Party of No," according to House GOP staffers.

The 19-page document, prepared by Pence's office, was distributed two days after President Obama criticized Republicans for trashing his detail-crammed 142-page budget outline without producing a credible alternative.

“In his egocentric rush to get on camera, Mike Pence threw the rest of the Conference under the bus, specifically Paul Ryan, whose staff has been working night and day for weeks to develop a substantive budget plan," said a GOP aide heavily involved in budget strategy.

"I hope his camera time was gratifying enough to justify erasing the weeks of hard work by dozens of Republicans to put forth serious ideas," the person added.

Gee, I hope they can work out their little differences before becoming irrelevant. Oops! Too late!

Obama Dumb - Bush Smart (meme alert!)

I'm going to re-post this blog entry because I'm simply incapable of improving on it.

Dispatches from the Alternative Right Wing Universe

Today John Hinderaker at Powerline wrote the following about Barack Obama:
Everyone knows that Barack Obama is lost without his teleprompter, but his latest blunder, courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, via the Corner, suggests that the teleprompter may not be enough unless it includes phonetic spellings. [Obama apparently mispronounced the name of the company "Orion"]

So evidently we have to add astronomy to history and economics as subjects of which Obama is remarkably ignorant. I'm beginning to fear that our President has below-average knowledge of the world. Not for a President, but for a middle-aged American.
If that alone isn't enough to make your head explode, here's what the very same John Hinderaker had to say about our previous president:
It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.
The alternative universe that these folks manage to create for themselves is really quite something to behold. In their world, a man who was the editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Review and a constitutional law professor at a top law school is some sort of empty suit who is incapable of thinking or expressing a coherent thought without a teleprompter. A man who spent much of his childhood in Indonesia, has travelled extensively overseas, and who, by all accounts, is an avid student of foreign policy is some kind of ignoramus who knows nothing about the world.

But a man who was notorious for his struggles with the English language, who achieved everything in his life by virtue of his last name, a man who admittedly had no interest in foreign policy and had traveled nowhere prior to becoming president . . . that guy is worldly beyond measure, a "man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius."

What's really sad is that Hinderaker is not alone in this belief. If you read the right wing blogs, it's just an accepted fact that Obama is a moron. It's as if they think that if they say it over and over again, it will somehow catch on with the public at large. The problem with this meme, of course, is that it's so easily disproven. No one who watched Obama give his hour long prime time press conference last month--where he gave lengthy professorial answers to every question asked--would entertain for even a moment the suggestion that he is stupid or unknowledgeable or incapable of speaking without a teleprompter. The right wing blogosphere might as well be trying to convince the public that Obama is white.

But in the up-is-down world of the right wing echo chamber, anything goes, no matter how dumb.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bagley tackles the Pope

Court orders FDA to re-consider Plan B OTC status

In a decision handed down by a Federal court yesterday, a judge ordered the FDA to re-examine it's stance on the morning-after-pill known as Plan B.
A federal court yesterday called on the FDA to do the right thing and revisit its politically motivated decision to unnecessarily restrict access to the emergency contraceptive Plan B. Often referred to as the “morning-after pill,” Plan B is a concentrated dose of the birth control pills millions of women take every day. And as yesterday’s court duly noted, the science is clear: women of all ages do not need a prescription to safely and effectively use Plan B to prevent pregnancy.
The court cited interference in the approval process by Bush political appointees as the primary reason the drug was not available to women.
Yesterday, federal Judge Edward Korman held that “the FDA’s decision was not the result of good faith and reasoned agency decision-making” because of “improper political interference” and departure from standard FDA policies. It ordered the FDA to expand over the counter access to 17 year olds and to reconsider its decision requiring any age restriction.
Good news for women who would like an alternative to pregnancy and for women subjected to intercourse against their will.

Holding Israel Accountable

Why don't we? Why is nobody doing anything to report or investigate the charges of war crimes against the IDF for their illegal invasion of Gaza? The Guardian in the UK is at the forefront of investigating allegations of war crimes yet the US media seems content to ignore what Israel did.

The Guardian has produced three videos detailing the charges agains the IDF.

Two other videos, one on the use of armed unmanned drones, and one on the use of human shields, are also available.

Just to review, based on international and customary law, the following holds true:
Medics and medical workers are not legitimate targets under international humanitarian law, and any wilful killing of such people who are clearly identified is capable of amounting to a war crime.

The use of involuntary human shields has already been declared unlawful by Israel's supreme court, which said the practice was a violation of international humanitarian law. There are specific rules against hostage-taking in international conflicts.
Israel is guilty on both counts.

Headline of the day!

Go back into hiding, GOP begs Dick Cheney

Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) said, “He became so unpopular while he was in the White House that it would probably be better for us politically if he wouldn’t be so public...But he has the right to speak out since he’s a private citizen.”
Back to your cave, sir. Say hello to Osama Bin Laden for us!

The right not to be photographed

(UPDATED WITH LINK) In Lancaster City, PA, the police department just learned an expensive lesson. After 150 days of illegal incarceration, a man has won a federal lawsuit against the police department for illegally detaining him after he refused to allow them to photograph him without probable cause.
A settlement was reached last week in the federal lawsuit filed by Bush, 24, of Philadelphia, against the Lancaster City Bureau of Police and Officer Ray M. Corll II, in August 2007. The lawsuit stemmed from an incident that occurred May 17, 2007, when Bush was helping a cousin and his girlfriend move out of a home on the 300 block of Plum Street.
When it was Bush's turn [to be photographed], he said he didn't want his photo taken and raised his hands to cover his face. Bush was then "subdued" by Officer Corll, which caused Bush to cut his face on the pavement, according to court documents.

Following treatment at Lancaster General Hospital, Bush had his picture taken — after police had placed him under arrest, charged with obstruction of justice.

Bush spent 160 days in jail, in Lancaster and Montgomery counties. When the case finally went to trial, the judge listened to opening arguments, then granted the motion made by Bush's attorney to dismiss the charges.
As a result of this, rules in Lancaster have been changed.
[The new guideline] states that "field photographs" of the general public can be taken anywhere the public has no expectation of privacy — such as on a city street or in a shopping mall — and photos may be taken anytime a subject voluntarily gives consent.

However, "Individuals may not be required to remove their hands, or anything they are using to cover their faces so as to avoid being photographed."
The Police cannot photograph you, absent probable cause, without your consent. (Tip-o-the-hat to Photography is Not a Crime!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

F(au)x News admits that it isn't news anymore

In a surprising revelation today, F(au)x News Senior VP of Programming, Bill Shine admitted that the network was now "the voice of opposition." Yes, that's right. No longer "Fair and Balanced," F(au)x News is now the official mouthpiece of the GOP. They're not a news network anymore, they're officially an outlet for GOP propaganda (kinda like they were all along, only now we don't have to pretend they matter in the greater scheme of news anymore!)
“There were a couple of people who basically wrote about our demise come last November (and) December and were, I guess, rooting for us to go away,” said Bill Shine, senior vice president for programming at the Fox News Channel. “With this particular group of people in power right now, and the honeymoon they’ve had from other members of the media, does it make it a little bit easier for us to be the voice of opposition on some issues?”
Even Roger Ailes has referred to F(au)x as "the Alamo."

Piyush "Bobby" Jindal, your bus is waiting!

We're shipping you up to Alaska to learn about volcano safety! Turns out that the Redoubt Volcano has gone active and is spewing ash 50,000 feet into the sky. Exciting stuff. Thank goodness we have a Volcano Observation Team stationed there. Maybe now's the time to educate Piyush on the facts of vulcanology.

Locals are taking no chances and are stocking up on things like masks, water and supplies. And they prepare for ashfall...

WWAK71 PAFC 231528

728 AM AKDT MON MAR 23 2009


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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Border Patrol harassment

It's going to take a few years to re-educate law enforcement that they do not posses god-like powers to harass citizens. This video shows the extent to which authoritarian ideology has permeated the Federal law enforcement ranks.

No citizen can be forced to answer questions unless there is a reasonable cause for such questions. Random stops on the highway don't constitute reasonable cause. (h/t Photography is not a Crime)

Madoff's Tale

Schadenfreude indeed...
Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff is being held in a super-max wing of the Manhattan federal lockup - a unit so tough it drives hardened criminals mad, the Daily News has learned.

It's known as 10 South.


Imagine its impact on a first-time offender used to a $7 million East Side penthouse with a bedroom drawer filled with cuff links and a $39,000 Steinway piano in the living room.

"I had a guy in there who went bonkers," said one veteran defense lawyer. "They had to take him out of there and give him sedatives."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Do they know Ayn Rand was an atheist???

Ayn Rand

While all these "go Galt" nuts are frothing at the mouth, people like Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck and Billo-the-clown, have they even bothered to vet their new hero, Ayn Rand? Her views on religion are startlingly close to my own (i.e. it's a useless waste of time, energy and money). For Rand, blind faith is tyrany. I find most of the rest of her Objectivist philosophy pretty reprehensible, I do concur with her that only through reason (and by extension, science) can man finally break free from the shackles of superstition.

American's adherence to Christian doctrine to the exclusion of reason is foolish and enslaving. Here's a bit from an old interview with Playboy.

PLAYBOY: "Has no religion, in your estimation, ever offered anything of constructive value to human life?"

RAND: "Qua religion, no—in the sense of blind belief, belief unsupported by, or contrary to, the facts of reality and conclusions of reason. Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason."

Blind faith, the faith of many leaders in the GOP and the Dems, according to Rand, is "extremely detrimental to human life." Imagine that. While the GOPers are busy handing out copies of Rand's Atlas Shrugged, do you think they realize how reactionary the author's views of religion and faith actually are? I suspect not.
"[F]aith and force. . . . are corollaries: every period of history dominated by mysticism, was a period of statism, of dictatorship, of tyranny."
Indeed. Blind faith inevitably leads to enslavement. Her observation that philosophy should replace faith is right on
"Philosophy is the goal toward which religion was only a helplessly blind groping. The grandeur, the reverence, the exalted purity, the austere dedication to the pursuit of truth, which are commonly associated with religion, should properly belong to the field of philosophy."
And, by extension, to science.

Matt Yglesias is smarter than I am

He certainly writes better. So let me let you enjoy his bit on Ayn Rand (in response to this absurd OpEd from Carol Baum in which she wrote the following Albee-esque paragraph:
The hero of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” is smiling because he’s seen it all before: the government’s intervention in the private sector; the constraints placed on business in the name of the people; the desperation on the part of government bureaucrats when they realize their leverage is limited; and -- this part is still fiction -- the decision on the part of business leaders to walk away from the enterprises they built.
Here's Matt's response.

Atlas Shrugged is a stupid book, Ayn Rand is a stupid woman, and John Galt’s ideas are stupid. That said, none of them are nearly this stupid. Rand’s novel isn’t about a world in which executives who build companies based on a lot of incorrect decisions, then pay themselves millions of dollars while bankrupting their firms, then come to the government hat-in-hand asking for bailouts, then find that the bailers-out want to attach some strings to their hundreds of billions of dollars in public funds and then go to hide out in Galt’s Gulch. That doesn’t make any sense at all.

If the folks running Citigroup and Bank of America and AIG were good at their jobs, we wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. That’s the point. But they weren’t good. They lost staggering sums of money. Their companies went broke. They had to beg for taxpayer dollars. You don’t get to do that and then turn around and “go Galt.”

Wish I could have said it that well. Stupid book, stupid woman, stupid Galt.

Obama continues his string of wins!

Obama reaches out to the people of Iran through a new video message. He's doing what he promised. While we have "serious differences" with the Iranian regime, we're now committed to an "engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Pet Goat?

W is embarking on a memoir. Imagine that...

There are no words...

Speaking of tone-deaf executives with their heads buried firmly in their asses, let's have a look at the new digs Citigroup plans for the CEO and his pals...
Citigroup Inc. plans to spend about $10 million on new offices for Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit and his lieutenants, after the U.S. government injected $45 billion of cash into the bank.

Affidavits filed with New York’s Department of Buildings show Citigroup expects to pay at least $3.2 million for basic construction such as wall removal, plumbing and fire safety. By the time architect’s fees and expenses such as furniture are added, the tally for the offices at the bank’s Park Avenue headquarters will be at least three times as high, according to a person familiar with the project who declined to be identified because he’s not authorized to comment. Citigroup said the project will help it save money over time.
Really? Save money? How?

What are we, the partial owners of this (morally) bankrupt company getting for our $10 million?
Plans and instructions for the bank’s contractors, on file with the city, specify the installation of at least one Sub-Zero Inc. refrigerator and icemaker in the renovated space, along with “premium grade” millwork and Madico Inc. “Safety Shield 800” blast-proof window film. The project encompasses 17 private offices, each with space for administrative assistants, as well as two conference rooms and open areas with “soft seating,” according to the plans.
Hmmm, "blast-proof window film." That might come in handy for these parasitic motherfuckers.

Your modern Republican party in (in)action

Asked whether he'll vote for the "Tax the Bastards" plan put forth by Rangel in the House to get back the AIG bonus money, Minority Whip Eric Cantor flips and flops around like a flippy-floppy thing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another Bush-era mistake draws to a close...

Stop-Loss is coming to an end.
The military will phase out its "stop loss" program, the contentious practice of holding troops beyond the end of their enlistments, for all but extraordinary situations, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Wednesday.

Instead, the military will use incentives programs to encourage personnel to extend their service.

Starting this month, the department will provide "special compensation of $500 per month" to troops whose tour has been extended, Gates said. "This special compensation will be applied retroactively to October 1, 2008, the date when Congress first made it available."

Good news for our over-stretched military.


From the feather, to me, to the floor... An actual apology from F(au)x News over a doctored video clip they used.

Obama is determined...

...to get his legislation through. So much so that he has asked Congressional Democrats to move his bills through without any Republican support. Obama intends to use the budget shortcut called "budget reconciliation" to get his legislation approved. GOPers are fuming...
"That would be the Chicago approach to governing: Strong-arm it through," said Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who briefly considered joining the Obama administration as commerce secretary. "You're talking about the exact opposite of bipartisan. You're talking about running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them in the Chicago River."
Ok, whatever it takes, Mr. Gregg. Your cement shoes are ready whenever you are. Standing in the way of progress at a time of national emergency will get you moved to the irrelevant bucket faster than you can say "obstructionist." How is this possible, you ask? Here's how.
The shortcut, known as "budget reconciliation," would allow Obama's health and energy proposals to be rolled into a bill that cannot be filibustered, meaning Democrats could push it through the Senate with 51 votes, instead of the usual 60. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both used the tactic to win deficit-reduction packages, while George W. Bush used it to push through his signature tax cuts.
Make it so, Number One.

The imminent death of the F-22!

Looks like Gates is girding his loins for a fight with the Military-Industrial Complex. He is targetting a number of useless weapons systems representing billions of wasted dollars. The MIC is lining up for a fight.
Two defense officials who were not authorized to speak publicly said Gates will announce up to a half-dozen major weapons cancellations later this month. Candidates include a new Navy destroyer, the Air Force's F-22 fighter jet, and Army ground-combat vehicles, the officials said.
And gates is just the guy to do it too.
"He has earned a great deal of credibility over the past two years, both inside and outside the Pentagon, and now he is prepared to use it to lead the department in a new direction and bring about the changes he believes are necessary to protect the nation's security," said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary.
Go, go, go Mr. Gates!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

America is better than Bush

The shame of being an American during a time when lawlessness was pervasive in our leadership. The International Committee of the Red Cross produced a classified document back in 2006 which detailed the ways in which so-called "enemy combatants" were treated in US custody. Have a look at the table of contents
1. Main Elements of the CIA Detention Program
1.1 Arrest and Transfer
1.2 Continuous Solitary Confinement and Incommunicado Detention
1.3 Other Methods of Ill-treatment
1.3.1 Suffocation by water
1.3.2 Prolonged Stress Standing
1.3.3 Beatings by use of a collar
1.3.4 Beating and kicking
1.3.5 Confinement in a box
1.3.6 Prolonged nudity
1.3.7 Sleep deprivation and use of loud music
1.3.8 Exposure to cold temperature/cold water
1.3.9 Prolonged use of handcuffs and shackles
1.3.10 Threats
1.3.11 Forced shaving
1.3.12 Deprivation/restricted provision of solid food
1.4 Further elements of the detention regime....
It's a litany of tactics right out of the Nazi playbook. Or WW2 Japan. Or the Khmer Rouge. Or any number of authoritarian regimes. If nothing else convinces you that Bush and his whole crew need to be hauled off to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, then let this concluding paragraph from the ICRC report sink in.
The allegations of ill-treatment of the detainees indicate that, in many cases, the ill-treatment to which they were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture. In addition, many other elements of the ill-treatment, either singly or in combination, constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
So when Bush said
"The United States does not torture. It's against our laws, and it's against our values. I have not authorized it—and I will not authorize it."
he was a lying sack of shit. And now it's time to hold him accountable.

Friday, March 13, 2009

John Stewart v Jim Cramer

John Stewart demonstrates again why he is the most important journalist working today.

More video from the interview here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Michael Steele's foot lodged deep in his thoat!

Michael Steele is a gift that keeps on giving (to the Democrats). In his now-infamous interview with GQ, he had the following surprising answers to very clear and direct questions.
Do you have a problem with gay priests who are celibate?
No, it’s your nature. It’s your nature. You can’t—I can’t deny you your nature.
Uhhhhh, HUH? It's your nature? What about the Evangelical Re-education camps? Isn't it funny (as in strange, not as in ha-ha) that Conservatives always fume about a fear that Obama will build some sort of scary Socialist re-education camps when it's really their own team who actually have built them! But that's an aside, it gets better...
Do you think homosexuality is a choice?
Oh, no. I don’t think I’ve ever really subscribed to that view, that you can turn it on and off like a water tap.
Nice! Well said, sir. But the real kicker comes a few minutes later. Check out this exchange.
Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.

You do?
Yeah. Absolutely.

Do pro-choicers have a place in the Republican Party?
Dude, you're smoking something, because your Party, the one you're supposed to be leading, explicitly forbids pro-choicer's from being a member by the very text of their Presidential platform!
Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.
If you're going to run a political party, perhaps you should know what it is they stand for before opening your big, fat mouth and shoving your foot down your throat.

Really. They're making this way too easy.

E tu Barack? E tu?

Besides claiming that he is a "New Democrat," Obama is proving a disapointment to the Progressive Majority by issuing a signing statement following his endorsement of the Omnibus spending bill.
He ... issued a "signing statement" in which he objected to provisions of the bill that he said the Justice Department had advised "raise constitutional concerns." Among them are provisions that Obama said would "unduly interfere" with his authority in the foreign affairs arena by directing him how to proceed, or not to, in negotiations and discussions with international organizations and foreign governments.
Although to his (very minor) credit, he did issue the following statement statement
"There is no doubt that the practice of issuing such statements can be abused," Obama wrote Monday in a memo to the heads of executive departments and agencies. "Constitutional signing statements should not be used to suggest that the president will disregard statutory requirements on the basis of policy disagreements."
It's all well and good until someone shreds the Constitution (are you listening, Mr. Bush?). Mr. President, I beg you to heed the Bard
No, I will weep no more. In such a night
To shut me out? Pour on; I will endure.
In such a night as this? O Regan, Goneril!
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all—
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that; No more of that.
Madness indeed.

Supply-side economics flame-out!

Over at The Smirking Chimp, there's a very excellent article about the clear evidence of the flame-out of Supply-Side economics as a viable model for how modern economies function. In fact, it's never been a successful economic model. Ever. All it's served to do is to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Michael Fox has this to say about our current automotive situation.
It’s time to re-brand the concept of ECONOMIC PATRIOTISM (formerly known as protectionism). If you believe that it is contrary to contemporary trade policies, well, precisely! Supply-siders? Just look at the overflowing shelves at any department store (70% discounts notwithstanding), or car dealerships with acres of unsold 2008 and 2009 models – in spite of enormous sales incentives - oodles of supply and no demand! That is to say, nobody’s buyin’ nuthin’ – especially cars.
He goes on to point out that back in the 1920s, Henry Ford realized that if he paid his workers more money, they could afford to buy his cars. Shocking, nasty, socialist demand-sider that he was, he drew the logical conclusion that without demand, supply is meaningless.

While I don't agree that "ECONOMIC PATRIOTISM" will solve our economic ills, clearly we need to rebalance the playing field so that companies that benefit from the infrastructure of the USA are obliged to return the favor by hiring American workers.

Tweety makes me so hot!

He tears Ari Fleicher a new one on Hardball!

This pathetic attempt to re-frame the abysmal failure of the Bush Presidency makes me laugh. These attempts are simply pathetic. Tweety schools him well. Not that Ari is smart enough to learn... I love the "how dare you" moment.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wishful thinking

This is the kind of headline that gives me chills... I can only hope that the prediction comes to pass.

The Coming Evangelical Collapse

Really? Really? You promise?
We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.
Oh please... Oh please...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Hoist? Check. Petard? Check. Ok, we're good to go!

Yes, sometimes pseudo-clever people try to become clever people when other people are listening and they utter statements like this.
"We will lose on legislation. But we will win the message war every day, and every week, until November 2010," said Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., an outspoken conservative who has participated on the GOP message teams. "Our goal is to bring down approval numbers for [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and for House Democrats. That will take repetition. This is a marathon, not a sprint."
In other words, we have no ideas of our own, but we can hammer away on the usual wedge issues that lost us the last two elections. With luck that'll tear down the Democrats in the House sufficiently that we might be able to regain a toe-hold. Remember, no new ideas are needed for this.

But the kicker is this little ditty from the ostensible leader of the House GOP (hint: it's not Rush-bo!)
"I have been trying to get my Republican colleagues to understand that we are not in the legislative business."
Really, Mr. Boehner? What business are you in then? Oh, that's right, the "Just say no" business, I forgot. When you have no original thoughts or ideas, the only thing you can do is snipe at the work of others. Well done, sir. Well done.

(Un)Fair and (Im)Balanced: F(au)x Noise is at it again

Take a look at this exchange between GOP partisan hack... er, I mean F(au)x Noise anchor Chris Wallace and Senator McCain.
Wallace: You ever feel like saying "I told you so"?

McCain: Oh, I'm sure that would be pleasant feeling, but the point is we're in such a severe crisis....
Uhhh, what kind of question is that? Is Chris Wallace channeling Rush-bo now? I mean WTF? "It presupposes that, looking back at the presidential campaign, McCain was right about ... something. It's not clear what." (h/t Washington Monthly)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Facts are pesky things

While GDP-per-capita is but one measure of economic success, it's a pretty good one since it normalizes growth and productivity. Well, when you look at GDP-per-capita growth under Presidents over the last 70 years, an interesting pattern emerges. Enjoy the dissonance.
Now, after 70 years of data, after observing what we've observed over all sorts of conditions, it is hard to conclude anything but this: one party advocates policies that produce rapid economic growth, and one part dismisses those policies with epithets like "socialism" and advocates instead policies that produce dismal economic growth. And dismal economic growth has consequences. Poor economic growth makes people worse off, and hits them in their pocketbook. And when people are hurting financially, their health suffers, the rate of divorce goes up, suicides increase, and the abortion rate increases. So those who advocate the policies that bring us lower incomes, poorer health, break up families, increase suicides, and increase the rate of abortions are doing us all a lot of harm. More, in fact, than Osama or Saddam could possibly have done. And yet, the folks who advocates those policies question the patriotism of the rest of us. Its very, very strange.
So what does that Presidential list look like? I thought you'd never ask!
1. FDR
2. LBJ
3. JFK
4. Clinton
5. Reagan
6. Carter
7. Nixon
8. Ike
10. GW (that's 10 so far – don't be surprised if he sinks further into the mire)
11. Ford
12. Bush Sr.
13. Truman
14. Hoover
Like I said. Facts are pesky things. Annoying things. Especially when they directly contradict your long-held mistaken ideas. Too bad about that.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Set the wayback machine to FDR!

Good lord, some things never change. Inspirational speech from FDR in 1936 reflecting on his first term and the years that preceded it under Hoover.

"We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. ... Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me. And I welcome their hatred!"

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

John Stewart on CPAC 2009

Monday, March 02, 2009

Their world is populated by unicorns

A more startling contrast seldom presents itself! Here is the reality-based universe's take on the job Obama is doing:

And here is a straw poll taken at the CPAC convention in Washington, DC last week.
I see Unicorns and Rainbows and Oompa-Loompas cavorting in the halls of CPAC. This borders on a dissociative disorder.