Archive for February, 2008

Land of the free…

Feb 29, 2008 in Drugs

…and the world’s largest prison population.

Maybe it’s time we stopped fighting a war against our own people? How many people are so authoritarian they can keep believing, “When you let people do what they want, more will mess up!” Perhaps they will, but how many of these people messed up in ways that require them to be locked up like wild animals? I think these questions have already been answered by most Americans, and we’re just waiting for our politicians to get some balls/ovaries and catch up.

-jb

Is regulating the Human Growth Hormone this strictly necessary?

Feb 29, 2008 in Science

My sister brought to my attention a bill sponsored by Chuck Shumer which would classify HGH as a Schedule III drug and clamp down on prescriptions written for illicit purposes. This is relevant to her because my adorable niece Maggie does have a pituitary deficiency which HGH has effectively combatted, allowing her to grow 10 inches in the last two years to a height comparable to other children her age. My sister is passing around a petition which objects to this bill because of a fear that turning HGH into a Schedule III drug will impact the ability of parents who have children like Maggie to get the drug prescribed. Here is an excerpt from the petition:

ATTENTION MAGIC FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN USING OR IN NEED OF GH TREATMENTS
Congress has almost completed its work on new legislation which will place REALLY tight restrictions on GH prescriptions to the point it could make it even more difficult for our children to receive the medical treatments they need.
Please take the time to read the actual text of the bill. You can get to it by clicking on the following link:
Related Bills: S.877

It is very important that you contact your state senators and representative to voice your concerns. Here is a link to find email addresses for your local Senators.

The following statement is an example of the needs to be addressed when writing to your senator. Please act on this today. It can affect the future of many children on growth hormone and for those in future need of growth hormone.

Dear Senator: I am very concerned about Senate efforts to pass S. 877, a bill that would make hGH (human growth hormone) a controlled substance and negatively affect my family. As the parent of a child with [fill in diagnosis] my family strongly opposes this measure. From what we understand, the interests of patients and healthcare givers have to date been completely ignored in this process, and we urge Congress to take no steps that preclude a full public discussion. As the parent of a child who uses hGH regularly, we would be happy to tell you about our positive experience with this drug and why abusers like major league athletes should not be allowed to make our access to this drug more difficult.

Now I obviously share my sister’s concern that HGH be readily available and prescribable for children like Maggie. On the other hand, here is the description of a Schedule III drug:

Schedule III drugs have less potential for abuse or addiction than drugs in the first two schedules and have a currently accepted medical use. Examples of Schedule III drugs include Anabolic steroids, Codeine, Ketamine, Hydrocodone with Aspirin, and Hydrocodone with Acetaminophen. Schedule III drugs may be available with a prescription, but not all pharmacies may carry them.

The same note is attached to all the drugs, even Schedule IV, that not all pharmacies may carry them. Schedule V drugs in general do not require a prescription, and of course there’s few guarantees that a particular store will have in stock what you’re looking for. So Schedule III, while requiring prescription, is a fairly weak classification that doesn’t strike me as a problem for any parent with a child diagnosed with a pituitary problem. I really do not understand after reading everything I’ve been given how Maggie will have any more difficulty getting the drug than she did before. She sees one of the two specialists in Iowa that deal with this problem, and surely nobody will accuse this doctor of prescribing my niece HGH so that she can hit home runs.

That said, I don’t see what this is about other than this baseball fracas and efforts to regulate athletics. There are some negative side effects from abuse, but most worries relate to fraud and incorrect dosages.

Overall, I’d have recommended HGH be a Schedule IV drug that required a prescription, but the difference seems to be largely negligible. I can’t say this is a serious issue one way or the other.

-jb

Reason Prevails, or, “Hussein No More!”

Feb 29, 2008 in Uncategorized

Back when we were all younger and our ears hadn’t started taking their revenge on our youthful ways, we used to argue with our man Dana about whether it weren’t a little low-class to make a big deal out of Barack Obama’s middle name, which is “Hussein.” Dana liked to take a sort of little-sibling approach to the question, insisting that using a man’s middle name doesn’t really have any editorial slant; after all, isn’t it his name? Is the person crying “foul” actually indicating his own distaste for the name? Etc. This is and was non-different from your little brother saying “nice shoes!” in the most cloying tone possible on a six-hour drive up to Bimiji. Sure, the words “nice shoes” aren’t themselves offensive, but your little brother should not be surprised when he gets popped.

We went around and around the block on this one with Mr. Pico! He was adamant; there was nothing whatsoever wrong with making a huge point of referring to Barack Obama by his full Christian name! He was blameless, he was not casting aspersions, the gesture only held a mirror up to the putatively offended!

It pleases us therefore to note that Dana Pico has come around to the side of general decency on this one.

My take: yes, I realize it’s Obama’s real name. But it’s cheap pandering to go around emphasizing it. It makes McCain look bad. And his repudiation was the right thing to do.

To this, how else can we who fought against Dana on this question respond? “Hussein,” we say as we raise our draughts of mead. Hussein and to all a good night!

-TT

How does anybody get suckered by George W. Bush?

Feb 28, 2008 in Clintonitis, Clueless Conservatives, Election crap

Personally, I’m not sure how anybody could have avoided pegging Bush II for an idiot the first moment they laid eyes on him…but surely if they didn’t, he’s provided endless fodder for them ever since. I can only imagine that one could fight off a sense of burning shame that this stooge was put in charge of the United States of America for eight years via great effort and excessive willingness to say things like, “You’re just afflicted with Bush hatred!”

From Republicans I’ve been taught to expect such things, but can anyone believe that a person could nearly nab the Democratic nomination for the Presidency falling for this kind of reasoning?

Warming to the subject, Bush continued: “Sitting down at the table, having your picture taken with a tyrant such as Raul Castro, for example, lends the status of the office and the status of our country to him. He gains a lot from it by saying, ‘Look at me. I’m now recognized by the president of the United States.’”

I’m stunned. This is our leader? The great man that Republicans look at and get misty-eyed over? The tragically misunderstood genius that only 30% of the nation can recognize?

Here’s a tip: There is not a single dictator on the planet who has had his grip on power loosened because he didn’t have the ability to strut around like a rooster crowing, “Look at me and despair, people! I’m recognized by the POTUS!” Coming at the end of Fidel Castro’s forty-nine year term, this is beyond ludicrous. It’s dangerously delusional.

Now we can expect this from the authoritarian logic-deprived rightwingers who worship Ronald Reagan but no longer remember that he sat down with the Soviets. But from one of our own?

Hillary Clinton has been given a considerable amount of slack from Democrats for somebody who has done little to differentiate her record from not just Bush’s foreign policy, but the most ill-conceived portions of it. Her vote to support the Iraq war should have been a disqualification, especially after the horrendous time John Kerry had in 2004. She was another Democrat politician fearful that the war would be over in a few months and she’d be on the wrong side come future elections. Democrats have gone too far letting her have it both ways. She ended up on the wrong side. And she still is, coming at Barack Obama for daring to follow the sound pragmatic brand of foreign policy that says keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

When people see George W. Bush trying to take a shot at Barack for the same reasons, it should remind them that his (stupid) words sound awfully familiar. We’ve been hearing this stupidity from Hillary.

The only reasonable response from Democrats is to applaud Obama. He has distinguished himself from Hillary Clinton in the most crucial areas where she has failed us, and Bush’s bellering has served to remind us where the line is drawn. Bravo, Obama.

And bravo to Bush, for coming out and saddling both Hillary and McCain with the burden of being on his side. After dispensing with Bush/Clinton policies, he merely needs to convince the public to take a pass on Bush/McCain policies.

I suspect they’ll find the choice relatively stark, and easy to make.

-jb

For Sale

Feb 26, 2008 in Uncategorized

I’ve decided to sell my Honda Elite 250.

Anybody in the Eastern Iowa vicinity interested can email me at mike@iowaliberal.com.

-mg

That’s okay, I don’t mean anything I say.

Feb 26, 2008 in Uncategorized

This is a bad joke.

The reporters were dubious. The Monitor’s Dave Cook mused about the consequences of Clinton “battling after there’s not much chance.”

“For the love of God, we can’t say there’s not much chance here,” Ickes maintained.

David Chalian of ABC News reminded Ickes that Obama’s lead in delegates is now of the size Ickes had said would be “significant.”

“As we all know in this city, I have a very short memory,” Ickes answered.

So whenever somebody points out to Harold Ickes that he is overtly contradicting his own words and actions, he says, “Hey, I got a bad memory!” This is twice in two days. Anybody home, McFly?

So either Hillary hired a moron with Alzheimers, or a transparent liar. Or both. I’m glad she’s got so much experience and wisdom.

-jb

Who cares?

Feb 26, 2008 in Barack Obama

Hillary is claiming that she doesn’t know anything about the picture that Drudge has up on his website featuring Obama wearing traditional Kenyan garb. Why would she? It’s a silly photo. And I can’t be the only one who has noticed he’s got a pair of Dockers and a polo shirt on underneath that get-up?

-mg

Deeth has some funny shots up.

Frank Rich lays it down.

Feb 26, 2008 in Uncategorized

Frank Rich reminds us that it’s boots on the ground and hard work that have propelled the Obama campaign.

Clinton fans don’t see their standard-bearer’s troubles this way. In their view, their highly substantive candidate was unfairly undone by a lightweight showboat who got a free ride from an often misogynist press and from naïve young people who lap up messianic language as if it were Jim Jones’s Kool-Aid. Or as Mrs. Clinton frames it, Senator Obama is all about empty words while she is all about action and hard work.

But it’s the Clinton strategists, not the Obama voters, who drank the Kool-Aid. The Obama campaign is not a vaporous cult; it’s a lean and mean political machine that gets the job done. The Clinton camp has been the slacker in this race, more words than action, and its candidate’s message, for all its purported high-mindedness, was and is self-immolating.

The Clinton campaign thought that brand value and an air of inevitability was all it was going to take to win the nomination.  After Iowa popped that bubble it was the beginning of the end.

-mg

If we were only allowed to cheat, Hillary would have a chance!

Feb 25, 2008 in Clintonitis, Election crap

Michigan and Florida move up their primaries when they’re not supposed to. Democrats vote not to count their primaries. Democratic candidates agree not to campaign there. Barack Obama doesn’t even put his name on the Michigan ballot. Surprise, Hillary wins, as she tends to start out ahead in most states due to name recognition and familiarity. Oh, and yeah, Barack Obama didn’t even put his friggin’ name on the Michigan ballot, did I mention that? Hillary falls behind. Hillary’s campaign suddenly believes it needs those delegates to stay competitive. Problem? They have no argument and are blatantly asking to cheat.

Ickes also called upon DNC Chairman Howard Dean to broker a compromise to seat some or all of the delegates from Florida and Michigan, states which were stripped of their delegates.

He dismissed criticism he had voted to deprive the states of their representation at a DNC meeting in 2007, saying, “As we all know in this city I have a very short memory.”

Hillary’s campaign cannot disguise its shamelessness, nor its incompetence. Did I miss something?

-jb

The lowest form of wit.

Feb 25, 2008 in Clintonitis, Election crap

The Huffington Post has a video of Hillary Clinton getting a bit salty over the Obama campaign rhetoric.  What demographic this type of behavior is supposed to appeal to is a mystery to me. 

-mg

Weirdest political moment evah!

Feb 24, 2008 in Election crap

Well, probably not, but what the heck is going on with Mike Huckabee?

This is hilarious, but it sure is a unique way of announcing to the public you’ve essentially thrown in the towel…but I guess in today’s era if political campaigns can begin on late night talk shows, they can end on Saturday Night Live. Man, Huckabee is without a doubt a charismatic and likable fellow. I kind of wish he’d beaten the rest of the GOP crowd because he was so obviously unqualified to be president, we could have just relaxed and enjoyed his presence on the campaign trail without ever fearing him. Unfortunately that dynamic manifested itself too early, and now we’ve got to deal with obviously unqualified sourpuss McCain.

-jb

Oscar night.

Feb 24, 2008 in Culture, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Everybody knows Daniel Day-Lewis will take home the Oscar for Best Actor, and rightfully so. Watching him in There Will Be Blood is like being sucked into a black hole; there’s simply no escaping Day-Lewis’ gravitational field. Yet I also hope the film itself gets the pick. No Country For Old Men really underwhelmed me and contained so little of the flavor that the Coen brothers brought to their greatest movies that I’m not rooting for them like I was the year of Fargo. It seems to me to be a nearly transparent adaptation of the book, perfectly translating it without being better or worse. TWBB on the other hand nearly dispenses with the novel it is based on and hitches onto Paul Thomas Anderson’s vision, mirroring the crazed ambition of Daniel Day-Lewis’ character Daniel Plainview. PTA worked it, dug deeper, and found the black gold where others merely farmed the land they were given.

Best of all, we have a new classic line which has inspired stuff like this website, a guide on proper usage, and a pretty funny skit on last night’s SNL, featuring a preternaturally perfect impersonation of Day-Lewis by Bill Hader (no link, good luck finding it if you didn’t TiVo it…UPDATE: I FOUND IT!!!). Here’s the original scene, although it is somewhat criminal to watch it without seeing the whole movie (it’s kind of a spoiler, although it doesn’t really reveal TOO much):

I’m all for the phrase becoming ubiquitous if it means more people see the movie. Yes, every time somebody gets punked, somebody else drank their milkshake. If only there were some way to apply it to politics…

-jb

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-haaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!

Feb 23, 2008 in Journamalism

That’s the sound of Nedra Pickler of AP news getting another chance to smear a Democrat through her “reporting,” which consists of asking people like Roger Stone of C.U.N.T., a rightwing anti-Hillary Clinton group, or Fox & Friends haircut Steve Doocy for their opinion on Barack Obama’s patriotism. Some lip service is given to refutations of the charges, but was this really a news issue, rightwinger mouth-breathing?

Can somebody at AP give this biatch another assignment besides covering Democrats running for president?

-jb

Woosh-woosh-woosh

Feb 23, 2008 in Energy

That’s the sound of wind turbines in Texas powering 1 million homes and rising

-jb

Bonk-didda-bonk-didda-bonk

Feb 23, 2008 in Journamalism

That’s the sound of this bouncing off the heads of the rightwing noise squads.

-jb

The rightwing moron brigade does it again.

Feb 22, 2008 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives

While the delicious irony of listening to rightwingers complain about journalistic integrity from the NYT has been a hoot, it just wasn’t enough. America needed more reminding of what complete incompetence is required to be a rightwing blogger. Once again, an embarrassing story about how George W. Bush’s Pentagon fucks over soldiers comes to light, and once again, the rightwing-o-sphere’s Dick Tracys come out of the woodwork with completely baseless conjecture and “research” to prove that whatever it is, it couldn’t possibly be true.

Right up until it proves to be 100% true.

While I slammed Jake Tapper the other day for being a cynical bastard, today I can appreciate that he’s a cynical bastard who’s willing to do some actual reporting to verify a story, at least in this case. See, in last night’s debate Barack Obama told the story of an Army captain in Afghanistan who said it was often easier to get ammo by scrounging it off the enemy than requesting it via the chain of command, because our resources were too focused on Iraq.

Sure enough, Tapper notes, rightwing bloggers jumped on the story doubting its veracity. Declaring the story impossible to verify, they drummed up the usual tsunami of horseshit from every corner of the web. While those on the right scream in protest about the anonymous sources from the NYT story on McCain, they prove that when it comes to smears, they practically invented the practice. Tapper had to be smirking as he assembled this smörgåsbord of links:

Conservatives have weighed in on this story, many of them challenging its veracity (see HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.)

I can’t believe anybody could bear to read every one of these links without gagging on the stupidity. Claims like, “Platoons are never split up!” (Um, except when they are…) were teamed up with screams that captains don’t command platoons (they overlooked this neat feature about the military: once in awhile, soldiers get promoted…the captain was a lieutenant at the time). “…a US soldier would (N)EVER use a substandard Taliban weapon,” gets tossed out with perfect authority, while Obama is called incompetent, unfit to lead the military, in need of remedial education, etc.

Need we even ask if George W. Bush would be able to demonstrate any knowledge of how the military works beyond how to use Daddy’s connections to dodge fighting a war he supported?

Well, you could ask, but be prepared for the bullshit to flow like Willy Wonka’s chocolate rivers. Or for the subject to be immediately changed.

Fortunately, Tapper thought he’d actually attempt to contact the Obama campaign and do some investigative reporting. Soon enough he was on the phone with the very captain Obama spoke of.

I find that Obama’s anecdote checks out.

Rightwing bloggers talking a load of fact-free crap slapped together with moron-logic?

The deuce you say!

Of course, when they open their mouths again, they will expect you to take them quite seriously. Rightwingers don’t pay penalties for inaccuracies and mistakes. In fact, if one surmised that their errors were in fact an in-demand service that they are directly rewarded for, it wouldn’t be far from the truth. These people are authoritarians. When their favorite authority figures are threatened by the facts, the right comes to the rescue. Their fellow authoritarians enjoy the brief moments of pleasure created by hearing semi-plausible alibis, even if the alibis are later shredded (refutations are unlikely to make it inside the rightwing bubble anyway), and their leaders benefit from the clouds of doubt stirred up.

Oh, but let’s hear what they have to say about the journalistic standards of The New York Times and how much righties abhor smears!

-jb

Your librul media. Volume XIV.

Feb 22, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives, Election crap, ethics, Uncategorized

It’s been fun watching the media tip-toe around words like “affair” and “infidelity” when it comes to the latest revelations regarding St. McCain and his past associate Vicki Iseman.  The only two angles I’ve been seeing are that his aides were “greatly concerned” about his closeness to Ms. Iseman (as if what his aides think of the situation is the meat and potatoes of the story) and that, even though nothing (may or may not have) happened, whatever is/was/being/may have been implied, it is a smear.

Our local FOX affiliate, FOX 28 out of Cedar Rapids, even felt compelled to air their piece with a snippet from Brent Bozell (?!?!?) castigating the NYT for printing such a vile rumor.

Truth be told, had the NYT published what they had before hot, hunky Romney decided to call it quits it would have undoubtedly caused McCain a lot more problems.  It would have likely cost him the nomination.  If the NYT waited until later on this year it would have done even more damage.

McCain should be thanking his lucky stars that the NYT released this story when it did. 

-mg

This should give Blitzer a woody…

Feb 22, 2008 in Election crap

…but the reality is that if Clinton doesn’t take Texas and Ohio in landslides, Obama is still the front-runner. Pollster has the digits.

-mg

PS – Is it just me or does Hillary’s “we’re just going to concentrate on the states that matter” line of rhetoric remind one of a certain Republican candidate that has since gone down in flames?

Ten in a row.

Feb 20, 2008 in Uncategorized

So when can we stop calling it a horserace?   

Explaining rightwinger antipathy towards science.

Feb 19, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives, Science

I don’t think this covers every aspect of the phenomenon, but Jim Manzi certainly outlines a relevant angle I hadn’t thought of before, at least not so clearly:

The debate about evolution is a great example of the kind of sucker play that often ensnares conservatives. Frequently, conservatives are confronted with the assertion that scientific finding X implies political or moral conclusion Y with which they vehemently disagree. Obvious examples include (X = the Modern Synthesis of Evolutionary biology, Y = atheism) and (X = increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2 will lead to some increase in global temperatures, Y = we must implement a global regulatory and tax system to radically reduce carbon emissions). Those conservatives with access to the biggest megaphones have recently developed the habit of responding to this by challenging the scientific finding X. The same sorry spectacle of cranks, gibberish and the resulting alienation of scientists and those who respect the practical benefits of science (i.e., pretty much the whole population of the modern world) then ensues.

In general, it would be far wiser to challenge the assertion that X implies Y. Scientific findings almost never entail specific moral or political conclusions because the scope of application of science is rarely sufficient. In fact, for the two examples that I provided, I have tried to show in detail that X does not come close to implying Y.

Certainly, evolution precludes a literal reading of the Bible, but it leaves the door open for all sorts of spiritual conjecture, even Christianity if you just gotta have it. And concern about global warming could lead one towards many healthy capitalistic incentive-based solutions that don’t require much in the way of regulation or taxation (although a little could go a long way).

Dogmatic and authoritarian thinking, however, isn’t content to encourage others to explore new ways of thinking. The problem has already been solved ideologically, the solution has been written down, and it must be the law. Anything that interferes with that specific law must be done away with.

Of course, some might retort that dogmas can form on the left as well. However, disagreeing with soft and contested economic theories like supply-side Reaganomics doesn’t exactly count, righties. Examples where leftist dogma conflicts with peer-reviewed scientific research are notably scarcer. The only topic that comes to mind is arguments over race and IQ, but such research often does not say what it is misconstrued to mean.

Naturally, I’m sitting here trying to think of what aspect of the rightwing jihad against science this explanation doesn’t cover, since I opened my big mouth. This would be a good time to be running a major blog with hundreds of commenters who would figure it out for me…

-jb

Free Elections in Pakistan

Feb 19, 2008 in Election crap, Pakistan, Politics

After 8 years of rigged and stolen elections in the USA, I thought the readers may like to hear about one happy ending.

A happy ending to the tragic death (assassination or accidental) of the charismatic Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan.

The elections, in which she was supposed to have run, took place yesterday, and her party won an overwhelming majority of the National Assembly seats.  But not without incident and trepidation in some areas.  The party that came in second (Nawaz Sharif’s), had its own casualties.  Although they didn’t lose their leader like Benazir, some of their candidates were murdered right before election.  Because of that voter turnout was very low and cautious.  It was especially low and quiet in the capital Islamabad, although slowly but surely people did end up coming out and voting.  In the larger urban areas, there was a much more of a turnout with women taking risks to come and out vote, showing solidarity with the murdered, Benazir.  The biggest shock or upset, was people coming out in the tribal areas (where the Taliban supposedly have control), near the border with Afghanistan where heavy fighting is supposedly taking place.  There were some bomb blasts with quite a few casualties up until election day.  Yet the people still voted out the Islamic fundamentalists and gave all their votes to the secular liberal parties.

Despite these odds, at least there is now some balance of power, with the democratic liberals being now in the majority and with the power to impeach the dictator.

John Kerry (himself a victim of stolen elections) was there to ensure that free and fair elections did actually take place.  Since I trust his word over at least, the current US administration, I’ll take him on his word.

There was a huge turnout by women, this time around.

What is interesting that the 2 parties that got the majority of the votes were 2 of the current dictator’s nemeses.

1) the party of Benazir Bhutto (an obvious adversary)

2) the party of Nawaz Sharif (the guy who was ousted by the current dictator in a bloodless coup and forced into exile).

Another great victory was the province that borders Afghanistan, where supposedly the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are running wild in orgiastic abandon.  All the Fundamentalist parties lost their seats there.  This is very important, because this is the region of the world where the media portrays as illiterate; and that they accept the Taliban and fundamental Islam into their doors, and that their 5 and 6 year olds willingly learn to blow off the white devils’ heads with an AK or Kalashnikov.  It’s these people who in an overwhelming majority chose a democratic moderate party to represent them in the National Assembly.

 So my dear readers, democracy won the night last night, at least on paper.

Here’s a piece by a British journalist who’s been living in Pakistan for many years:

–aa

Fer fuck’s sake.

Feb 18, 2008 in Barack Obama, Clintonitis, Politics

Wow, that Clinton camp proves once again that they’ll say absolutely anything to get a vote…and that they are completely unaware that people know they do this, which ends up costing them votes. While Hillary Clinton has been perfectly content to lift Barack Obama’s lines wholesale, upon discovering that Barack used a bit from his friend, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, with Patrick’s approval, she’s decided her campaign’s best move is to point the fingers and scream bloody murder:

The Clinton camp, however, jumped right on the issue arguing that the use of someone else’s language was telling for a candidate who leans so heavily on his oratory. The debate – aided, in part, by a relatively slow news day – culminated in dueling conference calls at 11 am on Monday morning.

“The issue whether or not there is approval is immaterial. The public did not know that the words had come from Gov. Patrick,” said Clinton’s spokesperson Howard Wolfson. We need a president, added Massachussetts Rep. Jim McGovern who is “not just someone who can copy someone’s homework.”

Oh, what compelling fucking logic. Just when I finished puking in my mouth over the Clinton’s camps flat out attempt to cheat their way into getting Florida and Michigan’s delegates, after signing an agreement that the states wouldn’t count, I get this oh-so-sound argument. It’s not based on logic or any guiding principle whatsoever, just a childish “This could work in my favor so it’s right!” squawking. Obama puts the charge down effortlessly:

“[Patrick] has occasionally used lines of mine. I have occasionally used some words of his. I know Sen. Clinton has used words of mine as well. I don’t think that is something that workers here are concerned about.” Obama added that he should have credited Patrick, but said in the end, “I really don’t think this is too big of a deal.”

The Clintons do seem to be determined to run one of the ugliest, stupidest, chintziest, chutzpah-rific campaigns this nation has seen since…well, George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign. Time and time again, we see evidence that Bill and Hillary watched that campaign and simply took notes. They seem to be counting on the American people not remembering that falling for these kinds of stupid tricks got them a second term of one of our nation’s worst presidents.

Really…and I haven’t even gotten into the walking clusterfuck of a campaign adviser that is Mark Penn. This kind of stupid ugliness reeks of him, and it’s been emanating from this campaign ever since Barack Obama became a threat. What it tells one is that Hillary Clinton never felt she had the option of being a better candidate for the presidency than Barack Obama. She pulls these stunts to compensate for her failures. One can only hope, desperately, that if this woman ever does connive her way into the general election that she doesn’t get the same feelings of inadequacy and helplessness against John McCain.

-jb

LOLLOLLOLLOLLOL

Feb 18, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives

Whew…this is a doozy:

Asked what Mr. McCain might do to change his mind, Mr. Limbaugh said: “I don’t think there’s anything he could do. If he did do it, he would be accused of selling out.” Then, in a familiar baritone as resonant as it is on the air, he added, “If I were to endorse McCain based on the current circumstances, I’d be looked at as a party hack.”

Now that is some tasty irony- not just regarding Limbaugh’s status as a party hack, but is there anybody who doesn’t know John McCain sold out long ago?

-jb

A completely unnecessary post.

Feb 17, 2008 in Barack Obama, Election crap, Politics

This really shouldn’t be necessary to write, but there is a slowly building concentration of defensive spin targeting Barack Obama coming from Clinton supporters, Beltway MSM hacktaculars, and people willing to vote for McCain (because watching one president decline into old age and senility wasn’t enough). So it is with profound regret that I have to say this.

Yes, you bleeding nitwits, I do understand that Barack Obama is not Jesus Christ.

Maybe taking into account that I don’t even think Jesus was Christ would have helped those who know me better avoid such accusations, but as one surveys the news scene it can be readily witnessed that the anti-Obama crowd thinks they’ve found a line of attack against him that will finally stick. Yes, Clinton fans, you’ve aligned with the likes of Charles Krauthammer and Jake “Ass” Tapper around this cynical joke: upon witnessing the American people daring to be halfway inspired and moved by a presidential candidate, even after they’ve suffered through two terms of President Clusterfuck, the only logical conclusion is that 22 states and the majority of Democratic voters now belong to a cult, and they think Obama is the messiah.

It would be worth it to consider these charges, and to make sure they aren’t valid. But what do we have? On one side, you have people who have decided Obama would bring a fresh approach to the White House and speak in non-divisive language that would bring independents and weaken rightwingers enough to get a practical progressive agenda carried out. They aren’t signing loyalty oaths, a Bush II practice that went virtually ignored. They find him, much like those who oppose Obama politically, to be charming and likable. If one can reasonably determine Dick Cheney to be the bastard lovechild of Darth Vader and Dr. Strangelove, deciding Obama’s a good fellow isn’t much of a stretch. Indeed, trying to find anybody in Obama’s past dealings that hates him is a fool’s quest. You have a readily available stack of policy positions that is almost universally described as being the same as Hillary Clinton’s (or, rather, former candidate John Edwards’…or even more accurately, a rough consensus of modern progressive liberal views). You have praise coming from centrist pragmatic folks like Michael Bloomberg (who really must get this idea of running for president out of his mind):

In his answer, he praised Democrat Barack Obama for the plan the Illinois senator outlined on Wednesday that would create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to rebuild highways, bridges, airports and other public projects. Obama projects it could generate nearly 2 million jobs.

In response to another growing meme that if one has impressive style, it must be at the cost of substance, Obama has been reminding voters that he has more than enough wonkiness to do the job. No doubt, this is an urgent concern after two terms of having a president literally unable to understand or explain his own policies, but Obama has put it to rest.

One would think this picture would be a rather positive foreshadowing of a presidency this nation could really benefit from. Yet the flak flies. Of course, this raises the question, could any candidate really get away with all this and not get flak?

Yeah, I know, rhetorical question. The flak is a given. The question is, who’s giving it and what’s their motive?

And, of course, it all flies apart instantly. The Clintons believe Hillary is due the presidency and will say anything towards that end, party or country bedamned, and their supporters aren’t far behind. The contortions required to paint her as the better candidate for office aren’t pretty. Beltway twats like Jake Tapper sit in their ivory towers completely divorced from the rest of the country, so entrenched in Washington cynicism that they must reflexively shit on anything which threatens that. And the eight Republicans supporting John McCain are basically stuck, resigned to making noise until November in a candidacy which will go down in history as Dole II.

Years of GOP attack politics wore me down to the point where I finally said, “Hey, wait…who are YOU fuckers to talk shit about anybody?” The country ducked and jumped to every cry of the rightwing noise machine, believing every word impugning others, yet we never looked at who we were listening to and wondered why we were doing it. The roster of characters was composed of some of the most pathetic men and women who have ever entered the public sphere. How can you really care what George W. Bush says about anybody? Karl Rove? Dick Cheney? Rush Limbaugh? Sean Hannity? Ann Coulter? These people have their motives and incredible faults splashed all over their faces. Hypocrisy seemed to be a requirement to talk, not a disqualification.

And here we are again. Yep, there are some monkeys flinging their feces…but that’s what monkeys do. What else is there to say?

-jb

You should be having fun…

Feb 16, 2008 in Uncategorized

…because it’s Saturday night.

The amazing David Elsewhere.

-mg

Backbone Sighted in D.C.

Feb 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

Credit where credit’s due. There are too many priceless lines in the piece to really cite just one as a favorite – this whole affair really is the ridiculousness of the Bush administration summed up neatly not in the scandal itself but in the admin’s blithe, clueless response to it – but if I had to choose:

Republicans said the Judiciary Committee should instead accept the White House’s offer of limited testimony to learn as much as they can before Bush leaves office next year.

This is like that one episode of Law and Order where the accomplice to the perp might be dying so he suggests that cutting him a deal is in the D.A.’s best interest. We’ve all seen that episode a bunch of times, though, and it doesn’t end well for the office of the district attorney. Thumbs up to the House of Representin’ for voting on principle, not potential political advantage.
-TT

Happy Valentine’s Day, monitor huggers.

Feb 14, 2008 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

You might find this one useful:

Tip of the hat to reader Lil’ Miss Samari for pointing me to someecards.com…now that’s all she’ll ever get.

-jb

Taking it to Republican-lite Democrats in the primaries.

Feb 14, 2008 in Election crap, Iowa

When I find that Democrat politicians are letting me down, I remember that it’s not all Democrats, it’s just certain Democrats. And while they may get liberals to vote for them to avoid a Republican, there is a window when progressive grassroots democratic types can make their choices heard: primary time, baby. And if you haven’t heard, liberals just scored a victory thanks to blogger love with Donna Edwards over Al Wynn.

I got an e-mail today from Jim Dean supporting Ed Fallon against Leonard Boswell in Iowa. He has this interesting theory that Democrats can keep primaries competitive so that having a Democratic majority on Congress actually means something. At least that’s what my crack-addled mind gathers. The differences between Ed Fallon and Leonard Boswell? From the email:

Is there mitigating evidence for Boswell? Or should we merely be happy he has a (D) next to his name? Iowans who lean liberal should have somebody in office who represents them, I think, not somebody who gets into office and then represents Republicans and fatcats.

-jb

The concept of risk is foreign to these people.

Feb 14, 2008 in Economy, Housing Bubble

Here come the bankers, hats in hand, pleading for a bailout:

WASHINGTON — The banking industry, struggling to contain the fallout from the mortgage debacle, is urgently shopping proposals to Congress and the Bush administration that could shift some of the risk for troubled loans to the federal government.

This means that you and I will be held responsible for the loans that tank. If they perform well then Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs get to keep the profits. Ain’t capitalism swell?

-mg

It’s okay, Iowa has condescending bitches too.

Feb 14, 2008 in Election crap, WTF?

NYT columnist Collins, with a groaner worthy of the op-ed page of the Des Moines Register:

There is an impression abroad that these caucuses are grass-roots democracy, like those cute town meetings in “The Gilmore Girls.” Even if that were true, which it’s not, consider whether you would really want a presidential nominee selected by about 20 colorful characters in a barn.

Well, I sat in on an Iowa caucus and it was 36 ordinary working people in a middle school classroom, but I definitely see the trade-off Ms. Collins made: authenticity for a KILLER joke. If she’s saving that column for a book, she might want to rewrite the joke to suggest people here let cows vote too. That would rock.

-jb

p.s. Hillary supporters who whine about caucuses only after she loses 9 out of 10…are you just trying to make it easier for her to shoot for the White House again in 2016? Did you have a point regarding this election? And if you’re also trying to argue Michigan and Florida should be counted, go look in the mirror and ask why your parents decided to inflict you upon the world. Surely they had higher hopes…

Just Curious

Feb 13, 2008 in Barack Obama, Clintonitis, Disappointing Dems

Look everybody, Thomas Tallis is not tryin’ to make waves. He is just askin’ questions, OK? And today’s question involves civil liberties. We all already know that Senator Clinton will happily barter our civil liberties for political position; the Clintons’ thirst for political advantage knows know bounds, so we’re never surprised to learn that Senator Clinton has either skipped a vote or voted with those who’d trade our freedoms for imagined security. We wonder, though: where, exactly, was the candidate of change yesterday morning? And if the answer, as we suspect, is “too busy working on his historic campaign to vote against creeping fascism,” well, we gotta ask: what kind of priorities are those?

-TT

Drawing a line in the sand.

Feb 12, 2008 in Constitution, Corporate shenanigans, Disappointing Dems, Glenn Greenwald, Legal, Politics, Where's the outrage?!?!

Harry Reid, Jay Rockefeller, and 12 Democrats make it more than clear that having a (D) next to your name is never a guarantee that you will stand up for the Constitution, or that you won’t stand against it. Glenn Greenwald laments:

That’s really the most extraordinary aspect of all of this, if one really thinks about it — it isn’t merely that the Democratic Senate failed to investigate or bring about accountability for the clearest and more brazen acts of lawbreaking in the Bush administration, although that is true. Far beyond that, once in power, they are eagerly and aggressively taking affirmative steps — extraordinary steps — to protect Bush officials. While still knowing virtually nothing about what they did, they are acting to legalize Bush’s illegal spying programs and put an end to all pending investigations and efforts to uncover what happened.

Just tell me how a Republican congress could have delivered a better result for Bush. When it came time to answer the question of whether or not we were going to become a surveillance state for good, enough Democrats crossed over to show that liberals are still a minority, and that “conservative” means “authoritarian” today. And then we have those scared independents and spineless politicians who refuse to believe that standing up for founding principles is a career-maker. They understand the Constitutional arguments, and then they wake up in a cold sweat from nightmares in which Republican ads accuse them of loving Osama bin Laden more than Jesus.

We must face the truth: Bush has scored a complete slam dunk on nearly every consolidation of his authority he has attempted. What he has not been able to carry out on his own, he has gotten the support of Congress to finish. Fear has won.

Is it any wonder that people see Obama as an antidote, a catalyst who could enable a resurrection of the Constitution? Every grassroots organization left or right should put the task in front of Obama from day one: renounce the unitary executive and reverse every presidential order from Bush that remotely relates to the concept. That’s just for starters. But I think Obama, more than Clinton or McCain, would be the president most likely to be swayed by the people’s call for a return to accountability. I don’t think with the other two there is even a glimmer of hope that the authority of the president will loosen.

-jb

One day we will finally have the message under control.

Feb 12, 2008 in Media, The Internets

Here’s a hard one to swallow for those who dismiss Chomsky:

During the taping of a talk show produced by AT&T, the control room shut down production moments after a guest criticized AT&T’s plans to filter Web content. Fortunately that guest, Joel Johnson of the blog Boing Boing, had a friend secretly videotape the segment from the audience. Here.

…AT&T keeps telling us that Net Neutrality isn’t needed, that we should just “trust them” not to censor the Internet. But they won’t even allow someone to raise the issue on their show.

We have arrived at a unique time in the history of media, where traditional gatekeepers to information are threatened by a revolution in communications. Big Media’s reaction is the same they have taken for decades: shut down discussion, dictate policies, increase profits, and maintain control.

Corporations simply cannot stand the open nature of the internet. They don’t want anything to be driven by the people unless it’s within a carefully structured maze of advertising, payment, and contractual obligations. All inefficiencies must be eliminated and, likewise, so must randomness. An income stream should be reliable and predictable. All information put into the system must be mapped and utilized, and no information must leave until it has been properly contoured.

This will no more change on its own than a lion would take up eating grass. You protect yourself from things by understanding their nature.

-jb

The farce of Republicanism.

Feb 11, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives

Expressed via metaphor, a little nugget found by Not Atrios:

If the Goverment is a car setting out to give every one a ride to work, then for 40 years the Republicans have been puncturing the tires, pouring sand in the gas tank, stealing the distributer cap, and, whenever they can get their hands on the wheel, driving it straight into the nearest ditch and then, pointing to the wreckage as the tow truck backs up to it, saying, See, this proves that people were meant to walk.

And they do this so that they don’t have to chip in on gas.

And, of course, they’re the first ones thumbing for a ride when their car breaks down.

-jb

Maine too?

Feb 11, 2008 in Barack Obama, Election crap

What’s with this sudden string of overwhelming victories for Obama? Is this really the shape of Obama’s momentum? Has the public done some hard thinking and seen the disadvantages of Hillary as both a candidate and as a president? Louisiana people expected to go for Obama, but to have landslides in Nebraska, Washington, and Maine too? That’s not a fringe outlier. Something’s going on here, but I find myself wanting to just shut up and cross my fingers. Dare I note the snowball effect possible due to Obama’s financial advantages? If you’ve got the momentum and the advertising bucks to back it up…

I’m just sayin’…

I still expect some state soon to get cranky and give Hillary another victory, but when your campaign plan starts to resemble Rudy Giuliani’s…

I’m just sayin’…

And crossin’ my fingers.

-jb

FAC 73

Feb 10, 2008 in Music

The record that started my downward slide into a life-long obsession with dance music.

-mg

The flagrant cowardice of our weasly Democrat politicians.

Feb 09, 2008 in Barack Obama, Clintonitis, Election crap, Politics

Matt Taibbi names the demon, so we can fight it: The Chicken Doves. They are the Democrats who got elected promising to end the war and have instead surrendered in each and every battle.

Democrats insist that the reason they can’t cut off the money for the war, despite their majority in both houses, is purely political. “George Bush would be on TV every five minutes saying that the Democrats betrayed the troops,” says Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Then he glumly adds another reason. “Also, it just wasn’t going to happen.”

Cowardly defeatism at its finest. Democrats couldn’t do it because George Bush would say mean things about them? Because they aren’t allowed to respond by saying that George Bush is holding the troops hostage?

While the Democrats have shamed themselves with this complete failure to do what they promised, it remains a 100% certainty that Republican power will always push for extending the war indefinitely. John McCain may joke about 100 years, but rightwingers are actually fine with that logic. We’re still in Germany, they’ll say. We will always be in Iraq.

As for the election angle, it’s certain that Barack trumps Hillary easily on Iraq and the Middle East. She sounds like George Bush when she talks about foreign policy. Barack sounds like somebody who’s been doing serious thinking about Al Queda and a new direction in the Middle East. While he’s signed off on money for the Iraq War, he took some ownership of what goes on over there, and I believe he knows his responsibility for those votes. I don’t gain any sense from Hillary Clinton that she believes she should be responsible for the fiasco that is the Iraq War. She proved with Iran that she’s still ready to preemptively surrender to Republicans so they won’t say mean things about her.

-jb

Obama vs. Clinton is the REAL presidential race.

Feb 09, 2008 in Election crap

I think the analysis at The Carpetbagger Report is essentially correct. No candidate will want to give up in a close race. More importantly, there’s nothing really wrong with having the Democratic race go into early summer. So what? This is the real presidential race. McCain? Thank you for re-entering the race, Bob Dole. The country is far more interested in seeing who can fix the damages inflicted upon them over the past 7 years and chart a new path forward. A civilized campaign can be made against McCain easily: he will keep us in Iraq as long as he is in office. Merely being a Republican who isn’t insane, as Thomas Tallis says, isn’t enough of a reason to think you should be president. McCain signed off on plenty during the Bush Administration, ever wilting before he ventured too far into the realm of accountability.

No, the Clinton vs. Obama contest is by far the more interesting debate, which is why it has achieved the gale-force news-power we’ve seen in the past few months. It’s the Democratic Party really having a go, shaking off cobwebs and flexing the muscle. Hillary, who should have been a juggernaut, got sucker-punched by the entrance from nowhere of Barack Obama, who has risen by his own strengths as someone truly presidential in a more honest and intellectual way. Or not, as maintained by others who I believe have a ways to go in making their case. It’s a big conflict, but it’s an important one that will dictate the future of this country. So it’s worth mulling over, and that will take some time. The candidates will adapt, and as Barack Obama is proving, John McCain is a sitting duck for Democrats, ready to be plucked. Let the race go on!

-jb

So simple I feel stupid for not thinking of it first.

Feb 09, 2008 in Economy

SusanG at Daily Kos spots a poll that shows what people really think will help the economy more than some advance on our future refunds: getting the hell out of that misbegotten country Iraq. She then draws a simple line from that to the Democratic candidates:

Psssst… candidates: On the stump, every time you mention the economy, mention the waste in Iraq. Why is this so hard to comprehend? Every single time. Economy=Iraq waste.

Eliminate the expense of Iraq and those checks from the government might actually be real money next time. I think the people have grown more wary of these stimulus stunts that aren’t what they appear for most taxpayers. They also know that too much of the money is going overseas via Wal-mart et al. Spending money on domestic programs (and infrastructure had to be on many people’s minds) here instead of Iraq is what the people want. Some may snort at what “the masses” think about economics, but they have the advantage of being correct. People have the funny tendency to view the economy from the perspective of the worker, instead of the corporation. They don’t require too much encouragement to vote that way, if one can get through the noise emanating from Washington.

Whoever the eventual candidate is, they’re going to have to widen and deepen the case against Iraq. The media is altogether too happy with this “The surge is working!” meme.

-jb

Whoops!

Feb 09, 2008 in Energy, Ethanol, Global warming

Well, I always thought of ethanol as more of a national security issue than a global warming one

The rush to grow biofuel crops — widely embraced as part of the solution to global warming — is actually increasing greenhouse gas emissions rather than reducing them, according to two studies published Thursday in the journal Science.

One analysis found that clearing forests and grasslands to grow the crops releases vast amounts of carbon into the air — far more than the carbon spared from the atmosphere by burning biofuels instead of gasoline.

Nothing about ethanol has ever struck me as being particularly clean. I thought we were at best shaving a few million tons of carbon over ten years, although I had no hard information to base that guess on. Now the hard information comes out.

Well, I can at least hope for electric tractors one day. That and a bowl of ice cream that never empties (I’m thinking of an ice cream rental business).

-jb

Is voting for Hillary the only choice for a feminist?

Feb 09, 2008 in Election crap, Politics, Women

Nah, they’re pro-choice.

I haven’t abandoned my commitment to the women’s movement — and anyone who knows me understands I never will. My endorsement of Barack Obama is actually a celebration of that commitment, and an honest reflection of what I have been fighting for for over 40 years.

The women’s movement is about free choice, self-determination and challenging a status quo that fails a lot of Americans, not just women. And it is not about going along. It’s about transcending, about having the freedom to follow one’s heart, about creating and pursuing new opportunities, and about the American dream being for all Americans.

Chris’ gotcha-type question to me (“Kate Michelman, how does it feel to have abandoned the cause of your life?”) and the semi-criticism implicit in it — that as a woman I have some biological obligation to unreservedly support whatever woman is running — are exactly the sentiments I faced when I first started working for a woman’s right to choose. If women who vote for men are traitors, then are men who vote for women also traitors? What about African-Americans who vote for whites? Or whites who vote for African-Americans?

Laying this guilt trip, this hypocrisy, on women — saying that those women who don’t vote for other women are turncoats — is tantamount to saying that women who exercise independent thought haven’t the right to do that either. Could there be a more anti-feminist contention?

There could. But the point is made. Here as well, from reader Jldemeyer:

-jb

Today’s friendly reminder.

Feb 08, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics

Republicans still adore Bush.

“There were cheers when an aide placed the presidential seal on the podium. Cheers when the binder holding the president’s speech was put in place. And chants of ‘Four more years!’ when Sen. Mitch McConnell introduced Bush, and a few more times during the speech. McConnell sat on his left, American Conservative Union president David Keene on his right.

“It was one ovation after another as Bush ran through red meat issues: making tax cuts permanent, extending the surveillance law, winning in Iraq, defeating terrorism, limiting stem cell research, upholding life, appointing conservative judges.”

Bush and Rush Limbaugh are their leaders. Is it any wonder nobody wants them in office anymore?

-jb

A penny for the gal -or- Stalwart Clinton Staffers Soldier On!!!!*

Feb 08, 2008 in Clintonitis, Election crap, Politics

Clinton staffers to go without pay.

-mg

*I had to change the title to make cbmc happy.

The problem with McCain for rightwingers, short version.

Feb 07, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives

They’ve been running on id for 30 years and looking up to Rush Limbaugh as the arbiter of truth. McCain is temperate and willing to deal with the world around him, not a paranoia-fueled quilt of fantasies.

-jb

Sweet-ass video of the day.

Feb 06, 2008 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Recommended by reader Samari…

Bat For Lashes, “What’s A Girl To Do?”

-jb

Pretty decent Tuesday.

Feb 06, 2008 in Election crap

Or as it was previously known, SUPAHTOOOSDAY!

I only have a few thoughts about yesterday. Namely that the voting reflected the momentum trend that had been spotted in previous weeks: Obama moving upwards, shredding Hillary’s semi-incumbent name recognition based lead, limited only by time. Tuesday came a little too soon for Obama to leap ahead of Hillary, but he managed to nearly tie the results after being behind for a long, long time.

If there was a disappointment, it was California, where I live. Yep, California frickin’ blew it. A progressive, diverse, innovative state used to charting new paths for America…chose the rusty old Clinton machine. Obama seemed to be unable to crack the Latino vote despite a late push. The operating dynamic seems, so far, to be that Latinos went for the “old reliable” Clinton, Obama’s unity message apparently falling on deaf ears. Surely there is more to Latino opinion on Obama than I’ve heard so far, but I ain’t heard much. Ultimately, it might have been too little, too late for Obama, as highly touted Spanish language ads only hit the airwaves last week as far as I remember.

Unfortunately for the general election, Hillary is basing her gains so far on states that are already sure thing winners for the Democrats come November. California and New York give Hillary tons of delegates, but is there any doubt they’d be voting for Obama in November? None whatsoever.

So, ideally, I would like to see trends continue, where Obama gets more of an advantage the more time he gets to talk to voters and leverage his fundraising superiority, and people see Hillary’s more limited general election appeal. Super Tuesday came when it did and provided a snapshot, but like any picture one must naturally distinguish between those standing still and those on the move. It looked like a draw yesterday, but Obama has the clearer path ahead to victory.

-jb

Good Sports

Feb 06, 2008 in Election crap

Hello, Iowa Liberal readers. It’s Thomas Tallis here with a reminder about sportsmanship. The primaries yesterday have set up an interesting possibility, and it’s that possibility I’d like to address.

Barack Obama rode to victories in several states; in more states, in fact, than his only opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Clinton, however, in the Clinton tradition of thinking politically first last & always, took the states with the greater number of delegates, and as we know, it’s delegates that matter, not states, nor the popular vote, nor the depths of conviction which a candidate inspires in his or her supporters.

Every four years, in states red and blue, there’s some whining – sometimes more, sometimes less – from whoever got screwed by the delegates. There’s a bloggy outcry about how “the system’s broken,” and how “the need for reform is urgent,” and all that. Let me gently propose something here.

Did the urge for electoral reform elicit any comment from you in 2007? or in 2006, or 2005? Have you devoted much time or energy toward working for a one-man-one-vote system (which, trust me, if you’ve studied history, you don’t actually want)? If you haven’t, then you might consider putting a lid on it in 2008. It’s a little embarrassing to suddenly take interest in an electoral process only when an election didn’t tilt your way. It’s even tawdrier when you know damned well that you’d be rah-rah’ing the system loudly had it given you what you wanted.

The watchword is consistency. The system is not broken just because we didn’t get our way.

-TT

Obama and reason.

Feb 05, 2008 in Barack Obama, Election crap

Barack Obama strikes me as a unique candidate because of what I see as his attentiveness and respect for reason as the basis of thinking. He has always been gifted with a flair for oratory, echoing a younger Bill Clinton or JFK. It is often the hallmark of a brilliant mind using prudent but optimistic logic. Obama’s message resonates with people because a rational Enlightenment-thinker is the perfect antidote to the poison of the Bush administration, not a dynastic liberal who’s a hawk because she thinks she needs to look tough to Republicans. Hillary Clinton is still afraid of what Republicans will say, and that’s what gives them power. For a widespread reversal of everything Bush screwed up, you need someone able to defy known paradigms and make explicitly rational cases to the American people. And yes, the case made to the people should sound like fuckin’ poetry because everybody likes icing on their cake. It’s emotional at times, but it is also reasonable. Michael Chabon points to the logic of Obama right now:

In a better world, if there were such a thing (and so far there never has been), we would not need a president like Obama as badly as we do. If there were less at stake, if our democracy had not been permitted, indeed encouraged, to sink to its present degraded and embattled condition not only by the present administration but by a fair number of those people now seeking to head up the next one, perhaps then we could afford to waste our votes on the candidate who knows best how to jigger, to manipulate and to conform to the vapid specifications of the debased electoral process it has been our unhappy fate to construct for ourselves.

Because ultimately, that is the point of Obama’s candidacy — of the hope, enthusiasm and sense of purpose it inspires, yes, but more crucially, of the very doubts and reservations expressed by those who pronounce, whether in tones of regret, certainty or skepticism, that America is not ready for Obama, or that Obama is not ready for the job, or that nobody of any worth or decency — supposing there even to be such a person left on the American political scene — can be expected to survive for a moment with his idealism and principle intact.

The mantle of the presidency has its stresses that push presidents into directions they didn’t anticipate before. There will doubtless be a day where Obama makes me shake my head and wonder what the fuck he’s thinking. But many a president has completed his service with honor, and America, intact. In Barack Obama, I see somebody who could do justice to the office in a way this country has not seen in many decades. And I think that will be accomplished because the man will be able to rally the country not just through pretty language, but through structured arguments that leave voters nodding their heads.

Republicans will run against Obama because they’re under the impression they have to run every single time. But I think they’ll be unable to escape the fact that Obama gives new energy to liberal ideas, he gives rationales that relate to the realistic outlook of the post-baby-boomers. Most people today don’t remember the arguments of Roosevelt, JFK, and Johnson, which creates a vacuum for a pendulum effect. The civic generation is back, and Obama can help pave the way for a new era of social works. America needs to spend some money on tending its own garden right now while keeping the economy afloat, and public works projects need to be handing out good wages with healthcare until America looks like it got a new coat of paint. This isn’t just about what Obama himself can do, it’s about what he can enable.

His positives are stark, intelligible, and logical. From the seed within, the flower shall grow, as we witnessed in the Bush administration.

-jb

Just a reminder.

Feb 05, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives

On nearly every issue, America prefers Democrats.

* The economy: Dems led Republicans, 52% to 33%

* Immigration: Dems led Republicans, 40% to 37%

* Iraq: Dems led Republicans, 48% to 34%

* The budget deficit: Dems led Republicans, 52% to 31%

* Taxes: Dems led Republicans, 48% to 40%

* The U.S. campaign against terrorism: Dems led Republicans, 44% to 37%

* Health care: Dems led Republicans, 56% to 29%

Yes, Republicans, the Democrats are the party trusted to keep us safer. You’ve been making your arguments in your bubbles too long, and they were long ago discredited to the majority of Americans. It takes hard work to remain a loyal Bushie, and while 71% of the GOP can muster the energy, America has simply swallowed too much horseshit to ask for seconds. Eventually, reality has to settle in. And I don’t see how a Republican wins ’08 in that atmosphere. Oh, yeah…Hussein!

-jb

Holy crap.

Feb 05, 2008 in Economy, Not a recession!

A billion here a billion there: 

GMAC vowed today to make money in 2008 after falling home prices and record U.S. foreclosures led to a $2.3 billion loss for 2007. Auto finance profit slid 77 percent as sales declined at GM’s North American unit. Moody’s Investors Service cut its ratings on GMAC and ResCap, citing concern about ResCap’s liquidity and the effect on GMAC’s financial health.

GM better start doing two things fast; building cars people want to buy and writing loans to people who can afford them. 

-mg