Archive for December, 2008

Scarborough gets smacked down.

Dec 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

Game. Set. Match.

’08 election in a nutshell.

Dec 22, 2008 in Uncategorized

Democrats gave the public serious candidates, Republicans gave them future talk-radio hosts.

-jb

p.s. I’ve been laid low by a particularly violent case of stomach flu this weekend…hoping to be pieced together well enough to fly out to Iowa for Christmas in the morning. If you recall, the folks don’t find much use for the Internet, so I’ll be appearing sporadically at best. Mike G. and I will be hanging out in Iowa City next weekend for a night of raucous celebration before I become a married man.

Happy Holidays to everybody, especially Lil’ Miss Samari, the best wifey-to-be the world contains, who is currently packing my bags while I am half-falling out of my chair, mouth ajar.

Saturday Night Fail

Dec 21, 2008 in Uncategorized

Twelve conservatives lament the Republican Party.

Dec 20, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives

They shoulda listened to me.

Absolutely essential reading. A sample from Kathleen Parker:

The movement created by that superelite, but never elitist, William F. Buckley Jr. was handed over to Joe Six-Pack. Know-nothingness was no longer a stigma, but a badge of honor. The Republican Party’s Baghdad Bobism with regard to Palin, a denial so pernicious that party operatives were willing to let her sit a heartbeat away from the presidency in a time of war and financial collapse, revealed what really ails the party. The ‘P Factor’ isn’t a single person but a sickness that will have to be acknowledged and cured–Republicans will be reciting their newly tailored principles only to themselves.

-jb

Feel the pain.

Dec 20, 2008 in Disappointing Dems

It’s hard to believe Blagojevich can really be this stupidly deranged and have enough sense to put on his pants in the morning without assistance.

If you press “play,” I’m not responsible for any migraines. Somebody make him go away too, please.

-jb

A scientist for science advisor?

Dec 20, 2008 in Barack Obama, Politics, Science

Nah, doubt it will work.

In a sign that President-elect Barack Obama intends to elevate science to greater prominence, John P. Holdren, a Harvard physicist widely recognized for his leadership on energy policy and climate change, will be appointed White House science adviser this weekend, the Globe confirmed yesterday.

Second in a row, actually:

The news, coming in the same week as Nobel laureate physicist Steven Chu’s appointment as secretary of energy, was heartening for the scientific community.

Not just any old scientist either. He was one who stood up for the truth when the Bush administration decided scientists were a thorn in his side.

Many scientists have objected to the Bush administration’s policies, from restrictions on embryonic stem cell research to the pace of action on climate change.

“I think they’ll be restoring the role of science in the federal establishment,” said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Cambridge-based advocacy organization. “We’ve got a bunch of people across the [new] administration who get it.”

In 2004, Holdren joined other prominent scientists to sign a letter accusing the Bush administration of undermining and censoring scientists.

“When scientific knowledge has been found to be in conflict with its political goals, the administration has often manipulated the process through which science enters into its decisions,” the letter said.

Gosh, I bet those guys think that the laws of physics apply the same all over the universe from its inception…suckers!

I know a nice scientist who will tell me things that match my holy book. So much easier that way.

-jb

And on Caroline Kennedy…

Dec 19, 2008 in Uncategorized

Please go away.

-jb

Be like Jeebus.

Dec 19, 2008 in Barack Obama, teh gay

I mean, being a gay and Christian is kind of asking for a hypocrisy hat, if you’re going to be really hardline about it. But many of the gays love Jesus and believe he loveth them. Sullivan elaborates:

If I cannot pray with Rick Warren, I realize, then I am not worthy of being called a Christian. And if I cannot engage him, then I am not worthy of being called a writer. And if we cannot work with Obama to bridge these divides, none of us will be worthy of the great moral cause that this civil rights movement truly is.

The bitterness endures; the hurt doesn’t go away; the pain is real. But that is when we need to engage the most, to overcome our feelings to engage in the larger project, to understand that not all our opponents are driven by hate, even though that may be how their words impact us. To turn away from such dialogue is to fail ourselves, to fail our gay brothers and sisters in red state America, and to miss the possibility of the Obama moment.

It can be hard to take yes for an answer. But yes is what Obama is saying. And we should not let our pride or our pain get in the way.

My only retort is that pride doesn’t come easy for many gay people. They have to fight for it all their lives, and may not want to set it aside easily. But they may need to.

Okay, I know that last line totally copped Andrew’s style, but still.

-jb

Warrin’ on Warren BA-DUM

Dec 19, 2008 in Barack Obama, teh gay

Like that play on words, huh? More where that came from, bitches.

DICK Warren (I strike again!) isn’t an intellectual. Like many Americans. He’s a touchy-feely guy who goes to the Bible for the emotional comfort he needs to deal with this amazing but harsh world. Unfortunately, he believes himself capable of engaging in arguments with atheists like Sam Harris or pretending he has some actual reason besides “mansex ICKY!” to be anti-gay. So there’s a long line of stupid he’s left in his trail that is completely unnecessary to his larger goals, which are admirably about using Christianity for more positive things like fighting hunger, disease, and other human ailments. A lot of evangelicals are emotional creatures, not logical, but in the past they’ve been led by some nasty angry people who have turned their religion into a mirror of their inner filth. Rick Warren more of the “not such a bad guy” type. Chances are if you bump shoulders with him, you’ll find him to be “not such a bad guy.” Fer chrissakes, people, he may talk enormous shit about the gay, but at least he brought them donuts!

Okay, that’s not much consolation. But let’s remember that Warren isn’t exactly playing it safe appearing on stage with Obama while Obama is talking about gay equality and potentially hiring a gay Navy Secretary.

Kos sizes up the conflicts engendered by Obama giving Warren a warm hug onto his inaugural stage. It’s a complex move from Obama, and some people aren’t into the nuances. Even Andrew Sullivan, famous and proud man-lover, sees the virtues while acknowledging the anger. Kos sees the positive in what Obama is doing, but nonetheless,

Obama wouldn’t be out there making perhaps the strongest statement in support of gays and lesbians by a president…if it wasn’t for the sturm and drang this choice generated. It is precisely this backlash that has forced Obama to clearly affirm his commitment to equality. And it will be continued pressure that will force him to do the right thing on the issue.

If we shut up, he’ll take the path of least resistance. And that path of least resistance is kowtowing to the conservative media, the clueless punditocracy, and bigots like Warren.

There is a balance that can be found here, making clear where we stand on Warren’s bigotry while not condemning Obama as being some kind of traitor. Those who fancy themselves wise would do well to seek that balance. But if you’re angry, I ain’t mad at ya.

-jb

UPDATE: John Cole says, not so fast on dissing Obama’s consistency.

Someone who is not supportive of gay marriage or wholly receptive to gay rights is not something new- Billy Graham was no champion of gay rights, and I seriously doubt there has ever been anyone giving the invocation that openly supported gay marriage or gay rights. On the other hand, an open advocate for gay marriage is giving the Benediction, and that has never happened before.

Opposition to gay marriage increasingly incoherent.

Dec 19, 2008 in teh gay

I read the letters to the editor in the latest Newsweek regarding the “Religious Case for Gay Marriage” article by Lisa Miller from a last week.

Today I pulled that Newsweek out of my backpack where I’d shoved it and forgotten about it, and read the article.

Was it impossible for Newsweek to find a letter from somebody who did the same and actually read the article?

If you go to their website, you can find a tidal wave of reader feedback. This entry is the latest, but there are several trying to encompass the reaction. But it’s hard to find much nuance, intelligence, or reason in the vehement pushback from anti-gay activists. It amounts to:

1. I am going to disregard your proofs that I do not take all of the Bible literally, and just say that I do anyway. ESPECIALLY THE GAY PART. (Bonus points for those who dug up an extra citation Miller left out, like Sodom and Gamorrah)
2. Regarding the right of gays and gay-friendly people to their religious beliefs: on to point 3!
3. I have some other reasons outside the Bible to deny gays marriage rights, but look away while I base my stance on the presumption that homosexuality is a choice…
4. Did I remind you that LOTS OF PEOPLE AGREE WITH ME? That means something! Disregard that I won’t change my mind if the tide turns and more people disagree with me…

Essentially the same crap arguments we’ve been hearing for the last ten years, all things that could have been written simply by reading the title of Lisa Miller’s article. There’s never been a rational case, and nobody’s invented one recently.

And nobody will. That’s kind of how it goes when you’re wrong. You keep resisting, but you slowly and steadily run out of ammo. Eventually people stop finding you persuasive, and you just end up being some grumpy self-righteous old person muttering under your breath.

-jb

You throw a shoe, you get woman!

Dec 19, 2008 in Curiosities

The shoe-throwing hero of the Middle East, languishing in prison and severely beaten, is offered a bride. Truth be told, he could walk into any Muslim home in the world and claim the hottest daughter. I’m thinking he’ll get pardoned by Maliki after Bush leaves office, because that guy needs to go out there and feel the love.

-jb

UPDATE

Dec 18, 2008 in Uncategorized

Good news: Mike’s eye surgery was less invasive than the video link we provided, mostly involving lasers. Bad news: Surgery is required on his hand. Good news again: The response to our micro-fundraising effort will help him meet the challenge.

I think this is a terrific story about the power of the internet. Leftwing bloggers like Attaturk and rightwing bloggers like Dana Pico came together to help Mike. We got some of the most support from our political “enemies,” and having Mike’s cause make a few bounces in the Republican echo chamber was advantageous.

Some people are grousing about Obama having Rick Warren do the invocation at his inauguration. They are right about Warren’s flaws. Intellectually, he is both dishonest and deficient. Yet I understand what Obama is thinking. In saying to Warren, “We can still eat at the same table together,” he’s saying much of what I’m saying when I pat my vehemently homophobic cousin-in-law on the back. And it’s what a rightwinger is saying when he puts aside the fact that you’ve called him an idiot a dozen different ways (and perhaps proven it!) and sends some money to help when life literally kicks you in the face.

It is a testimony to things deeper.

-jb

The Fix-Mike’s-Retina Donation Post…Extravaganza!

Dec 16, 2008 in Energy, Uncategorized

As our loyal readers who hang on our every word know already, a few weeks ago Mike was the victim of a brutal mugging while taking out some cash at an ATM to go Christmas shopping for his family. As I previously noted, this happened in freaking Ft. Dodge, Iowa. Anyway, Mike got his hand broken and in the process of getting his head kicked in damaged his retina, requiring an operation.

As a result, Mike has missed a lot of work and now, even with insurance, faces some hefty bills in order to have this operation to save his sight in that eye.

We know we are a tiny blog with a readership strongly dependent on the people we know, fellow Iowa bloggers and various Republicans we’ve pissed off at some point. Yet we’re hoping that if we can get even 10% of our readership to throw a few bucks Mike’s way, it’ll ease the burden of his health care costs.





We firmly believe the Internets is for fighting and blowing off steam and saying all the things you can’t say at work or family functions, or even to your Republican fishing buddies. But we always do our best to help a friend in need, so we’re hoping a few of you can click on the Paypal button and spread the word.

Oh, here’s the operation of which we speak being performed on some other lucky chap.

So if you have two minutes and a few bucks to spare, please help save Mike’s eye.

-jb

UPDATE: America the beautiful:) Mike will be in surgery tomorrow and recuperating until Monday. We thank all friends, real and virtual, who are helping make his recovery easier.

Attempting to put the brakes on the Republican Blah-Sonovabitch Meltdown

Dec 16, 2008 in Barack Obama

While I hesitate to call Newt Gingrich a sane conservative, he does have a sense of the practical.

When rightwingers heard “Obama” in the same story as Blah-Sonovabitch’s arrest and swift downfall (I think he’s going to break a speed record on impeachment), they just couldn’t help themselves. In their defense, neither could the media, which continues to hammer at Obama spokesman for not talking despite knowing full well Patrick Fitzgerald has asked the Obama folks to hold back. Amazingly, while absolutely everybody knows Obama’s team wasn’t playing ball with Blah-go-already-ya-dirty-bitch, Republicans keep trying to fill the bottomless void in their party with more vague, “Questions remain! Please be more transparent and upfront in your innocence than we ever expected of guilty Bush or any of his corrupt cronies!

Now Patrick Ruffini is jumping in:

“It’s fair to say that any residual connections Obama may have with Gov. Blagojevich as a result of being an Illinois Senator are not the strongest part of our argument. I can understand the desire to go at Obama. But with Obama at 76% approval for the transition, our hits against him have to be clean hits, or they will blow up in our face.”

The sentiments expressed publicly by Gingrich and Ruffini are echoed privately by a number of Republican strategists who view the attempts to link Blagojevich and Obama as nothing more than a fool’s errand given the lack of evidence that the public sees any real connection between the two men.

Indeed, this is simply further testimony to the bankruptcy of the Republican Party and why they don’t deserve to be running things any longer. Not only are they irrelevant, but they are desperate. Like a sad-sack suitor leaving messages on an indifferent girl’s message machine, hoping the next plea will sway her heart, they only harden it and make the case to her that she should change her phone number.

Trust me on that one.

And as many a man will testify, the only answer is to let go. Rebuild your self-esteem, regain your mojo, and look at the world with fresh eyes. Blagojevich is seductive. Blagojevich can be put in the same sentence as Obama. If all your rightwing friends would join forces, you could repeat “Obama” and “Blagojevich” together a lot. Hell, you made people think Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were sharing a bunkbed in Iraq…

You must let that big-titty blonde with the killer legs go, Republicans. Tuck your tongues back in your mouths and move on. She ain’t the one.

-jb

Bush keeps it real.

Dec 16, 2008 in Corporate shenanigans, Disappointing Dems

The champion of the CEO, all the way to the end.

The Bush Administration inserted an eleventh-hour provision into the $750 billion bailout bill to protect executive bonuses, a single sentence that will torpedo efforts to reduce bonuses even as companies slash tens of thousands of jobs and use taxpayer money to gobble up other companies at fire-sale prices.

Pressured by constituents who worried that companies would take government aid and continue to pay their executives eye-popping bonuses, Congress inserted a provision that would penalize companies who took taxpayer money and shelled out outsized bonuses.

But at the last minute, Bush officials insisted on a one-sentence provision that stopped the measure in its tracks, according to congressional aides who spoke to the Washington Post.

The change stipulated that the sanction would only apply to firms that sold mortgage backed securities to the government at auction, which the Bush Treasury Department said would be the method they’d use to infuse troubled companies with bailout cash.

“Now, however, the small change looks more like a giant loophole, according to lawmakers and legal experts” who spoke to Post reporter Amit Paley. “In a reversal, the Bush administration has not used auctions for any of the $335 billion committed so far from the rescue package, nor does it plan to use them in the future. Lawmakers and legal experts say the change has effectively repealed the only enforcement mechanism in the law dealing with lavish pay for top executives.”

They insisted. George W. Bush is never short on courage when it comes to protecting the most powerful and rewarding the richest. While the nation vomits over the prospect of CEOs being paid double-digit millions to lead their companies to financial ruin, George comes swinging in to the rescue, making sure they can keep looting their own sinking ships and escorting them safely to lifeboats.

Keep an eye out for Republicans who say, “George Bush who?” while applauding this measure. Things like this are why they loved him, why they thought he would bring us untold prosperity. And even while he signs off on these multi-billion dollar bailouts of his friends, Republicans will take away the small assurance that even when times were tough, George W. Bush was there to not only preserve the wealth of the wealthiest, but to make sure they profited even further from failure.

A special shout-out to brave members of Congress for wilting again against a lame-duck president with sub-30 approval ratings!

-jb

We were so young.

Dec 15, 2008 in We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

When I first heard this song, my ears immediately revolted. Later I wasn’t sure I’d heard anything more beautiful.

Suede at one point seemed to have limitless potential. So did I.

They released two masterpieces, then lost to fiery temper the musical genius, Bernard Butler, behind their complexity. With some new young talent, they produced two well-received and pretty albums with some terrific b-sides, and then could barely scrape up two good songs on a final album that saw them turn into bad Suede impersonators. Brett Anderson’s voice was scarred by hard living, his lyrics rehashed cut-and-pastes of earlier songs, the original template finally and utterly reduced to caricature.

Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler reunited, bitterly, called themselves The Tears and produced an album that was pleasing, but only occasionally echoed their youthful genius.

I have convinced myself that the fire of my youthful brilliance has been smothered. A reckless and heartless idealism that at times threatened to overtake me, never rewarded and instead smashed into submission by cold realities and self-reckoning. Had I become the rockstar screenwriter I envisioned myself, it would have likely been a quick dousing of gasoline followed by immolation.

I hold onto my creative library, hoping for a time when age and wisdom will allow me to revisit it and tinker with it, with the hope of turning it into something of serious craftsmanship. I’m not there yet. My skills are ready, but too many demons were released onto those pages. They require a sturdier shepherd.

Thus, I still feel hope for the future, though I know I can never regain some of the best qualities of youth.

I’ve lost that pretty head, even lost that living room (to the ’04 tornado), but I’ve still got the guy sitting there with me, co-blogger Mike G. We spent a lot of time being young, and talking about what that meant. We talked about the real artists who endured while others flamed out and faded away. There were those who etched their name onto history, and the rest who could be cast away without thought.

I made the mistake of thinking the glory of some negated the value of others. Of course, being me I went a little too far in the other direction, being too content with going nowhere, but the longer I go, the more I feel that finding the balance of things is within my grasp.

At 35, I am, in the long run, still young. Indeed, sometimes I am still too young. However, I have also invested too much time in this life to cast it away glibly. While a time may come when everybody I know is gone, where I may get all my fulfillment from watching the mad world spin in place, at this point the longer I live the more I have to live for.

I still feel sorry that Suede lost their glory, that they will probably grow old in obscurity with few recognizing their accomplishments, that they are unlikely to reach great heights again. But I hope they still find a way to be happy in their day-to-day lives.

Especially after that solo album, Brett. Good lord, you wanker.

-jb

Bush finally impresses me.

Dec 14, 2008 in Energy, Uncategorized

The man has mad shoe-dodging skillz.

I gotta admit, the first shoe would have caught me.

-jb

While my computer gently weeps.

Dec 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

Even though I have a Core 2 Quad with 2GB of ram it has progressively been getting slower and sloooowwweeeeeeerrrrr so it’s going into timeout until it decides to shape up.

In the meantime I will be watching this:

-mg

Every thug need a lady.

Dec 13, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives

Century of the Common Iowan links to a great post about some of the goofy sex related passages in the Old Testament. Not only is the Christian bible arguably the most genocidal book ever written, it’s also chock full of equally extreme marital advice. Some of my favorites:

A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5)

B. Marriage shall not impede a man’s right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)

Big pimpin’!!

The truly hilarious part can be found in the comments section:

Anonymous said…

Laughable….liberals are pretty selective on their use of the Old Testament. Don’t forget Leviticus, what does it say about a man lying with another man?

Laughable, indeed!

-mg

More advice they wont listen to.

Dec 13, 2008 in Politics, Uncategorized


Not gonna happen because when you say to a neo-Confederate that they can’t use public schools to promote Christianity they characterize that as an attack on their religious freedom. If you call someone out for being a bigot you get labeled as an elitist. In the case above, the neo-Confederates will interpret Powell’s words as an attack on Limbaugh’s freedom of speech.

-mg

PS… Is Fareed Zakaria an Indian doppleganger of Willem Defoe?

An actual Indian speaks about Mumbai.

Dec 13, 2008 in Uncategorized

While the fringe-right has decided that the most important topic of discussion regarding the terrorist attacks in Mumbai is semantics (the conflict wasn’t described sufficiently enough as an all out HOLY WAR), Arundhati Roy, an actual Indian, gives us a little background on the situation as well as a critique of the media’s characterization of the event as “India’s 9/11″.

-mg

Glenzilla talks to Bill Moyers

Dec 13, 2008 in Uncategorized

(more…)

Senate Democrats who didn’t vote to block debate on the auto bailout bill.

Dec 13, 2008 in Uncategorized

The four Democrats who voted ‘nay’:

-Montana Senator Max Baucus (opposed to a unrelated tax loophole slipped into the bill)
-Montana Senator Jon Tester (even after automaker CEOs agreed to is $1 salary proposition)
-Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln (wants the money to come out of TARP)
-Nevada Senator Harry Reid

The four Democrats that did not vote:

-Joe Biden (previously unknown senator from God-knows where)
-Ted Kennedy (“Health issues” apparently. Whatever.)
-John Kerry (Poland?)
-Oregonian Ron Wyden

-mg

UAW response to the Senate vote. (video)

Dec 12, 2008 in Uncategorized

It’s a must see. Despite all concessions, the Senate Republicans still turned down the deal. Also, Gettelfinger talks about anti-union propaganda at a Kentucky Toyota plant that claims that Toyota actually pays their workers more than the Big Three. Furthermore, he references this article (the same article Toyota uses to base their claim) that states that the UAW is losing its appeal because of their inability to compete with Toyota’s high wages.

(more…)

Poor misguided fools.

Dec 12, 2008 in Politics

Ropelight:
“…the party of the Appalachians…” Well now…
Compared to the slime coming out of Chicago these days, the Appalachians look pretty darn good. Just my cup of tea. Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smokey Mountains. Yep, sounds good. Y’all come see us when ya can.

While rightwingers marvel over the corruption of Chicago, USA Today does some number crunching.

Guess who’s the most corrupt state? North Dakota.

Then look at the map and see where the most corrupt states in the US are.

Now look at Appalachia.

The heart of the Republican Party.

On a per-capita basis, however, Illinois ranks 18th for the number of public corruption convictions the federal government has won from 1998 through 2007, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Department of Justice statistics.

Eat the crow, boys. Then crap it and make love to it.

-jb

Mixed martial arts in high schools.

Dec 12, 2008 in Sport

NYT reports on an excellent development: the foundation of a MMA club at a high school. The only condition is that the students don’t actually punch or kick each other. They train for everything, but when they spar it’s just grappling jiu-jitsu style.

I was frequently derided as a faggot in high school because I didn’t play sports. If I could have done it over again I would have taken wrestling and stomached some early defeats, but while other guys were playing football I was in my garage hitting and kicking a punching bag, dutifully practicing moves from movies like “Bloodsport” and “Big Trouble in Little China.” By the time I tried Tae-Kwon-Do in college I already had a pretty good right foot, but even then I was learning the best stuff from a buddy in my dorm (shout out to John Trunnell, one of the earth’s finest and funniest guys), who knew more about what wins a real fight than any of those pompous authoritarian fools in that Tae-Kwon-Do class. Now that I’m in my thirties and living in the big city, now that the UFC has become a national phenomenon instead of a niche rental at Blockbuster (referred to by John McCain as “human cockfighting”), there are classes in MMA all around. I hope to enroll in one when I have better money and health insurance to cover injuries, but at 35 I’ve still not yet had the opportunity to get the kind of training I’ve always wanted. So what an opportunity it would have been to get real martial arts training in high school instead of prancing about in costumes applying importance to ball-handling.

-jb

Republicans must enjoy their minority status.

Dec 12, 2008 in Uncategorized

A Hill staffers points out that the Republicans have just written the script for every political ad that is going run for the foreseeable future in the Rust Belt and beyond:

It is possible that there was some sort of covert nod-and-wink between Bush and the Senate GOP that the latter could have their cake and eat it, too. Senate Republicans could posture against unions (and try to set the UAW up as the villain) and vote against the bill, while Bush would subsequently use the TARP authority for a bridge loan.

In the long run, the political fallout from this maneuver (whether Bush invokes TARP authority or not) means that the GOP has not only written off New England and the Mid-Atlantic, but the Midwest, and is hunkering down in its Dixie and Plains base. The GOP used to consider Indiana as a given, Ohio as a must, and Michigan as a like-to-have. Now all three are gone, along with Wisconsin and Minnesota.

via TPM.

-mg

Stewart dismantles Huckabee on gay marriage.

Dec 12, 2008 in Uncategorized

It’s not about logic, it’s not about the law, it’s not about winning a debate. They can’t win on those grounds. It’s just about trying to keep 50% of the people convinced they’re not doing anything wrong by deeming homosexuals second-class citizens.

Video here due to gross HTML-skillz deficiency.

-jb

Doh! -or- Bush serves at the behest of the evil unions! Take your pick.

Dec 12, 2008 in Uncategorized

Democrats are chomping at the bit to “save” the auto industry (read: blackmail) by pouring taxpayer money into an industry that can’t compete. But is it really a good idea to save an industry so incompetent and burdened by union-backed gimmes?

From todays NYT:

WASHINGTON — President Bush and the Treasury Department signaled on Friday morning that they would consider dipping into the $700 billion bailout program for financial institutions to aid the Big Three car companies, after Republican senators refused to support a compromise proposal to rescue the automakers.

I await excoriating posts about how the Bush Administration is propping up a failed industry and by extension, antiquated unions.

-mg

The victorious conscience.

Dec 12, 2008 in Christian Right, teh gay

Support caring for the environment, getting squishy on gay marriage, AND you voted for Obama?

“It was time for him to go,” Tom Minnery, a Focus on the Family senior vice president, said Thursday. “He no longer represents the view of evangelicalism. He has not represented those views for some time.”

The man in question is Rev. Richard Cizik.

A fixture in Washington for nearly three decades, Cizik has played a key role in bringing evangelical Christian concerns to the political table. But in recent years, he earned enemies in the movement for pushing to broaden the evangelical agenda. His strongest focus was on “creation care,” arguing that evangelicals have a biblical responsibility to the environment that includes combatting global warming.

To be fair, Cizik doesn’t come out in support of gay marriage, officially, though his comments weren’t firm enough to please those adamant that their religion dictates the citizenship status of homosexuals. His thoughts represent a mind struggling to put aside extremism and reconcile his conscience with the world around him and those in need of his compassion, rather than use a few passages in the Bible selectively to foster hatred and discrimination. Civil unions are still a form of second-class treatment for gays, but it’s more than many evangelicals can bear to “suffer.”

Still, there is pressure on Cizik to recant, and he is staying out of the limelight. It’s important for those who are supportive of equal rights and religious (especially those who are supportive of equal rights because of their religion) to reach out to him and others like him.

-jb

And our media isn’t fit for the times either.

Dec 12, 2008 in Barack Obama, Economy, Journamalism

Because they need to hear ten different times that Obama had nothing to do with Blah-son-of-a-bitch’s corruption (and remain unsatisfied), real problems don’t warrant air time.

Here is some food for thought. I lost my job last Tuesday. I don’t give a whit about what’s happening in Illinois. I have a chronically ill husband, I care for my elderly ailing mother, and I have an 11-year-old son. In less than two months my severance pay will run out and so will my health insurance, which my husband depends on for his care. So, you can probably understand why as important as this issue is to the media, it is not at the top of my list.

I don’t regularly watch television, but [Thursday] when I tuned in to President-elect Barack Obama’s press conference, I wanted to hear what he had to say about health care, how it would impact me. As noted above, in two months, my severance pay runs out, and so will my health care. I can’t afford Cobra. So, you can see why I hoped reporters would ask questions that mattered to me and I am sure thousands of others.

No doubt, it was inevitable there were going to be questions about the Blago guy in Illinois. But after three questions, thank God for the Reuters reporter, we got to health care. I happened to be watching ABC, and guess what, Charlie Gibson cut away. That question was not juicy enough for him– not enough to give us the viewers a chance to hear how Obama plans to pay for the health care he is promising.

Instead, a glib Gibson gets on to explain about how the [president-elect] dodged questions. I know in Gibson’s world this doesn’t matter one iota… But why disrespect us. Why does he think that this Blago issue matters to me today, when I am worried where the next meal is going to come from for my family?

Hey, buddy…Charlie Gibson knows where his next meal is coming from, so buck up and grab dem bootstraps!

-jb

$15 billion to keep the US auto industry alive vs. trillions for Wall Street, no questions asked.

Dec 12, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives, Corporate shenanigans, Economy, Politics

The discrepancies are starting to come to a boil…what CEO of a major financial behemoth is getting dragged in front of Congress to have their homework demanded or else? Why is the political class so fast to throw up their hands and say “Whatever you want!” to AIG so they can keep circulating money on paper, yet so slow to talk about doing something to save mortgages?

This week’s drama has centered around the auto-companies, who affect the employment of millions, asking for $25 billion, a pittance compared to what is being thrown at the financial sector to scant avail. Now they’ve been hounded and harassed and bargained down to $15 billion, with pay cuts for CEOs that would be unthinkable for Wall Street moguls (even the golden parachute provision was engineered to not apply to anybody who’s currently in charge).

I was initially suspicious of the auto bailout, at least until I heard they were only asking for $25 billion. I later said, install conditions, accountability, and the means to produce vehicles for the modern era (already I’ve heard rightwingers drooling about buying big gas-hogs again now that you can fill up your car without a mortgage). As I see it right now, the auto bailout can do more good for the economy than ten times the amount thrown at Wall Street, so…

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a fierce critic of the bailout, said the failure of the bill could hurt his auto-state colleagues, but noted, “politically, I think Republicans can show a real difference [with Democrats] here.”

I’m glad this Republican has his priorities straight. Surely them Southern Republicans, free from the nefarious influence of Michigan, can think with their principles.

…pitting Rust Belt and auto-state senators who joined Democrats in a plea for federal aid against their Southern colleagues who represent states where foreign-owned automakers constitute a significant economic presence

Great job!

We are reflecting our deepest priorities, our very nature, in our response to the Siege of the Invisible Hand. Given the urgent need to completely restructure how business and politics is handled in America, given that we have little choice but to re-align our priorities or else have it done forcibly, Republicans like Jim DeMint represent the Old Guard…of Nothing. Nothing but politics and self-interest, when we need them to get the country repaired.

-jb

Micro-evolution?

Dec 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

Not only is Bush not a fiscal conservative but he was never a social conservative either. I haven’t checked any of the fundie blogs to get a sense of their reaction but I’m sure it can’t be good. Dear Leader just came out and admitted that they’ve been duped.


Grassley gone in 2010?

Dec 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

Research 2000, a research firm frequently utilized by Daily Kos, has some interesting numbers showing that Senator Charles Grassley is vulnerable to a challenge led by former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. Here’s a quick glance:

Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 12/8-10. Likely voters. MoE 4% (No trend lines)

Grassley (R) 48
Vilsack (D) 44

Grassley
Approve 57
Disapprove 36

Vilsack
Approve 55
Disapprove 36

Below the fold, Independents polled had nearly identical approval for both candidates making the numbers even more provocative. It also indicates that to unseat Grassley it would take the highest of high profile Iowa Democrats. Regardless, it’s a chink in the armor that I’m sure has caught the attention of both parties. Vilsack ended speculation just a couple weeks ago that he was not in the running for the position of Secretary of Agriculture and so his future plans remain unclear.

-mg

Continuous Republican hackery.

Dec 11, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives

Should have guessed it…I listened to five minutes of rightwing radio yesterday and heard about how the media isn’t saying Blago is a Democrat. Sure enough, Michele Malkin is on the case, and our rightwing friends respond dutifully…

John Cole, who has my snark but better research and copy-paster skillz, debunks this so hard every Republican who has echoed this meme should be issued a tampon for their bleeding rectum. The only question left is, “What can make the stupid stop?”

-jb

The risk partisan Republicans pose.

Dec 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

Over the past eight years, Republicans have pulled every dirty trick in the book to try compensating for the fact that they sold us a lemon in 2000, doing so with such gusto and volume that they convinced the country to give it a second chance in 2004.

With the defeat of John McCain and the election of Barack Obama, the reflex of some Republicans has been, “Now we’re going to do to them what they did to us!” but generally Obama is winning the public confidence that after eight long years we will actually have a competent and perhaps exceptionally able leadership. Even more dramatically, that leadership is confronted with an economic crisis bigger than most Americans will have seen in their lifetimes. If Obama is able to negotiate us through the next four to eight years successfully, he will be fit to join the ranks of great presidents. Those who do not believe anything modern can be great must remember that U.S. presidents today oversee far more people with far greater repercussions, with more impact on the entire globe than the days of Washington and Jefferson. The failure of George W. Bush was compounded by the importance of 9/11 and our reaction to it, elevating his incompetent mendacity above the mere unremarkableness of most weak presidents.

Given that, we are now presented with the risk of diehard partisan Republicans who have given themselves their own Herculean task: taint, tarnish, smear or blemish the Obama presidency with anything and everything that they can fit into a subject-verb format. As Mike noted, within hours Republicans were trying to rub Blagojevich’s crimes onto Obama, even though every scrap of information so far reveals that Obama and his team had nothing to do with Blago’s schemes. How do you put a guy who says, “Fuck Obama!” in cahoots with Obama? Eh, easy. “I’m not saying Obama was directly involved, but he did come from Chicago!”

You know, Chicago. That’s where he served on a board with evil terrorist William Ayers, who barely knew Obama. And he chummed with Tony Rezko, in whose shady dealings Obama was never involved. And where he went to Trinity church, whose fiery pastor didn’t tailor his sermons for the delicate ears of frightened white America, who Obama had the gall to see as a good person. We have a new standard of evidence from our untrustworthy friends on the right: You don’t necessarily have to be involved with anything dirty now…if you’re thought of as “clean,” it’s enough to just know people or somehow work with people who are dirty, or who at some time in their lives did something that was less than perfect. Anything, anything that can rob us of this terrible idea that we elected a good man to the office.

The risk partisan Republicans pose is that they fear a successful and ethical presidency. While they’ll gladly defend a failed criminal presidency as being “not that bad,” they’ll eagerly turn any imperfection of Obama or those near him, or those who were once near him, into a grand condemnation of normalcy. For Obama to be even an ordinary politician, in their mind, balances George W. Bush being a catastrophic failure. The media, once afraid to point out the obvious about Bush, will gladly return to an era of pushing insinuations and inferences from nothing about a Democratic president.

It is incumbent on the public to note the difference, and understand the luxury of complaining that Obama isn’t Christ, or the irony that Christ was noted for his scurrilous associations.

The risk is that all of this noise will have nothing to do with Obama’s policies, yet these partisan Republicans will do everything they can to build a cloud around Obama in hope of being able to derail some of them, to put a straight face on while filibustering things America needs to return to prosperity. While Bush stands poised to get away with crimes related to how he actually governed, these Republicans are ready and willing to spend eight years talking about everything except how Obama will govern. Oh, they may disagree, but in the end they know they can’t win elections on disagreements when the public is against them.

The public simply needs to remember is that these are the same people who brought us Bush, who are still trying to feel better about having done so, who are trying to redeem their own terrible record by hoping to be right ONCE about Obama in the next eight years, so that they may usher in through that window all their transgressions.

Fortunately, I return in my thinking to Obama’s fundamental competence. While the fringes will never relent, the mainstream consensus will generally be informed by what Obama can get done, and how well he does it. The Mark Halperins will be there to make sure the media doesn’t get carried away reporting on Obama’s successes, citing his Limbaugh, but I do believe that in the end Obama will be able to get results and that those results will matter.

-jb

Meanwhile, back in the real world.

Dec 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

Jobless claims highest in 26 years.

-mg

Big tent-Smart tent

Dec 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

First off, Obama picked an Energy Secretary that, I know this sounds crazy, actually has some knowledge and background in the role he expected to fulfill. Secondly, it looks like people are as confident as I am in his choices.

Secondly, I’m happy to see that Obama has so far stone-walled the press regarding the crooked Rod Blagojevich and not given in to the demands of the pundit class. Those being that he hold a press conference detailing his participation in crimes that the prosecution specifically said he had absolutely nothing to do with. Since the complaint emphatically states his innocence, Obama’s team has something the wingnuts haven’t taken into consideration; time. Played smartly, Obama could discredit the Breitbarts and the Drudges even further by intentionally letting the scandal-mongers work themselves into a frenzy over what might turn out to be nothing. If what has been insinuated happens to be true, that those vying for the Senate seat were in on the investigation, then it would drive the Hannitys, the Limbaughs and all of the blogs that rely on them for their material further into irrelevancy.

David Axelrod bet on the Republicans using the same old play book and ended up winning an election. In my mind, the Republicans and cable news trying to relive their glory days in the 90s is a good sign.

-mg

It’s their new Whitewater.

Dec 10, 2008 in Uncategorized

The Republicans could have looked inward and taken an inventory of the principles they can all agree on get about the business of rebuilding their party. They chose tabloid scandal mongering instead:

During the December 9 edition of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, host Sean Hannity asked fellow Fox News host Mike Huckabee: “Why is he [Obama] friends with all these radical, corrupt people? What — what does that say about him?” Huckabee responded: “Well, I think that his past relationships are certainly questionable. I still think Bill Ayers ought to be in prison.” Co-host Alan Colmes then said, “Didn’t we have an election? Didn’t we just decide all this?” to which Huckabee replied: “Yeah, we did. But I’m just talking about Bill Ayers. But Barack Obama, I don’t think has any connection to the specific bribery issue.”

Hannity later added: “I wonder if we’re beginning to see, perhaps, a lot of what we suspected about Barack Obama. A lot — that I think the Tony Rezko issue is going to be a big problem for him, especially because he’s all over this document. The pres — the word president-elect is mentioned 44 times in the document. Pretty troubling.” In fact, none of the references to “President-elect” in the complaint against Blagojevich indicate any wrongdoing by Obama. Rather, some of the instances in which the term “President-elect” is used suggest that Obama and his advisers were unwilling to conspire with Blagojevich, while other mentions were mere descriptions of the Senate seat vacated by Obama or references to his forthcoming presidential administration.

Lies and the lying liars who tell them.

-mg

What did he know and when did he know it?

Dec 10, 2008 in Uncategorized

There’s only one way to end this scandal and that is for President elect Obama to hold a prime time press conference telling us that he regrets trying to sell his Senate seat to the highest bidder. Otherwise, how can we be sure of his ability to lead?

-mg

Larry Craig: still guilty. Gay people: still not married…yet.

Dec 09, 2008 in teh gay

Not that anyone doubted the charges would stick like a dab of wet toilet paper to the restroom ceiling, ha ha.

But Craig is guilty of more than soliciting sex from an undercover officer in an MSP bathroom. He’s also guilty of being a hypocritical closet case. When he wasn’t hiding behind a toilet stall door, he was hiding behind a wife and a wedding ring, and opposing myriad same-sex civil issues, including protection from job discrimination based on sexual orientation, expanding the definition of hate crimes to include those committed based on a person’s gender and sexual orientation, and same-sex marriage.

So it’s fitting that his appeal to continue living his guilt-free, duplicitous delusions ends on the same day that the Iowa Supreme Court’s hearing about same-sex marriage begins.

These couples want nothing more than what any other married couples are given: legal recognition, and all of the rights and privileges that are automatically afforded married couples. A lot of quotes from same-sex proponents talk about “legalizing love”, which irritates me because there’s so much more to it than that. I love my partner to the end of days, but that’s not going to help either of us when I’m barred from visiting him in the hospital (god forbid), or when we’re navigating a legal jungle just to arrive at some rudimentary, officially-recognized level of financial interdependence.

There is a group here in Minnesota that took the time and trouble to figure out just how many different ways the law currently discriminates against same-sex couples. The answer: 515 specific ways, in everything from the big issues like inheritance, health care, and parenting rights to hunting and fishing privileges.

(I got over being surprised about the interests of other gay people the day I learned that there are gay Republicans…so joke about stereotypically effeminate men with rifles and fishing poles all you want, there’s just nothing to top that one for sheer cognitive dissonance in my mind!)

Opponents keep trying to tag this as the beginning of a slippery slope that leads directly to the end of a thousands-year-old tradition and society as we know it, but that’s a total line of BS. Marriage has evolved as society has evolved. After decades of Larry Craigs, celebrity marriages, and who only knows what else freaky straight people do behind doors–or in the Metrodome (seriously, what is it with out-of-staters in our public bathrooms?)–if the legal recognition of these six couples, and others like them, is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, I will invite the lot of you to witness one frail-ass camel!

There’s also the bogus religious rights issue. People are free to believe whatever they want. Their church can also believe what it wants–that’s not going to change, and I honestly don’t think it should (unless they really cross the line like the LDS). Those beliefs should not be codified in law that the rest of us have to follow.

-JJB Mpls

I’ll let a Republican win once in awhile.

Dec 09, 2008 in Disappointing Dems, Politics

Especially when such instance rids the Democratic Party of a cancerous crooked bastard like William Jefferson. The interest rates on keeping $90K in a freezer are strongly depreciative.

-jb

Abortion irrelevancy.

Dec 09, 2008 in Christian Right, Culture

At the risk of starting up a storm of emotional claptrap, I’m unimpressed with this report that women who’ve had abortions have no discernible difference in mental health long term than control groups.

I mean, it’s interesting, I’m just saying it’s completely irrelevant to the abortion debate. People don’t want to criminalize it because they think mothers will be depressed by it later, and the ability of things to depress one has no bearing on their legality. We have a right to do things that we may regret or feel depressed about later, including most of the things that lead to an abortion, even though that frustrates the godless priests who seek to control women’s bodies for them and punish frivolous sex with multiple babies, which is akin to shitting on your cornflakes to displace unwanted milk. I don’t need to be overrun by poor fatherless children adorned upon the earth via a misplaced crusade to reduce extraneous boning. I just needed a good woman who is at no risk of turning into such a crusader, thus killing my passion and casting me about in search of more extraneous boning, and so I was blessed. I imagine most women who have had abortions waited until they were with the right person to have a child, and that’s why they’re happy.

-jb

The New New Deal

Dec 06, 2008 in Uncategorized

I’d much rather money be spent on public works than have it go to make sure that Citigroup doesn’t have to be bothered by things like risk or moral hazard. Unfortunately, this means that we have to suffer the stern warnings of newly budget conscious Republicans about creating an insidious welfare state.

-mg

Timmy, the first-place loser

Dec 06, 2008 in Uncategorized

Let’s hear it for Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota governor and runner-up for 2008 GOP VP! The state of Minnesota has economic trouble, with a capital T:

Yes, Minnesota has had revenue shortfalls before. The one the state weathered in 2003 was about this size. But this one comes in the context of a recession that state economist Tom Stinson said looks to be deeper, longer and more destructive than any since 1980-82 — and might be worse than that frightful time.

It also comes in the context of the leanest decade for Minnesota government in a half-century. State and local government growth has slowed dramatically on Pawlenty’s watch. State and local government spending per $1,000 of personal income fell below the U.S. average in 2006, for what may be the first time in the post-war era.

I’m not sure what else we were supposed to expect midway through Tim Pawlenty’s second term as governor. T-Paw’s made a good show of not raising state taxes–not counting the “user fee” on cigarettes that he proposed back in 2005, and the taxes that counties and cities were obliged to raise to cover shortfalls in their funding from the state–but for how much longer can he get away with it?

I haven’t heard much out of them lately, but during his first term Timmy made his love for a group of Objectivists ironically named The Taxpayers League of Minnesota fairly well known. I say ironically because they’re advocates for paying as little in taxes as possible: where Norquist wants to shrink government enough to be able to drown it in the bathtub, I think of the TLM as the pro-anorexia support group, cheering from the far side of an internet forum as government starves itself to death.

Even now, they claim that “It’s Time To Put State Government On A Diet”. Seriously? This is the same group whose former leader suggested the answer to a transit strike was for the state to buy used cars for the poor. As our esteemed Thomas Tallis says: LULZ. The TLM can pull a John Galt and disappear into the mountains any time now; they will not be missed.

The DFL (Democrats to non-Minnesotans) in the state legislature will only be a few votes shy of a veto-proof majority this coming session. I’m hoping enough of their Republican colleagues are still stinging from T-Paw’s last round of reason- and reality-defying vetoes to break from their party and feed the starving state a fucking cheeseburger already.

-JJB Mpls

Friday Night Weird.

Dec 06, 2008 in Uncategorized

-mg

Another peek into the rightwing echo chamber.

Dec 05, 2008 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives

The four craziest things righties believe about Obama.

The short version: You will die being anally raped by black teenagers. These guys have some telling fantasies at times.

-jb

India has one option.

Dec 04, 2008 in Uncategorized

Invade Iraq!

Jesus *hearts* Teh Gay.

Dec 04, 2008 in Uncategorized

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

“Mess with Israel and I mess with you” -God (voice of God performed by Jack Chick)

Dec 03, 2008 in Uncategorized

Jack Chick has a rather, um, interesting history of Israel. Apparently, being the top recipient of US foreign aid is not enough. We must observe Israel’s Holy Eviction Notice powers or be punished by calamities of nature!

-mg