Archive for October, 2009

Can she really just flat out lie like that?

Oct 31, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives

Liz Cheney tried slamming Obama for greeting and honoring the newly dead of war. Except to do so, she claims Bush did the same thing regularly, without cameras.

Except Bush never went.

One could surmise that Liz Cheney simply recognizes that this is how one rises to the top of the GOP. She just has to hang out on Fox and rightwing talk radio, regularly say false things that make Republicans happy, and her last name will take care of the rest. The question is, will she last five seconds out of the cocoon?

-jb

Fine, today is Beltway Servant Day.

Oct 30, 2009 in Health Care, Politics

The Dean Lord of Washington CW, David Broder, come up with a unique angle to attack the opt-out public option and Harry Reid: Nobody should be denied health care based on where they live!

Then maybe no goddamn states should opt-out, should they, Broder? Why is Harry Reid being blamed for trying to find a compromise with the Senators who have been trying to kill the public option altogether?

Broder suggests liberals stand against the compromise…and then? Retired to Magic Candy Land and write fan fiction about a universe where the Public Option exists, with Unicorn Coverage included?

Forty Republicans and Joe Lieberman are defying the national will, and will try to refuse to even give states the public option at all.

Why need such explicit and unfortunate facts go unconsidered?

-jb

Fred Hiatt: License to be continuously wrong.

Oct 29, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives

A perfect member of the Beltway, Hiatt never needs to be right, he just needs to serve powerful interests:

Or consider the remarkable exchange that took place this week between Peter Orszag, the White House budget director, and Fred Hiatt, The Washington Post’s opinion editor. Mr. Hiatt had criticized Congress for not taking what he considers the necessary steps to control health-care costs — namely, taxing high-cost insurance plans and establishing an independent Medicare commission. Writing on the budget office blog — yes, there is one, and it’s essential reading — Mr. Orszag pointed out, not too gently, that the Senate Finance Committee’s bill actually includes both of the allegedly missing measures.

I won’t try to psychoanalyze the “naysayers,” as Mr. Orszag describes them. I’d just urge them to take a good hard look in the mirror. If they really want to align themselves with the hard-line conservatives, if they just want to kill health reform, so be it. But they shouldn’t hide behind claims that they really, truly would support health care reform if only it were better designed.

Good boys in Washington know how to keep themselves employed. Hiatt should expect a promotion for this widely-read mistake.

-jb

Number one rule of the Beltway.

Oct 29, 2009 in Politics

Everything is bad news for Democrats. DougJ states the rule:

There is nothing, nada, zilch, zero, nothing, that is bad news for conservatives. When they win elections, it proves we’re a conservative country. When they lose, it proves it. When we pass health care bills, it proves it. When we lower taxes, it proves it. When we raise taxes, it proves it. Everything proves it always.

Of course, it’s only David Brooks, who remains perpetually satisfied that he is A Serious Person Who Acknowledges The Country Is Republican, No Matter What.

As DougJ notes, 60% approval for a public option means we’re conservative? Although one could argue that the public option is already a pretty hefty compromise, but Brooks is simply disregarding the numbers entirely. If he bothered to address them, one could be sure it would be more bad news for Democrats and Good News For Republicans. After all, 60% approval means Republicans have reached their floor, and can only improve their stance, whereas Democrats are topped out. See how easy that was?

The health bill with public option could pass next month and the Beltway would be quivering in their pants with excitement over how doomed the Democrats were for winning. “With such a massive victory so early in his presidency, dare Barack Obama ask the country for any more? When we come back from this message, three Republican strategists tell us how Obama’s presidency is in more danger than ever!”

For eight years we were governed by an idiot in thrall with conniving corporatists and narcissistic neocons, and any mention of his continuous blundering was More Bad News For Democrats (Possessed by Bush Hatred). Straining to present anything Bush ever did right, special attention had to be paid to making sure that everybody recognized Republicans Are Real Americans and that all logic aside, Bush had to be feared and respected because he was President.

Now we’ve had ten months of Death Panels, StaliNaziFascism, ZOMG Czars!, Birthers, Beck’s tears, Limbaugh worship, and the most popular Republican politician, Sarah Palin, undergoing continuous meltdown as she strives to make a quick buck off the sucker base. It’s been terrible, terrible news for Republicans every day. Which is, of course, Good News for Republicans. After all, bad publicity is still publicity! THEY HAVE CONTROLLED THE NEWS CYCLE. Continuous filibustering? ZOMG DEMOCRATS CAN’T GET THINGS DONE THEY HAVE NO ONE TO BLAME!

Try it yourself. Cite a piece of obviously terrible news for a Republican, and explain how it is really Bad News For Democrats. It’s easy!

-jb

UPDATE: Of course, we found out today that GDP rose 9.9% to 3.5% after being -6.4%. Very Bad News For Democrats! Find out why here.

Coffee is for closers.

Oct 29, 2009 in Politics

Palin wants $100K to speak to Iowans. This is assuming she’d even follow through which, considering her resume, could be a crap-shoot.

The situation speaks for itself. As several GOP leaders in Iowa have pointed out, if you’re serious about a presidential bid you don’t charge audiences to hear you speak. The only reason you would do so would be to cash in on your personality cult and if that’s the reason we’re behind her all the way because if right-wing Iowans want to throw one hundred thousand towards a red state pin-up girl who isn’t serious about the cause that’s fine by us. A great man once said that coffee is for closers and if history is any indicator Palin certainly aint that. But we sure aren’t going to stand in your way from betting on a loser. Have at it suckaaaaz.

-mg

This Is A Bush Recovery

Oct 29, 2009 in Politics

FIRST! Fellow conservatives, I charge you to rewrite this story from notorious liberal-media mavens at Forbes and excise any mention of the stimulus. Clearly the hero here is our great President Bush! His zombie econ recovery powers are without peer! Tell the world how President Bush had to first harm our economy to later save it once he’d been out of office for a year! Spin, my friends! Spin like tops on a slick surface!

We forgot there are 41 Republican Senators.

Oct 27, 2009 in Disappointing Dems, Health Care, Politics

It’s not so much betrayal as being plain wrong on the public option. But that doesn’t stop Joe Lieberman, who acted like a Republican until Obama came into office, minded himself, and waited for the perfect moment to declare himself the most powerful person in the country.

Lieberman doesn’t have a response to the facts, in that the public option will save money according to the CBO. He’s got his “gut,” on this, so there’s little arguing. The press is already lying down, with a few exceptions:

Lieberman has said he opposes a public option because of the potential burden it could place on taxpayers. However, Democrats have crafted a public option that would be financed by premiums rather than federal funds.

I suspect that he has his committees and seniority threatened, and Obama promises him he’ll say nice things about him. Going down in history as the Democrat who became the party of himself and killed real health care reform (and voting for the bankruptcy bill still isn’t forgotten) is just a recipe for losing his seat for real next time. Time and time again, the voters of Connecticut have been shown the folly of trusting Lieberman’s centrist cooings and assurances when he ran against the winner of the Democratic primary, Ned Lamont.

Make no mistake: Everybody supporting health care needs to be ready to make sure no filibuster gets pulled off by mere threats. This is a pivotal moment in our country’s history, and if the Republicans and Joe are going to demand the debate keep going, by all means they should be forced to debate.

-jb

Why are we there again?

Oct 27, 2009 in Politics

8 US troops die; Oct. Afghan war’s deadliest month.

-mg

Drugs are bad, etc etc etc.

Oct 26, 2009 in Politics

The title intrigued me until the video turned all after school special:

I’m hoping the complete National Geographic episode gets a little more technical and scientifically compelling than the trad “look out kids!” vibe the above video gives off. Human consciousness is an area of physiology we know the absolute least about out of all of the other functioning biological systems and you would think that in light of the fact that a known (and rather simple) substance that can temporarily and radically alter our commonly shared perception would be valued and utilized for further understanding. Sadly, even benign empathogens like MDMA that have shown therapeutic promise in the past are shunned and thrown into the taboo closet.

-mg

One step closer.

Oct 26, 2009 in Health Care

However it was done, the public option (with opt-out) is in the bill. Holy smokes.

Harry Reid may have sensed that the only way forward for him was to get strong on a popular bill. If it took an electoral threat to put some steel in his spine, may the GOP try harder every time he’s up for re-election.

More of the usual jiu-jitsu from the WH, trying to swear at the last minute that it was all about the trigger, but Congress boxed him in on the public option! Well, that’s not the official statement, that’s the conveyed image. Obama has been repeatedly open about his desire for a public option, but then all of a sudden he developed a huge crush on Olympia Snowe. That moment of weakness gave some ownership to Congress. Now Baucus is going along, after he was a dramatic foil. It was annoying as fuck, but the bill got out of the Finance Committee.

Whatever the case, here is the bill, and Harry Reid is ready to take on any filibuster attempt. How the hell did that happen?

Oh, wait, yeah…Democrats won in 2008 running on health care. Shh…it’s a conspiracy.

-jb

Now for some criticism of President Obama that actually makes sense.

Oct 26, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems, National Security, Politics, Torture, War Crimes, War on Terra

NYT editorial:

In the United States, the Obama administration is in the process of appealing a sound federal appellate court ruling last April in a civil lawsuit by Mr. Mohamed and four others. All were victims of the government’s extraordinary rendition program, under which foreigners were kidnapped and flown to other countries for interrogation and torture.

In that case, the Obama administration has repeated a disreputable Bush-era argument that the executive branch is entitled to have lawsuits shut down whenever it makes a blanket claim of national security. The ruling rejected that argument and noted that the government’s theory would “effectively cordon off all secret actions from judicial scrutiny, immunizing the C.I.A. and its partners from the demands and limits of the law.”

This is a huge topic on the internet, one liberals and centrists are having with each other over the disappointment with Obama for picking up too many Bush-era habits of mind and practice. Even if it’s more rope-a-dope with some eventual plan to make the courts hem Obama in with rulings that become political armor. “We no longer violate human rights simply by uttering the words ‘national security.’” (because the courts told me I couldn’t anymore…) It’s still playing with innocent people’s lives. Much less worthy things have been given 24/7 coverage.

Yet it’s just not sexy enough for reporters, who would also have to look back at how they stood by while Bush re-wrote the rules or threw them out altogether. Wingers make a hot stink over getting an ACORN scoop and get bowed down to, while everybody ignores Obama playing it Beltway centrist on human rights.

Is this what teabaggers are talking about when they scream about feeling like Jews in 1939? Of course not. They think tyranny is social health care. As long as rightwing terrorists get due process, they’re happy.

-jb

It’s not a losing fight if they’re right about Fox.

Oct 25, 2009 in Journamalism

They’re right about Fox. No need to make a big fuss about it…just keep Fox swearing they’re doing journalism, and let people look for themselves.

-jb

Brooks praises Obama’s education reform.

Oct 25, 2009 in Barack Obama, Education

Wow, something good the Obama administration has done, and I actually found out about it from a conservative.

When Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan came to office, they created a $4.3 billion Race to the Top fund. The idea was to use money to leverage change. The administration would put a pile of federal money on the table and award it to a few states that most aggressively embraced reform.

Their ideas were good, and their speeches were beautiful. But that was never the problem. The real challenge was going to be standing up to the teachers’ unions and the other groups that have undermined nearly every other reform effort.

The real questions were these: Would the administration water down their reform criteria in the face of political pressure? Would the Race to the Top money end up getting doled out like any other federal spending program, and thus end up subsidizing the status quo? Would the administration hold the line and demand real reform in exchange for the money?

There were many reasons to be skeptical. At the behest of the teachers’ unions, the Democrats had just shut down a successful District of Columbia voucher program. Moreover, state legislatures around the country were moving backward. They were passing laws prohibiting schools from using student performance as a criterion in setting teacher pay.

But, so far, those fears are unjustified. The news is good. In fact, it’s very good. Over the past few days I’ve spoken to people ranging from Bill Gates to Jeb Bush and various education reformers. They are all impressed by how gritty and effective the Obama administration has been in holding the line and inciting real education reform.

Over the summer, the Department of Education indicated that most states would not qualify for Race to the Top money. Now states across the country are changing their laws: California, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and Tennessee, among others.

It’s not only the promise of money that is motivating change. There seems to be some sort of status contest as states compete to prove they, too, can meet the criteria. Governors who have been bragging about how great their schools are don’t want to be left off the list.

I get real old school when it comes to education. Teachers may complain about teaching to a test, but they still have considerable slack to present a comprehensive education to their students. If you don’t like the standards, by all means suggest new ones, but don’t complain about the existence of standards and, gasp, competition. Schools are all about competition and the pursuit of a goal. You study because you want to go to college and get a great job that will pay good money. Merit pay and other incentives get schools juiced up and energized. Recent studies show that people perform tasks better and more enthusiastically for even the vaguest promise of money.

More power to Obama and kudos to David Brooks, who’s generally taken a hesitant approach to Obama instead of automatically trying to slam everything he does.

-jb

I say we bomb Fox News tomorrow.

Oct 24, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Journamalism

Invade the remains, rape the women, behead the men. Sell the body parts. Make bone scalpels and perform abortions with them. Etc.

More details in our ongoing war against Fox News. Turns out Fox hadn’t asked for the Ken Feinberg interview.

The network pool crew noticed Fox wasn’t on the list, was told that they hadn’t asked and the crew said they needed to be included. Treasury called the White House and asked top Obama adviser Anita Dunn. Dunn said yes and Fox’s Major Garrett was among the correspondents to interview Feinberg last night.

Simple as that, we’re told, and the networks don’t want to be seen as heroes for Fox.

Whoops, they were granted the interview anyway. I mean, it’s Ken Feinberg, not exactly the most interesting interview subject for ratings. Perhaps they thought Fox was too busy asking Ann Coulter to run her mouth off about the War On FOX (leave none alive, I say!). When asked, Major Garrett got to interview him.

Remember all those interviews with combative oppo-journalists Dubya did? Remember how Katie Couric asking Sarah Palin basic, softball questions was “gotcha” journalism?

The Obama administration did take a chance to chide Fox:

“This White House has demonstrated our willingness to exclude Fox News from newsmaking interviews, but yesterday we did not,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

Obama’s position is of disinterest in Fox. Nothing’s been ruled out, Obama is saying he simply doesn’t care much what is said on or by Fox. Fox has had access before, they’ll have it again, but the channel is a political outfit and everybody knows it. The “War on Fox” is this year’s “War on Christmas.” Mostly smoke and mirrors drummed up for ratings. The Obama admin simply sees no reason to jump through hoops for Fox. And they shouldn’t, because they’re going bonkers bananas on that channel (see post below).

The next Republican president should be expected to give daily interviews to the Huffington Post. Not that Huffington Post is as crooked as Fox, but everybody understands they are liberal, and HuffPo doesn’t try to pretend any different. They never expected a sit-down from Dubya. And they don’t run around panicking like nervous paranoiacs that Dick Cheney is happy to appear on Fox but won’t talk to them.

-jb

p.s. Rupert Murdoch, enemy combatant!

Sound familiar?

Oct 24, 2009 in Politics

This video clip sums up every right wing blog post written over the past ten months:

Great news for Republicans!

Oct 23, 2009 in Politics

GOP’s favorability worst it’s been in a decade.

Only 36% of people view the GOP favorably, with an outright majority of 54% viewing them unfavorably. By comparison, the Democratic Party is at 53% favorable to 41% unfavorable — hardly a good omen for the Republicans if they want to make significant gains in 2010.

I think what the GOP needs to do to turn things around is obstruct popular bills and call anyone who disagrees with them a socialist. Contempt for the electorate is always a winning strategy.

-mg

Evolutionary scientists tend to be smarter than rightwinger talk radio buffoons.

Oct 23, 2009 in Science, Sophistry

Hugh Hewitt demonstrates why he’s better at being a hack radio host than a lawyer, trying to get some kind of win on Richard Dawkins. Dawkins is remarkably patient with Hewitt’s constant attempts to find holes in evolutionary theory. At one point, Hewitt suggests that the fact that evolutionary evidence is harder to understand than, say, evidence of the Holocaust, could cause other people to conclude that Dawkins is radical for suggesting both evolution and the Holocaust are indisputable. Of course, rightwinger listeners who don’t understand evolutionary theory would lap this up, but under no circumstances can the complexity of evidence be seen as undermining said evidence. The world is complex. Life is complex. A simple stone is more complex than most people are really capable of comprehending. Evolutionary theory peels back the surfaces of our world and explores the inner workings. Of course the science is astoundingly complicated, but failure to understand it is not a failure of science.

-jb

This is your brain on the internet.

Oct 23, 2009 in Culture, Curiosities

Long (but fascinating) article for a guy who says he ain’t got no more attention span.

The human brain is almost infinitely malleable. People used to think that our mental meshwork, the dense connections formed among the 100 billion or so neurons inside our skulls, was largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood. But brain researchers have discovered that that’s not the case. James Olds, a professor of neuroscience who directs the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University, says that even the adult mind “is very plastic.” Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. “The brain,” according to Olds, “has the ability to reprogram itself on the fly, altering the way it functions.”

As we use what the sociologist Daniel Bell has called our “intellectual technologies”—the tools that extend our mental rather than our physical capacities—we inevitably begin to take on the qualities of those technologies. The mechanical clock, which came into common use in the 14th century, provides a compelling example. In Technics and Civilization, the historian and cultural critic Lewis Mumford described how the clock “disassociated time from human events and helped create the belief in an independent world of mathematically measurable sequences.” The “abstract framework of divided time” became “the point of reference for both action and thought.”

The clock’s methodical ticking helped bring into being the scientific mind and the scientific man. But it also took something away. As the late MIT computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum observed in his 1976 book, Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation, the conception of the world that emerged from the widespread use of timekeeping instruments “remains an impoverished version of the older one, for it rests on a rejection of those direct experiences that formed the basis for, and indeed constituted, the old reality.” In deciding when to eat, to work, to sleep, to rise, we stopped listening to our senses and started obeying the clock.

The question open is where our internet-addled brains are leading us. We’ve seen amazing advances in politics, the arts, and research.

Maybe I’m just a worrywart. Just as there’s a tendency to glorify technological progress, there’s a countertendency to expect the worst of every new tool or machine. In Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates bemoaned the development of writing. He feared that, as people came to rely on the written word as a substitute for the knowledge they used to carry inside their heads, they would, in the words of one of the dialogue’s characters, “cease to exercise their memory and become forgetful.” And because they would be able to “receive a quantity of information without proper instruction,” they would “be thought very knowledgeable when they are for the most part quite ignorant.” They would be “filled with the conceit of wisdom instead of real wisdom.” Socrates wasn’t wrong—the new technology did often have the effects he feared—but he was shortsighted. He couldn’t foresee the many ways that writing and reading would serve to spread information, spur fresh ideas, and expand human knowledge (if not wisdom).

The arrival of Gutenberg’s printing press, in the 15th century, set off another round of teeth gnashing. The Italian humanist Hieronimo Squarciafico worried that the easy availability of books would lead to intellectual laziness, making men “less studious” and weakening their minds. Others argued that cheaply printed books and broadsheets would undermine religious authority, demean the work of scholars and scribes, and spread sedition and debauchery. As New York University professor Clay Shirky notes, “Most of the arguments made against the printing press were correct, even prescient.” But, again, the doomsayers were unable to imagine the myriad blessings that the printed word would deliver.

I can still dive into a book when I want to (though I almost never want to anymore), and while I share this guy’s guarded optimism that new mediums will lead to new innovations and a net plus for human advancement, there’s no denying that losing the ability to read full-length books is a mighty sacrifice. Ebook readers are becoming very cool, but once again you’re not holding just one book in your hand, but hundreds or thousands at your fingertips, and once again attention spans are challenged.

An article by Jamais Cascio points to where we may be going, as technology is integrated into our very perception:

The emerging technology, called “Augmented Reality,” enables users to see location-specific data superimposed over their surroundings. Long a staple of science fiction, it’s trickling into the real world through the iPhone and similar ultrasmart mobile phones. With AR applications such as Layar, the smart phone displays what its camera sees, with information about nearby buildings and shops, travel directions, even notes and “tags” left by other users in that location. Although AR now relies on handheld devices, electronics makers like Sony are working on systems that you wear like sunglasses, making augmented vision more immersive.

Eventually, contact lenses, corneal implants or artificially engineered eyes, I wager.

Conceivably, users could set AR spam filters to block any kind of unpalatable visual information, from political campaign signs to book covers. Parents might want to block sexual or violent images from their kids’ AR systems, and political activists and religious leaders might provide ideologically correct filters for their communities. The bad images get replaced by a red STOP, or perhaps by signs and pictures that reinforce the desired worldview.

Did I mention that the “wrong” people can get replaced too?

After California’s Prop 8 ban on gay marriage passed, opponents of the measure dug up public records of donors supporting the ban, and linked that data to an online map. Suddenly, you could find out which of your neighbors (or the businesses you frequent) were so opposed to gay marriage that they donated to the cause. Now imagine that instead of a map, those records were combined with an AR system able to identify faces.

You don’t want to see anybody who has donated to the Palin 2012 campaign? Gone, their faces covered up by black circles. You want to know who exactly gave money to the 2014 ban on SUVs? Easy—they now have green arrows pointing at their heads.

You want to block out any indication of viewpoints other than your own? Done.

Obviously people have figured out how to do that nowadays, and will continue to do so, but could it lead to greater heights? I’ll be sure to give my feedback after I get my iShades…

-jb

UPDATE: More on augmented reality here.

Drilling authorized in the Beaufort Sea.

Oct 21, 2009 in Politics

The Obama administration authorizes drilling in the Beaufort Seaand energy futures increase. So much for the instant gratification predicted by these guys.

Among the headstones in the graveyard of right-wing slogans one is sure to come across “Drill, Baby, Drill”. A chant recited and popularized by she who would become the most spectacular flame-out in recent American political history. High oil prices during the presidential campaign had the Johnny Rebs in their Ford F350s looking for answers, and more importantly, somebody to blame. Sarah Palin confirmed their suspicions by laying responsibility at the feet of Teh Librulz who stood in the way of offshore drilling (because apparently only hippie liberals own beach front property). Further “proof” was provided by a decrease in crude prices after Bush rescinded the Executive Order banning offshore drilling (which, btw, hasn’t resulted in any increase in domestic crude production). Of course the economy was swirling down the toilet at the time taking demand along with it but that was something you weren’t supposed to say lest you hurt W’s feelings by suggesting that he actually be responsible for something. And besides, the recession was a “media myth” that the liberals were trying to talk us into, remember?

-mg

Bring the troops home.

Oct 18, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Middle East, National Security, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

Just imagine if we had a counter-insurgency strategy against gangs, one conceived with as much brainpower and lateral thinking as the military could generate. What if we actually had enough armed forces on watch in our troubled areas to stamp out crime? Not as killers, as peacekeepers. Coupled with the end of the Drug War and reliance on fully staffed rehabilitation services…the possibilities are endless. If nothing else, outposts keeping an eye out, enabled to do nothing more than alert police (and defend themselves). Or if you’re about to say “I knew you were a fascist!” just use them to patrol ports and borders. And we get the manpower by bringing back troops collecting dust in Germany, South Korea, et al. Keep a small gang abroad for specific hot spots and missions in Afghanistan/Pakistan. Collect scalps, stand back. And the defense budget is slashed.

The bottom line: nobody is a fiscal conservative today if they aren’t willing to take a big bite out of defense spending. The teabaggers have nothing to say about the military industrial complex, so they have nothing to say.

-jb

Wingers talking about unemployment while stocks are up?

Oct 15, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Economy

People like to remind us that unemployment hasn’t been this bad since…most of Ronald Reagan’s first term. Those who gloat about that, strangely, worship Reagan. Nevertheless, any Republican would tell you that Reagan took care of Wall Street, and the economy exploded.

Anybody can figure out why the market and unemployment are both high.

Stocks are rising because many companies are earning more money than analysts have expected. But earnings aren’t up because companies are selling more stuff; most companies are still selling less stuff and grappling with falling revenue. Instead, earnings are rising because companies have cut their costs more than revenues have fallen. And “costs” are often the same as “jobs.”

Fortunately, we have a better outlook than in 1983. While rightwingers have, of course, been foolish enough to declare the stimulus’ modest success a bust, those who are actually paying attention to the facts note that most of the stimulus bill hasn’t kicked in yet. Most of it will be enacted after Wall Street is feeling solid but people still need work (and Wall Street needs some primed-pump retail spending). Not that Wall Street has been sufficiently reined in to keep business clean yet, but as long as they aren’t panicking, the middle class can begin to rebuild.

Of course, wingers hated that the stimulus was back heavy, but people who were actually concerned about the economy rather than Republican re-election prospects knew full well that we would not be soon recovered. We knew before Obama took office it was going to be a years-long project. But, of course, there are people who need to blame Obama, so history has to be re-written.

-jb

UPDATE: Come on, you know this is a more controversial post than anything else you read on a blog this week! Link, you bastards!

Pratfalls in idiocy.

Oct 15, 2009 in Stupidity, teh gay

Sullivan posts a picture of a guy who had the gay-hatin’ passage from Leviticus tattooed on his arm. A pastor offered a corrective citation:

Too bad the guy with the passage from Leviticus tattooed on his arm didn’t read the next chapter:

“You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you; I am the LORD”

Or in the King James Version:

“Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.”

Of course since when is the Bible applied to oneself. It is apparently only to be applied to others, as an excuse for abuse.

Nobody who cites the Bible to bash gays cares one whit what the rest of Leviticus says. They’ve thrown out everything but the hatred of gays. This guy just made a more obvious version of the mistake.

-jb

It’s official.

Oct 15, 2009 in Politics

Peanut butter proves the existence of God.

-mg

“Conservatives” in their imaginary fox-holes.

Oct 15, 2009 in Politics

I thought this was a joke when I first read it:

Earlier this evening, as most of you now know, one of our own, Rush Hudson Limbaugh, while taking withering fire, crashed and burned.
Tonight, Rush is no longer ‘just’ a radio personality.
Tonight, Rush is no longer ‘just’ a NFL owner denied
Tonight, Rush is us. And we are him.
Tonight Rush became the metaphor for all of us… every man woman and child in this great nation of ours. Tonight a light went out… a dream died… it died from political correctness
Tonight we are under withering fire, we on the right those in the middle,
Tonight our values are under withering fire, those thoughts ideas and dreams that made this great nation are under withering fire
Will your light of your dreams be next?
Will my dreams be next?

It appears that conservatives have been victimized…again.

Rush was dropped from an investment pool because it was doubtful that they could get 75% of NFL owners to approve the sale with his name involved with the bid. Outside of the tiny sliver of Americans who listen to his show, Limbaugh is seen as a loud-mouthed liability, especially in light of his last foray into the NFL where he implied on national television that Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was an over-rated, affirmative action case. At the time, Limbaugh played the victim and whined that he had been penalized for speaking the truth outside of politically correct boundaries. The reality of the situation was that McNabb was a terrific quarterback and to say that the only reason he was well-liked was because he was an African American was not only blatantly racist but an insult to commentators who actually walk Limbaugh’s talk; judge players on their abilities and not their skin color. NFL owners took a look at Limbaugh and saw the next Marge Schott and as investors in a multi-million dollar enterprise they weren’t willing to take that risk. And seeing the reaction over the past few days I’m sure they’re glad they made the decision that they did because once again Limbaugh and his mouth-breathing fan club have politicized an innocuous business decision.

-mg

The return of the black helicopters…with black people in them!

Oct 15, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives

Swiftboater Jerome Corsi (have I mentioned that I have a) Ph.D provides the opening for a return to the classic figment of rightwing paranoia, the “black helicopters” business, and Sean Hannity gladly hosts.

He starts right off the bat by joining two rightwing talking points, the blacks at ACORN caused the subprime meltdown with CRA helping black people get homes! While the thought of assistance to black families is enough to get the GOP base frothing, the substance of the charge is woefully thin. CRA, a measure that had been in place since the ’70s, had nothing to do with the modern financial creations that turned bad debt into good debt, creating a zirconium economy of illusion. Corsi surely has access to information that his numbers have been thoroughly debunked, but this simply doesn’t stop a man like him.

Factcheck on Corsi:

Jerome Corsi’s “The Obama Nation” is a mishmash of unsupported conjecture, half-truths, logical fallacies and outright falsehoods.

Corsi is a renowned conspiracy theorist who says that George Bush is attempting to create a North American Union (we looked at that here) and that there is evidence that the World Trade Center may have collapsed because it was seeded with explosives. More recently, Corsi claimed that Obama released a fake birth certificate. We’ve debunked that twice now. And, as our colleagues at PolitiFact.com found, many of the themes in “The Obama Nation” are reworked versions of bogus chain e-mail smears.

In Corsi’s case, we judge that both his reputation and his latest book fall short when measured by the standards of good scholarship, or even of mediocre journalism.

How can any rightwinger media criticism be taken seriously when they turn their own channel into a clown car of neverending buffoonery?

-jb

A proud day for Republicans.

Oct 15, 2009 in Politics

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Rape-Nuts
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Ron Paul Interview

My right wing blog reading is fairly limited but has anyone else come across any “where’s the outrage?” type commentary from the perpetually outraged wing of the political spectrum?

-mg

It’s that simple.

Oct 14, 2009 in Politics

Edroso on Dreher on Maher winning the Richard Dawkins Award:

That’s right: Jesus freak Dreher and his fellow Jesus freak Mark Shea are saying that the atheists picked the wrong atheist to honor. That’s like a vegan telling me I didn’t tenderize my pork chops well enough to suit his palate…

This helps put the Nobel thing into perspective. Conservatives have as little standing to talk about peace as Dreher has to talk about atheism — all they know is that they don’t like it. Engaging them on these subjects is pretty much the definition of wrestling a pig.

I think Roy’s being a little harsh. I’m sure Dreher was rooting for a more deserving atheist than Maher. He and Shea should have published their “fantasy atheist” lists to see if their picks were top ten contenders.

This newest piece of phony outrage just goes to show that the modern “conservative” movement these days consists nothing more than a list of shared grievances. Their concern over the size of government is selectively applied only in situations where they feel someone is getting something that they don’t deserve and the tea-bagging jamborees have shown that they’ll complain about their taxes going up even when they’ve received a tax reduction. They’re terrified of their second amendment rights being taken away when they’ve actually been broadened and now even an agnostic getting an award from a group of atheists has them gasping in disgust.

-mg

NAACP endorses Vander Plaats.

Oct 13, 2009 in Iowa

Yeah, that Vander Plaats. He of Nussle/Vander Plaats 2009 fame.

Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr., registered Democrat and president of the Iowa-Nebraska chapter of the NAACP announced his support for anti-gay Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats on Monday. If elected, Vander Plaats has pledged to pass an executive order to halt the freedom to marry in Iowa, thereby disobeying Iowa law and operating beyond the powers of the Governor.

h/t oneiowa

-mg

Wherein I confess I am a Marxist.

Oct 13, 2009 in Culture

Genius.

-jb

The 2010 Defense Budget: All guns and no butter.

Oct 12, 2009 in Politics

The 2010 defense authorization bill has cut some high profile projects (corporate subsidies) and whittled the bill of goods and services down to $680.2 billion dollars (which is roughly $175 billion short of what the Baucus health plan would cost over ten years).

Some of this years cuts are listed here.

It’s too short of a list considering our current budget deficit but I like some of the talk:

“We can’t afford all that we as a nation want for defense,” Captain said. The cuts are the product of “a very professional and informed debate between the House and the Senate and the president’s staff about [what] we can’t afford.”

The authorization bill affirms Gates’ “desire to fund weapons development for the current and next wars, not the Cold War,” Captain said. “That’s important,” considering “the irregular nature and asymmetric threats” the United States has faced since the Vietnam War.

But lawmakers were also conscious of the need to protect endangered parts of the defense industrial base, including aerospace jobs, he said.*

(*Note to tea-baggers: SOCIALISM!!!)

There’s also a paragraph or two that should silence the chicken-littles who frequently lament the president’s supposed dovish foreign policy: (more…)

Cheney not feeling so cocky lately?

Oct 09, 2009 in Barack Obama, Torture, War on Terra

Obama has been collecting scalps in Pakistan, even avenging the death of Benazir Bhutto.

How can this be? We aren’t torturing anybody!

-jb

Friday night videos.

Oct 09, 2009 in Politics

My friend Neils from Holland was just telling me how Europeans will put a trailer hitch on anything regardless of how small. He was right!

It looks like a Ford Festiva with a failed head gasket but it could be a Yugo.

-mg

Rightwingers outraged American president wins Nobel Peace Prize.

Oct 09, 2009 in Politics

Just read the headline, but you know what they’re going to say. I mean, nobody has found the limits of who rightwingers want to invade, bomb, and kill, but we should listen very carefully to their opinions on a prize for peace.

-jb

UPDATE, THIRTY MINUTES LATER: Like clockwork. Why do they hate America?

UPDATE II: The Taliban and the GOP agree; Obama does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.

Franken: 1 Scumbag lawyers: Nill

Oct 08, 2009 in Politics

This is what good government is about; protecting those that can’t protect themselves.

Solar shingles.

Oct 07, 2009 in Politics

Sounds like a terrific idea to me. It also seems a heckuva lot more plausible than all of these rooftop gardening schemes. (I honestly don’t see the benefit in hauling thousands of pounds of dirt and water onto your roof, essentially jeopardizing the longevity of the structure, just to grow a few carrots and onions.) And judged from a national security perspective I think that some sort of federal subsidy for interested homeowners, even though it might keep prices artificially high, would be justified.

-mg

Here’s something we can all get behind!

Oct 07, 2009 in Politics

Bunker-busters being prepped for…???

I’m sure this will please the villagers and the winger bloggers alike since the only foreign policy action they seem to be able to wrap their brains around is ESCALATE THE VIOLENCE.

-mg

Red State values.

Oct 07, 2009 in Politics

If you thought that gang rape was something that Democrats and Republicans could both agree was a bad thing you’d be wrong. Thirty senators, all of them Republicans, voted against an amendment to the current DoD appropriations bill that would forbid defense contractors to require employees to sign mandatory arbitration clauses. The amendment was sponsored by senator Al Frankin who did so because of the case of Jamie Leigh Jones:

In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was gang-raped by her co-workers while she was working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad. She was detained in a shipping container for at least 24 hours without food, water, or a bed, and “warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.” (Jones was not an isolated case.) Jones was prevented from bringing charges in court against KBR because her employment contract stipulated that sexual assault allegations would only be heard in private arbitration.

Here’s a link to the roll call vote. I’m proud to say that both Iowa senators voted in favor of the amendment. Voters in states like Kentucky, Georgia, Arizona, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee and Wyoming have senators that both voted against it.

-mg

I am George Will and I like to get pwned.

Oct 06, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives

NEW BUZZ OBAMA IS A NARCISSIST HE USES “I” IN HIS SPEECHES…

less than George W. or Clinton. Dammit!

-jb

SNL Fact Check

Oct 05, 2009 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems

Fred Armisen may have done his funniest Obama skit Saturday night, in the way one might say, “I just had my best root canal.” It was good medicine, but a little ouchy-ouch. Obviously the mouth-breathing goons out there have taken some delight in the skit, but they forget the opening passage:

There are those on the right who are angry. They think that I’m turning this great country into something that resembles the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, but that’s just not the case,” said actor Fred Armisen, who plays Obama. “When you look at my record it’s very clear what I’ve done so far and that is — nothing. Nada. Almost one year and nothing to show for it.

Here’s another friendly tip, teabaggers: You can’t take glee in a skit that points out Obama hasn’t gotten much done, while you’re simultaneously screeching I AM A JEW IN 1939 LIBRULFASCISTSOCIALISMISM HE IS STALIN AND HITLER COMBINED!!!

The point of the skit is that liberals are the ones who have cause to be disappointed by Obama’s first nine months in office. The promises he made, the ones that got him elected, aren’t yet materializing in great number. Criticisms from the left make sense. Criticisms from the right sound like fruitbatty nutcake gibberish.

Politifact fact checks the skit and notes that a few of the promises are actually kept/in the works. It’s relatively easy to understand that health care reform isn’t going to happen overnight, especially when Obama got handed the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression with about two months warning before being elected. Obviously a lot of promises made before Fall ’08 presumed a somewhat better picture. It was still a wreckage of Bush policies and their results, but before the fiscal crisis loaded the wreckage with dynamite and turned it into shrapnel. And, for those with sharper memories, promises on Gitmo and Iraq came with dates that we haven’t reached yet.

Still, I understand a left-of-center person feeling a bit of diminished hope as Obama keeps stalling things like ending DADT and continuing Bush detention policies. But what the hell are those loonbag rightwingers jabbering about?

-jb

The fraudulent effort to pretend Republicans have a plan.

Oct 05, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives, Health Care

They have some crappy bills their leaders don’t care about, because if Democrats incorporated them, the GOP would still vote “no.” And then their whole goddamn ruse would be exposed.

It’s about that simple. Had McCain won, health care reform wouldn’t be on the table at all. And the dead would continue piling up, while America got sicker and more broke (Grammar correction thanks to Group 2012, his only useful offering of the day/week/month/year) every day.

-jb

The Bible is just too darn liberal.

Oct 05, 2009 in Politics

And the wingers at Conservapedia are just the people to fix it.

Rightwingers across the land, hear ye, hear ME: Take a stand against this, or…

…well, shit, you already jumped the shark with Sarah Palin, but you’re definitely going to Hell. And they won’t let you bring your Free Market Principles Bible Utilizing Powerful Conservative Terms And Avoiding Liberal Wordiness.

-jb

Oh God.

Oct 04, 2009 in Politics

I’m here to report that the Naga Jolokia is a very hot pepper. In fact, it’s grueling. I wouldn’t recommend ingesting a great deal unless you know what you’re getting yourself into. I just harvested these today and sadly most of the crop is still green because of the crazy weather we’ve had this summer. Unfortunately they’re probably going to stay that way. I still have plenty of other varieties if anyone in the Eastern Iowa area is interested. I’d hate to see them go to waste.

-mg

More adventures in mock outrage.

Oct 01, 2009 in Clueless Conservatives

Tom Tomorrow nails it.

-jb

Watch them squeal.

Oct 01, 2009 in Politics

Republicans sure like to talk tough but when you push back just a little bit they scream like little girls with skinned knees:

The Republican health care plan is this; obstruct anything and everything that the Democratic Congress puts forward. That’s why this whole bipartisanship game was a joke to begin with. Republicans have absolutely no intention of changing the status quo and only see health care legislation as an opportunity to see if they could get the Red Scare Wurlitzer to play one last 45. I’m very happy that Rep. Grayson has vocalized what a lot of people in this country have been thinking, that Republicans are a bunch of petulant children who aren’t serious about health care reform and that it’s going to take adults to get the job done.

Got an answer for me?

Oct 01, 2009 in Politics

Why is the guy who served his wife with divorce papers when she was recovering from cancer surgery always on my television? And isn’t this the same guy who was having an affair with a staffer while he was voraciously pursuing impeachment of Clinton?

-mg