Archive for May, 2010

Oil-eating microbes.

May 31, 2010 in Politics

There’s some hope but this is a giant mess that may take longer to sort out than we may have patience for.

Of course, nothing like this will ever happen again. As long as we only have a spill like this every couple hundred years, the ocean will bounce back just fine.

-hw

IPhone diddling…

May 30, 2010 in Politics

Some people thought electing Barack Obama would allow them to go home thinking, “Well, work’s done!” Who exactly said to themselves, “If there’s any problems we’ll just hand control back to the Republicans…”? The only lesson of the past year and a half is that forty Republican Senators is about fifteen too many. A solid Democrat majority who could actually pass the kind of laws necessary to rebuild the country is long past the point where it would be the sensible thing to do. Now it’s mandatory. The GOP is drunk on the same concoction of Limbaugh stew. They’ve responded to the collapse of Republican governing in the last decade by doubling down and chowing down more crazy nuggets.

But I am continually amazed at the staggering madness of which humans are capable. If we were rational creatures we wouldn’t be so wrought with misery.

-hw

P.S.

May 30, 2010 in Politics

Excruciating back injury last weekend, been spending my spare time on my back in a Percoset fog. I’m getting better, was even able to play Wii frisbee golf yesterday (some booze helped numb my senses a bit), but still limping around like an old bastard, which I’d really like to avoid becoming at 36…

-hw

One who lived.

May 30, 2010 in Culture

I’m grateful I had the impulse to watch Easy Rider for the first time ever just two weeks ago. Dennis Hopper’s cancer hadn’t even occurred to me, it just stood out as a classic film I’d missed, so I watched it and marveled at what a genuinely great film it was. Hopper was one of those talents who never had to try to be great.

-hw

Make yourselves useful.

May 27, 2010 in Politics

Help out one of my favorite bookstores.

Somebody in a suit needs to go to jail.

May 23, 2010 in Politics

The first thing surviving members of the oil rig crew were treated to? Being locked in a room with a bunch of corporate lawyers and not allowed to leave or contact anybody until they signed affidavits saying they weren’t hurt. The lawyers for Transocean were kind enough to write the statements for them.

I wonder…given the negligible punishment of those behind the abuses at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo (George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, David Addington, John Yoo, etc.), is corporate power trying to test out a power grab here?

After all, according to our new libertarian saviors, corporations just need us to leave them alone so they can complete their Project to Make Life Better for Everyone (which masquerades under the guise of a profit-mongering amoral gang of bloodsuckers). Imprisoning workers until they sign the necessary documents to protect that corporation in court is simple self-interest. The only thing is, if you’re a libertarian, that statement is a defense, not a condemnation.

I’ve always considered myself more of a libertarian than most purported libertarians, because I’m against government and corporate tyranny. They always drop the ball and surrender to the faceless transnational immortals who have sunk their fingers so deeply into the gears of power that even a Democratic administration and Congress with an outraged public cannot jar them loose.

Perhaps now liberal worries about mercenary corporations like Blackwater/Xe will seem more urgent? Can you imagine some global corporation licensed to perform raids in American homes similar to police drug raids?

The libertarian has a massive blindspot, so focused is he/she on their elusive principles, a null zone wide enough to fit through all the evils of the world, as long as they bear a trademark symbol instead of a flag.

-hw

Unedited Palin Interview.

May 23, 2010 in Politics

Raw footage from the Katie Couric interview:

-mg

More pathetic liberal demagoguery.

May 20, 2010 in Politics

Ever notice how liberal whackos call you a bigot for referring to Islam as a 7th century death cult coughed up by a psychotic pedophile instead of actually engaging in honest debate?

Ugh…

May 20, 2010 in Politics

This guy is in charge of consumer regulatory reform.

“I’ve never used an ATM, so I don’t know what the fees are,” Nelson said, adding that he gets his cash from bank tellers, just not automatic ones. “It’s true, I don’t know how to use one.” “But I could learn how to do it just like I’ve…I swipe to get my own gas, buy groceries. I know about the holograms.”

Seriously, I don’t know why some of these guys don’t still wear top hats and monocles.

Congrats to Sestak, best wishes to Halter.

May 19, 2010 in Politics

It was awful nice of Arlen Specter to give Democrats that 60th vote on HCR in hopes of getting support from the party in his re-election bid, and it was good looking-out for Obama and the gang to give Arlen the backing that was part of the original deal.

That’s all great, but the primaries are where voters get to have their input. And the real Democrat, Joe Sestak, won. No hard feelings, Arlen, except for the 28 years you spent being a Republican. Certainly nobody can blame you for jumping ship, as the GOP was leaving all non-radicals behind. You did everything right, but that doesn’t mean Democrats have to keep electing you.

And in Arkansas, public-option killing Blanche Lincoln, who didn’t act out of conviction but out of cowardice, is facing a run-off (and already behind) against Bill Halter. Hating on the public option didn’t gain her a single vote, and had she supported it she would have faced her Republican opponent with full party support.

Unlike the Republicans, who are seeking to replace anybody sane with jabbering idiots like Rand Paul, the Democrats are simply asking that their representatives actually be Democrats with some semblance of genuine conviction. Triangulating cowards provide a few votes but always bend and break as soon as something important to Democrats comes along, immediately flocking to the Republican aisle as soon as the rightwingers act outraged about something (tip: they’re always “outraged,” yet shockingly easy to take down in argument if you don’t get scared off).

Democrats enjoy a platform that is ridiculously middle-of-the-road and uncontroversial, very much targeted at things voters like. They enjoy opponents who have fallen so far off their rockers they’ve crushed themselves underneath, babbling cynics who say words like “people” and “Constitution” but who in reality sell nothing more than partisan obstruction and the hopeful return of the same broken policies and misplaced priorities that put America in the ditch in the first place.

Any Democrat running this November should be secretly grinning at the prospect of taking on a Republican. They also shouldn’t be looking for Obama to inject some artificial stimulants into their race, they should be looking to campaign for Obama, selling the strengths of his first two years instead of running scared from Republican blathering about “socialism.” Obama, of course, hasn’t been the liberal dream president, but he’s been a pretty damn effective center-left guy who’s built a good case for any general election showdown against Republicans. Even when Obama doesn’t bring down the hammer on Wall Street hard enough, you’ve still got Republicans diving on grenades for Wall Street like the loyal elite servants they are.

Here’s hoping Halter wins, and then he and Sestak and a horde of other Democrats fuckin’ take it to the Republicans with a vengeance this fall. There is no other way.

-hw

They’re coming to take your guns away…

May 17, 2010 in Politics

…even when they’re not:

Having a Big Government boogeyman validates who they are so they’re going to believe what they want to believe regardless of whether or not it’s true. And besides, when a person is to the point where they’re stock-piling weapons in anticipation of The Big Showdown they’re obviously too emotionally crippled to even try to reason with. Pointing out that nobody is coming to take their guns away just proves to them that you’re an out of touch liberal elitist so why bother?

Say less.

May 17, 2010 in Politics

‘Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.’

-Marcus Aurelius, via Sullivan. The Socratic seminar Sullivan constructs on his site is the real draw. The congregation of subtle distinctions is deeply instructive.

-hw

Fence erected against free thought in Israel.

May 16, 2010 in Politics

Noam Chomsky, one of the greatest among scholars who has done nothing more than practice sane and sensible free speech within the civil public realm in distinguished fashion for over four decades, is barred from entering Israel. This is a man who grew up on and extolls the Israeli kibbutzes he grew up in as a child, declaring them his ideal model for government. A man who has simply stood and pointed firmly at the occupation of Palestine without wavering morally.

Only those who think in black and white will find Chomsky an enemy. And many people, including most American Jews, are slowly coming around to what he’s been talking about. Israel has been settling Palestine, as a matter of official government policy, for years. Tax breaks and advertisements lure citizens to these settlements, which then act as seeds for the Greater Israel. Once somebody’s settled, then you’ve got to let their kids build houses too, no?

If Israel is going to cease and desist its customary practice of having a field for debate more open that America’s (it’s harder to call other Jewish folks anti-semites…), then it’s a sad moment for a place that’s supposed to symbolize the greatest aspirations of all men. Israel is supposed to be the country where Jewish people could simply congregate and create their own society, a real nation built by philosopher kings as a clinic on Western Liberal Democracy, a country all people, especially liberals, could be proud of. Inside the borders it was a smashing success. Today, they tripped up big time.

-hw

Quote of the day.

May 14, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives

Michael Kinsley usually bores me, but he punctures the Tea Party bubble quite ably today:

I think a movement labeling itself patriotic should have some obligation to demonstrate patriotism in a way other than demanding a tax cut.

Kinsley gets one thing wrong. He says the Tea Partiers came “out of nowhere.” Wrong, Kinsley. They’re Republicans, goaded on by the Republican Channel, Fox News. Remember that 20 percent who never let go of Bush all eight years? Where do you think they went? They are the source for most of these vapid whiny jackasses. But faced with complete destruction of the GOP brand, these guys did what they had to do: slap a new name on the same old shit. The reason they’re so fuzzy and vague on actual policy prescriptions is because the more they say about policy, the more obvious it is they’re just the same old Republican theatrics: Cut taxes, and pretend cutting a few billion in earmarks will save the republic. They’re against legal abortion, hate the thought of doing anything about global warming, and fetishize guns. They’re the biggest lump of useless fuckers in America when it comes to doing anything about the actual problems we face, but gosh darnit, they’ve decided Sarah Palin will solve their biggest problem: not seeing enough people as utterly dimwitted as themselves in office. While America faces existentialist threats, the Tea Partiers think our greatest problem is lacking a pandering know-nothing gold-digger in the world’s most powerful job.

Where the teabaggers have managed to aim their “big government” ire, it’s been at the government trying to save people from the voracious rape of our national prosperity by global corporations who steadily siphon away wealth from the middle class in order to go to the casino we call Wall St. and turn millions into billions. After decades of Republican rhetoric about regulations, our country is falling apart right and left, and every time we try to do something about it, a Tea Partying dipstick is moaning about Hitler.

I really can’t think of the teabaggers as anything other than what Kinsley describes them as: a bunch of narcissistic crybabies who aren’t really interested in solving our country’s problems. They just know they’re pissed because a Democrat is in office and come Hell or high (oily) water, somebody’s gonna be held responsible for their insecurities.

-hw

Epic destruction.

May 13, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Back in Black – Glenn Beck’s Nazi Tourette’s
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Too bad he couldn’t include Michelle Bachman’s latest: Financial reform = MUSSOLINI!

-hw

Ah, the humanity.

May 12, 2010 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Glenn Greenwald, teh gay

And so it all comes to an end. Elena Kagan is not gay.

But what a sad hell-wrought spectacle it was getting there. Christianist rightwingers ready to denounce her for nothing other than this perceived homosexuality. Andrew Sullivan going nuclear over not being able to get a straight (no pun intended) answer when he had already received one from the WH (although it was a bit of a homophobic response itself, describing an insinuation of homosexuality as a “charge” when right-thinking people know it is no crime). In Andrew’s defense, he was merely being a pit bull for the sake of getting a satisfying answer, much like he has been with Sarah Palin and her multitude of neverending fibs, but for a man with such a supposedly “conservative” temperament he might consider displaying one once in awhile. Liberals ready to champion her as a stealth candidate for gay rights. Glenn Greenwald not giving a damn about any of it and ready to slam her as another Obama-ite who be truly Bush-lite…

Chroniclers of human folly that we are, I found the best approach to be hanging back awhile and absorbing a bit more information before spouting off with an intemperate mouth. Thus, Iowa Liberal is a blog not updated frequently, but rather when the time is right. Via this path do we claim elegance…

In all that I have seen, the best critique I’ve seen of Kagan actually belongs to David Brooks, who makes the best use of his ability to be right twice a day. In her steely resolve to never say or do anything to peeve anybody, throughout a career somehow designed to make her an ideal candidate for the Supreme Court, she has disappointed everybody.

But the time to bitch about it is over. The noise that needed to be made about her was already made, and Obama went for her anyway. The only thing left to do is cross our fingers and watch the decisions pass, and wonder why conservatives get to nominate any goddamn nutter they please while liberals have to constantly backpedal and apologize and tread water within the accepted rightwinger buoys.

For we have a court that is no longer for the people, but for the powerful, stacked by authoritarian “conservatives” who seem to be motivated by political grudges and the bleatings of Rush Limbaugh more than anything contained within the Constitution. Elena Kagan can have no higher aspiration than to stem the tide and hold ground against the attacks on our civil liberties that are certain to come from the cabal of activist judges named Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito, along with their oft-willing dupe Kennedy. If Obama could not nominate a real liberal progressive for an essentially placeholder position, when can we ever expect it?

-hw

Wet blanket in 3, 2, 1…

May 11, 2010 in Politics

I’m awaiting the inevitable explanation that the bill to audit the Fed is actually a toothless, steaming pile that wont amount to anything. How else could you explain ninety six yes votes?

-mg

Capitalism!

May 10, 2010 in Politics

Dow up 4 quadrillion because mom and dad gave Little Johnny Bankster a fresh roll of quarters to go blow on the skee-ball machines at Alladin’s Castle. 500 tickets gets you a Garfield eraser and a house in the Hamptons!

-mg

R.I.P. U.S.A

May 10, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Gun Control

RIP USA

Another nail has been driven into the casket of freedom:

BATON ROUGE, La. (RNS) A bill that would have allowed people to carry concealed weapons to their places of worship died in the Louisiana House on Thursday (May 6).

Lawmakers voted 45-39 for the bill, eight votes short of what is needed to get a bill through the lower chamber.

Rep. Henry Burns, a Republican, said he will bring the bill back for reconsideration.

This is why elections matter, folks.

-mg

I had no idea.

May 09, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Journamalism

Somewhere, somebody still cares what Rudy Giuliani thinks about terrorism.

Not sure why the Huffington Post finds stories of old Bush/Cheney disciples calling Obama “weak on terror” so newsworthy. Shouldn’t “news” contain some element of newness?

-hw

IOIYACC

May 09, 2010 in Politics

The short of it: A conservative, anti-gay Christian group receives federal grant dollars and the ACLU is investigating.

But hey, the IFPC is doing God’s work so it’s all good. What’s that Bible quote? “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” etc.? Well now those dollars go to the same place (eventually). You have to appreciate that kind of efficiency.

-JB Mpls.

What money buys you.

May 07, 2010 in Politics

A near lock on Republicans and a fair chunk of Democrats. Senate votes 60-33 against breaking up the big banks that nearly destroyed our economy after they finished putting on some kabuki theater about how outraged they were. Oh, they were so livid, they threatened to give the banks SUCH a pinch…

And next time they’ll really mean it.

Meanwhile, we’ll get cornholed and dipshit Republicans will inform us that government is the problem. It is, because it doesn’t do its job when the time is right. DC is a subsidiary of Wall St. and the big banks.
The party that’s supposed to actually be on our side is hopelessly compromised (you can see the roll call here…I was only surprised by Kerry’s name, and just barely), and the other one is gleefully corrupt.

But hey, we all know socialism is the problem, right? Better vote out the guys who are actually trying to do something and stick in some solution-less Tea Party fuckwits

-hw

Breaking news: Sarah Palin said something stupid.

May 05, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives

It’s amazing Republicans have built up so many defenses to such indefensible stupidity, to the point where they admire her more the stupider she sounds.

I predict mostly radio silence on this one. Just firm those lips, teabaggers, and keep marching for FREEDOMGOUSAROCKSCONSTITIONCONSTITUTION (ZOMGWEDIDN’TTORTURESUVBOMBER!!!)

-hw

P.S. Todd Palin worked for BP for 18 years. But the layers of stupid are endless, click that link…

Will I ever tire of hypocritical homophobes?

May 04, 2010 in teh gay

No!

On April 13, the “rent boy” (whom we’ll call Lucien) arrived at Miami International Airport on Iberian Airlines Flight 6123, after a ten-day, fully subsidized trip to Europe. He was soon followed out of customs by an old man with an atavistic mustache and a desperate blond comb-over, pushing an overburdened baggage cart.

That man was George Alan Rekers, of North Miami — the callboy’s client and, as it happens, one of America’s most prominent anti-gay activists. Rekers, a Baptist minister who is a leading scholar for the Christian right, left the terminal with his gay escort, looking a bit discomfited when a picture of the two was snapped with a hot-pink digital camera…

If you remember, we had a good time laughing at Ray Ashburn and I stated then that I was henceforth going to assume that every outspokenly anti-gay member of society was a closet homosexual and that was just two months ago. It might not be as reliable as scientific axioms but it’s damn close. And besides, Rekers is high profile but I’m keeping my hopes up for the day Fred Phelps is exposed as a sodomite.

-mg

h/t John Cole

Goldberg shows how much he knows about basic economic principles.

May 04, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives

That is to say: absolutely nothing.

A word of advice for Goldberg: steer clear of any future venue that requires you to formulate and defend a coherent argument and stick to what you’re good at; writing recycled, mealy-mouthed ideological pieces that you can sell to the rubes at the Fort Dodge Messenger. Unable to carry his own weight, Jonah demonstrates David Frum’s point perfectly in this “debate” on bloggingheads.tv because like all contemporary “conservative” assessments of Obama and Democratic Party policy, it consists of nothing but a jumbled up pile of rhetorical nonsense that can’t even be explained by those who speak it. Sure, the rhetoric may sell a lot of books to the dwindling numbers of the tribe that can still be appealed to by employing worn out Southern Strategy tropes and anti-government slogans but that’s hardly a valid reason to avoid owning up to your own intellectual failures. When asked, Goldberg denies that he thinks Obama is a Marxist, denies that a majority of “conservatives” believe just that (which is preposterous), claims that Obama is a socialist and then when pressed is unable to explain why. After some dressing down by Frum he then goes on to say that he’s actually trying to deflate some of the animosity (or “radioactivity” as he puts it) surrounding the term. That’s a pretty interesting claim coming from somebody who has just demonstrated that they don’t understand the term socialist beyond using it as an epithet.

-mg

Understatement of the year.

May 04, 2010 in Politics

Waiting for this to sink in:

…conservative efforts to gut governance tend to result in horrible disasters…

Of course, the WSJ reports that additional safeguards were waived by Bush administration regulators because of concerns about “cost.”

-hw

How fares Israel?

May 03, 2010 in Israel

I’m just gonna check out for forty years and see what happens with Israel when I’m so old that I won’t even want Viagra.

Unless somebody out there has an idea how Israel’s story will end well. It seems to me that in our era of surrendering to irrationality, this sullen prognostication will win. Human beings who mix religion and geopolitics simply don’t inspire me to feel optimistic.

-hw

Competing jackasses.

May 03, 2010 in Politics

I don’t know if Bill Maher was embarrassed, but a short exchange between Chris Matthews and Ross Douthat turned out into a clustercuss on this weekend’s show. While discussing the appeal of offshore windfarms vs. an ocean covered in black oil, Ross tried to be a big douchebag by pointing out, with no follow-up, that IT WAS TEDDY KENNEDY WHO FOUGHT AGAINST THOSE WIND FARMS IN HIS STATE. If there was a point other than to try making some partisan gotcha, I don’t know what it was, because Ross just sat there and beamed, as if his column in the NYT made him somewhat more respectable despite such a cheesy performance (although he was mostly sane throughout the hour).

Chris Matthews just wasn’t having it though, and had to make sure everybody thought he was a bigger jackass. Instead of making an obvious point that Democrats are generally on the side of clean energy and that the battle would be much easier if Republicans weren’t reliably against it, he had to go all WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE SHOTS AT A DEAD SENATOR NOW???

Upon which everybody ganged up on Chris and delivered rightful kicks and blows for pretending that a politician is above criticism of his policy votes because he passed away.

Bill Maher, however, had to go drop the ball himself. Instead of making a fair point about how Ross was at least going after Kennedy’s policy vote, Maher had to make the point that Kennedy is able to be criticized by REMINDING US ALL WHAT HAPPENED AT CHAPPAQUIDDICK.

That trifecta of stupidity just about ruined the episode, but once everybody’s brains returned to their skulls after a glorious trip to their asses, it made a pretty good show.

New Rule: Just because somebody next to you starts acting like an idiot doesn’t mean you have to as well.

-hw

Rush told me it’ll be fine.

May 02, 2010 in Politics

See, this is why we need tort reform. Why should BP have to put up with the petty concerns of these whiny coastal residents and business owners?

-mg