Archive for November, 2010

New subfloor and a host of other headaches

Nov 21, 2010 in Politics

Whoever built the addition on the house cut every corner possible. Not only is it poorly heated (the ducts run through a dirt crawlspace) it’s poorly insulated. The subfloor consists of 1/2 inch OSB and that was the only barrier between the living room space and the frozen Iowa earth below. The previous owners also sealed off the entry to the crawlspace so insulation between the joists would require sawing an access hole in the old flooring. With that in mind we opted for a quarter inch of foam underlayment with another layer of sheathing screwed down on top of it.

Fake Real American alert.

Nov 15, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives

Over at CPST, DNW told a weird anecdote about how he was watching a film by French director Francois Truffaut, and he noticed something peculiar. An extra was holding an axe wrong! Thus, it had to be, that the socialist French director Truffaut and all the Frenchies on set were clueless liberals who were out of touch with real working class folks.

Heh. So anyway, Sarah Palin apparently can’t shoot or fish properly. I mean, c’mon…pointing a shotgun at other humans? Man, she could pull a Dick Cheney, and whoever got shot would have to apologize to her. REAL MERKINS DON’T STEP IN FRONT OF A REPUBLICAN HOLDING A GUN!

Republicans use crap like this to try to turn politics into a culture game. Hey, Republicans may be responsible for our massive deficits and economic collapse, and they may have no solutions, but they shoot, and they hunt, and they go to church, and they wear suits, and they don’t swear, and they know how to build a porch, etc. etc. etc. Until they don’t, and then it doesn’t matter, because they’re on the side of those who do. And it doesn’t matter if liberals do those things too, because they’re crazy for not being Republicans, because Republicans shoot, hunt, go to church, etc. It’s really a great recipe for selling tax cuts for the wealthy, polluting the earth, and campaigning against health care for all Americans. Hey, I just had a kid, it’s time to start voting Republican! It’s bullshit, and if you don’t see the con, you’ll get conned.

-hw

I balanced the budget.

Nov 15, 2010 in Deficit, Economy

Here’s my take: 69% tax increases, 31% spending cuts.

It’s kind of reassuring knowing that with some relatively modest tweaks the deficit situation is solvable. Of course, we live in a political environment where Republicans gleefully campaign promising explicit tax cuts and vague spending cuts, telling voters they can have something for nothing. My position is that most spending programs can be altered but are essentially popular and desired by the public, and thus should be paid for. It’s something for something, and it balances out, doesn’t it? Don’t believe me, go look for yourself.

-hw

UPDATE: This is a good look at the kind of things missing from the calculator.

They keep kicking the can, and we keep chasing it.

Nov 15, 2010 in Health Care, Politics

Wonder why Democrats passed a health care reform bill based on Republican ideas and Republicans ran against it as tyranny? Ezra provides a look back on Democrat efforts to cover all Americans since Truman:

In other words, Democrats have been willing to adopt Republican ideas if doing so meant covering everybody (or nearly everybody), while Republicans were willing to abandon Republican ideas if sticking by them meant compromising with the Democrats.

Better move to the right, President Obama!

-hw

Greetings from the Upper Peninsula

Nov 13, 2010 in Politics

Fishing Little Bay de Noc with some friends this week. The weather’s been kinda rough but the fishing has been phenomenal. I think the trapper hat is the key to success.

Break those Jew eggs before they hatch!

Nov 12, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives

A look at Glenn Beck’s anti-Semitic tirade against George Soros here. Of course, Beck only perpetuates most of the vilification that has been directed at George Soros by the right over the years. Hey, they aren’t saying it’s all the Jews’ fault…just this Jew!

-hw

Why Palin will never be president. Volume 56,711

Nov 10, 2010 in Politics

I thought that the Fed writing itself a check for a trillion dollars would be scrupulously ignored by the usual band of free market theologians just as they did with TARP and the take-overs of AIG and GM (IOKIYAR) but Red State pinup girl Sarah Palin couldn’t let an opportunity to use the words “Keynesian” and “bad” in the same canned tirade go to waste:

“We shouldn’t be playing around with inflation,” Palin, who is widely seen as a prospective 2012 Republican presidential candidate, said in remarks prepared for a Monday speech in Phoenix.”We don’t want temporary, artificial economic growth bought at the expense of permanently higher inflation, which will erode the value of our incomes and our savings. We want a stable dollar combined with real economic reform. It’s the only way we can get our economy back on the right track.”

What does that even mean, anyway?

Inflation is the least of our worries right now and there’s no sign that it’s going to be an issue in the future. That is unless you’re a paid shill for Goldline or some other house of ill repute looking to cash in on the paranoia of rubes.

And what’s with the Keynes bashing by all of the mouth breathers? Bernanke is as much of an adherent to Milton Friedman as he is Maynard Keynes. The idea of “quantitative easing” by the Fed is pure Friedman: shrinking interest rates even further by buying back its own government issued bonds so characterizing Bernanke as this Kool-Aid drunk, pump-primer is at odds with reality. The stimulus package was Keynesianism. QE is all Friedman.

All is not lost though. Even true-believers like Rand Paul do 180 degree turnarounds when they get into the big chair. I just noticed today that he’s actually come out in defense of congressional earmarks. This is the party that’s supposed to make serious budget decisions?

-mg

I’m honored.

Nov 05, 2010 in Politics

Dana devotes an entire post to highlighting my thrashing of the paper tiger DNW over his insistence that godless lefties somehow regard humans as nothing more than “organisms,” and thus he can talk about us that way. Plus he says we don’t believe in inherent human rights.

I’ve met a lot of these lefty American “organisms,” and they have a lot more humanity than this guy. Anyway, he wants it to be strictly about my beliefs instead of his so he could attack without needing to defend, and I am happy to oblige him. For I sit astride a fortress, built brick by brick over the years, already attacked by far weightier opponents than he, and since fortified.

-hw

Wait, health care reform is indefensible???

Nov 05, 2010 in Clueless Conservatives, Health Care, Politics

If anybody has been listening to Mitch McConnel ever, but more specifically since the election, it should be clear that McConnell is such a practiced liar that he would regard anybody who even expected him to tell the truth as naive. He says what he believes will serve his interests, and he will not be bothered by truthfulness.
Already McConnell admitted he pulled a good one by telling Republicans that he will get the “indefensible” health care bill repealed as soon as he gets a Republican Senate and President too.

But wait, what? Indefensible? What? I seem to recall shortly before HCR was passed Obama taking down a room full of Republicans on the issue, but furthermore, I’ve yet to hear what is so wrong about the HCR bill that Obama ran on passing in 2008.

I mean, I know the leftist problem with it: it’s not single payer, it doesn’t have a public option, negotiating prices is ruled out…concessions to business, to the right, to the “center.” But Republicans knew a successful HCR would be a potential death knell for them and a huge success for Obama. As Senator Jim DeMint urged, Republicans had to make HCR his “Waterloo.”

Well, they failed to do that legislatively. But dampened lefty enthusiasm left HCR with few avid defenders, so Republicans just kept up the intense assault and now have supposed 48% support for repeal among those who voted this week.

Yet the only thing Republicans have really rested their case on is the one part of HCR that doesn’t have majority support (surprise, people like all the good things it does), the individual mandate.

You know, that Republican idea from Heritage and Mitt Romney, that delivers customers to the insurance companies and allows them to stay afloat while covering those with pre-existing conditions.

So if you unplug the mandate, then all you get is insurance premiums skyrocketing even more than they did during the Bush years.

Republicans have attempted to sidestep this by going after the liberty angle. Because you’re a slave to the state if you get taxed extra for being irresponsible and not signing up for health insurance.

Um, yeah.

Of course, the way discourse in the media goes, leftist concerns don’t matter, and whatever Republicans say, no matter how extreme or nuts, must be taken very seriously. And so it goes that without many on the left really able to get super-excited by a super-compromised version of what they wanted, the anti-compromise right is getting close to establishing the meme that HCR is “indefensible.”

Oh, yeah, and Republicans love to point out that there were cuts to Medicare as part of the reform. Yeah, those spending-cutting fiscally responsible Republicans…

Against the squawking from the right, HCR is easily defensible. And considering the state of health care as it is, it is absolutely defensible, in fact it was mandatory.

I’m going to stand this ground, and break every Republican who tries to claim McConnell was remotely truthful. It is his claim that is indefensible, and I issue the challenge now.

Of course, right-wingers know they visit this site only to meet their doom, so don’t expect many challenges. Their attacks are to be spammed in venues where they think it can find purchase.

That’s what people who can’t make a case do.

-hw

Class warfare.

Nov 05, 2010 in Politics

That’s what they call it when you fight back. Meanwhile, they strip everything away from you:

It hasn’t gotten a lot of press, but a case involving AT&T that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court next week has sweeping ramifications for potentially millions of consumers.

If a majority of the nine justices vote the telecom giant’s way, any business that issues a contract to customers — such as for credit cards, cellphones or cable TV — would be able to prevent them from joining class-action lawsuits.

This would take away in such cases arguably the most powerful legal tool available to the little guy, particularly in cases involving relatively small amounts of money. Class-action suits allow plaintiffs to band together in seeking compensation or redress, thus giving substantially more heft to their claims.

Oh, I’m sure AT&T has crafted some lovely contracts, and hey, if you don’t want to sign it, you don’t have to. This kind of logic appeals innately to the right, who are hostile to anything that empowers an individual to resist corporate tyranny and abuse. See, if it’s private, it’s not tyranny. So any rigging of the game that corporations and moneyed interests can get away with, any amount of control they wish to attain over your life, it’s all excused. You’ll sign your life away in that contract, and you’ll take what the free market gives you, even if it’s chains.

I’m an actual libertarian because I am wary of tyranny from either public or private forces. I don’t discriminate that way.

Yet the Roberts court has been an utter enemy of the people, scoffing at anything they would do, any way they could unite to resist the tyranny of money. So now we have to wonder if the ability of citizens to join together to sue a giant entity is at threat. Or should I say the liberty of citizens to unite? Of course, Republicans just like to say the word, “freedom.” When it comes down to it, they are in complete subservience to private masters, and far too intrusive in our lives due to their overwhelming “social conservatism.” Should this activist Roberts court strip away the rights of citizens to unite to seek redress for their grievances, freedom will suffer a great loss.

-hw

It’s funny how…

Nov 01, 2010 in Election crap

…this election is historically supposed to go this way, following a trend going back to the mid-nineteenth century, but nobody can really take that to heart. Me included. Because this election has been a shell game. The Republicans started campaigning on Jan. 20th, 2009, and couldn’t wait to pin the economy on Obama. Absolutely every single thing he did to help the country was derided simply for being government action.

I mean, you can see here the genuine conservative position before the stimulus:

I honestly think — and remember, I’m in the construction industry — that we’d probably be better off doing absolutely nothing. Let the economy adjust, as the economic actors in the United States take their individual economic decisions concerning what’s right for them. There will be pain, but the economy will recover.

So the Republicans made their position fairly clear: Since doing anything is bad, everything Obama does is bad. Now all we have to look forward to is them stepping into the House and doing nothing. Well, nothing except issue subpoenas for witch-hunts and spend two more years trying to fight anything and everything President Obama and the Democrats, all legitimately elected and likely to still control the Senate, want to do.

But in some little way, I kind of wish Dana had gotten what he wanted the past two years: Nothing. “There will be pain, but the economy will recover.” Would it have recovered by Nov. 2nd, 2010? It would be so amazing to be able to watch these two little competing versions of pre-history play out. I bemoan that the world was not able to watch the Republican wipeout in all its glory.

But so we have it. Obama and the Democrats did most everything they could to undo the damage of the Bush years, and have been pinned with the blame for not delivering a full recovery in two years. Or it didn’t matter and the Republicans were going to gain seats in 2010 regardless of what happened. Either way, onwards we go…

-hw

One more day of deficits mattering.

Nov 01, 2010 in Politics

Come tomorrow the Tea Party “phenomenon” will become the biggest nothing in American political history once it becomes obvious to everyone what detractors have been saying all along; that for all the talk about deficits and lamenting the specter of Big Government, Tea Partiers have absolutely no intention of holding their elected representatives accountable to their stated principles if it impacts their easy-flow, Medicare lifestyles. Once the pork starts flowing back into the pockets of Republican Party constituents the mad-as-hell contingent will go back to feeding at the Bonanza buffet line.