Sunday, December 27, 2009

Many on the left have been bemoaning the passage of the Senate health care bill, believing it has been gutted to the point where if anything it has become more of a Christmas gift to insurance companies, therefore better to sink it.

While there is much truth in this sentiment, the many positives in the bill have been seemingly tossed by the wayside, receiving little if any well-deserved attention. Ezra Klein and Kevin Drum have both done yeoman's work in their efforts to highlight many of the bill's pluses.

A key point Kevin makes is this imperfect attempt at reform is a move forward and essentially lays a foundation on which to build, to years down the road not just modify what is in need of fixing, but to also pass measures that compliment existing policy in the bill. Before you know it, a once severely compromised bill "matures" into an increasingly stronger bedrock of reform -- much like how coral serves as the foundational base of a reef. If not for the coral, all that follows in terms of growth and life forms taking hold would be impossible.

If anything, we should look at this bill as a first salvo or shot across the bow. It serves as a tipping point that could set the stage for several additional reform initiatives to come in the future. Looking back, we could one day attribute this bill as that which got the ball rolling. After all, civil rights reform or environmental progress did not come about overnight, with the passage of one comprehensive piece of legislation. It took several steps and much political debate and fights over years to achieve gradual, but meaningful, change. We should expect the same with health care.

In effect, with this bill insurance players may breathe a sigh of relief -- but going forward the extremely favorable terms they've been accustomed to should only get increasingly tougher. Like "peak oil," conditions have likely crested for these companies and their time of unfettered dominance is over. In exchange, we should finally get the health care system we not only deserve, but one that won't bankrupt us. It won't happen next year, or in 2011 for that matter, yet over time it will happen and this bill serves as a crucial starting point.

Happy Holidays & New Year!
WTF? In his annual hot-air fest of recognizing those individuals who were especially courageous during the year, Joe Klein awards a Teddy to -- wait for it -- David Frum. Yes, the once strident right-wing hack who is another wingnut who (supposedly) finally saw the light, the err of his ways, and has spent time trying to make amends by wishing his party would be less obstinate and unreasonable.

That takes courage? Are you kidding me?

And Frum doesn't sound like the sober-minded convert here....

But then maybe the award has something to do with this -- "The Sunshine Boys" are looking quite chummy....

Monday, December 21, 2009

I more/less agree with Kevin. After all the clamoring and drama concerning heath care reform, it won’t amount to squat for the 2010 elections.

The bill will pass and it will likely be forgotten within several weeks. It won't mean much for a few years and the media will have suffered from HC fatigue and look to move on. Tea baggers were not going to vote for Dems anyway, and upset liberals will eventually come to their senses.

Moderates and independents – who matter most during election years – will be influenced by issues other than health care. Perhaps Obama and the Dems know this, which in part is why get HC passed and done with sooner. The key will be what issues surface in the next several months that become the driving force re 2010 elections. But it won’t likely be health care.

It’ll be interesting to see which party is able to best manage the message re which issue(s) does rise to the top....

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thank you Think Progress for today's GOP Hypocrisy Moment.

John McCain: "I’ve been around here 20-some years. First time I’ve ever seen a member denied an extra minute or two to finish his remarks."

Flashback to 2002:
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator’s time has expired.

Mr. DAYTON. I ask for unanimous consent that I have 30 seconds more to finish my remarks.

Mr. McCAIN. I object.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thanks to Kevin Drum, I'm just getting around to this doozy from Jonah Goldberg. Goldberg attempts to make the case the uber-rich are overburdened by pointing out that on an absolute basis the bottom 95% of income earners have paid 1/3 less in taxes, versus a doubling by the top 1% of income earners.

What he's reflecting is income has dropped by 1/3 for the bottom 95%, and risen by over 100% for the top 1% earners.

Whereas he seems to believe he's making an egalitarian case for the rich, in fact he's just illustrating what we've known for years: the affluent have gotten more affluent since 1980, and the less affluent have increasingly lagged behind.

As I've always said, you should root for wanting to pay more taxes -- as Jonah makes clear.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The right-leaning AP thoroughly reviewed Climategate and their verdict is pettiness exists but no fraud was found.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Further proof these people are certifiable:
"We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term," she [Dana Perino] told Sean Hannity.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Food stamps now help feed one in four (25%) children. Simply astonishing.
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding Kevin when he wrote, "I remain pessimistic on the ability of Congress to rein in the financial community in any serious way. They just don't have the power."

Assuming he doesn't mean willpower, then I beg to differ. I would argue that in fact Congress does have the power, but what they do lack is the will to confront the financial lobby that pays them quite well to look away. Laws and regulations could be passed that significantly curtail the wrongdoings perpetrated by these large firms, however our political system is so riddled with corporate influence nothing with teeth ever gets enacted.

But again, it's not that they don't have the power, it's that they don't have the incentive and/or fortitude to do what's right, and therefore piss off those entities which allow them to remain incumbents.

On a separate topic, I completely agree with Kevin when he discusses how Afghanistan could become a "political nightmare" for Obama:
[W]hat it demonstrates most strongly is the fantastic political nightmare involved in ever pulling out of a war that hasn't been decisively won. Vietnam is the big-ticket example here, of course, but there are better ones. Take Somalia. After the Black Hawk Down incident in 1993, conservatives demanded that Bill Clinton pull out immediately. Not another American life was worth risking for a barren patch of dirt on the Horn of Africa. Clinton refused, insisting that we "finish the work we set out to do," and kept troops in country for another six months before withdrawing in an orderly way.

And what happened? Conservatives turned around and immediately started building up a mythology that Clinton had lacked spine and immediately ran for the exits at the first sign of trouble. Just like a Democrat to be so weak-kneed! What's more, it's now received wisdom on the right that it was this panicky withdrawal that first convinced Muslim fanatics that America was weak and could be attacked with impunity. In the end, Clinton took a hit for withdrawal even though he was the one who insisted on not cutting and running.

If that's what happens to a Democratic president who played a hawkish role in a small, unimportant war, what would happen to a Democratic president who played a dovish role in a big, important war?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

  • From the I Shit You Not File: Business Aims to Relax Bans on Products Made with Child & Slave Labor

  • Joe "You Lie!" Wilson had the following light bulb moment: if the public option was so good, then all Dems should want to join this plan. What an idiot. All members of Congress have government paid-for health care, i.e. they already more/less enroll in a public option plan. And by all accounts, all said members are very much satisfied and happy with their plan (ever hear of a person in Congress complain about their health care?).

  • Nicholas Kristof makes an excellent point that should be getting more mileage:
    [T]here is one American health statistic that is strikingly above average: life expectancy for Americans who have already reached the age of 65. At that point, they can expect to live longer than the average in industrialized countries. That’s because Americans above age 65 actually have universal health care coverage: Medicare.
    Once Americans reach and get beyond age 65, an inordinate number then go on to live well into their 80s. Mystery solved as to why this occurs: universal health care kicks in (Medicare). Another simple yet powerful piece of fact-based evidence that is not getting enough air play....

  • Kevin Drum reminds us of how things are likely to change fairly dramatically for Sarah Palin when she inevitably runs for prez in earnest:
    Her fellow Republicans mostly treat her with cautious respect right now, but what will they say about her once they're all on stage together during the primary debates?
    Yes, will they remain so respectful of her when she's on stage spouting her usual nonsense and drivel? Although like Joe Biden last year, they must be careful to avoid appearing overtly condescending or critical to her, on the other hand she was a relative newbie and fresh face then -- that won't be the case in 2011, when many would expect that by then she will have learned something of substance concerning policy. I for one am not holding my breath, but the point being she likely won't be treated with as much reverence the next time around.
  • Saturday, October 31, 2009

    To the idiotic, irrational, irresponsible labeling from the fear-mongering right:

    Friday, October 30, 2009

    Quote of the month:
    "I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom."
    What century is this?

    Oh, and here are the 30 Republican who voted against an anti-rape bill. Have to love those family values....

    And where are the religious pro-life folks regarding this story....? Love the zygote, hate the muscular dystrophy victim?
    The House health care reform bill will save money, to the tune of over $100 billion in 10 years.

    Would someone please inform Lieberman of this non-partisan fact....

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    A great collection of clips from that beacon of objective journalism, FOX News.

    As always, imagine the screeching right's reaction if there was a far-left network that aired 24/7 this opinion-dressed-up-as-news stuff.... Fortunately, no one on the left would have the gumption or outright willingness to insult their viewers.

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    This should surprise no one:
    The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday released a copy of a long-suppressed report by officials in the George W. Bush administration concluding that, based on the science, the government should begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions because global warming posed serious risks to the country.
    My italics regarding science.

    You have to wonder how many other findings exist (not just about the environment) that the prior administration decided to suppress and that we'll eventually learn about during Obama's time in office. We really did have sort of a corporatist dictator for eight years.

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    So most of Howard Stern's listeners do not realize that they're gay??
    It appears Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize has become just another reason for his enemies to dislike him that much more.

    Never mind the fact that he had nothing to do with the winning verdict much less getting nominated in the first place. Or that he felt "humbled" by the award, also saying, “To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize.”

    No, this didn't stop the blathering right from condemning Obama. But more so, if the dopes wanted to lambaste anything or anyone, they should've directed their ire towards the Nobel committee that decided to hand Obama the prize. It's not Obama's fault he was picked, and as for any of this nonsense that he should've declined accepting it -- pleeaasseee! Just imagine how he would've looked turning down such a prestigious award, the same bunch of wingnuts would've bashed him for being such a pretentious, egotistical elitist.

    The sad truth remains: Obama can't win for losing with this cast of idiots. Bill Clinton had to put up with it for eight years, and now so also must Obama.

    Sunday, October 04, 2009

    When we voted for change, were we duped?

    Granted, Obama was (remains) light years better than the alternative running at the time, but that's not my question. Frank Rich's column today makes evident what has been true all along -- Obama is more of a typical politician than any so-called far-left radical. The latter characterization is simply used by nutball right-wing figures to stoke their crazed base.

    But is Obama in fact so typical, so mainstream, that we're not going to get the kind of change we thought we were going to get....?

    In other words, Reagan used to placate the religious right, tossing them gratuitous rhetoric when necessary but never really getting behind anything they favored to the point of instituting real change. Will this be our fate ala Obama...? Wink, wink, nod, nothing...?
    I always knew Mickey Kaus was more like Mickey Mouse....

    He must be Slate's appeasement to the wingers.

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    Here's something shocking:
    On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush's two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked. By contrast, the country's condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton's two terms, often substantially.
  • Apparently Rep. Joe "You Lie!" Wilson was for providing funds for illegal immigrants' health care before he was against it. These guys give hypocrites a bad name.

  • Glenn Beck and Fox News would like us to believe their DC rally had close to 2 million attendees, and some have even tried to use a fake photo to "prove" it. (Estimates had the crowd at 50,000 to 70,000).

  • Just look at the many lovely signs held by country-first Americans. I'm sure if signs even remotely as reprehensible as these were ever displayed during Bush/Cheney's eight years that the GOP would've remained as silent as they are now. Yeah, sure.

  • Knowing the south very well, Jimmy Carter speaks out and is very concerned (and rightly so).

  • The city of Philadelphia will close its public libraries. Unfortunately over time this will work to boost Glenn Beck's audience.
  • Tuesday, September 08, 2009

    The indoctrination of our kids apparently begins with warning them about the perils of Facebook.... How clever in a sinister, subliminal way. I can't imagine what will be up Obama's sleeve next....

    Monday, September 07, 2009

    James Surowiecki seems to be reluctant to say what he really wants to say (which I suppose is understandable given he blogs for the esteemed New Yorker): that David Brooks is an idiot.

    Surowiecki has posted several excellent blog entries of late. In another, he again makes mention of David Brooks, namely DB's belief that it would be politically "suicidal" for Obama to resort to reconciliation. Surowiecki rightly says nonsense, stating:
    [W]here is the evidence that ordinary voters remember how laws were passed and reward or punish politicians based on that? On the contrary, voters judge politicians (to the extent that they make rational decisions) based on whether the laws they passed worked or not....Political victory on this issue isn’t going to be determined by how the law gets enacted. It’ll be determined by what happens once it is enacted.
    Like Bill Kristol, 99.9% of the time it's best to do opposite what Brooks is advising. But more so, with Republicans refusing to negotiate in good faith concerning health care reform, their stiff-armed resistance serves as an opportunity for the Democrats. Use this issue to highlight the stark us-versus-them dynamic that has unfortunately taken hold over the last several weeks, to make it plainly evident for all to see via a go-it-alone course of action in crafting a reform bill. This way the Democrats will get all the credit.

    Recall the numerous Republicans that resisted the passing of the stimulus money...? Recall again the numerous Republicans that eventually took credit for the stimulus money making its way through their respective states...? Deep down, they indeed fear that passage of health care reform without their involvement will leave them out in the cold when inevitably such reform is well-received, and in a year or two or three opposing Democrats can score huge political points by making it clear Republican X or Y voted against any beneficial change.

    Continued resistance by Republicans should be treated and embraced by Dems in same spirit as Clint Eastwood's line, "Go ahead, make my day."

    Surowiecki also writes about how many are advising Obama to behave more like FDR and simply ignore the GOP when it comes to health care reform. On this front I urge everyone to listen to the first segment of Thom Hartmann's Sept. 3rd radio show, where he specifically discusses this point and plays a tape of FDR making bold, emphatic statements.

    I'm sympathetic towards this view, even though some may ask, "Where will this defiance get Obama in the long run?" I ask, what has his desire to work with Republicans gotten him up till now? Not much, and I would submit it's made him a weaker and less admirable president to a good number of the people who voted for him, in large part explaining the wane in his poll numbers. If he were to suddenly stand up to the GOP with take-charge backbone and stern language, I bet you'd see his poll numbers spike up dramatically.

    By the same token, if the Dems go the recon route, meaning give the big FU to Republicans, then the public option should be included. To leave it out and still say the heck with the GOP is a transparent nod to the health care lobby.

    And I thought with Obama's bottoms-up, grassroots win last November that he was less susceptible to being bought and sold by corporate interests -- can we see some evidence of that, please?!
    Is this what the town hall meeting disgrace has come down to, a woman in a wheelchair trying to speak her mind about health care concerns, and many in the audience treating her anything but in a civil manner...?

    Dick Armey and the GOP must be so proud....

    Wednesday, September 02, 2009

    The Dick Cheney Rolling Embarrassment Parade just never quits.... His latest plea for sympathy and voiced disdain for not being treated like the hero he believes himself to be was -- where else -- aired on FOX. He had this laughable removed-from-reality point to make:
    I guess the other thing that offends the hell out of me, frankly, Chris, is we had a track record now of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from Al Qaeda. The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, how did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time?
    Here's a guy who in that same interview categorically states, "I knew about the waterboarding." Last time I looked, waterboarding was torture and it violated international agreements and is a war crime. Yet he's "offended."

    Oh, and I love the way he conveniently is off by a few years. Mr. VP, I believe your entire eight years, as you say, in office were not without an attack; I believe something really big occurred not too long after you took control of the country. Yes, it's one "incident" but it's the mother-of-all national security f*ck-ups, a hugely tragic event that if it occurred while say Clinton was top dog, the Republicans would've stormed the White House and drove him out with torches and rocks, and to this day we would've never stopped hearing about it, the blame, the condemnation, the incompetence.

    And many would say that even one attack like 9-11 is too many, that something like that should've never happened in a country like ours, with the supposed level of intelligence that we've built up over many decades. But it did, unfortunately, and yet this shameless, delusional, sad man continues to spout fabricated untruths to an audience that by now has hopefully learned to ignore him.

    Tuesday, September 01, 2009

    Sarah Palin is a blithering idiot and Michele Bachmann is bat-sh*t crazy, but Betsy McCaughey is just coldly calculating and dangerous with the lies she spreads. She's done more to setback health care reform than any other single individual -- and that's saying quite a lot.

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Mike Steele and the GOP were for Medicare cuts before they were against them, or they were against cuts after they were for them -- it's getting so ridiculous I'm confused.... Soon they'll be proclaiming the need for climate change legislation, blaming Dems for dragging feet on....

    Friday, August 21, 2009

    The fact is it's not the $100 billion per year that truly bothers Republicans. After all, past evidence shows them to be spendthrifts with our money. No, what bothers them is the $100 billion per year is going towards something they don't support and the Dems do, i.e. partisan fighting as usual. (Not to mention the campaign and lobby $$ falling out their back pockets).

    It's not the cost or the budget deficit, it's the politics. And meanwhile 40-50 million people remain uninsured.
    According to Sen. Grassley, he/she who shouts the loudest gets his attention and anything like polls be damned. So most people who work or are busy with family, etc., who can't attend these town hall meetings are ignored or are less meaningful to Sen. Grassley, as opposed to those constituents who get bused in -- oops, I mean who have the time to attend such meetings...?

    How is it the voters in Iowa keep putting this guy in office? I was about to say that he's an idiot but rather the blame is on the voters...
    Way to go Lawrence!

    Exactly, Republicans demonize government-funded (not run) health care as socialism and evil, yet they're too gutless to repeal Medicare.... Oh, and Rep. Culberson receives government-funded health care like all others in Congress. If he felt it was so awful, he could always stop using it and seek out private insurance -- what do you say to that Rep. Culberson? Or will you dodge that question also...?

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Very well said:
    I still contend health care reform is over. The GOP and the fringe right will just move on to something else they find “objectionable” like this absurd accusation that voluntary counselling amounted to a panel of experts determining who should and should not live, the senior citizens seem overwhelmingly content to suckle at the public teat in regards to medicare while giving everyone else the bird, the insurance industry is playing both sides, half the Democrats are spooked by their own shadows, and the other half are in bed with the FIRE sector.

    It is just over. And the Democrats have no one to blame but themselves. If the Republicans had majorities like the Democrats have right now, they would have abolished the IRS and the Department of Education, Bernie Madoff would be running social security, there would be an oil well in every backyard and off every inch of coast, we’d have mandatory prayer in schools, and the defense department budget would be doubled so we could have excellent adventures in Iran while we liberate Georgia from oppressive Russian rule. And we’d be doing it all with a top marginal rate of 3%.
    It does seem like the Republicans can rule but can't govern, and the Democrats, well, can't seem to do either... They're on the right side of the issues but it's as if somebody needs to slap them all in the face and remind them of this fact.
    About the government stimulus programs, Drew Matus, Senior U.S. Economist at BofA Merrill Lynch, recently wrote, "Coming at a key moment in the evolution of the economy, this boost was a welcome event that likely helped to prevent a bad situation from getting even worse."

    True enough, yet the right-wing will choose to prematurely judge and conclude the stimulus is a bust.

    For some proof to the contrary, click here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. (I could've made the list longer).

    For those who understand economics, if the government is going to elevate spending it should do so during recessionary times -- and this current downturn was in jeopardy of easily cascading into a full blown depression (oh, how we quickly forget). Funny, not too long ago that didn't stop the GOP-controlled government from spending like crazy during non-recessionary times.

    But now they're newborn deficit hawks, quick to condemn the stimulus effort. Hilarious.
    Pass something -- Obama will fix it. Let's hope.
    I think most of us can agree, the free market can very often be a wonderful thing. I emphasize "often," meaning not always. For some (crucial) aspects of life, that old invisible hand just does not suffice. As it turns out, health care is one of them.

    The Anonymous Liberal sums it up nicely:
    Of course, if we were to let "liberty and market forces" do the rationing when it comes to health care for the elderly, the result would be no health care for most elderly Americans. That's because elderly people consume a lot of health care and therefore it makes no economic sense for private insurers to cover them (at least at affordable rates). That's why we have Medicare in the first place. That's the problem Medicare was designed to solve. It is thanks to the "government bureaucrats" that grandma gets to go to the doctor at all.
    Simply put, but too simple for the public that is showing up at town halls, fired up with rage, fearing socialism and government takeover, all the while many of whom are happily enrolled in Medicare...?

    Thursday, August 13, 2009

    • Democrats big problem: they reason, think and depend on facts, and they expect the same of others.

      "I think it is very hard because [Democrats] don't have the message machine the Republicans do," said George Lakoff, a UC Berkeley linguistics professor who has advised some Democrats on how to sharpen their message. "The Democrats still believe in Enlightenment reason: If you just tell people the truth, they will come to the right conclusion."

    • "Adolf Hitler was for exterminating the weak, not just the Jews and stuff, and socialism -- that's what's going to happen," spoken by a woman who held a sign of Obama's image superimposed as a Nazi, and who's chronically ill mother gets expensive treatments thanks to "socialized" health care (Medicare). The amount of ignorance prevalent in this debate is astonishing.

    • Worth a listen. Ronald Reagan in 1961 predicting much of what we're hearing today, that through Medicare our government will eventually take over our health care system, our freedom of choice, our way of life. Didn't happen, all fabricated lies to scare and frighten. Much like today.

    • Newt Gingrich was apparently for latter-years counseling before he was against it. The hell with the actual policy or helping people, if the Dems are for it, he's suddenly against it.

    • Michele Bachmann continues to delight the masses with her comedy act. Her latest crazed moment of humor: she criticized AmeriCorp, describing it as a nefarious government program that has "re-education" camps to brainwash our youth, and saying "as a parent, I would have a very, very difficult time seeing my children do this." Guess what? Her son recently signed up.

    • A great fact-check page that clears up many lies being circulated about the health care bill.

    • Out of the many hundreds of pages making up the proposed health care bill, if this is the best they could come up with, a fabricated lie about a "death panel," then it tells me there is quite a bit of good stuff in the bill.

    • Regarding the nearing-end-of-days counseling, which would be paid for by the government, all the choices involved are made by the individual and no one else. If the person decided that he or she wished to try to live to be 200 years old, then the advice received leading up to that decision would be paid for. In fact, the provision specifically bans euthanasia as it's against states laws. So you see it's quite the opposite of "death" counseling.

    • George Stephanopoulos schools Newt. Corrects him about the health advisor claim and about what isn't in the bill. But love the way Newt has a problem with our trusting the government -- the same government he didn't seem to have a problem with regarding torture, illegal wiretaps, lies spread to get us into Iraq, Katrina, the politically stacked Justice Dept., etc. etc. He's OK with THAT government, apparently.

    Tuesday, August 11, 2009

    It's my understanding the cash-for-clunkers program was deemed a "failure" by Republicans because it was so popular it quickly ran dry of the money it was initially budgeted, requiring the House to pass additional funding. Sounds similar to the GOP's concern about a public health care option, that it would be so wildly popular it would be a disaster -- driving private insurance companies out of business.

    The program has also been a success in lowering CO2 emissions, a less mentioned goal.

    It's funny how GW's failures were spectacular failures, and yet Obama's failures are, well, sucesses.

    Sunday, August 09, 2009

    Unlike the many kooks on his side, David Frum has at least thought a bit farther than the nose on his face:
    What would it mean to “win” the healthcare fight?

    For some, the answer is obvious: beat back the president’s proposals, defeat the House bill, stand back and wait for 1994 to repeat itself.

    The problem is that if we do that… we’ll still have the present healthcare system.
    Many on the right aren't viewing the current health care debate as an opportunity to fix something that is broken, but rather they're viewing it more as just another in a series of partisan opportunities to hopefully make Obama and the Dems look bad. That's it, to gain political points, period.

    But as Frum says, even if his side "wins" this one, we'll still have the same broken system that needs fixing. However, by once again stalling with the needed remedies (first in 1994) means the problems will grow increasingly more massive in size, to the point where whenever we get around to addressing health care reform again, the cures could be so outlandishly expensive at that point that any constructive fix will be out of the question.

    For the GOP, it's just another case of winning the battle, losing the war. Unfortunately, many Americans on their side are not thinking beyond their noses, just reacting emotionally, allowing themselves to be manipulated and used by deep-pocket corporate interests. Ultimately these citizens are fighting for that which works against their own interests (ala tax cuts for the wealthy).

    And speaking of fighting, these town hall charades have devolved from shouting and screaming, to now pushing and shoving, and soon it will be serious harm or worse. You think any responsible, sane Republican will finally say enough already before the inevitable happens? Doubtful.

    Friday, August 07, 2009

    If there's ever the opportunity to open mouth and say something stupid (and untrue), she never passes it up.

    Wednesday, August 05, 2009

    "Not Have An Intelligent Debate"

    Dick Armey's lobby group, FreedomWorks, the outfit that brought you the many tax revolt tea parties, is now spearheading harassment efforts to disrupt health care reform discussions at town hall meetings.

    Apparently the last thing this lobbyist-backed group wants is for people to "have an intelligent debate" on the issue with their congressional reps. No, better to shout, scream, and disrupt -- typical gang-like intimidation tactics ala FLA 2000 when thugs stormed the recounting of votes, halting the process.

    Another instance where people are being manipulated and used at the behest of corporate power and greed. And people just oblige and go along, like mindless cult followers. Incredible.

    Wednesday, July 29, 2009

    I have a feeling something very similar to this kind of bankrolling is the reason why many in Congress are opposing health care reform (i.e. could it be corporate/lobbyist $$$?):
    Lawmakers who count pharmaceutical companies among their biggest contributors lead the opposition to a health care proposal that would cut costs by allowing generic drugs to compete sooner with pricey biotechnology drugs, campaign-finance records show.

    Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has helped lead Senate efforts to give drug companies 12 years of exclusive rights to sell biotech drugs, rather than seven as proposed by President Obama. Hatch has received nearly $1.3 million from the employees and political action committees of drug and health products companies since 1989, making the industry his largest contributor, according to data compiled by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.
    They're not interested in what's best for you, but rather what's best for them.

    Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    Battle of nonsensical and baseless ramblings: Palin vs. Limbaugh. Ding Ding.

    Monday, July 27, 2009

    Just when you think Republicans have hit rock bottom, they find a depth that's just a little deeper. The latest less-than-zero issue of substance: Obama's birth certificate.

    John Cole sums this one up: "The reason Republicans in DC are running from some guy on the street asking them whether or not Obama is an American citizen is because they have spent the last thirty years cultivating a base of insane crazy people, and while they may escape a reporter from FDL, they can’t escape the base."

    The nutzoid base make zombies look like characters in a Merchant Ivory flick.
    According to Palin's logic, for new governor Sean Parnell to best serve the state of Alaska, it's about time for him to resign.

    Sunday, July 26, 2009

    Just to chime in further regarding Kevin's post about "deliberate charlatan" George Will, when viewing this chart, it must be evident to even the most reason-challenged of Will's readership that this data set can be easily gamed to make a point. Over the last 100 years, one could've picked any high-temp year and then a few years later claimed the trend in temperature was down. Just look at 1910, a high-temp data blip, and by 1915 the temperature plummeted -- only to spike back up a few years later.

    Obviously the primary line of importance is the red line, which is the 5-year moving average that takes out much of the intermittent noise and offers a truer picture of the overall trend. Focusing on the red line, does anyone see a downtrend more recently? And while the red line has dipped in the past, when you consider it's starting point in 1900 to now, the trend has been clearly in one direction: up!

    But I'd also like to mention a point I believe gets lost in all of this climate change debate, a point I feel is equally important, and that is: the urgency should not strictly be about temperature. Much energy has been spent arguing about warming versus cooling, but the global warming / emissions debate is also about toxins, pollution, cancer, etc. What comes out of cars, trucks, smokestacks, etc. is not harmless steam, but rather by-product emissions that can kill over time. In this debate, CO2 gets most if not all the attention but it shouldn’t. Why is it children are advised to eat only one can of tuna fish per month, or that asthma rates have been increasing for years? CO2 is solely to blame?

    Alternative energy solutions cut down on not just global warming but also pollution and resulting health maladies. Also, last time I checked there is no debate about the content of what comes out of smokestacks, tail pipes, etc.

    Perhaps those framing this issue could shift the focus to emphasize that which is of much less dispute, as it would accomplish the same end-game goal.

    Wednesday, July 22, 2009

    The Party of Nix It, Not Fix It

    Republicans are looking to work every angle to defeat health care reform. Their alternative? Notta, no solutions, just the status quo. Sounds about right.

    Saturday, July 18, 2009

    Friday, July 17, 2009

    Priceless. We endlessly debate and procrastinate regarding global warming and alternative energy, but once China (of all countries) plows forward in earnest, determined to become the dominant global player in green energy, then the U.S. cries foul!

    Monday, July 13, 2009

    The Anonymous Liberal has an excellent summary of the entire Sarah Palin embarrassment. And of course, there's always the now famous take-down of Palin from the right, ala Peggy Noonan.

    Just remember, we always have 72-year old cancer survivor John McCain to thank for this, Mr. Country First. To think she would've been a heartbeat away from running things in the White House is a nightmare that still keeps me up some nights....

    Sunday, July 12, 2009

    Classic. A constituent asks Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) how he can get the same health care coverage that the Senator has, understanding that it's cheaper and better. Grassley replies just go work for the government. See for yourself.

    The only way we can get such terrific coverage is to work for the federal government, so says this top-ranking Republican. And yet the GOP is the party that decries big government -- but that doesn't stop Grassley from urging his constituents to join the government's payroll, effectively endorsing the idea of bigger government. Logic once again gets in the way of a Republican's point.

    Another outrage is Congress has the public health care option, but they don't have to accept it. They can always refuse it and shop around for supposedly superior private health care insurance -- like the majority of us have to do.

    Anyone aware of a Senator or Rep ever refusing their "public option" coverage?
    We continue to learn more about the Dark Lord's patriotic decisions:
    The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday.

    The report that Mr. Cheney was behind the decision to conceal the still-unidentified program from Congress deepened the mystery surrounding it, suggesting that the Bush administration had put a high priority on the program and its secrecy.

    Mr. Panetta, who ended the program when he first learned of its existence from subordinates on June 23, briefed the two intelligence committees about it in separate closed sessions the next day.

    Efforts to reach Mr. Cheney through relatives and associates were unsuccessful.
    Efforts to reach Cheney were unsuccessful, quite a shocker. When he wants to spread propaganda and lies in his defense, he's everywhere, giving speeches, blathering on TV, but when it comes to little stuff like this, he's back hiding in the cave.

    I'm sure his decision to conceal this program had everything to do with putting country first -- despite the fact that the same can be said for other countries where similar orders are given and carried out (hint: those countries are not democratic).

    Saturday, July 04, 2009

    This video clip is great. Catch the deafening silence (and isn't it so adorable of Todd to go in the weeds!).

    For how long, and how many times, have we heard the right inflame about judicial activism from the bench.... Well, we just observed it from -- wait for it -- the right wing of the Supreme Court. They recently legislated new law -- exactly what they fear from liberal justices.

    And let's not forget the ultimate judicial activism from the right wing Supreme Court justices, the never-to-be-used-as-precedence ruling in favor of Bush over Gore.

    To be conservative or right wing is to be for hypocrisy, plain and simple. Happy 4th!
    It wasn't just Bush/Cheney in on the fix, Blair was complicit.
    The rightwing disinformation campaign continues in full force (see here, here, and here).

    Sunday, June 28, 2009

    What a shocker. Saddam never had WMD, the UN inspectors were correct all along.

    Saturday, June 27, 2009

    Yes, Sanford's press conference was a rambling mess, much of it making little if any sense whatsoever, but I'm willing to cut him some slack on this since he had nothing prepared and was just shooting from the hip (heart).

    That's not to say I feel pity for him. If he were not like so many other Republicans we've witnessed over the years who strongly condemned Bill Clinton for his behavior only to then see these same characters commit the exact same sin(s), then I would feel somewhat badly for his circumstances. However, Sanford was one of the more vocal advocates for impeaching Clinton. He was, and remained, one of the many holier-than-thou Republicans who tossed rocks in glass houses.

    But the hypocrisy doesn't just stop with adultery. Sanford said the following in his press conference:
    I am here because if you were to look at God's laws, there are in every instance designed to protect people from themselves. I think that that is the bottom line with God's law -- that it's not a moral, rigid list of dos and don'ts just for the heck of dos and don'ts. It is indeed to protect us from ourselves.
    Sanford makes the case that man is inherently evil or has a very dark side that God's law is supposed to protect him from. It's as if man is capable of doing many bad things, all the time, and if it weren't for God we'd be a nation of 24/7 sinners.

    What a lovely view of life and mankind! That if it weren't for God we'd be a bunch of ravaging savages, committing unspeakable atrocities and spreading chaos. Is this what the religious right truly believes?

    Oh, and if it's true what Sanford portrays about man, the need for him to be protected from himself, than doesn't that argue for regulation in our capitalist society? If we are inherently capable of wrong doing, and many in the country are not aware of "God's law," then one would think regulations should be in place to serve as a check against man and his dark side. Heck, even guys like Sanford (and Ensign) -- who presumably know God's law -- were not able to resist giving in to their evil or dark side.

    I wish one of the reporters at his press conference posed these questions to him.... Again, the hypocrisy and inconsistent logic runs well beyond anything sexual in nature.

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    Another "family values" Republican hypocrite...

    Ensign last week, Sanford today. Both were not shy about playing up their Christian values (to curry votes?). The marital cheating is their business, it's the hypocrisy that should outrage everyone.

    But then again, it's Bill Clinton's fault, right? He ruined the moral fiber of this country, gosh darn it!

    I wonder which Republican will be making an awkward confession next week? In the meantime, Sanford apparently was an up-and-comer for 2012 -- poor GOP, back to having Palin as their rock star.

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Distortion Machine in Overdrive

    We can argue about just how many Muslims reside in the U.S. No one seems to know for certain what is the right number. But regarding this video clip, it's not the point. In an attempt to bridge global relations and repair the damage GW inflicted for many years, Obama points out in an interview that if you considered all of the Muslims living in America, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries on the planet.

    Cut to Sean Hannity who claims Obama categorically stated that the United States was a Muslim nation. It's a completely false allegation.

    Watch the video. Any person with an IQ greater than a birch tree will realize that Hannity is flat-out lying.

    The depth of their desperation equates to the severity of their troubles. The right-wing kooks are really feeling the pressure, almost to the point where I feel pity for them (but don't).

    Sunday, June 14, 2009

    The Not-So-Great Entertainers

    Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the yammering clowns say they’re entertainers. The quotes are out there. It's no shocker to us, we’ve always known that sad fact. The problem has always been that their fans either don’t acknowledge this fact or don’t care. Instead, they continue to tune in with baited eyes and ears, believing the many lies and distortions.

    Here's an idea, the next time these charlatans criticize a celebrity/entertainer for having and conveying a political point of view, let’s be certain to remind them of their self-proclaimed entertainer status. Last time I checked, these fellas were pontificating quite often about all things political.

    Just more of that hypocrisy we've come to expect....

    The $2 Trillion Swing

    When Bill Clinton exited office, he left behind a hefty $850 billion budget surplus. Enter GW and a GOP-controlled Congress and it didn't take long for that surplus to vanish.

    The deficit is now projected to be $1.2 trillion and this chart breaks down how much of that shortfall is on Obama's head, versus GW.

    Of the $2 trillion swing in good fortune, it appears to me that Obama is responsible for just about $200 billion, or 10%. Remember that figure the next time you hear a Republican bemoaning spending and deficits.

    Sunday, June 07, 2009

    Lawrence O' Donnell sums things up nicely.
    These are the kind of court jester, clown voices that are left in the atmosphere, in the aftermath of the Bush presidency...
    The mistake a party makes, or a partisan can make, is jumping up and down about everything.
    So true. Many Dems voted against Roberts and/or Alito and yet you heard none of the hysterics that you're hearing now from the GOP and the screeching wingnuts re Sotomayor. I believe it says more about the voters (and listeners) of the other side than anything else, the fact that they react emotionally much more so than with a level head demanding facts.

    Rush, Hannity, Beck and the rest of the clown-like entertainers all know this full well, sadly.

    Sunday, May 24, 2009

    Those Republicans still proud of their RNC please say "I"...?

    Last we heard the RNC wanted to rename the Democratic Party the "Democrat Socialist Party" (but after getting much-deserved grief over, by no less than Fox News' Cavuto, the RNC abandoned the idea). Now we see they've turned their attention to Nancy Pelosi, stoking the sexism angle, comparing her to Hollywood starlets and in particular a James Bond girl, Pussy Galore from the movie Goldfinger.

    Never mind that regardless of who's telling the truth, Pelosi or the CIA, the fact remains she had no authority over actually authorizing the torture, the illegal acts, the war crimes, to begin with. That fell with, remained with the administration in charge.

    Don't you just love the way the RNC will wag that dog, shift the focus, "hey, look over here -- no, not there, here!" Anything to get the attention off the so many wrongs committed by there side.

    But to sink beyond zero, Pussy Galore, "botox withdrawal" (from a former Oxy abuser, no less)... Just when you thought they've bottomed out, they go one level lower.
    "Cheney's public relations tour sparks criticism"

    No surprises here. Apart from the fact he's out there flailing about in hopes of winning over at least some public opinion, but more so some possible future jurists, what we're seeing now is what we've known all along: who was really running the country from 2001-2008? Me thinks not Junior. You have Cheney now attempting to protect and defend his legacy (ass?), not necessarily their legacy.

    That said the Dark Lord remains one scary psychopath.

    Friday, May 22, 2009

    More proof that financial companies own Congress and that the affluent in this country continue to benefit from legislation versus average Americans:
    During negotiations last week over the contentious loan-modification amendment, banks did win some concessions from Democratic lawmakers.

    “We gave [the banks] extraordinary leeway in terms of deciding whether a person could raise this in bankruptcy court,” says Senate majority whip Richard Durbin (D) of Illinois, who led the negotiations.

    These included requiring that homeowners try to renegotiate terms with the bank at least 45 days in advance of seeking relief in the courts, limiting the kinds of mortgages to be covered by bankruptcy reform, and precluding homeowners from going forward in bankruptcy if the mortgage lender made a good-faith offer of renegotiation.

    In the end, though, the sweeteners were not enough to win the industry’s support for the amendment. “We added all these things at the request of the banking institutions, and they said: ‘Fine, we leave. We’re not part of this.’ They walked away,” Senator Durbin says.

    Courts are already allowed to write down the terms of loans on secondary homes, yachts, and other big-ticket items involved in bankruptcy proceedings, but not on an individual’s primary residence.
    The failed amendment would have given judges in bankruptcy proceedings the power to have loan terms on a primary residence renegotiated so that the owner facing foreclosure could remain in his/her home. The kicker is this provision is already law for those who own a second home, a boat, and other "big-ticket items."

    In other words, the wealthy are able to renegotiate better terms on their prized possessions, albeit as unnecessary as they may be, and yet less-wealthy Americans are not extended the same right when it comes to their primary residence!

    Have to love the fairness. Incredible.
    It seems the RNC believes Republicans have been too nice to Obama and now it's time to toss the gloves and fight bare-knuckled. More proof that they're living in some kind of detached, parallel universe.

    Given the latest polls, like the one below, they have quite the uphill battle on this front:

    Monday, May 18, 2009

    I can't vouch for the veracity, but South Korea's newspaper is claiming a swine flu vaccine has been developed.
    Let's review: the conventional techniques of persuasion applied by the FBI produced actionable (good) intel, but when the CIA stepped in and applied harsh (illegal) techniques (torture) the suspect refused to offer any intel (he shut down).

    As for whether or not torture works, it's not the point. It's illegal, period. It's a crime. If you don't like that fact, then change the law. Until that happens, torture is illegal and to give orders for it to happen is to break the law.

    What was it the Republicans used to say over and over, something like "the rule of law"...? Yeah, right.
    If true, very scary:
    As the news is constantly telling us, Pakistan is undergoing a fight for its survival as a secular state. We are skeptical about these reports, for according to our sources much of Pakistan is already under the control of the Taliban, and in most of the rest of Pakistan, the Taliban has an important presence.
    In our opinion, Pakistan has already fallen under the influence of non-productive influences, and the U.S. is once again paying the price for supporting regimes who have no interest in bettering the quality of live of the local people. In our opinion, the U.S. and its allies should focus much more attention on India to stabilize the South Asian and eastern Mid East regions.
    From a fairly well-respected investment management firm. Nuclear Pakistan is already lost to the Taliban? To the point where we should just focus on currying favor with and supporting its neighbor, India?? I hope not true, or that there's still time left to reverse the course of events in Pakistan, but this investment firm has been correct on several things in the past (disclosure: I have no connection whatsoever to the firm)....

    And as for the relative value of geopolitical insights or info coming from investment-type firms, don't sell it short (so to speak). Often times, these firms have as clients or speak with some of the most connected, informative, and influential people in the world, or at least those who know those types of people, so very frequently the info is far better than you might first assume. But again, let's hope in this case it's wrong.
    From Paul Krugman today, I love this opening line:
    In a way, it was easy to take stands during the Bush years: the Bushies and their allies in Congress were so determined to move the nation in the wrong direction that one could, with a clear conscience, oppose all the administration’s initiatives.
    Close your eyes and throw the opposition dart, and you were bound to hit bulls-eye. Sadly we'll be paying for and trying to undo their wrongs for many, many years to come.

    Saturday, May 09, 2009

    Some brief comments (dated, but so be it):

  • Regarding potential nominees to be next Supreme Court justice, Kevin Drum writes, "Nobody gets nominated anymore unless their judicial temperament is fully and unequivocally cast in stone. The market for moderates and interesting thinkers is pretty much gone." Agreed, the pool of "interesting thinkers" has become quite shallow, but as for "moderates" I'm not sure what Kevin is getting at. It would seem to me that the only hope for passage in this day and age is if the nominee were a moderate. To be perceived as too far to the right or left is to be deemed no-shot from the get-go.

  • Condi Rice's recent "And by the way..." response to torture sounds like a panic move regarding any future investigatory proceedings that may occur on this front. She was basically exclaiming in no uncertain terms, "IT WASN'T ME! I WAS JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS! IT WAS MY UNDERSTANDING EVERYTHING WAS LEGAL!!" Me thinks she doth protest too much...

  • We find out Miss California opposes gay marriage AND she got a boob job. So let me understand, I assume she believes that God is against gay marriage, and if the case then shouldn't her body -- made by God -- be good enough and beautiful enough as is and not require augmentation? Or does she feel God's work required improvement, that it wasn't quite perfect...?
  • Sunday, May 03, 2009

    I apologize for the much less frequent updating of this blog, but I guess it goes with territory. I started writing here in early 2004 mainly because I needed an outlet to remain sane. I didn't care if I had 10 readers or 10,000, I just wanted to get off my chest and out of my head the many critical things that needed to be said about the worst presidency this country has ever had to withstand. If not for anything else, the blog was a catharsis, a mind purge that allowed me to decompress. That's not to say that I didn't wish to communicate my thoughts and hopefully connect with and/or influence a few people out there, but it just wasn't my primary goal.

    That said with Obama now in office, I can breath much easier and frankly there's less to get angry about. Yes, the GOP is crazier than ever, which is really something to behold since most of us thought they were off-their-rocker nuts just a year or two ago. But given the extent of their devolution into obsolescence, it's become much less worthwhile or even necessary to write about their latest outrageous statement or beyond-the-pale media stunt.

    In effect, the entire Republican party has become like Ann Coulter, with most respectable progressive blogs never mentioning her because she's simply not credible and is just a laughable cartoon character, undeserving of an entry 99% of the time. And given this sad fact that the other major political party in the country has marginalized itself to the point of being equivalent to Coulter or Malkin or Beck, that all the more explains my relative radio silence here.

    I will try to pick up the pace regarding updates, but based on what I described above it's just not worth the bother.

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    Quote of the year, from of all people, Bernard Goldberg, telling Sean Hannity enough is enough with criticism of Obama:
    "I'm sorry, Sean....but we have to stop going out of our way to find fault with every single thing he does.... If something bad happened here, and thank God it didn't, but if something bad happened here, I guarantee you, I'll tell you who would have been leading the crusade against him: you."
    Hannity was looking to find fault with the way Obama handled the pirate/hostage situation.

    These far-right talking heads have become laughing-stock buffoons, even more so than they've ever been. Since nothing seems to stick with regards to smears against Obama, it's been an exercise in continuously raising the bar of mud-slinging, propagandizing, and just sheer over-the-top behavior (see Glenn Beck). When and how will it end? Will their tea-bagging day become their jump-the-shark moment?

    Until then, it's quite sad to watch the escalation of idiocy.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    As for Kevin's question concerning Norm Coleman, I'm sticking with my original premise. I wouldn't be surprised if Coleman files for appeal around Memorial Day....

    Sunday, April 05, 2009

    Just loving the latest Letterman interview with Bill O'Reilly, a riot.

    Dave starts off fairly early by delivering the money quote, telling Bill "I think of you as a goon." Dave refers to a picture of a young Bill and is concerned because Dave has a young son and some day his boy may grow up to likewise become a goon. The crowd roars with laughter....

    Bill makes the claim that it wasn't Rush Limbaugh's big mouth, or RNC head Michael Steele, or the millions of fearful Dittoheads that hurled Rush into the limelight regarding the Republican Party. No, Bill claims it was James Carville's doing... Ah, yeah, OK.

    I love the way Bill claims to be the luckiest guy in the world now that he's out of talk radio. Easy to believe that a guy who sells his fans coffee mugs, golf balls, and "No Pinheads" doormats would supposedly walk away from talk radio $$$.... OK, right.... I imagine it had zilch to do with ratings problems....

    Another fave money quote, Bill says "I don't check in with the Republican Party very often." Seriously, he said this....

    Bill asks Dave, why "cheap shot" Rush? Are you kidding me? Limbaugh, The Master of the Cheap Shot? But more so, it's choice to hear Bill plead with Dave to ease up on poor, undeserving Rush -- this coming from a guy who sends his attack-dog producers to hound people at their homes....

    Bill considers Rush and Glenn Beck as "entertainers" and yet considers himself to be a "journalist," providing hard-hitting news and facts.... You can't make this stuff up....

    Finally, speaking of making stuff up, Dave point-blank asks Bill what is the percentage that you just make up, and Bill immediately responds to Dave in a serious fashion! He doesn't laugh or snicker, or even just ignore the question, which would at least then provide the appearance that he was in on the joke. No, dopey Bill barks back at Dave that gosh darn it he makes nothing up, he has a top-notch research department, blah blah blah.

    You can just see that Dave is having so much fun taking shots at the "goon" and yet it's just too easy. Bill is a clueless straight man and yet no good comic likes to capitalize on punch lines that are coming way too easily. As bad as Dave makes Bill look, make no mistake, it could have been much worse.

    Tuesday, March 31, 2009

    We have the right criticizing Obama because he's Obama, and we have the left criticizing him because he's being too much like GW. Lovely.

    Folks, he's been in office for about two months, i.e. a fairly short time. Most of us who voted for him knew he was an enormous improvement over the intellect of the previous guy in office, not to mention the alternative (McCain). Can we now at least have a tiny bit of faith that Obama is not completely clueless and may in fact know what he's doing, or is at least making the best decisions possible under the circumstances?

    That's not to say we must stifle dissent or blindly follow our leader, not at all. When Obama screws up or does something I disagree with, I'll be there to criticize. However, with regards to much of what he's rightly spending his time on, that being the economy and the financial crisis, the proof in the pudding will not be known for many months from now, so I'll refrain from harsh words until some real evidence becomes known as to whether it's working or not. Until then, I'll just exercise some faith.

    Sunday, March 22, 2009

    Very true words from Ruth:
    If it weren’t so appalling, it would be fascinating to compare the behavior of Republican and Democratic congressional legislators when confronted by an Administration of the opposite party. I watched in dismay as Republican leaders arrogantly obstructed efforts to address the growing economic crisis as millions of families contemplate poverty. Their vindictive, mean-spirited posturing adds nothing to clarify and improve the legislation; all effort goes to ridicule and defamation. On the other hand, the Democrats during the Bush years paid obsequious deference to the President and supported a litany of Administrative debacles. The Iraq war, the Patriot Act, and a no-strings bailout are just three that continue to haunt us. Neither party has served us well.
    You have the a-hole Republicans who would continue to play partisan politics even if they knew a gigantic asteroid was about to hit the planet. And yet you also have the spineless Democrats, who enabled an a-hole president to get just about anything and everything he wanted -- compare to the opposition party today and the current president.

    Yes, at times, one indeed wonders which party is worse....

    Friday, March 20, 2009

  • I agree with Kevin, they've gone too far.

  • Steve Benen has it right regarding Cheney's recent burst of absurdities. Quayle? Gore? Did they trot out harsh (and misleading, fact-challenged) criticism weeks after leaving office? Don't think so. Where's the criticism against such unprecedented behavior and motives? This from a VP of an administration that disdained criticism from without as well as within. Just more proof that these walking embarrassments continue to be in hyper-revise-past-and-repair-legacy mode.

  • Here's an idea: whenever Obama gets back to health care, he should consult with Hillary. Although numbing in detail many years ago, her work on this issue was far (too far?) ahead of its time when it came to recognizing the need for change. Obama would do well to include her in discussions. Yes, she's now foreign policy, but still she's a multi-talented resource.
  • Sunday, March 15, 2009

    I never would've thought it was possible but the far-right talking heads have become even more insane, with Man-on-Dog Rick Santorum claiming that "the fundamentals of American economy is still strong" and Michael Savage believes that "the being used by the Obama administration in an attempt to gain control of the US population." You have to listen to believe it. And of course it includes comparisons to Hitler. (Is Obama a fascist or a socialist? Make up your minds fellas.).

    This is what they did to Bill Clinton for eight years and they haven't missed a beat in starting it up again versus Obama. The worst part is their doddering minions just lap it all up, without questioning a thing....
    The American International Group, which has received more than $170 billion in taxpayer bailout money from the Treasury and Federal Reserve, plans to pay about $165 million in bonuses by Sunday to executives in the same business unit that brought the company to the brink of collapse last year.
    When can we finally go ahead and nationalize these sinkhole institutions? When is enough enough?

    UPDATE: Even more priceless: "An even bigger problem...was that financial products employees who are denied payments could quit and that AIG's losses...could spiral enormously if the only people who understand the company's convoluted dealings are not around to 'unwind' the damage they have caused." Don't you love it?! AIG has to pay the screw ups millions of dollars so they won't leave because supposedly they're the only ones who can undo the damage they've wrought... AGHHHH!!!!!

    Sunday, March 08, 2009

    Leader of the supposed "Country First" party:

    Tuesday, March 03, 2009

    So what is it now, we're up to three Republican politicians who have criticized Rush Limbaugh only to recant and grovel for forgiveness from the almighty blowhard....? Gingrey, Sanford, and now Steele.

    Dare I say the first Republican to criticize Rush and actually stand by it and not blink later will receive surprising popularity from their own side. I know, it's a stretch, but I'd like to believe that the entire GOP hasn't sunk to the level where they've simply degenerated into a clamoring horde of mindless, doddering Dittoheads -- but I could be wrong.

    Monday, March 02, 2009

    The downward slide of the GOP continues, with Jindal's excruciatingly bad performance following Obama's speech now coming with an admission that he told a story that was false. I still can't figure out what was worse, Jindal's "Mr. Rogers" delivery or the sophomoric content of his speech...

    But even more so, I don't know the particulars but I would have to guess that before Jindal trotted out in front of a primetime national TV audience and gave the Republican response to Obama, that his comments would have been fully vetted by top people in the GOP. Assuming that's true, it's even more alarming to realize that not just Jindal had the poor judgment to go ahead with that inept performance and speech but that it was apparently given the green light by his party.

    If there was any doubt up to that point that the GOP has seriously gone astray, that debacle drove home the sad reality.
    Obama is already talking about cutting the budget deficit (he inherited), by half no less...? Is this another bone thrown to the GOP?

    Enough already. Yes, it's good to know that Obama is cognizant of our huge deficit, but there is a time and a place for stressing a balanced budget -- and now is not that time. We're facing an economic calamity requiring fiscal spending to first and foremost reverse the tailspin. After evidence surfaces that this objective has been achieved, then and only then should Obama turn his attention, albeit quickly, to resolving the deficit problem. It's just a matter of prioritizing.

    Wednesday, February 25, 2009

    After eight years of mangled words and crude expression, how refreshing was it to witness a president who was quite the opposite? Last night Obama was inspiring, not insipid, direct and yet not threatening, forceful while still conveying gentle optimism and encouraging words of hope. Compared to what we had it was like air conditioning on a 100-degree, humid day. To not see the scowl of Cheney in the background or to hear the many references to war, terror, enemies. It was wonderful.

    The moment that was most revealing -- in a disturbing way -- was when Obama said "America does not torture." It was an eerie moment with the sense that everyone in the chamber knew that over the last several years we did exactly that, tortured, despite Bush/Cheney's denials and wordplay around the matter. It was an unspoken, accepted belief in the room that we had tortured and after Obama spoke those words, everyone rose to their feet and clapped, acknowledging that a shameful period of time had finally passed, but recognizing also that crimes were committed and nothing was or has been done. Really sad.

    Saturday, February 21, 2009

  • Alan Keyes is still hard at work being insane.

  • What a shocker! The Bush presidency was indeed providing the likes of Fox News, Limbaugh, etc. with talking points. Just call them partisan disseminators.

  • If there's one thing certain about this year's Oscars, it's that Slumdog will win best picture.

  • From a recent AP poll, approval ratings on handling of the economy: Obama +41% (68% approve vs. 27% disapprove), Democrats in Congress +4% (49% vs. 45%), Republicans in Congress -26% (33% vs. 59%). Looks like the GOP has their work cut out for them...

  • And it appears as if one of the things they're going to spend their time on is getting to the bottom of the whopping 3% of the stimulus bill that they believe to be pork. I'm willing to bet in the many bills that the GOP-controlled Congress passed during the Bush years, the amount of pork in those spending behemoths was well above 3%, well above... It's never about the amount of pork but rather that the spending is going towards things the GOP does not favor, plain and simple.

  • GW's former speechwriter declares that recessions can be good for you. I suppose this follows the same logic that global warming is good because it will boost crop output in certain parts of the world. Gads. And I thought Bill Kristol's column in the Times was dopey...

  • The biofuel boom is destroying rainforests.

  • Dennis Kucinich on Fox Business talking about the SEC and Allen Stanford. What's most disturbing to me is to see the depths to which Fox will go to get people to tune in to their fledgling (and failing?) business channel. Watch the video: young "hip" male with long hair, to his right a gorgeous model with a VERY low cut dress, the "newscast' taking place at a bar -- WTF?
  • Friday, February 20, 2009

    The Republicans may have screwed themselves with their adamant stance against the stimulus bill. I get the fact that they stacked all their chips on the bet that Obama and this bill will not successfully impact the economy, and in effect they're hoping we transition from a recession to a depression (have to love that "country first" BS!).

    But it may not work the way they believe. If the economy does in fact slowly recover, needless to say Obama (and the Dems) wins and the Republicans lose, game over. However, if indeed the economy stays in the tank and it appears as if the stimulus bill was all for naught, there is a good possibility the public will not immediately and categorically blame Obama (and the Dems) for this outcome. The Republicans may try to make the case that the $800 give/take billion was a waste, but the public isn't always that dumb and mindless. With the help from Dems, the public could realize that 1) 20/20 hindsight blame is cheap and easy, 2) at least Obama and the Dems tried, at least they tried to do something in the face of grave circumstances, and 3) the public will hopefully recall that the economy was already in deep, deep trouble before Obama set foot in the White House. It's more difficult to slowdown a runaway train once it's been able to attain higher speeds. As many have already written (particularly Paul Krugman), this stimulus bill may be too light to tackle the problems we now face, but arguably it also came too late.

    As it is there's already signs of rescue plan fatigue. A few more such plans were announced recently and the stock market just heads lower on the news. People may now have low expectations that any of this stuff will work -- which further gets to my point. For the Republican plan to work, they need not only that Obama fail, but also that people have very high expectations that he will succeed. Regarding the latter, the public is hopeful and supports Obama, yet that doesn't necessarily mean they have high expectations given the daunting task(s) at hand (only the worst economy since the Great Depression).

    To sum up, if the economy recovers this year, Obama and the Dems are big winners and the GOP huge losers. If the economy does not recover this year, and either remains as bad as now or possibly even gets worse, the Republicans still may not end up winners. They didn't try to do anything to help, were rooting against the president at the time, and the public may decide that given the degree to which the economy is and has been reeling, no one person or entity can be blamed for it.

    In my mind, Republicans face more of a lose-tie or lose-nothing scenario on this matter as opposed to what they believe to be a lose-win situation. Regardless, one thing is clear: they're clearly betting against the economy, and the country.
  • Absolutely priceless. The shameless GOP at work.

  • Regarding what I wrote about Norm Coleman and the GOP on Feb. 9th, six days later it appears as if I was right. Franken may never see the light of Washington.

  • I also wrote on Feb. 9th: "Obama needs to do what he did to win the White House: appeal directly to the public, circumventing the wrapped-in-politics swamp that is currently and has been DC." Four days later in Politico: "But the strategy to promote these items is getting an emergency overhaul. Obama plans to travel more and campaign more in an effort to pressure lawmakers with public support, rather than worrying about whether he can win over Republican votes in Congress." Excellent.
  • Monday, February 09, 2009

    Can we stop reading about how Obama has got his wish: to limit the pay of all financial executives on the planet? Many are making it sound as if this executive pay limit applies to all companies in the entire financial industry, as opposed to just those companies requesting taxpayer-funded aid -- obviously not true. That still leaves thousands upon thousands of firms that can pay whatever they want to top talent.

    As for the pay limit applied to TARP-needy firms, what's wrong with some form of "punishment" for their past misdeeds in exchange for lifeblood aid? Also, the exorbitant plane purchases and lavish parties attracted as-expected wide attention, all but forcing the hand of media-sensitive Obama and Congress to originate and implement this pay limit.

    Also, don't you just love the way these complainers don't necessarily mind capitalism bending a bit by way of receiving savior funds to prop up companies that the invisible hand is supposed to extinguish, and yet they'll scream "socialism" if you dare curb compensation on said firms...?

    So enough with the excessive generalities. Obama and Congress are not instituting a blanket ban on high comp for all financial companies. Such mischaracterizations are irresponsible and serve as simple-minded propaganda.
    Why the political content of Forbes magazine is nearly as funny as that of the WSJ editorial page:
    Before the September meltdown one might have graded George W. Bush with a "B" (on the Reagan scale) for his two-term presidency. On the exemplary side, Bush prevented a post-9/11 attack, and he cut taxes in 2003, which sparked the economy. What prevented a higher grade were bad appointments (Donald Rumsfeld, Michael Brown and the near disaster of Harriet Miers, to name only three, with more to come) and speaking skills that embarrassed even his fans.

    Alas, the Bush Administration's bobble of the 2008 financial crisis knocked W down to a "C," at best....
    Yeah, Harriet Miers was his big screw-up -- geez.
    I wonder, could the GOP be encouraging Norm Coleman to keep up his hopeless fight to win Minnesota, to at least delay Franken's seating as long as possible to deny him voting on the crucial matters that face us?
    Michael Hirsh of Newsweek recently wrote a column with some terrific points. Some segments:
    The reason Obama is getting so few votes is that he is no longer setting the terms of the debate over how to save the economy. Instead the Republican Party—the one we thought lost the election—is doing that. And the confusion and delay this is causing could realize Obama's worst fears, turning "crisis into a catastrophe..."
    Obama's desire to begin a "post-partisan" era may have backfired. In his eagerness to accommodate Republicans and listen to their ideas over the past week, he has allowed the GOP to turn the haggling over the stimulus package into a decidedly stale, Republican-style debate over pork, waste and overspending.
    Obama has allowed Congress to grow embroiled in nitpicking over efficiency when the central debate should be about whether the package is big enough.
    Obama needs to remind the American people that unless the Republicans get on board, they will bear political responsibility for failing to act in the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
    The lesson: to court bipartisan compromise only works if both parties involved are sincere in their intentions. Obama tried (too) many times to win over Republicans and as much as he tried, he got nowhere. Instead, he's been treated to harsh criticism from the GOP's water-carriers, namely talk radio and Fox News.

    Obama needs to do what he did to win the White House: appeal directly to the public, circumventing the wrapped-in-politics swamp that is currently and has been DC. As we now fully understand and realize, the GOP is willing to do only that which they perceive to be in their interest -- the country be damned.

    Sunday, February 08, 2009

  • How a national home insulation plan would boost the economy, cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, and save consumers billions of dollars over the years. An investment that would have a multi-pronged payoff. Alas, there's not a shot the GOP would support such a sensible idea. It needs to be much more idiotic and imprudent for the Republicans to go for it.

  • Reminder from 2004 (prescient): 60% of U.S. corporations paid zero taxes from 1996-2000 (hardly a period of recession). 94% of corporations had a tax liability of less than 5% of income. "...any benefit working families have received from the Bush tax cuts has been more than offset by the additional tax burden they must bear because corporations no longer pay their fair share of taxes." And yet Republicans now want to push through even more tax cuts.... Insanity.

  • On Friday morning, Steve Benen wrote, "The Senate bill grew, not by additional stimulus spending -- the chamber narrowly defeated a measure to expand infrastructure investment -- but by adding $94 billion in tax cuts. The Nelson/Collins group, to make the package 'palatable,' isn't eyeing the tax breaks that aren't stimulative, they're eyeing about $100 billion in spending that is stimulative." So they were looking to add about $100 billion in tax cuts and subtract about $100 billion in spending, or about a $200 billion swap. The original plan was already too small when it came to stimulus spending and the Senate compromise version is even smaller. Paul Krugman says "this is really, really bad."

  • It's about time they admitted to it: Rep. Sessions (R-TX) urged the GOP to become more like the Taliban. The party of crazies.

  • Keith Olbermann's Special Comment to Dick Cheney is an absolute must-view:

  • Bush: eight years of blunders, no admission of mistakes, no apologies. Obama: within weeks of his taking office, he admits, "I screwed up." Now that's change.

    Tuesday, February 03, 2009

    Sunday, February 01, 2009

    I hardly write about sports, if ever, but with this Super Bowl I have to make this point. If the Arizona Cards win, it will be the biggest fraud to occur in any sport in quite some time. Many will protest, saying "But they won the Super Bowl! End of story." Sorry, in most years the winner of the Super Bowl is more often than not the best team in the NFL that season, or certainly one of the top 3. Yet this year with the Cards making it all the way to the big one, it proves that on rare occasion an impostor can have everything break their way and stand to be crowned #1.

    What do I mean? The Cards finished the regular season a mediocre 9-7 to win the weakest division in the NFL. They won their home games (6-2) but had a losing record on the road (with several losses absolute blowouts), meaning they frequently took advantage of teams having to make the long trip to Phoenix, but then faltered badly when they had to make same trip to East Coast. Thanks to their divisional standing, they were fortunate to get home field advantage in two post-season games, a huge edge, and the one game they did not (as +10 pt. dogs to the Panthers) they again were fortunate with the Panthers turning the ball over six (!) times). Note: typically if a team has a net turnover margin of two or greater in a game, they don't win. Six turnovers makes it near impossible to win.

    The NFL should re-evaluate their playoff rules. It should not be that the winners of each division get home field advantage. These teams should obviously get into the playoffs but it should be the W/L record that dictates home fields. The fact is the Cards should have never been at home in the post-season given their pedestrian record. Meanwhile, we saw the 12-4 Indy Colts have to play on the road versus the 8-8 SD Chargers -- it's simply not right.

    I fully expect the Steelers to win by double-digits. They're simply the better team, esp. on defense (which typically is what matters most in these big games). However, the better team does not always win and again, in this case not only would the lesser team prove fortunate to win, but the clearly lesser team is lucky to have made it this far in the post-season. Kudos to them for making it so far with a subpar team, but I'm sorry, if they hold up that Super Bowl trophy, I for one will not suddenly erase their stats and their regular season record and salute them as best in the league. Not even close.

    Sunday, January 25, 2009

  • The John Thain news just further reinforces the notion that to be a CEO at a major corporation requires one to be part psychotic, part sociopath. These people are so often removed from everyday reality and can tell a lie better than Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct -- it's not all that surprising when hearing about the details of Thain's reprehensible actions. If it was any of us, you wonder how you could face your neighbors or acquaintances in town, but these people don't come into contact with mere regular folk so they have nothing to worry about when it comes to shame or embarrassing encounters. And I'm willing to bet the people Thain does hob-nob with will likely forgive him or worse, understand and empathize with his apparent motives.

  • I asked it a week ago in the entry below and I'll ask again: can someone please tell me, where is the socialist that is supposed to be inhabiting the White House for the next fours years? Not only did Obama pack his original stimulus proposal with tax breaks amounting to 40% of the total cost, but word is he's willing to include even more tax breaks to win over some straggling dissenting Republicans. But that won't stop the lunatic right from fanning the flames of fear with that "S" word, and unfortunately the fools that comprise their base will just unquestionably take it as gospel...

  • My two favorite progressive radio shows are hosted by Thom Hartmann and Ron Reagan Jr. John Harris of Politico was recently on Reagan Jr.'s show to discuss an article he co-wrote and he made a comparison between invading Iraq and Obama's fiscal stimulus proposal. He claims beware of the herd instinct as it was wrong when Bush pushed for the invasion of Iraq and it may be wrong again when it comes to spending nearly $1 trillion in hopes of averting an economic depression. The two couldn't be more different. Prior to invading Iraq, there were several experts warning against it (but were either ignored or told to revise their intel/thinking), we were told it was going to be quick and cheap, we were told it had something to do with 9/11. As for the stimulus package, many top economists (experts) believe that this move is the right one and the alternative facing us if it's defeated is much more real when it comes to adverse ramifications than anything that was ever verifiable when it came to an Iraqi threat. The comparison is absurd.

  • More and more trees are dying due to global warming. Meanwhile, in late October it was reported that Bush/Cheney were rushing to have power-plant pollution rules relaxed. Let's hope we can recover from all the damage wrought by these irresponsible, craven clowns. Thankfully, this just in, Obama will let states decide when it comes to emission standards; recall Bush was for states rights on many things -- but not air pollution (he wanted to insure all 50 states had bad air).

  • In today's NY Times magazine, there's a brief interview with former SEC chief, Arthur Levitt. Wow, in my humble opinion, it's all quite embarrassing. When asked if he has modified his spending habits given the dismal economic environment, Levitt says, "Yes. I canceled a vacation to the Far East that I had planned for the spring. I don’t feel right about spending large sums of money in this environment." That's nice, he doesn't feel "right" about it -- I guess meaning it would look bad. It's safe to say that Levitt is worth many millions, many. I wonder what he decided on instead for a vacation spot... As for Madoff, when asked why the SEC under his watch did not catch this longtime schemer, Levitt says, "Bernie Madoff was simply not on our screen." What can you say? Incompetence did not just occur in the last eight years.

  • UPDATE: At InTrade, odds of the U.S. entering into a depression (not recession, a depression) is up to 65%.