Friday, December 31, 2010

Another snow storm, another round of sarcastic wise cracks from the right, poking fun at those who would dare suggest that the planet is heating up. Why, we have a foot of snow on the ground in many parts of the country, how could it possibly be that Earth is warming? Those silly scientists, all they need to do is look around and read the newspapers.

Does it get any dumber? Many countries experience flash floods -- but then still continue to have droughts. Short-term events versus long-term trends. It's all just embarassing at this point and shame on anyone who falls for this load of crap. As I've written several times before on this blog, and just last month, global warming and climate change are very complex, or at least more complex than the dim-bulb crowd will lead you to believe.

As Dr. Peter Gleick states:
Record snowfall is not an indicator of a lack of global warming, as has been pointed out in the scientific literature and many, many rounds of Congressional testimony. It merely means that there was a storm and temperatures were close to or below freezing. Indeed global warming can contribute to greater snowfalls by providing extra moisture. Many scientists testifying before the Senate and House of Representatives have explained the difference between a steadily warming planet and occasional extreme cold events in particular spots. But we can expect to see more examples of this kind of B.S. when it gets cold and snowy somewhere, sometime, this winter.
And from conservative David Frum's web site, a quote from Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC):
People who make a lot of money on talk radio and talk TV say a lot of things. They slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night, and they’re experts on climate change. They substitute their judgment for people who have Ph.D.s and work tirelessly [on climate change].
Maybe in 2011 we'll see more Republicans convert to the side of reason and science, before it's too late.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

For those not already subscribers, Best of the Left is a terrific podcast. Strongly recommended.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

As if there was any doubt:
We found that those who watch Fox nearly every day, compared to those who never or only watch it a little, are more likely to believe some pieces of has been statistically proven that you will be more misinformed if you watch Fox (News) than other networks.
My favorite discovery:
The effect was also not simply a function of partisan bias, as people who voted Democratic and watched Fox News were also more likely to have such misinformation than those who did not watch it.
Yes, even if you voted Dem you were just as likely to be adversely affected by the power of Fox News. It's like an evil, near-invincible force, just waiting to suck in its next helpless victim. Ever see the movie Videodrome?
And the "Lie of the Year" goes to.... Yes, you guessed it, the GOP fabrication that health care reform was "a government takeover of health care."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Another item I've been meaning to write about for some time now: the Michael Moore / Wendell Potter exchange on Keith Olbermann's show. It's worth watching both Part 1 and Part 2.

It's disturbing to hear Mr. Potter admit to what was common practice by these insurance companies, as if there exists an understood, step-wise protocol on how to discredit someone or something. You try X and if that doesn't work you move to Y, and if that doesn't work you.... Really scary.

A particularly unsettling admission by Wendell is when he says, "But I think it meant that we would do what we had to do to create ads and op-eds that we would get conservative pundits to place in newspapers with the whole objective of, as they call it, reframing the debate, to try to move the attention from them to you as a filmmaker." [My emphasis]

Is Wendell inferring that these companies can "create" propaganda per se, or a fabricated line of attack, and then simply find one of many conservative "pundits" to write it up and get it published in a major newspaper? Really? As if insurance companies have a Rolodex filled with right-wing writers for hire, who are just waiting for that call telling them what to write, with the chosen writer likely sending the finished copy back to the company for final edits. In fact, Potter seems to imply that the insurance companies would actually write the op-ed and then get a conservative writer to attach his/her name and get it published.

I don't doubt it happens, but nonetheless it was revolting to hear.
I am half way through Juliet Schor's Plenitude and it's terrific. Very interesting, crammed with eye-opening facts and lesser-known realities, and yet not written in a preachy, finger-wagging tone. A very important book for our times.
I thought Tea-Party fave Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) was to be an agent of change in Washington DC, to work hard at putting an end to the business-as-usual shenanigans, where special interest money corrupts governing and unduly influences choices?

Yawn, yeah right.

But unlike Brown, I'm sure the rest of the Tea-Bag crew that won this past November will follow-through on their campaign rhetoric and they'll fight the power, refuse to accept special interest money, really "go rogue" and defy what has been the norm in DC....

Yawn, yeah right.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Judge Who Nixed Health Care Owns Stake in GOP Firm"

Does this shock or surprise anyone?
I'm late re this but still wanted to comment on Obama's press conference following his tax deal. Not long after I wrote, "And is he once again going to command Gibbs et al to lash out against us, the left, as if we were spoiled children who know not what we speak of or believe in?" did it come true, only it wasn't Gibbs doing the lashing but rather Obama himself.

Btw, is it me or is Obama's tone more indignant and hostile when he's criticizing the left than when he's doing the same versus Republicans and the right? Sort of akin to the parents who are meaner to their own kids than to strangers.

In the press conference, Obama attempted to equate the public option and healthcare reform with extending all tax cuts, including those for the wealthy, giving the enemy-of-the-perfect argument a try. Sorry, I don't find the two comparable, making it all seem a bit strained to say the least.

For one, I don't seem to recall Obama being so clearly and strongly in favor of the public option as he was against tax cuts for the wealthy. Secondly, Obama and the Democrats had much more power during the HC reform, to enforce their will, as opposed to coming off a brutal election leaving a lame duck Congress. Thirdly, the Tea Party furor and influence was in its infancy during HC reform, as opposed to now. Finally, most liberals did in fact support the eventual HC reform, even despite it not having a public option, so I think Obama is guilty of amplifying the few to make his point.

So I would argue his tax cut cave is quite different, and given this latest scolding, makes him appear that much weaker.

Let me also say that I fully understand his argument about being held hostage, that if he didn't do this the GOP would've voted against extending unemployment benefits, so Obama was acting as the bigger person and "caving" for the sake of the unemployed. I get that, BUT could we at least hear him be just as stinging and harsh in his comments about this craven maneuver by the Republicans as he was when commenting on the liberals and healthcare reform -- is that too much to ask? As opposed to him graciously and overly-respectfully describing it as the most important issue Republicans feel they must fight for -- no bite, no sting, no condemnation, no harsh tone.

And what makes him think Republicans won't repeatedly use this "hostage taking" tactic over and over again? Why wouldn't they? It worked for them beautifully this time, with hardly a fight and no mean words or mud-slinging. No wonder McConnell and others were praising Obama for acting so presidential. That in itself spoke volumes about how Obama made a mistake.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Obama caving on the tax cuts is just another unfortunate sign of how weak this president has become. Yes, I know he's attempted to offer up a seemingly rational excuse as to why he "had" to go along with this deal. Yada, yada, yada.

Are we not beyond sick and tired of the carefully-worded excuses for each time Obama gives in to the strident, unyielding Republicans? And is he once again going to command Gibbs et al to lash out against us, the left, as if we were spoiled children who know not what we speak of or believe in?

It's really just sad to see someone who was to be a strong advocate of change devolve so quickly into a willing vessel for the status quo. I always knew Obama was not the far-left, ultra-liberal "socialist" the right-wing machine made him out to be, realizing it was in their interest to portray him as a "pinko commie" just as they did with Bill Clinton. Nothing shocking there. However, I still maintained hope that he wouldn't lurch too far to the center and that there was the chance he would actually be a commanding force who exhibited continuous and consistent strength and fortitude. I'm sorry, many of us expected X and instead got Y, and it's not a matter of our expectations being out of whack or too unrealistic, but rather it's more a matter of feeling as if one was sold a bill of goods.

Look, I'm not one who doesn't appreciate the many good things that Obama has done during his two years in office. I've defended him to the point of growing weary (I know I'm not alone on this front), to the point where I feel I've defended him better than he has defended himself! I know he's light years better than most of the alternatives out there.... Blah, blah, blah. But Obama was not elected into office because he was less bad than McCain/Palin -- right?! His victory was one of excitement and promise, not begrudging resignation to what might have been otherwise.

With this recent cave, pact, covenant -- whatever you want to call it -- it just reminds me of the scene in The Godfather, when Brando slaps Johnny Fontane exclaiming, "You can act like a man!" As if Obama has become this pathetic, weak figure, groveling for understanding and support. STOP IT ALREADY, GROW A SPINE AND ACT LIKE A MAN!
Dr. Laura, another crazy right-wing hypocrite.

It wasn't long ago that she refused to belong to a network of stations that would include someone as repulsive and vile as Howard Stern (this was back when Howard was with Viacom).

But apparently with her recent agreement to join satellite radio Sirius XM, the network that Howard Stern belongs to and has built into a formidable operation, it seems now she's OK with being in the same family as Howard.

The hypocrisy just never ends. And as usual, the family-values BS is just crap tossed at the hapless audience, who gladly swallow it up, but meanwhile the Dr. Lauras tossing it could care less when it comes down to it.... Howard, Shmoward, just pay me....

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

There he goes again, being all far-left, socialist and ultra-liberal.... What a joke, and has always been one.
Julian Assange is now not going to be able to follow anyone, at least not for some time anyway. But I was intrigued with what Richard Cohen wrote:
Say what you want about WikiLeaks - and I don't much like what it has done - it nevertheless would be useful for its founder, Julian Assange, to follow George W. Bush as he lopes around the country, promoting his new book, "Decision Points." When, for instance, Bush attempts to justify the Iraq war by saying the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein, Assange could reach into his bag of leaked U.S. government cables and cite Saudi King Abdullah's private observation that the war had given Iraq to Iran as a "gift on a golden platter."

Iraq now has a Shiite-dominated government and many senior officials who are ominously friendly with Iran. It was always American policy to use Saddam's Iraq to counterbalance Iran since it was really Iran that posed a danger to the region. That danger is now amply documented in the new WikiLeaks documents - including the revelation that North Korea has sold Iran missiles capable of reaching, say, Tel Aviv or, a minute or so later, Cairo.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Morning Coffee Spit

I'm going to try and put up here each morning an item that when read or viewed will cause you to spit up your coffee. It will be that ridiculous or idiotic.

OK, here we go for this morning, a video clip. A classic example of offering all opinions and seemingly passing them off as facts.

You have Frick & Frack (Beck and O'Reilly), trying to link Soros with WikiLeaks, with no hard proof offered, no facts, just Beck saying "I think..." and "We've talked about..." Best of all, you have O'Reilly literally say to Beck, "... I'm not going to ask you to prove it..."

No, we wouldn't want that, right?? HILARIOUS.