Sunday, September 30, 2012

Does The Moon Also Fall?

Here's your homework assignment for this week.  But if you're anything like me, it'll take you a good while longer than a week to get it all internalized.

Thinking about things like String Theory and other Quantum-y stuff usually gives me a pounding headache.  So, I try instead to think about what was going on in people's heads in the 17th century when Newton was trying to introduce his new ways of doing things.  And it occurs to me: the TeaBaggers of that time resisted all this revolutionary thinking the same as they do now.  It's not much to hang onto, but I have to remember that time is actually on our side.  Evolution doesn't care if you "believe" in it or not.  The surest path to extinction is to defy the natural order of cause and effect.  Adapt; Improvise; Overcome.  If you don't learn, you don't change.  And if you don't change, you die.

The News From Afghanistan

As of today, in wars supposedly intended to get us a little payback, we've now gotten almost 3 times as many Americans killed as died on 9/11.  
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The killing of an American serviceman in an exchange of fire with allied Afghan soldiers pushed U.S. military deaths in the war to 2,000, a cold reminder of the perils that remain after an 11-year conflict that now garners little public interest at home.
When do we get it thru our thick skulls that none of this makes any sense at all?

Gettin' It Done - 38 & 37

I truly hate the Performance Test model for improving schools.  Teachers and Administrators are actually pretty smart people, and it doesn't take a long time before they figure out the game.  I'm not saying they're all just a buncha short-cutters and cheats, I'm saying they know that about the only thing that gets improved in any big way is the balance sheets of companies that suddenly pop up to peddle Assessment Software and their new-found "expertise" as Education Consultants - the teachers and admins figure out how to do what they need to do to keep the doors open, and how to make it look like they're toeing the line as prescribed by power-drunk law-makers and self-designated "experts" who have practically no fuckin' clue how any given school actually works.

And here's the kicker:  You don't fix the schools until you fix the neighborhoods - maybe we could concentrate on that for a minute or two, eh?
37. Crafting Next-Generation School Tests: Devoted $330 million in stimulus money to pay two consortia of states and universities to create competing versions of new K-12 student performance tests based on latest psychometric research. New tests could transform the learning environment in vast majority of public school classrooms beginning in 2014.
And speaking of schooling, this one I can get behind in a pretty big way.  "Higher" education is becoming (if it isn't already) the new High School.  Since there are practically no jobs in the traditional sectors where lots of non-college-track kids could catch on, you don't get any job that doesn't require Spatula Skills if you don't have at least a coupla years beyond K-12.  By trying to do something about the Loan Sharks, Obama is trying to make it a little harder to chain these kids to a lifetime of servitude just so a few bankers' kids get new Mustangs for graduation.
38. Cracked Down on Bad For-Profit Colleges: In effort to fight predatory practices of some for-profit colleges, Department of Education issued “gainful employment” regulations in 2011 cutting off commercially focused schools from federal student aid funding if more than 35 percent of former students aren’t paying off their loans and/or if the average former student spends more than 12 percent of his or her total earnings servicing student loans.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Meep Meep, Muthahfuckah

Wile E Coyote's cousin Bibi addresses the UN.

Sen Jim Webb, (D-VA)

Those young Marines that I led have grown older now. They’ve lived lives of courage, both in combat and after their return, where many of them were derided by their own peers for having served. That was a long time ago. They are not bitter. They know what they did. But in receiving veterans’ benefits, they are not takers. They were givers, in the ultimate sense of that word. There is a saying among war veterans: “All gave some, some gave all.” This is not a culture of dependency. It is a part of a long tradition that gave this country its freedom and independence. They paid, some with their lives, some through wounds and disabilities, some through their emotional scars, some through the lost opportunities and delayed entry into civilian careers which had already begun for many of their peers who did not serve.

And not only did they pay. They will not say this, so I will say it for them.
They are owed, if nothing else, at least a mention, some word of thanks and respect, when a presidential candidate who is their generational peer makes a speech accepting his party’s nomination to be commander-in-chief. And they are owed much more than that — a guarantee that we will never betray the commitment that we made to them and to their loved ones.

Any Questions?

Today's Cartoon


Goofy as all hell, and the numbers are quite a bit different now, but it's still all about moving a few people off the fuckin' dime and out to the polls.

On average, over the last several cycles, national elections are decided be fewer than a dozen votes per precinct.  Make a few calls and see what happens.

The War Goes On

In this particular case, I refer to The War On Women.

via Addicting Info:
On Friday, the Illinois court of appeals upheld a decision that allows pharmacists and medical dispensaries to refuse to give out emergency contraceptives on the grounds of religion.
So here's a thought; maybe I could go to Pharmacy Tech school, wait around for that job at CVS to open up, and then after I'm kinda established, I could convert to the Christian Science brand of religion.  At that point, it seems like I'd be in the perfect position.  I could simply refuse to fill or dispense any prescriptions because my religion forbids it, which means I wouldn't be required to do any actual work.  And they couldn't pressure me or fire me because I could sue their asses off for Religious Discrimination in the workplace.

Gettin' It Done - 39

Because you can't concentrate well enough to learn everything you need to learn when food is competing for the top spot on your brain's list of priorities.
39. Improved School Nutrition: In coordination with Michelle Obama, signed Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010 mandating $4.5 billion spending boost and higher nutritional and health standards for school lunches. New rules based on the law, released in January, double the amount of fruits and vegetables and require only whole grains in food served to students.
And btw -  
It has given us the iced doughnut, the burger and the fattest people on Earth.
But now America is outdoing even itself when it comes to unhealthy food, by trying to claim pizza is a vegetable.

A school lunches Bill going before Congress aims to reclassify the junk food due to the tomato paste on the dough.
Read more: The Daily Mail

Thursday, September 27, 2012

God Love Daily Caller

A facebook friend posted a bit from The Daily Caller about the evil Obama spending way too much of our tax money on "official travel" blah blah blah.

And guess what popped up in the comments?

It was up for a good 15 minutes before somebody probably flagged it and it got taken down; and I don't presume to know that it wasn't conveniently "planted" by some dirty rotten Democrat just to make the noble TeaBaggers look bad.  And I suppose the 14 'Likes' could've been the result of an email tree (or whatever) so a bunch of other dirty rotten Dems could rush over and hit the 'Like' button to make it seem like there's a lot of racist assholes posting comments at The Daily Caller.  Yeah, OK.  But y'know, sometimes it is what it looks like.

Today's Pix

Dear facebook friends...

Grandma doesn't get lei'd much anymore

The Vote

From Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, about the myth of voter fraud:
At this point, you may be wondering if there's really anything wrong with all this. What's the problem with cracking down on voter fraud? And why shouldn't voters be required to show photo ID? If you need ID to cash a check or buy a six-pack, why not to vote?
The answer—surprising to many—is straightforward: Not everyone has, or can easily get, a photo ID. If you don't drive, you don't have a driver's license. If you're poor, you probably don't have a credit card. And if you're unbanked and don't need ID to buy liquor, you probably don't have much need for photo ID at all.
Once that sinks in, the electoral significance becomes obvious. In 2007, shortly before the Crawford decision was handed down, the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity and Race released a study of Indiana voters showing that among whites, the middle-aged, and the middle class, about 90 percent possessed photo ID. Among blacks, the young, and the poor—all of whom vote for Democrats at high rates—the rate was about 80 percent. Overall, 91 percent of registered Republicans had some form of photo ID, compared to only 83 percent of registered Democrats.
Still, Republicans argue, anyone can obtain a photo ID with a modest amount of effort if they really want to vote. And isn't this small amount of inconvenience worth it in order to crack down on fraud?
Sure—but first there needs to be some actual fraud to crack down on. And that turns out to be remarkably elusive.
Statistics tell part of this story: According to a survey by the Brennan Center, 8 percent of voting-age whites lack a photo ID, compared to 25 percent of blacks. Getting an ID card from the state usually requires you to produce a birth certificate, and Barbara Zia of the South Carolina League of Women Voters recently explained what this means in her state: "Many South Carolinians, especially citizens of color, were born at home and lack birth certificates, and so to obtain those birth certificates is a very costly endeavor and also an administrative nightmare."
In St. Louis, where our story opened, Kit Bond's outrage about dogs and dead people has a long pedigree. It is, a local official told the American Prospect's Art Levine, "code for black people." This kind of racial dog whistling, which relentlessly paints ethnic minorities as corrupt and dishonest, is corrosive not just to our political discourse, but to democracy itself.
The scandal of the photo ID laws, then, isn't so much that they give one party an advantage, or even that they affect minorities disproportionately. The scandal is that they knowingly target minorities. So even if the real-life effects of these laws are small, they're impairing civil rights that African Americans and others have spent decades fighting, and sometimes dying, for. This in turn means that something most of us thought was finally taboo—active suppression of minority votes—isn't really taboo after all.

Gettin' It Done - 40

Today's installment on what Obama's accomplished.
40. Expanded Hate Crimes Protections: Signed Hate Crimes Prevention Act (2009), which expands existing hate crime protections to include crimes based on a victim’s sexual orientation, gender, or disability, in addition to race, color, religion, or national origin.
Not crazy about this one.  I don't like the idea that we're creating categories of Thought Crimes.  If you commit a crime, what matters to me is that you're held to account for it, and your deep-seated motives are a matter for the prison psychologist to figure out.  If we learn something from it, then great; maybe the info is useful in preventing more of the same.  I just don't think having some sinister motive makes the crime worse, even tho' I do think having really good reasons for committing certain crimes can make a difference in what happens when you're being processed thru the justice system.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gilligan And The Stench

Wasn't it about this time in 2008 that things started to fall apart for McCain and Palin?
“I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him,” Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa, told The New York Times on Sunday.
(more at Politico)

Everybody used to moan and wail about the impending death of the Democratic Party - now it's the GOP's turn.  How does any democratic organization fix itself?  What was the process that pulled the Dems up out of the abyss in the early 90s?  Much thinking and learning of new things are required here.

And with the recent news of how all the big money has shifted away from Obama and toward Willard, what am I supposed to conclude if Obama pulls it off and wins in spite of what looks like a concerted effort at a Corporate Takeover?

Today's Pic

via Democratic Underground

Oh, Sweet Jesus

I feel something like human compassion towards Joe Scarborough - or actually I would feel it if he wasn't such a partisan dick most of the time.


I just hope nobody gets cocky.  This is exactly what certain bad guys wanna see because it makes good pretext for pulling some electoral shit.  ie: "See?  The librul media was in the tank for Obama all along, but the noble conservatives showed 'em what's what."

(hat tip = Democratic Underground)

Mike O'Brien ‏@mpoindc 

Oof. RT @Chris_Moody: New CBS/NYT poll finds Obama leading 53% to 43% in Ohio and 53% to 44% in Florida. 

Josh Marshall ‏@joshtpm 

This mornings new NYT/CBS polls devastating 4 Romney. Obama by 10 in Ohio, 9 in FLA, 12 in PA.  

Chris Geidner ‏@chrisgeidner 

NYT: "Mr. Obama is leading Mr. Romney 53 percent to 43 percent" in OH. Bigger in PA, nearly that in FL. 

National Journal ‏@nationaljournal 

Obama has six-point lead in new Bloomberg national poll. 

Michael Tackett ‏@tackettdc 

New Bloomberg national poll +6 Obama. Romney dragged by negative perceptions @juliehdavis 


Quinnipiac's jaw-dropping, eyebrow-raising swing-state numbers by @aburnspolitico 

Josh Marshall ‏@joshtpm 

Must Read article on how early voting may mean Mitts goose is already half cooked … via @TPM

Favorite comment:

Tough Crowd

The blue-hairs are all up in his grill an' shit.

I know - it's Daily Kos and all, and it's chopped neatly into little bite-sized chunks, but the guy got a pretty bad reaction from people whose votes he has to get if he wants to be Romney's veep.

I suppose it's possible he was sent in there to lay the groundwork for a "speak the painful truth" kind of message - I just can't help thinking these guys are so deep in the bubble that they don't believe any of the terribly bad shit that keeps happening to them is really real(?)

Gettin' It Done - 41

Obama's done some things.

41. Avoided Scandal: As of November 2011, served longer than any president in decades without a scandal, as measured by the appearance of the word “scandal” (or lack thereof) on the front page of the Washington Post.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


The American Conservative is a pretty decent place to get some good old fashioned conservative info.  And who the fuck coulda seen that one comin'?
With the launching of the Global War on Terrorism, Islamism succeeded Communism as the body of beliefs that, if left unchecked, threatened to sweep across the globe with dire consequences for freedom. Those who Washington had armed as “freedom fighters” now became America’s most dangerous enemies. So at least members of the national security establishment believed or purported to believe, thereby curtailing any further discussion of whether militarized globalism actually represented the best approach to promoting liberal values globally or even served U.S. interests.
TeaBaggers and others who keep trying to pass themselves off as conservatives are little more than John Birch-style radical ass-hats wrapped in American flags and clutching their bibles - both of which they bought really cheap down at Wal-Mart who brought it all in from China.

A Quickie

Something's been buggin' me about the whole 47% thing - I mean something other than the douchebaggery of WIllard saying it, and the oral flatulence of Limbaugh and Noonan and Bobo as they try to pretend it was all about clumsy wording or inept campaigning or conniving libruls who like to play "gotcha games".  There was something else. Something very much in keeping with how Repubs do things, and it took me a while to figure it out, but here it is:

For a lot of people, Willard's attempts to dodge US taxes make him a bit of a hero.  Government is evil and all taxation is theft, so anything you do to screw the IRS is a noble gesture.  For these folks, Willard is the Self-Service version of Robin Hood.

So how come they don't see "the 47% who don't pay taxes" in the same light?

There's a guy flippin' burgers who used to work for the county as a civil engineer to keep the paving contractors honest, but he got laid off when they had to cut the budget to make up for tax cuts.  He doesn't pay Federal Income Tax because he doesn't make enough.  He'd love to get back to where he pays taxes again.  And there it is.  He wants to pay his taxes; he wants to pay the bloodsuckers their tribute; he's brainwashed; he's corrupt; he's not one of us.  And before you know it: "he must be eliminated"

So in GOP Oppositeland, you can't be virtuous if you're not out to fuck somebody over, and even tho' they actually believe the 47% are trying to do exactly that, the GOP must have an enemy, so the enemy is us.

Gettin' It Done - 42

Today's installment on what Obama's done.

42. Brokered Agreement for Speedy Compensation to Victims of Gulf Oil Spill: Though lacking statutory power to compel British Petroleum to act, used moral authority of his office to convince oil company to agree in 2010 to a $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; $6.5 billion already paid out without lawsuits. By comparison, it took nearly two decades for plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez Alaska oil spill case to receive $1.3 billion.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Gettin' It Done

We usually hear more about how rotten the opponent is rather than hearing anything good about the guy we're pulling for.  So here's a little countdown.  Hopefully, I'm going to post something every day until Nov 6 that lists some things Mr Obama has done in his first term.

You can take whatever it is as good or bad, of course - I'm just puttin' it all up.  Here's the down payment:

50. Killed the F-22: In 2009, ended further purchases of Lockheed Martin single-seat, twin-engine, fighter aircraft, which cost $358 million apiece. Though the military had 187 built, the plane has never flown a single combat mission. Eliminating it saved $4 billion.

49. Helped South Sudan Declare Independence: Appointed two envoys to Sudan and personally attended a special UN meeting on the area. Through U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, helped negotiate a peaceful split in 2011.

48. Provided Payment to Wronged Minority Farmers: In 2009, signed Claims Resolution Act, which provided $4.6 billion in funding for a legal settlement with black and Native American farmers who the government cheated out of loans and natural resource royalties in years past.

47. Expanded Stem Cell Research: In 2009, eliminated the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, which shows promise in treating spinal injuries, among many other areas.

46. Recognized the Dangers of Carbon Dioxide: In 2009, EPA declared carbon dioxide a pollutant, allowing the agency to regulate its production.

45. Expanded Health Coverage for Children: Signed 2009 Children’s Health Insurance Authorization Act, which allows the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover health care for 4 million more children, paid for by a tax increase on tobacco products.

44. Pushed Broadband Coverage: Proposed and obtained in 2011 Federal Communications Commission approval for a shift of $8 billion in subsidies away from landlines and toward broadband Internet for lower-income rural families.

43. Created Web site run by independent board of Inspectors General looking for fraud and abuse in stimulus spending, provides public with detailed information on every contract funded by $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Thanks partly to this transparency, board has uncovered very little fraud, and Web site has become national model: “The stimulus has done more to promote transparency at almost all levels of government than any piece of legislation in recent memory,” reports Governing magazine.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Little Football

The take-away quote:
"Tim Tebow's throwin' arm is proof that there is no God."

(hat tip = The Atlantic)

Buncha Dopes (cont'd)

I put up a post yesterday that ended with my standard bitch about SIlver Spoon Legacy Pukes.

see Buncha Dopes
If you can manage it, then you should leave your kids something to get 'em goin', and good on you. But we're not doing ourselves, or them, any favors by plowing the road so perfectly that we end up with cretins like Luke Russert and Chris Wallace and Meghan McCain and GW Bush and Willard-fucking-Romney in positions of real consequence.
Something occurs to me when I think about my own disdain for inherited privilege and advantage, that hooks in pretty well with the arguments coming from The Grover Fluffers at places like Club For Growth and The TeaBaggers and practically all of the GOP.

My contention is that if I leave a ginormous estate to my kids, then there's not much incentive for them to work at anything, and to participate in a world (ie: an economy) that doesn't function properly unless practically everybody participates in it in roughly the same way.  I'm not talkin' about trying to make the field perfectly level by straight-up confiscation and redistribution.  That's been tried and it doesn't work for shit either.  I'm just talkin' about putting in some rules that make it a lot harder for your great great granddaddy to have greased the skids for you to the extent that you decide to grab for some real power by running for national office just because you haven't much of anything else to do.

Now think about conversations you've had with almost any "conservative", and tell me what they've had to say about "welfare has made multiple generations dependent on government largesse" - and/or - "if you just give stuff to people without making them work for it, they'll decide not to work at all".  And of course, these are almost always the same people who scream so loudly about the sheer horribleness of "The Death Tax".

Aristocracy sucks.  It's what an awful lot of brave souls decided to overthrow back in the late 18th century.  And, weirdly, Inherited Entitlement seems to be kinda the "natural order of things".  But that's what we said we weren't going to do anymore.  We said it may well be what happens everywhere else, but not here.  We're the exception.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

DumFux News

When it gets this bad, you're goin' over the cliff.

There has to come a time when nobody is unaware of how fuckin' stupid everybody thinks you are if this is where you get the information necessary to participate in the world and to conduct the actual living of your life.

Viewer Tip: hit PAUSE a few times at the end so you can read the "corrections".

Stay Tuned

Reports are coming out of North Africa now that have Libyans storming some-to-several camps or buildings and militia headquarters and killing at least 2 people in protest of the attack on the American consulate in Bhengazi last week.

From The DailyTimes:
Libyan protesters ousted a militia from its headquarters and seized a raft of other paramilitary bases in second city Benghazi early on Saturday in heavy clashes that left four people dead.
The seizure of the headquarters of Ansar al-Sharia - which has been accused of, but denied, involvement in the murder of US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans last week - came after tens of thousands took to the streets on Friday to protest against the power of the militias.
It bears watching.

"Buncha Dopes"

Chris Wallace tries to be legit, but he almost always falls a little short.  I get the feeling he's not happy with his position at DumFux News, and I think it's because he knows the jig is up - even a big chunk of the die-hard centrists who tune in for Wallace or Bret Baier or Shep Smith have recently come to understand just how crassly partisan Rupert's Playhouse really is.

So, when Chris has to do a promo spot with the boneheads on the morning show, he can barely disguise his contempt; and apparently, the feeling is mutual.

And BTW - Chris Wallace is another reason I'm so totally against supporting any but the absolute minimal kind of intergenerational handoff.

If you can manage it, then you should leave your kids something to get 'em goin', and good on you.  But we're not doing ourselves, or them, any favors by plowing the road so perfectly that we end up with cretins like Luke Russert and Chris Wallace and Meghan McCain and GW Bush and Willard-fucking-Romney in positions of real consequence.

No more Clintons, no more Bushes, no more Rockefellers, no more Roosevelts, no more Kennedys etc etc etc

No dynasties, no aristocracy, and no Sliver-Spoon Legacy Pukes allowed.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Let My People Vote

And here's the URL for LetMyPeopleVote2012:

Today's Pix

Stewart's On Fire

Gotta see this one - Comedy Central

Racist Asshole Alert

From Addicting Info:

And, yes, Obama’s race is a factor, contrary to what conservatives will (and always) say. Lynching a black man – even symbolically – in the South is a deliberate statement. It’s meant to invoke the “good ol’ days” when white southerners could terrorize the African American community with impunity. When contacted about this by Burnt Orange Report, Johnson responded, “I don’t really give a damn whether it disturbs you or not. You can take [your concerns] and go straight to hell and take Obama with you. I don’t give a shit. If you don’t like it, don’t come down my street.”
This is terrorism.  Luckily, this particular act is on the low end of the Terrorism Spectrum, but I can't help thinking it's just more evidence that we're a little closer to pickin' up the Civil War where we left off.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I don't know what's up here, but it smells really bad and I just wanna get something posted that maybe starts me stroking in the right direction.

From Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone:
The great mystery story in American politics these days is why, over the course of two presidential administrations (one from each party), there’s been no serious federal criminal investigation of Wall Street during a period of what appears to be epic corruption. People on the outside have speculated and come up with dozens of possible reasons, some plausible, some tending toward the conspiratorial – but there have been very few who've come at the issue from the inside.
We get one of those rare inside accounts in The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins, a new book by Jeff Connaughton, the former aide to Senators Ted Kaufman and Joe Biden. Jeff is well known to reporters like me; during a period when most government officials double-talked or downplayed the Wall Street corruption problem, Jeff was one of the few voices on the Hill who always talked about the subject with appropriate alarm. He shared this quality with his boss Kaufman, the Delaware Senator who took over Biden's seat and instantly became an irritating (to Wall Street) political force by announcing he wasn’t going to run for re-election. "I later learned from reporters that Wall Street was frustrated that they couldn’t find a way to harness Ted or pull in his reins," Jeff writes. "There was no obvious way to pressure Ted because he wasn’t running for re-election."
And from Reuters (via The Agonist):
With less than two months to go before the U.S. presidential election, a new survey found 61 percent of Americans say a candidate's commitment to rooting out corporate wrongdoing will be key in deciding who gets their vote.
Along with keen interest in knowing each candidate's plans to fix the struggling economy, voters want government to do more to fight corporate misconduct - which they say helped cause the financial crisis.
"In these difficult economic times, Americans are mad as hell about corporate wrongdoing and are going to do something about it in the November elections and beyond," said Jordan Thomas, a partner at law firm Labaton Sucharow, which commissioned the survey and which represents corporate whistleblowers.
This is the first I've heard of a continuing disgruntlement over Corruption Inc - it seemed to me that it had been pushed way down the list of priorities.  But when I stop and put some thought into it, I start to see it making some real sense.  How do you fix the problem of Too Much Big Money In Politics if you don't fix the problem of Private Up-Side and Public Down-Side?

Oh yeah - no more thing.  When your clear-eyed and sensible Repub friends start yammerin' about how we need lots more deregulation to "unleash the mighty power of unfettered American free-market know-how", see if this rings a bell for 'em (from an AP story cited in the comments at The Agonist referenced above - and got practically no mention anywhere):
A Texas company that profited for decades by supplying mentally disabled workers to an Iowa turkey plant at wages of 41 cents per hour must pay the men $1.37 million in back wages, a federal judge ruled late Tuesday.
The judgment against Henry's Turkey Service in Goldthwaite is the third of more than $1 million against the company after state authorities in 2009 shut down a dilapidated bunkhouse in rural Iowa where the men had lived since the 1970s.

Pic O' The Day

Obama should win this thing, but don't get cocky.  Make sure your ass is registered today, and in line early to vote on Nov 6th.  And just to be sure - go to the nearest OFA office and make some phone calls or somethin'.  If you want this to stick, then ya gotta help turn people out.  Most people have already made up their minds, so turnout is everything now.

Proud To Be Obama Wonk

What - too much?

Almost Missed It

So, Willard - that bit about "one nation, under god; indivisible..."?  What the fuck, douche-nozzle?

Even Peggy Noonan?

It's a pretty bad sign when practically every pundit who pretends to be down the middle bails on your campaign.

Peggy Noonan, Rupert Street Journal:
It’s time to admit the Romney campaign is an incompetent one. It’s not big, it’s not brave, it’s not thoughtfully tackling great issues. It’s always been too small for the moment. All the activists, party supporters and big donors should be pushing for change. People want to focus on who at the top is least constructive and most responsible. Fine, but Mitt Romney is no puppet: He chooses who to listen to. An intervention is in order. “Mitt, this isn’t working.”
Romney always seems alone out there, a guy with a mic pacing an empty stage. All by himself, removed from the other humans. It’s sad-looking. It’s not working.
Maybe he seems alone because he's leading the charge of the minority.  As it becomes more and more obvious that he appeals only to an ever-shrinking number of insiders, why would anybody be surprised to see him campaigning in front of ever-dwindling crowds, while being accompanied by fewer and fewer GOP stars?

BTW1: In spite of all the pearl-clutching and pleas to "party elders, to the extent you exist...", Noonan and the "Smart Right" are helping the TeaBaggers put up the context that will push the GOP even farther to the extreme right.

BTW2: how does Peggy Noonan keep getting paid to write this junk?  A true testament to Wingnut Welfare.

The Great Debunking

Wonkette is possibly the best place on the planet.  I wish I could vacation there.

debunked! because the image says so!
As it turns out, we need not see what was in those missing two minutes of video from Romney Gone Wild: 47% Of His Clothes Off. Willy Mittens is now declaring the video “debunked and selectively edited” for some reason.

Favorite comment:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tweet Back O' The Day

New Journalism

Andrea Seabrook left NPR a little while ago and has (finally) put up her first episode of DecodeDC.

You can go to Mule Radio and subscribe via iTunes or RSS for free.

And this is the tune playing in the background at the end of the piece:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Illusion Of Choice

The freedom and justice of the Marketplace is more and more just empty sloganeering.

(click to make it bigger)

Today's Pix

A New Thing

Big national campaigns almost always give us some memorable slogans or phrases.

There you go again.
Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy
Welfare Queens

Soledad O'Brien may have come up with one last night.  At about 5:10 she coins the phrase "The myth of the Deadbeat Nation".

And BTW - Bay Buchannan seems to be fairly gasping for air trying to beat this thing down.

Fast forward to the first coupla years of Willard's first term, and imagine what happens when he's faced with some majorly snarled problem in - oh, I dunno - the Middle East or SW Asia or North Africa or wherever.  We'll have Willard out front saying some kinda stupid shit that he thinks only Americans can hear, while his State Dept team is saying something exactly the opposite to the rest of the world because they're trying to keep from being barbecued inside our embassy in Western Fuckedupistan - and then we'll spend the next 7 or 8 years trying to get ourselves out of the shooting war that Sec Def Lyndsey Graham absolutely knew was a great way to settle the issue etc etc etc.

DO NOT put these clowns in charge of anything more complicated than a Saturday morning carwash down at the local high school.


But wouldn't it be just too sweet if Obama's buttons were Union Made in the USA (which I think is verifiable), and Romney's buttons all had the Made In China label (probably not true).

Some Numbers

Willard committed a gaffe by saying what was actually on his mind yesterday.

He said (paraphrasing) 47% of Americans don't pay taxes and are incapable of taking responsibility for themselves, and feel entitled to the money that hard-working real Americans earn.

Here's an interesting look at where all those freeloaders live:

So lemme see
  • of the 10 states with the greatest numbers of people Willard considers to be moochers and lay-abouts and shiftless no account sponges, 8 of 'em are standard traditional Red States.
  • 6 out of the 10 states with the LOWEST numbers are Blue States.
(hat tip = Addicting Info)

But remember that in Repub World, this just means they need to vote for Willard so he can show them the error of their ways, and to save them from being further victimized by the Svengali Socialist Obama.

Quick Note

Muslim World Pissed Off.
What - again?  What happened this time?  Somebody find some infantile graffiti like "Allah sux balls just like all the other gods"?

Evangelicals Protest Removing "In God We Trust" From US Currency.
Hey, fuckwad - that coin that doesn't have your favorite team slogan on it?  It has your favorite team slogan on it - it's engraved on the rim of the coin.  Do you ever check anything out for yourself, or is it that you enjoy being made to look stupid?

Not to be too centrist here, but why the fuck do we have to put up with anything coming out of either The Arab TeaBaggers or The American Taliban?

Somewhere along the line, somebody has to get to these pricks with the news that 95% of the world's people don't see things quite the same as they do; and that when they go off like that they look proud to be ignorant; and that their temper tantrums are kinda fuckin' it all up for the rest of us.

Just sayin'.

The New News

I didn't know this bunch until today, so I don't know if they have real chops or if they're just out there with a camera and too much time and money on their hands.

Anyway, here's a taste of VICE:

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's Been Said

...Obama's the one they love to hate, but Romney's the one they hate to love.

The American Conservative:
A few times, Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan have made effective arguments about Obama over-promising and under-delivering. This has proved true with the economy, but it is also playing out in the Middle East. As someone who owes his political success to speechmaking, Obama has exaggerated the extent to which his oratory can solve the problems of that troubled region or even compensate for his own drone strikes.
But it is difficult to make this case when Romney’s alternative is simply chest-beating. If Obama speechifies, emotes and “apologizes,” Romney struts, baits liberals and says to hell with apologies—all while drawing fire away from his opponent.
Conventional wisdom now has it that political campaigns are all style and no substance, which may be why Obama's win in 2008 scared the fuck outa the right (including btw the Blue Dogs etc), and made it mandatory to block everything no matter what.  The thing Entrenched Interests in positions of power fear most is the prospect of losing their power.  They feel little compulsion to do anything of consequence moving us toward that "more perfect union" thing because they've come to believe their own sales pitch - and more specifically, they cling to the only little piece of the pitch that matters to them and their very ambitious staffers and campaign consultants; ie: "you can't do anything if you lose the election".  So it naturally boils down to "doing whatever's necessary to get yourself re-elected and we'll try to figure out something after November".  But guess what?  The election never ends.  The campaign is a permanent fixture.  You may have noticed this.

But in 2008, Obama represented a serious threat to that system.  And it's worse now because if he wins this time, he can put himself up as the most feared kind of Chief Exec - a guy with some decent things in place from his first term, plus a little momentum, not much really to lose and, as the economy stirs itself, nowhere to go but up in his second term.

So watch for the shit-shovelers to pile it on.


Here's a long one from Justin Rosario at Addicting Info:
Whenever conservative bloggers try to be clever and “expose” liberal myths, you just know it’s time to pull out the rain coat, ’cause there’s gonna be a whole lot of bullshit flying around. The latest example of this is John Hawkins’ “20 Obvious Truths That Will Shock Liberals” whose real title should be “20 Easily Disprovable Stories That Conservative Chumps Buy Hook, Line & Sinker.” Let’s take a look shall we?
7) Out of every 100 cries of “Racism” you hear these days, 99 are motivated by nothing other than politics.
That would be because they are directed at Republican politicians and pundits passing around racist emails, calling President Obama a skinny little crackhead or man-child and demanding to see his “real” birth certificate because being born to an American mother and a Kenyan father magically makes you “not American” despite several past (white) presidents having a foreign national as a parent. When the Right stops using the Southern Strategy of racial resentment that they have flat out stated that are using, we’ll stop calling them racist.
It's worth keeping this one handy.


Let's Recap

Willard's been running for one office or another for goin' on 20 years.  You'd think he'd have a pretty good handle on what his position is on at least a few of these issues.

Think again.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Willard Fail

I don't follow him closely, but James Fallows doesn't strike me as the kinda guy who endorses particular candidates.  Looks a lot like that's exactly what he's doin' here.
Fair warning for what's ahead: I once worked for a Democratic president. As I say in a discussion with Ta-Nehisi Coates included in our new Atlantic eBook, in this election I prefer the Democratic position to the Republican in economic policy, in foreign policy, and in social policy. Weigh that as you may.
On the basis of the past 18 hours, I will now say that I also strongly prefer the Democratic presidential candidate to the Republican on temperamental grounds. Mitt Romney's response to the murder of American diplomats in Libya was his "3 a.m. phone call" moment, and what it revealed was not good.
"The other side" is apparently totally stuck in the bubble.  There is practically nothing coming from "conservatives" but the same old and tired meme about "Obama's Apologies".

Thursday, September 13, 2012

It Starts To Make Sense

When lots of people said, "We invaded Iraq because of the oil", I was willing to consider it as one possible reason, but it also had the hollow ring of empty rhetoric for me, especially as we failed to produce a decent flow of crude.
(3.5M bbl/day pre-war, 1.5M bbl/day now)

It seems I was pretty wrong on that one.  Almost crazy stupid wrong.  For one thing, while invading Iraq was indeed about securing the supply, more importantly it was about controlling the flow (but that's just a little bonus info - read on).

A book review by Matt Stoller via Naked Capitalism:
The use of coal and oil in the context of industrialization has always been about who has the power to profit from the surplus these energy forms produce, but until now, no one has pulled the various historical details together into a historical narrative laying bare the fascinating power dynamics behind the rise of Western political systems and their relationship with energy. Carbon Democracy is an examination of our civilization’s 400 hundred year use of carbon-based energy fueling sources, and the political systems that grew up intertwined with them. Rather than presenting energy and democracy as separate things, like a battery and a device, Mitchell discusses the political architecture of the Western world and the developing world as inherently tied to fueling sources. The thesis is that elites have always sought to maximize not the amount of energy they could extract and use, but the profit stream from those energy sources. They struggled to ensure they would be able to burn carbon and profit, without having to rely on the people who extract and burned it for them. Carbon-based fuels thus cannot be understood except in the context of labor, imperialism and democracy.

And oil companies operated not to maximize production, but to sabotage it. Mitchell wrote, “The companies had learned from Standard Oil that it was easier to control the means of transportation. Building railways and pipelines required negotiating rights from the government, which typically granted the further right to prevent the establishing of competing lines. After obtaining the rights, the aim was usually to delay construction, but without losing the right. Iraq became the key place to sabotage the production of oil. It would retain that role through much of the twentieth century, and reacquire it in a different way in the twenty-first century.”

So it turns out that all the Geopolitics and whatever nuevo-jargon maneuverings you care to mention over the last 50 years or so is just the same old imperial game of grab the cash and make a stash?

Same shit, new day.  And Jesus wept.

Sounds Familiar

An editorial cartoon published some time in the early 1930s:

What Does Leadership Look Like?

Go ahead - tell me there's no difference.  Tell me it doesn't matter who you vote for.  Tell me you're gonna sit on your ass and just let the shit happen.

Wait - What?

From Salon:
Yesterday, Ryan announced that he is launching a $2 million ad buy, something unprecedented for a congressman who has barely spent over $2 million totalin previous election cycles. The Zerban campaign saw it as a sign that Ryan, who has never faced a very credible Democratic challenger, is Nervous about his prospect in the district this year.
The poll comes just a day after Ryan released his own internal poll that was meant to show his election is inevitable. Ryan’s survey showed him up 25 points, beating Zerban 58 to 33 percent. That’s a drop from a June internal poll, which found the race at 63 to 29 percent. Considering the expectations behind Ryan and the resources in his favor, anything showing the race to be less than a blowout is surprising and likely not welcome at Ryan HQ.

Just a fuckin' minute.  Under the law, Paul Ryan gets to run for as many different offices as he can afford to run for?  And if he wins both of these races, he just chooses which one he likes better?

So we have a huge problem with Dark Money and the risk that we could end up with at least 2 branches of the federal gov't owned by 15 or 20 billionaires, but now we get to add the little problem that arises when Ryan (eg) wins both races, chooses "to serve" as VP and basically (in effect) gets to pick his own successor for his House Seat?  Well ain't that just won-fuckin'-derful?

Yes, I know Wisconsin requires a special election, but the name recognition and a personal endorsement from the VP-Elect is prob'ly gonna help quite a bit.

I also know that Biden did the same thing in 2008.  Guess what?  It wasn't kosher then and it's not kosher now.  Commit to one or the other and stop trying to hedge your fuckin' bets allatime.  Yeesh.

And These Are His Friends

WIllard's takin' some big hits.

Daniel Larison:
Romney has made many foreign policy blunders before now, but this is the only one that has provoked such swift, harsh, and near-unanimous criticism. The most incredible part is that all of this has been self-inflicted. Romney and his campaign volunteered for this by inserting themselves into the story. If it were simply the other campaign or Democratic partisans that were hammering Romney on this, it wouldn’t be any different from previous mistakes, but the backlash hasn’t been limited to his partisan foes. The dishonesty of the original Romney statement and the gall of his press conference this morning have combined to create serious doubts about his judgment and to confirm the impression that there are no limits to his opportunism.
At the same time, Romney’s blunder could have been made by almost any leading national Republican today, because the blunder was rooted in an understanding of Obama’s foreign policy that relies heavily on things that have been grossly distorted or simply made up. Similarly, Republican hawks have developed an allergy to substantive policy arguments, preferring to fall back on talking points that were designed to win news cycles rather than reasoned arguments. Once one accepts the reality of the non-existent “apology tour,” providing supporting evidence for other charges would seem redundant and pointless. One of the things that has distinguished Romney’s foreign policy arguments is their relentless hostility to inconvenient empirical evidence. Contrary evidence is simply waved away, and facts are twisted or invented to fit a predetermined conclusion. This has usually involved making untrue claims about policies few people pay close attention to, but this week the gap between Romney’s foreign policy vision and reality was held up for intense scrutiny for all to see.