Posts

Showing posts from May, 2012

Pick 'Em

When it comes to policy regarding the US Economy, what we hear over and over from "conservatives" is that the Gubmint shouldn't be in the business of picking winners and losers.  And yet, here's a nearly unanimous GOP saying they'll continue subsidizing fossil fuels at a rate of 6-1 over alternative fuels.  And they'll do it in spite of what their pets over at DoD ask for every time they get a chance.

From Wonkette:
We remember a time when if “the generals” wanted solid-gold ballwashers, they got solid-gold ballwashers! But now, it seems, the Republican members of the House are a little more frugal. Oh, not for the important stuff, like building East Coast Star Wars installations that the Pentagon doesn’t want — no, that they will get. But for stupid stuff, like biofuels to power their infernal machines, and this:
The Conaway amendment included in the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310) was meant to limit the Defense Department’s par…

And Now This Other

The Fail Parade continues.  This time, "conservatives" are using the power of the gubmint to block the construction of a house of worship.
Construction of a suburban Nashville, Tenn., mosque that was supposed to have been completed in 2010 has been halted and could be stopped for good after Chancellor Robert Corlew ruled Tuesday that the public wasn't given the proper notice two years ago at a meeting to approve the site plan.Technically, it means the Rutherford County Planning Commission could still approve the site near the city of Murfreesboro, but its chances of completion are diminished. I guess freedom of religion is important as long as the religion in question is Politically Correct.

Lyin' sacks of shit.

And Now This

Image
You know without thinking that motherhood is one of the absolutes when it comes to what "conservatives" are always yammerin' about - but of course they absolutely refuse to give any new mom any kind of break or some small thing to help her and the baby and the rest of her family handle the disruption.



One more example of how "conservatives" are a bunch of lying sacks of shit.

Support The Troops

Gosh - when you send people to fight 2 wars over 10 or 12 years, and they have to go thru 2 or 3 or 5 or 8 deployments of 15 - 30 months at a time, some of them will need healthcare for a very long time after they get back, and some of them will need an ever-increasing level of care because their injuries turn out to be progressive or occult or degenerative in nature.
USA Today - A staggering 45% of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service-related. That is more than double the estimate of 21% who filed such claims after the Gulf War in the early 1990s, top government officials told the Associated Press.What's more, these new veterans are claiming eight to nine ailments on average, and the most recent ones over the last year are claiming 11 to 14. By comparison, Vietnam veterans are currently receiving compensation for fewer than four, on average, and those from World War II and Korea just two. This…

Rightspeak

A good short piece from Krugman at NYT - lifted in its entirety.


May 26, 2012, 12:11 PMThe New Political CorrectnessRemember the furor over liberal political correctness? Yes, some of it was over the top — but it was mainly silly, not something that actually warped our national discussion.Today, however, the big threat to our discourse is right-wing political correctness, which — unlike the liberal version — has lots of power and money behind it. And the goal is very much the kind of thing Orwell tried to convey with his notion of Newspeak: to make it impossible to talk, and possibly even think, about ideas that challenge the established order.Thus, even talking about “the wealthy” brings angry denunciations; we’re supposed to call them “job creators”. Even talking about inequality is “class warfare”.And then there’s the teaching of history. Eric Rauchway has a great post about attacks on the history curriculum, in which even talking about “immigration and ethnicity” or “environmental …

A Cost Of Freedom

The rubes love chanting "freedom ain't free".  It's one of those useful and catchy phrases that can make it sound like they have the high ground - that they have some deeper understanding of a complex issue, when in fact simply by uttering the words and then claiming to win the argument because it takes the other side a lot longer to articulate a coherent position shows a level of ignorance that depresses the shit outa me.

That kind of opening paragraph is usually instigated by something having to do with National Security, but this time it's all about a little kid in Ohio.
Ohio boy, 3, shoots self in head
Tuesday May 29, 2012 12:30 AMMOUNT VERNON, Ohio (AP) — A 3-year-old boy is in critical condition after shooting himself in the head.WBNS-TV reports (http://bit.ly/KBZKiC ) that the shooting happened shortly before 6:30 p.m. Monday at a house northwest of Mount Vernon. The boy's grandfather, parents and two younger siblings were at home when it happened.The st…

Maybe Someday

...they'll make something useful out of me.

(Father John Misty, with a hat tip to Balloon Juice)


I guess it's all part of what I see as our evolution.

Periods of transition are always dangerous and exciting and interesting and confusing and frightening and and and.

Parade Of Stoopid

Image
The reason we get incredibly radical nonsense from our "leaders" is simply that we are willing constituents.



I am responsible for everything I think, say and do.  Me.  I'm not under the spell of some cosmic mesmerizer.  And I'm not going to follow blindly along behind anybody who claims to possess some kind of special magic;  or needs me to believe that his particular decoder ring is the only one that works when it comes to figuring out what Gondorff The Magnificent really meant by whatever it was that some half-literate guy wearing a goat skin singlet scratched into a clay tablet 1700 years ago.

I can be persuaded or inspired or cajoled and manipulated - but if I decide to act, the decision is mine.

Today's Pix

Image

Today's Bumper Sticker

If you wanna live like a RepublicanVote like a Democrat

Well, I'm Shocked

Image
Listening to smart people talking about shit that matters is one of the great joys in life.  And one of the truly great things about The Marketplace of Ideas is that when an outlet like MSNBC wises up and realizes it can let good stuff fill a partial content vacuum  - well, it don't get a lot better'n that.

This bit starts with Jamie Dimon and the giant fuck up that Wall Street continues to be.

Bias Confirmed

Image
This is why I never call it anything but DumFux News.
It's a comparison of results on a basic factual-knowledge test for consumers of different news organizations.
hat tip = James Fallows

A Step At A Time

Image
Just inching our way closer to Robocop II.



What could possibly go wrong?

The Man Factor

Image
I posted a while back about some stupid dust up or another (wait a minute - this is a blog. All my posts are about some stupid dust up or another).

Anyway, one of the big Non-Troversies yesterday was that the White House had sent out "an obviously Photo Shopped" pic of Obama throwing a football.

(to wit:)

So actually, not bad - guy's got decent form blah blah blah.  Why are we attacking it?

Because The Kenyan Usurper must never be seen to possess actual Americanizing characteristics.

Because football good - Obama bad.  If Obama's good at football, then Repub Physics doesn't work anymore, and the pretend universe implodes.

Because part of that pretend universe is totally dependent on the DumAss Dems never thinking to ask, "OK - so what's your guy got?"

Where are all the pix of Romney doing manly things?  Go ahead - Google that one, and get back to me.

More About That IPO Thingie

From SFGate:
"Facebook left nothing for the common investor," Forbes Publisher Rich Karlgaard wrote. "The insider pig pile of (private equity) firms and celebrity Silicon Valley angels took it all. This is a rather new, post-Sarbanes-Oxley fact, and it should make Americans very, very angry." This new Uber-Investor model is set up to make sure that the value of any new company being offered has already been stripped out before it "goes public".  At this point, facebook may have achieved that weird critical mass that makes some companies float along like a massive planetoid falling thru space, but anybody on the outside who buys shares from here on out is really just paying a voluntary tax that keeps the Hedge Funders and Sarbanes-Oxley lawyers healthy.

We're arguing over the possession of the corpse, and I think this is what Kleptocracy looks like.

About That IPO Thingie (updated)

We might be able to call it Sean Parker's Revenge by Proxy - can't wait for the movie.  I hope Oliver Stone is ready.

Anyway, facebook is the greatest thing since perforated toilet paper, and when you can't make a big messy splash with facebook's IPO, well, there's something not quite right.

The thing went public at about $38 a share, "spiked" all the way up around $40; and when it looked like it could seriously flop, the big underwriters had to jump in and take huge Price-Support Positions to keep the thing from going so deep in the tank you'd need a wormhole generator to find it.

So, whaddup widdat?  One thing for sure is that now a few very big investments houses own significant holdings in facebook.  I don't know any of the rules where these things are concerned, but you're talkin' JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs - so recent history would indicate "rules are for somebody else" and none of that crap about market-driven moral…

Hiatus Alert

Image
I'll be out for a few days.

Mike's New Hip - The Sequel

debuts tomorrow!

Meanwhile, In Malaysia

It's pretty sad, but it seems Justice has escaped and is trying to set up shop in SE Asia.  Hooda thunk it?

hat tip = Democratic Underground

via CultureMap Austin:
How is it possible that the unanimous conviction of a former U.S. President as a war criminal does not immediately register as the most important news of the day? Today's endorsement of Romney by the newly minted war criminal is getting far more traction in the news. (Though, as Politicker notes, the Romney camp has yet to comment on the news.)

Chase

Why is Jamie Dimon not being dragged thru the streets by his heels?  And when will any of these fuckin' crooks be held to account?

Crooks and Liars
The JPMorgan Chase story is also the story behind the financial crisis that has thrown millions of people out of work. It's the story behind our ever-growing wealth inequity. It's the story behind Washington's inability to prosecute criminal bankers, regulate reckless ones, and propose the economic solutions the rest of us urgently need.Predictably, the pundits who aid and abet people like Jamie Dimon are dismissing this story's importance, pointing out that $2 billion (it could become much more) pales against the $19 billion in profit Chase reported last year.But it was potentially $2 billion earned through crime. And more importantly, this story isn't just about Chase's errors and crimes. It's much bigger than that.

Today's Pix

Image

What Does It Mean?

These days, a "conservative: is a guy who loves America - or at least an idealized version of America - but seems to hate just about any American who doesn't look, think and act almost exactly like he does.

So how do I reconcile this one?  Justice David Souter quit the Supreme Court a coupla years ago, and took a pretty hard shot at his "conservative" peers on his way out, in the form of a dissenting opinion on a matter before the court at the time.  Meanwhile, Chief Justice Roberts (no relation to your beloved blogger here) used a procedural gimmick to delay the court's decision (Citizens United) long enough to make it impossible for Souter's critique to escape into the public domain - and his rationale was based on not wanting to harm the credibility of the court.
Didja catch that one?
hat tip = Balloon Juice
From The New Yorker - Jeffrey Toobin:In one sense, the story of the Citizens United case goes back more than a hundred years. It begins in the Gilded…

Today's Quote

"Every man has a right to an opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts." --Bernard Baruch

Thank You, Dr Chomsky

Image
I was never a big fan, but the simple fact that so much scalding vitriol is aimed in his direction requires me to look for myself.



Special Bonus: David Frum at about 8:30.

I'm good with it until near the end (about 1:15:00) when he starts talking about the new "Libertarian Socialism" which will lead us to a spiritual transformation.

First, as soon as you tack that "ism" on the end of a set of philosophical tenets, you're well on your way towards the logical extreme, which means you've begun the slide into the abyss of self-cancellation.

Second, never bet against human nature.  If your system requires people to behave as anything other than people, then your system just ain't gonna work - not any time soon anyway.

But third, maybe it's more of a chicken-or-the-egg proposition.  Maybe it does work the way Chomsky imagines it working, where if you take the idea of Libertarian Socialism, and mash it up together with the need for a spiritual transf…

We're #1

Image
...except when we're not - or about stuff we shouldn't be - or somethin'.

We have an amazing capacity for deluding ourselves.  And while it's not exactly unique to Americans, it seems like we have some special kind of weird need to buy into our own bullshit.  Maybe it's because our insistence on Free Speech made the slide into Propaganda unavoidable.  Maybe it's because we've allowed Free Speech to mean we can say whatever we want to say without being held to account for its consequences.

We think Foreign Aid makes up 25% of the Federal Budget, and that a more appropriate level would be about 13% - when it's actually less than 1%.

48% of Americans believe Healthcare Reform has been repealed.51% don't know The US Supreme Court has 9 Justices...and 54% can't name even one of 'em.78% know Larry, Curly and Moe, while 58% can't name all 3 branches of the US Government.125 million American Christians can't name all 4 Gospels.67% of adults i…

Economic Mobility

Image
"The South is the native home of American poverty" --Gene Nichol, director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

I really wish this would come as a surprise - just once in a while.  Why is it always The South?  There're 9 states doing worse than the average and they're all in The South, and they're all Deep Red politically.  The politics in every one of those states is dominated by Right Wing TeaBaggers and/or Christianists, but certainly by radicals who're pretending to be "conservatives".
Utah's an obvious outlier, but on the other side of that coin, there're 8 states doing better than average, and 7 of those are either Hard Blue or toward the blue end of Purple.




























I don't know what exactly has to happen to change all of this, but I do know that not much will change until people figure out for themselves just how badly they're being swindled.

Where Credit Is Due

Jon Stewart is a fucking genius.

Politicizing Mothers' Day

Ann Romney has a piece in USA Today all about the glories of motherhood and the importance of cherishing our moms.  Wow - way to take a tough stand on that one, Annie.

Go read it if you think you need a little blast of meaningless treacle from about 1915.  For my own self, this is one of those times I wish I could spell the sound I make when I puke.
It's hard to imagine now, but before the birth of my first child, I had never held a baby. Not once, not in my entire life. No baby at home to tend, no niece or nephew to babysit. So you can imagine, the day my first boy was born I felt woefully unprepared. She tries to make it sound like she's some kinda "regular person".  She isn't.  She'd never held a baby?  Seems odd 'til you take a quick little Google spin thru her old neighborhood, or do a bit of reading on Bloomfield Hills Michigan* where she grew up.  She probably never did any laundry or cooked a meal for herself either.  Not that any of that makes her…

Go Greeks

Y'know, some people just really know how to do that protest thing better than others.

Prostesters in Greece managed to get into the studio and pelted a TV Anchor Guy with eggs and yogurt (this is Greece after all).

Unofficially translated, they're chanting, "Cops, TV, neo-nazis, all the scoundrels are working together."

One Example

Government as Business can be even more of a nightmare than what "conservatives" are always creamin' their jeans over.

A teenager in a For-Profit Prison in Mississippi turned up missing, and it took his dad more than a month to find him - in a local hospital, after suffering irreparable brain damage in a riot that was possibly instigated by at least one of the guards.  That's pretty fucked up right there.

From AlterNet via Democratic Underground:
On March 26, U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves issued a blistering court order approving the settlement of the lawsuit. He wrote that the GEO Group Inc., the company that runs Walnut Grove, “has allowed a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions to germinate.”Violence by youths and guards wasn’t the only problem. Neither were the gang affiliations of some guards. Or the grossly inadequate medical and mental health care. Or the proliferation of drugs and other contraband. Or the lack of educational and …

Back In The Black

Not that it's gonna last, but the US Gov't reported a budget surplus of $58 Billion for April 2012.
CBO estimated that receipts were $30 billion higher in April than the same month a year ago, due to declining refunds that month and higher corporate income tax receipts. Spending fell by $69 billion compared to April 2011, marked by lower outlays on defense, Medicaid and the Postal Service.  --Market Watch How this happened is anybody's guess, but the real question is how long will it take for the Repubs to turn it around, and get the failure they've been pushing for?
Making Government run like a business is great as long as it's never ever allowed to turn a profit.  Which kinda shows how fucked up the GOP's premise actually is.  Because if Gubmint works like a business, then Gubmint is - in fact - working.  And that just can't be because we all know that Gubmint doesn't work at all, so we have to work a lot harder to make it work better, but...  
If your…

As Austerity Fails

Image
...the Romney campaign discusses US Domestic Economic Policy.

GOP And The Lady Parts

Found this days ago and forgot all about getting it posted.

hat tip = Crooks and Liars


Republicans, Get In My Vagina! from Kate Beckinsale

Today's Pix

Image

Political Judo

Image
You take your own negative and project it onto your opponent.  It's worked for a long time because most people have short memories where this kinda shit is concerned - which is actually what Willard's campaign guy was talking about when he made that Etch-A-Sketch remark.

Well, Obama kicked off his 2012 campaign at Ohio State's basketball venue (I think), where, according to the wingnuts, "he was preaching to an empty room", or he "failed to fill the seats" or some such hokum.

Here's one view of what that empty room looked like:























Here's one more:

























And here's a look at the adoring throngs that showed up for Romney's major economics address in Detroit earlier this year - this is the one the Repubs need us to forget about:

Well, That Sucks

Image
86% of us (per recent polling) think that unlimited donations to SuperPACs has a corrupting influence on our democracy.

Which means there're more than twice as many Americans who don't understand how fucked up Campaign Financing is in this joint than there are who believe the moon landings were faked.

And Jesus wept.

hat tip = Republic Report

To Be Clear

Image
If somebody tells you they think you're sounding a little racist, it doesn't have to mean they're just "playing the race card" and that you should ignore them and go right on being a cheap imitation of a normal human.

Sometimes it means you need to stop for a minute and recheck your assumptions.

France

Lil Nik Sarkozy has lost the French presidency to a Socialist named Francois Hollande, who is expected (by some folks anyway) to ease up on the austerity choker.  So OK, I guess we're about to see something more of a Keynesian approach to the economic side of the house (france is the # 2 economy in the EU - right behind Germany), and that can only mean that the Right Radicals in the US are about to freak the fuck out.

Won't that be fun.

BTW Broad Observation:
The political world is cratering in on the Repubs, so that's why they're doing everything they can to pass legislation that's mostly just plain stupid, and will take a long time to sort thru once they're gone.  I think the strategy is to make it look like it's the Dems who're implementing the "radical agenda" as they work to unravel all this crap, and the GOP can sit on the sidelines complaining about how the Dems aren't doing the things they said they'd do to make things better.

Progressive Roster

Lifted directly from Crooks and Liars, and with a hat tip to The Professional Left.

Here's a list of Progressives doing their thing in the world of "New Media":

PART 1

All Power To The Positive—Featuring Sensei Gregory C. Lewis and Jacob “The Jacobin” Brown (radio)Alternet Radio Hour—With Joshua Holland (radio)The Anonymous Show—With Mr. X aka John Smith (radio)BearMan Radio Show—Featuring the BearMan (radio)Blacking It Up—Featuring Elon James White, L. Joy Williams and Aaron Rand Freeman (radio)The Blatant Minority—Featuring Greg Hanson (radio)Bob and Chez Show—Featuring Bob Cesca and Chez Pazienza (radio)The Breakdown—With Richard Eskow (radio)Brookland CafĂ©—(radio)Captain Jack Show—With Captain Jack (radio)Clearing the FOG (Forces of Greed)—With Kevin Zeese & Margaret Flowers (radio)Coffee Party Radio—Featuring Annabel Park and Coffee Party volunteers (radio)Create the Change—(radio)The DC Sports Beat—With Mitch Malasky (radio)DC Voice’s Education Town Hall—With Tho…

Jay Smooth

Image
I lost track of this guy for a while.  Glad I caught up with him again.

Who Are Those Guys?

Image
The Washington Post has gone from a truly great example of Gutsy and Righteous Journalism in the mid-70s to its current smarmy incarnation as a Bullshit Centrist Rag.  And seeing as how this piece is co-authored by Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein, on the surface, it's just more of the same "both sides do it" malarkey.  But it doesn't just feel different - it says it straight out: "the Republican Party is the problem".
Today, thanks to the GOP, compromise has gone out the window in Washington. In the first two years of the Obama administration, nearly every presidential initiative met with vehement, rancorous and unanimous Republican opposition in the House and the Senate, followed by efforts to delegitimize the results and repeal the policies. The filibuster, once relegated to a handful of major national issues in a given Congress, became a routine weapon of obstruction, applied even to widely supported bills or presidential nominations. And Republicans in the…

Give A Listen

Image
Nothing better than smart people talking about stuff that matters.

(this is just a screen shot - click on the link above, knucklehead)

d r i f t g l a s s

Just gotta give a nod to this guy:
Using the 1972 Democratic Party platform as a baseline, note what happened to the Left over the last 40 years. And ask yourself, honestly, in that time, have the Left's policies and expectations tacked consistently towards the 1972/GOP Right...or has the Left seized America's guns?

Have we outlawed religion?

Has the Democratic Party moved to make abortion 100% legal and government funded through the ninth month of pregnancy, no questions asked?

Is pot cheap, legal and available over-the-counter at every CVS and Piggly Wiggly?

Have we sold off our last battleship?

Are our schools impossibly well-funded?

Does every citizen have free, lifetime health care?

Does every building sport solar panels?

Is gay marriage legal everywhere?

Have we nationalized our banks and oil companies?

Do we tax the rich at 98%?

Is there an 18 month paid parental leave by law? And three months of mandatory paid vacation?

Is there a $22/hr minimum wage?

Is union membership now mandato…

Libertarian Debunked

I venture into town on the occasional Wednesday (or sometimes Friday) to meet up with some buddies to have a little drink and talk a little treason.  Sitting at the outside tables on a recent evening, I spotted the ubiquitous Driving-While-Cell-Phoning motorist and made the usual comment, "Hey lady, hang up and drive your car".

My Libertarian friend contended that I sounded like "a typical Nanny-State Liberal who needs to tell everybody how to live their lives".  Something else came up and we didn't get into it, but I've been thinking about that for a while now.  His assertion that basically, I was butting in where I didn't belong is one of those great turnaround attacks that tend to stop debate, but here's the thing:  Isn't it really the case that the driver talking on the phone is the one forcing the rest of us to live by her standards?  Why do all the other drivers and bike riders and pedestrians have to accommodate her?  What's so specia…

Today's Point Rebuttal

Point: Don't blame the war on the warrior.

Rebuttal: What kind of a war ya gonna have if nobody shows up to fight?

Buh Bye, Newt

Image
I'm gonna miss ol' Newt.  The guy's been a consistent source of entertainment, running the gamut of content from his deadpan "Yes" when asked if he was calling Willard a liar, to the way he projects himself into the future and talks about how all the numbers make it impossible for him not to get the nomination, or how we'll have a permanent moon base by the end of his 2nd term.  There's nobody more fun to watch - kinda like some kid on YouTube who does a ballstand when he tries to jump his bike off his mom's porch - it's a little retch-inducing, but I just can't turn away.

It's pretty easy to see why this guy gets 50 large for a speech.  It's a polished performance, and it doesn't matter that it's the classic sales-y yarn that any good huckster learns how to spin - if you do it right, you can get 'em to believe almost anything.  Just make sure you put plenty of plausible sounding goals together with some techno-jargon, plac…

Huh?

Image
I've been sifting thru a lot of YouTube stuff on god and religion lately, and sometimes these little tiffs pop up at the oddest times for the oddest reasons.  Here's a "report" on one of my recent faves.

Butter Up And Bend Over

Image
You have to drill down and look deep to get the "whole story", but when it looks this kinda stark it's pretty clear just how fucked we are.

hat tip = TPM