Thursday, February 28, 2013

What's Real?

hat tip = The Rude Pundit
Back in that time, the "bad guys" were often foreign; be it your mad Sheik or your Toru Tanaka, you were always encouraged to boo at the non-white dude while men in cowboy boots stomped them.
Why bring this up? Because it's encouraging to find out that the current WWE champion is a Mexican character, Alberto del Rio, who is a widely loved "good guy." And the bad guys gunning for him are two redneck Tea Party members, Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger, whose rhetoric is just like anything you'd hear at a teabagger rally. 
Why bring this up? Because internet radio host Glenn Beck got all upset at the portrayal of his beloved nutzoid Tea Party as racist jerk-offs who spout meaningless, jingoistic bullshit. He called the WWE's fans "stupid" and wondered, "I just don't see a bunch of progressives going and buying their tickets to the WWE." That's right. Glenn Beck turned against a Republican-led company and its customers.

Rationally Irrational

"The Right" has been in freaked-out mode for what is getting to be a very long time now.  And I won't put up a big list of shit they're freaked out about, because it's a lot of trouble and anybody who's been paying any attention for the last 20 years should know at least a few of the items on that list anyway.

But I'll focus on one item - Iran - and use it as an illustration of what I think is going on.

The Neo-Cons are always on about the horribleness of Iran's efforts to get the bomb.  And they use it constantly trying to get some leverage on every issue having anything to do with the Middle East.  Pick anything you like - Lybia, Benghazi, Syria, Hamas, Iraq, Hezbollah, Chuck Hagel - eventually, they'll bring it back around to their belief that Iran is doing all of these terrible things in all of these dangerous places because the Ayatollahs want to fuck the Israelis.

From Balloon Juice:
The point isn’t that Hagel “favors” containment and deterrence. Like virtually everyone else, he’d much rather Iran not get a bomb. But by reminding Americans of the potential costs of preventive war, Hagel was implying that containment and deterrence might be preferable. He was suggesting that if the U.S. can’t stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons short of war, it should make the same tradeoff that Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy made when they allowed the Soviet Union and China to get the bomb. This horrifies hawks for two reasons. First, some of them, echoing Benjamin Netanyahu, claim Iran represents an existential threat to Israel. But were that their sole concern, they’d pay more attention to the near-consensus view among top Israeli security professionals that although Iran poses a threat, it does not pose an existential one, in large measure because Iran’s regime, while vile, is rational when it comes to preserving its own existence.
And there it is - I hi-lited in yellow so ya wouldn't miss it.  While the guys running things in Iran (eg) may talk big, they're not fuckin' stupid.  But in order to cut thru the Media Clutter, neo-cons have to make it sound like Iran is champin' at the bit to rain fire and destruction down on Tel Aviv.  If you can make your opposition look totally wacko, it can make your own insanity seem a little more palatable in comparison.  So you can do something completely irrational - like invading countries for bogus reasons - and make it look OK simply because enough of us are convinced the other guy is even more of a dick that you are.

Paraphrasing: In a world of complete assholes, the man who is just kinda of a jerk is king.

So, can we talk about the Wimpy-But-Reasonable Dems vs the Bat-Shit-Crazy Repubs thing now?  No wait - that's actually for real.  (just something to watch out for, y'know?)

The point is that ya gotta stay as rational as possible.  You don't want to become what you're supposed to be fighting against.

And from The Rude Pundit, here's the cherry on the top:
Tweets About Elaine Chao: On the Left, We Treat Our Screw-Ups with Honor:
Here in Left Blogsylvania, we give a fuck. We give a fuck because we believe it matters to give a fuck. When someone on our side fucks up and fucks up badly, we don't automatically circle the wagons. We want punishment. Look at Anthony Weiner versus, say, David Vitter. We want apologies - real apologies, not apologies that go something like "I'm sorry if I offended you when I murdered your dog. It wasn't my intention to offend you but rather simply murder your dog."
So when an offensive tweet from Progress Kentucky, a not-really Super PAC devoted to defeating Senator Mitch "What the hell is that between your chin and neck? You should get that tumor checked" McConnell, was brought to everyone's attention nearly two weeks after it was sent out to the 2000 followers of the account, Left Blogsylvania went all Twitchy on its own. (If you understand what that last part of the sentence means, the Rude Pundit feels your pain. Let's jab needles in our eyes together.)
The tweet was about McConnell's wife, George W. Bush's Labor Secretary, Elaine Chao, whose record is worthy of criticism. But she's Chinese-American. And you can't link to an article about her, identify her as the Senate Minority Leader's wife (must...resist...urge to joke...about "Minority Leader"...), and say, "May explain why your job moved to #China!" See, that shit's just racist, whatever you intended, and we on the left understand that if we're gonna go nutzoid when someone on the right does it, then what's good for the motherfuckers is what's good for the progressives.
Left Blogsylvania and the actual liberal media condemned it thoroughly. Salon, Think ProgressWonkette, Talking Points Memo, even Huffington Post, taking a break from all Anne Hathaway's nipples all the time, and the New York Times all posted variations on "That's some bullshit."
You know what you didn't see? You didn't see any of the major voices of theleft leaping in to defend Progress Kentucky. You didn't see Daily Kos writing posts about how, of course, Progress Kentucky didn't mean anything racist; they just meant to point out that Chao's tenure as Labor Secretary saw a shift in American jobs to China. If this had been someone on the right saying it? If it had been one of Karl Rove's Super PACs? The wagons would have circled like they were protecting American Jesus from the Lamanites. Rush Limbaugh would have devoted half a fuckin' show to blowharding about liberal political correctness. Bill O'Reilly would have blamed Obama. Laura Ingraham would have had Michelle Malkin on as an honorary Asian to talk about how it wasn't offensive at all, just true. They would have gone all Todd Akin. They would have gone all Richard Mourdock, trying to say what's wrong is the attempt to silence it. Somehow, guns would have been mentioned, for sure.
But we're not them because we're generally not dicks about such things (we're dicks about other things and have blinders on many more, but that's not what's being discussed today). We call out racism, sexism, and homophobia. We hope that those being called out will do the right thing. In this case, potential McConnell opponent Ashley Judd condemned the tweet, as did the Kentucky Democratic Party.
In fact, after at first trying to say it wasn't racist, Progress Kentucky issued a full apology: "We apologize to the secretary for that unnecessary comment and have deleted the tweets in question." You see how easy that is? 
Now, Progress Kentucky is a tiny, mostly worthless organization. It's easy to pile on it. But time and again, the left proves that it demands a devotion to truth and fair discourse.
Which, by the way, is why the right is able to walk all over us all the time.

Today's Tweet

From Jay Rosen, NYU:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Kinda Justice

I think this may be what a real US Supreme Court oughta look like.
According to CNN, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and another Justice took the rather unusual step to speak out over racist remarks made by a federal prosecutor in a drug case. The case is Calhoun v. U.S. (12-6142).
While questioning an African-American defendant in a drug case, Ponder asked: “You’ve got African-Americans, you’ve got Hispanics, you’ve got a bag full of money. Does that tell you – a light bulb doesn’t go off in your head and say, this is a drug deal?”
The first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, Sotomayor wrote that the prosecutor had “tapped a deep and sorry vein of racial prejudice that has run through the history of criminal justice in our nation.”
The question was “pernicious in its attempt to substitute racial stereotype for evidence,” she added. Sotomayor also accused the Obama administration of playing down the issue.
I hope Sotomayor's pointed criticism is a sign that she'll continue to stand out simply because she understands that the court isn't supposed to be a political or ideological counterweight.  It's there to keep the other 2 branches from becoming too powerful - just as the other branches are there to provide balance against the courts.

(from Addicting Info)


Ever notice how there's really no such thing as Conservative Comedy?  There's no Liberal Comedy either - because that's not how it works.  People laugh at different things for different reasons at different times.  The audience decides, not the performer.  And whatever you're trying to joke about, what you say has to have something kinda universal about it - something that most people can identify with - it has to have some kernel of truth to it.  So if Comedy seems to cut a little to the "left", doesn't that kinda hafta mean the majority of us are at least slightly to the left as well?

Try watching Dennis Miller these days.  Since he went "conservative" it's so obvious that he's aiming everything at a certain audience with a certain ideological mindset that it's like sitting through a marketing presentation at work.  (I really miss the old Dennis btw; there was a time he didn't seem so scared and desperate)

Anyway, enter Michelle Malkin, trying (again, desperately) to poke fun at Michelle Obama's dance thing...

...and missing by a wide margin.  Of course, her audience thinks this is a hoot - in exactly the same way (and for exactly the same reasons) they thought Willard was gonna win the White House in a semi-landslide, and that Obama has launched a campaign to confiscate their guns, and is close to declaring Religion a mental disorder, and and and; ie: they were told to think that way.

But getting back to Malkin fer a minute, it's just like Jesus said in the Parable of the Blind Prostitute: ya gotta hand it to her. (hat tip = Wonkette comments)

And btw also too - that shit you just watched Malkin doing?  Here's a little eye bleach:

...because Barack and Michelle are forever cool, while Malkin and Miller and all the rest are forever lame - which is why they have to try so hard just to tear shit down.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Dowager Pundit

The brilliance of Charlie Pierce:
It's past time for her friends, her family, or the spirit of JP The Deuce to descend on Our Lady Of The Dolphins and stage an intervention. Apparently, she believes that the president has a cauldron bubbling in the East Room from which he has loosed upon the land magic Kenyan Muslim Alinskyist spells that have stolen the souls of the American people. Either that, or it once again was two-for-one Harvey Wallbangers during Happy Hour at the Dowager Pundit's Club.
Further evidence of Charlie's brilliance is his link to No More Mister Nice Blog:
But that's not why I'm talking about Noonan. I'm talking about her because, in addition to believing that nonsense, she also believes that people aren't spending money in America at discount superstores because their animal spirits have been depleted by the evil Obama. I'm used to hearing right-wingers (and centrists) advance the (nonsensical) idea thatbusinesses aren't expanding because the confidence of CEOs has been undermined by "uncertainty" (there was Tom Freidman saying that again over the weekend, and here's David Brooks saying it again today) -- but now we're supposed to believe that poor and middle-class and lower-middle-class people aren't opening their wallets because of ... the national mood?

As opposed to not opening their wallets because, y'know, they're flat broke?

The Krugman's Graphs

A recession happens when Demand is low.  Krugman's been shouting in the wilderness for a long time that while the Deficit and the Debt are important - and will get to be moreso in time - we have to focus on continuing to boost Demand if we expect ever to get a chance to tackle any other problems.  

And BTW: the deficit is down significantly.  

And BTW also too: if you fix the Demand problem, then the Deficit problem kinda fixes itself; and once the Deficit problem is fixed, then the Debt problem practically evaporates before your very eyes.

The Krugman Speaks

From Krugman's blog at NYT:
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
I don’t know about the divines bit, but the little statesmen thing is completely accurate. Suppose George Osborne were to admit that austerity isn’t working. What, then, would be left of his claim to be qualified to do, well, anything? He has to stick it out until something turns up,no matter how many lives it destroys.
Pretty much the same thing is going on among pundits now stuck in what Jonathan Chait memorably calls the “fever swamp of the center”. Suppose that some pundit who has spent his whole career calling for bipartisanship, a compromise between the extremes of left and right, were to admit the plain fact that Obama is very much a centrist, who is in particular proposing deficit reduction through exactly the kind of mix of tax hikes and spending cuts “centrist” pundits demand — and that the GOP, by contrast, is an extremist organization whose extremism is almost solely responsible for the bitterness of the partisan divide. A pundit making that admission would in effect be saying that everything he has said and done for the past several years was not just useless but harmful, actively misleading readers about the state of the debate. He just can’t do it.
The point he makes on careerism is kinda what the whole thing ends up being about.  Once you've made it more important to maintain your position of power or influence within "the system", you've made the collapse of that system inevitable.  It can take lotsa time, but these things have an unerring mechanism for self-correction.

Re-read your Ayn Rand - Contradiction exists, but it cannot prevail.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Winners Write The History Books

hat tip = Little Green Footballs

Can't wait to see what the "conservatives" wanna do about the "dirty, Librul, 'Murica-hating leftists" because of this, from
Bailyn has not painted a pretty picture. Little wonder he calls it The Barbarous Years and spares us no details of the terror, desperation, degradation and widespread torture—do you really know what being “flayed alive” means? (The skin is torn from the face and head and the prisoner is disemboweled while still alive.) And yet somehow amid the merciless massacres were elements that gave birth to the rudiments of civilization—or in Bailyn’s evocative phrase, the fragile “integument of civility”—that would evolve 100 years later into a virtual Renaissance culture, a bustling string of self-governing, self-sufficient, defiantly expansionist colonies alive with an increasingly sophisticated and literate political and intellectual culture that would coalesce into the rationale for the birth of American independence. All the while shaping, and sometimes misshaping, the American character. It’s a grand drama in which the glimmers of enlightenment barely survive the savagery, what Yeats called “the blood-dimmed tide,” the brutal establishment of slavery, the race wars with the original inhabitants that Bailyn is not afraid to call “genocidal,” the full, horrifying details of which have virtually been erased.
“Yes,” he agrees. “Look at the ‘peaceful’ Pilgrims. Our William Bradford. He goes to see the Pequot War battlefield and he is appalled. He said, ‘The stink’ [of heaps of dead bodies] was too much.”
Bailyn is speaking of one of the early and bloodiest encounters, between our peaceful pumpkin pie-eating Pilgrims and the original inhabitants of the land they wanted to seize, the Pequots. But for Bailyn, the mercenary motive is less salient than the theological.
“The ferocity of that little war is just unbelievable,” Bailyn says. “The butchering that went on cannot be explained by trying to get hold of a piece of land. They were really struggling with this central issue for them, of the advent of the Antichrist.”
Suddenly, I felt a chill from the wintry New England air outside enter into the warmth of his study.
The Antichrist. The haunting figure presaging the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation plays an important part in Bailyn’s explanation of the European settlers’ descent into unrestrained savagery. The key passage on this question comes late in his new book when Bailyn makes explicit a connection I had not seen before: between the physical savagery the radical dissenting Protestant settlers of America wreaked on the original inhabitants, and the intellectual savagery of their polemical attacks on the church and state authorities they fled from in Europe—and the savagery of vicious insult and vile denunciation they wreaked upon each other as well.
“The savagery of the [theological] struggle, the bitterness of the main contenders and the deep stain it left on the region’s collective memory” were driven by “elemental fears peculiar to what was experienced as a barbarous environment—fears of what could happen to civilized people in an unimaginable which God’s children [as they thought of themselves] were fated to struggle with pitiless agents of Satan, pagan Antichrists swarming in the world around them. The two [kinds of struggle, physical and metaphysical] were one: threats from within [to the soul] merged with threats from without to form a heated atmosphere of apocalyptic danger.”
Any of that last part ring any bells?  Is it possible to substitute Iraqis or Afghanis for the American Aboriginals?  How about Muslims? Or Immigrants?  And can I imagine myself being seen as one of those 'pitiless agents of Satan' in the eyes of the American Taliban?  Sad questions with potentially very sad answers.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Parade Of Stoopid

So this has been making the rounds lately:

Jennifer Olsen is a GOP Chair at the County level in Montana, so the first thing is that  we can't make any real assumptions that her IQ is any higher than her SUV's gas mileage.  And since we can't make that assumption, we really can't say with any confidence that she meant this as a subtle and ironic dig at her constituents' prejudices, thinking she'd gently chide them blah blah blah.

Actually, whether or not they believe it themselves, they put out this kinda shit because they know there's a constituency for it. (if there's any attempt at damage control, the explanation is likely to be a lot of fun)

The truly sad part is that I think this really is a fair indicator of the intellectual horsepower of the local GOP rank-and-file right now.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Absurdity Today

From a while back.

Another One Bites The Dust

Y'know how the Wingnuts are always slamming Obama because he's so anti-Israel that he's at best borderline anti-semitic?  Yeah, well - maybe not.

From CNN:
When President Barack Obama visits Israel next month, he'll be awarded the Presidential Medal of Distinction, Israeli President Shimon Peres' office announced Monday.
Obama, the first sitting U.S. president to receive the recognition, will be awarded the medal for making "a unique and significant contribution to strengthening the State of Israel and the security of its citizens," according to a release announcing the news.
There's always the very high probability that the Israelis are trying to play Obama (like they try to do with every Prez) in an effort to make him look less even-handed in the eyes of the Palestinians, which of course serves to put up a united front, with the US and Israel standing together against the whatever.

On one other hand, Obama handed a Medal of Freedom to Peres not long ago, so maybe it's quid pro quo - but seeing as how none of this shit happens by accident, we'll have to wait to see what gives, and try to figure it out after whatever happens happens, because there's just no fuckin' way we'll be getting any kind of meaningful analysis out of the Press Poodles on this.

My Hero

Charlie Pierce is pretty amazing, talking about the GOP problem.
If you want to know where the abandoned wrath is going to focus in the next election, this is the issue -- and there's nothing Marco Rubio can do to stop it, in case you were wondering. It is now past cliche to note that the Republican party, and the conservative movement that gives it most of its money and all of its intellectual energy, is presently reaping what it sowed, that the chickens have returned clamorously to the roost, and that crows doth sit upon the capitol. However, for that dynamic to have a material focus on the 2014 midterms, it needs a focus. Now, you might think that would be guns, but the party and most of its elected members are on roughly the same page as the NRA as nearly as I can tell. However, the Republicans have looked at the demographics of the last election and they have made a concerted -- and very public -- effort to reform themselves on this issue because they would rather not become the Whigs of the 21st Century. As is obvious from the highlighted excerpt above, guns have their salience as an intraparty issue only when they can be connected to the issue of illegal immigration, not the other way around. In this formulation, you will note, the right to bear arms is yet another "free government benefit" that the "illiterate invaders" want.
Just fucking brilliant is all that is.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Djesus Uncrossed

Today's Animation

A golden oldie:

Another One Bites The Dust

hat tip = Democratic Underground

It suddenly occurs to me that all those goofy emails that fly around with all those Urban Myths about kidnapped kids and sharks attacking helicopters and rocket-powered Chevy Impalas are actually pretty useful when it comes to getting certain people prepared to accept and internalize certain political indoctrination.
The notion of tax flight “is almost entirely bogus — it’s a myth,” said Jon Shure, director of state fiscal studies at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit research group in Washington. “The anecdotal coverage makes it seem like people are leaving in droves because of high taxes. They’re not. There are a lot of low-tax states, and you don’t see millionaires flocking there.”
Despite the allure of low taxes, Mr. Depardieu hasn’t been seen in Russia since picking up his passport and seems to be hedging his bets by maintaining a residence in Belgium. Meanwhile, Russian billionaires are snapping up trophy properties in high-tax London, New York and Beverly Hills, Calif.
Read the whole thing at NYT.

A Nagging Question

It pops into my mind a lot.  And it's being asked straight out by more and more bloggers and pundits, which may eventually get the Press Poodles to consider asking it as well - tho' we probably shouldn't be holding our breath on that one.

"The Right" has told us all kinds of lies in all kinds of ways about all kinds things.

Trickle down
The Evil Empire
Clinton sold cocaine and killed Vince Foster
Banking regulations are holding us back
Environmental regulations are holding us back
FCC regulations are holding us back
Tax cuts pay for themselves
WMD in Iraq; we'll be greeted as liberators; connection between Saddam and 9/11
Social Security is bankrupting the country
China owns most of our Federal Debt
Rich people are over-taxed
Climate Change is a hoax
Cutting SNAP and WIC and Head Start helps poor people
Death Panels

So here's the question:  When can we expect the people who've gotten practically everything wrong for 30 years to be held accountable for having gotten practically everything wrong for 30 fucking years!?!


The Professional Left Podcast

d r i f t g l a s s

Monday, February 18, 2013

Since Sandy hook

Update from Slate, via Addicting Info:
Today is February 17th, 65 days since Sandy Hook…and in that time there have been 1863 gun violence murders in this country – over 28 per day. The butcher’s bill – the tally of deaths – is aggregated by the folks at Slate and @GunDeaths and is accomplished by the magic of crowdsourcing – social media, twitter and email all backed by local content that provides the details.
And here's a look at what's been happening here in Virginia:

(note: the filtering isn't all that easy, but once you figure it out, it's not bad at all)

Home Seems So Far Away

How far I am from the land where I was born!
Immense nostalgia invades my thoughts;
And seeing myself so lonely and sad like a leaf in the wind,
I want to cry, I want to die from this feeling.
Oh Land of the Sun! I yearn to see you!
Now that I'm so far from you, I live without light and love;
And seeing myself so lonely and sad like a leaf in the wind,
I want to cry, I want to die from this feeling.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tell Your Daughters

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she's just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I've done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I'm starting to see
Maybe it's got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?
It's the same she's been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she's left
Cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break
You'll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Today's Carlin

The Growing Litany Of Stoopid

Hispanics are lazy AND stealing all the jobs. At the same time. Lazy, but also taking all the jobs because they work so much AND because they are lazy. Are you following me?

If we give all the money to the rich and don't tax them at all, eventually it will trickle down and the rich will give us back some of the money we gave them before. Totally.

Also, if we subsidize rich people and/or companies, they'll use the money wisely and they'll create jobs for all of us.  But if we subsidize poor people, they'll just piss it away and have a bunch of crack babies who grow up to be Democrats and vote themselves more government handouts.

Guns don't kill people, video games featuring guns kill people.

Tax-and-Spend is bad. Except taxes that we spend on defense contractors - then it's good because Jesus.  Anybody who disagrees is a lousy commie.

I Got Yer Supply Side Right Here

"Supply Side" actually means that you try to boost demand by lowering the cost of goods and services.  If the price of everything is lower, then people who aren't making much of a decent wage (Low-Enders) can buy what they need, and have a few bucks left over for Christmas and Birthdays etc.  And the people who do make a decent wage (Middlers) can spend at an even higher rate on the Discretionary side.  Pretty cool model, but eventually, you get to a point where you've milked every fractional penny of margin out of the Volume Buying Discount, and then you have to figure out how to keep making it possible for the people your Big Box store has put out of work to go on buying the shit they need.

Wal-Mart is another one of the monsters we've created by swallowing the hog-slop known as Reaganomics.  We're now trapped in almost exactly the kind of downward spiral the Progressives and The New Dealers tried to fix in the first 35 years of the 20th century by building in some safeguards and firestops - and we've been supporting all kinds of bogus ideas in the last 30 years that strip away those safety features.

I'll say it again - I'm a capitalist because God's a capitalist: I have to take in enough calories to build up a surplus so I have the energy to do the work required to get my next meal.  And I'm in favor of regulation because God's in favor of regulation: without a pancreas, I can't regulate my blood sugar, and I die.  Without a hypothalamus, I can't regulate my body temperature, and I die.  Without the lower part my brain stem, I can't regulate my heart rate, and I fucking die.

But, let's get back to Wal-Mart via Business Insider:
Wal-Mart is facing a scary reality: the ailing finances of its core customers, Brian Sozzi, chief equities analyst at NBG Productions, told us.
"Wal-Mart shoppers are the barometer of the U.S. consumer, and these emails reflect common sense about customers," Sozzi told us. "The consumer isn't mentally or physically ready to spend on discretionary inventory and there's no reason to be optimistic."

hat tip = Democratic Underground

Friday, February 15, 2013

What's Wrong With Those Guys?

A good long look at what's happening inside the GOP from NYT Magazine:
One afternoon last month, I flew with Anderson to Columbus, Ohio, to watch her conduct two focus groups. The first consisted of 10 single, middle-class women in their 20s; the second, of 10 20-something men who were either jobless or employed but seeking better work. All of them voted for Obama but did not identify themselves as committed Democrats and were sufficiently ambivalent about the president’s performance that Anderson deemed them within reach of the Republicans. Each group sat around a large conference table with the pollster, while I viewed the proceedings from behind a panel of one-way glass.
The all-female focus group began with a sobering assessment of the Obama economy. All of the women spoke gloomily about the prospect of paying off student loans, about what they believed to be Social Security’s likely insolvency and about their children’s schooling. A few of them bitterly opined that the Democrats care little about the working class but lavish the poor with federal aid. “You get more off welfare than you would at a minimum-wage job,” observed one of them. Another added, “And if you have a kid, you’re set up for life!”
About an hour into the session, Anderson walked up to a whiteboard and took out a magic marker. “I’m going to write down a word, and you guys free-associate with whatever comes to mind,” she said. The first word she wrote was “Democrat.”
“Young people,” one woman called out. “Liberal,” another said. Followed by: “Diverse.” “Bill Clinton.” “Change.” “Open-mind.” “Spending.” “Handouts.” “Green.” “More science-based.”
When Anderson then wrote “Republican,” the outburst was immediate and vehement: “Corporate greed.” “Old.” “Middle-aged white men.” “Rich.” “Religious.” “Conservative.” “Hypocritical.” “Military retirees.” “Narrow-minded.” “Rigid.” “Not progressive.” “Polarizing.” “Stuck in their ways.” “Farmers.”
Anderson concluded the group on a somewhat beseeching note. “Let’s talk about Republicans,” she said. “What if anything could they do to earn your vote?”
A self-identified anti-abortion, “very conservative” 27-year-old Obama voter named Gretchen replied: “Don’t be so right wing! You know, on abortion, they’re so out there. That all-or-nothing type of thing, that’s the way Romney came across. And you know, come up with ways to compromise.”
“What would be the sign to you that the Republican Party is moving in the right direction?” Anderson asked them.
“Maybe actually pass something?” suggested a 28-year-old schoolteacher named Courtney, who also identified herself as conservative.
The session with the young men was equally jarring. None of them expressed great enthusiasm for Obama. But their depiction of Republicans was even more lacerating than the women’s had been. “Racist,” “out of touch” and “hateful” made the list — “and put ‘1950s’ on there too!” one called out.
Showing a reverence for understatement, Anderson said: “A lot of those words you used to describe Republicans are negative. What could they say or do to make you feel more positive about the Republican Party?”
“Be more pro-science,” said a 22-year-old moderate named Jack. “Embrace technology and change.”
“Stick to your strong suit,” advised Nick, a 23-year-old African-American. “Clearly social issues aren’t your strong suit. Stop trying to fight the battle that’s already been fought and trying to bring back a movement. Get over it — you lost.”
So at least two things to think about here - for me anyway.  First is that it's clearer now that the GOP elders are more than a little frightened about the monster they've created.  Driftglass is always on about this; Repubs have been cultivating and encouraging the radical wingnuts for a long time; it was OK as long as they were good little soldiers on Election Day, but now that they're taking over the party apparatus, the bosses are pretty freaked.

But second, we're hearing more and more about just how narrow the GOP Brand-Appeal has become.  And we're hearing it in different terms - like in the vein of "there's something wrong with one of our political parties".  So even though the muzzles on the Press Poodles are loosened a bit, the story is still being buried inside very long articles that few of us will be able to spend the ergs or the time or the bother to read.

hat tip = Democratic Underground

One other thing - what really happened with Dick Armey?  He got his knickers horribly twisted in a very public cat fight during his breakup with Freedom Works (Davie and Chuckles Koch).  Guys who play at that level don't throw tantrums.  Makes me wonder.
(You can catch up with that one at MoJo)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Today's Pix

Today's Gun Nut

(with apologies to Charlie Pierce for practically stealing his whole thing)

From a story out of Utah - picked up by the local ABC affiliate in Lynchburg VA:
Layton police arrested Niederhauser Jan. 31 after he fired two rounds at a suspected burglar and getaway driver leaving his home. No one was hurt, but police said the shots were unlawful because the burglar had dropped a crowbar he was carrying and was fleeing the property. The shots could have endangered somebody's life, police said.
"You know my feelings about arming morons."

Did we get maybe a little complacent?  Maybe a little inured by the constant reports of the Daily Gun Violence?  And are we maybe starting to come out of it a little?

It'd be nice to think we've finally started to pull back from the logical extreme where anything goes as long as it doesn't inconvenience me directly.  Maybe we're starting to understand a little more about how something that happens 8 or 9 states away from me might actually make its way around to me in potentially very inconvenient ways.

The Weepies

Today's Absurdity

In some ways, it just gets better.

Just The Way You Are

And on the flip side:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tweety Attacks

One of the things we've desperately needed the Press Poodles to do for us is to start calling the GOP on its contradictory bullshit - and pointing out that it's not always balanced; it's not always a both-sides-do-it proposition.  Chris Matthews seems to be approaching dangerously close to the limits of reasonable tolerance.

Can You Say, "Flop Sweats"?

I knew you could.  How about, "not ready for prime time"?

A bad case of Performance Jitters almost always sneaks up on you at the worst possible time, and while it can happen to anybody, there's usually some kind of underlying reason for it (duh).  The big one of course, is that you're not feeling quite as well prepared as you'd like to be.  And there's always that little guy's voice in the back of your mind telling you to shut up and get outa there 'cuz you suck at this and nobody likes you. (I hate that little guy)

So anyway, Rubio does get a coupla points for trying to "do it live" instead of putting together a bunch of pre-recorded junk and just guessing at what the Prez was gonna say.  But I think the real problem is that he's not convinced of a good bunch of what he was saying, and when you haven't fully rationalized those internal conflicts, then your body language is going to betray you almost every time.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Today's WTF

GOP Backs Path to Citizenship Unless Obama Supports It

A new Washington Post poll finds that 70% of Americans said they would support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, including 60% of Republicans.

But when the same question was asked of a separate sample of respondents, this time with Obama's name attached to it, support dropped to 59% overall and just 39% among Republicans.

That Guy In The Funny Hat

So there's lots of buzz about why The-Pope-Formerly-Known-As-Ratburger would just up and quit the sweetest gig in all of Christendom.

I'll give ya'll my take on it, right after you enjoy a picture of all the fucks I give about Popes and other power freaks who like to manipulate people by threatening them with the reprisals of their imaginary friends:

Before he became Pope Benedict 16, Cardinal Ratzinger was the Catholic Church's  Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (aka The Inquisition - and yes, that Inquisition).  He also took it onto himself to have all of those inconvenient reports of priestly child molesting referred to his office so they could be thoroughly investigated (ie: crushed, sprinkled in lime and then buried).  So lemme see - the guy who knows where all those bodies are buried and which closets contain which creepy skeletons; the guy who knows everything about every member of the church hierarchy; the guy who handled the scandals so well it only cost the church $2 Billion in settlement payments (so far, that we know of) - that's the guy who gets elected Pope because of his supremely holy goodness and his outstanding moral excellence.  Horse shit.

And now, he's having a tough time keeping up with the busy schedule of Church Royalty so he steps humbly aside, wanting to leave it to someone with more energy and better capability of withstanding the rigors blah blah blah.

If you buy any of that, I've got a stud mule you'll be interested in too.

Fugelsang has a more complete wrap-up:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Krugman Speaks (really)

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There seems to be a general mood in the US right now that guys like Krugman recognize as a special kind of taciturn, pinched-faced, gotta-make-sacrifices-and-just-buckle-down, Yankee-boot-strap, Calvinist bullshit.

And I sit here in my warm little basement in central Virginia, wondering when the semi-hopeful, grin-and-bear-it hollowness I see in so many people's eyes starts to turn them into the armies of desperation.

Today's Gun Nut

It never fails.  Some jag-off with a small penis and a big gun shoots up a school and before the bodies are even in the ground, some other jag-off with a similarly small penis - but with a great big mailing list - starts jumpin' up and down screamin' about how all this horrible shit happens because the kids aren't allowed to pray in school anymore, and... wait, what?

From The Daily Mail, 12-21-12:
Horror as gunman executes woman while she decorates church for children's party in new shooting rampage that left four dead.
 From MLive-Flint Journal, 1-15-13:
Deadly church shooting at Flint funeral is widely ignored outside of Genesee County
There have been 20 or more Church Shootings in the last dozen years in the US.

And yes, I know it's not really about praying away the bullets; it's supposed to be about teaching the right values to the kids so they don't grow up to be shooters - but that's just the same ol' Authoritarian/Theocratic shit in a different package.  If the assholes in school don't get to pray and they end up shooting people; and the good people in all these churches do pray and they still end up shooting people - then don't we need to consider the probability that prayer doesn't have one fucking thing to do with it?

So what else ya got there, Skeezix?

hat tip = Democratic Underground


One more from Melody Gardot - put on your headphones.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Rumer - this is the studio version.

(the cover at Live From Daryl's House is decent too)

Today's Gun Nut

So, this Dorner guy, who's had years of training in the use of firearms, goes off his trolley and guns down some of his buddies.  Buddies of those buddies hit the streets looking for the guy - apparently with a little get-back in mind.

LA Times:
An attorney representing two women who were delivering newspapers when they were shot by police during a massive manhunt for an ex-LAPD officer called the incident "unacceptable," saying his clients looked nothing like the suspect.
Emma Hernandez, 71, was delivering the Los Angeles Times with her daughter, Margie Carranza, 47, in the 19500 block of Redbeam Avenue in Torrance on Thursday morning when Los Angeles police detectives apparently mistook their pickup for that of Christopher Dorner, the 33-year-old fugitive suspected of killing three people and injuring two others.
Hernandez, who attorney Glen T. Jonas said was shot twice in the back, was in stable condition late Thursday. Carranza received stitches on her finger.
"The problem with the situation is it looked like the police had the goal of administering street justice and in so doing, didn't take the time to notice that these two older, small Latina women don't look like a large black man," Jonas said.
2 Latina women are very nearly killed.  These 2 Latina women - who were in a pickup truck that looks nothing like the one Dorner was reported to be driving - barely survive the encounter with some highly trained and experienced officers of the law.

But somehow, I'm supposed to feel comfortable with the prospect of being "protected" by hoards of random yahoos carrying semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity ammo clips.

We are so fucked.