Saturday, April 11, 2009

PizzaGate? Seriously?!

In yet another example of "We Got Nothin', So We'll Try To Make Anything a Scandal," the fringe zanies are trying to hang an environmental / I'm the president and therefore can request anything hypocrisy moniker on President Obama by insisting that he ordered pizza. From St. Louis. On the taxpayers' dime.

One problem. It's all wrong.

Is this what the wingnuts have come to? Pizzagate? This is what we're going to have to contend with for the next four, and most likely eight, years. Pathetic.

Hopey, Changey

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post expressing disillusionment at the actions taken by the Obama Administration -- and, more specifically, not taken -- that seem to indicate that we may have been fooled again. That "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" gut-feeling, for which I have been criticized in the past, has been gnawing at the edges of my rational mind ever since our guy took the election and started to make personnel selections that were praised by self-interested Villagers as grown-up and statesmen-like, but which seemed to this bitter partisan to be more of the same, maybe not Chimpy McMean-Drunk level of sameness, but at least Clinton-esque, Third Way-ish, accomodationist same.

In the comments for my Disillusionment post, Matt asks me to give Obama more of a chance before condemning him as another LBJ. Um, sure. OK, I am going to give him a chance -- unless I act to overthrow his administration, what choice do I have? -- but just because I voted for him, I'm not going to be automatically pleased with every step he takes. Frankly, he has done very little to justify my previous faith in him and a great deal to make worry, from the Rick Warren slap-in-the-face to the bailout mess to state secrets.

So, really, what we're talking about here is misgivings. I have them. A lot of them.

Chris Bowers at OpenLeft outlines many of the same reasons and I find it heartening that someone who isn't a reflexive Reich-wing tea-bagger also feels the same way, though recent political history frames his reasons, which seem otherwise principally focused on the economic crisis and how it relates to assorted political dispositions. My fear for this administration and the man who leads it is that the economic crisis is but one facet of myriad other issues relating to empire, wealth, power, hegemony and class struggle.

Yet, because Chris Bowers is so much smarter than me, he is also able to articulate the reasons for those misgivings far better than this author. His take on the situation also gives more specific historical context with regards to Mr. Obama himself, his actions and the choices he's made that make a pretty solid case for progressive mistrust of the president.

His list breaks down into six keys reasons for his Case for Distrust (mostly with regards to the banking crisis):
  1. Because it isn't just the Obama administration we are dealing with
  2. Because there are too many dirty hands
  3. Because they keep telling us to tone down the pressure on CEO's and Blue Dogs
  4. Because I don't trust anti-partisan and anti-ideological rhetoric
  5. Because I don't trust the Obama administration more than I trust other Democrats
  6. Because President Obama flip-flopped on FISA
Of course, under each heading he presents a detailed account, though they should all be pretty clear just from their titles. However, I do have some choice quotes. The best one (and I had forgotten about this until reading Chris' post) was Obama's FISA vote. I was very upset and angry with him at the time. Here's Chris take on it -- quoted in full:
I don't trust President Obama himself because he flip-flopped on FISA due to right-wing pressure in the campaign. During the primaries, he vowed to fight telecom immunity tooth and nail, but once the primaries were over, he just flat-out flipped his position. This was a straightforward case where President Obama changed a position as a result of shifting political pressure. The conclusion I drew from that event is that it is possible to change Obama's public positions if there was enough political pressure for him to change, and that such pressure was necessary because he was willing to cave into right-wing demands if they applied enough pressure.

In short, FISA was the "distrust and pressure" object lesson for me. From that point on, there could be no benefit of the doubt. If you wanted Obama to side with you, simply trusting him and supporting him would not suffice. Distrust and pressure became requirements.
But the better section comes when he discusses the post-partisan language the Obama campaign and now administration uses in all its public presentations. Like me, Chris Bowers is wary of anyone from the left end of the spectrum who speaks of all of us just getting along. Like me, he cannot but think of such a person as either a dupe or a con-man. Decades of being repeatedly kicked to the curb whenever no longer needed to advance some upstart's career will do that to we trusting souls here in DFH-land.
When I hear "let's get beyond ideology and partisanship," it doesn't mean "reach out, sit down, and have a good faith discussion." Instead, it means "let's cave to Republicans on economic issues, foreign policy issues, and gay rights." I just don't trust Democrats who use language like that. Twenty times burned, thirty times shy, I suppose.
Again, I will say that apart from reigning in the most violent, high-profile and egregious authoritarian excesses of the Bush years, what has anyone in the Obama Administration done to justify the faith we seem to be putting in them (and please note the plural, that I haven't singled out Mr. Obama this time around, but refer to collectively to the administration that bears his name)? The misgivings, again, derive from the way the Obama Administration is expending energy. It isn't even what they are failing to do, the problems they haven't tackled, but the engagements they are actively seeking that are the cause of my disheartenment.

What engagements are those? Well, this one flew in on Friday afternoon under the radar amid all the "state's secrets" brouhaha this past week (h/t Glenn Greenwald):
The Obama administration said Friday that it would appeal a district court ruling that granted some military prisoners in Afghanistan the right to file lawsuits seeking their release. The decision signaled that the administration was not backing down in its effort to maintain the power to imprison terrorism suspects for extended periods without judicial oversight. . .

Tina Foster, the executive director of the International Justice Network, which is representing the detainees, condemned the decision in a statement.

“Though he has made many promises regarding the need for our country to rejoin the world community of nations, by filing this appeal, President Obama has taken on the defense of one of the Bush administration’s unlawful policies founded on nothing more than the idea that might makes right,” she said.
Pre-emptive responses: I don't think any defense of this behavior is possible. I don't want to hear about statecraft or Realpolitik or sausage-making or Obama Kung-Fu. Barack Obama became the Democratic candidate by creating an aura that he represented something different, that he was a Constitutional scholar who understood the stakes, that we could hope he would and could change things for the better.

Why in the world would we gullible, lefty moon-bat DFH dreamers have come to think such things about Obama? I dunno, maybe it was this speech on the Senate floor in September of 2006, when he said this (again, h/t Greenwald):
...restricting somebody's right to challenge their imprisonment indefinitely is not going to make us safer. In fact, recent evidence shows it is probably making us less safe.

[...]

We don't need to imprison innocent people to win this war. For people who are guilty, we have the procedures in place to lock them up. That is who we are as a people. We do things right, and we do things fair.
How are we Dirty Fucking Hippies supposed to reconcile that man, and the administration working in his name?

Must Reads



David Weigel: At Gun Show, Conservatives Panic About Obama

Roger Ebert: Thoughts on Bill O'Reilly and Squeaky the Chicago Mouse

Robert Parry: America, Torture and Hypocrisy

driftglass: 1990s 2.0

Matt Osborne: The Usual Suspects

The Rude Pundit: They've Lost Their Fucking Minds, Part 7 (Gay Marriage Edition)

Nicole Belle: An Open Letter To National Organization For Marriage

My Home, My People

by Armadillo Joe

I left Texas for New York City a long time ago. Here's one reason why I don't really regret it:
[Glenn] Beck asked, 'Governor [Rick Perry - Texas], you're regretting being on this program at this point, are you not, sir?' Perry responded, 'Not at all, Glenn Beck. I'm proud to be with you.'"
And here's another:



UPDATE [by Broadway Carl]:

New York City Councilman John Liu posted a public letter to Brown on his campaign website.

"...It's outrageous and insulting for you to suggest it would 'behoove' us to adopt another name, to give up our birthright and a part of our own identity, in order to exercise our right to vote...

...Your disappointing comments today were not only offensive and out-of touch, but indeed “un-American” by contradicting everything our country stands for. Perhaps it would indeed behoove the great State of Texas to boast of a legislature with honorable elected officials who are not obstacles toward equal opportunity and democratic participation. I urge you to either issue a formal apology for your misguided comments or resign immediately."

President Obama's Weekly Address - April 11, 2009

Passover & Easter

Friday, April 10, 2009

Teabaggers! Steep!

Music Break! Clark Terry

Mumbles

The Bow Outrage

I haven't been very thrilled with President Obama lately but this one takes the cake. How dare he show submission to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia by bowing! This is a sign of weakess! How can the leader of the free world subject himself to rituals and customs of some figurehead of a terrorist state (albeit our "ally") like Saudi Arabia?!





Uh... nevermind.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I Guess He Shouldn't Call Them Bitter

The brain trust at Arizona State University (that bastion of intellectualissimitudeiness... so, uh, party on) has decided that the guy who vanquished their state's favorite son in the recent election simply isn't experienced enough to merit an honorary degree from such a prestigious university.

Um. OK. How about you all just go fuck yourselves instead?

Maddow Calls Bullshit

I ♥ Rachel.

The Good Fight

by Armadillo Joe

Matt Yglesias gamely tries to spelunk into the frightening recesses of the wingnut mind, attempting to describe their vision of how the world works, especially now that an unwhite-skinned islamofascistic pointy-headed Big City Lib'ruhl who speaks in complete sentences (and has a mooz-luhm name!) runs the show:
The people on the outs are “normal” and the people running the show are “abnormal.” And while I wouldn’t use that language to describe the difference in the coalition, the basic description is right—most Americans are white and most Americans are Christian, and the Republican Party is overwhelmingly the party of white Christian America while the Democratic Party draws its support from a diverse array of non-white and non-Christian ethnic and sectarian groups. But the authentic America is seen as the white & Christian American, an entity in whose defense one can claim to rebel against the actual United States of America.
Doug J at Balloon Juice quotes Yglesias and then follows-up with his own assessment of the wingnut militia movement:
in the minds of many wingnuts, a right-wing insurrection would be a restoration. This probably explains why the right is generally more interested in the idea of armed insurrection than the left
But, driftglass, with the usual aplomb, is having none of it. He gleefully goes for the jugular and gets to the heart of the problem with Reich-Wing politics faster and more thoroughly than ten Andrew Sullivan apologies for the recent political stumbles of otherwise transcendent and timeless conservative values. He attacks with a ferocity that washes over and clouds the vision like a mainline hit of unadulterated TRUTH straight into an artery:
Republicans don't give a shit about this country. They give a shit about their country: the The Caucasian Free State Of Jesusland. And to whatever extent the actual America and its actual constitution and history and pluralty and complexity frustrates and impedes the implementation of the New Confederacy of their dreams, that is the extent to which they will always despise the real America.
And then he uses that momentum to carry us forward into action, ACTION NOW! complete with pitchforks and torches because somebody has to stand and fight against these people before they bring down the rickety facade of the last, best hope on earth:
From Congress to our local PTAs, we have to stop playing nice. We have to stop pretending they'll go away, or sober up, or that they're kidding, or that someday all of that being bugfuck nuts 24/7 will get wearying and they'll take up another hobby.

Sorry, but these are the people who watched Worst President in History magically turn everything he touched to shit and decided "Four More Years!" These are the people who look into Michele Bachmann's helter skelter eyes and asked for seconds.

They have spent decades, vast sums of money and considerable effort going out of their way to earn our loud, rude, sustained and public contempt.

And I urge every Liberal in America to take it upon himself or herself sure Conservatives are paid what they've earned -- in full and with interest -- no matter how long it takes.

The Wingnuts Are Coming, But We Have Hope - UPDATED

"I'm a California doctor who must choose between my faith and my job."

Seriously? What doctor will be unable to do his or her job because of gay marriage?

Maggie Gallagher, President of the National Organization for Marriage insists that their latest "gay marriage will make us all gay" commercial is "based on real incidents." Looks like it's a little too scripted for my taste. And badly scripted at that.



Once again, these people cannot separate legal, state sanctioned marriage and a religious marriage ceremony. This has nothing to do with their faith. By the way, does the state require a marriage license or is just the religious ceremony okay? Yeah, that's what I thought.

(H/T GottaLaff, TPC)


UPDATE (4/11/09 10am): The NOM pussies have pulled the audition videos from YouTube claiming copyright infringement! HA! It's too late, bigots. It's out there. Everyone knows it's out there. I'm leaving it up just to see that sad, sad notice when pushing play.

I'm also glad the rubes are having an "open and honest" dialogue on their blog by rejecting probably 95% of comments they disagree with during their moderation. I knew it would happen, so I wrote a very respectful comment asking to please provide me with the information or guide me to something on the NOM website to verify the claim that a California doctor had to choose between his faith and his job because of gay marriage. I got no answer and my comment was never published. What a surprise.

The sad part for them (but good for us) is that everyone else knows it as well so the commenting generally stopped before it even started. Pretty sad to get a total of 14 comments over 5 posts for a group that claims to be two million strong for marriage.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Disillusionment

by Armadillo Joe

Atrios is a master of the infectious catch-phrase which, in just a few choice words, can circumscribe a whole larger issue and create a useful shorthand for people who are tuned-in to the discussion over the long haul, basically an internal slang or jargon. My latest favorite is, as many of you know, SUPERTRAINS!, but he has others that also become more humorous by repetition. "Document the Atrocities" as a heading for his weekly run-down of the lineups of each Sunday morning's bobblehead shoutfests is funny by (slight) overstatement and "Deep Thought" -- while obviously lifted from the old 90's era SNL skit -- is still funny in that what he posts under it is almost never very deep at first glance, but is always revealing of a darker reality in that snarky way that makes one reconsider their own underlying assumptions and also sneer at the foolish who made the mistake of adopting such assumptions in the first place. Which is what good political (and polemical) humor should do.

The most recent phrase of his that is catching on with all the wannabe Kewl Kidz -- or with me, at least, and soon with others I have no doubt -- is "Hopey, Changey", a riff on Colbert's "Truthiness" and a direct attack on the image of Obama that we all voted for versus the grim reality becoming clearer with every centrist, capitulating, accomodationist move he makes. Whether the banks, the Pentagon or the recent Justice Department decision, just to name a few, he has not yet taken any of the really bold steps we progressives hoped he would when we came to support him, but he has certainly made some very clear moves to make us question who's side he's really on. Some of his defenders will chalk up his concessions to The Reich-Wing as yet another stealthy move in an orante clash of political gamesmanship, a chess-match, his Kung-Fu being unorthodox, but effective. They will argue that he is a victim of Bismark's old saw about politics being the art of the possible, and that he is doing the best he can under extremely difficult circumstances with mighty forces of epic greed and entrenched power ranged against him and that at the end of the day he is just one man and one man can only do so much.

I cannot abide such excuses, though. So far, this is not what I voted for.

However, I cannot align myself with the Washington chattering classes who seem so quick to condemn his presidency as already having failed because he hasn't cured cancer, solved the riddle of the sphinx and brought about world peace forever and ever within his first 100 Days, amen. Those clucking tongues on the Sunday morning talk shows are little more than historical blips, mere gossips hardly consequential to present day much less humankind or The Ages, and history will soon forget them as completely as it forgets the poison tongues of the scolds in the king's court at Versailles, who -- when they are remembered at all -- are recalled only as the height of daft frivolity.

No, despite their carping, I think Obama still has promise simply because, well, I have to. The crystal ball is cloudy, though, and I do think Obama guilty of willfully allowing a mis-perception of his commitment to our lefty vision of America to aid his rise to prominence. I have had a gnawing fear from the time he became the anti-war candidate of choice that he was playing us, "us" being the dyed-in-the-wool lefties and assorted DFH's who hated George W. Bush with the searing passion of a thousand suns because Dubya symbolized everything we hated about our country: the gleeful and willful ignorance, the faux-cowboy "common-man" swagger disguising a true East Coast blue-blood's contempt for "The People", the frat-boy bravado marketed as "charm", the mean-spirited jingoistic stupidity passed off as the One True God of Patriotism, the haughty assumption of American exceptionalism used to sell to the rubes the idea of a protected status for a Ruling Class accustomed to inherited wealth and privilege and the abuses of power that flourish in that rancid culture, the inbred and self-absorbed obtuseness of that privileged class, the brittle Christopathic sanctimony parading as moral superiority...

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Barack Hussein Obama was supposed to be the opposite of all that, the antidote to all that ugliness in the American soul, a one-man redemption tale for a vast and powerful nation both sacred and profane from her humble, violent origins to her highest, most sublime ambitions. He was walking, talking proof to the world -- non-white, urbane, educated and eloquent proof -- that we are not all those people (and you know what I mean) that we are not all those gun-toting, Bible-thumping, inbred, hairy-knuckled, toothless, Dixie flag-waving NASCAR goobers stupid enough to vote for an alcoholic chimpanzee who thinks he talks to god and his Evil Uncle Dick(head)...

...on purpose.

TWICE.

...and yet...

...and yet...

And yet, it is hard not to have that gnawing fear bubble up to the surface of having been suckered by a charming chameleon, the sense that all that Hope and Change stuff was really more Hopey and Changey because he looked so different and sounded so different (straight out of Liberal Central Casting), that maybe, just maybe (I can't believe I'm even typing this) over here on the left side of the dial, our popular image of Barack Obama is as much a projection of our own bleeding heart dreams, our own collective moon-bat aspirations for the country we live in, as unrooted in the reality of the man as were the drooling jebus-freaks' collective washing of the sins of George W. Bush.

If Barack Obama were white and named Barney Oswalt from Illinois and running for office twenty years ago, espousing the exact same positions he does now, he would have been a nameless, vaguely right-of-center Republican with a smattering of liberal positions to assuage his urban constituency and otherwise mired in the anonymous middle of the Reagan coalition.

His casting as a Left Wing Matinee Idol reveals both just how far to the right our nation has devolved since the dark days of Saint Ronnie's Reign of Terror and just how obsessed we have been and remain to this very day with pigmentation vis a vis ancestry. He's black with a funny name, therefore -- in our popularly defined bounds of public discourse -- any pronounced position by Mr. Obama to the left of Attila the Hun makes him a DFH, or sympathetic to the DFH's, which is worse because it means he's willing to turn Jesus' America over to the queers and the uppity wimmin-folk and the nigras and the mooz-luhms and all those scary hippies. Which is why anybody in the GOP with skin slightly darker than week-old milk has to take social and political positions that make Marie Antoinette look like a bleeding-heart.

This DFH can't truck with all of that, though. I like Barack Obama, sometimes I truly love him in a teary-eyed, almost worshipful way -- for instance this past week as he and Michelle represented my country, MY country on the global stage -- because he is the image I want to project to the world; he is a living, breathing symbol of that miscengenating, multi-culti, caramel-colored America I believe in, that American ideal I believe we should and could achieve, or I wouldn't be a liberal. Except that I also see that Obama is frail and human and as much as I hope we are witnessing Obama Kung-Fu with his bank bailout end-runs on behalf of the banksters, his expansion of the Pentagon budget (not the reduction that got sold to the press) and -- worst of all -- his reluctance (and, frankly, I predict his eventual failure) to not only not pursue the Bush Administration for its crimes, but his Justice Department's continuation of the crimes themselves makes me realize that we have in him not only an eloquent, handsome and charming symbol of the promise of America, but of her essential corruption, too.

I'll get over it, I'm sure. Today, however, I am sad.

Kutner's Suicide - UPDATED

My wife and I are fans of Fox's House. If you're a fan of the show, you know that the formula of finding out the causes of mysterious illnesses aren't the reason to watch. It's the dysfunctional relationships the title character has with his staff, boss and best friend that keep you riveted.

We've dealt with the original cast's transitions to minor roles, deaths of loved ones in bus accidents and even a deranged patient (or was it a patient's relative) shooting House in the neck. But I never saw what happened in the last episode coming at all. And how could anyone?

There was news that actor Kal Penn (of Harold and Kumar fame - he's Kumar) was leaving the show to work in the Obama administration. I thought it was a very admirable thing, putting your career on hold to serve your country. So how did the writers on House deal with Penn's exit? They had his character, Lawrence Kutner commit suicide.

Wasn't expecting that! Shocking to say the least. The end of the previous episode, Kutner's fine, let's another doctor take credit for his work to save his job, and then the beginning of the next episode he's finds Kutner dead in his bedroom with a bullet in his head, an apparent suicide.

I don't know if it was done for ratings because I hadn't heard anything about Penn's exit or the details of his demise before the actual broadcast - a secret well kept. But here's the weirdest part of this whole thing.

So long, Kutner. You were my second favorite character.

[*Note - Sorry if this was a spoiler of any kind, but it's almost 48 hours after the airing, so... tough.]

UPDATE (4/9/09 10:55am): Montel Williams interviews Kal Penn.


Ratcheting Up Teh Crazy

by Armadillo Joe

Following up on my last post "The Mighty Wurlitzer," I'd like to highlight something I read today from David Neiwert (who has made a career the last decade or more tracking right-wing militia insanity at Orcinus and other sites -- he also wrote a book titled 'The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right') over at C&L, a post entitled "As their power spirals downward, the Right's rhetoric gets nuttier and nastier":
[...]

Deja vu from 1994, when I was regularly attending militia meetings, all over again: The president-bashing. The gun fetishizing. The paranoia. The unstated old bigotry. And sometimes, all of them would come together at once.

[...]

This time, they're not just getting whipped into a paranoid frenzy by their fellow paranoids, which was generally the case in the 1990s, with a few exceptions -- namely Rush Limbaugh. In their latest immanation, the old Patriot movement is getting stoked by a whole slew of ostensibly mainstream conservatives broadcasting daily and constantly on mainstream news media.
He also quotes Eric Boehlert, as he dismantles the hapless but frighteningly popular Glenn Beck and other rabblerousers as they spew hatred and sow seeds of popular disorder on FOX News:
Beck's sure "[d]epression and revolution" are what await America under Obama, and fears moving "towards a totalitarian state." The country today sometimes reminds Beck of "the early days of Adolf Hitler." Beck thinks that Obama, who has "surrounded himself by Marxists his whole life," is now "addicting this country to heroin -- the heroin that is government slavery."

And it's not just Beck. Appearing on Fox News, Dick Morris recently made a wildly irresponsible comment that looks even worse in light of the Pittsburgh law-enforcement slayings: "Those crazies in Montana who say, 'We're going to kill ATF agents because the UN's going to take over' -- well, they're beginning to have a case."

And it's not just Fox News. Radio nut Michael Savage recently claimed that "we have a naked Marxist for president." And high-profile conservative blogger Erick Erickson contemplated the beating of politicians: "At what point do [people] get off the couch, march down to their state legislator's house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?"

Of course, the right-wingers at Free Republic are way ahead of Erickson as they fantasize about Obama's assassination: "And let's face it: all the speculation about Obama being the actual Antichrist will either be confirmed or denied if someone gets off a lucky shot at the SOB."
Again, all of this shit scares me mostly because these people have been steeped in violent eliminationist rhetoric for decades, they are armed and their ancestors are the original domestic terrorist group, the KKK, proving they have quite a record of doing as they say. Now that America is led by a black president with a mooz-luhm' sounding name, all their worst nightmares have come true and we not yet even begun to feel the Wrath of Teh Crazy.


This Is Incredibly Depressing



Americorps WIll Eat Your Brains

This is a whole new level of crazy. Just when you think she can't outdo herself...

I believe when it's all said and done, this service that -- I believe that there's a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concern is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go and work in some of these politically correct forums. It's very concerning. It appears that there's a philosophical agenda behind all of this, and especially if young people are mandated to go into this. As a parent, I would have a very, very difficult time seeing my children do this. Again, a huge power-grab, at a cost of billions of dollars.

-
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Marie Olbermann 1929-2009

A very touching tribute from a son to his mother.

An Open Letter to Congressman Jack Kimble (R-CA) - UPDATED: It's A Parody!

Thanks to blogger and frequent commenter Annette for bringing this to my attention.


It seems yet another House Republican is taking credit for stimulus money received from a bill he didn't support with his vote. He's even bragging about it on his new blog which I find extremely odd. Not odd that Congressman Kimble would be a conspiracy fearing, Obama socialist name calling, climate crisis denying, creationism supporting hypocrite, but odd that I can find his personal blog, but his name doesn't show up on the House of Representatives government website. You'd think that with an agenda like Kimble's, he'd have his official site up and running instead of calling Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi "a mean one and when she stares at you with those cold dead eyes, well you just wilt" in the comments section of his blog like a high school teenage girl talking about her evil chemistry teacher. If fact, I think I'll screen capture it before he decides to delete it.

So I thought I'd comment to Representative Kimble on the amazing job he's doing using taxpayer dollars he didn't vote for to supply Walmart with its non-union minimum wage greeters from a slew of retired veterans who now have to work because government sponsored deregulation helped pillage their retirement savings in no time flat. Here is my comment.

Congressman Kimble:

Congratulations on the new GI to Greeter Center in your district. I'm glad there is enough of a call for Walmart greeters that it constitutes the necessity of building a training facility to handle such a large demand. And here I thought that Walmart greeters simply stood by the door and "greeted" you as you arrived and bid you farewell as you exited with occasional directions to the knick-knack aisles when asked. How silly am I? Our seniors, especially our retired GIs need help finding work these days what with the economy being what it is these last couple of years.

I find it rather incredulous however, that you are touting "stimulus funds, that I helped push hard to get for us" when not a single Republican in the House voted in favor of the stimulus bill. Not one. How do you account for this? How do you stand in front of the "GI to Greeter Center" participating in a ground breaking ceremony with a smile on your face and a shovel in your hand, shaking the hands of your constituents and taking credit for bringing home the bacon when you had absolutely no effect on the passage of the stimulus bill? How can you take credit for something you voted against? Had Republicans been successful in blocking the passage of this bill, you wouldn't have had the opportunity for your shovel ready photo-op. What would you have said to Mr. Roger Wainwright then?

I hope the citizens of your district take great advantage of the stimulus money passed by Congress in the hopes of jumpstarting the economy and eventually realize that you had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Sincerely,
Broadway Carl
I hope you'll all join me in telling Rep. Kimble what you think of his ideas, his newborn blog and have an honest and open debate with him on his ideas and values. Don't hold back but please be respectful. Plus, it's a new blog, so he needs the hits.


(H/T Annette, JMLPOTW)


UPDATE (4/8/09 10:05am):
I'm beginning to think this Kimble blog is a parody. Commenter Vast has this to say:
I don't think this guy exists. He says he represents Fulton - Barksdale corridor and sliver of Blake county.

I can't confirm the existence of a Blake county in California
.

His most recent posts read like an article from The Onion:
The interview has already been taped and Linda Ellard is not only extremely nice, she's a news babe with a capital B. I think I did a nice job stating the reasons why nursing home staff should be armed in the event that al-qaeda tries to get to us through our seniors.
Yep, definitely a parody. If you go to his website you'll see his face is obviously photoshopped into the pictures. Pretty damned good if you ask me. The blog, not the photoshopping. Looking forward to future posts with amusement now that I know what I'm reading. You got me, Mr. Kimble!

Damn, and I wasted a pretty good letter too. Although, I could just change the name, change the pork project and address it to any of the other Republicans actually doing the same thing.

The Mighty Wurlitzer

by Armadillo Joe

I'm a big fan of our president and our first lady for a great many reasons that I assume don't require enumeration to this erudite and urbane crowd. The most succinct way I can describe why and how much I love B. Hussein Obama and his wife Michelle is to imagine all the reasons the Rethugli-bots, Rethugli-goons, glibertarians and conserva-tards all hate him and then imagine the opposite.

I largely felt the same way about Bill Clinton for the same reasons ten years ago. I even once said to my father, when he and I were in yet another one of those blood-shot eyes and spittle-flecked screaming matches about politics, that I judge a man even more by the enemies he gathers than his friends and when you can count among your enemies Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and Jesse Helms, you must be doing something right.

And so it is now. But different.

Back then, the American Right was still in ascendence and The Left -- apart from the old, liberal establishment, squirreled away in corners of Congress and a few university campuses -- had no way of organizing itself or of even knowing how large its numbers were. Back then, the economy was booming and the nearest thing The Left had to a standard-bearer was a centrist sell-out like William Jefferson Clinton -- the best Republican president ever -- so no one would or even could attack the failures of Grover "Bathtub" Norquist's smaller government crowd. Back then, Faux News was in its infancy, no real power to speak of, no media stars, no following and all The Left really had as a counter-measure to a power-worshipping MSM and the very loud bullhorn of right-wing hate-talk radio was a disorganized smattering of free weekly newspapers, headed by The Village Voice.

Which is why the rash of shootings in recent weeks (the death toll is up to 53 people in just 25 days!) scares the bejebus out of me. It isn't just some minor uptick happening in a vacuum. Over the last several decades, the Right-Wing Media Machine, also called "The Mighty Wurlitzer" -- even as it loses power now -- has still done a bang-up job of pulling the center of gravity of public discourse in this country to the right, hard to the right, such that issues like opposition to the War in Iraq were simply off-the-table for any serious political candidate even just a few years ago. Just like gun control is off-the-table now for any serious political candidate. Since the NRA has so perfectly executed (pun intended) its role in the The Mighty Wurlitzer, it now has to resort to simply making shit up to continue to have any relevance in the current debate:
The NRA is circulating printed material and running TV ads making unsubstantiated claims that Obama plans to ban use of firearms for home defense, ban possession and manufacture of handguns, close 90 percent of gun shops and ban hunting ammunition.

Much of what the NRA passes off as Obama's "10 Point Plan to 'Change' the Second Amendment" is actually contrary to what he has said throughout his campaign: that he "respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms" and "will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns."

The NRA, however, simply dismisses Obama's stated position as "rhetoric" and substitutes its own interpretation of his record as a secret "plan." Said an NRA spokesman: "We believe our facts."
And it is crap like that which drives the fringes of the Right Wing movement to act. Their "Base" has the guns, the authoritarian personalities, the simmering hatreds of all things "different," the paranoid persecution-complexes, the chip-on-the-shoulder political beliefs and the history of violence to enforce them. As we slide into a likely Depression, leading that base are The Right's "intellectuals" who have been discredited in the marketplace of ideas and who now know the jig is up (though they keep dancing that jig to a tune nobody wants to hear anymore), their dim-witted accomplises in Congress and elsewhere in government (looking at you Michelle Bachmann), their media meat puppets who need ratings (especially as they lose market share to lefty media outlets), and all of it financed by those oligarchical cockroaches who wrecked the world's economy as they imagined themselves Masters of the Universe astride Wall Street & The Whole World, greedily hoarding the money they fully believe they've "earned" simply because they already posses it, the logic of the thief.

When they impeached Bill Clinton for getting a blowjob in the White House, the winds of history were at their back as they imagined they were one disgraced president away from dominating the globe in perpetuity.
"There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always— do not forget this, Winston— always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless.

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face— forever."
George Orwell
1984
Now, the world crumbles about them and everyone knows it is their fault -- which will only feed the psycho persecution complexes of The paranoid Base. They actually have no political power, as opposed to their paranoia of no political power even when they ran every branch of government -- which will only feed their resurrected, Clinton-era delusions of black helicopters and jack-booted thugs marching in to seize their Bibles and their guns, and otherwise embarking on a nation-wide campaign of forced abortions, anti-"white" racial suppression and forced gay-marriages. The last time we found ourselves in such a social predicament, a federal office building in Oklahoma City went up in smoke. Yet none dare call it terrorism, then or now (don't want to upset "The Base").

I am scared for the health of our president and for the soul of this nation.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Newt's Friggin' Lasers

Can you throw Newt a friggin' bone here?

Newt Gingrich has stated that if it were up to him, he would have done everything possible to prevent North Korea's rocket launch failure this past week. Even by using friggin' lasers. Well, thank Jebus it wasn't up to him. A war on three fronts? Good thinking, Newt.

Now some are trying to say that Newt's reference to "lasers" was to laser-guided missiles. To which I call bullshit. If you watch the original video in the VanSusteren interview, Gingrich first talks about an "electromagnetic pulse attack." Not the possibility of it mind you, just the scenario of it set in book that a friend of his wrote. Seriously. A book plug. He's not mentioning some scientific study on the effects of EMP which have been around since the 1960s by the way, he's mentioning what I assume to be a Doomsday book about what would happen to us in such a case.

At the end of the interview Gingrich does say that he would use any means necessary to stop the launch test, "either a small team go in, or a way to deliver either a laser or another kind of device..." If he's talking about laser-guided missiles, why didn't he just say so?

Either Gingrich isn't using his words carefully enough or he knows exactly what kind of audience he's speaking to. When talking about "lasers," not missiles, it's a lot easier to get your idea to stick if you're not talking about shooting missiles pre-emptively into another country. That sounds bad. But lasers? Friggin' awesome!

Finally, it's odd to me that this would be a feasible idea to the same people that were shocked, SHOCK I TELL YOU!, at the use of drones on terrorist camps in Pakistani territory. Is Newt's idea okay for North Korea's failure of a satellite launch but not okay for specific terrorist training camp targets in the ideology formerly known as the "War on Terror"?

On the other hand, I hear these lasers are relatively inexpensive. One. Million. Dollars.

Hannity Uses Dixie Chicks Reference While Criticizing President

Pot, meet Kettle.

The latest Sean Hannity head explosion found Hannity criticizing President Obama for comments made during his European Union trip and accused him of the "Blame America First" meme, said Obama was "doing his best Dixie Chicks impression" and then proceeded to bring up Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers and Angry Michelle Obama.


"America is arrogant. That's what Mr. Obama said today, doing his best Dixie Chicks impression.... [T]he liberal tradition of blame America first, well, that's still alive. But should we really be surprised from a man who sat in Reverend Wright's church, from a man who launched his political career in the home of a man who bombed the Pentagon and is unrepentant. Mrs. Obama may not be proud of her country, but I bet she's proud of her husband tonight. [...]
So remind me again, what were the Dixie Chicks vilified for? Oh, right - for criticizing the President. The irony immunity continues.

The worst part of the whole thing, but par for the Hannity course was the omission of President Obama's statement in which he criticizes the EU for it's range of casual to "insidious" anti-Americanism, being too quick to blame America and ignoring the good that the US does. But that would blow a hole in Hannity's rant, right? Douchebaggery knows no bounds.

(H/T Steve Benen & Bob Cesca)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Music Break! John Pizzarelli

Avalon

Douchebag of the Week: David Gregory

Is Tim Russert turning over in his grave? Or urn? (I don't know if he was cremated.) I know I would be spinning if I were a proud member of AFTRA and decided to bring on to my program the new General Motors CEO and attempt to blame the company's troubles on the union who manufactures their product.

Nicole Belle: ...David Gregory has presumably been a member of at least one union as a television "journalist" for the last ten+ years. Apparently, it's a "great for me, but not for thee" kind of thing for Gregory...

[...]

If the US actually had single-payer health care coverage for its citizens--like every other western country--then the auto industry could actually be relieved of those expenses.

But David, it would make FAR too much sense to propagandize FOR something that benefits the country instead of propagandizing AGAINST unions, wouldn't it?
David Gregory: Douchebag of the Week.


*Note - Last week I failed to choose a DOTW because I was away, but without a doubt, last week's Douchenozzle Extraordinaire™ was Michele "Armed and Dangerous" Bachmann for this and this and was a runner up this week for this.

(H/T Crooks & Liars)

Frank Rich Agrees (sort of)

by Armadillo Joe




Frank Rich in today's NYTimes:
EVEN among pitchfork-bearing populists, there was scant satisfaction when the White House sent the C.E.O. of General Motors to the guillotine.

Sure, Rick Wagoner deserved his fate. He did too little too late to save an iconic American institution

[...]

Yet few disputed [...] that Wagoner was a “sacrificial lamb,” a symbolic concession to public rage ordered by a president who had to look tough after being blindsided by the A.I.G. bonuses. Detroit’s chief executive had to be beheaded so that the masters of the universe at the top of Wall Street’s bailed-out behemoths might survive.

[...]

Those on Wall Street who took the money and ran are beyond the reach of the guillotine. Most of their successors are too new to their jobs to merit beheading

[...]

Change is hard. Change is traumatic. Sending a juicy C.E.O. — or six — to the gallows is at most a crowd-pleasing opening act to the heavy lifting of reform and rebuilding we still await.
To which I'd like to add: "No really, go ahead. Try to please us."

The Op-Ed also included this cartoon, further proof of the "pitchforks & torches" zeigeist these plutocratic cockroaches have no idea swirls around them. It could consume not only the Wall Street Masters of the Universe who drove our economy onto the rocks, but their enablers in the Obama Administration and perhaps the Administration itself, if this crowd doesn't get a little retribution:

What Happened To Bill Maher?

I couldn't sleep early this morning so instead of tossing and turning and being annoyed about not sleeping, I dragged my sorry ass into the living room and caught up on the last two episodes of Real Time with Bill Maher. And I have one question: What the fuck happened to Bill Maher?

The show seems old. The comedy seems forced. At first I thought it was perhaps since Maher wasn't kicking Incurious George around on a weekly basis that it lost some pizazz, but as I kept watching I realized that the show and maybe Maher just wasn't hitting the mark. Maybe the formula needs some tweaking. Here's the breakdown of a typical show.

Possible Parody Commercial / Opening Credits
Real Time sometimes starts out with a little parody commercial bit during the first minute or two of the show and it's usually pretty good because they have a week to prepare it. Earlier this season, the combination Snuggie and ShamWow! called "SnugWow!" for the couch potato who occasionally spills his drink and is too lazy to get up for a bathroom break comes to mind.

Monologue
Then after the opening credits roll, Maher does a couple of minutes of monologue with the kind of giggle-under-your-breath delivery that conveys the material is crap and he's hoping for at least one joke to land.

Interview with a Single Guest (sometimes live, sometimes via satellite)
Sometimes Maher has some really informative and credible guests on this segment; Madeleine Albright and Bill Bradley come to mind just this season alone. But on the April 3rd, 2008 episode, Maher brought on Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher. Seriously? Joe the Plumber? And he's peddling Joe's book? Here's the list of guests he's had on this segment this season: Ron Paul, George Stephanopoulos, T. Boone Pickens, Steven Pearlstein, Madeleine Albright, Bill Bradley and .... Joe the Fucking Plumber?! [*More on this interview later.]

Panel Discussion

Depending on the panel, this segment can be highly entertaining and informative, as in the case with panelists Salman Rushdie and Mos Def, or incredibly infuriating as in the case with Andrew Breitbart being a complete douche in sparring with, and losing to, Eric Michael Dyson.

Comedy Bit
This little routine is designed to break up the seriousness and take a breather with a little levity. This segment more often than not falls flat on its face, as you can witness by Maher's this-is-so-funny-I'm-laughing-through-the punchline fake giggles. Get rid of this segment, it's the weakest part of the show. It only serves to disrupt what is usually an engaging discussion.

Adds a Member to the Panel Discussion
Out from stage left walks someone peddling a new book or article. If it contributes to the conversation already taking place, it flows nicely as is usual in the cases of a Mike Taibbi or a Dan Savage or even a Christopher Hitchens. When it's a comedy writer like Carol Leifer bringing nothing to the table but a book on dealing with a mid-life crisis? Not so much.

New Rules
Always the best part of the show. It's carefully thought out and Maher hits it out of the park almost every time. Part of the reason is the delivery. Maher knows it's good. He knows it's funny, edgy, witty and he has the advantage of believing he's on right side of the issue. Not the liberal or conservative side, but the correct side. And he sells it.


The bottom line in all of this is that in my opinion, I don't know if Maher has gotten a busier schedule with his road act, or maybe he thinks every debate is going to be like punching Ann Coulter in the uterus, or he's a little behind the 8-ball after doing a documentary, but it seems like he's has gotten slightly intellectually lazy and is having a harder time trying to counterpoint his higher caliber guests. I may not like opinions from guests like David Frum and disagree with his viewpoints, but he's attempting to communicate his ideology and I feel he truly believes his stance and not just spout talking points, and where Maher used to be up on his game with data and politics, it seems that lately he has nothing to add to the debate unless it's about religion (sometimes forcing the debate towards that topic.) Enough already, we get it.

When you don't know what you're going to get from week to week, it can make for reduced viewership. I don't know if this will make a difference for HBO, but Bill Maher is losing his edge and he needs to get it back.

********************************
*Regarding the Wurzelbacher interview, since Joe the non-licensed non-plumber came onto the political scene, he has shown himself to be an opportunistic, know-nothing boob with absolutely no factual basis on which to spout his ridiculous opinions, and Maher has been having his fun in not such a nice way at Joe's expense. But when he had Joe in his sights, on his set and had the opportunity to take Wurzelbacher's asinine comments and political stances to task, my stomach turned at the Mickey Mouse sized kid gloves that Maher used on Mr. Common Man.

This could have been Mr. The Plumber's final minute of fame never to be heard from again, but Maher peddled his book, tried to make nice with him with a "Things We Have In Common" list and didn't bother to question Joe on his disagreement with Hillary Clinton's assertion that 90% of the arms being used in the Mexican Drug War are coming from the U.S.

An older version of Maher would have known the answer to that assertion. Maher 2.0 let it slide without a whimper. I didn't think it was possible, but he made Joe the Plumber look good in an interview. If Bill Maher were Katie Couric, we could be looking at Vice President Palin right about now. Don't get me wrong Bill, I'm usually on your side, but you blew that Wurzelbacher interview big time.

Reason #735 Why the Mets are Better Than the Yankees

by Armadillo Joe

Hey Blog-O-Maniacs, let's play some baseball! But first, we must clear a couple of things up, OK?

Yankees fan:


Mets fan:


[*Note by Broadway Carl: I have nothing to add except, "PLAY BALL, MOTHERFUCKERS!"]

 
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