Saturday, November 20, 2010

Must Reads

David Corn: Sarah Palin, Wall Street Bailout Hypocrite

Gin and Tacos: At Long Last, Have You No Sense Of Decency?

Paul Krugman: Axis of Depression

Bob Cesca: When Your 'Junk' Is Touched at the Airport, Thank a Republican

Charles M. Blow: Let’s Rescue the Race Debate

Jim Lobe: Will Pentagon Be Exempt from Budget Cuts?

Quote of the Day

"Dear Mr. President, 
For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you allow tax cuts on incomes over $1,000,000 to expire at the end of this year as scheduled. We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned an income of $1,000,000 per year or more."
~Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength

President Obama's Weekly Address - November 20, 2010

New START Treaty "Fundamental" to Security

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Casual Observation

While I'm on the subject of Sarah Palin, you know, because there's nothing more important than that, there's one remark that struck me as odd during her narcissistic TLC reality show that practically no one has mentioned. At least I haven't heard anyone take note of it. And I only say "one thing" because I could not stomach actually watching the broadcast; my observation is just coming from video news clips because the "lamestream media" is obsessed with all things Palin.

There is a scene in the backyard of the Palin compound where Palin and the First Dude are chatting and commenting on the 14 foot fence that has been erected to block out a neighbor's view. That neighbor is supposedly a reporter who moved into the rental next door while he is in Alaska writing a book on Palin.

What struck me as the height of hypocrisy was Sarah suggesting to Todd that perhaps they should drill a hole in the fence so she can peer in and see what he's doing. She says this in front of cameras with absolutely no sense of irony. They're pissed off at the supposed spy next door, but now want to do the spying, all played out to delightful mischievous underscoring in front of 5 million viewers according to TLC. I wonder what the drop off in viewership will be next week?

She's So Classy

A former governor who quit in the middle of her term to take advantage of her new found celebrity status and laugh her way to the bank, Sarah Palin decides to rehash hackneyed attacks on Michelle Obama in her latest book she didn't write, proving she's as much of a sore loser as her senile, creepy running mate, John McFlip-Flop.

In a passage on perceptions of racial inequality in the United States, Palin slams President Barack Obama, who, she asserts, "seems to believe" that "America -- at least America as it currently exists -- is a fundamentally unjust and unequal country."
And then she goes after Michelle Obama:
Certainly his wife expressed this view when she said during the 2008 campaign that she had never felt proud of her country until her husband started winning elections. In retrospect, I guess this shouldn't surprise us, since both of them spent almost two decades in the pews of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church listening to his rants against America and white people.
Must we go down this road again? Of course, Palin's ghostwriter doesn't use quotes from that Michelle Obama speech because she didn't say she was "never proud of her country until her husband started winning elections." What she did say was this:
What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback. And let me tell you something--for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction, and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment. I've seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues, and it's made me proud.
Afterwards, the First Lady further clarified her remarks by noting that she was referencing the "record number" of young voters participating in the political process in the 2008 campaign:
For the first time in my lifetime, I am seeing people rolling up their sleeves in way that I haven't seen and really trying to figure this out, and that's the source of pride I was talking about.
What? Sarah Palin's ghostwriter lied? Say it ain't so, Mama Grizzly! And the added racism in that last line, sitting in "Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church listening to his rants against America and white people" is really something else. Nothing like overtly calling the Obamas racists in her latest screed to gin up the wingnut base and get them properly angry and/or scared for 2012.

ADDING... Ms. Wasilla also thinks that leaking quotes from her upcoming book without her permission may be illegal. What a nitwit.

Nice Going, PBS

Isn't it wonderful to know that the Public Broadcasting System is so scared of a celebrity half-term governor that they would edit a speech given by Tina Fey during her acceptance of, of all things, The Mark Twain Prize?

Here's what they edited out:

“The success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women—except, of course those who will end up, you know, like, paying for their own rape 'kit 'n' stuff. But for everybody else, it's a win-win. Unless you're a gay woman who wants to marry your partner of 20 years—whatever. But for most women, the success of conservative women is good for all of us. Unless you believe in evolution. You know—actually, I take it back. The whole thing's a disaster."
From the Kennedy Center website, here's part of the description of what the award is about:
...As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said "against the assault of laughter nothing can stand."
PBS said the speech was edited because of time concerns. It's a shame they didn't read what the Mark Twain Prize was all about before editing out the very crux of what Twain would have applauded. Guess they really needed those 40 seconds or so.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


The U.S. government bailout of General Motors, Chrysler and other automotive firms saved more than 1.4 million jobs, according to the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.
Most of the jobs — 1.14 million — were saved in 2009 during the worst of the industry's severe downturn. Another 314,400 jobs were saved this year...
Can you imagine the outcry from the wingnut, fringe, "where-are-the-jobs?", right wing had we been another 1.4 million jobs in the hole?  As it is, the stimulus, which some economists claim wasn't large enough to make a major dent in the recession and the unemployment rate, still saved or created up to three million jobs. So what would the nutballs say to a smaller, more limited government that would have ignored the need of American citizens? What would they have said if unemployment benefits had not been extended? If we had allowed the automotive industry to collapse? If we had let the "too big to fail" banks to actually fail and begin an avalanche of global economic disaster?

Through The Looking Glass

Welcome to Bizarro World, where a vote to continue tax cuts for the middle class is a... tax hike!

Michael Steel, a spokesman for John Boehner, emails a response to the news that House Dems are planning to hold a vote just on extending the middle class tax cuts:
"The last thing our economy needs right now is a massive tax hike on families and small businesses -- and that's what this plan would mean."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brain Dump Op Ed


I have been avoiding politics news for the most part lately -- in part because I have a boat load of stuff going on in my personal life including health insurance wrangling and medical care for my son which has me stressed beyond my norm. Because politics news can send me in a rage in a matter of seconds, I have had to chill a bit. I have reached a max when it comes to bullshit and crazy. I can't stand the inability to make sense of even sources I appreciate and enjoy. Every six months or so I ask, "BUT WHAT CAN WE DO"? I get tired of venting and ranting with like-minded friends and against idiots when I see a pervasive confusion. We are confused. We are a nation of mixed-up, falsely-led, nit-picking, too-much-information-to make-sense-of-most-things-so-we-just-go-with-whatever, group of people. I spend part of every day wondering how to get through to people who think differently from me simply because they do not know the facts. I think that if I can just inform them, they'll at least think things through rather than having opinions based on whatever it is they base their views on. I think that if I mock or beg or appease or something, anything, people I actually care about will believe ME over Glenn Beck.

But they don't.

So I go through a funk when I feel as if the American culture is eating itself and those of us who try, through this blog and elsewhere, to make sense of it so that others will see the common sense, are desperately trying as we slowly lose our minds.

I stand with President Obama today more than ever. And one main reason is because of my belief that his greatest challenge is not policy CHANGE but behavior CHANGE. Americans were not and are not ready to think big picture or long term. And many think he is a failure as a leader. But I don't think so. He is the constant. He is governing exactly as I knew he would and he is setting a perfect example of how to be a productive, responsible and ethical citizen of a country that demands its people pay attention.

I didn't always follow politics this closely and I imagine there will come a day when I won't have the opportunity to follow even a fraction I follow now. But I do know that I am a better citizen today than I was before Barack Hussein Obama ran for President. He set a standard I can only try to emulate. I try to reserve my snark and hate but I fail miserably. I try to learn as much as I can but I only have so many hours and brain cells. I try to see where he's going and why and I usually grasp his goal even if it's different than my ideal vision.

Obama became a celebrity with his Red States/Blue States speech because we all knew he was right. We are a nation of differing opinions. And yes, it's true that we are entitled to our own opinions and not our own facts, but how people interpret one set of facts can vary. Polls should be irrelevant but we all use them when they work to our advantage. And a fact is only as good as the detail it focuses on. And as Americans we are quick to vilify the person who focuses on a different poll or a different fact because that doesn't hold the same significance as the poll or fact we want to highlight. And so we continue to thrash against each other solely to thrash against each other.

I keep hearing talk about Democrats not wanting Obama to compromise with Republicans; he tried that and failed. They want him to be a hard-ass, a walking penis, a man's man. They want him to go against the very thing we admired most about him. Why? Because what he is doing is hard and it highlights the differences that even our party doesn't want to concede. We don't want to say we'll give an inch even if it means we gain a mile. We'd rather play tit for tat. And frankly, I am tired of my own party for playing that game. I want us to be the smart, sensible and compassionate party we value and take each discussion, each policy, each potential compromise at face value and have the debate point by point on the merits we always stand by. I don't want our party to fight against something we would have once supported just because we are tired of the Republicans. I don't want us to let a detail get in the way of a greater success because we can't possibly let them have a win.

I don't want the current Democratic party to become the current Republican party.

Several months ago many liberal bloggers, analysts, journalists and friends (who shall all remain nameless) were saying the same thing: Screw the deficit! Democrats didn't want to make any decisions with the deficit as a factor. It was irrelevant how the deficit could be impacted because we need to barrel through this recession. Well, we aren't in a recession, jobs are growing, the deficit is declining. And now Democrats are obsessed with the deficit because of the Bush tax cuts. The same people, from MY party, who were saying "screw the deficit" are now saying we can't extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy because it will hurt the deficit.

I was one of the few who would say I wanted to help the economy AND the deficit and I faced ridicule as the naive one. And now, the same people are making the deficit the number one reason to stick it to the rich.

I want the tax cuts for the wealthy to expire for the same reason I wanted them to months ago: the deficit. I want to shrink our deficit and our debt so we aren't held back in negotiations with China. I want the US to be able to demand better relations in different parts of the world but we have no leverage as long as we are in debt to the very people we demand changes from.

So, as I sit here feeling the old addiction of politics news creeping back into my life, as I have resolved some of my personal struggles, I wonder if I will find myself being more annoyed with the Republicans or the Democrats. Chances are I will be accused of making some false equivalency for even saying that but I don't really care. I imagine the people who would accuse me of that are the very people pissing me off as it is.

If You're A Woman, Why Vote Republican?

This isn't a rhetorical question. Seriously think about it before you answer.

I've posed this question to myself in different incarnations. If you're an immigrant and you know that the Republican Party is completely unserious in its immigration reform policies (and use fearmongering tactics particularly pertaining to our southern border shared with Mexico), why vote Republican?

If you're lower or middle class and you know that the Republican Party caters to the whims of corporate interests, and instead of letting tax cuts expire for the top income earners in the country so that their tax rate would increase from 36% to 39%, they instead look for spending cuts in Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and block legislation to extend unemployment benefits, why vote Republican?

And now comes word the Senate has just voted on the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation that would close the pay gap between women and men and would help end discriminatory pay practices.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, “This persistent pay gap translates to more than $10,000 in lost wages per year for the average female worker.” The gap is even worse for women of color: African-American women earn 61 cents and Latinas earn 52 cents for every dollar a white non-Hispanic man earns.
It failed. The final vote was 58-41. Two votes short. Every single Republican Senator voted against it, including Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.

Every. Single. Republican. Senator.

Couple that with most Republicans in general insisting on pro-choice restrictions, wanting the government to have a say in what you do with your body and your personal medical choices, and I have to ask again: if you're a woman, why would you vote Republican?

Dog Pile on McCain

And deservedly so.

John McCain's flip flops are becoming the stuff on legends, but whereas previously it was played off as being all mavericky, now he's showing himself to be nothing but a bitter, old man (and possibly a little senile) who will say anything to oppose the man the soundly beat him for the Oval Office, even if it means taking a contradictory stance on your own policy positions.

Here are Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow calling out the Maverick of the Senate.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Olbermann Takes On Koppel, False Equivalency

Keith Olbermann responded to criticism from Ted Koppel in a Washington Post opinion piece lamenting the "death of real news." Shorter Keith: If it's the death of journalism you're ruing, you should have thought of that when you ignored the run up to Iraq and its aftermath instead of remaining silent for objectivity's sake. Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow didn't do that.

The Palin Bump - UPDATED

I don't watch Dancing With The Stars because if I'm going to watch a dance show, I'm going to spend my time watching real dancers doing things I could never do (So You Think You Can Dance, for example) instead of gawking at C-list celebrities awkwardly stepping about.

So imagine my surprise that A) the current season of DWTS was still going and B) Bristol Palin was still in it!  The only reason I know this is because for some strange reason, the news media continues to cover all things Palin, even the teenage mom flailing about on a stage. The reason I'm surprised is because after catching clips of Bristol in her initial couple of dances shaking her stuff, I thought she was pretty awful as dance shows go. And it looks as though the voting audience agrees, as Palin's performances have come in at the bottom of the list consistently for the last few weeks.

So now the inevitable question has come into play: Is Bristol Palin remaining in the game solely because of her name, because her mom is Sarah Palin, and because ardent Mama Grizzly supporters are calling in to help her cub?

My opinion is an obvious yes. But if I'm wrong, someone please correct me. Since I can't stomach the show, what are the judging and voting formats? And is Bristol underrated or is she as bad as I think she is in comparison to the other remaining contestants?

ADDING... I'm not suggesting Sarah Palin is using her position to garner votes for her daughter, just that Sarah supporters are doing it on their own.

UPDATE (11/17/10, 12:55pm): See? I knew she was a bad dancer.

A SWAT team posted up outside a home in Wisconsin yesterday -- after a shotgun toting 67-year-old man blasted his TV because he was so enraged with Bristol Palin's performance on "Dancing with the Stars."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dude, Seriously?

[smashing head into keyboard]

When is a Made Up Word a Word?

Answer: When it's Sarah Palin's made up word.

The Global Language Monitor has announced that Spillcam is the Top Word, Anger and Rage the Top Phrase and Chinese Leader Hu Jintao the Top Name of 2010 in its annual global survey of the English language. Spillcam was followed by Vuvuzela, the Narrative, Refudiate, and Guido.
The dumbing down of America and the English language continues.

Everything Old is New Again

Ah, the good ol' days. Jon Stewart on George W. Bush's book plug circuit. These jokes really do write themselves.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What Would Jesus Do? (Or "Karma's a Bitch")

 This story was the perfect way to end the week.*

Members of Westboro Baptist Church returned to their minivan to find its tires slashed after their picket of the funeral of a McAlester, Oklahoma soldier. And every shop in town refused to make any repairs.
Good for you, Oklahoma.  Now if you could do something about Senator James Inhofe, we'd really appreciate it.

(* Yes, I know Sunday is technically the beginning of the week, but how I see it, Sunday is the last day of the weekend, so suck it.)

In the 21st Century...

... the cholera outbreak in Haiti has claimed more than 900 lives.  I find that fact dumbfounding.

First Post Election Tea Party Freakout

This is going to be a very interesting 112th Congress.

On Friday, the Tea Party Patriots lived up to just about every stereotype about the movement that its critics have about the tea party insurgency. In a single email, the Patriots acted paranoid, attacked fellow conservatives, alienated Republicans, sounded unhinged, got their facts wrong and had to sheepishly apologize to all involved. They also dished out the personal cell phone numbers of many incoming freshmen -- leading to a bombardment of calls from angry tea partiers.

Keep reading at TPM.