Saturday, January 8, 2011



Per an article in November regarding the violent rhetoric and what Congresswoman Giffords' opponent did to stoke the flames.

He seems to be embracing his fellow tea partier's idea. Kelly's campaign event website has a stern-looking photo of the former Marine in military garb holding his weapon. It includes the headline: "Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly."

Arizona Rep. Giffords Shot

NY Times: A congresswoman from Arizona was shot on Saturday along with several others during at public event at a grocery store in Tucson, according to her spokesman, C.J. Karamargin. The Tucson Citizen reported that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat, had been shot at close range in the head.
This is horrific. And be honest: what was your first reaction upon hearing the news that a Democratic member of Congress was shot in the head during what amounts to a town hall meeting in Arizona?

UPDATE: Although shot in the head, Giffords is expected to pull through. According to a sheriff's official, there were 18 other injured parties, including a Federal Judge who at this point was mentioned as having died.
The shooter's name is Jared Loughner, a 22 year old male.  And after reading some comments on Sarah Palin's Facebook page, I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm relieved the perpetrator is not of hispanic origin, since there are some who were already blaming border security and assuming the shooter was an illegal alien. Those same people were aghast that anyone would mention that Giffords was a "target" on Sarah Palin's SarahPAC "Don't Retreat, Reload" map.

Must Reads

Russell King: An Open Letter to Conservatives

Bob Herbert: Get Ready for a G.O.P. Rerun

Jason Linkins: WaPo Editors Finally Realize The GOP Isn't Serious About The Debt

Adam Serwer: Huck Finning the Constitution

David Cole: The Conservative Constitution of the United States

President Obama's Weekly Address - January 8, 2011

Tax Cuts Kicking In

Friday, January 7, 2011

Doing The People's Work

House Republicans took another step Friday toward a repeal of last year's sweeping health care overhaul, as the lower chamber approved a key rule allowing a repeal bill to proceed to a vote.
Friday's procedural vote, largely along party lines, set the stage for a symbolic showdown over the signature Democratic law of the last Congress, under which parents can keep children on their health plans until the age of 26, insurers are barred from denying service due to preexisting conditions, Medicaid funding is dramatically expanded and some 30 million uninsured Americans are projected to receive coverage by 2019.
And then the Weeper of the House called a recess for the day at 12:30pm. You know, because it's getaway day and there are planes to catch and fund raisers to attend.

My Favorite Podcast

Book-wise, I haven't been reading much lately. And the reason for that is I've been using my work commute to listen to Marc Maron's podcast, WTF. I've been a fan of Maron's for a long time and have followed his career on and off, from his Comedy Central specials to his appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, his stint as a morning host of Morning Sedition on Air America when they first launched, and most recently saw him live in a workshop of his one man show, Scorching The Earth.

I've always appreciated his raw, emotional style and his williness to let his audience into his life. We can laugh at his mistakes and life lessons while taking something away from them, whether associating with it in a way to hits close to home, or as a guidebook on what not to do in relationships.

He and his very popular podcast were just featured in the New York Times. Give it a quick read it you like and swing over to his free podcasts for a listen. My guess is you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Vaccination/Autism Fraud

I kind of knew this all along, but to each his own.

The first study to link a childhood vaccine to autism was based on doctored information about the children involved, according to a new report on the widely discredited research.
The conclusions of the 1998 paper by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues was renounced by 10 of its 13 authors and later retracted by the medical journal Lancet, where it was published. Still, the suggestion the MMR shot was connected to autism spooked parents worldwide and immunization rates for measles, mumps and rubella have never fully recovered.

Bill O'Reilly is a Moron - UPDATED

What causes the tides to roll in and out? According to Bill O'Reilly, it can't be explained. That's his argument when debating American Atheist Group President David Silverman.

O'REILLY: I'll tell you why [religion's] not a scam, in my opinion: tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can't explain that. 
SILVERMAN: Tide goes in, tide goes out? 
O'REILLY: See, the water, the tide comes in and it goes out, Mr. Silverman. It always comes in, and always goes out. You can't explain that.
Gee, Bill, it couldn't be science, could it?

UPDATE (1/7/11): Stephen Colbert discusses Bill O'Reilly's mystery.

Can't. Contain. My. Anger.


Holy fricken shit!

The Republicans in the House decided to read the Constitution on the House floor today. Great. I have no problems with that. In fact, I often listen to members of Congress act like they have the Constitution memorized yet don't seem to know what's in it. My beef is with the way they are having one member at a time read from it then another member and so on. I don't want them to recite it -- I want them to comprehend it.

But NOW, NOW, Boehner and Cantor ARE GIVING A FUCKING PRESS CONFERENCE!! DURING THE READING. They left the chamber during the reading THEY DEMANDED of the sacred document that they profess to love and respect and protect and they left to GIVE A DAMN PRESS CONFERENCE!!!!


What's Going On at the Washington Post?

The Washington Post is long removed from it's Woodward and Bernstein/Watergate days.  In the last couple of days alone, its editorial staff is shocked to discover that perhaps the new Republican majority in the House isn't as serious about debt reduction as they claim, despite their own journalists reporting on the hypocrisy, post an online poll asking the reader to prioritize issues that Congress should tackle while completely omitting "job creation" or "economy" as one of the choices until long after the poll was made available thereby skewing the numbers, and now publishes an article about Estonia's growing economy and their success story while they are in the middle of recovering from a depression.

Maybe Judith Miller should apply for a job there.

Jon Stewart's Back!

... And he's setting his sights on John McCain. An instant classic.

Let's All Stand on John McCain's Lawn

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Constitutionally Supported?


Soooo.... apparently a new House of Representatives rule requires Representatives to provide proof in each proposed bill that the bill is supported by some part of the Constitution. Yep, they insist that each bill have supporting evidence that it's Constitutional. Cool. I guess.

Homework assignment: find the part in the Constitution that says Congress can rename Post Offices. Alright, fine, you don't need to do any homework. The Constitution does say that Congress will "establish Post Offices and post Roads" in Article 1, Section 8 but that one statement barely seems substantial enough to validate the hundreds of renaming bills that are introduced every Congress.

Now, look, I don't have a problem with a post office being named after a fallen member of our armed services or a firefighter who died in the Twin Towers. I don't have a problem with that. I just think it's funny that the Republicans created a new rule just to pander to the teabaggers that will in effect, limit the amount of pandering they can do by naming a building after someone.

On a slight tangent, I keep hearing (like in the ABC link above) that the reading of the Constitution by the new House is a "first." Yet, that seems odd to me and I swear Keith Olbermann said a bit ago that it has been done twice before. I tend to believe Olbermann on this. So, this goes back to my running annoyances and distrusts of the media -- why must they report with such certainty something they likely haven't bothered to fact-check? The talking points from the media can be as nauseating as the talking points from politicians.

And So It Begins

Welcome to Day One of the 112th Congress in the Republican led House of Representatives.

From the C-SPAN chyron:

"...won't apply to tax cuts or Republican priorities."

Weeper of the House!

Okay, I have to ask. What's with that gavel? Is he compensating for something else? For Christ's sake, buy a Porshe!


Please....stop! HAHAA!!  Too... funny..... sides.... hurt!

A source close to the three-term congresswoman said [Michele] Bachmann will travel to Iowa this month for multiple meetings to seek advice from political forces there and party elders close to the caucus process before coming to a final decision regarding a potential presidential run.

Dead Birds: Science or End Times?

So... dead birds. Many dead birds... thousands of dead birds. What could the reason be? Speculation was that the birds were "shocked" to death by fireworks nearby. Really? I never thought that could be a possibility, but okay.

Then I heard a scientist on MSNBC discuss the possibility of a microburst, a column of sinking air coming down forcefully. The lead bird gets disoriented and flies directly into the ground, and the rest follow, kamikazi style. It's taken airplanes down before, so it sounds plausible enough.

But leave it to CNN and Anderson Cooper to play the Armaggedon angle with an interview of Kirk Cameron.
Cooper: ...Some people are even saying that these mass deaths are a sign that the end times are near, some have cited The Left Behind series of books, so we thought we'd talk to actor Kirk Cameron. He's a born-again Christian. He's written a lot about his faith. He's also starred in the Left Behind series of films. I spoke to him earlier.
The sad part is, Cooper probably had nothing to do with the booking, it's the CNN producers that thought this would make good television. How are those CNN ratings doing again?

My theory: The birds were shocked that Glenn Beck was canceled in New York, and soon in Philadelphia, and did an imitation of Beck's ratings.

By the way, the dead fish nearby was a completely unrelated incident and attributed to disease since there were no pollutants and it was only one particular type of fish that died... although I haven't ruled out the Glenn Beck theory.

Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Miller

Remember Judith Miller? She was the New York Times reporter who drummed up the case for the Iraq War with front page news on weapons of mass destruction; stories that were cited by the Bush administration as evidence for the need to invade and remove Saddam Hussein from power. Where did she get those stories that wound up to be completely unfounded? "Official secrets" and "secret government reports." See how that works?

Anyway, it seems that Miller is now criticizing Julian Assange for his failure to verify the stories in the Wikileaks cable releases.

Miller said that Assange "didn't care at all about attempting to verify the information that he was putting out or determine whether or not it would hurt anyone."
Uh-huh. But stories about WMD that didn't exist didn't hurt anyone either, so that's cool, right?

The funny thing is that when she came under fire for her hack journalism, she responded, "'[M]y job isn't to assess the government's information and be an independent intelligence analyst myself. My job is to tell readers of The New York Times what the government thought about Iraq's arsenal.'"

So just to sum up, Miller, a journalist who worked for the NY Times for 28 years, who dropped the ball on WMD whether intentional or not, and was involved in protecting Scooter Libby during the Valerie Plame outing, criticized a wanted fugitive for not verifying stories in illegally obtained government cables for his data dump. ... Got it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's All About Jobs...

...right, Republicans? So tell me, what's the first thing on your agenda when you take over the House on Wednesday, January 5th?*

Republican leaders in the new House say they'll hold a vote next week to repeal President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
WHAAAA?!?! But you've spent the last year and a half criticizing the White House for prioritizing the concept of affordable health care for all and that what they really needed to do was focus on the economy and jobs.
The announcement of the Jan. 12 vote by the No. 2 House Republican, Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, sets the stage for a showdown with the Democratic-led Senate.
Excellent! Let's reinstate the power of insurance companies to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions, dropping you when you get sick after years of paying premiums and opening up that Medicare donut hole again. That'll be a real winner with constituents.

Of course, it's just all for show because it'll never pass the Senate. Welcome to the first week of the 112th Congress. Out with the old, in with... ah, nevermind.

*Why can't Congress go back to work on Monday like the rest of us common folk?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Must Reads

NY Times Editorial: Deficit Hypocrisy

Gail Collins: The End-of-the-Year Quiz

The Rude Pundit: End of Year Haiku 2010, Parts One, Two and Three

Christopher Brauchli: The Congressman King-Reincarnated as Senator Joe McCarthy

Quote of the Day

This is not a game. You know, the debt ceiling is not something to toy with. If we hit the debt ceiling, that's essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in American history. The impact on the economy would be catastrophic. That would be a worst financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008.
As I say that's not a game. I don't see why anybody's talking about playing chicken with the debt ceiling. If we get to the point where you've damaged the full faith and credit of the United States, that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity.
~Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers