Saturday, July 30, 2011

Must Reads

Chez Pazienza: A Debt if Attitude

Joshua Holland: The Utterly Wrong Beltway Myth Driving the Debt Ceiling Insanity

Robert Brockway: 5 Amazing Abandoned Wastelands ... Within Walking Distance

Eric Boehlert: Peggy Noonan Loses It

Deaniac83: John Conyers Owes the President an Apology

Steven D at BooMan Tribune: Juan Williams: Hannity Dishonest on Debt Ceiling

Alec Baldwin: It's Time To Suck It Up And Pay Our Bill

The Rude Pundit: We Lose Because We Don't Just Lie Like The Right Does

ADDED: Paul Begala: How Republicans Screwed the Pooch

President Obama's Weekly Address - July 30, 2011

Compromise on Behalf of the American People

Playground Bullies


Between Jane Hamster, the GOP leadership and the Tea Party insurgents, and a deaf and blind media, Obama needs some support. So let's be some stubborn asses and have his back!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Deadbeat Dad Wants Government Austerity

I keep wondering why Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Teabag Freakville) is getting so much face time on the cable news shows. He calls President Obama a liar and complains about his out of control spending, completely oblivious to the fact that all of the spending done by this administration thus far pales in comparison to he who shall not be named.

But now I realize why Joe Walsh thinks we should not raise the debt ceiling, default on our obligations and to hell with our economy. It's his own modus operandi.

U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh of McHenry owes more than $100,000 in child support and interest to his former wife, she alleges in a Cook County Circuit Court filing.
The dispute, set out in a court filing last December, remains unsettled. Walsh's ex-wife says he is $117,437 behind in payments.
I know that in the state of New York, you are automatically arrested for being in arrears in child support payments. And this fucking deadbeat douchebag dad is on the television machine crying nonstop about balanced budget amendments and fiscal responsibility?! Fuck you, Joe Walsh!

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where I Stand


I think it's funny that I am often perceived as too partisan. YET, I am a full-throated supporter of Obama, who many of my fellow Democrats, criticize for compromising too much.

I am a far-left liberal in my beliefs. BUT I am extremely moderate when it comes to logistics and reality. I have strongly-held ideologies but I know that progress comes in baby steps.

My major beef is that we have a GOP who is NOT acting right. More and more Republicans are calling themselves Independents for a reason. All I have tried to do is get Republicans to take their PARTY, not their country, back.

I want a real debate on issues. I want integrity and honesty and sincere ideas. And there is no doubt that only ONE party is preventing that. It does not make ME partisan to say that one party is failing at doing their job of governing. It's not partisan of ME to call on Republican voters to wake up.

What's partisan is the GOP being run by a small faction when average Americans KNOW they are taking things too far.

So, because I am loud and obnoxious, I appear partisan. But I have consistently called for the wise and sane Republicans to speak up so we could have TWO functioning parties.

As Long As It's Not a Tax...


A school district in Texas, ranked high for managing their money well and getting a strong return on investment, had to go to residents for a property tax increase vote last month. The increase in the ISD portion of the property tax would have been the equivalent of a bag of Lay's chips a week and would NOT have affected residents 65 or older (who only made up 4% of the population in 2000). Despite all the evidence that the ISD does manage its money well, "The Keller school district is one of the best in the state at achieving cost-effective academic success, according to a report released Wednesday", the prevailing talking point was "they mismanage money so don't deserve any more". Sure, the ISD had some frivolous expenses that could have been cut. But even all the frivolous cuts added up wouldn't have saved the budget. Considering the entire state (minus a few ISDs) is facing school budget cuts, blaming any single ISD for mismanagement is a bit lame. When the evidence shows the opposite, it's not just lame, it's moronic.

Aside from teacher layoffs, program cuts and summer school cancellation, buses were cut.

Now parents have to pay for their kids to ride a bus.

NOW parents are demanding sidewalks be built.

Keller has been booming, in part because Texas is a popular business state. People move to Texas for jobs. They choose towns like Keller because of their high ranking. Because of that, the district grew by 36% between 2000 and 2006. The population increased 45% between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, the under-18 population was 33.7%. The average household size is 3.41, which means an average of more than one child per household.

The homeowner rate is around 90%, the median mortgage is $2268, the median home value is $173,000. The median household income is $115,723. The property tax rate for the ISD is $1.53/$100. That means property taxes going to the ISD on a median priced home is a total of $2647/year.

It costs the ISD $6,204 to educate each child. Their target revenue per student is $5,200 -- one of the lowest in the area.

So a school district that educates kids at a high return on investment, as determine by the Republican state comptroller, lost a vote to raise property taxes in an amount equivalent to a bag of chips a week.

The increase would have been $260/year for a $200,000 house (above the median) but starting the next school year it will cost

$185 per semester to ride the bus to school. Additional students will cost a family an additional $135 per student per semester.
Economically disadvantaged parents will pay $100 per child per semester to ride the bus.
With two semesters in a year, riding the bus will cost $370 for one child. Since the average household is 3.41, the average family will pay more like $640.

Even the $200 per year, per child, for poor kids is woefully unfair. A family who rents and pays their landlord's property tax in their rent, would not have seen a dent had property taxes gone up. But now THEY have to find $200 or more a year just to get to school.

And now they want the city to build sidewalks. Do they think sidewalks are free to build? In this "Taxed Enough Already" climate, people get so stuck on the word "taxes", that they completely miss the consequential costs of not paying taxes.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Hey, where ya been, John?

McCain: Tea Party-Backed Lawmakers Making 'Foolish' Demands

Maybe The Worst Call Ever

This is why Major League Baseball has to step into the 20th century (let alone the 21st) and start using instant replay on controversial plays.

I consider myself a big baseball fan and a pretty knowledgable person when it comes to the game, and in the thousands of games I've watched in my lifetime, I have never seen such a quick degradation of umpiring over such a short amount of time.

This used to be a minor thing. Umps were so well honed they rarely made a bad call. Now you can point to any game nightly and find multiple bad calls in just one game. And I'm not talking about bang-bang plays that you could understand going either way. I'm talking about big mistakes. Huge mistakes. ...Major League mistakes.

The World Umpires Association should be embarrassed at the shoddiness of the umpires have done going on these last two to two and a half seasons and Major League Baseball has to address this issue. One of these blown calls is eventually going to cost a team a playoff spot, a Championship Series or a World Series. And that would be a horrible thing. What if the Pirates lose their division by a ½ game this season? You can look directly at this game and shake your head.

Other major sports in the world use some sort of instant replay to make the game better. The NFL gives head coaches the opportunity to challenge calls. College football reviews EVERY play. Tennis uses computer graphics to make sure a ball is in or out when a player asks for a challenge. Basketball referees check instant replay to make sure a player let's a ball loose before time expires. Hockey refs check instant replay on scored goals to see if the puck has crossed the goal line.

It's a sorry excuse to say that you're showing up an umpire in asking for a replay or that it would be embarrassing for the ump. How embarrassed was Jim Joyce when he clearly blew a call that cost pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game? Instant replay review would have corrected that unthinkable mistake and saved both player and ump a lot of grief and heartache. The fact that video review is solely used for home run calls is a joke in itself. Can't they tell if the ball went over the wall or hit the foul pole? The answer is no because it got so bad a few years ago, MLB decided to add instant replay for home run calls only. Nothing else is reviewable.

Just two days ago, a ball the should have been called a double and scored two runs in one particular game was ruled foul. A 10 second replay would have shown the ball hitting the chalk line. Look, I know its a hard job that takes years to master. But when people in the stands can see an obviously bad call without the advantage of being three feet away from the play, something has to be done.

I'm sure the Ump's Association would be amenable to having a five man umpiring crew at each game, that's fifteen additional jobs, with the fifth ump reviewing each play from the video booth. It needn't take two or three minutes to decide a call like it does in the NFL when baseball booths can show replays truly in an instant, even pitch by pitch.

I'm not insisting that every ball and strike call be scrutinized, but when it comes to close plays at first base, judging if a ball is fair or foul, stolen bases, shoestring catches where the ball was possibly trapped and for God's sake, plays at the plate like last night, something has to be done. It's time to step out of the 19th Century. I know baseball is a game of tradition, but it's time to move into modern times with umpiring because horribly bad calls are also starting to become tradition.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This Used To Be Called Treason

Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee has outwardly stated that he'd rather have "the house come down" rather than raise the debt ceiling.

As Think Progress' Ian Millhiser states:

Lee’s proposed amendment makes it functionally impossible to raise taxes by imposing a two-thirds supermajority requirement — a provision closely modeled after the California anti-tax amendment that blew up that state’s finances. It would also require America to return to 1966 spending levels — spending cuts that are so steep they would have made every single one of Ronald Reagan’s budgets unconstitutional.
...Lee wants to rewrite our Constitution [so] that the American people must always live under conservative governance, regardless of who they elect, and he’s got a simple plan to force his colleagues in Congress to make this happen.
It's called extortion. And in a situation like this, it used to be called treason.

Just like a Nazi Youth Camp


Glenn Beck likes to make wild statements, cloaked in some vague innuendo so that he can later walk back his references as wildly misunderstood. It's his M.O. And his latest is one he's probably tried to spin as misinterpretation. I could care less what he's saying today. Because anyone who makes a career on making statements and then warping them into a way to blame listeners, doesn't deserve to be heard on day two. Frankly, he doesn't deserve to be heard at all. But he definitely doesn't get to spin his shit into a web of other shit.

But I digress.

His latest shit is about the kids in Norway who were attacked and killed because they cared enough about being citizens that they went to a camp to celebrate that. He said, on his radio show:

"There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like, you know, the Hitler youth. I mean, who does a camp for kids that's all about politics? Disturbing."
Yeah! Who does a camp for kids that's all about politics? WHO would do THAT?

Per his website:
On radio this morning, Glenn interviewed 912 Project leader Yvonne Donnelly about a new camp she is setting up for kids.
Yvonne described, “It is a camp that’s going to teach children ‑‑ you know, we’re going to really steer them in becoming better patriots. We need to teach our children about our history, we need to teach our children about our Founding Fathers, and we need to teach our children about the Constitution. So we ‑‑ it’s a fun camp. You can do it ‑‑ it’s really set up where you can really make it your own. And it’s really in line with the 9/12 project as far as connecting back to your community.”
Glenn pledged to donate $10,000 of his own money to the effort, and encouraged other to donate as well. Click here to read more and watch the full interview in the clip above.
It's one thing to want to draw parallels in this world. But it's usually best to do it when a) the evidence supports it and b) you haven't just made yourself part of the damn parallel by having done EXACTLY what you say is so Nazi-like.

Kids went to a camp. Just because they were left-leaning, does NOT support any parallel between them and the Nazi Youth, who were a generation of kids manipulated and scared into attending a brain-washing environment. Want to draw a parallel? OK, Glenn, let's talk about the camp YOU support. Or not. But you did ask the question, "who does a camp for kids that's all about politics" and you DO find it disturbing.

Blinded By The Beltway

Listening to beltway insiders like Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan enlighten us with their punditry this morning on Morning Joke™ after the speech by President Obama yesterday, it reminded me once again that what we've heard before is not necessarily old news. What Joe and Crankypants failed to realize is that the President's address wasn't meant for political junkies or armchair pundits. It was meant for the 99% of Americans who don't watch cable news. I know, because I used to be one of them.

It's been a long time since I've been pissed off that the President of the United States would dare preempt whatever garbage I was watching for something in which I wasn't interested. But I still remember that feeling. Sort of the same feeling I got when John Boehner spoke after the President in a feeble attempt to exude some kind of equal footing with the President, with an assist by the mainstream media. They're not equal by any means. When in the history of presidential addresses on television has that ever happened, save for rebuttals to the State of the Union, which if I recall is also a recent phenomenon?

Scarborough then smirked about President Obama asking the American public, the people he was addressing, to contact their local Congressman if they felt a balanced approach with tax revenue increases was the way to go. Scarborough scoffed that it didn't work. I'm assuming he was getting his beauty sleep for his early morning monkey dance and no one briefed him on the fact that House website servers crashed from the response.

President Obama is taking the case to the American people. Poll after poll shows their preference of a plan with spending cuts and revenue increases and that's advantageous for the White House. But the beltway pundits are so far inside their own asses, they can't see what good the President's address did. That's because they're blinded by their own awesomeness and all they were thinking about was the current political boxing match and what only they thought of last evening's proceedings. Having an opinion is one thing, but completely failing to be objective is another matter.

Quote of the Day

"I think the obligation to avoid a catastrophe is a mutual obligation. Right now the Republican party is being blackmailed by a segment, which may be a strong segment, within the Republican party, but which does not represent the national will. The Tea Party does not speak for the majority of Americans. And yet the argument that's being made is, 'Unless you go along with us 100%, we're going to let the country rock.'"
~Zbigniew Brzezinski on MSNBC's Morning Joe, responding to a ridiculous statement by Pat Buchanan that no matter what is presented to the President as the debt ceiling proposal, default is all on him and therefore he cannot veto it.

In fact, it was so ridiculous, I'll transcribe what previously transpired:
PB: Dr. Brzezinski, whether we call it intransigence or a principled position, the Republicans aren't going to agree to tax increases and Harry Reid has apparently accepted that as has Boehner, and so there won't be any tax increases. When the debt ceiling, as it will be I believe, is sent down to the President of the United States with three or four days, or two days before the perceived default, he pretty much has to sign that rather than really drop the financial situation of the world into a crisis, does he not?
ZB: Well I'm not sure that's the right definition of the problem. There may be no tax increases but we certainly have a problem with very significant loopholes for people who are extraordinarily rich and some of whom have made a lot of money in recent years largely by speculating, not by contributing to national wealth, but by managing the financial system in such a fashion that they could clean up to degrees which are just unimaginable to most people.  I find it very difficult...
PB: Alright, but he's not he's not gonna get that through...
ZB: imagine that these loopholes are not going to be closed.
PB: ...Well, they're not going to be. I don't believe...
ZB: And I can't see the Republicans arguing that that's fair.
Here comes the kicker:
PB: Well, look it may not be fair, but they're not gonna get 'em closed, they're not even in the Reid bill. The President in my judgment cannot veto a debt ceiling increase when, as he said himself, the potential on the other side we are risking a catastrophe. He can't do that even if he's defeated, can he?
And that lead to the quote of the day.

UPDATE: Here's the video. Worth watching.

Another Example of Boehner Leadership

Thanks to CBS News Capitol Hill producer, Jill Jackson:

This was John Boehner immediately after giving his rebuttal to President Obama's address on the continuing debate and negotiations of raising the debt ceiling. I'll say it again: John Boehner has proven time and again that he doesn't have what it takes to lead. He won't stand up to Tea Party extremists in his own chamber of Congress. He seeks permission from GOP Leader Rush Limbaugh before showing a plan to his caucus. And now he walks away from a speech he insisted to give after the President spoke, shellshocked and shaking his head about how horrible his whiny, petulant little rant went.

John Boehner? Go "mano-a-mano" with President Obama? You'd have to be willing to lead first. And he's shown he's not willing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Boehner Seeks Approval From GOP Leader

House Speaker John Boehner is no longer hiding who the real leader of the Republican Party is.

...Boehner (R-Ohio) outlined the GOP's debt-ceiling plan to conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh on Monday before showing it to his conference.
On Monday during his radio program, Limbaugh talked about the call he received from Boehner. Limbaugh's support of the plan would be advantageous to Republicans because it might help rally the conservative base.
...Limbaugh said Boehner told him he was working on the plan with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). He also said President Obama was irritated at being left out.
"Boehner told Obama that, Obama got aggravated even more that he's been left out of that," Limbaugh said.
He outlined his plan to Limbaugh before showing it to his own people? SERIOUSLY?!

Now we know why Boehner requested the largest gavel possible when he took over the Speakership. He wanted to compensate for his incredibly tiny balls. House Leader my ass.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sarah Palin's Blockbuster

I think it needs a new title.

The Undefeated, the much-hyped Palin documentary, bombed during its second week in theaters, bringing in just $24,000 in ticket sales across 14 screens. The movie’s per theater average, touted as a relative bright spot by promoters, plummeted from $6,513 to $1,713, according to estimates by the industry website Box Office Mojo.

I Hate Taxes!

...Just sayin'.

People Aren't Stupid

At least those who read the Washington Post aren't. Here's an online poll and the results as of 11am EDT.

House Speaker John Boehner walked out on debt ceiling negotiations stating President Obama moved the goal posts with pursuing an extra $400 billion in revenue increases. But he mentioned nothing about wanting a trigger to eliminate the individual mandate on purchasing health insurance enacted in the Affordable Care Act that took 18 months to debate and pass. And what was that trigger, you may ask? Not agreeing to the final elements of debt reduction. Yes, seriously.

This arrangement would have given Republicans every incentive not to reach a final deal: Oh, no, if we don’t agree, then we’ll get to torpedo health-care reform. Yippee! It was far more laughable than Obama’s lunge for an extra $400 billion — especially since, according to White House officials, the president had made clear he had other potential cuts up his sleeve if the extra tax revenue wouldn’t fly. He was waiting to deal.
Sounds like a sweet deal, doesn't it?

Compromise is getting harder and harder to come by. There's got to be give and take - and sometimes you're going to be on the short end of the take. But to think that outrageous demands like gutting the one thing that solidifies the legislation that took a year and a half to complete is a reasonable request, is just outright insanity. And judging by the above poll, the American people can see it and know the deal.