Saturday, August 27, 2011

Must Reads

Jonathan Capehart: Cantor Wrong. Obama Clear on Raising Taxes on Wealthy

The Rude Pundit: Someone Should Smack Marco Rubio with a History Stick

E.J. Dionne: Obama Can’t Win for Winning in Libya

Harold Meyerson: The GOP Will Raise Taxes — on the Middle Class and Working Poor

Timothy Egan: Stop Waiting for Superman

President Obama's Weekly Address - August 27, 2011

Coming Together to Remember

Friday, August 26, 2011

Submitted Without Comment

(via GottaLaff)

Facts Schmacts!

Especially when it comes to climate change.

Need I say more?

(Via Bob Cesca)

Batten Down the Hatches!

I've lived in New York City all my life up until a year ago. I've witnessed Hurricane Floyd. I vividly remember Hurricane Gloria. I've never witnessed a pre-emptive closing of NYC Mass Transit (subways and buses) and New Jersey Transit. I've never seen a mandatory evacuation of lower Manhattan. This one is serious. But hey, better safe than sorry. And I'm off for the weekend to batten down the hatches at home. Keep safe, everyone.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Will Cantor Look for Cuts Elsewhere to Pay for His District Disaster?

Hey, remember what Eric Cantor said about federal disaster relief funds after Joplin, Missouri was practically destroyed by a tornado? Let me refresh your memory:
The No. 2 House Republican said that if Congress doles out additional money to assist in the aftermath of natural disasters across the country, the spending may need to be offset.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said “if there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental."
That was way, way long ago... too far for the MSM to possibly remember. Three whole months ago.
Well, now that the epicenter of the east coast earthquake landed smack dab in the middle of his district in Mineral, Virginia, are we going to see him look for "pay-fors" to help offset the cost of federal relief?
[Cantor] said that a federal process is underway to assess the damage and address residents and businesses that may not have earthquake insurance.
Sorry, Sparky. Why should we shell out federal money to help people that weren't smart enough to carry earthquake insurance while living over a fault line? Oh yeah, that's right. Because we're fucking human beings who look out for our fellow man. And I'm completely fine with that. But why the hell does Cantor insist on Tea Party populist bullshit like this?
...Eric Cantor (R-VA) will extend his requirement that federal disaster relief be paid for by cutting spending elsewhere in the budget to Hurricane Irene.
“We aren’t going to speculate on damage before it happens, period,” his spokesperson Laena Fallon emails. “But, as you know, Eric has consistently said that additional funds for federal disaster relief ought to be offset with spending cuts.”
I called him a punk then and I'm calling him a punk now. The people of VA-7 must be so happy they voted for this douchebag to look out for their best interests, huh?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tweet of the Day

Joke of the Day

Come on! Who's yanking my chain?

Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, is considering a run against U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur in 2012, according to Republican Party sources.
Jon Stainbrook, chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, said there is "high-level interest in the national Republican Party" in a potential Wurzelbacher candidacy.
"We are encouraging Joe to run," Mr. Stainbrook said. "He hasn't made any official decision yet."
If his supposed candidacy goes as well as his book sales, there's nothing to worry about.

The Jesus Agenda


About a week and a half ago Desert Crone posted her take on Liberals and Christians. I agreed with a lot of what she said even though I am an atheist. So, as an atheist, I wanted to try to say the same thing, but with a different perspective. One that I formed over 30+ years as what I call, a Christian-magnet.

My parents raised me sans religion. They didn't raise me to not believe in God or to believe in God. In fact, I don't remember them really teaching or encouraging me much of anything when it came to religion and I am truly grateful for that. They raised me to be a clean slate to choose or believe what I alone am able to believe. The only true way to believe is to get there on your own.

But I had extended family and friends who had a huge impact on me when it came to forging what I did not believe. And for years, these people impacted in me in very negative ways. Without going into the drama and rants I would have loved to spew 10 or 15 years ago, I will summarize my early experiences this way: Christians are assholes.

That's what I came to believe. I couldn't believe how hateful, judgmental and hypocritical they were. WHY would I want to be part of their religion when I didn't like, agree with or even care to comprehend? Why would I want to be a fellow asshole?

Sadly, I thought this of some people in my life who I really should love.

Then, in college, I became friends with two wonderful women. They didn't try to make me something I wasn't or believe something I couldn't. Oh, they prayed for me to find whatever, but they didn't push. We would talk about religion and in our conversations, I felt a sincere desire to understand, not to believe, but to really understand them. Not their religion. I wanted to understand what made them want to believe. Although they didn't make a believer out of me, they did soften me to my hardened opinion of Christians as assholes.

And then I met my husband. My husband was raised in a liberal-minded, open-hearted Christian family. He doesn't consider himself a Christian, but if you knew him, you'd know he projects that which is ideally a Christian life - minus the acceptance of Christ as his savior. My husband, and his family became the new symbol of what a Christian can and should be. Seriously, his grandma, parents, uncles, aunt, cousins. They ALL walk the walk. And this stopped me in my tracks. I couldn't believe there were people who called themselves Christians, who led lives I could respect and they actually made the connection between their beliefs AND the ways they lived their lives EVERY DAY. Seriously. They didn't preach and judge me or anyone who didn't believe the same as them. Instead, they lived an example in a way I'd never imagined.

My husband's family was the first family I ever met who really lived what they said they believed.

And because of them, I really had to stop seeing Christians as assholes.

Since then, I have known many Christians who impress me. They support issues and causes and people that is perfectly in-line with their beliefs. None have converted me. I have no desire or need for a savior or a Heaven or forgiveness or any of that. But because of these wonderful Christians, I have worked hard at not labeling Christians as assholes. Not as a whole anyway.

That brings me to the distinction, that to me is quite simple. I love many Christians. And I despise many who call themselves Christians.

Jesus gave humans a to do list, or an agenda. It's not a hard list, or an impossible list. It doesn't require perfection. It requires simple tasks and thoughts. For someone to follow the agenda set forth by Jesus, one simply treats others well, cares for them, aides them. Easy peasy. The whole, "I'm not perfect, I'm forgiven" attitude is moot because Jesus didn't expect us to walk on water or perform miracles. Never did. He only "gives us what we can handle". Right? I mean, seriously, Jesus didn't ask us to be Him. He only set forth an agenda and hoped we'd follow it.

But when people who claim their principles are based on the Jesus agenda, put the Jesus agenda aside when it comes time to choosing elected leaders, when they choose a person who makes a career out of NOT doing the things on the Jesus agenda, and when they decide that there is a separate political set of principles that trumps their Jesus agenda, they essentially tell Jesus he's less important. YET, Jesus clearly states to render unto Caesar. And He never says, "Help the poor UNLESS..." or "Feed the hungry EXCEPT..." Jesus NEVER gave Christians an excuse to put His agenda on hold because of who was being asked to execute that agenda. Jesus NEVER gave Christians the option to not help people if helping meant helping via the government. He never said that if the government wants to help the poor people, using tax dollars, that Christians can or should choose otherwise. In fact, He makes it rather clear that Christians should be helping their neighbor despite any excuses.

So, that is why the many Christians I respect in my life tend to vote for liberal politicians, they support candidates who, using tax dollars or not, set policies that match the Jesus agenda.

When a Conservative politician says Americans can help the needy on their own dime, on their own time, and to leave government out of it, they say that the Jesus agenda is irrelevant. And that's where the irony/hypocrisy/bastardization comes in: when a party wants to put their faith INTO their politics then purposely eliminates the exact principles that define what they SAY Christians are about -- the teachings of Christ, the Jesus agenda -- that's the root of all their evil.

So when a Christian looks at candidates in an election year, they need to have their Jesus agenda handy. They need to look at which candidate supports policies that allow the Jesus agenda to be followed. They need to put away the concern over who will pay for it or how it will get done and just ask themselves which candidate's platform looks like the Jesus agenda.
And they need to separate the number of times a candidate says "Jesus" or "God" or "pray". Because the agenda is less about the church a person goes to, or how vocal they are in their faith. The Jesus agenda is about acting, not preaching, it's about helping, not hindering. The Jesus agenda is about simple tasks that each of us can do and that each of us can elect others to do.

I am proud to say that I know more and more of the Christians who actually vote the Jesus agenda. And although I don't accept Jesus as my savior, I think his agenda is a pretty damn good one.

EDIT: After a good discussion with a friend, one who is a true moderate and a Christian, I posed this thought to Republicans

Republicans need to ask themselves if they are putting aside that which makes them Christian just to vote for that which makes them Republicans.

Welfare Drug Queens?


I am just shocked when I hear, read, speak to people I consider compassionate liberals who support drug-testing for welfare recipients. Shocked. To me, it spits in the face of what we stand for as liberals. And worse, it means liberals have fallen for the Conservative trap of believing in a false frame. Suckers. Damn it.

For those of you who agree with the welfare recipient drug testing, my beefs are that the premise is based on a lot of false assumptions: falsehood that there is an overwhelming number of people on drugs getting welfare, cost-saving fallacies, and a misunderstanding of how much money these people actually get each month.

So far, in Florida, the testing is a waste of time, money and energy all at the expense of some people's dignity. It's hard enough to need welfare assistance. It's another thing to have a big chunk of your fellow Americans believe the lie that you're some druggie taking advantage of the system. Anyone who supports the drug testing, has believed one part of the big lie meant to convince you this is a good idea. And it just simply isn't. It's all a political agenda to make you focus on the people who have less of an effect on our economic woes than the people who actually DO affect our financial health in this country. As we humiliate drug-free welfare recipients, we allow multimillionaires to pay a lower tax rate than their cleaning ladies. And yet people like ME are accused of declaring a class warfare.

Seriously, think about who has the greatest effect on our country's fiscal health. It's NOT the 2% of drug-using welfare recipients.

More MSM Seriousness

Another gem of a story from Politico. When I first read the headline, I thought I had inadvertently clicked on some TMZ or Star Magazine site.

If only President Obama had been behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, the earthquake would never have happened.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

He Can Do No Right

Look, I know that if you're a Republican, to agree with anything that President Obama has to offer is a political risk. I know that everyone in the GOP has pretty much taken the Mitch McConnell tact of making President Obama a one-term president as its main and major goal, even at the risk of US economic collapse. I know that the Republican Party likes to tout itself as the party of national security. But these latest comments from Republican Senator John McCain and his personal Renfield, Senator Lindsey Graham are absolutely laughable.

"Americans can be proud of the role our country has played in helping to defeat Qaddafi," their statement reads, "but we regret that this success was so long in coming due to the failure of the United States to employ the full weight of our airpower."
This statement comes from the same two Senators that were part of a delegation that considered selling nonlethal defense equipment to Gaddafi's Libya (with a little McCain bow to boot in his meeting with Gaddafi).

McCain wanted the US's "full weight" of the military airpower, and yet his own members of Congress were losing their shit just a few weeks ago, stomping their feet with a House vote to admonish the President for continuing America's role in the NATO operation and claiming a violation of the War Powers Act, and threatened to cut off funding for the operation. Does that mean that McCain and Graham would have been fine with a unilateral US strike against Libya with the "full weight" of our airpower had it only taken 89 days?

The bottom line is that the Republican Party has lost their "strong on defense" moniker and they don't like it.

The Obama administration was successful in taking out the Somali pirates that captured Captain Richard Phillips and held him hostage, but immediately afterward came the email smear campaign that the President was hesitant in authorizing lethal force.

President Obama made capturing or killing Osama Bin Laden a top priority as soon as he was sworn into  office and said so during the campaign. This was something George W. "Wanted Dead Or Alive" Bush couldn't bother with just six months after 9/11. Yet again, right wingers went to the Internet and created another smear email to claim something about which they knew nothing.

And now, with a war in Afghanistan and in the process of a methodical withdrawal from Iraq, and the President deciding to honor the US's obligation to NATO and the UN in the Libya conflict, and here are the Republicans making sure to criticize the widest range possible just to confirm they cover everything, from acting without Congressional authority, or berating Obama for letting France and England take the lead in the action, to now McCain and Graham whining about not acting quickly enough and that it took six months to ouster a dictator who held power for 42 years. Even the Wall Street Journal editorial page is praising the efforts while criticizing the the naysaying GOP.
The fighting continues in Tripoli, and Moammar Gadhafi still hasn't been captured, but the triumph of the U.S.-backed Libyan rebels seems to be only a matter of time. Though you wouldn't know it from the reaction at the Council on Foreign Relations or among some GOP Presidential candidates, this is a victory for freedom and U.S. national interests.
A dictator with American blood on his hands is about to be overthrown by a popular revolt invoking democratic principles. Not a single American has died in the effort, and the victory would not have been possible without U.S. air power, intelligence and targeting as part of NATO. A long-oppressed people now has a chance to chart a freer future, a fact that is clear from the rejoicing in Benghazi.
What would we prefer: That Gadhafi stay in power?
...Yet some of the same people who said we shouldn't help the rebels now want the U.N. to send "boots on the ground," including U.S. troops. It's not clear that the Libyans want or even need such help, especially from Americans, which could complicate their own nascent attempts at self-government.
...President Obama was right yesterday to urge the rebels to pursue "reconciliation." But America's foreign policy elites have also so far misjudged the rebels, who have shown impressive persistence and coordination in maintaining a six-month military campaign.
...One disappointment is the reluctance among Republicans to praise the rebel success, perhaps for fear it will somehow help Mr. Obama.
...U.S. intervention has succeeded in preventing a bloodbath in Benghazi and soon in deposing a long-time U.S. enemy who could have re-emerged as a terrorist sponsor.
Michele Bachmann, who played the al Qaeda tune, now looks partisan to a fault.
...The U.S. military is stretched at the current moment and we can't take sides in every civil war. But the Libyan intervention shows that when the cause is just and the means are available, the U.S. can make a moral and strategic difference.
U.S. support for the rebels won't be lost on a Middle East still undergoing its own upheavals, not least on the people and governments of Syria and Iran. NATO showed it will finish a military task it started, and soon Gadhafi will take his place with Saddam in the ranks of Arab despots who will terrorize their people no more.
I believe everyone has forgotten (including Michael Steele and the Morning Joe pundits this morning) that the initial intervention is Libya was a humanitarian one, with NATO acting on the information that Gaddafi was about to unleash hell on his own people in Benghazi.

And yet, President Obama can do no right. He doesn't even read the right books on vacation. I suppose he would have gotten a reprieve on the reading list criticism if he'd included Ayn Rand's ATLAS SHRUGGED and Rick Perry's FED UP!, both also works of fiction, by the way.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Comedy Break! Louis C.K.