Saturday, February 07, 2009

Saturday AM Stuff

"Still Bushed" from January 23rd (this was a particularly good one, and since MSNBC has apparently fixed the issue with its videos, I wanted to add this for the record: with the State Department handoff from Our Gal Condi Rice to HRC, we're just starting to find out the meaning of the term "cult of personality" concerning the former - and I think Glenda was the Good Witch of the North in "The Wizard of Oz," not the South, a minor point I know; another "triumph" of Bushco funny-number fudging results in somehow not counting about 25,000 veterans requiring care from the VA; and finally - and the reason why I'm including this - K.O. explains how Bushco could have ended up radicalizing Said Ali al-Shihri, a Saudi man released from Guantanamo after being held there for six years who subsequently, when he was freed, joined al Qaeda in Yemen...heckuva job, Dubya)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Friday Stuff

(As long as I'm thinking about it, I might as well let you know that posting is questionable for the entire week next week, especially on Thursday and Friday.)

Oh, by the way, anybody remember a guy named John Kerry? Yeah, he's a Senate Democrat. From Massachusetts. Ran for president as I recall in 2004.

Of course, all we heard about Kerry from our corporate media cousins was stuff about windsurfing, marrying a rich condiments heiress, and alleged French ancestry (as if that's a problem?).

Yeah, a real dull guy, huh? Ponderous, effete, "voted for it before he voted against it," yadda yadda...

Well, give a listen to this - suddenly he makes a hell of a lot of sense.

...and speaking of Kerry, he and a few others have some good ideas here about Afghanistan...

..."Still Bushed" (K.O. tells us of Tara Jones, among other Bushies, who was allowed to "burrow" her way into a career civil service job inside the Obama Pentagon, with Jones being the contact person in the so-called "Pentagon Pundits" scandal exposed by David Barstow of the New York Times; also, if you thought Bank of America was unconscionable before, get a load of the script their customer service people have to follow, blaming delinquent homeowners for our economic crisis - uh, nobody put a gun to the head of Ken Lewis and told him to approve the stock purchases of Countrywide AND Merrill Lynch, did they?; and oh yes, former Bushco chief of staff Andrew Card blames Obama for taking his jacket off in the Oval Office, which Dubya never did...riiiight)...

..."Worst Persons" (Glenn Beck basically calls Obama a "communist" for signing SCHIP on a show that was advertised as one in which he wouldn't engage in that sort of name calling - I think the fact that Beck's demographic would apparently recognize how damaging that epithet once was...the "terrorist" of the 1940s and 50s...says something; Bill Orally's weaselly producer stalks Russell Tice, the NSA whistleblower, for insulting Falafel Boy - awww; but Rupert Murdoch...aaarrgghh...gets the nod for whining about Newscorp's cash hemorrhage, and in the process COMES UP WITH A NEW SLOGAN FOR FIX NOISE!!! - love the way that K.O. sneaks in the fact that his show and Rachel Maddow's are doing just fine, thank you)...

...and as a tribute to former Buffalo Springfield drummer Dewey Martin, here's "Sit Down, I Think I Love You" from "Where The Action Is" in February 1967 (and by the way, Neil Young's autobiography is called "Shakey")...

...and as a tribute to actor James Whitmore, here's a PSA he did on behalf of First Freedom First.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (2/6/09)

As reported in last Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer, here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress were recorded on major roll-call votes last week (and I also posted over here)...


$816 billion stimulus. Voting 244-188, the House approved an $816 billion package consisting of $541 billion in new spending and $275 billion in tax relief, with most of the stimulus injected into the economy by the end of 2010, starting almost immediately with personal tax cuts in the form of credits or reduced payroll withholding - for middle-class households. The bill (HR 1) was backed by all but 11 of Democrats who voted and opposed by all 177 Republicans who voted.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: John Adler (D., N.J.), Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), and Joe Sestak (D., Pa.).

Voting no: Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).
Even though this passed the House, we should all heed the words of Paul Krugman here who tells us the following (God willing, our Senators will pull out their collective thumbs and pass this, at which point it will probably come back for a House/Senate committee before it goes to Obama)…

It’s hard to exaggerate how much economic trouble we’re in. The crisis began with housing, but the implosion of the Bush-era housing bubble has set economic dominoes falling not just in the United States, but around the world.

So what should Mr. Obama do? Count me among those who think that the president made a big mistake in his initial approach, that his attempts to transcend partisanship ended up empowering politicians who take their marching orders from Rush Limbaugh. What matters now, however, is what he does next.

It’s time for Mr. Obama to go on the offensive. Above all, he must not shy away from pointing out that those who stand in the way of his plan, in the name of a discredited economic philosophy, are putting the nation’s future at risk. The American economy is on the edge of catastrophe, and much of the Republican Party is trying to push it over that edge.
And in case anyone was wondering where our corporate media was lining up on this (why should you have a question?), this is food for thought (h/t Eschaton).

Republican stimulus plan. Voting 170-266, the House defeated a Republican alternative to HR 1 (above) that proposed a stimulus comprised almost totally of personal tax cuts for all brackets, wide-ranging business tax cuts, and extended jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. The amendment sought to strip the bill of most of its spending programs other than unemployment benefits.

A yes vote backed the GOP substitute.

Voting yes: Dent, Gerlach and Pitts.

Voting no: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Castle, Fattah, Holden, LoBiondo, Murphy, Schwartz, Sestak and Smith.
As long as Castle, LoBiondo and Smith voted against the stimulus, you would think they’d have the guts to at least go on record in support of the GOP’s idiotic non-alternative.

Amtrak funding. Members refused, 116-320, to strip HR 1 (above) of $800 million for capital improvements at Amtrak, the federally subsidized rail passenger service.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting yes: Pitts.

Voting no: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Castle, Dent, Fattah, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Murphy, Schwartz, Sestak and Smith.
I guess as far as “Pancake Joe” is concerned, the "choo choo" doesn’t pass through PA-16.

Lilly Ledbetter Act. Voting 250-177, the House gave final congressional approval to a bill (S 181) making it easier for plaintiffs to file pay-discrimination suits under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act then became the first bill that President Obama signed into law, The bill would permit claims to be filed within 180 days of the latest incident of pay discrimination, nullifying a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which required claims to be filed within 180 days of the first infraction.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Holden, Murphy, Schwartz, Sestak, and Smith.

Voting no: Castle, Dent, Gerlach, LoBiondo and Pitts.
Lots of good stuff about this which I alluded to last week here (and if you want to give yourself a headache for some reason, conservative quota hire Christine Flowers of the Philadelphia Daily News took her typical cheap shots at it today).

Digital TV delay. Voting 258-168, the House failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed to pass a bill (S 328) that would delay from Feb. 17 to June 12 the national deadline for converting over-the-air U.S. television signals from analog to digital. An estimated 6.5 million households still have not installed converter boxes on their sets. Already passed by the Senate, the bill is likely to be considered again under rules requiring a simple majority for passage.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Fattah, LoBiondo, Murphy, Schwartz, Sestak, and Smith.

Voting no: Castle, Dent, Gerlach, Holden and Pitts.
The deadline was eventually pushed back by a vote a couple of days ago, as noted here (interesting vote by “Democrat” Tim Holden, by the way).


Secretary of Treasury Geithner. Voting 60-34, the Senate confirmed Timothy F. Geithner, 47, the head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, as the nation's 75th Treasury secretary. Geithner drew opposition mainly over his admitted failure to pay $42,702 in back taxes and interest until after President Obama selected him for the post.

A yes vote was to confirm Geithner.

Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey Jr. (D., Pa.), Ted Kaufman (D., Del.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.).

Voting no: Arlen Specter (R., Pa.).
And by the way (as noted here), Specter flip-flopped on the vote, first saying he would support Geithner before opposing him; usually at this point I say “Screw you, Arlen” for a vote like this, but I’ll be honest with you – I have to admit that I’m concerned about Geithner a bit, based on this (another h/t Eschaton…simply put, the message is to do what TARP was originally supposed to do, and that is to round up the bad assets, get them off the books of these institutions, and then have we taxpayers foot the bill for fair value, and I’m not at all sure that that’s what Geithner has in mind).

Children's health insurance. Voting 66-32 against, the Senate sent to conference with the House a bill (HR 2) expanding State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) coverage from 6.6 million children to about 11 million children. The bill would renew SCHIP for five years at a cost of $60 billion, up nearly $35 billion from current levels, and raise federal tobacco taxes from 39 cents per pack to $1 per pack to pay the added costs.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez and Specter.

Roe v. Wade. Senators rejected, 39-59, an amendment to HR 2 (above) to write into law a Bush administration regulation for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) that defines life as beginning at inception. Under Roe v. Wade, a fetus does not gain viability until approximately the third trimester of pregnancy. Backers called the amendment necessary to protect life, while foes noted that SCHIP already covers pregnant women.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting yes: Casey.

Voting no: Carper, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Specter.
I communicated with Casey and asked him to support the Freedom of Choice Act, and he said he would not. I recognize that this is a good-faith difference of opinion, though, and I would be inclined to support this as part of being “pro-life” if I trusted the anti-choicers to NOT use it to chip away at Roe v. Wade with the ultimate goal of criminalizing women and healthcare providers for seeking and/or performing abortions. And of course, I don’t.

Update 2/7/09: And by the way, speaking of Casey, kudos to him and Byron Dorgan for this (to be fair, though, KBR has profited from Democrats also, notably Lyndon Johnson years ago).

This week, the House debated $400 billion in fiscal 2009 appropriations, while the Senate took up the nearly $900 billion economic stimulus package.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Thursday Stuff

K.O. takes down "Deadeye Dick" in a "Special Comment" tonight (Cheney is a delusional old man and nothing more - glad MSNBC appears to have fixed their videos)...

...Thirty Seconds To Mars ("The Kill").

These Are The Stakes

This is what leadership looks like.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Wednesday Stuff

(Another questionable posting day tomorrow, by the way...)

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont was dead-on right again in proposing capping executive pay at $400G last year, as Rachel Maddow notes, with Obama now on board with a figure closer to $500G (both are still way too damn much money IMHO, but as Sanders says, it's better than nothing).

(Oh, and Sanders has a first-rate idea about investigating all of the bad actors involved here, and while I'm sure Elizabeth Warren is quite good, this is a job where we need all the expertise we can get.

So...let's not forget that this guy, baggage and all, has some time on his hands these days, OK?)...

...and you MUST see this; Dem U.S. House Rep Gary Ackerman of New York of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises (that's a mouthful!) absolutely lays into some SEC reps over the Bernie Madoff meltdown (and Ackerman is referencing the testimony of Harry Markopolos, an independent financial fraud investigator for institutional investors and others seeking forensic accounting expertise, by the way, as noted here)...

...Architecture in Helsinki ("That Beep"; I think someone ought to tie Richard Fuld, John Thain, Madoff et al to chairs and make them watch this video for about 20 hours straight; I'd like to see the result)...

...and as a tribute to Hank Crawford, here's "Don't Cry Baby" on "Night Music" with David Sanborn....

...and one more thing; Amadou Diallo died ten years ago today.

More Wednesday Stimulus Wingnuttery

Yep, our local Bucks County Courier Times was really in full-on umbrage mode over the stimulus today, as noted here (I can’t recall the exact wording of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s quote that the paper rather sloppily failed to copy to its web version of the editorial, but I have a feeling it has something to do with this - and I also posted here).

And the paper listed six items in particular from Obama’s stimulus to which it took offense, and I’ll do my best to respond accordingly here.

1) $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts to assist struggling museums and galleries.
Here’s a NY Times story about the budgeting proposal, and here are some excerpts from the comments…

Arts infrastructure comprises those things which foster the arts, including funding, physical assets, programmes, groups, organisations and suppliers.

If you have the time, please join in signing the ‘Secretary of the Arts’ (or “Secretary of Culture”) petition
here (two hundred fifteen thousand signees so far, and counting…)


Arts infrastructure is places like Lincoln Center. Look at New York’s upper west side 30 and 40 years out from the creation of Lincoln Center. Lincoln Center is now surrounded by skyscrapers filled with business and households. It was all born from that. This is only one example of many. Look outside the USA at the “arts infrastructure” at the Guggenheim Bilbao. It put Bilbao on the map. The Guggenheim Bilbao turned everything up for that city in Spain. Arts infrastructure is basic. It’s a no brainer.


In major cities like Los Angeles funding for the arts keeps kids off the streets, out of gangs and helps bring beauty to the concrete jungle in the form of public art murals. (Many of which were painted years ago on freeway walls by talented artists.)

The last administration took away as much funding for the arts as they could without public outcry. The murals in Los Angeles are demoralizing a reminder of this travesty everyday- defaced with graffiti by kids frustrated with the system that let them fall through the cracks.

Let art rise up and our cities shine with the vision of our children’s creativity. Art is urbane, Art is dignity.
And as noted from here…
To get the United States out of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt launched various stimulus programs to get people to back to work, most importantly, from 1935 to 1943, the Works Progress Administration (WPA). As part of the WPA, the Federal Arts Project (FAP) created work for 5,000 of America's best artists who painted murals and posters, sculpted and created more than 225,000 works of art, mainly in state and local government buildings. (Contrast that 225,000 number over eight years with the just 119,000 grants by the NEA over 38 years, and you can get an idea of the scope.)
Here is another item that earned the wrath of the Courier Times...

2) $650 million for additional digital TV conversion coupons.
As noted in this article...

Congress mandated the February 17 switch to digital television, which will affect some 20 million consumers who do not already use the technology. Owners of older television sets receiving over-the-air signals must buy converter boxes, replace their TVs with digital models, or subscribe to satellite or digital cable service.

But the government has said it had run out of $40 discount coupons for consumers to help pay for converter boxes needed to keep their sets from going blank, leading to calls for delaying the analog switch-off and for more money in the economic stimulus package for the program.
And by the way, if you have access to the New York Times and want to read more about what a fiasco the digital conversion became under the 109th Repug Congress in 2005, Gail Collins wrote a great column about that here (the conversion has now been delayed, as noted here).


3) $87 million for expanded family planning services.
Uh, Courier Times Editorial Board? You might want to read this.


4) $400 million for global warming research.
(This request also is noted here.)

Yeah, well, this is partly to undo the damage done by that idiot Michael Griffin; as noted here...

During the tenure of Michael Griffin as Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, cost overruns and delays in the human space flight program and the shifting of NASA’s priorities to satisfy President Bush’s emphasis on planning to send astronauts to Mars went hand in hand with the deterioration of NASA’s program to study Planet Earth—cuts in the agency’s Earth Science budget, the degradation of the satellite-based climate observing system, and even the deletion from NASA’s official mission statement of the idea of protecting our home planet.

5) $600 million to buy new cars for government workers.
Uh, yeah, Courier Times, this is pretty stoo-pid too, isn’t it?

Let’s see, we're building new hybrid vehicles for government workers, right? Well then, let's give the contract to one of the big three and ensure assembly line jobs for awhile (solving one problem), building vehicles with less of a “carbon footprint” (solving another problem). A real “waste,” huh?

Also (from here)…

On the roads, Obama promises one million hybrid cars by 2015. Half of all government vehicles will be hybrids or all electric by 2012 and consumers will be rewarded for buying “advanced vehicles” with 7000 dollars in tax credits. To encourage the carmakers, federal aid to help pay their enormous healthcare obligations will be linked to investment in fuel-efficient vehicles.

Meanwhile, Obama’s National Low Carbon Fuel Standard would cut carbon emissions from vehicle fuels by 10 percent by 2020 and require all new cars to have flex-fuel capacity so they can run on a mixture of gasoline and biofuels.
And funding for new government vehicles is part of that.


6) $300 million for increased teacher salaries.
(A note to some of the uninitiated concerning Courier Times editorial content: their favorite targets are Planned Parenthood, teachers unions, and the “Democrat” Party in general, particularly Patrick Murphy over disclosed congressional earmarks. It had been at least four or five days since they’ve written anything bad about teachers, so they were due here.)

This story tells us that, “Obama also wants to create at least 15,000 new teacher and teaching assistant jobs” through stimulus spending. The money for those jobs has to come from somewhere.

See, in addition to helping to put people to work, the stimulus bill is meant to prepare this country for the challenges of competing in a 21st-century economy. I seem to recall Obama coming back to that point over and over again during his campaign, and as long as we have this crisis we need to resolve, why not use it as an opportunity to address a need we would have had to face anyway?

(The editorial also wonders why the stimulus contains funding for Medicaid; the states need help given depleted revenues, people can't work if they're sick and have no coverage...this is a recording.)

I know it’s hard for the Courier Times to understand, but after eight years of profligate waste and fraud from President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History and his pals, the adults are back in charge trying to clean everything up, even if it means “thinking outside the box” as far as the paper's august editorial board is concerned.

And I realize it is incumbent on me to make that case every chance I get. I only wish more members of the current majority political party in this country would do the same thing once in a while.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Tuesday Stuff

Norah O'Donnell is a bubblehead; I'm not featuring this clip to give undue attention to her or Andrea Mitchell, but to set up some other stuff.

Yes, this is the New York Times editorial noted in the report. Yes, Daschle majorly screwed up on his taxes, but he made amends, as did Tim Geithner. Can someone explain to me what "the rules" are in situations like this so we'll know the next time they're abused by a Repug?

Oh, and O'Donnell conveniently mentions Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood as the most recent individuals who've had to bow out of cabinet positions for some sort of impropriety, during those supposedly terrible Clinton years, of course. Which is only right, because this stuff only happens to Dems...sure it does.

Finally, if anyone out there has an urge to criticize Obama over this, read every word of this terrific post by DarkSyde at The Daily Kos before you do...

...also, I must tell you that this post today from eRobin (h/t Avedon Carol at Eschaton) has been much on my mind; the last time I saw our corporate media cousins slinging this much BS over the stimulus was in the aftermath of the "bitter, guns, clinging" nonsense, and they can generate it faster than we can throw it back at them (this fine post from Arianna Huffington notwithstanding).

Most of us know people who are suffering. Many of us are worried we might be next. And still more of us think that it's time more of our elected representatives started acting like Barney Frank and less like Jim DeMint.

And with all of this in mind, I heard this song on my way home tonight and thought it was appropriate ("Right Now," by Van Halen; I think Sammy Hagar did a good job, though of course David Lee Roth cast a long shadow - and please disregard the last :48).

Journos Behaving Badly

The New York Times tells us today about members of the fourth estate transitioning over to the Obama Administration (here – and you guessed it; I also posted over here)…

WASHINGTON — Republicans have long accused mainstream journalists of being on the payroll of President Obama and the Democratic Party, a common refrain of favoritism especially from those on the losing end of an election (see Bush vs. Gore, Clinton vs. Bush and Bush vs. Dukakis).

But this year the accusation has a new twist: In some notable cases it has become true, with several prominent journalists now on the payrolls of Mr. Obama and the Democratic Congressional leadership.

An unusual number of journalists from prominent, mainstream organizations started new government jobs in January, providing new kindling to the debate over whether Mr. Obama is receiving unusually favorable treatment in the news media.

These are not opinionated talkers in the vein of Chris Matthews, the MSNBC host who last year flirted with a run for the Democratic nomination for the Senate — and who more recently said he would do “everything I can to make this thing work” for Mr. Obama.
Yep, Matthews said that (here) – a laudable sentiment, even if it is inappropriate for someone purporting to comment on the news.

In the story, Times reporter Jim Rutenberg points out that former Time correspondent Jay Carney accepted a position as communications director for Vice President Joe Biden, CNN correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in the running for surgeon general (currently taking heat from House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, as noted here – losing both Gupta AND Tom Daschle would definitely be a blow to Obama’s health care initiative, though he has plenty of good people to fall back on) and Douglas Frantz, former managing editor of the LA Times, has gone to work for Sen. John Kerry.

The story continues…

The changes also give fodder to conservatives who have long complained that mainstream journalists are sympathetic to the views of Democrats.

“It is, I think, indicative of a certain affinity,” said Richard Lowry, the editor of National Review. “You would not have seen so many people from mainstream outfits going to work for John McCain.”

Mr. Lowry did not dispute, however, that a McCain administration could have been a job destination for mainstream journalists if he had won in 2000, when he began to refer to reporters as his “base,” a label that fell away in the 2008 campaign.
And as noted here, Rich Lowry is a paragon of media integrity (please).

I don’t think Rutenberg is necessarily “painting with a broad brush” here in an attempt to malign his fellow press mates. A bit of healthy skepticism towards the press when it seems to be favoring one candidate over another in its coverage is a good thing.

However, until the Obama people decide to grant access to a supposed “reporter” who is in fact a political flunky (pictured above) or pay off a member of the punditocracy who is allegedly “fair and balanced” to report his spin as fact (here), I won’t consider the media relations with Obama and his people to be much of an issue.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Monday Stuff

Posting is questionable for tomorrow; I just don't know at the moment.

In the meantime, the audio for this could be better, but THANK GOD Barney Frank "named the 900-pound Gorilla" here (h/t The Daily Kos).

And by the way, I don't know who is stupider: Jim DeMint...

...or Glenn Beck (here - love and kisses to you too, Neil)...

...oh, and say hello to Michael ("No Government Has Created A Job, Ever") Steele, the new head of the RNC (yep, he's a 'head, all right - actually, I think fellow Repug Ken "Let's Disenfranchise Ohio Democrats in 2004" Blackwell's comments were a lot closer to what the Repugs are really all about on this here)...

...and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of "The Day The Music Died," here's Buddy Holly and the Crickets performing "Peggy Sue" on the Arthur Murray Dance Party on 12/29/57 (Wow, that sure looked like a swingin' time, didn't it? And by the way, I think the biopic with Gary Busey in the '70s was the best on Holly and the band).

("Rock n' Roll specialists"...too funny.)

Today's Stimulus Bill Nonsense

(And I also posted here on an unrelated local matter.)

So Senator John McCain tells the Democrats here that they need to “seriously negotiate” on the stimulus bill, huh (with “seriously negotiate” being Republican-ese for “larding up the bill with tax cuts as opposed to legitimate infrastructure spending”).

That’s way too damn funny coming from the guy who said he would suspend his presidential campaign last year “to focus on the economy,” as noted here (and we know how THAT turned out - I promised I wouldn’t call him John W. McBush any more after the election, but if he keeps this up, I may go back on that).

(Oh, and by the way, sorry about your home-state team’s Super Bowl loss yesterday, Senator, though they put up a fight, I must admit.)

And after Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao “mov(ed) the goalposts,” as noted here by TPM (i.e., he said a month ago that an “omnibus appropriations bill” would take the place of the stimulus bill currently being proposed, which is an act of political gamesmanship given what we currently face), he now states that, basically, he would filibuster the current stimulus bill (here).

(And isn't THIS precious...what a joke!)

Also, Our Man Arlen Specter said today on a local radio talk show that he, in so many words, would oppose the stimulus bill because he wanted funding for light rail from Scranton to New York City, which apparently isn’t included (yes, but the funding for that laudable project has already been approved, as noted here).

Venturing intro Crazyland, this tells us that Tennessee House Repug Zach Wamp and Dem (!) Lincoln Davis want stimulus funding to “ease the burden of Tennessee Valley Authority ratepayers for the $1 million-a-day cost of cleaning up more than 1 billion gallons of sludge and ash that spilled from a containment pond at the agency's Kingston plant in late December” (makes sense to me, though that state’s Repug Senator Bob “Let’s Kill The UAW” Corker opposes it, even though the project puts people to work cleaning up the site).

And over in South Carolina, Repug Senator Jim DeMint proposes a “plan” here blessed by the Heritage Foundation that could generate 1.3 million jobs, which is exactly half of what we lost in this country last year alone – it isn’t even close to a “break-even” proposition!

And hardly to be outdone, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma says here that the stimulus bill is “generational theft,” which is particularly funny given that the infamous 109th Congress (of which Coburn was most definitely a part) helped ensure the largest unified budget deficits in our history as of 2005, as noted here (the blue bar chart speaks volumes about which president was fiscally prudent and which one lavished budget-busting tax cuts for his “base”).

And how are the Repug governors handling this? Well, as William Yardley of the New York Times told us here yesterday (in a column including excerpts from 12 “State of the State” gubernatorial addresses), Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue said…

Political mantras aside, cutting more than 10 percent from a budget cannot be achieved by simply cutting waste. While we have worked for six years to do more with less, at some point, in business or in government, it becomes less with less.

The job of budgeting is hard right now, but it’s not because the directions are complicated. Like families sitting around their kitchen tables all over Georgia, we are doing what is necessary to balance our checkbook. As I look within, I find something within the human constitution that bounces back, something within this collective American spirit that rebuilds.
Nice sounding words, but not a hint of bipartisanship in them of course; maybe Perdue could pray for a balanced budget, as he did here when his state suffered a drought brought on by his own bad planning.

And as far as Repug Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana is concerned, he used his address to beat up the states of Ohio and Illinois (nice guy - yeah, we all know about Blago, but give me a break!)…

As recently as 2007, an essayist wrote: “More than any state I know of, Indiana suffers from a crippling inferiority complex. Hoosiers struggle desperately to prove to themselves and the world that they have a higher function than simply filling up the space between Cincinnati and Chicago.”

That’s Cincinnati, as in Ohio, with its $7 billion deficit and downgraded credit rating, begging Washington for a massive handout. That’s Chicago, as in Illinois, a perennial ethical embarrassment where the government is floating billions in suspect paper just to pay its back bills.

Across America tonight, there are dozens of states that would gladly change places with Indiana. We are fiscally steady; they are crawling to Congress for bailouts.
Yeah, well, Mitch didn’t do such a hot job when he ran Dubya’s OMB; as Wikipedia tells us here…

In 2002, Daniels helped discredit a report by Assistant to the President on Economic Policy Lawrence B. Lindsey estimating the cost of the Iraq War at between $100-$200 billion. Daniels called this estimate "very, very high" and stated that the costs would be between $50-$60 billion.[9] As of 2007, the cost of the invasion and occupation of Iraq has exceeded $400 billion, and the Congressional Budget Office in August 2007 estimated that appropriations would eventually reach $1 trillion or more.[10]
Oh, and let’s not forget Just Plain Folks Sarah Palin who, according to her speech, said that…

…when challenges may seem as high as Mount McKinley, and change as constant as the mighty Yukon flows, and political events send shockwaves through our foundation like the ’64 quake — what do Alaskans do? We climb Denali, we forge the river, we rebuild a stronger foundation on higher ground. When it matters most, lesser differences fall away. Just like family, Alaskans unite.
And they also band together to lobby for their share of the stimulus, apparently, based on this story, even though they’re awash in oil-related revenue, dontcha know.

(The Yardley story also quotes South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who of course laments on and on about his state’s debt, saying “I told you so,” which really doesn’t do much good at this point – I got into Sanford’s own brand of money mismanagement here.)

As Frank Rich noted here yesterday in the New York Times, “The (Repug) party’s sole consistent ambition is to play petty politics to gum up the works.”

Were our economy not sinking like the proverbial stone, this would be funny. But more fool them for not realizing that this is no time for gamesmanship.