Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday Mashup (7/13/10)

  • Wow, did you know that Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota was awarded his Senate victory last year by “felons” (here)?

    Uh, no.

  • Fix Noise also tells us here that, in response to a resolution by the NAACP branding the Tea Party movement as "racist," a teabagger group in Missouri has drafted a resolution of its own condemning the civil rights group for reducing itself to a "bigoted" and "partisan attack dog organization."

    And I’m sure they were taking their cue from the guy who, quite rightly, is ridiculed here.

  • Next, we have Repug U.S. House Rep John Campbell telling us the following here…

    When you woke up on June 30, you may not have realized that you were waking up to a historic day. However, this was not a day that marked American achievement, innovation, or recovery. It was a morning that witnessed a $166 billion single-day increase in American debt. That would be the third largest deficit hike in American history and, shockingly, we reached this extraordinary mark in just two years of wanton, unchecked spending initiated by President Obama and carried by this Congress.
    In Campbell’s defense, it should be noted that, according to here, he has only served in Congress since 2005 (he was tabbed to run in a special election to replace fellow Repug Chris Cox, who resigned to become Dubya’s SEC chairman). So Campbell wasn’t in the U.S. Congress when both of Bushco’s ruinous tax cuts were passed and signed into law.

    However, Wikipedia also tells us the following…

    On June 17, 2009, Campbell signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 1503, the bill introduced as a reaction to conspiracy theories which claimed that U.S. President Barack Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen.[1]

    In 2009, several watchdog groups accused Rep. Campbell of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from used car dealers, and then introducing legislation exempting them from consumer protection laws.[2][3][4]
    So Campbell is both a birther and a crook in his own right (and he has the gall to wax propagandistic about deficits).

    California’s 48th should be so proud (and, given that that’s a bedrock conservative district, I’m sure they don’t “do irony”).

  • Also, Marc Thiessen bloviates as follows at the WaPo (here – there’s a ton of stuff in his screed that could be refuted, but I’ll just focus on one item for now because life is short; Thiessen apparently gazed into his navel too long and theorized that the coalition that elected Obama is full of “fading embers”)…

    To repair the breach, Democrats have turned their legislative agenda over to the unions. Instead of moving appropriations bills, they are pushing legislation that would shield unions from the campaign finance reporting requirements of the Disclose Act and force the unionization of public-safety workers in 21 states. And they have allowed the teachers unions to hijack the war funding bill for our troops…

    If anything, including the teacher funding in the war supplemental is, I’ll admit, a questionable tactic, but for a wholly different reason than the one espoused by Thiessen, and that is to encourage votes for funding the appropriation from House reps who might not vote for it otherwise because of opposition to the war (here).

    And I would ask that you keep in mind the caterwauling from the “pain caucus” about the deficit when you consider that, as Think Progress tells us above, the $10 billion came from the Race to the Top program and the Teacher Inventive Fund, both Obama Administration favorites, in the name of deficit neutrality.

    As Think Progress also tells us…

    Race to the Top, according to the New Teacher Project, “has already accelerated education reform by decades in some states.” “While Race to the Top has only been in existence for a short time, it has yielded some of the most dramatic state education reforms the country has seen in many years,” said (Center for American Progress) Vice President for Education Policy Cindy Brown. The Teacher Incentive Fund, meanwhile, is one of the best ways to support the development of teachers.
    (I would tend to think that Outgoing Dem House Appropriations Chair David Obey is being a little harsh in criticizing Race To The Top as a “slush fund,” but in this era of media preoccupation with those Club For Growth wannabes wearing their funny hats and carrying racist signs, all the rage is deficit reduction, so my guess is that he’s trying to placate these life forms for some reason.)

    So, no, as usual, Thiessen is wrong. The “teachers unions” aren’t “hijack(ing) the war funding bill for our troops.”

    If anything, quite the opposite is true.

  • Also, it seems as if David Obey isn’t the only Congressional Dem upset with Obama (here)…

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants President Barack Obama to be “more firm” and stop avoiding "confrontation" with Republicans.

    “He is a person who doesn't like confrontation. He's a peacemaker,” Reid said in an interview with Las Vegas television station KSNV.

    “Sometimes I think you have to be a little more forceful. And sometimes I don't think he is enough with the Republicans,” said the Nevada Democrat, whose allegiance with the White House is hurting his reelection prospects.

    “On a few occasions, I think he should have been more firm with those on the other side of the aisle,” he said.
    Simply put, this is too hilarious for words.

    How many speeches has Obama made recently about “grabbing a mop” and not letting the Repugs have the keys to the metaphorical car again after driving it into a ditch? And I think this is particularly cowardly on Reid’s part especially since Obama just came to Nevada and attacked Sharron Angle the way Reid should have done if he actually had a spine.

    Has Reid forgotten that we endured that ridiculous fiasco over health care reform last year, brought on in large part by Reid’s deferring to Max Baucus who, as Senate Finance Committee chair, very nearly scuttled the proceedings in the name of “comity” with those across the aisle, particularly Mike Enzi and Chuck Grassley, whose only intention was to derail health care reform from the start? Or that, in the name of obtaining the blessed 60 votes for passage, he signed off on the “Cornhusker Kickback” (here, which Obama disposed of before he signed it into law)?

    If Reid manages to win in the fall, it will be because he had the good fortune to end up facing a darling of the teabaggin’ crowd who, because of her laughable public comments and professed positions on the issues, would have been a more viable candidate in 1910 than 2010. And only for that reason.

  • And in addition to everything else that’s wrong with this wretched company, this tells us that BP may have been involved in the release of the human mistake convicted in the Lockerbie plane bombing…

    A U.S. lawmaker is calling on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to investigate whether BP influenced the release of Pan Am Flight 103 Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi.

    Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey wants to know whether a quid pro quo led to the 2009 decision by U.K. and Scottish lawmakers to set the Libyan terrorist free. Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison in 2001, but released last year when doctors said he had only three months to live before dying of cancer. A doctor now says he could live a decade, according to the Associated Press. The senator wants to know whether the bomber's release was connected to a BP plan to drill for oil off Libya, which the senator says could earn the company up to $20 billion.

    A bomb aboard Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, killing 270 people, 189 of them American. The plane was headed from London's Heathrow Airport to New York's JFK International Airport.
    By the way, the story also tells us that al-Megrahi, contrary to reports that he had only three months to live, “could survive 10 to 20 years.”

    Oh, but Libya is a “friend” to us now.

    Sure they are.

  • Finally, this date marks two noteworthy anniversaries: the first is Live Aid, which took place 25 years ago.

    I guess, of the handful of memories I have from the concert, the ones that come to mind immediately are the outstanding performances of Queen, The Pretenders, Status Quo, and Elvis Costello, though they had a lot of company. The worst ones for me were Led Zeppelin (which, at their request, is not included on the DVD collection) and Bob Dylan (wheezing through “Blowin’ In The Wind” with Ron Wood and Keith Richards).

    Like many of you I’m sure, I watched much of the program on commercial TV, and to say that I got tired of Sally Field and her weepy entreaties every five minutes or so to help those starving in Africa (a worthy goal, I realize) is an understatement. Also, the version I saw of the Wembley Stadium performance featured the audio malfunction when Paul McCartney performed “Let It Be” as the next-to-last number (that to me was always a questionable choice to perform for the concert anyway, though I realize that the Beatles’ songs and McCartney’s “Wings” catalogue really didn’t lend itself to something more appropriate). It was also scary to watch David Ruffin singing “My Girl” with Hall and Oates, realizing how emaciated he had become due to his cocaine addiction that would eventually kill him (even creepily referring to himself as a “skinny man” when singing the song).

    Still, I thought the project was a worthy one, and it’s never a bad thing when Philadelphia is featured in as favorable a light as it was on this occasion.

    Also, on this date in 1955, Ruth Ellis was hanged for the murder of her lover David Blakely; she was the last woman to die of capital punishment in Great Britain (here), despite a public outcry (this is the subject of a great film called “Dance With A Stranger” starring Miranda Richardson and Rupert Everett, also from 1985).
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