Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Stuff

Oh, and in case anybody thought those tea party numbskulls only went after Dems, think again (more here - and after this week, Marco Rubio would be the second tea party senator, since, sadly, we already have the first)...

...and I think this is an appropriate musical response.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Stuff

Hey, who knew that when the fundies told us that "porn will make you gay," they were closer to the truth than we thought (just heard that those PSAs are running all over the place in Utah - OK, snark mode off)...

New Anti-Smoking Ads Warn Teens 'It's Gay To Smoke'

...and after a week like this one, I'd say we need a laugh (you can use humor to make a point, though good luck hoping the Dems will get it, especially the Bush Dogs - h/t The Daily Kos)...

Update 1/25/10: YOU GO, ED!!! (h/t Think Progress).

...and yes, we know what Flush Limbore is, but this is a nice feature by Pap; besides, with Air America going out of business, who knows how many more of these we'll see...

...and I sure hope they didn't need a second take for this video.

Friday Mashup (1/22/10)

(And I also posted here - forgot the date...oh well.)

  • This item that appeared at Politico a couple of days ago (as well as the New York Times) tells us the following…

    House Minority Leader John Boehner has tapped an old friend to be his new chief of staff: Barry Jackson, an architect of the Contract With America, a minor player in the saga of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Karl Rove’s former right-hand man.

    The Ohio native is a fierce, if low-profile, Boehner defender whom allies described as the obvious choice to succeed Chief of Staff Paula Nowakowski, who died suddenly of a heart attack on Jan. 9.

    “He’s a loyalist,” said John Feehery, a Republican consultant and spokesman for former Speaker Dennis Hastert. “He was very loyal to Bush, and he will be very loyal to John. ... He’s always going to have John’s back.”
    Actually I don’t know how “minor” a player Jackson was in the Abramoff scandal when you review this Daily Kos 2006 post, in which we also learn, among other things, that Jackson was the principal schemer behind Dubya’s privatization hustle on Social Security. We also learn the following…

    From early on Jackson was GOP policy player. He helped form and sell the Contract with America. He was the Executive Director of the House Republican Conference from 1995 to 1998. This means that he has been at the table for every GOP scam over the last 16 years. He, like Boehner, was present at the birth of the K Street Project and they were both present when Jack Abramoff was chosen to be the point of the GOP spear for the Party's effort to control all Lobbying money in DC.

    Back on April 17, 1996, the Hill published an article, (Repug CA U.S. House Rep Elton) Gallegly blasts GOP aides' trip to Saipan amid charges of labor abuses in Pacific territory by Marcia Gelbart and Eamon Javers. The article dealt the chairman of the House Resources Subcommittee on Native American and Insular Affairs and his anger at Congressional aides taking trips to Saipan without getting his approval.

    Now this would have been at the very beginning of Jack Abramoff's efforts to block legislation that would end sweatshops on the US territory of CNMI. Organizing junkets for the GOP elite was key to protecting the labor abuse on Saipan from justice.

    I have not found the article online (so I am posting much of it), but Rep. John Boehner's Chief of Staff, Barry Jackson, was one of the first to take a trip on Jack Abramoff's dime…

    "I'm really disappointed" Gallegly said. "It is common courtesy around here that the chairman of the committee should know what's going on in his own jurisdiction," he added, noting that full committee Chairman Don Young (R- Alaska) was also unaware of the trip.
    Daily Kos diarist dengre also tells us that Jackson was behind Dubya’s campaign for president in 2000 as a “reformer with results” (gag me), having wormed his way into Number 43’s “graces” since Boehner lost his chair in the House Repug Conference to former rep J.C. Watts – as a result, Jackson looked for a new benefactor and latched onto Karl Rove, hence becoming pals with eventual-President Nutball (before recently reuniting with Boehner, of course).

    Oh, and did you know that Jackson was behind the Medicare Part D scam also?

    And I mentioned the Social Security fiasco earlier; it turns out that one of the front groups involved was called the United Seniors Association, which links Jackson to none other than…yep, you guessed it, Jack Abramoff.

    No one should have any illusions that the congressional Repugs, sensing a return to power this fall, are going to put back into place all of the players (or, at least, as many as they can of those who aren’t doing time) who flourished when they ran our government like the foxes raiding the proverbial hen house. This move to bring back Barry Jackson is a herald of such future bad tidings.

  • Also, last Sunday brought us more economics wankery in the New York Times from N. Gregory Mankiw (here)…

    To be sure, we have large budget deficits and ample money growth. The federal government’s budget deficit was $390 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2010, or about 11 percent of gross domestic product. Such a large deficit was unimaginable just a few years ago.
    In response, I give you Brad DeLong (from February 2008 here)…

    The Bush administration and its flacks and flunkies have long promised that the administration was going to "cut the deficit in half" by the time in left office in fiscal 2009. The press by and large reported this straight--not pointing out that the "cut in half" was from a highballed projected peak deficit number that was artificially inflated in order to set the bar artificially low, not pointing out that such a deficit still left fiscal policy far from where it ought to be, and not pointing out that the Bushies' policies would produce such a reduction only if everything broke right and we had four uninterrupted years of macroeconomic good news. Republican economists who cared more about pleasing White House communications than in informing their audience chimed in--why, I get 100 hits on Google for Greg Mankiw saying both when he was under and since he came out from under message discipline that George W. Bush's proposals were projected to reduce the deficit by half by 2009. Not under any projection that I would recognize as straight.
    So if our deficit was “unimaginable,” it was probably because imagination was the only tool Mankiw used to crunch numbers who would please his handlers in power at the time.

    And Mankiw does some more “navel gazing” here…

    In light of the large fiscal imbalance over which Mr. Obama is presiding, it’s a good bet he will end up raising taxes for most Americans in coming years. Higher tax rates mean reduced work incentives and lower potential output. If the Fed fails to account for this change, it could try to promote more growth than the economy can sustain, causing inflation to rise.
    Funny, but Mankiw said here that we need more inflation to supposedly speed the economic recovery, not less.

    And get a load of this for a true laugh from Mankiw…

    Yet, despite having the two classic ingredients for high inflation, the United States has experienced only benign price increases. Over the last year, the core Consumer Price Index, excluding food and energy, has risen by less than 2 percent.
    Memo to Mankiw – I don’t know what planet you live on, but on the one upon which I reside, food and energy are probably our two highest costs, along with medicines. Why you would exclude food and energy from the CPI is something I cannot fathom, unless of course your intention is to fudge numbers and do nothing more than that.

    Yep, this is some majorly fracked-up opinionating on the economy, I’ll grant you. But at least Mankiw doesn’t consider a gas tax as economic stimulus as he did here.

  • Finally, the New York Times told us the following recently (here)…

    The nation’s police chiefs are finding an alarming increase in criminals’ use of assault weapons — the high-powered battlefield rifles that used to be banned, back when the federal government showed greater concern for public safety. The 10-year ban expired in 2004, despite the vows of presidential nominees from both parties to fight for renewal. Congress hasn’t mustered the guts to try, preferring to roll over for the gun lobby.

    A survey of more than 130 local police chiefs and officials found 37 percent reporting an increase in assault weapons in street crime. Front-line police find criminals generally packing more powerful heat, with more than half of the chiefs citing increases in large-caliber handguns and high-capacity semiautomatics — the real-life stuff of tough-guy movie fantasies. Miami police reported that four years after politicians allowed the federal ban to lapse, homicides by assault weapons increased sixfold, including the murder of two police officers.

    The findings were part of a police brass “summit on guns and crime” in Washington last November that was studiously ignored by the capital ruling class. Meeting as members of the Police Executive Research Forum, the attendees underlined the disheartening fact that “there seems to be little or no appetite for gun control legislation in the U.S. Congress or the Obama administration.”

    In their frustration, the chiefs deserve credit for trying to come up with some local and state solutions — for example, requiring owners to immediately document lost or stolen guns as a deterrent to the current dodge of selling them as “lost” in the underground market.

    The chiefs were collectively enlightened, discovering that in most states gun dealers are monitored not by state or local police but by federal firearm inspectors. They have a force of but 600 covering 115,000 gun dealers — who may be visited no more than once a year. Polls regularly show that the public, including most gun hobbyists, wants more realistic gun controls. But don’t tell that to the timorous politicians of Washington.
    As I said here, the gun rules over all in this country.

    Deal with it, America.
  • Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Thursday Stuff

    I actually apologize for including this clip with Dr. Dean trying to talk sense to Tweety here and having to explain himself about a dozen times at least between about 2:30 and 7:00 to this loon on what the Massachusetts voters were saying in the election, but Dean makes good points as usual (and I liked that none-too-veiled dig by Dean at Tim Kaine...yes, the answer is to go to work and stop picking fights, but Kaine and DSCC chair Bob Menendez deserve a bit of a jab at least for the election result)...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Update 1/23/10: God, what an idiot (at least I'm not a Hillary Clinton misogynist).

    ...and gosh, who would've thought that Biblical references on rifle scopes used to train Muslims would have "blowback" on us? You think maybe that would be a motivation to pretend to shoot at us instead (hopefully nothing more than pretend - and why did I suspect that Steve Douchey of Fix Noise was involved somehow)?...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ...and in a Special Comment tonight, K.O. tells us the latest havoc wreaked by our corporatist High Court - of all their horrendous rulings, one day this may be looked upon as the worst of all (Keith should get an Emmy for this, for what it's worth)...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ...and even though I am now thoroughly depressed and cursing Dubya once more, whose horrific acts continue to loom large (see above), let's check out this video anyway (oddly appropriate?).

    As The MA Ashes Continue To Smolder

    I probably should have my head examined for linking to this, but I'm doing it because, as Dr. Dean said last night, this is how we should respond to the loss of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat instead of participating in a circular firing squad (this is from Democracy for America)...

    Yesterday, we released a poll we commissioned from Research 2000 taken immediately after voting ended on Tuesday night in Massachusetts. The results send a clear message to Democrats in Washington: Be bold, fight for more change -- not less, and pass healthcare with a public option.

    The poll results are such a shock to out-of-touch leaders in Washington and talking-head blowhards on T.V. that they're still pushing back, instead of listening.

    But DFA members, and our partners at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and CREDO Action, got it immediately and took action. In less than 24 hours, we've already gathered 150,000 signatures demanding Democrats be bolder.

    Can we get to 250,000 before we deliver this emergency petition and all the signatures to every Democrat in Washington?


    So, what are out-of-touch Democrats saying in response to the MA poll results?

    They're saying "the majority of voters for the Republican wanted to kill healthcare altogether, not pass it." Obviously, but of course, they're missing the point. This isn't about what the majority of Republican voters wanted.

    This is about why the Democrat lost the election and it comes down to the new swing vote: Stay-at-Home Voters and Obama-Voting Independents who turned this election over to the Republican.

    Both sets of swing voters don't think the current Senate bill goes far enough and over 80% of them want a public option. That's what the poll shows. If a public option was in the Senate bill then these swing voters would have delivered victory to the Democrats. It's as simple as that.

    It's up to us to make sure Democrats in Washington not only get the message, but hear it. Turn up the volume and sign our emergency petition right now.


    After you sign, you can take it a step further and call the Democrat in Congress who represents your district (if you have one) or Speaker Nancy Pelosi and tell them where you stand.

    We need to make a public whip count of who in Congress will stand up and demand the Senate use the special rules of "budget reconciliation" to pass healthcare and a public option with 51 votes. If enough Healthcare Heroes in the House of Representatives demand the Senate use Reconciliation then the Senate will be forced to listen.

    But we can't win without your calls. We'll e-mail the phone numbers to call and reach your member of Congress after you sign the emergency petition.


    We know getting Democrats in Washington to wake up and get the job done is a long shot, but the only way we can guarantee it never happens is if we never demand it.

    The fight for real reform is not over unless we quit. But DFA members don't quit -- we always work to win.

    Thank you for everything you do.


    Charles Chamberlain, Political Director
    Democracy for America
    Yes, I know there are way too many "corpocrat" Dems who don't deserve our support. However, giving up on these life forms only guarantees their flip over to the Republican Party (see Adler, John), in issue orientation and voting preference if not in an official, formal process.

    The corporate media drum beat for "bipartisanship" with stories featuring how wonderful Evan Bayh, Holy Joe Lieberman and President Snowe supposedly are (and Bob Kerrey of course, who hasn't belonged to Congress for years) will only grow louder. That's why we have our work cut out for us.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Wednesday Stuff

    I had a quick post over here - also, on the subject of the Massachusetts debacle, Howard Dean sizes up matters effectively as usual here (these words were spoken before Brown won)...

    ...and I never thought of this as a mournful song until now.

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    A Word Or Two About Martha Coakley

    It is inconceivable that the U.S. Senate Seat that belonged to Ted Kennedy for 47 years is now owned by a teabagger, but that is where we are.

    I spent a good deal of time and energy recently doing whatever I could, in my own small way, to generate some "buzz" on behalf of Coakley, though of course it went for naught. And based on what I'd read, I'd suspected it was because, in addition to the anti-incumbency fervor, Martha Coakley was a certifiably bad candidate.

    And after reading this post from Ryan Grim of HuffPo, I now realize how correct that appraisal is.

    I cannot imagine the gall of a political campaign or candidate to blame President Obama for Coakley's loss, when Obama had just come to the state in an effort to whip "the faithful" into enough of a frenzy to try and propel her to victory, and in the process, make the emphatic case for her that she should have made for herself long ago.

    You can legitimately blame Obama for not taking a harder line against the "banksters." But was it Obama's fault that the Coakley campaign appeared to fall into some sort of somnambulant trance for about a month but decided to respond to "the fierce urgency of sometime after the first of the New Year" when it realized the extent to which it had fallen in the polls?

    Was it Obama's fault that the Coakley campaign didn't bother to run some kind of an ad with Ted Kennedy's widow endorsing her (I couldn't find one)? Was it Obama's fault that Coakley seemed to campaign like the deer in the proverbial headlights and show no fight whatsoever (and thus play into the slowly-building momentum for Brown...and let's not forget that the "racial divide" has basically fallen in our politics, but when it comes to the highest office, the "gender divide" hasn't...only trying to point out how hard it is for a woman in politics versus a man - not bitching about it, just stating a fact)?

    Was it Obama's fault that Coakley made that utterly brainless remark about Curt Schilling, who of course used it to hammer her (she could have called Schilling a grand-stander and an opportunist after giving him his due as a great pitcher, and she would've been right, but no, she had to hand the opposition a nice, big, juicy piece of red meat by comparing him to the Yankees)?

    Was it Obama’s fault that the Brown campaign ended up learning the lessons of social networking much better than the Coakley campaign did (substantially more “tweets” and lookups for Brown than Coakley)? Was it Obama’s fault that the Brown campaign was able to launch a “money bomb” when that apparently was something that the Coakley campaign realized it couldn’t pull off or didn’t even bother to try?

    Was it Obama’s fault that the Coakley campaign slid to the point where it actually looked like Brown was taking the high road by criticizing his opponent for what looked like a campaign rally on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday?

    Obama is President of the United States, not just Massachusetts, almost-Senator Coakley. If you don’t understand what’s going on in your own state, then you have no business in the U.S. Senate.

    The problem, of course, is that Brown doesn’t understand either (or he understands enough to parrot marketing-approved talking points and not much else), but he managed to win the election anyway.

    If nothing else, it will be an interesting three years.

    And by the way, I have a word for all of those independent voters out there who propelled Brown to victory.

    The Republicans were the ones who damn near wrecked this country, with Obama and the Dems trying to rebuild it from the shards left after the dark Bushco reign. And if you honestly think that Brown isn’t one of them, or that he actually has any interest in fixing the messes you pretend to care about, then you’re nothing but a bunch of goddamned idiots (and by the way, what kos sez here).

    Update 1 1/20/10: I think this is food for thought, particularly concerning my prior comment.

    Update 2 1/20/10: As surely as flatulence follows indigestion (here)...

    Once More, Say Bayh To Dem Credibility

    I don’t have a lot to say about this, but I just wanted to point out something.

    I don’t know what’s going to happen in Massachusetts today in the way-too-close Senate race between Martha Coakley and Scott Brown (and more related videos are here), though I’ve been reading that the turnout is good, which usually favors the Dems. However, a story in the New York Times yesterday about this contest included the following quote from Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana…

    I do think there’s a chance that Congressional elites mistook their mandate,” Mr. Bayh said. “I don’t think the American people last year voted for higher taxes, higher deficits and a more intrusive government. But there’s a perception that that is what they are getting.”
    “Congressional elites”? You serve in the U.S. Senate, dude. That’s about as “elite” as it gets!

    And in the matter of supposedly voting for higher taxes, this USA Today story from a little more than a year ago tells us the following…

    WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama's $825 billion plan to jump-start the economy and create or save up to 4 million jobs includes twice as much money for spending as for tax cuts, setting up an early battle with Republicans in Congress who favor a different approach.

    Much of the $275 billion in tax cuts would go to middle-income families in the form of $1,000 tax cuts ($500 for individuals). An array of business and other tax cuts would make up the remainder.
    If anything, our economy continues to stumble after being pulled back from the precipice because there was too much of a tax cut at the expense of measures that would stimulate job growth (more substantial infrastructure investment, “cram down” relief for homeowners who could have restructured the principal amounts of their mortgages, possibly a second stimulus, using leftover TARP funds for job creation, etc.), not because there wasn’t enough of a tax cut. And as far as Bayh’s ridiculous comment about “higher deficits and more intrusive government,” such pants-wetting parroting of “conventional wisdom” doesn’t deserve a response.

    It is a source of continual disgust to me that I have to share a political allegiance with life forms like Evan Bayh who, along with former Sen. Bob Kerrey, are apparently the Times’ most favorite Democrats when they are in need of a quote to validate their narrative (and another episode of “old gray lady” wankery involving Bayh is noted here).

    Update 1/23/10: Of course this is more Bayh wankery (h/t Atrios), but pay particular attention to the shockingly sensible comments of Rob Andrews at the very end here; between this and calling out that tool Gregg Jarrett over Jarrett's "tenther" BS, Andrews has done a good job of working his way back into our good graces, IMHO (John Adler should take copious notes).

    Update 1/31/10: More of the same from Bayh here...

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    Monday Stuff

    I posted some videos about the Coakley/Brown campaign here, about which Markos Moulitsas has a sobering assessment below...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ...which is all the more depressing when you realize what Brown truly is, as K.O. tells us here...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ..."Worst Persons" (Karen Hughes tells us that Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, didn't have anything to do with al Qaeda, which is odd because that's not what the indictment said; somebody named Dean Zerbe casts aspersions about the rapper Wyclef Jean's relief effort for Haiti, baselessly so as it turns out...why do I have a feeling that Mrs. Graham is doing somersaults in her grave over this and other WaPo nonsense; but Sean Inanity gets it for his cavalier use of the word "earthquake" concerning political stories - yep, I think Sean's head is full of something, though not cheese, but it is something you would definitely find on a farm)...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ...and I dedicate this one to Scott Brown.

    Remembering Dr. King

    Here are here are prior posts honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and here is a link from to an excerpt from his speech at the Barratt Junior High School in South Philadelphia on October 26, 1967.

    And here is the most memorable excerpt from his final speech.

    Sunday, January 17, 2010

    The LMT “Supes” Sing A Sad Aria Song

    (A local item coming up for folks in Bucks County, PA – also, I posted some “odds and ends” stuff over here.)

    The last thing in the world I want to do is actually agree with an editorial in the Bucks County Courier Times (their pointless, idiotic slur against Italian-Americans notwithstanding, which you'll read shortly), but they said the following last Tuesday (here)…

    Three Lower Makefield supervisors raised suspicion and stretched the law with secret out-of-town meetings.

    Here are three rules elected officials should abide by: 1. Don't hold secret meetings. 2. If you do hold secret meetings, don't hold them at out-of-town restaurants. (It looks suspicious.) 3. Most importantly, don't hold secret out-of-town meetings at restaurants named "Guido's." (It looks really suspicious.)

    Although it's a bit late, Lower Makefield Supervisors Pete Stainthorpe, Greg Caiola and Dan McLaughlin should stick the aforementioned rules on their refrigerators as a reminder that their secret meetings with Aria Health officials were a bad idea and should not be repeated - with anybody.
    The editorial is based on this story in which we learn that a member of the group RAFR (Residents Against Frankford Relocation) discovered that Stainthorpe, Caiola and McLaughlin met with officials of Aria Health (Stainthorpe and Caiola at “Guido’s” on November 17th – McLaughlin isn’t providing details so far), with Aria wanting to move the hospital currently located near Business Route 1 in Middletown (next to Oxford Valley Mall) to Lower Makefield, next to Shady Brook Farm.

    The story also tells us that Stainthorpe and Caiola remain opposed to the project, and the two note that they both “paid their checks,” which is nice information, though it hardly goes to the main point here, as noted in the Courier Times editorial (to me, meeting with Aria “on the sly” doesn’t pass the smell test - and in case anyone had any doubt, I personally oppose the relocation to LMT)…

    While there's logic to their argument (of Stainthorpe and Caiola in favor of the meeting), it is still a flawed argument. That's because perception is reality and no matter how you view it the meetings look bad.

    Not only should anything Aria has to say to the supervisors be aired in public, the manner in which the three supervisors met suggests a cynical effort to circumvent the law. Three supervisors make a quorum, a majority that legally can meet only after public notice - whether in executive session or openly. By dividing, the supervisors conquered the law
    It should be noted, though, that McLaughlin apparently met with Aria prior to his swearing-in as a Lower Makefield Township Supervisor. Would it have been too much to ask to wait for this to take place before he decided to “freelance” here?

    As far as I’m concerned, the only LMT supervisor who got this exactly right was Matt Maloney, who said the following (from the news story)…

    "I didn't know about this meeting involving Pete and Greg. I'm disappointed in that. It sounds like the meeting was completely innocuous. It doesn't sound like there was anything detrimental or hostile to the township in their conversations, but I think it's important going forward that whatever the board does in terms of real or perceived negotiations with Aria, that it does so in unanimity. I prefer going forward all five of us get on the same page and be aware of any meetings involving any of us ahead of time. I also think we have to be honest with the public as we go through this appeals process."
    And the fact that the three supervisors technically constituted a “quorum,” as the Courier Times notes, could have detrimental legal implications as this whole process with Aria unwinds.

    Also, while I’m on the subject of local area politics, allow me to go on record as supporting a tax increase to pay for more soccer fields (which, apparently, is going to be voted down, if it hasn’t been already). LMT Supervisor Ron Smith has alleged some kind of a “power play” by those supporting the increase. I don’t know anything about that. What I do know is that we’re friends with families whose sons and daughters play soccer, and they have to play most of their games out of the township because there isn’t enough space in Lower Makefield (if anyone thinks we’re not overcrowded around here, try navigating through the parking lots of Macclesfield Park on a fall afternoon with multiple sporting events taking place).