Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday Stuff

"Worst Persons" from yesterday (K.O. gives himself the bronze because he said Bill Orally and Newsmax were hyping a pyramid scheme, but after hearing from Newsmax's lawyers, he realizes he was wrong, even though what he criticized was still a scam; Chris Wallace wants someone from Fix Noise to have the front seat that Helen Thomas used to have at White House press briefings - and in so doing, inadvertently casts aspersions of bias against his own network...idiot - and by the way, there's no end to corporate media venality, is there?; but you'll never guess that Glenn Beck gets the top nod yet again for still more personal attacks on the Obama family - I wonder how loud the hue and cry would have been at Beck's nutwork if personal aspersions had been cast at not only Dubya, but his whole family as well on a nightly basis...Lord knows there was plenty for me to dislike about Number 43, but his policies were wretched enough without me having to criticize his personal behavior...not much anyway)...

...and I think it's time now for some indie fun (and local guys too - nice job).

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Stuff

To quote that bubblehead Dana Perino here, ", environmentally friendly offshore oil drilling..."...

...and maybe this isn't all that funny given what we've just seen, but I still thought it was kind of clever...

...and I suppose it's a benefit of the fact that MSNBC's videos are still messed up that it has forced me to check out Vimeo, which I probably should have been doing more up to now; I liked this one in particular...

...and I thought this was appropriate for ending the week.

Friday Mashup (6/11/10)

  • Like all of you I’m sure, I’m glad that 16-year-old Abby Sunderland was found safe and sound in the Indian Ocean (here); she was trying to circumnavigate the globe, beginning her trip in January, but ran into rough water and lost contact with her family on Thursday.

    However, this begs a question to yours truly; what the hell is a 16-year-old doing trying to circumnavigate the globe by herself (or himself)?

    I thought we were through all this stuff with Steve Fossett, the gazillionaire who thought he was some hot-shot adventurer even though he kept getting bailed out when his jaunts went badly, as they inevitably did, until one of his escapades eventually killed him.

    If someone of at least reasonable talent is going to get it into their heads to try something like this, can they at least provide for their own security in case something goes terribly wrong?

  • Also, in its “Thumbs Down” segment today, the Bucks County Courier Times harrumphed as follows (here)…

    To state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, for his lengthy rant about an investigative grand jury that, after indicting two dozen lawmakers and legislative insiders, filed a report about corruption in the Legislature that included recommendations on how to purge it.

    On a blog that went on for a thousand words or so, Leach belittled the grand jury's work and questioned the jurors' ability to accurately assess what legislators do, how and why they do it. He was sarcastic and insulting and essentially accused the grand jury of being a political tool for the state attorney general, who is running for governor.

    Here's a sample: "We should subject these self-appointed re-inventors of democracy to a little bit of scrutiny because, well + their suggestions are just so goofy."

    This is a guy who gets to write our laws. No wonder the grand jury and numerous others are calling for wholesale change.
    Here is the original Op-Ed Leach wrote on the subject, and here is his recent blog post. I read both (wonder if the Courier Times can say the same), and I have no problem with either one (and I must have missed the line about the grand jury as a "political tool" for Repug AG and gubernatorial nominee Tom Corbett).

  • Update 6/15/10: Dem PA House Rep Steve Santarsiero wrote a Guest Opinion today about the grand jury recommendations here.

  • In addition, I give you the following from John Gibson at Fix Noise (here)…

    Last week's jobs report tanked the stock market; the president took weeks to assert control of the oil spill that threatens doom on the Gulf Coast -- but at the White House the Gatsby-like parties roll on as if happy days were here again.

    Just yesterday, President Obama held another fun-filled White House event, a picnic for Congress members, complete with hot dogs, cold beverages and a fire pit.

    All told, during the last seven weeks of spewing oil and rampant unemployment, he has frolicked and danced through three major White House music parties:
    Gee, I didn’t hear Gibson or any of his ideological pals complaining when Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History hosted Mr. “Crazy Train” himself, Ozzy Osbourne, at the White House in May 2002 (here). That’s kind of an interesting choice of guests for Dubya, who of course has claimed to be Born Again (wonder if Ozzy performed “War Pigs”? It would have been apropos – maybe they traded tales of trying to overcome substance abuse).

    And gee, there was a military campaign going on at the time of the Osbourne visit, as I recall. Which one was it again?

    Oh yes, it was the Afghan War, which began in October 2001 and was short-changed for about eight years until the current White House occupant, rightly or wrongly, decided to send over more troops, making it now the longest war in our history with no end in sight (and why anyone would think propping up a narco-terrorist like Hamid Karzai is in our interest in any way, shape or form escapes me).

  • Finally, this story tells us the following…

    NEW ORLEANS – At the same time they are venting their fury on BP over the Gulf of Mexico spill and its calamitous environmental effects, Louisiana politicians are rushing to the defense of the oil-and-gas industry and pleading with Washington to bring back offshore drilling — now.

    As angry as they are over the disaster, state officials warn that the Obama administration's temporary ban on drilling in the Gulf has sent Louisiana's most lucrative industry into a death spiral.

    They contend that drilling is safe overall and that the moratorium is a knee-jerk reaction, akin to grounding every airplane in America because of a single crash. They worry, too, that the moratorium comes at a time when another major Louisiana industry — fishing — has been brought to a standstill by the mess in the Gulf.
    In response, this Media Matters post tells us the following…

    On Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Andrew Napolitano falsely claimed that the Obama administration imposed a moratorium on all oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, the administration's moratorium halted only new deepwater Gulf drilling; indeed, more than 5,000 Gulf oil wells reportedly can remain in operation.
    And if Florida is a bellwether for how the rest of this country sees this issue, then it looks like the “Drill, Baby, Drill” crowd might need a Plan B; as noted here…

    TALLAHASSEE — Floridians have reversed themselves on whether they favor offshore drilling for oil in the aftermath of a massive spill that threatens the state's beaches.

    Fifty-one percent of 1,133 registered voters surveyed by Quinnipiac (Conn.) University between June 1-7 say they now oppose drilling compared to 42 percent who still believe it's OK. That's a 48-point swing from an April 19 poll when 66 percent of the state's residents supported drilling. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points.

    Some tar balls have washed ashore in Florida's western Panhandle from BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in April that blew open the wellhead and allowed millions of gallons to spew into the Gulf of Mexico.
    And in case anyone has any doubt about the next act getting ready to play out in this nightmare, I give you the following from Brent Budowsky (here, with an assist from “Man Tan” Boehner, as noted here).
  • Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Thursday PM Stuff

    Jon Stewart gives us a summary of last Tuesday night's election results (note to MSNBC; your vids are still hosed - work on it)...

    The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
    Indecision 2010 - Primary Victory for Women
    Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

    ...and as a tribute to The Living Elvis for this, I give you the following (and "Brutal Youth" rocks, by the way - it is anything but a "children's album").

    Thursday Mashup Part Two (6/10/10)

    (Part One is here.)

  • This is a really wonky kind of topic, but I felt that I should weigh in on the subject of taxing so-called “carried interest” at an average annual rate of 35 percent (it is currently 15 percent, falling into a category exempt from the 35 percent rate for earnings, which carried interest basically is).

    As noted here, carried interest “is a share of the profits of a successful partnership that is paid to the manager of the partnership (a private equity fund or hedge fund) as a form of compensation that is designed as an incentive to the manager to maximize performance of the investment fund. A manager's carried interest allocation is in addition to any investment that the manager may have in the private equity fund or hedge fund.”

    This reminds me somewhat of the argument against a so-called Value Added Tax, or VAT, which is a variation on the theme that all taxes should be abolished and “the magic of the marketplace” should return this country to prosperity, and as any life form with a pulse knows by now, that economic theory has utterly failed.

    I felt compelled to say something based on this recent article at The Hill, which states as follows…

    This move is seen by many as a “soak-the-rich” tax on wealthy investment managers on Wall Street. But the fact is these investment partnerships are crucial engines of economic growth for Main Street.

    With an exploding national debt and burgeoning budget deficits, Congress is singularly focused on raising revenue. But in their rush to plug the hole in America’s budget, policymakers cannot lose sight of a simple fact: It would be disastrous long-term fiscal policy to create permanent roadblocks to economic growth, especially for the nation’s minority communities and entrepreneurs, as a short-term fix for today’s exuberant spending.
    This preposterous argument reminds me of what I recently read in yet another scathing Matt Taibbi article in Rolling Stone on the recent financial reform maneuvers in the Senate (here), in which opponents of reform claimed the new regs “would make it tougher for a butcher to buy meat” (though the charge is of course wrong, I thought the symbolism was strangely appropriate).

    Meanwhile, Robert Reich tells us the following here (from the reality-based community)…

    It’s not as if these investment fund managers are worth a $20 billion subsidy. Nonetheless they argue that if they have to pay at the normal rate they’ll be discouraged from investing in innovative companies and startups. But if such investments are worthwhile they shouldn’t need to be subsidized.

    That's right--the cost of this subsidy is $20 billion in tax revenues. And these investment fund managers argue that if they have to pay ordinary taxes on their compensation like ordinary people have to pay, then they just might not invest in innovative companies and startups nearly so much as they otherwise would. That surely is a weak argument, as Reich notes, since worthwhile investments will call out for someone to make money off them, even if they do have to pay taxes at a slightly higher rate on the profits they make. So there will be decent investments and managers shouldn't be "discouraged" just because they have to pay more taxes. Will managers have slightly less money to invest? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on what they were doing with those excess millions anyway. They could probably invest the same and just waste less of it on charter flights, limos, and million dollar birthday parties (remember Ken Lay and Enron?). A lot of money invested in startups just goes down the drain. So taxes takes a bite, losing investments take a bite. It's not that different and nobody is claiming that venture capitalists won't invest if one of their investments comes up a loser. These arguments are, ikn other words, very weak when they suggest that investment in innovative companies will tank if the people who make millions (or billions) from servicing those partnerships have to pay taxes like the trucker and the teacher and the policeman and the fireman.
    I can’t think of a word to describe the hypocrisy of so-called “deficit hawks” who will do the proverbial handstands trying to cut supposed “pork” from congressional budgets, but won’t lift a finger to close this loophole and thus add about $20 billion back into our coffers to provide more much-needed economic stimulus and lead us down that long road from red to black ink on this country’s ledger sheet.

  • Also, Matt Bai is back for more pundit wankery (here, on the subject of the recent Tuesday primary elections, in which, among other developments, teabagger – baggette? – Sharron Angle won the Repug nomination to face Harry Reid in Nevada, and Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina purchased primary victories in California in the governor and U.S. Senate contests, respectively)…

    This kind of thing stands in sharp contrast to the most recent historical analog, the 2006 elections. That was when Democrats, under the leadership of Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York and Rahm Emanuel, then an Illinois congressman, recaptured the House and the Senate.

    They subordinated ideology to electoral appeal as they recruited candidates who matched up with the politics of their states or districts, promoting former soldiers and law enforcement officers, for instance, who they thought would qualify as broadly acceptable alternatives to Republican incumbents. In the vast majority of cases, Mr. Schumer and Mr. Emanuel, through some behind-the-scenes combination of cajoling and bullying, managed to head off divisive primaries, despite carping from the party’s more liberal base.
    The preceding paragraph proves to me that, among other topics, Bai knows absolutely nothing about what led to Patrick Murphy’s eventual victory in the general election for the PA-08 U.S. House seat in 2006. As opposed to “heading off a divisive primary,” Patrick defeated two other alleged Democrats, Tom Lingenfelter and Andy Warren, in a primary contest (to me, one of the more hilarious moments was when Warren, trying to pander to every possible Democratic constituency, claimed that he supported an impeachment “hearing” for Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History…the problem is that an impeachment proceeding is an actual trial).

    And while Murphy benefited from the fact that the '06 occupant of An Oval Office was so thoroughly despised then as now, along with his war of choice in Iraq – and yes, I’ll admit that that was a substantial unifying force until 1/20/09 – to say that Murphy “subordinated ideology to electoral appeal” does a disservice to both his candidacy and his job performance. There was a reason why he received such thorough support from social networking types, labor unions, and other core party constituencies, and it wasn’t exclusively because of the war. And all of it was needed to offset most, but not all, of Mikey Fitzpatrick’s support in Bucks County, with Murphy clobbering the Repug incumbent in the Philadelphia and Montgomery County portions of the district to achieve the margin of victory.

    And by the way, to help Murphy in what I’m sure will be a wingnuttia-filled challenge from the teabaggers and other miscreants, click here.

  • Update 6/19/10: And by the way, kudos to Patrick here for his call to hire more people at the SEC to investigate corporate, securities and mortgage fraud (as well as Steve Santarsiero's web site for ideas to reduce state spending).

  • Finally, I know I’m a little bit late in commenting on the loss of Bill Halter to Blanche Lincoln in the Arkansas Dem primary last Tuesday, but I had to say something in response to this…

    WASHINGTON – Unapologetic union officials on Wednesday defended their decision to spend an estimated $10 million on a high-stakes gambit that failed when Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln narrowly defeated labor's hand-picked candidate in a primary runoff.

    It was the latest in a perennial effort by frustrated unions to convince moderate Democrats there are consequences for failing to stand with labor. But it raises questions about whether that money could have been better spent helping dozens of vulnerable Democrats in other states.

    "To use $10 million during a recession on beating up their own rather than trying to save the endangered makes no earthly sense," said Doug Schoen, a Democratic political consultant.
    Spoken like a true corpocrat Dem who represents no one but himself.

    As noted here, Hillary Clinton ended up owing $3 mil to Schoen’s PR firm (along with the equally odious Mark Penn); in the post, Schoen actually gives advice to McCain to bring on Holy Joe as his running mate, which tells you all you need to know about Schoen’s true allegiance.

    Oh, and Schoen said the Dems should stop “harping” on withdrawing from Iraq and “refocus the debate to other international and domestic issues,” and that was supposedly the winning electoral formula for 2008 (here, and here is an epic takedown of Schoen by Markos Moulitsas).

    Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t take note of some personal disgust over the conduct of Democrats that I often admire, particularly in the Lincoln/Halter race. And yes, I’m talking about Bill Clinton.

    Is it possible that the legendary political instincts of “The Big Dog” have failed him? Doesn’t he realize that Halter was the Dem who had managed to energize the true base of the party?

    Read this well, all who would hold their nose and vote for Blanche. She may have won the battle, but because of that fundamental disconnect between the Democratic “wise men” and the campaign foot soldiers (which remains from the bad Dubya days, and possibly always will), this seat will go red in November.
  • Thursday AM Stuff

    K.O. talks with Marine biologist Rick Steiner about the latest Gulf misery and BP's surreal mishandling of same (MSNBC is messing around with their video embedding again, so I can't grab the code directly from their site for now - God, I wish they would stop doing that)...

    ...and yes, I'm bummed that the Flyers lost last night, but congratulations to the team for a great, history-making playoff run (and yes, congratulations to Chicago also for their first Cup win in 49 years - I think this song is appropriate since the orange-and-black have now made hockey matter in this city again).

    Tuesday, June 08, 2010

    Tuesday Stuff

    "Worst Persons" (Rand Paul proves to be as clueless on the BP disaster as he is on the Civil Rights Act; Matt Kibbe of Dick Armey's Astroturf outfit "Freedom Works" blames that dern "gumint" for the BP mess, which he calls a "natural" disaster, about as "natural" to me as Lindsay Lohan getting busted for coke for the fifty gazillionth time; but Rupert The Pirate gets top honors for whooping his not-so-great unwashed followers into a frenzy over some alleged "Muslims" at the WTC site, who turn out to be Christians instead - in the immortal words of Max Bialystock in "The Producers," "just say 'oops' and get out!")...

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

    ...and this one is for you, Rupert (aaarrrgghhh).

    Tuesday Mashup (6/8/10)

    (I also posted here - also not sure about posting for tomorrow...)

  • So Smerky wants Snarlin’ Arlen to investigate the Israel/Turkey/Palestinian flotilla business (here)? Too funny…

    And in other news, Dick Cheney was named to head the commission investigating the BP disaster in the Gulf, Glenn Beck will be hosting a symposium on media ethics, and Amy Winehouse is now selling a home video advocating the joys of sobriety.

    I’m sure those hearings will get revved up any day now.

  • Also, I haven’t had much to say about former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm lately, but it seems that he has had a thing or two to say about President Obama (nothing at all good, of course, here)…

    It was a big deal for the excited about-to-be graduates of Kalamazoo's Central High School. They had won a White House competition against 1,000 other schools, not for payoff jobs in the Obama administration.

    To the graduates, Obama delivered the usual commencement ceremony fare about the future, setting goals, thinking long-term and not allowing setbacks to deter their determination:

    The truth is, no matter how hard you work, you won’t necessarily ace every class or succeed in every job. There will be times when you screw up, when you hurt the people you love, when you stray from your most deeply held values.

    So far, so good. Then, the next line about pointing fingers after setbacks:

    It's the easiest thing in the world to start looking around for someone to blame.

    Speaking of blame, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll out Monday finds the American public blaming the Gulf oil spill on BP, of course. But 69% are now giving a negative rating to the Obama administration's federal response.
    The “stupid” of what Malcolm is implying here is so thick you can cut it with a knife. Could the Obama Administration (in particular, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar) have been a bit more proactive? Yes. But was the ticking time bomb known as the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, along with its shoddy, Halliburton-constructed concrete casing erected while Number 44 was in office? Uh, no.

    And in the department of “making excuses,” I give you this, in which Obama’s predecessor has said repeatedly that he needed to water board KSM until his brains were mush in order to supposedly obtain actionable intelligence on the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl, even though Commander Codpiece approved “enhanced interrogation” about a year before Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's capture, and there's never been any evidence corroborating Mohammed's involvement in Pearl's murder -- other than Mohammed's confession, which came after, not before, he was tortured.

    Oh, and this tells us that Dubya and his former OMB head Jim Nussle actually blamed President Clinton for the horrendous budget deficit 43 left for the current White House occupant.

    So, when it comes to making excuses, I would say that Obama has absolutely nothing on the husband of Malcolm’s former employer.

    Also, did you notice the fact that the pic of Obama pointing is rather huge in Malcolm’s post?

    Gee, I cannot imagine why.

  • In addition, I give you that renown economic guru Rich Lowry (snark – here)…

    Late in the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt's treasury secretary, Henry Morgenthau, told Congress, "We are spending more than we have ever spent before, and it does not work." Democrats have made Morgenthau's plaint their governing ethic. In so doing, they are demonstrating their political and intellectual bankruptcy even faster than they are bankrupting the country.
    Yes, the latest jobs report was pretty anemic (most of those recorded were temp jobs for the census, but again, it’s not Obama’s fault if the banks aren’t lending), but it’s a funny thing; as noted here, Morgenthau spoke those words in May 1939, which, to me, is a testimony to how out of touch he was more than anything else.

    See, as David Sirota recounts here, Paul Krugman pointed out (to the beyond-clueless George Will) that FDR started to listen to the conservatives and rein in spending at around 1937-1938…

    By 1937 things were a lot better than they were in 1933. Then [FDR] was persuaded to balance the budget or try to and he raised taxes and cut spending and the economy went back down again and then it took an enormous public works program known as World War II to bring the economy out of the depression.
    So, short of more war (which no sane person wants), it is going to take public spending in the absence of private lending to resuscitate our barely-breathing (as it were) economy. That is, of course, unless the “banksters” start churning out loans to any entrepreneur with a pulse faster than you can say Lloyd Blankfein. And that ain’t happenin’.

    (And as long as I’m on the subject of Lowry, I simply must replay this legendary moment – the third item.)

  • Finally, I give you the following (here)…

    I attended Congressman Murphy's "A Congressman in your Corner" event on May 22. I want to comment on columnist J.D. Mullane's comments about the meeting on May 25.

    At 9:20 a.m., Murphy announced to the gathering that the meeting was "not a political event." He explained that he was there to meet with us individually.

    Everyone was calm and patient waiting their turn to meet with Murphy. He had promised to listen and perhaps help as best that he could. Slowly people started to converge in the auditorium with negative, insulting signs, crowding the front area of the meeting room. Mike Fitzpatrick was among them.

    It did seem to me that Congressman Murphy was stunned by the gang's behavior while the cameras came out all over the room. The crowd shouted, yelled, stomped their feet, clapped their hands, held up nasty signs linking Murphy with Nancy Pelosi - all of this in unison.

    Fitzpatrick was in the crowd, but sat quietly.

    Their actions reminded me of Nazi-era brown shirts. Fitzpatrick appeared to try to calm them as though he was now in charge of the event. A large number of hands (including mine) went up when we were asked if we were there on personal business.

    As a result of the positive response, Murphy proceeded to meet individually until he talked with everyone in a quiet, patient manner. He promised to stay as long as he was needed. This followed what appeared to me that the protesters were on the verge of getting out of control.

    I met personally with Congressman Murphy. We discussed my needs. He listened and took notes. He was calm and he gave me time to explain my needs. It had nothing to do with health care. He promised to check it out and get back to me.

    He was friendly and treated me as I would expect from a "servant of the people."
    The scene earlier was ugly and unbecoming of a former congressman hoping to be elected again.

    Fitzpatrick tried, but did not succeed to foil Congressman Murphy from his stated purpose for the meeting.

    Sam Rubin
    Levittown, PA
    And (from here)…

    As a veteran, I was extremely offended to see Mike Fitzpatrick campaigning at the Falls Township Memorial Day parade. The point of the event is to honor our fallen heroes, and shouldn't be used as an opportunity to advance a political career.

    I was glad to see that Congressman Murphy, who is running for re-election this year, had the decency not to campaign. Being a veteran himself, he understands the need to honor the brave men and women who fight for our country.

    Like me, he attended the parade to honor the sacrifices of our veterans and troops. Unlike Mr. Fitzpatrick, he didn't shamelessly give out campaign stickers or post campaign signs.

    Frank Schultz
    Falls, PA
    And once more, to reward our congressman's good behavior, click here.
  • Monday, June 07, 2010

    Monday Stuff

    But OF COURSE the Gulf “spill” (and I still think calling it merely a “spill” at this point is waay too benign) is the fault of THE MEDIA, and not BP, or the Bushco MMS, or Halliburton, or even Obama, according to Fix Noise (here)…

    Update 6/9/10: And by the way, when it comes to Bushco's MMS, I give you three words based on this - Nail. Hammer. Head.

    …and tomorrow is the day to give Blanche the boot, people (more here)…

    …”Worst Persons” (A typical gaggle of Fix Noise yakking heads tries to ridicule Obama for supposedly blowing off “D-Day” commemoration ceremonies, even though he observed them on the 65th anniversary last year; Glenn Beck gets the “silver” for praising a book outing Communists – regressing further and further, I see...I’m sure he’ll be channeling Westbrook Pegler any day now – written by a Hitler-supporting anti-Semite; but State Sen. Jake Knotts of SC gets it for “digging that hole” some more on the whole Obama/Nikki Haley “raghead” thing…don’t know what was up with that weird bit of film between Knotts and Beck)…

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

    ...and happy 70th birthday to this guy (yep, when it comes to Repug wingnuttia, "It's Not Unusual" all right).

    Monday Mashup Part Two (6/7/10)

    (Part One is here.)

  • Mark Leibovich of the New York Times is too good a writer to concoct crap like this (here)…

    Family members say (Repug Congressman Ron Paul of Texas) has been shaken by the recent storm his son (Rand) has faced over remarks in which he seemed to take issue, on libertarian grounds, with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    At the outset of an interview on Capitol Hill, Mr. Paul placed the controversy — “the agitation,” he called it — off limits. But then he immediately referred to a recent column supportive of his son in the Congressional newspaper, The Hill, and volunteered that he had just telephoned the column’s author, Lanny Davis, a Clinton White House aide, to thank him.

    Mr. Davis said, “I heard a father’s concern more than I did any political concern,” and described the conversation as emotional.

    Mr. Paul conceded that it is easier to be the candidate under attack than to be a family member of one. “No matter how well you arm yourself, no matter how well you know the system,” he said in the interview, “it really hurts when it’s your son.”
    In absolutely no way, shape or form does Leibovich capture the true ugliness of what Rand Paul said, some of which is on display here…

    (Rachel) Maddow:... How about desegregating lunch counters?

    (Rand) Paul: Well what it gets into then is if you decide that restaurants are publicly owned and not privately owned, then do you say that you should have the right to bring your gun into a restaurant even though the owner of the restaurant says 'well no, we don't want to have guns in here' the bar says 'we don't want to have guns in here because people might drink and start fighting and shoot each-other.' Does the owner of the restaurant own his restaurant? Or does the government own his restaurant? These are important philosophical debates but not a very practical discussion...

    Maddow: Well, it was pretty practical to the people who had the life nearly beaten out of them trying to desegregate Walgreen's lunch counters despite these esoteric debates about what it means about ownership. This is not a hypothetical Dr. Paul.
    Here’s another example…we had the brouhaha last year over the Valley Swim Club denying the largely minority kids from Creative Steps from swimming in their pools and enjoying themselves, even though they were invited. To Rand Paul’s way of thinking, then, was the swim club acting in accordance with Paul’s precious libertarian principles by rescinding the invitation, since the matter would have been, in Paul’s words, “(an) important philosophical (debate) but not a very practical discussion”? And the fact that someone is seeking solace from a contemptible worm like Lanny Davis, whose notion of morality is easily adaptable for the sake of the highest bidder, tells you how shaky the ground is upon which Rand Paul resides.

    (Also, as noted here, Paul The Younger is not suffering from a shortage of egomania…and by the way, the sorry little episode he initiated has caused him to lose 17 polling percentage points in the last two weeks, as noted here.)

    And by the way, since Leibovich and the Times have seen fit to write this utter puff piece flattering the Paul family every way possible, making it sound as if they’ve stepped right out of a black-and-white ‘50s TV sitcom, I will await a similar treatment on behalf of Rand Paul’s opponent Jack Conway. And I’m sure I’ll keep waiting.

  • Update: And by the way (again)...

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

    Update 6/8/10: WAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!

    Update 6/13/10: Add this to the pile, as it were, on Paul, as they say.

  • Sticking with the Times, I give you the following (here)…

    The archivist (from the National Archives) has promised that the full trove of 160,000 pages will be made public by June 28, when the Judiciary Committee is scheduled to start confirmation hearings (on Obama Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan).

    However, 263 pages will be withheld from the public because of “statutory restrictions,” a White House official said. Though Mr. Clinton could have barred their release under executive privilege, he has permitted senators to review them on a confidential basis, the official said.

    Republicans were not pleased. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, issued a statement saying he now had “new concerns that even when the documents are produced, they will not be produced completely and transparently.”
    That is hilarious when you consider the following from here…

    During (Chief Justice John) Roberts' confirmation, disagreement erupted among Senate members, commentators, and government attorneys about whether Roberts' writings as a government attorney, specifically as Principal Deputy Solicitor General, should be released to assist the Senate in fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities of advice and consent.12 Ultimately, the White House refused to release many of the documents, claiming they were protected by the attorney-client privilege.13 In contrast, Alito's writings as a government attorney in the Department of Justice, in which he explored important constitutional issues,14 were released to the public,15 as the White House did not seek to invoke the attorney-client privilege.
    And Kagan is currently the Solicitor General, which supersedes the rank Roberts held when Number 43 decided to withhold his paper trail (and gee, wouldn’t that have given us just a bit more insight into how Roberts, given the chance, would rule on behalf of his corporate “betters” at every opportunity?)

  • Also, from the “circular firing squad” department, I give you the following from Pancake Joe Pitts and Jim (“Since I Lost When Running For Lieutenant Governor, I Might As Well Try To Stay In Congress”) Gerlach here…

    …the VAT is a drag on job growth. The last thing we want to do right now is reduce the buying power of a dollar through new taxes. But with a VAT, consumers would pay more at the cash register, businesses would pay more for accounting and the government would pay more to police tax payments.
    In response, I give you the following (here)…

    The co-chairman of Obama's fiscal commission, former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), took issue last week with GOP attacks against the VAT as the panel met for the first time.

    After hearing the criticisms, Simpson said, "You'd think you're coming in and slapping it on top of the income tax.

    "If you do a VAT tax, you've got to do some adjustments to the income tax," he said.

    The exchanges over the VAT between Republicans in Congress and Simpson have already become heated.

    Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.), who has called for ending federal income taxes and using a national sales tax, suggested that the VAT would end up being a "money machine" that would lead directly to more government. When told about Simpson's concern that critics were distorting his panel's work, Linder attacked the former Republican senator for his support for gay and lesbian rights.

    "How does he sort that out from his conversation about gay marriage?" Linder told The Hill, referring to Simpson's opposition to a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

    "Milton Friedman summed it up," he added. "The value-added tax is the most efficient way to raise revenues and government. It's the most effective way to increase the size of government."

    Simpson fired back.

    "What the hell is he talking about?" Simpson said. "That is bulls--t."
    And by the way, the proposal for a value-added tax came from Obama senior adviser Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve.

    Under Ronald Reagan.

    And do you want to know who else supports the idea of a VAT?

    This guy, that’s who!

    Memo to Pitts and Gerlach: it’s pretty sad when you find yourself at odds with Mr. “You Lie!” himself, who, shockingly, is progressive on a matter of tax policy, as opposed to you two knuckleheads.

  • And finally, I give you the following from today’s Bucks County Courier Times (here)…

    On May 22, I went to visit my congressman in Middletown to discuss an issue involving my mortgage. I got there early, signed in and was quietly waiting my turn when an unruly crowd led by Republican congressional candidate Mike Fitzpatrick suddenly came in brandishing cameras and shouting like a bunch of drunken frat boys that they wanted to see Patrick Murphy.

    Murphy emerged from a meeting he was having with a constituent and tried his best to calm the mob. The congressman repeatedly stated that this was official congressional business and a chance for constituents to meet one-on-one with him to discuss pressing matters. Anyone who wished to speak with him could sign in like everyone else, and he promised to stay however long it took to meet with every single one of us.

    In no way was it meant to be a political event, but Fitzpatrick and his gang showed their lack of respect for both the congressman and the constituents there to meet with him by putting on a show for his own benefit and wasting everyone else's time.

    Some in the crowd went even further when they began hassling constituents who were leaving their meeting with Murphy. An elderly gentleman, who said he was a WWII veteran and was there to shake the congressman's hand, was harassed by two individuals who were shouting at him that he wanted to take their money and give it to other people. It was a disgusting scene and an embarrassing one for anyone involved in that mob.

    It is noteworthy to mention that most of those who came in shouting and demanding to meet with Murphy left after Fitzpatrick did, further illustrating the fact that they had no intention of ever talking with the congressman. It's clear that Fitzpatrick and his gang were there to merely cause a disturbance in an effort to get a "gotcha" moment and put it on YouTube. Well, they did put it on YouTube, and I encourage anyone with an Internet connection to go online and check out firsthand the ridiculous behavior of these individuals.

    Because of the disruption, we were forced to wait even longer into the afternoon, but I am proud that Congressman Murphy stood his ground and continued to meet one-on-one with every constituent who stayed.

    I'm a registered independent, and until last week, I was unsure whom I would support in November. Well, I'm sure now. I'm voting for the guy who takes the time to meet with his constituents and help them. The other guy can go back to making videos for YouTube.

    Ernest Schulz
    Croydon, PA
    Nice to see that informed voters in PA-08 are calling out Mikey Fitzpatrick for the wingnut that he truly is (and once more, to reward his opponent’s good behavior, click here).