Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday Stuff

Another terrific corporate media takedown by Jon Stewart here, this time over the McChrystal story (and I failed to comment on this related item from BoBo earlier)...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
McChrystal's Balls - Honorable Discharge
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

...and I dedicate this little number to news mannequin Gretchen Carlson of Fix Noise, whose idiocy has been captured for all time by Stewart in the above video.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Stuff

Something really unbelievable happened today in “left blogostan,” and John Cole of Balloon Juice tells us about it here (h/t Atrios)…

Dave Weigel just resigned. He provided fair and accurate coverage for the Washington Post, but because he said something obnoxious on a private email list after Drudge sent hundreds of screaming wingnuts after him and the DC Examiner printed the name and workplace of his girlfriend, he was forced out. Not because of any of his professional work, but because of a couple intemperate remarks on an allegedly private listserv.

Bill Kristol, Jackson Diehl, Marc Thiessen, whose far more offensive comments are printed on the opinion page every week, still have jobs.

I hope they find out who leaked the emails and his/her career is equally damaged. This is a disgrace.
Actually, as far as I’m concerned, Weigel has grounds to sue, though I have a feeling he’ll be snapped up quickly by some legitimate news organization in the meantime…hope so anyway (and as Keith Olbermann told us tonight on “Countdown,” Tucker Carlson was involved – by the way, Huffington Post called, Tucker; it took a look at “The Daily Caller” and wants its front page back).

And yet again, I would upload the “Countdown” video if MSNBC’s vids weren’t hosed; I’ve contacted them on this and am awaiting a response at the moment.

With Weigel in mind, I thought I’d put up this interview K.O. conducted with him during better times (and I just found this)…

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

…and I don’t know about you, but I’m more than a little fed up with a certain moose-hunting former Alaska governor who quit halfway through her term making remarks about “real Americans.”

I don’t expect a single-brain-celled organism like Sarah Palin to have understanding enough to realize how hurtful the actions of her political party are to those who are out of work, but assuming anyone else in her party has a functioning synapse or two between their ears, then they should know (I gave up long ago on expecting anyone in the Republican Party to have a conscience...oh, and here is another example from Huckleberry Graham).

So this song goes out to Sarah Palin’s “real Americans” who are getting kicked in the teeth on a daily basis by the Repugs (when those fine folks aren’t getting used as campaign props by Palin and her pals, that is – here, here, and here are related posts).

Update 6/26/10: I thought this was a good post on this subject also ("fun-employment," huh? From Frank Luntz's lips to that idiot's ears, I guess).

Friday Mashup Part Two (6/25/10) - (updates)

(Part One is here.)

  • I give you the following from last Sunday’s Area Votes in Congress writeup in the Philadelphia Inquirer (here - the Senate votes were "party line" stuff, in the right way, I mean)…


    Small-business credit. Voting 241-182, the House authorized the Treasury to lend up to $30 billion to community and regional banks to leverage up to $300 billion in new credit for small businesses. As collateral, the Treasury would receive dividend-paying preferred stock redeemable within 10 years. Financial institutions with assets under $10 billion would be eligible for the program. The deficit-neutral bill (HR 5297) is now before the Senate.

    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.), Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), and Joe Sestak (D., Pa.).

    Voting no: 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.).
    At least Mike Castle managed to do the right thing here – please spare me the pabulum about how the Repug Party supposedly gives a damn about small business after votes like this.

    Small-business investment. Voting 247-170, the House passed a deficit-neutral bill (HR 5486) that uses incentives such as nontaxation of capital gains and the waiver of certain Internal Revenue Service penalties to stimulate small-business growth. In part, the bill eliminates capital-gains taxes on the sale of certain small-business stock bought between March 15, 2010, and Jan. 1, 2012, increases deductions for start-up expenditures, and eases rules for deducting losses from investments in enterprises such as farming and energy exploration. The bill is now before the Senate.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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

    Voting no: Gerlach, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith.
    So Charlie Dent joins Castle among the "Repug enlightened," with Gerlach, Pitts and Smith particularly clueless (and I thought LoBiondo was smarter than this – more fool me, I guess).

    Health-care mandate. Voting 187-230, the House defeated a GOP bid to use HR 5486 (above) as a vehicle for repealing the new health law's requirement that individuals who can afford it obtain medical insurance either at work or in a state-run exchange. The purpose of the individual mandate is to hold down everybody's health costs by establishing the largest possible pool of insured people. Critics say the mandate is oppressive because those without coverage will face financial penalties. Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.) said that eliminating the requirement would increase middle-class premiums because "when a person goes to the emergency room and doesn't have health insurance, they get health care. The question is who pays the bill."

    A yes vote was to repeal the individual mandate.

    Voting yes: Castle, Dent, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith.

    Voting no: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.
    Tim Holden continues to be utterly awful; if he manages to go down this fall (to say nothing of other “corpocrat” Dems, it will be over votes exactly like this…an Inquirer commenter objected to the analysis from Rob Andrews on this, even though Andrews is exactly right as to why the individual mandate is important...and let's not forget, to do something about Pancake Joe, click here).

  • And remaining with U.S. Congressional matters, this article appeared recently in the Bucks County Courier Times…

    On a hot Tuesday in a campaign that's set to sizzle, (Dem U.S. House Rep Patrick) Murphy had veterans with him at the Bristol Wharf as he ripped (Repug challenger Mike) Fitzpatrick for voting against a bill in 2005 that would have protected veterans from bankruptcy. Murphy said Fitzpatrick took the side of credit card companies and big banks "against basic protection for veterans."

    The legislation, Murphy said, would have exempted veterans from bankruptcy means tests while they are deployed and for two years following active duty, allowing them to transition back to civilian life.

    Fitzpatrick tells a different story. He said he voted for a bill "to protect low-income and disabled veterans. That was important to me. It was achieved."
    Here is a post with more details on the bill Fitzpatrick voted against, by the way, including the roll-call vote from April 2006. And since Fitzpatrick doesn’t provide more details on this bill be supposedly voted for to “to protect low-income and disabled veterans,” I’m not going to do his homework for him.

    Instead, I’ll just link to this prior post which tells us the following about what our vets have endured over the last eight years or so in particular…

    Injuries are not always physical, though. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that one in three troops returning from Iraq will seek counseling within a year, though most believe the number may actually be higher.

    Already, those with serious mental-health needs are being turned away because of underfunding. The result will prove to be the same as it was with the Vietnam veterans - many will be unable to cope with the transition back to civilian life and become drug addicts, alcoholics, homeless, or worse - suicidal.

    IN THE PAST few years, there have been plenty of votes in Congress that might not completely solve the problem, but would go a long way toward giving veterans the care they need and deserve.

    Both (former) Reps. Fitzpatrick and ("Crazy Curt") Weldon repeatedly voted no on helping these 21st-century patriots. They voted no on a bill to extend the military health care program to members of the National Guard and reserves, on an amendment that would have increased funding for VA services by $2.6 billion, and another that would have increased funding by $3.1 billion.
    The prior post also tells us that, under Mikey’s congressional “oversight,” our vets seeking help from the VA needed duct tape to hold their prosthetic limbs together.

    And as noted here, Fitzpatrick opposed expanding access to the military’s TRICARE health insurance program to thousands of Reservist and National Guard members, even though 20 percent of all reservists did not have health insurance, and 40 percent of reservists aged 19 to 35 lacked health coverage (HR 1815, Vote #221, 5/25/2005).

    With all of this in mind, please click here to support Patrick Murphy and send Mikey back to private life, hopefully once and for all.

  • Update: Kudos to Murphy for this also.

    Update 6/28/10: Patrick's amendment in response to Citizens United passed here - well done.

  • Finally, it looks like trouble for the Congressional Dems this fall, if Byron York has a clue about things here (always problematic in his case)…

    The latest evidence is a new survey from pollsters Peter Hart and Bill McInturff for the Wall Street Journal and NBC. The number of people who say the country is headed in the wrong direction is 62 percent -- the highest it has been since the final days of George W. Bush. The troubled economy, of course, is the most important issue, and 66 percent say they expect the economy to stay the same or get worse in the next year.

    "There is a sense across the board that things aren't working," says Republican pollster David Winston.

    Obama's approval rating is at 45 percent, versus 48 percent disapproval -- the first time the president has ever been underwater in the Journal poll.
    Could Obama’s numbers be better? Sure. However, his predecessor would have killed for a 45 percent approval rating in his final days, just to remind everyone (and what does anyone expect a Republican pollster to say, by the way?).

    With this in mind, I thought this article in the New York Times today was interesting, particularly the following…

    ...digging deeper, beyond the national numbers, reveals at least a few glimmers of hope for Democrats — still fairly distant and faint, but bright enough to get campaign strategists scanning the horizon and weighing the odds.

    That is because different parts of the country are recovering at different rates — and, in a bit of electoral good luck for the Democrats, some of the areas that are beginning to edge upward more quickly, like parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, happen to be in important battlegrounds for the House and the Senate.

    “A lot of the trend lines are turning positive in many of these contested areas,” said Mark Zandi, a chief economist for Moody’s Analytics. “It really boils down to: Is there enough time for the trend lines to trump the still pretty difficult conditions in the minds of the voters?”

    The Times has identified 114 House seats and 17 Senate seats that are expected to be the most competitive in November. The largest numbers of closely contested elections are expected to be in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio, where The Times projects a combined 26 competitive House races.

    All three states, coincidentally, are considered to be on the leading edge of the nation’s recovery. Since December, they have added jobs at a faster rate than the country as a whole and even led the country in the total number of jobs added in April. One reason is that manufacturing, a traditional backbone, has been on the rebound; another is that these states generally did not suffer as acutely as other regions from the housing boom and bust.

    While much attention has been paid to the nation’s stubbornly high unemployment rate, political scientists have found little correlation between that measure and midterm elections results. Instead, they have found more broad-based indicators, particularly real personal disposable per capita income, which measures the amount of money a household has after taxes and inflation, to be better gauges.
    As the party in power during a congressional midterm election, it is practically inevitable that the Dems are going to take a hit.

    However, if the Party of No thinks that they will recapture power on Capitol Hill with stunts like this (part of this), they are utterly dreaming.
  • Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Thursday Mashup (6/24/10)

  • I really don’t have much to say about the incredibly idiotic graphic above, except to point out that Mark Halperin manages to distill everything I hate about our corporate media in it all at once (here trivializing a vitally important matter that affects the well-being of our service people, lending a cartoonish tone to a very important issue of military and civilian executive command, implying that Halperin is somehow an “influencer,” to use Beltway parlance, making famous newsmakers do his bidding, etc.).

    As Atrios says, our discourse is ruled by fools.

  • On matters close to home, two recent legal decisions made the news recently. The first is noted here…

    A residents group can continue its legal fight against a proposed Aria Health hospital at Route 332 and Stony Hill Road in Lower Makefield, a Bucks County Court judge has ruled.

    Judge Clyde Waite recently issued an order denying the motion by Aria Health, formerly Frankford Hospital, to quash an appeal filed by Residents Against Frankford's Relocation to the granting of a special exception by the township zoning hearing board for the hospital.

    Waite's ruling is a preliminary one that keeps RAFR a player but doesn't decide the main issue of whether the hospital can be built, officials said.
    The last I checked, the majority of the Lower Makefield supervisors opposed the relocation of Frankford from Middletown Township (near Sesame Place and the Oxford Valley Mall) to the location across from Stony Brook Farm), though Frankford (oh, excuse me…Aria Health) has thus far managed to sway a majority of the members of the LMT zoning board (a lot more info can be found on this here).

    This is going to come down to citizen involvement, people. That’s the only way we’re going to be able to prevent what would be a horrendous move (and as others have noted, St. Mary’s is not much further than the site of the proposed Aria relocation, and a population that can access the current site near the mall via public transportation would no longer be able to do so).

    The second decision is noted here…

    The Boy Scouts can stay.

    After deliberating for about seven hours, a federal jury found yesterday that the city violated the local Boy Scouts' First Amendment rights by demanding that they repudiate the national organization's ban on gay membership or face eviction from their Center City headquarters.

    The local chapter, called Cradle of Liberty Council, built the 1928 Beaux Arts structure on city-owned land at 22nd and Winter streets, near Logan Square, and has maintained it since. Like other nonprofits that lease property in Fairmount Park, Cradle pays $1 a year to the city.

    The city contended at trial that Cradle had to abide by the city's anti-discrimination laws if it wanted to retain the lease.

    Attorneys for the local chapter hailed the jury's decision.

    "We expect to get an injunction from the court," said attorney Jason P. Gosselin. "We've asked for a permanent injunction from trying to evict the Scouts because of the city's opposition to the leadership policy."

    That means that Cradle likely will maintain its cheap lease.
    I’m sure Christine Flowers is writing her “nyaah, nyaah, told you so” column as I type this.

    And am I the only one who thinks this whole thing smells in part because Judge Ronald Buckwalter, who will likely now issue a permanent injunction that bars the Scouts' eviction based on their anti-gay policy, is an ex-Scout (noted here)?

    So basically, anti-discrimination law applies to any special interest group except one with enough money, lawyers and corporate-friendly media to state the case of what they consider to be their oppression at the hands of “political correctness.”

    I get it now.

  • Finally, we get another “Foto Funny” from J.D. Mullane of the Bucks County Courier Times here (along with a hilarious misrepresentation of a well-reasoned Daily Kos post on the subject of the change of military leadership in Afghanistan from Gen. Stanley McChrystal to Gen. David Petraeus).

    And yes, for the record, the infamous MoveOn ad made some good points about the casualty figures Petraeus provided to his bosses concerning Dubya’s Not-So-Excellent Adventure in Iraq, though that was ignored in the kerfuffle over the stupid “Betray Us” language in the headline.

    Still, though, I have to admit shock over Mullane’s statement that relieving McChrystal and replacing him with Petraeus is “an excellent move” by the president (yeah, that would be that “Abama” fellow, wouldn’t it J.D.?).
  • Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Wednesday AM Stuff

    I'm with K.O. on the McChrystal thing - keeping him where he is should automatically shut him up going forward. Otherwise, letting him go will set in motion all of McChrystal's appearances on Fix Noise and conservative-friendly media to launch the inevitable book or a cushy job at the Hoover Institute or some other right-wing think tank (harping against Obama every second, of course).

    I say screw him. He supported this mess in the land where empires crumble. Keep him there and let him reap the whirlwind, and for the Pat Tillman thing too (along with the more honorable members of our military, sadly)...

    Update: You know, just once I wish someone would acknowledge that DFHs (like myself I suppose) are actually right more than every so often and try listening to us for a change (here).

    ...and I suppose this is a predicatble selection, but there you are (and no, I don't know what Richard Branson is doing there either).

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Monday Stuff

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the idiot Phil Gingrey of Georgia, a Repug U.S. House Rep who actually thinks unemployment is funny (below, and here is another brainless moment from this nematode)…

    …and this concept is probably too difficult for Gingrey to comprehend, but kids can certainly understand it…

    …oh, and by the way, people, there is no excuse for this…

    …None whatsoever…

    …Not now…

    …Not ever…

    …so Obama isn’t everything we want – so he’s done more than a few things that have actually pissed me off, to tell you the truth; well…


    …You want to know what happens when Democrats sit on their hands in an election cycle?

    Take a good, long, hard look at what New Jersey is going through right now…

    …and here’s a “green” message from the kids (and I like their music also – a little rough at times, but it speaks to another generation, I realize)…

    …and speaking of music, I hope this song title isn’t prophetic (getting the munchies from watching this vid, though).

    Monday Mashup Part Two (6/21/10)

    (Part One is here – once again, no posting tomorrow and the rest of the week is TBD).

  • I give you the latest from the Bucks County Democratic Party (here)…

    Bucks Commissioners Urged to Abolish Policy of Taking Taxpayer-Funded Pay Raises While Increasing Taxes

    Marseglia Proposal Would Demonstrate Fiscal Responsibility yet Cawley and Martin Refuse to Sign On

    (Doylestown, PA) – Earlier this week, Bucks County's Democratic County Commissioner Diane Marseglia challenged her colleagues to establish a policy of prohibiting any pay raises for themselves in years when county taxes are raised by the commissioners. Her Republican colleagues failed to join her call for reform.

    A quick review of the tenure of former Bucks County Commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick reveals why Commissioners Martin and Cawley might prefer that the issue simply go away.

    While in office, Mike Fitzpatrick gave himself a $23,667 pay raise – an increase of over 45% - while simultaneously raising Bucks County Property Taxes nearly 60%.

    In six different years, Mike Fitzpatrick squeezed Bucks County families’ budgets with higher taxes while padding his own pocket – at taxpayer expense.

  • 1997: Fitzpatrick raised taxes 6.7% yet gave himself a $2,699 pay raise.

  • 1998: Fitzpatrick raised taxes 3.6% yet gave himself a $2,833 pay raise.

  • 2001: Fitzpatrick raised taxes 3.5% yet gave himself a $1,930 pay raise.

  • 2002: Fitzpatrick raised taxes 5.1% yet gave himself a $1,988 pay raise.

  • 2003: Fitzpatrick raised taxes 4.8% yet gave himself a $2,048 pay raise.

  • 2004: Fitzpatrick raised taxes 14.6% yet gave himself a $4,751 pay raise.

  • Under Marseglia’s proposal, County Commissioners would forgo salary increases during years when there is a county property tax increase.

    The Bucks County Democratic Committee supports Commissioner Marseglia’s leadership and supports enacting her proposal. We call on the Republican Commissioners to end the policy that allowed Fitzpatrick to take a massive pay raise while increasing county property taxes by a staggering 60%.
    And by the way, to help Fitzpatrick’s opponent in the PA-08 U.S. House contest, click here.

  • Also, Ken Blackwell at The Daily Caller tells us the following about Obama Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan (here)…

    At issue was a film produced by Citizens United that attacked the public record of Hillary Clinton. The McCain-Feingold law says that such communications are unlawful contributions.

    Kagan was asked if, instead of making a movie, Citizens United had published a book criticizing Hillary Clinton and it hit the stands less than sixty days before an election? Could the government ban that book? Yes, she said, representing the Obama administration.
    (“…such communications are unlawful contributions.” – WHAAA???)

    It should also be noted that, when you click the link to the NRO post on the infamous Citizens United ruling in Blackwell's piece, Kagan isn’t mentioned in the article. And I have no intention of trying to provide the correct link that Blackwell should have provided to support his flimsy argument.

    Instead, I’ll link to Media Matters here, which tells us that Kagan actually argued that the government could restrict corporate pamphlets that advocated for the election or defeat of a candidate (as the post tells us, a pamphlet is pretty much a staple of political campaigns, whereas a book could fall under any one of a number of categories).

    Blackwell also tries to make an equally idiotic argument that Kagan supports human cloning for embryonic stem cell research, but that’s not even the main reason why I’m bothering to note what he said.

    No, what really has me cheesed about Blackwell’s column is the fact that he would actually criticize Kagan for a “disregard for human rights” when he, as Secretary of State in Ohio in 2004, was responsible for the following (here)…

    Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell boasted of helping "deliver" Ohio for President Bush and said he was "truly pleased" to announce Bush had won Ohio even before all of the state's votes had been counted in his own fundraising letter, RAW STORY has discovered. The letter, which was received by a Butler County resident Dec. 31, is a plea to support Blackwell's campaign for governor. The resident has asked to remain anonymous.

    In apparent disregard for his nonpartisan role as Ohio's chief election official, the Republican Secretary and chairman of Bush's Ohio reelection campaign slammed Senator Kerry as a "disaster" who would have reaped "terrible" and "horrible" results on both Ohio and the United States.

    Further, Blackwell's use of the word "deliver" finds striking resonance with another controversial fundraising letter sent by the CEO of voting machine manufacturer Diebold Walden O'Dell in the summer of 2003 when he said he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."
    And as noted here…

    Every significant decision that Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell made regarding the 2004 presidential election benefited George W. Bush. Blackwell was honorary co-chair of Bush's 2004 Ohio campaign and served as an election expert in the Florida fiasco that ensued after the 2000 campaign, spinning the Bush campaign's case to the media.
    Given this, it’s oddly appropriate that Blackwell begins his Daily Caller column with a reference to theft.

  • Update 6/23/10: Good points on Kagan and the cloning thing here (h/t Atrios)...

  • Finally, it seems that a play has opened in NYC having to do with A Certain 43rd President on trial for war crimes at The Hague. However, as Times reviewer Jason Zinoman tells us here…

    The problem with “When We Go Upon the Sea” is not that it’s yet another derisive play about George W. Bush. Nor is it that the playwright Lee Blessing (“A Walk in the Woods,” “Cobb”) offers a liberal fantasy of Mr. Bush on trial for war crimes. The real trouble, dramatically speaking, is that this Bush character (played by Conan McCarty, with perfect squinting eyes) doesn’t do anything of interest. He doesn’t engage in soul-searching or in an elaborate defense of his presidency — or anything else that might cause much conflict. He just generally acts smug.
    (Yep, sounds like "art imitating life.")

    Still, this makes me recall the quote “A great artist is always before his time or behind it” (let us hope for the former in this case).
  • Sunday, June 20, 2010

    Sunday Stuff

    Oh, and by the way, happy Father's Day (in whatever language)...

    ...and I believe it's now officially time to play this song (well, it will be tomorrow I mean).