Saturday, August 07, 2010

Saturday Stuff

I don't know much about Rick Larsen, but I know that any Dem running against a hero of the teabaggers ought to run ads like this one (more here)...

...and so, let me guess - the dog was dreaming the whole thing? Pretty deep stuff.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Friday Stuff

Two notes: 1) Probably no posting Monday, and 2) Paul Krugman of the New York Times did something here today that someone should have done long ago, and that was to call out Paul Ryan for the utter fraud that he truly is on money matters - Krugman's column, last I checked, topped the "Most Read" online list at the Times

Update 8/13/10: Hat tip to Atrios for this (which was preceded by typical wingnut outrage over Krugman's thoroughly legitimate criticism of Ryan's proposals, it should be noted).

...I love watching Repugs beat each other up (the "Democrat" National Convention, huh? Too funny. The only thing more hilarious would be if Schiff actually won so he could get steamrolled by Blumenthal...I also posted some videos here)...

...and lo, another weekend beckons (nice tune - glad we could hear it after the audience decided to shut up).

Friday Mashup (8/6/10)

  • Larry Kudlow tells us the following here at the Tucker Carlson Propaganda Factory…

    The great flaw in the thinking of the Democrats is that they are ignorant of the economic power of saving and investment. Saving is a good thing. Stocks, bonds, bank deposits, money-market funds, commercial paper, venture capital, private equity, real estate partnerships — all that saving is channeled into business investment. And whether that capital goes into new start-ups or small businesses or large firms, it finances the kind of new investment in plants and equipment and software and buildings that ultimately creates jobs and family incomes. And that, in turn, spurs consumption.
    As noted here…

    Median household income is the best measure of American families' well-being because it shows the true economic mid-point of the population. By definition, half of all households make more than the median, and half make less. (Average household income figures are bad measures of overall well-being, because a small percentage of very rich families can skew the picture, making everyone appear to be richer than they are.) Median household income has fallen an average of 1.15 percent per year under Bush. It rose an average of 1.65 percent per year under Clinton.
    But just remember, ladies and gentlemen and boys and girls, according to Kudlow, it’s the Democrats who “are ignorant of the economic power of savings and investment.”

    Which begs the question – how on earth are you supposed to save and/or invest with something you don’t have?

  • Also, Michael Gerson tells us the following today in the WaPo (here, in another column about how the Dems are supposedly doomed this fall - for the record, this is where we are all comes down to jobs, jobs, jobs)…

    Politicians under stress tend to confirm, not refute, the criticisms that got them into trouble in the first place. Vacillating politicians vacillate. Thin-skinned politicians explode.
    They sure do; as noted here about Gerson’s former boss…

    Given his famous thin skin whenever he feels slighted, his eagerness to demean others could be interpreted as a sign of his dynastic authority, a modern-day droit du seigneur in which he can humiliate others but they can’t return the favor.

    Indeed, this tendency to assert his superior position over others by subjecting them to degrading treatment has been a recurring part of Bush’s persona dating back at least to his days as an “enforcer” on his father’s presidential campaigns.

    In 1986, for instance, Bush spotted Wall Street Journal political writer Al Hunt and his wife Judy Woodruff having dinner at a Dallas restaurant with their four-year-old son. Bush was steaming over Hunt’s prediction that Jack Kemp – not then-Vice President George H.W. Bush – would win the Republican presidential nomination in 1988.

    Bush stormed up to the table and cursed Hunt out. “You fucking son of a bitch,” Bush yelled. “I saw what you wrote. We’re not going to forget this.”

    Later in the campaign, when Newsweek ran a cover story with the image of George H.W. Bush on a boat with the headline, “Fighting the Wimp Factor,” a furious George W. Bush enforced a year-long punishment of Newsweek by barring the magazine’s reporters from access to key campaign insiders.
    But just remember that Obama is the one with the “thin skin,” not his predecessor (who, by the way, received the memo noted here nine years ago today).

    I know I’ve criticized conservatives loud and long for reasons that I consider to be completely justified, but I have to admit that there is one thing (and probably no more) that they do better than anyone else.

    And that is projecting their own faults onto those with whom they disagree.

  • Finally, I received the following recent correspondence from the office of Rep. Patrick Murphy…

    AMNESIA WATCH: Former Congressman Fitzpatrick Hopes Voters Forget Pro-Amnesty Voting Record

    “Congressman Murphy, you have often broken with the pro-amnesty Washington politicians to take the side of unemployed Americans in the illegal immigration issue. Your voting record indicates that you believe…any immigration reform proposal that includes amnesty is a disservice to the authorized immigrants who are here and have been playing by the rules to gain citizenship in this country.”

    - Roy Beck, Executive Director of NumbersUSA

    (Bristol, PA) – Former Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick talks tough on illegal immigration but his weak voting record tells a whole other story.

    Former Congressman Fitzpatrick says he now supports the new toughest-in-the-nation Arizona immigration law. Only problem? He voted against nearly identical legislation while he was in Washington. The legislation he voted against would have given state and local authorities the ability to detain illegal immigrants in the course of the officers’ regular duties.1 Further, the former Congressman also voted to protect “sanctuary cities” around the country, allowing them to continue ignoring federal anti-immigration laws.2

    Patrick Murphy doesn’t just talk tough on illegal immigration. He’s got the record to back it up. Patrick broke with his party to support the Arizona law, which requires police to check the immigration status of individuals stopped for other crimes. He was the lone Democrat to vote in support of an amendment to prevent the Obama administration from using federal funds to sue Arizona over the law.

    Former Congressman Fitzpatrick also voted against providing $20 million for construction of a fence to protect our borders from the flow of illegal immigrations.3

    Patrick Murphy, on the other hand, has constantly fought to beef up security along our borders and introduced legislation to increase penalties for border agents who help smuggle people into the country, a serious breach of national security.4

    Talk is cheap. Fitzpatrick might hope people in Bucks County have amnesia, but it's impossible to forget a voting record this appalling.

    1 Roll Call Vote #659, 109th Congress, 1st Session
    2 Roll Call Vote #177, 109th Congress, 1st Session
    3 Roll Call Vote #669, 109th Congress, 1st Session
    4 Secure Borders Act (H.R. 4622)
    (OK, disclosure time - I support a path to citizenship and amnesty for illegals, but the issue here is yet another "Fitz-flop," talking tough but failing to act when he had the chance.)

    To help our congressman, click here.
  • Thursday, August 05, 2010

    Thursday Stuff

    Yep, Jon, I feel that way too sometimes (here)...

    The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
    I Give Up - 9/11 Responders Bill
    Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

    ...and on this day in 1966, The Fab Four released "Revolver," leading off with this ripper of a tune from "the quiet Beatle" (kind of takes on a different meaning from the Stewart clip and the Repugs whining about taxes to pay for 9/11 first responder health care, I would say).

    Wednesday, August 04, 2010

    Wednesday Stuff

    (A word from our sponsor - I've been saying for awhile that I'll be cutting back on posting soon, I know...well, tomorrow is probably out and Friday doesn't look promising either.)

    Yes, I know this is only a joke - I could never handle the bigoted sanctimony of the original "Gathering Storm" ad...I thought this was appropriate in light of this highly positive development (and I couldn't find Stephen Colbert's hilarious parody anywhere - and of course the wingnuts will fight Judge Walker's ruling)...

    ...and RIP Bobby Hebb - this has always been one of my very favorite songs.

    Wednesday Mashup (8/4/10)

  • You can always count on something truly odd or stupid, or both, at the Fix Noise web site, and John Stossel delivers here…

    In my book, "Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity," I bet my readers $1,000 that they couldn't name one thing that government does better than the private sector.

    I have yet to pay.
    Gee, how about crafting “a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public,” as noted here?

    Oh, sorry, I forgot – Stossel has a problem with the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as noted here, in particular the “public accommodation” section "because private businesses ought to get to discriminate. And I won't ever go to a place that's racist and I will tell everybody else not to and I'll speak against them. But it should be their right to be racist” (and kudos to Color of Change for calling Stossel out on this garbage).

    All of which proves that Stossel has never completely recovered from the head shot he received from “rassler” David Schultz here (not to be confused with the former Flyers hockey player).

    Oh, and by the way Stossel, you can keep your money. I wouldn’t take a dime from you anyway.

  • Also, Michael Gerson of the WaPo inflicted an attack on common sense today here, on our president’s alleged inability to “connect” using his media persona…

    If politics were literature, Bill Clinton would be Tom Buchanan in "The Great Gatsby," casually smashing lives around him while remaining untouched by the chaos he creates.
    Class move by Gerson to compare Number 42 with a philandering racist millionaire.

    And Clinton was “untouched”? Seriously?

    Try reading this.


    Barack Obama is more like Macon Leary in "The Accidental Tourist," the author of tour guides who hates travel. "He was happiest with a regular scheme of things" -- a cautious driver and committed flosser, systematic and steady, suspicious of unpredictable yearnings, displaying an "appalling calm" in times of crisis. "If you let yourself get angry you'll be . . . consumed," Macon says. "You'll burn up. It's not productive." Only order and method are productive. He is attracted to the "virtuous delights of organizing a disorganized country."

    Macon uses structure and rationality to avoid facing personal loss. Obama's emotional distance seems rooted in self-sufficiency -- a stout fortress of self-confidence. But the effect is much the same. Obama leads a country without reflecting its passions -- at least any he is willing to share. Events leave him apparently untouched. He doesn't need the crowd. Americans have always loved Obama more than he seems to care for us.
    Macon Leary in “The Accidental Tourist” was one of the most disaffected characters I’d ever read in English literature, to the point where his inhibitions and neuroses had, at times, made him nearly comatose. The only object I can think of showing less emotion and response is a piece of balsa wood.

    I realize that I shouldn’t get too worked up by this since this is yet an umpteenth variation on the “Obama as Spock” theme beaten to death by MoDo, among others. However, before anyone gets too carried away yet again with the notion that Obama is some kind of an alien from outer space, I would ask that you consider the following from an Op-Ed Obama wrote for the Hyde Park Herald newspaper soon after the 9/11 attacks, particularly the following…

    "Even as I hope for some measure of peace and comfort to the bereaved families," Obama wrote, "I must also hope that we as a nation draw some measure of wisdom from this tragedy. Certain immediate lessons are clear, and we must act upon those lessons decisively. We need to step up security at our airports. We must reexamine the effectiveness of our intelligence networks. And we must be resolute in identifying the perpetrators of these heinous acts and dismantling their organizations of destruction.

    "We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness. The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.

    "We will have to make sure, despite our rage, that any U.S. military action takes into account the lives of innocent civilians abroad. We will have to be unwavering in opposing bigotry or discrimination directed against neighbors and friends of Middle Eastern descent. Finally, we will have to devote far more attention to the monumental task of raising the hopes and prospects of embittered children across the globe—children not just in the Middle East, but also in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and within our own shores."
    One more thing – Gerson’s glowing rhetoric full of subtle digs that he concocted in the service of Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History has been well documented (“the soft bigotry of low expectations,” and the like). However, considering that Number 43 also brought us moments such as these, I don’t think Gerson has any right to criticize the verbal abilities of any other president.

  • Finally, the New York Times told us the following here about former NBA player Chris Dudley, who, at the moment, is running as a Repug for governor of Oregon…

    PORTLAND, Ore. — Among politicians in this state, Chris Dudley stands out. Especially when he is standing up.

    In a visit to a rodeo in the coastal town of Tillamook, Dudley dwarfed a port commissioner who asked for greater investment in salmon hatcheries. At a farmers’ market in Portland’s suburbs, he towered over a state senator. In a downtown conference room with a school superintendent, he looked like the only grown-up at the kids’ table.

    Like most people who run for governor, Dudley is crisscrossing his state to shake hands, kiss babies and chitchat with voters. Unlike most people, he is doing so at the height of 6 feet 11 inches, his ticket to a 16-year N.B.A. career.

    “It really is a great icebreaker,” Dudley said in a recent interview. “People are very comfortable coming up to me — a lot of them feel like they know me already from my time playing.”
    OK, Chris Dudley is tall. I get it.

    Also, according to this…

    Chris Dudley didn't vote in six of the last thirteen elections, before he decided he wanted to be governor. He's never shown much interest in politics. He's never shown much interest in policy. But he is tall. And that counts for something.

    Chris Dudley was a pro basketball player. He wasn't very good. He had limited skills. His free throw shooting was painful to watch. He holds the NBA record for most consecutive missed free throws. But he was tall. He was very consistently tall. And that got him to the NBA. In basketball, as in politics, it's important to be tall.
    I would suggest reading all of the great post by Laurence Lewis from Daily Kos to see Dudley get utterly taken apart (cut down to size, if you will).

    And I also thought this was interesting, particularly the following…

    For some quarter century, the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association has held a debate between Oregon's gubernatorial candidates. They did again on Friday (7/16), except that it wasn't a debate because Dudley decided not to show. When you have no idea what you're talking about, it's probably best not to risk embarrassing yourself in front of people that do. On that level, Dudley may have been smart. As the Eugene Register-Guard editorialized:

    (Former Dem Gov. John) Kitzhaber, a veteran of two terms as governor and 14 years in the Legislature, would have an advantage in any debate format. Kitzhaber knows state government from stem to stern — he could answer a question about highways by reciting statistics on vehicle registrations and the cost of asphalt, ending with suggestions for how to set the choke on a road grader. Kitzhaber would swamp Dudley with detail, expose gaps in his knowledge and catch him in contradictions.

    Dudley’s best course in a race against Kitzhaber is to steer clear of such tar pits, and instead deliver a generic message of change. That’s what Dudley has done in his first two television advertisements. They say that it’s time to “turn the page on the politics of the past” and elect “a different kind of leader, a different kind of Republican.” The ads highlight Dudley’s work for the National Basketball Association players’ union and his foundation for children with diabetes. There’s nothing about Dudley’s positions on key issues.

    Dudley has already learned a lesson about how easy it is to step into a trap. As Oregon school districts prepared to cut their budgets in response to the latest state revenue shortfall, Dudley urged that they avoid cutting physical education. That’s a defensible stand, but it invites the question of what should be cut instead. There is no right answer, and Dudley left the impression that he valued P.E. above reading or math. He’s kept quiet about the details of spending cuts, in education and elsewhere, ever since.
    Not to worry, though – the Times story also tells us the following…

    Most people internalize as children that it is rude to point, but when a 6-11 man walks by, that bit of etiquette seems to be forgotten. On the campaign trail, onlookers tend to gawk, and many people introduce themselves by informing Dudley how tall he is.

    Dudley does not seem to mind. “I’m a tall guy,” he said. “It’s something that happens.”

    His advisers do not seem to mind, either.

    “People want to shake his hand,” said Kerry Tymchuk, who was the state director for former Senator Gordon H. Smith, Republican of Oregon, and is an informal adviser to Dudley. “Some of it’s the Blazers factor, the celebrity factor, the fact he’s tall. But it’s certainly an asset when people want to meet you.”
    Sure – when I went to the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus whilst I was still a wee lad, I once pointed to the man on stilts also. But that doesn’t mean that I trusted him to approve the annual state budget passed out of a House-Senate conference committee.

    I also noticed this little item in the Times story…

    Dudley said he viewed his lack of political experience as “a real positive”; when he talks about how he would bring a fresh perspective and clean slate to the governorship, he is not so subtly painting himself in opposition to Kitzhaber.

    Kitzhaber’s campaign has a different view. “Mr. Dudley is more rookie than outsider,” said Jillian E. Schoene, Kitzhaber’s spokeswoman. “We fully expect to send him back to the development league at the end of this race.”

    Dudley’s advisers scoff at that. For one thing, Dudley’s attempt to parlay N.B.A. fame into a political career is not without precedent; most notably, the former Knick Bill Bradley, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, served three terms as a Democratic senator from New Jersey.
    Now you just wait a gosh-darned, jump-shooting minute there!

    I realize that Times writer Thomas Kaplan’s bailiwick is sports, as they say, as opposed to politics, but allowing a comparison between Dudley to Bradley (without some kind of clarification anyway) is patently absurd.

    Yes, Dudley graduated from Yale, an Ivy League school, and Bradley from Princeton (ditto), but Bradley was a Rhodes Scholar (in addition to being an integral member of a pro basketball team that won two NBA championships). Further, Bradley served two terms in the U.S. Senate before running for president (Bradley also studied at Oxford and served six months in the Air Force Reserve).

    So, it looks like Chris Dudley is going to have to “cram” like never before if he hopes to pass himself off as a realistic gubernatorial alternative against a Dem who has already served in the office for which they’re both competing.

    And I would say that the whole “running as a stealth candidate” gambit has come and gone, with such a move more winnable when times are good and candidates for office can get a pass from an electorate more blasé than they might be otherwise.

    However, that most definitely is not the case this year.

    Still, though, at least Dudley is tall.

  • Update 8/7/10: And a tax cheat too - interesting (here).

    Tuesday, August 03, 2010

    Tuesday Stuff

    As Bugs would say, what a maroon (trying to reference this)...

    ...and speaking of bombs, expecting Frank Sinatra to sing novelty songs instead of standards qualified as one for this guy when they both were at Columbia Records, though, to be fair, there was a time when Miller was a very big deal, which probably lives in the early episodes of "Mad Men" and nowhere else video, but just a treatment by "Mitch and the gang" of a memorable movie theme.

    Another Tuesday Mashup (8/3/10)

    (I also posted here.)

  • I received a mailer from our PA-31 state house rep Steve Santarsiero today, which tells us the following about his accomplishments and that of the PA state house (with its current Democratic majority):

    Highlights of the 2010-11 Budget:

  • No New Taxes: For the second straight year, there was no increase in the income or sales tax.

  • Total Spending Cut: To balance the budget, significant spending cuts were made. Overall state spending has decreased by $400 million since 2008-2009.

  • Budget Passed On Time: The main budget was passed by the June 30 deadline.

  • Forcing the state to live within its means: This is a bare-bones plan, but it’s a responsible one that keeps our commitments to Pennsylvania’s working families during these tough times.

  • More money for education: An additional $250 million in basic education funding with more state funding for Council Rock and Pennsbury school districts to protect local property taxpayers.

  • Also, Steve “joined with every Republican and Democratic House member from Bucks County” to vote for H.B. 2497 (pension reform legislation):

    This reform legislation corrects some problems of our state employee and teacher pension systems by:

    - Requiring employees to contribute more towards their benefit;
    - Delaying the vesting period from five years to 10 years;
    - Increasing the retirement age to 65; and
    - Lowering the cost to taxpayers by lowering the benefit multiplier to pre-2001 levels.

    These changes apply to new employees only and will save the funds more than $25 billion over time.

    Also, co-sponsored legislation (H.B. 2559) that would create a Public Employee Pension Commission to prepare within six months a comprehensive report of recommendations for long-term systemic changes to pension systems to ensure fiscal solvency.

    Finally, the reform bill that we passed would re-amortize existing obligations over a 30-year period to avoid a potential spike in pension payments by school districts and the state.
    Isn't it nice to read that and see the talking points of "Self" Ciervo, Steve's Repug opponent for his House seat, disappearing one by one?

    And to contact Steve and/or help with the campaign, click here.

  • Also, Ollie North of Fix Noise tells us the following (here)…

    Washington, D.C. – In most administrations, leaks of classified information precipitate presidential ire. Nearly all such unauthorized disclosures are the consequence of disgruntled government employees deciding that a “leak” is the best way to stop some activity they have decided should not continue. To justify their unlawful actions they call themselves “secret whistleblowers.” The so-called “mainstream media” loves them. Most American presidents do not. That’s what makes the current commander in chief’s reactions to a whole series of “leaks” so unusual. Mr. Obama doesn’t seem to be concerned at all.
    For the record, this tells us the following…

    President Barack Obama spoke publicly about the WikiLeaks incident for the first time today, expressing concern about the disclosure of tens of thousands of documents, but at the same time, downplaying the content.

    “While I'm concerned about the disclosure of sensitive information from the battlefield that could potentially jeopardize individuals or operations, the fact is, these documents don't reveal any issues that haven't already informed our public debate on Afghanistan. Indeed, they point to the same challenges that led me to conduct an extensive review of our policy last fall,” Mr. Obama said.
    You could legitimately argue how much Obama is trying to downplay the damage of the Wikileaks information, as opposed to running all over the place with his hair on fire and making speeches about "terrist killers" and shoving "freedom" down the throats of people in poorer middle eastern countries as his predecessor was wont to do in response. But I really don't intend to get into that here.

    Instead, I'll merely point out that North has no room to criticize anybody about leaks. And as to the reason why, I have one name to offer in response – Barry Seal.

    This Wikipedia article tells us that Seal was an American aircraft pilot who flew flights for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Medellin Cartel, among others, in the 1908s, when North was a Lieutenant Colonel in the National Security Council of Ronald Reagan (Seal joined the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) in 1955, a group whose members at the time also included Lee Harvey Oswald and David Ferrie.[2] ).

    The article also tells us the following…

    In 1984, a Washington Times article stated DEA informant Barry Seal had successfully infiltrated the Medellin cartel's operations in Panama and Nicaragua.[12] The story was leaked by Oliver North to prove Nicaraguan Sandinistas' involvement in the drug trade and to build support for the Contra war effort. This leak and subsequent controversy eventually led to the Iran Contra Affair which unraveled a year later.[13]
    It gets much worse…

    On February 19, 1986, Barry Seal was shot to death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in front of a branch of the Salvation Army on Airline Hwy, which he was required to stay at as a condition of his plea bargain, making him an easy target for retaliation. As he sat in his parked Cadillac, a man carrying a Mac-10 machine gun approached him. He then emptied a magazine into his body, neck and head, killing Seal instantly, which brought the DEA's most important investigation to an end. Colombian assassins sent by the Medellin Cartel were apprehended while trying to leave Louisiana soon after Seal's murder.[18]

    In 1987, Luis Carlo Quintero-Cruz (the trigger man), Miguel Velez, and Bernardo Antonio Vasquez, were convicted of the slaying of Barry Seal and sentenced to life in prison.[19]
    So because of his own leak in an effort to gin up the Iran-Contra fiasco, North quite probably ended up getting Barry Seal killed.

    I would say that that easily trumps any feigned indignation over our president’s alleged apathy over the Wikileaks controversy.

  • And oh boy, are the Repugs crowing here over the ruling by a district court judge in Virginia that has allowed the bogus health care reform lawsuit to proceed, joined by 21 attorneys general (including, to his eternal shame, PA’s Tom Corbett).

    Even though (as noted here) Judge Henry E. Hudson "has financial ties to both the attorney general who is challenging the law and to a powerhouse conservative law firm whose clients include prominent Republican officials and critics of reform."

    Still, though, the Obama Administration issued the following statement (here)…

    Today’s decision merely said that the Virginia Attorney General has standing to challenge the lawsuit – which means that the court has jurisdiction to hear further arguments. The federal government believes this procedural ruling is in error and conflicts with long-standing and well-established legal precedents – the types of precedents that, in the words of Chief Justice Roberts, are designed to preserve the “judiciary’s proper role in our system of government” and to ensure that our courts do not become forums for political debates.

    Now that this preliminary stage has ended, the government fully expects to prevail on the merits. The Affordable Care Act falls well within Congress’s power to regulate under the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the General Welfare Clause. As President Reagan’s Solicitor General Charles Fried recently wrote, “the health care law’s enemies have no ally in the Constitution.”
    Amen to that (and to punish Corbett by helping his Dem opponent in the PA gubernatorial race, click here).

  • Update 8/4/10: Gee, I wonder if Corbett knows about this? I hope not.

    Monday, August 02, 2010

    Monday Stuff

    Yeah, there's a Republican for that (and for this too)...

    ...and I hope he makes enough money from this song to buy a new wife-beater T-shirt (and I suppose this song could apply to Ms. Palin, Bachmann, Angle, etc.).

    Monday Mashup Part Two (8/2/10)

    (Part One is here – I know I said last week that I wouldn’t be posting today, but I ended up with a schedule change that allowed me to do this, for what it’s worth.)

  • Yesterday in the New York Times, we were treated to the following in an otherwise sensible column about energy from The Moustache of Understanding…

    ...This double game goes back to 9/11. That terrorist attack was basically planned, executed and funded by radical Pakistanis and Saudis. And we responded by invading Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? The short answer is because Pakistan has nukes that we fear and Saudi Arabia has oil that we crave.

    So we tried to impact them by indirection. We hoped that building a decent democratizing government in Iraq would influence reform in Saudi Arabia and beyond.
    A "decent, democratizing government"? Funny, but as I recall, the original rationale for the Iraq war went something like this.

  • Also, Rand Paul just keeps digging (no pun intended – here)…

    Reform-minded lawmakers in both the House and Senate are pushing legislation to bolster the work-safety protections for miners working underground. But don't try to convince Rand Paul.

    The Republican running to replace outgoing Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) in the coal-mining hub of Kentucky said recently that Washington has no business formulating mine safety rules.

    "The bottom line is: I'm not an expert, so don't give me the power in Washington to be making rules," Paul said at a recent campaign stop in response to questions about April's deadly mining explosion in West Virginia, according to a profile in Details magazine. "You live here, and you have to work in the mines. You'd try to make good rules to protect your people here. If you don't, I'm thinking that no one will apply for those jobs."
    What an imbecile – as noted here, The Miner Safety and Health Act of 2010 (H.R. 5663) was introduced about a month ago in response to the Massey Upper Big Branch mine disaster, the latest in an awful series, as noted here.

    To support a senator who actually would work on behalf of Kentuckians in the U.S. Senate as opposed to Paul (who would do his best to implement the know-nothing, do-nothing teabagger agenda), click here.

  • And sticking with the Repugs and “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” we learned the following here today…

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has placed a hold on President Obama's nominee to serve as director of national intelligence (DNI), his spokeswoman said Monday.

    Spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan confirmed a report that that the Arizona senator has requested a report from retired Gen. James Clapper, and said "until that report is provided Senator McCain will continue to hold his nomination."

    The hold, a procedural tool individual senators can use to block nominations, could push Clapper's confirmation vote before the full Senate past the August recess, which begins this weekend.

    In a unanimous vote last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, of which McCain is a member, backed Clapper's nomination, leading observers to believe that he would be easily confirmed this week.
    Yes, I realize that, at the heart of this, we have nothing but more pointless grandstanding by Senator “Country First,” especially when he voted in favor of Clapper’s nomination to pass him from the Intelligence Committee. However, I think we need to keep the following in mind about Gen. Clapper (here)…

    Liberal critics are pointing out that Clapper, while serving as the head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, helped assist the Bush administration lie that Iraq possessed illegal weapons of mass destruction. Speaking to reporters in October 2003, Clapper suggested that the illicit weapons had “unquestionably” been moved to Syria:
    And as noted here, the claim has since been denied.

    It’s possible that Clapper is a genuinely decent man who, like many other people on both sides of the aisle, was thoroughly and tragically wrong in the run-up to the Iraq war. But just stand up and say so on this charge in particular before we proceed with you nomination, please.

  • Further, I give you Ted Nugent once more in the Washington Times (here)…

    Barack Hussein Obama did not sneak into power. An army of clueless, disconnected, ignorant Americans invited him to bring his Marxist, glaringly anti-American jihad into our lives.
    OK, that’s enough (oy vay!).

    And get a load of the pic of Obama photoshopped onto the head and shoulders of Mao Tse-Tung. ROFLMAO!!

    I realize there are all kinds of directions I can go with this idiocy, but I just want to point out the following in particular (and this is going to take a minute, so please bear with me)…

    Everything from the New Deal and Great Society on has been a dismal and grossly counterproductive failure, yet we continue to allow corrupt bureaucrats to keep jamming more of the same down our throats with barely a whimper of resistance. How pathetic. How lame. How un-American.
    Now, as you try to digest that (difficult, I’ll admit), read the section of Nugent’s bio here that tells us that “He is also noted for his conservative political views and his ardent defense of hunting, conservation, and gun ownership rights.”

    So let’s focus on conservation for a minute, OK?

    This tells us about the Civilian Conservation Corps, a product of – wait for it! – The New Deal (ta-daah!)…

    The CCC became the most popular New Deal program among the general public, providing jobs for a total of 3 million young men from families on relief.[1] Implicitly the CCC also led to awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation's natural resources, especially for city youth.[2] The CCC was never considered a permanent program and depended on emergency and temporary legislation for its existence.[3] On June 30, 1942 Congress voted to eliminate funding for the CCC, formally ceasing active operation of the program.[4]

    During the time of the CCC, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide that would become the start of most state parks, developed forest fire fighting methods and a network of thousands of miles of public roadways, and constructed buildings connecting the nation's public lands.[5]
    And this is something that “conservation” fan Nugent somehow didn’t know?

    How pathetic. How lame. How un-American.

  • Finally, it seems that those zany teabaggers had a little party in my “neck of the woods” over the weekend (here)…

    Over the weekend, I attended the “Uni-Tea” rally at Independence Park in Philadelphia. The event was billed as a “united tea party for all communities.” Just a few steps from the Liberty Bell, a group of about 300 gathered — blacks, whites, Latinos, and Log Cabin Republicans. The weather was warm and so were the spirits of the assembled. Emcee David Webb, an African-American talk-radio host, summed up the proceedings early on as he looked out at the crowd. “Ebony and ivory,” he said. “It’s not just a song.”
    Oh, go “fa-la-la” yourselves, wingnuts – as noted here (from an account that is actually reliable)...

    Perhaps the event failed to attract many people of color because it failed to attract many people. Organizers boasted that the event’s website had been visited 2 million times, and it was “clear from the large numbers of volunteers and the 1,500 bottles the organizers put on ice that they expected a big crowd to turn out.” In the end, about only 300 people bothered showing up. Organizers blamed traffic.
    Tee hee hee...

    And gosh, nobody brought any of their charming signs either (funny, but as I recall, that word is spelled with an “e”).