Saturday, September 18, 2010

More Saturday Stuff

For more, click here…

…and same for Fiorina here – she responded that it was “class warfare,” apparently, which is what conservatives always call it when they stand to lose (and on that subject, you might want to read this)…

…and I have a two-fer on Roy Blunt; we know those conservative crazies are having their party this weekend – here is what Blunt said a year ago at those festivities (Gosh, ya' think Blunt was speaking in wingnut code? Can't imagine who he was referring to)…

…but guess who looks like a chump (chimp?) now (a shocking moment of actual jounalistic "chops" from Chris Wallace of Fix Noise here)…

...and I liked the Buddy Holly-esque vocal flourishes on this one.

Saturday Stuff

I can just picture somebody showing up at her next campaign event crying out "Aww, she turned me into a better - BURN HER ANYWAY!" (here - I have a feeling the Delaware U.S. Senate contest is going to be very interesting)...

...and Jimi Hendrix died 40 years ago today.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Mashup (9/17/10) (update)

  • I went digging a bit and found the following from Peg Luksik dated April of this year (here), during the Republican primary in which she competed against Pat Toomey for the right to run for Snarlin’ Arlen Specter’s U.S. Senate seat (we know what has happened since then, of course)…

    “Pat’s position on issues seem to shift depending on the election in which he is running,” said Luksik. “I think he owes it to Pennsylvania Republican voters to clarify where he stands on such critical issues as abortion, the Second Amendment, earmarks and other important matters.”

    “Pat claims to be pro-life, but as the Chairman of the Club for Growth he supported pro-choice candidates, including
    Jim Kolbe in Arizona, about whom Pat said, …’he’s pro-choice, but he has a great record supporting Social Security reform and free trade.’ He claims to be a defender of the Second Amendment, but he’s the only Pennsylvania Republican that voted for background checks at gun shows. He claims to oppose earmarks, but has stood up and accepted credit for them in his district.”
    Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t support either Luksik or Toomey regardless, but I still thought this was stuff to ponder (and to help “No Corporate Tax” Pat’s opponent, click here).

  • Also, I had to admit that I was a bit alarmed when I saw this typically screaming headline from the Fix Noise site…

    Well, here is what happens when you click on the link in the story; you end up at the Andrew Breitbart “Big Government” hacktacular site (here).

    It turns out that someone named Kyle Olson got a hold of a correspondence from MoveOn polling members asking where they thought the group should concentrate its resources and on behalf of which candidates, and to Breitbart and company, that automatically means that MoveOn is in “trouble” somehow (and for good measure, he tells us of the thousands of dollars labor has contributed to Democrats, which, last I checked, was perfectly legal).

    Also in the matter of corporate donations, Olson tells us that President Obama “received the most campaign cash from British Petroleum and its employees.”

    Uh, no – as noted here…

    Its most generous corporate contributions -- totaling about $4 million -- have gone to two Republican-aligned political action groups working to defeat state ballot initiatives in California and Colorado that could have raised oil and gas industry taxes, according to an analysis of state campaign reports by the Center for Political Accountability. On the national scene, BP spent about $112,000 in corporate money to boost the coffers of Democratic and Republican organizations seeking to elect candidates to higher office, primarily the Democratic Governors Association and the Republican State Leadership Committee.
    Also from Olson…

    …who can forget that the biggest recipient of Goldman Sachs contributions were Democrats.
    (Nice punctuation, by the way…)

    Well, that may be then, but this is now; as noted here…

    For the first time since 2004, the biggest Wall Street firms are now giving most of their campaign donations to Republicans.

    A Wall Street Journal analysis of 12 large financial services companies, including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. shows that they have collectively made $1.4 million in political donations, with 52% going to Republicans so far this year. That’s a reversal from last year, according to the most recent round of fund-raising reports covering January, February and March. [...]

    The change of allegiance comes as Congress closes in on legislation that would overhaul financial services regulations. Democrats back an aggressive bill that has been so far blocked in the Senate by Republicans.
    And one more thing: here is a link to MoveOn’s site. I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to go there and learn more about how they’re supposedly in “panic mode” (and nice graphic of the person’s hair on fire from Breitbart, by the way – too funny).

  • Next, the Bucks County Courier Times august editorial board decided to take a break from their full, busy workload of refusing to print Vent submissions by Democrats and hacking apart Guest Opinions by same in order to “get Christie love” (heh), particularly in the matter of “Governor Bully” and his hissy fit over New Jersey’s pension shortfall (here).

    …Christie offered three sensible remedies: 1) increasing public employees' contribution from 3 percent of salary to 8.5 percent; 2) raising the retirement age from 62 to 65; 3) rolling back a 9 percent increase in pension benefits granted to employees in 2001.

    Makes sense to us. Also sensible is Christie's proposal to raise public employee contributions toward health insurance from the current 8 percent to 30 percent, which is along the lines of what most folks working in the private sector pay.

    Way to go, Governor. We hope Pennsylvania lawmakers, the governor and all candidates for state office are paying attention.
    Spoken like true conservative shills.

    I might take all of this supposed fiscal rectitude from Christie seriously if it weren’t for the fact that, as Ryan McNeely tells us here, “he puts the interests of multi-millionaires ahead of the well-being of low-income seniors”…

    Democrats want to re-impose a one-year tax on millionaires that has been vetoed by Republican Governor Chris Christie. The 10.75 percent tax on income above $1 million would hit 16,000 people, some of them likely to work as financial professionals just across the Hudson River in New York.

    According to the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services, a retired couple living on a fixed income of $40,000 would see an increase of $1,320 in taxes under the governor’s plan while a family making $1.2 million would receive a tax cut of $11,598.
    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Chris Christie – deficit peacock.

    This article provides much greater depth on New Jersey’s public pension crisis, noting that the whole thing really started with the tax increase in 1990 by former Gov. Jim Florio and the outcry that ensued. So, in response, governors of both parties started messing around with that state’s pension calculations, with Repug Governor Christie Todd Whitman “adopt(ing) another pension ‘reform’ act that allowed her to reduce state and local contributions to the plan by nearly $1.5 billion in 1994 and 1995, according to the task force report,” passed at her insistence by the NJ “lege.”

    And, as always, this didn’t matter much when times were good. But when times became not so good, former governors McGreevey and Corzine had to come up with some kind of resolution, which didn’t happen for a number of reasons. So now it is left up to Christie (and by the way, this scenario is playing out in states across the nation, including PA).

    Yes, I know something has to be done. But let me ask anyone who supports this the following question – if you were an employee of the state of New Jersey and you were a year or two away from retirement, would any of these options look even remotely sensible to you?

  • Further, we have the following from Repug U.S. House Rep Mike Rogers of Alabama (here)…

    Last May in their rush to judgment, Speaker Pelosi and her liberal allies brushed aside the potential concerns of our troops and their families and decided to go ahead with the repeal of the Defense Department’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy before hearing their input. Now we hear that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to follow Speaker Pelosi’s lead and do the same.

    Let’s be clear: I oppose repeal of the policy and have voted that way in the House. But at a minimum, before the Democratic-controlled Congress launches their latest social policy experiment, we should wait to hear the opinions of our military and their families. That is what the Secretary of Defense and our top military leaders have requested, and we owe it to them to see the process through.
    Gosh, I’m shocked that Rogers didn’t say the “Democrat-controlled Congress.” He needs to brush up on the Karl Rove playbook (nice job on that, actually).

    More to the matter of repealing DADT, I give you the following (here)…

    The (2011 Defense Authorization) bill includes a legislative repeal of the DADT policy, with the ultimate repeal resulting after completion of a Pentagon study on implementing the changes, as well as sign-off by the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. All three of those individuals publicly support repealing the policy.

    A couple points here. First of all, the decision to take up the defense bill certainly was helped along by Judge Virginia Phillips’ ruling of DADT as unconstitutional. Gay rights advocates used the ruling to put added pressure on Congress to find their way out with a legislative solution, and many supporters of repeal in Congress joined them. The threat of a protracted legal battle could also spur the principals to definitively repeal the policy by the beginning of next year, though the Obama Administration could make repeal the law of the land simply through the Justice Department opting not to appeal the ruling out of US District Court.
    And as noted here from February, “opposition to gays serving openly in the military has ‘declined sharply’ among service members.”

    There’s really not much else to think about on this issue, people (as an astute Hill commenter noted “thank God President Truman didn’t ask for studies when he desegregated the military”).

  • Finally, I give you the following from the Patrick Murphy campaign…

    Fitzpatrick Votes Against Jobs, Now Complains About Economy

    Former Commissioner refused to support job creating initiative not once, but twice

    (Fairless Hills, PA) – Mike Fitzpatrick refused to support workers and manufacturers despite having not one, but two chances to provide tax incentives for industrial development in Lower Bucks County. First he voted no, then he didn’t vote at all.

    On Friday, fellow former County Commissioner Sandy Miller (joined) Patrick Murphy and workers on Friday to remind Bucks County voters of Fitzpatrick’s refusal to support job-growth measures like the business tax incentives. In spite of Fitzpatrick’s opposition to the proposal, the state designated a site in Fairless Hills as a Keystone Opportunity Industrial Zone (KOIZ), helping the county attract major employers and create thousands of jobs.

    One of those employees will be in attendance on Friday. Jim Bauer, from Levittown, lost his job at U.S. Steel after 25 years as a crane operator. These days, Jim is back to work at the same site, except now he’s constructing wind turbines for the clean energy company Gamesa Corp. Fitzpatrick didn’t stand up for working families like Jim then and he won’t now.
    To help out Congressman Murphy, click here.

  • Update: Here is more on the press event noted above (a bit of repetition, I'll admit)...

    Fellow former County Commissioner Sandy Miller joined Patrick Murphy and workers on Friday to remind Bucks County voters of Fitzpatrick’s refusal to support job-growth measures like the business tax incentives. In spite of Fitzpatrick’s opposition to the proposal, the state designated a site in Fairless Hills as a Keystone Opportunity Industrial Zone (KOIZ), helping the county attract major employers and create thousands of jobs.

    Miller was in office alongside Fitzpatrick during the discussions. “Fitzpatrick had his chance to stand up for Bucks County workers and help create jobs,” she said. “Instead, he turned his back on them.”

    Jim Bauer, from Levittown, said that Fitzpatrick turned his back on working families like his own. Jim worked at U.S. Steel as a crane operator for 25 years before it shut down and he found himself without a way to support his family or use the skills he’d spent years building. Today, Jim is back at the old U.S. Steel site except now he’s constructing wind turbines for the clean energy company Gamesa Corp., which was recruited to the site with the tax incentives Fitzpatrick opposed.

    “If Fitzpatrick had his way, the former U.S. Steel site would still be an economic and environmental brownfield instead of a growing hub for manufacturing and green energy companies,” Murphy said.

    Miller also debunked Fitzpatrick’s previous claims that he refused to take the second vote due to a sudden “conflict of interest.”

    “Fitzpatrick was the lead negotiator on the deal for a year and had already taken votes on the tax incentive proposal before just days earlier,” Miller said. “Fitzpatrick can make excuses, but the bottom line is that he voted against jobs for Bucks County.”
    Also, lookee here - it seems that those zany Bucks County teabaggers are all going to put on their brown shirts and have a little party at Shady Brook Farm next Friday (including Mikey, Daryl Metcalfe, Self-Ciervo and Simon Campbell...I'll try to rev up the video camera for the occasion; hopefully the event will yield some You Tube moments).

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Thursday PM Stuff

    To learn more, click here (and by the way, I also posted here)...

    ...and I have a question for Pat "Voted For The Iraq War And Both of Dubya's Tax Cuts" Toomey - which extra-terrestrial alien is providing the numbers about how much health care and the bailout is costing "households" that appear in those annoying pop-up ads at CNN and Yahoo, among other places (I mean, those numbers can't be based on this planet)? Health care reform costs $8,900 per "household"? The bailout (passed under Dubya) $6,600? WHAAAAA???????

    To help Admiral Joe, click here...

    ...and Elon James White has an interesting Haley Barbour story on "This Week In Blackness"...

    ...and happy 85th birthday to B.B. King (no video, but I always dug this song).

    Thursday AM Stuff

    Take a bow, teabaggers - sounds more like O'Donnell is running for Pope here (yes, I understand that what she's saying has a lot of moral truth, but the problem is that you can't translate this into an effective, realistic policy from a health and human services perspective - it's been tried, and it doesn't work)...

    Update 1: And in other "news," the sky is blue and water is wet, I know (here).

    Update 2: "Dignity versus commodity" (here)??? You have to read all the way to the end of the Bill Orally thing, but it's there., then, this goes out to the Republican U.S. Senate nominee from DE.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Wednesday Stuff

    Hey, keep dumping on The Orange One - works for me (and every word of the ad is true)...

    ...and the title of this little number embodies my wish for the Repugs (another lesson in lousy bathroom acoustics).

    Wednesday Mashup (9/15/10)

    (Not sure about posting again over the next day or so, by the way…)

  • As a public service, I give you a periodic flashback of ultra stoo-pid wingnuttery from Rand Paul, who seems to be trying to avoid saying or doing anything controversial in his U.S. Senate contest with Dem Jack Conway for the seat of outgoing Repug Sen. Jim “High and Tight” Bunning (here)…

    In 2006, Ernie Fletcher was the Republican, scandal-plagued governor of Kentucky, fighting off charges that he concocted “a scheme to illegally award state jobs to political supporters.” After a two-year probe by the state attorney general into his hiring practices, Fletcher was indicted by a “special state grand jury on three counts of criminal conspiracy, official misconduct and political discrimination.” Fletcher later signed an agreement with the attorney general conceding that there was “wrongdoing by his administration” in exchange for dropping all charges. But in August 2006, Rand Paul — now the GOP Senate candidate — penned an op-ed in the Kentucky Post offering a different solution. Paul said that if he were Fletcher, he’d simply pardon himself...
    To help Jack Conway, click here.

  • Update 9/16/10: I guess Paul isn't staying away far enough from that pesky media (here).

  • Further, just to prove that all politics is ultimately local, I give you the following from PA-08’s incumbent Dem U.S. House Rep Patrick Murphy…

    Murphy Breaks Ground on Yardley Flood Prevention Project

    The Bucks County Congressman secured funding for the installation of a new system to help prevent flooding of roads and homes

    (Yardley, PA) – Next time the Delaware River rises over its banks, Yardley’s storm water system will be better prepared to handle the floodwaters. Thanks to funding secured by Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District), construction workers broke ground Tuesday on a project to install more than a dozen much needed backflow preventers in Yardley, which will help keep water from backing up onto roads and into people’s homes.

    “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Murphy said. “This project creates jobs and helps prevent the costly damage we’ve had after previous floods.” He added that the project will generate construction jobs, as workers will be needed to install and maintain the backflow preventers.

    “Thanks to Murphy’s efforts, Yardley will be in better shape and families will avoid a lot of the heartache that comes with seeing your home underwater,” said Bill Winslade, Yardley Borough manager.

    The Congressman secured $280,000 for the project, though the National Flooding Insurance Program (NFIP) estimates that the cost of the project would be offset by the savings it incurs after a single flooding event, in terms of damage done to roads and homes. The backflow preventers will eliminate water backing up in Yardley’s storm water pipes and up through the inlets on the street.

    When Murphy first entered office, he said he wanted to stop talking about flooding and start doing something about it. Since then, he has brought together Democrats and Republicans together to make flood prevention a priority.

    To help residents and municipalities recover from previous floods and prepare for future ones, Murphy brought home over $3 million in FEMA grants and federal flood prevention funds, including funding for high-powered pumps that can quickly displace water from a flooded area. These projects save millions of dollars that would otherwise be spent on insurance claims and flooding repairs.
    To reward our congressman’s good behavior, click here.

    Also, in the matter of Bucks County, PA politics, kudos to our PA-31 House rep Steve Santarsiero for fighting the proposed tolling of the new bridge planned to alleviate the traffic of the existing Scudder Falls Bridge (here – to contact Steve and learn more, click here).

  • Update 9/16/10: More good work by Steve is noted here.

  • Continuing, in light of the teabagger win by Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, look for corporatist media-political bottom feeders like Doug Schoen to jump on the proverbial bandwagon (here)…

    Last night politicians came to a reality that the public has known about for a long time as the Tea Party and non-establishment candidates won major "surprise" victories. The takeaway from these results is that Americans are mad and they will be heard as they cast their votes.

    The most headline grabbing "upset" on Tuesday night was Christine O'Donnell's victory over Congressman Michael Castle in Delaware's Republican primary for Senate. Castle seemed all but assured of his place in the Senate as he drew an unknown Democratic opponent and paid little attention to an even more unknown primary challenge. Yet, with the backing of the Tea Party O'Donnell finished strong and ousted Castle, a Delaware political staple for decades.
    Not sure why Schoen has upset in quotes, but there you are.

    And in the matter of last night’s Republican Delaware primary win for O’Donnell, I thought Fred Barnes of The Weakly Standard unintentionally made some good points here…

    (Castle) voted against ObamaCare and is a co-sponsor of repeal legislation. He voted against the stimulus. He’s for extending all the Bush tax cuts.
    And the teabaggers kicked him to the curb anyway.

    Too funny.

  • Next, we have the following from Yahoo News here (a matter that vastly transcends the typical political yak-yak, I’ll admit)…

    BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Rep. Maurice Hinchey told a federal hearing Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency must regulate hydraulic fracturing, the natural gas extraction process that he said has contaminated water near drilling sites around the country.

    "There are numerous reports of water contamination related to hydraulic fracturing in states across the country," said Hinchey, D-N.Y. "Despite the fact that EPA is, in many ways, precluded from taking regulatory action in response to these reports, I believe EPA must investigate to understand what is being done — to keep water supplies safe and secure."

    The process, also known as fracking, blasts millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals, some of them carcinogens, deep into the earth to free gas from dense shale deposits. As a gas rush sweeps parts of the vast and lucrative Marcellus Shale region that underlies New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, environmentalists are concerned for the watershed that provides drinking water for 17 million people from Philadelphia to New York City.

    Environmentalists fear the process, which leaves as much as 90 percent of the post-fracking water known as "produced water" deep underground, will irreversibly taint aquifers.

    (Brad Gill of the Independent Oil and Gas Association) said "strict state regulations" for decades have governed fracking and the industry has "a stellar environmental record" to show for it.

    In New York, he said, there are about 14,000 producing natural gas wells, thousands of which were begun by the fracking process. New York has not seen one case of groundwater contamination by fracking fluids, he said.

    "A Hollywood actor holding a glass of cloudy water proves nothing except that fear-mongering and emotion will always trump science and logic," he said, taking aim at the recent critical TV documentary "Gasland," by Josh Fox.
    Oh, that’s a good one.

    Read this, you parasite, particularly the following…

    In parts of Pennsylvania, shale gas drilling has been going full steam ahead for a few years now. The town of Dimock, Penn. is the example most journalists have been pointing to, and Fox goes there as well, interviewing families whose water has turned brown, but who have been told by the gas guys that it’s safe to drink. In one segment, Fox shows family after family saying, “We told them, if it’s safe to drink, then let me get you a glass and see you drink it, and they wouldn’t drink it!”

    Then he finds the people whose water is so full of natural gas, they can light it on fire, straight from the tap. As one man nearly singes his eyebrows off with a fireball from his faucet, Fox looks at the camera in disbelief. He and the man had been almost excited about the fire–Fox had been hoping to catch it on camera and his interview subject wanted it documented as well–but that excitement soon turns to sober reality. “That’s actually sort of scary,” Fox says. “Really scary. Disgusting.”

    From Pennsylvania Fox makes his way through Texas and the Barnett Shale region, stopping to interview the mayor of Dish, Texas (so named in order to get everyone in town free cable--welcome to Texas), who has been at the forefront of the fight against natural gas drilling in Texas. In nearby Fortworth, although the public has long been supportive (and employed by) the oil and gas industries, cases linking natural gas drilling to health concerns have begun to crop up, and scientists are linking off-the-charts benzene levels in the air to shale gas drilling in the region. (Benzene is a known carcinogen.)

    Fox travels next to Sublette County, Colorado, which should stand as a cautionary tale to the states currently evaluating shale gas drilling. On land owned by the Bureau of Land Management, hundreds of wells have been sited, compliments of Dick Cheney, who urged the BLM to open up its lands (which are public lands, mind you) to natural gas exploration. There we see streams bubbling with natural gas, farmers complaining of their livelihoods being ruined by contaminated soil and water, and we meet legendary environmentalist and toxicity expert Dr. Theo Colborn, who explains how the combination of natural gas and fracking chemicals in the water and the air is giving people permanent brain damage.
    And make sure you remember to find a “Hollywood actor” to blame for the brain damage, Gill (and by the way, there are no actors in “Gasland,” Hollywood or otherwise).

  • Also, Marc Thiessen has a particularly repugnant column here to commemorate the recent ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks…

    Our intelligence community--acting on information provided by detainees interrogated by the CIA--also disrupted an al-Qaeda cell planning to repeat the destruction of 9/11 in Europe by flying airplanes into Heathrow Airport and downtown London (imagine Big Ben collapsing like the Twin Towers). They captured two terrorists sent by Khalid Sheik Mohammed to blow up high-rise apartment buildings in a major American city--including one, Jose Padilla, as he arrived in Chicago to carry out KSM's orders.

    They captured a cell of Southeast Asian terrorists--including trained pilots who had met with Osama bin Laden--recruited by KSM to fly an airplane into the Library Tower in Los Angeles. They disrupted a plot to replicate the destruction of our embassies in East Africa by blowing up the U.S. consulate and Western residences in Karachi, Pakistan; a plot to blow up our Marine camp in Djibouti in an attack that could have matched the destruction of the 1983 Beirut Marine barracks bombing; an al-Qaeda cell that was developing anthrax for attacks in the United States; and many other plots whose details remain classified.
    I doubt anything whatsoever that I hear or read from Thiessen, but I wanted to call attention to just a few items from that excerpt.

    As noted here…

    The forensic psychiatrist who examined (Padilla) says that he "does not appreciate the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him, is unable to render assistance to counsel, and has impairments in reasoning as the result of a mental illness, i.e., post-traumatic stress disorder, complicated by the neuropsychiatric effects of prolonged isolation". José Padilla appears to have been lobotomised: not medically, but socially.

    If this was an attempt to extract information, it was ineffective: the authorities held him without charge for three and half years. Then, threatened by a Supreme Court ruling, they suddenly dropped their claims that he was trying to detonate a dirty bomb. They have now charged him with some vague and lesser offences to do with support for terrorism.
    Continuing here, in the matter of the Library Tower plot (with Thiessen arguing that “enhanced interrogation” methods worked in “24”-like fashion)…

    What clinches the falsity of Thiessen's claim, however (and that of the memo he cites, and that of an unnamed Central Intelligence Agency spokesman who today seconded Thessen's argument), is chronology. In a White House press briefing, Bush's counterterrorism chief, Frances Fragos Townsend, told reporters that the cell leader was arrested in February 2002, and "at that point, the other members of the cell" (later arrested) "believed that the West Coast plot has been canceled, was not going forward" [italics mine]. A subsequent fact sheet released by the Bush White House states, "In 2002, we broke up [italics mine] a plot by KSM to hijack an airplane and fly it into the tallest building on the West Coast." These two statements make clear that however far the plot to attack the Library Tower ever got—an unnamed senior FBI official would later tell the Los Angeles Times that Bush's characterization of it as a "disrupted plot" was "ludicrous"—that plot was foiled in 2002. But Sheikh Mohammed wasn't captured until March 2003.
    Think Progress provides more details here on how the “enhanced interrogation” methods of our prior ruling cabal failed (Thiessen isn’t honest enough to tell you straight up that that’s what he’s talking about, but it is…the only thing more repugnant than the actual consequences of the terror attacks themselves is the exploitative, political one-upsmanship of nematodes like Thiessen in response...and more information on this subject is here).

  • Finally, David Bossie complains here about the DISCLOSE Act, trying to divert the argument to the economy and the snail-like pace of the improvement in employment numbers in response.

    As noted here, though, the DISCLOSE Act (currently stalled in the Senate - no surprise, I know) seeks “to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit foreign influence in Federal elections, to prohibit government contractors from making expenditures with respect to such elections, and to establish additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in such elections, and for other purposes.”

    Basically, the DISCLOSE Act originated as a response to the dreadful Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case.

    Oh, and did I mention that David Bossie is president of Citizens United (an organization formerly known by this acronym, by the way)?

    Yeah, I’d say we’re done here.
  • Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Tuesday PM Stuff

    Yes, I'm more than an impartial observer, but I still think this is a hell of a great ad from Patrick Murphy (to reward good behavior, click here)...

    ...and this goes out to Christine O'Donnell (heh - this almost makes me feel sorry for Mike "70-year-old, bad heart, 'Pillsbury bake-off, man-pants' Republican" Castle...almost).

    Tuesday Mashup Part Two (9/14/10)

    (Part One is here.)

  • Leave it to Cal Thomas to come up with “solution” to The War On Terra! Terra! Terra! (here)…

    We are doing a poor job of fighting the terrorists at home if we continue to allow Muslim immigrants, especially from Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, into America.
    I’ll tell you what, Cal: here is a list of Muslim scholars throughout the world, including many in North America (and the U.S. of course). Why don’t you go over the list and let us know who we should keep and who we should send packing, OK (and more commentary on this is here – h/t Atrios).

    And I know I’m just a liberal nut job or something, but to me, if you want to reduce the number of prison inmates who could potentially be indoctrinated into radical Islam, then you might consider taking the profit motive out of the prison business, which could lead to fewer incarcerations for non-violent offenders (an example of politicians operating in collusion with same is noted here).

  • Next, it seems that those “values voters” aren’t as enamored with our 44th president as they pretended to be when everything was all “hopey, changey” (here)…

    President Barack Obama has long sought to open a dialogue between his administration and evangelical religious leaders, and he has even found common ground on some issues with conservative groups like the Southern Baptist Convention and the National Association of Evangelicals.

    But even though Obama may have won over some religious leaders, he’s losing the battle to win over their congregants.

    Though several moderate to conservative evangelical pastors support the president, polls show that a significant percentage of conservative Christians remain skeptical about Obama’s sincerity when it comes to the values that he says they share, and many say they doubt his faith.

    Joel Hunter, one of Obama’s religious advisers, who has served on the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, blames a coordinated campaign to spread disinformation about the president, undermining his efforts at outreach to evangelicals. That, he said, leads to suspicions among average conservative churchgoers who suspect Obama is trying “to enlist good people for their sinister causes.”
    Gosh, I can’t understand why these life forms aren’t rallying around the president; you think all those months of Fix Noise and their ideological fellow travelers caterwauling about Hawaiian birth certificates and alleged Kenyan Muslim ancestry have had an effect?

    And remember the outcry when Rick Warren was chosen to speak at the inauguration (here)? I would call this an interesting non-response from Warren in return; shows what happens when you try to bargain with some of these sheep as a non-white non-Republican.

  • Also (and in keeping with the theme of the prior two posts somewhat), Richard Cohen of the WaPo tells us the following (here)…

    There is a glint of John Brown in the eyes of the Rev. Terry Jones, a bit of theatrical madness and a Gingrichian lust for the spotlight. His plan to burn the Koran was canceled, or, given the way these things often go, maybe merely postponed. For CNN will call again or the "Today" show will run out of missing white girls and Jones will again feel compelled to burn someone else's holy book, striking a match to illuminate his own bigotry and, while he's at it, forcing us to take sides. I stand with Jones.
    I could go on a bit I suppose about Cohen’s farcical comparison of Terry Jones to John Brown; yes, Brown was a revolutionary, and I believe he was dealt with accordingly, but even though he was wrong to use violent methods, he knew he would be risking his life in what he believed to be a noble cause (and there is a school of thought out there that believes that, had Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry – a truly beautiful place, it should be noted – actually been successful, the South would have seen the folly of slavery and relented without having to fight The Civil War…I don’t believe that, mind you, but I’m just saying others do).

    “Pastor” Terry Jones, however, is nothing but a publicity hound who only “stood down” from performing his idiotic stunt when it was made abundantly clear to him that individuals likely to be offended by it might do him harm (Wonder what the “Terry Jones” of Monty Python thinks of all this, by the way? I’m sure I know, but it probably would be amusing to hear what he has to say).

    All that aside, the reason why I’m saying anything at all about this is because of Cohen’s line about “missing white girls.”

    Does our corporate media have a fixation in that department? Um, yep.

    Somehow, though, I don’t think Cohen has any room to be a crank on this subject (to say nothing of trivializing the pain of families and friends racked with worry over such awful circumstances).

    Particularly when, as noted here, Cohen was one of the individuals who minimized the crime of film director Roman Polanski, who now will probably never stand trial (yes, I know the judge in the case had issues to say the least, but that doesn’t absolve Polanski of his offense). And as noted here, Cohen has his own chauvinist “dirty laundry,” having been “scolded” by his paper for “crude talk with a female aide” (and I would argue that behavior like this is logical under those twisted circumstances).

    Pundit wankery is dumb enough, but when you throw some veiled sexism to boot, you have a truly ugly combination (wonder how Cohen will criticize his peers next time?).

  • Finally, I somehow missed the recent screed by PA-16’s waste of space on Tucker Carlson’s crayon scribble page (here, in the matter of President Obama’s recent proposal to spend $50 billion on infrastructure – too little, hopefully not too late, but a good idea anyway)…

    The President wants his new $50 billion in funding paid for by tax increases and attached to the general surface transportation authorization bill.
    Uh, no – as noted here…

    Obama said the proposal would be fully paid for. In an earlier briefing for reporters, administration officials said Obama would pay for the program by asking lawmakers to close tax breaks for oil and gas companies and multinational corporations.
    Also from Pitts…

    Only seven percent of the February 2009 stimulus act was dedicated to infrastructure.
    Actually, according to Wikipedia (here), the number is closer to 13 percent (about $105.3 billion divided by $787 total), for what it’s worth.


    Many businesses could improve efficiency and increase profits by purchasing new computers or manufacturing equipment. Unfortunately, the President is calling for these tax credits to be paid for with tax increases in other sectors.
    “Other sectors,” huh? Does Pitts mean the oil companies and the rest of the investor class (as HuffPo reported above)? If he had a speck of integrity, he would be honest and say so, even though all we’re talking about here is a return to Clinton-era tax rates at worst, but that doesn’t sound scary enough for Pancake Joe (besides, the flip-flop on this issue by RNC head Michael Steele noted here is more comical than anything Pitts can come up with).

    This may be one of the last posts I do involving Joe Pitts before the election since Congress has returned to session, so I won’t have many more chances to make the following plea:

    If anyone from PA-16 happens to be reading this, please do all you can in support of Lois Herr, the Dem challenger for Pitts seat (you can start by clicking here). I haven’t seen any recent polling numbers, but I’m sure it will continue to be an uphill fight.

    Given the choice of dealing with Pitts nonsense through 2012 at a minimum (and receiving more posting material I’m sure) versus witnessing the glorious moment that this district receives the congressional representation it deserves at long last, I’d take the latter choice in a heartbeat.

  • Update 9/26/10: Go, Lois, Go! (here - and to do more, click here).

    Tuesday AM Stuff

    I don't know how many people have seen this clip, so I thought I'd pass it along, in which Fix Noise humanoid Megyn Kelly confronts Dr. Adam Dorin on a claim from Dorin's web site that Obama won the presidency through hypnosis at about 3:30 or so (heh - it should be noted that Dorin actually disavowed that statement from his fellow physician - as much as I hate to give Kelly credit for anything, I have to since she found out that little tidbit...more on Dorin here).

    By the way, despite what Dorin says near the end of this clip, the AMA counted approximately 135,000 doctors as of 2005, about 15 percent of the U.S. total - more from Media Matters here, in which that figure had risen to 29 percent by last year.

    Also, am I the only one who thought it was funny, but typical, for Fix Noise to sort of sneak in those two wide camera shots in an attempt to show off Kelly's legs? She wouldn't be on that network unless she could also substitute for eye candy I know, but I think they're also sending a message to their audience along the lines of "we think you're so dumb that you won't stick with this story unless we pull gratuitous stuff like this."

    ...and here's a bit of bluesy rock to start our day.

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Monday Mashup (9/13/10)

  • Want to see how the Repugs play our corporate media?

    Read this, particularly the following…

    WASHINGTON – House Minority Leader John Boehner says he would vote for President Obama's plan to extend tax cuts only for middle-class earners, not the wealthy, if that were the only option available to House Republicans.
    Of course The Orange One said that.

    Because he knew that Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao would say the following in the Senate (here)…

    Senate Republicans will oppose any effort to renew soon-to-expire Bush administration tax cuts if upper income taxpayers are excluded from the reductions.

    A spokesman for Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that every Senate Republican has pledged to oppose President Barack Obama's tax-cutting plan. Obama would renew the tax cuts for most people, but let the top income tax rate rise back to almost 40 percent on family or small business income over $250,000.
    Jed Lewison at Daily Kos has some nice commentary of this also (here).

  • Also, it seems that our corporate media was splitting hairs a bit here concerning the recent dustup between “The Governator” and a certain moose-hunting, half-term former Alaska governor (here)…

    From California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's official Twitter feed last evening:

    "Over Anchorage, AK. Looking everywhere but can't see Russia from here. Will keep you updated as search continues."

    Ouch. His fellow Republican, 2008 vice presidential nominee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, didn't actually tell ABC-TV's Charlie Gibson, back in 2008, that she could see Russia from her home in Wasilla. She said:

    "They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."

    But thanks to Saturday Night Live, Palin will forever be linked to the joke "I can see Russia from my house."
    Two immediate thoughts: 1) The point of the joke made by Tina Fey as Palin was that the one-time veep candidate was trying to claim her state’s proximity to Russia as the basis for some kind of imagined foreign policy experience, and 2) With this supposed story, I think the proverbial “fifteen minutes” for Twitter are officially up (and once again, would that our corporate media judged every possible newsmaker and outlet as thoroughly as they seem to critique "Saturday Night Live").

    But more to the point, though, when I hear about Palin, Alaska and Russia, what I don’t think of immediately is that hilarious graphic with Our Ol’ Buddy Vlad Putin’s head looking across the globe in the direction of The Great White North (I’ll try to find it...can't recall where it is at the moment).

    (Oh yeah, this is it...funny.)

    No, what I think of first is the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, better known as UNCLOS, an item I posted about two years ago during a certain presidential election here (and based on this, at least one Daily Kos diarist shares my concerns also, since, in ’07, when Russia made its famous claim to own the North Pole, it also made a less famous claim to own 18,000 square miles of Alaskan sea territory.).

    It should be noted, by the way, that UNCLOS was signed but not ratified, and ratification was favored by the Bushco cabal (no immediate word on whether ratification is favored by the Obama Administration, but I’d be surprised if it isn’t). Because we haven’t yet ratified it, though, we don’t have the same legal footing to question tactics in our hemisphere by Russia, China, or any other potentially adversarial power.

    So, instead of chuckling over some silly little dustup between two Republican governors, one who no longer holds office and the other who is on the way out, let’s get some vital questions about our sovereignty and oil rights settled instead, OK?

  • Finally, someone named Michael Tanner is here to beat another trending conservative talking point to death, and that is the alleged “Chicago gangland” tactics of our current presidential administration in the matter of health care reform…

    Faced with the fact that the new health-care law was driving up insurance premiums, Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius warned that the administration would have "zero tolerance" for anyone who blamed them for those price hikes.

    Insurance companies that persist in telling the truth could face dire consequences. "We will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes . . . on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections," she wrote in a letter to the insurance industries' trade association.

    At the very least, she noted "bad actors" could be excluded from new government-run health-insurance exchanges that will begin operation in 2014 under the law. That could cost insurers as many as 30 million customers nationwide. People also might not be able to use government subsidies to buy insurance from companies that don't toe the administration line. What's next? Only companies that write checks to the Democratic National Committee can participate? Have too many employees contribute to the wrong candidate, and you get a visit from the insurance commissioner?
    Hardy har har (and I mean no disrespect to our HHS secretary, but I can think of a lot scarier people than Kathleen Sebelius – I just hope I don’t have nightmares now where she confronts me in a dark alley with a menacing look on her face, and gives me…A GOOD SCOLDING!).


    Seriously, though, this Daily Kos post from mcjoan pretty much called this move…

    I don't think there's a soul who paid any attention to this process who didn't know this would happen (i.e, raising rates and blaming it on HCR), which is one of the reasons the seat the insurers had at the negotiation table was problematic to so many. That the insurers were operating in good faith was more than many could swallow, and now that suspicion is justified. They were going to raise premiums regardless, because that's what they do. This way they get to raise premiums and get to blame it the law they tried so hard to kill.
    And give this post a read and tell me again why I’m supposed to feel sorry for the oh-so-put-upon health insurance providers (and let me know when “Obama care” tries to pull something like this so I can be outraged over an actual problem, OK?).

    And get a load of this from Tanner…

    The new health-care law requires insurers to provide coverage even for people who are already sick and forbids them from charging sick people higher premiums than healthy people.
    Oh yes, God forbid that insurers be compelled to do the right thing and actually treat sick people, as opposed to letting them die a slow, inexorable death and contest their treatment, and you could debate that that’s what happened here (first item).

    The following should also be noted about the new health care law (here)…

    Starting in 2011, insurers will have to spend at least 80% of every premium dollar on medical care. If they don't, they have to rebate the difference to consumers. So a giant rate hike would have to be traceable back to a giant increase in medical receipts. If it's not, all that money would have to be rebated to enrollees, and it wouldn't do insurers any good. In other words, rate hikes between now and 2014 would just mean rebates for the affected consumers.
    Continuing with Tanner..

    Making matters worse, ObamaCare utterly fails to control rising health-care costs. In fact, a new report from the government's own actuaries concludes that total US health-care spending will rise faster as a result of the new law than if we had done nothing.
    I’m not sure exactly what equation Tanner is using to calculate “rising health care costs,” but here and here is evidence that health care reform will reduce the deficit according to the Washington Post and multiple CBO reports.

    In conclusion, Tanner tries to scare us with some OOGA-BOOGA! quote from President Gerald Ford and the size of government. Well, two can play that game (if you believe that more affordable access to health care should be a basic right for all Americans, and sometimes, the correct thing to do isn’t always the most popular thing to do)…

    History and experience tell us that moral progress comes not in comfortable and complacent times, but out of trial and confusion.
    I think I like that quote better.