Saturday, November 06, 2010

Saturday Stuff

Until the business with Keith Olbermann broke (and we're up to 200 K on the petition signatures as noted here), this was the commentary from Rachel Maddow that was garnering the most attention, and rightly so (maybe I'll add the clip with John Hodgman another time...this is what happens when fools in our corporate media allow conservatives to suck the oxygen out of intelligent dialogue in the name of providing "balance" to any discussion)...

...and I realize that this video has nothing whatsoever to do with politics, but in another context, I think it describes what we have in store from the bunch due to take over the House next January (heckuva job, "moderate" Dems and independent voters - lots more like this stuff on the way, I'm sure; add it to the NY-NJ tunnel project killed by Governor Bully).

Update 11/9/10: And speaking of New Jersey's gubernatorial mistake, I give you this (looks like decency and propriety are only for the "little people"...and Dems, of course).

Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday Stuff

Rachel Maddow takes the mess with K.O. and turns lemons into lemonade, or something (didn't a recently defeated U.S. Senate candidate say something about that? And I don't know how many other people have noticed it, but this is just the latest in a series of outstanding Maddow commentaries)...

...and ever since the Olbermann story broke, this was about the only song running through my head - consider it a tribute to the person in question.

Update 11/7/10: Sounds like Keith will be back Tuesday (here).

Friday Mashup (11/05/10)

  • The only word for this is bullshit, people!

    So let me get this straight – Joe Scarborough can contribute to Republicans (noted above), and that’s OK. However, Keith contributes to Democrats…and that’s a problem???!!!

    I called (212) 664-4444 a few minutes ago and asked to speak to Phil Griffin, and I was directed to the voice mail box for “Countdown,” where I communicated what I thought of this stupid joke of a decision (if you go this route, be brief, and though the temptation to swear is huge at this moment, it’s self-defeating to do that, even though I did so above, I know).

    And Griffin can be reached by Email from here.

    Pathetic (and don’t get me started on how corporations can do whatever they want because of Citizens United, but apparently people can’t...and yes, I respect the fact that the station is allowed to have its own policy, but something is seriously wrong when Bill Kristol, of all people, sides with K.O. here; shocking to see him do absolutely the right thing on this).

    (Oh, and silly me to forget about this guy also.)

  • Aside from the Olbermann travesty, I’m laying a bit low to get caught up on other stuff, also to let the wingnuts have their triumphal moment for now (though it will be really interesting watching this bunch trying to govern, both on the federal and state level), but I wanted to point out the following in particular from here.

    And that is the news that Nancy Pelosi is running for House Minority Leader.


    That’s the way to respond to all of the stupid right-wing caterwauling that we’ve endured since she took over in 2006 (which basically is sexism disguised as a difference in ideology – one of the “Clinton rules” is that, the more a Democrat is successful, the more that person will engender right wing animus).

    So if you’re disposed to sign a petition in support of Pelosi, feel free to do so at Daily Kos from the link above (I’ll add my name momentarily).

  • Also, I give you the following from the New York Times today (here, in the matter of Russ Feingold’s U.S. Senate defeat in Wisconsin, an act of breathtaking stupidity that I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to completely digest)…

    After being eroded for years, the McCain-Feingold Act was gutted this year by the Supreme Court, helping to pave the way for millions of dollars to gush into campaigns from outside groups, most of whom do not have to reveal their donors — including at least $4 million in Wisconsin this year, virtually all of it against Mr. Feingold, 57, or for his opponent, Ron Johnson, 55, a wealthy Republican businessman.

    Mr. Feingold rejected such money, as he had his entire career, but analysts said that probably had little to do with his loss.

    “Independents deserted Democrats, period,” said Ken Goldstein, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. “This was not about Feingold’s record or the money or the advertising. It was about the anger of independents at the status quo.”

    Still, others saw the flow of unregulated money as an added dimension to the narrative, in which Mr. Feingold was “hoist on his own petard,” said Mordecai Lee, who was first elected to the State Senate with Mr. Feingold in 1982 and is now a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.

    “Because his good-government streak and his push for changes in the campaign finance system had no political constituency,” Mr. Lee said, “they led to the lawsuit that opened up the floodgates.”
    Two things: first, this confirms my belief that many, but by no means all, independent voters are utterly clueless.

    Second, this tells us the following (from May 2001, soon after McCain-Feingold passed)…

    "I think we have a better chance this time around because the corrupting influence of money has gotten worse and the success of McCain-Feingold has at least awakened the consciousness of people to the problem," (Wisconsin State Senator Mike) Ellis said.

    At least two states - Connecticut and Alaska - have already gone where no state or the federal government has gone before. They have banned soft money contributions to the parties and have set tougher rules governing special interest fund-raising activities.

    In March, a legislative committee in Connecticut also approved another bill authorizing taxpayer financing of statewide campaigns. A similar measure passed last year but was vetoed by Gov. John G. Rowland. He has threatened the same fate this year for the revived measure.

    But like Ellis, the Connecticut bill's sponsors feel the reform winds blowing in their direction given the momentum of the McCain-Feingold measure and public opinion polls showing Americans believe special interest contributions are a corrupting influence.

    A poll of New Yorkers conducted in April by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion found that 71 percent of those surveyed support taxpayer funding of campaigns if it's coupled with spending and fund-raising limitations. The poll followed the unveiling of a proposal by state Democratic lawmakers that would provide $2 in public funds for every $1 raised by statewide candidates.

    A recent public opinion survey of Oklahomans by the Daily Oklahoman and the University of Oklahoma also confirmed what most national surveys show - that Americans in general believe special interest contributions buy access to politicians that average constituents don't have.

    Another poll released this spring by the North Carolina Center for Voter Education offered up the same cynical view of the campaign finance system. Nearly 75 percent of the 600 North Carolina voters surveyed said politicians spend more time raising money than solving problems. And 91 percent of the those polled said campaign contributions do influence how politicians legislate either "a great deal" or at least "a moderate amount." The survey found as well that a majority of those questioned - 60 percent - favor some form of public campaign financing, although 49 percent of the respondents expressed concern that using tax dollars might result in funding cuts for vital programs.

    "What our poll shows is that people are getting to the point where they feel that the government - government being the results of the campaign finance system - is just not representative," says Jesse Rutledge, the center's communications director.

    Rutledge added, however, that it would probably take "something like a fund-raising scandal" to get people angry enough to insist on change even though 62 percent in the poll said the issue ought to be addressed before the 2002 election.
    Gee, for an issue that supposedly “had no political constituency,” I would say that it resonated pretty well with voters across the country, back in 2001 anyway (and maybe a "fund-raising scandal" like a bogus Supreme Court decision also, with the response noted here).

    And in terms of keeping foreign money out of politics, I give you this from the present day to show how much voters oppose this (though, to be honest, the only way to clean this up once and for all is to have public-only financing of political campaigns, and unfortunately, I don’t see enough of a genuine political constituency for that).
  • Thursday, November 04, 2010

    Thursday Stuff

    Sort of a mixed bag of political stuff from yesterday, including the little Billo note about MSNBC hosts offing themselves (good job on Prop 23 in California at least - nice that the voters in that state, unlike Florida and Kentucky, don't have their heads buried in a bodily orifice, and too many in PA also)...

    ...and here's some more election mourning music from video (my "pout" should be over by next week).

    A "Countdown" To Some Ripe Billo/"Byko" Blather

    The headline of today’s Philadelphia Daily News reads “Who’s Fair and Balanced: O’Reilly vs. Olbermann,” by Stu Bykofsky (here). The premise is that Bykofsky apparently watched both the O’Reilly program and “Countdown” for all five days last week and filed his report.

    And if you’re guessing that Bykofsky provided plenty of fertilizer, then all I can say is that it’s time to start tending your garden.

    Anyway, here it is…

    Monday October 25 (O’Reilly)

    First up from the left, in the wake of O'Reilly's questionable comment about "Muslims" attacking the U.S., is Ahmed Rehab, the Chicago executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations. He and Bill have a vigorous argument. Also on the left: Alicia Menendez, senior adviser of the NDN liberal think tank and liberal Juan Williams. (He and Bill are having a bromance.)
    Ugh – that’s an image that will test my gag reflex. And if Williams is a “liberal,” then I’m a glibertarian (based on this and this).


    Three from the right: Former network correspondent Bernie Goldberg, "Weekly Standard" writer Mary Katherine Ham and Fox News analyst Brit Hume, whose presentation is even-handed, but he usually leans right.
    Hume does a lot more than “usually” lean right, as noted here.


    Tuesday October 26 (“Countdown”)

    Olbermann opens with Gabe Gonzalez, of the Campaign for Community Change, followed by Chris Hayes, Washington Editor of The Nation, followed by Lauren Valle of, who was roughed up by Rand Paul's henchmen in Kentucky, and closing with Michael Wolffe, political analyst of the "Daily Beast" website. All left. Olbermann repeatedly describes Valle as getting kicked "in the head" when the video clearly shows the blow was on the shoulder area.
    Number one, the blow was to the head, Byko. And if anyone doesn’t want to believe me, here’s the video. See for yourself.

    Number two, whether we’re talking about a blow to the head or to the shoulder, either way, we’re talking about an assault. And it was against a medium-build young woman holding a paper campaign placard who, I’m sure, posed a mortal threat to a bunch of tall, muscular, overweight middle-aged men.


    Then - an inexplicable Stradivarius violin concert by virtuoso Anne Akiko Meyers, whose politics aren't discussed. Four of out five, left. One neutral.
    Oh, how silly it was of K.O. to decide to introduce a little culture to his own program. Good thing Byko never saw any of the “Fridays with Thurber” segments, or else I’m sure he would complain about that too.

    Continuing (and switching to O’Reilly)

    Conservative Stephen Hayes of Weekly Standard is up next, followed by Heidi Harris, a conservative Las Vegas radio-talk host, and then John Stossel, a Libertarian. Since he's arguing for legalizing pot tonight, I count him left.
    John Stossel is “left”? Based on this? This column gets more ridiculous by the minute (though Bykofsky is right about Harris, as noted herecharming).


    Wednesday October 27 (“Countdown”)

    Only two "Countdown" guests tonight as Olbermann gloms the last 20 minutes for a "Special Comment" tirade against the tea party. It wants to create, he hisses with his veins bulging and eyes popping, a "theocracy for white males." (Remember that.)
    Yes, this was indeed the night of Keith’s “Special Comment” about the tea party. And given the behavior of these characters since they arrived on or about the summer of ’09 to protest health care reform, I can hardly criticize anyone for outrage over their actions (actually, there should be plenty more of it in our media).

    Anyway, here is the Special Comment (Part 1)…

    ...and here is Part 2...

    And the transcript is available from here.

    And Byko is also right about the “theocracy for white males” comment. And if you watch the entire “Special Comment” containing, to an overwhelming degree, the words and actions of the teabaggers themselves, you’ll understand exactly why Keith said it (actually, it almost didn’t even need to be said since it was self-evident – almost).

    Here is the context in which Olbermann made the remark…

    You are willing to let these people run this country? This is the America you want? This is the America you are willing to permit? These are the kinds of cranks, menaces, mercenaries and authoritarians you will turn this country over to?

    If you sit there next Tuesday and let this happen, whose fault will that be? Not really theirs. They are taught that freedom is to be seized and rationed. They can sleep at night having advanced themselves and their puppeteers and to hell with everybody else.

    They see the greatness of America not in its people but in its corporations. They see the success of America not in hard work but in business swindles. They see the worthiness of America not in its quality of life but in its quality of investing. They see the future of America not in progress, but in revolution to establish a theocracy for white males, with dissent caged and individuality suppressed.

    They see America not for what is, nor what it can be. They see delusions, specters, fantasies; they see communists under every bed and a gun in every hand. They see tax breaks for the rich and delayed retirement for everyone else. They fight the redistribution of wealth not because they oppose redistribution, but because their sole purpose is to protect wealth and keep it where they think it belongs - in the bank accounts of the wealthy.
    Continuing with O’Reilly on the 27th…

    Next is Occidental University professor Caroline Heldman, who says NPR isn't as far left as she is, then acerbic comedian Dennis Miller from the right.
    By the way, I wonder if Byko knows that Miller headlined a fundraiser for Sharron Angle that Miller plugged on O’Reilly’s show (here)? Funny, but I’ve never heard, say, Howard Fineman publicize a fundraiser for Harry Reid on “Countdown,” nor would I ever.


    Thursday October 28 (O’Reilly)

    "Great American News Quiz" kids Steve Doocey (sp) and Martha MacCallum are neutral in the weekly segment that seems like an excuse to show off a lanky, luscious blond (and McCallum isn't bad either). That's four from the right, one from the left, three neutral.
    Doocy is “neutral” based on this, and not “right”?


    Friday October 29 (O’Reilly)

    In a segment on gender and politics, conservative columnist Andrea Tantaros faces liberal talk-show host Leslie Marshall. From the left, Geraldo Rivera comes in for a chat, followed by Glenn Beck from the right.
    Geraldo Rivera is “left” based on this (where he questioned John Kerry’s military service)?

    Bykofsky wraps up, more or less, by saying that O’Reilly is more diverse than Olbermann because, during that week, O’Reilly happened to have a higher percentage of women and people of color on his show than Olbermann (saying, in response to K.O.’s “theocracy for white males” comment, that Olbermann could be an “imam” of such a group, which is hilarious…sorry Rep. Luis Gutierrez or Melissa Harris-Perry, formerly Bracewell, was unavailable that week).

    Also, Bykofsky laments the lack of opposing views on “Countdown.” I don’t know exactly whether or not conservatives have been asked to come on the show and declined or whether the show never asked, but I don’t care (Rachel Maddow has had individuals such as right-wing lobbyist Rick Berman on her show and also famously jousted with Rand Paul, so it’s not as if MSNBC has tried to stifle them). Besides, there are plenty of places on cable TV to find conservative opinion. Aside from MSNBC, try finding programs such as “Countdown” anywhere else.

    Bykofsky falls into the all-too-familiar trap of thinking that having a conservative and a liberal argue with each other for a minute or so before Anderson Cooper or whoever smiles and says “We’ll have to leave it there” is actually a means to educate and inform. I call that an utter waste of time. When I watch a news or commentary show, I want to learn something from watching knowledgeable people discuss a particular issue. If someone doesn’t know what the hell he or she is talking about but only serves to provide “balance” merely by their presence…well, I see that and it’s time to turn on Spike TV or The Discovery Channel (or Johnny Knoxville…joke).

    In addition to all of this, how can Bykofsky seriously present an analysis of “Countdown” and The O’Reilly Factor, or whatever that mess is called, without actually attempting to analyze the content of what is being discussed? Is he seriously trying to imply that interviews with Dennis Miller and David Corn provide the same degree of expertise on a particular subject? Does he care about the distinction?

    I’ll tell you what – here is a clip from a “Countdown” program in which the show practices some actual journalism for real. Please let me know if and when O’Reilly has ever done this sort of thing.

    Also, this notes a sizeable contribution from Olbermann to the National Association of Free Clinics, with “Countdown” viewers also contributing to the clinics run by the truly heroic Nicole Lamoureaux. I’m sure O’Reilly makes charitable contributions also – I hope so anyway – but Keith has also publicized the clinics on the show, which are on the front lines of the fight for health care reform in this country (with that effort among many other causes still trying to rebound from the serious setback of last Tuesday).

    I guess, by writing this idiotic column, Bykofsky tried once and for all to cement the mythology that O’Reilly’s program is a legitimate venue for news, while Olbermann’s show is a refuge for the “unserious” progressives who only are looking for a place to throw their nightly tantrums. As far as I’m concerned, he utterly failed to achieve that goal.

    And another thing (speaking of unserious) – I’m still waiting for Bykofsky to apologize for this.

    (And by the way, good comeback by K.O. here in response to Billo's joke about MSNBC hosts allegedly killing themselves, with suicide apparently being a wingnut source of humor...ha ha - wonder if "Byko" cares?)

    Wednesday, November 03, 2010

    Wednesday Stuff

    As C&L says here, nothing like the right-wing notion of "bipartisanship"...

    ...typified by this...

    ...and this (and yes, I know Paul and Cantor won)... why wouldn't this be appropriate also?

    (And by the way, from the ashes I give you good stuff here from Chris Bowers and here from kos, who is spot-on in his remarks about Tim Kaine.)

    Update 11/4/10: I thought this was also a bit of good news, though it would have been helpful if more Democratic "moderates" had actually gotten up off their asses and actually voted.

    So Where Do We Go From Here?

    Well, Steve Santarsiero won his PA State House race last night against “Self” Ciervo, he of the voter-caging absentee ballot letter.

    Aside from that…ummm…yep, that’s about it.

    I guess, then, in no particular order, allow me to offer the following:

    Newly-elected U.S. House Rep Mike Fitzpatrick (ugh) said he lost in 2006 because of Dubya and Iraq, in so many words, both supported by Fitzpatrick. Apparently, that has been borne out. In response, if I were Patrick Murphy, I would say that I lost in 2010 because of the economy, which he tried his best to fix in our district (and isn’t this an interesting development, by the way? You think it would’ve helped if this had been announced, say, a month earlier??!! Thanks, Helicopter Ben!).

    Update: Never mind - scratch that about the Fed (here)...

    Yes, it’s cold comfort for Murphy I realize, and I also know it’s a little disingenuous to act like the rotten economy has only boomeranged on Dems, when it did against Poppy Bush in ’92 to help get Bill Clinton elected (and speaking of the Bushes and the economy, let’s not forget this – and if Ras has the edge at 5, you can be sure that the real number is higher than that).

    Also speaking of the economy, you can be sure that I will watch the unemployment rate under Mikey and the Repug majority in the House next year to see if that figure goes down or goes up; the talking point about the unemployment rate supposedly doubling under Murphy apparently being a winner for the Repugs…as far as I’m concerned, the real rate is always higher regardless because of people who aren’t counted, such as those who have lost their jobs and have become discouraged over time from actively looking for work, those who are self-employed or wish to become self-employed, those who have retired before the official retirement age but would still like to work (involuntary early retirees), those on disability pensions, etc. So let’s see if the Repugs put a serious dent in the unemployment rate between, say, January 2011 and August-September 2012.

    I will also review any legislation forthcoming from the “Boehner bunch” to find out how many pages are included and publicize the total number of pages at each opportunity (if there is one talking point in particular I got utterly sick of from the Repugs, it was listening to them whine about the page length of legislation…as if any government official reads every page of the legislation against which they cast a vote – that’s why they have degreed individuals on their staffs to pore through the bills instead).

    In short, I will watch this next Congress to see if these characters govern responsibly. Given their track record from earlier in this decade of the “oughts,” I think we already know the answer.

    If there is anything bound to occur over the next year or two that will provide amusement, though, it will be watching the DeMint teabagger crowd, including Sarah Palin of course, butt heads with Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao, Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie, and the Repug high rollers who truly call the shots in that party. We’ll see if our corporate media decides to look the other way or offer a blow-by-blow account of the spectacle instead.

    And when it comes to offering a post mortem, leave it to the New York Times (a usually sensible publication despite its frequent wankery) to allow column space to Evan Bayh, of all people (here), about what the Dems are supposed to do next (Gee, wonder if Bayh is going to say that Obama should embrace unions, immigration reform and What’s next, an editorial calling for Obama to drop Biden in 2012 for Bob Kerrey…and no, I assure you that I can’t deal with 2012 yet either).

    (There are many reasons why Bayh is a contemptible gutter snipe, but one of them is that, by deciding not to run in this election in which he was favored by a sizeable margin, he could have cost the Dems the Senate also.)

    Update 11/5/10: What Rachel Maddow sez about Bayh here...

    Any kind of analysis on this from yours truly, though, must also cast a look back at myself and my blogging brethren.

    Even though I can’t compare in site traffic to my “A” list betters, even by my measurements, I could tell that the “buzz” was mostly on the other side up until the very end of the election, and I know that’s normal when the opposition party is out of power. And yes, you can’t blame bloggers for the crappy economy and some of the failures of the Obama Administration to not go big enough on trying to fix it when they had the chance (like here).

    Still, this administration and the departing Congress did a lot of historic stuff over the 21 months when it controlled two of the three branches of government, which was noted in this video by Rachel Maddow (by the way, I’m tempted to let that be the final post of the Wordpress site, a standing reminder of what the voters of this country, in their utterly dunderheaded stupidity, rejected, something they can view time and time again if they choose as the U.S. House of John Boehner turns into the sad, contemptible spectacle that I thoroughly expect it to become).

    And that historic stuff was largely ignored and went unpublicized by many of us. That is, until the perception that the Dems in Congress were a bunch of elitist liberal spendthrifts under the command of that dastardly San Francisco libertine Nancy Pelosi had become thoroughly cemented in the political consciousness of this country by Fix Noise and its brethren.

    In shorter words, it should not have taken someone like yours truly to write this post (last item) to point out that our fragmentation on getting out the good word was going to cause trouble. Would it have prevented the Dems losing the House? Since the rotten economy trumped everything, probably not. Would it have made a difference in some close races? Who knows?

    We need to be less concerned about becoming mini-pundits (again, looking at myself a bit) and instead focus on propagating a positive political message when we have one to tell everyone.

    I know the comeback – the Dems have a “big tent” and are a fractious bunch anyway. But one of the reasons why we have the result we do today (aside from the Citizens United ruling by the High Court of Hangin’ Judge JR) is because, as usual, the wingnuts were absolutely relentless in the consistency of their messaging, no matter how preposterous the message. Assuming the day ever comes again when Dems hold both bodies of Congress (and though that prospect looks impossible now, it looked that way for the Repugs about four years ago also), that’s something we definitely need to learn instead of harping about the size of the “stim,” for example (and as much as I admire Jane Hamsher, writing a post in which she agreed with Grover Norquist against Obama was a sort of nihilism of the type that I hope I never see again).

    Oh, and another thing – I watched Jonathan Alter on “Countdown” a few nights ago, and though I was mad at him a few days ago for saying that liberals complain better than they organize, I have to admit that he made a good point about the whole Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert “Rally For Sanity Or Fear” or whatever that was called on the Mall last weekend. Alter said that Stewart had the chance to make some really good points about people getting involved in the political process by voting and speaking out but basically blew the chance to do so, with Stewart blaming the media and the politicians instead. I agree.

    So there, I think I’ve spoken my peace, so I’ll leave it at that (and I thought this Karen Heller column in the Philadelphia Inquirer on this subject was pretty spot-on).

    Get ready for two years of “values voter” crap, pointless investigations, groveling to their corporate “betters”…avoidance of every legitimate issue and refusal to legislate policy in typical Repug fashion (on the federal level – I haven’t even said anything about PA state government, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Repug party also).

    I give this bunch two years. However, that’s more than enough time for them to do a whole world of damage.

    And in 2012, who knows whether or not the voters of this country will stage another hissy fit and return the people to power that actually did some good as opposed to rewarding the ones who made the mess in the first place (wonder if the Dems can organize a bunch of people wearing funny hats and racist signs waving around miniature copies of the Constitution?)

    (And by the way, so much for “bipartisanship” – couldn’t even wait for a whole day after their victory.)

    And I give you a “values” issue from the land where the corn “grows as high as an elephant’s eye,” as the song goes (here…can hardly wait for somebody from that state to introduce a federal bill like the state one – paging Dan Boren…that’s sarcasm, by the way).

    Update: And speaking of "values voter" BS, I give you this (Surprised? If so, you haven't been paying attention).

    Tuesday, November 02, 2010

    Tuesday Stuff

    As I type this, Pat Toomey has just edged ahead of Joe Sestak 51-49 percent with 94 percent of the PA precincts reporting. And Corbett has won of course - hope you liked safe drinking water, because it could become a memory after he lets drillers bust the Marcellus Shale wide open.

    And as for the media nitwits, I think I lost it for good when I heard Mary Matalin actually compare John Boehner to Tip O'Neill.

    Also, after watching Rand Paul win in Kentucky, I now know that there are individuals in this country who would vote for the You Tube talking orange if it had an R next to its name.

    Other news - Rush Holt won in NJ, thank goodness. However, both Alan Grayson and Tom Perriello lost (Grayson wasn't totally a surprise...the lesson there is that the Dems can't beat the "values" drum without it backfiring, like it did in the "Taliban Dan" Webster that fair? Of course not, but that's how many voters think, to the extent that they think at all).

    So, in the first Citizens United election brought to you by the High Court of Hangin' Judge JR, the Repugs have officially taken over the House, and the Senate is up for grabs also (and how anyone in Wisconsin can look at themselves in the mirror for voting out Russ Feingold is something I will never know).

    And worst of all, Mike Fitzpatrick's current margin of projected victory over Patrick Murphy is more than 10,000 votes, which would nullify the absentee ballot challenge (8,000 in question).

    With all this in mind, I give you the following tune which captures this night pretty well - enjoy the ride. Hope this country enjoys two years of "Stockholm Syndrome" non-governance.

    Suck on this, America.

    Update 11/3/10: Uh huh...

    Tuesday Mashup (11/02/10)

  • In a thoroughly unsurprising development, presumptive losing senatorial candidate from Delaware Christine O’Donnell was endorsed recently by Pete du Pont, he of the idea that students be subjected to mandatory, random drug tests with those who flunked losing their drivers licenses (endorsement noted here).

    Also, as noted here, du Pont criticized Obama for the following…

    The “cap-and-trade dividend” proposal, supported by Obama allies like Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), recommends distributing carbon market revenues to 100% of American households. Obama’s proposal — which du Pont calls “the opposite” — returns 80% of the revenues to 95% of American households.
    So, according to du Pont, the “opposite” of 100 is 95.

    Uh huh.

    This endorsement really isn’t news anyway, since du Pont has been trying to promote the teabaggers for some time, which actually puts him at odds with the life forms who really call the shots in his party based on this (re: trying to put O’Donnell’s mentor in her place).

  • Also, Ted Nugent provided the following amusement over at the Washington Times here…

    As I have written before and as is now painfully obvious, President Obama has no hands-on experience as to how the private sector operates. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is equally clueless. Both could stand in a free-market sandstorm and not bat an eye. As far as I can tell, neither the president nor the vice president has ever owned or run a business.
    In response, please allow me to note the following (concerning the individuals running the Executive Branch the last time this country saw days of actual prosperity):

    Number of businesses run by Bill Clinton before election to the White House – 0
    Number of businesses run by Al Gore before election to the White House – 0
    And concerning the duo succeeding Clinton and Gore, a certain former owner of the World-Series-losing Texas Rangers basically imploded the three following companies (Arbusto, Spectrum 7 and Harken Energy) before he took on the ceremonial title of Governor of Texas (noted here). And in 1998, as noted here...

    ...Halliburton CEO and future Dubya veep Dick Cheney brought onboard a subsidiary called Dresser Industries. In the process, Halliburton inherited some 300,000 asbestos claims. As the litigation cut into Halliburton's war profits, Bush continued to make speeches decrying the proliferation of "frivolous asbestos suits."
    (If you know anyone dying of asbestosis, by the way, I can assure you that there is nothing "frivolous" about it.)

    The only person in the administration of Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History who knew anything about running a successful business (building it up as opposed to taking over when it was already a mega-corporation) was former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, who ran Alcoa and was fired by Bush-Cheney for criticizing the Iraq war.

    So I would say that we really haven’t had any recent experience of executive governance by presidents and vice-presidents who were actually successful in business. And I really don’t think that has a damn thing to do with businesses contributing to Republicans and doing their level best in the hope that Dems fail anyway.

    And for now, I'll pass on commenting about the absurdity of expecting Ted Nugent to make sense about anything at all.

  • Next, Bill Kristol opines as follows (here)…

    On October 14, in the only debate in the Nevada Senate race between Senate majority leader Harry Reid and his Republican challenger, Sharron Angle, Reid was attacking his opponent for supporting private retirement accounts alongside Social Security. An exasperated Angle responded: “Man up, Harry Reid. You need to understand that we have a problem with Social Security.”

    The comment wasn’t about Harry Reid’s manliness. It wasn’t really about Harry Reid personally—though it did have a certain piquancy, addressed as it was to the person who, fecklessly and irresponsibly embracing defeatism in a war our men were fighting, asserted in April 2007 that the surge in Iraq was “not accomplishing anything” and that “this war is lost.”
    Leave it to Irving’s callow offspring to try and stick in a commercial for his failed war on Election Day. And I sincerely hope that, with the end of this electoral season, we see the end of this wretched “man up” phrase as well.

    Funny thing, though – I don’t recall Kristol writing anything along the lines of “Chuck Hagel Should ‘Man Up’” since Hagel protested the Iraq war also, with this story from January 2007 telling us the former Nebraska senator’s comments opposing the surge “placed him squarely in the mainstream of public opinion” (actually, I’d love to see the reaction of a former Marine to never-served-warmongering Bill if Kristol were ever to say that, which he wouldn’t of course).

    Also, as noted here, Kristol also didn’t tell any of the “thousands of service members” fired until DADT that he supported to “man up” either.

    That said, I think someone around here does indeed need to “man up.” And I think we know exactly who it is.

  • Finally, I got a kick out of this story…

    A husband and wife research team may have discovered a novel way to make college kids care about politics. According to their research, online porn usage goes up among those who vote for winning candidates after elections.

    Of course porn isn't the only - or even the most effective - way to satisfy a sexual appetite. So, if the polls are right, and (researchers Patrick and Charlotte Markey) are right, Republican voters may wish to wear their sexy PJs to bed next Tuesday.
    To which I say the following in response…

    We Democrats don’t wear PJs, if you know what I mean :-).
  • Monday, November 01, 2010

    Monday Stuff

    I know the pundits thought this ad for Admiral Joe was in bad taste (yeah, as if the teabaggers constitute "good" taste, and they've been our corporate media darlings for what seems like forever), but I still thought it was worth another look...

    And speaking of the teabaggers, I give you the following from Frank Rich's column yesterday...

    For sure, the Republican elites found the Tea Party invaluable on the way to this Election Day. And not merely, as Huckabee has it, because they wanted its foot soldiers. What made the Tea Party most useful was that its loud populist message gave the G.O.P. just the cover it needed both to camouflage its corporate patrons and to rebrand itself as a party miraculously antithetical to the despised G.O.P. that gave us George W. Bush and record deficits only yesterday.
    Nail. Hammer. Head.

    ...and I thought about including a negative ad for Mikey Fitzpatrick as the last video before the vote, but I reconsidered - I think this is more appropriate...

    ...and though I don't like the fact that they beat the Phillies, I should be a good sport and congratulate the San Francisco Giants for winning the club's first World Series in over 50 years since they moved from New York here (and I liked this cartoon, and let's hope "Pat The Bat" takes the hint and calls it a career - get ready for one hell of a parade: -)...

    ...and changing the mood, nobody knows for sure what will happen tomorrow, but let's not go down without a fight (and once more, click here to find your polling place).

    Monday Mashup Part Two (11/01/10)

    (Part One is here.)

  • While Broderella imagined war with Iran (fine...pick up a gun and go over and fight it yourself - here), Fix Noise “Democrats” Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen concocted the following over the weekend at the WaPo (here)…

    President Obama's post-partisan America has disappeared, replaced by the politics of polarization, resentment and division.

    In a Univision interview on Monday, the president, who campaigned in 2008 by referring not to a "Red America" or a "Blue America" but a United States of America, urged Hispanic listeners to vote in this spirit: "We're gonna punish our enemies and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us."

    Recently, Obama suggested that if Republicans gain control of the House and/or Senate as forecast, he expects not reconciliation and unity but "hand-to-hand combat" on Capitol Hill.

    What a change two years can bring.

    We can think of only one other recent president who would display such indifference to the majesty of his office: Richard Nixon.
    God, that’s hilarious (and not particularly original either, as noted here...last bullet).

    Continuing with Caddell/Schoen…

    As Election Day approaches, the president and others in the Democratic leadership have focused on campaign finance by moneyed interests - an ancillary issue serving neither party nor country. They have intensified attacks on business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and individual political operatives such as Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie - insisting that organizations are fronting for foreign campaign money and large secret donations and campaign expenditures. Even the New York Times has noted that "a closer examination shows that there is little evidence" that these organizations have engaged in activities that are "improper or even unusual."

    It astounds us to hear such charges from the president given that his presidential campaign in 2008 refused to disclose the names of all of its donors, and in past election cycles many liberal groups, such as the Sierra Club and the Center for American Progress, refused to disclose their contributors.
    In response, I give you Greg Sargent responding to a similar charge from Karl Rove (here, and I would ask that you substitute the Sierra Club with the League of Conservation Voters for the purposes of argument)…

    The comparison to the Center for American Progress is absurd, because it does not and has never run campaign ads. The League of Conservation Voters has only spent a paltry $1.3 million this cycle -- an infinitesimal fraction of the right's spending. It pays for ads out of several committees. Nearly half of LCV's spending came from a committee that does, in fact, disclose its donors, according to a group spokesman.

    LCV does also spend for ads out of a 501 c4, which doesn't disclose donors, but there's substantial donor overlap between the two committees, so we already have a very good idea of who they are. The Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund is also a 501 c4, and doesn't disclose.

    But even so, Rove's assertions about these groups are still absurd, because we already know what their issue positions and agendas are. What's more, Obama and Dems tried to pass the DISCLOSE Act this summer -- which would have forced such organizations to disclose their donors.

    As for Rove's claim that literally tens of millions of Obama's contributions remained secret, the reality is that 90.2 percent of the hundreds of millions Obama raised were disclosed. And the comparison of conservative spending to labor, echoed by many on the right, has already been debunked by one lone blogger, Ben Smith.

    By all means, let's fact-check the living heck out of the White House/Dem attacks on Chamber foreign money. But the steady stream of falsehoods and distortions coming from major players on the right deserves a look, too.
    And on top of all this, the following New York Times article shows why, when it comes to campaign contributions, the Nixon White House had more in common with Karl and his pals (including Caddell and Schoen) than Obama ever will.

  • Next, the following Guest Opinion recently appeared in the Bucks County Courier Times by Scott Harp, former Newtown Township supervisor, on the subject of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale. Harp makes a lot of good points about what we should and shouldn’t be doing on this critical issue.

    And based on this, it’s pretty clear who the drillers are bankrolling in the PA gubernatorial election, thus expecting Tom Corbett to do basically whatever the drillers want (all the more reason to vote for Dan Onorato tomorrow).

  • Also, Lurita Doan provided the following hilarity at today (here)…

    (House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi has boasted of the $5 trillion increase in the national debt and the punitive, legislative warfare that she championed through Congress that has squandered our treasury and left us the greatest debtor nation on earth. Restoring some level of fiscal sanity will not be easy, but it is the most urgent task. Fiscal discipline will require a line-by-line review of the budget, a practice that elected officials love to discuss but rarely execute.

    Americans cannot continue the Pelosi madness of borrowing money from China to redistribute to union activists and favorite left wing causes. Nor can our nation, once again, extend unemployment benefits for additional years after making payments for the already mandated two years.
    On the subject of “restoring some level of fiscal sanity,” I give you the following from here, when Doan took up space as Bushco’s head of the General Services Administration (referencing a nested New York Times story from 2008)…

    Consider the State Department employee who slapped down a government credit card to buy $360 worth of boutique lingerie before heading off to drug enforcement training in the Ecuador jungle. Or the postal worker who ran up $14,000 in Internet dating services on his federal card. And a now legendary Forest Service official who used government credit to pay off $640,000 worth of gambling debts, car expenses and six years of mortgage payments. What makes it even more outrageous, is that it took a whistle-blower, not an internal monitor, to uncover this wholesale trashing of the government’s — i.e. the peoples’ — credit.

    For late-night comedy writers, these findings and numerous other abuses are priceless. For all other taxpayers, they’re appalling.

    Millions of dollars in charges ranging from questionable to outrageous were uncovered in just a 15-month spot check of a few agencies by Congressional auditors. One sampling of $2.7 million in card purchases found more than $1.8 million worth of laptop computers, iPods and digital cameras could not be accounted for.

    And here are some more credit card charges…$14,000 for Internet dating services and a dinner at a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Orlando, Fla.; $45,000 at Brooks Brothers and similar stores for tailor-made suits — $7,000 of which were purchased a week before Christmas; and $642,000 from 180 convenience checks written by an Agriculture department employee for a live-in boyfriend over a six-year period.
    What does Doan have to do with this? Well, when she was GSA head under Bushco, her agency failed to do its due diligence and let these charges all slip by (on our dime, of course).

    Only in the wingnutosphere could someone like Lurita Doan pose as an expert in money management. I suppose clownhall’s next editorial offering, then, will be Karl Rove on the importance of campaign finance reform.

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

    Marine Vet: “Mike Fitzpatrick, I Fought For Your Freedom. Stop Playing Politics With Our Votes.”

    Decorated Marine veteran tells Mike Fitzpatrick to put a stop to the political games and let his mother vote; Joins other Bucks County residents whose votes are on GOP-Fitzpatrick target list and in danger of not being counted.

    (Bristol, PA) – On Saturday, October 30, Patrick Murphy joined voters who had already cast ballots, only to learn on Friday that their votes are in danger of being tossed out due to a massive, far-reaching challenge by GOP operatives intent on using Florida-style Bush tactics to suppress turnout and steal the election in Bucks County. They called on Mike Fitzpatrick put an end to the efforts to disenfranchise thousands of voters in Bucks County.

    Tony Rakoczy, a young decorated Marine from Levittown, talked about fighting for his country at the Battle of Fallujah in 2004 and suffering severe injuries after an IED blast nearly cost him his life. Though the explosion left him 100% service-connected disabled, Tony was proud to serve his country and fight for our democratic freedoms. Today, six years after returning from battle, Tony’s mother is being denied the very democratic freedoms for which Tony risked his life. Patricia, a longtime Levittown resident and registered Democrat, is going to be out of Pennsylvania on Election Day and so voted by absentee ahead of time. But Republican operatives desperate to win an election have filed a baseless challenge to her vote in a sweeping Florida-style attempt to toss out thousands of valid Democratic ballots and steal the election for Mike Fitzpatrick.

    “Fitzpatrick is playing politics with the freedoms I risked my life to defend, telling my mom her vote isn’t going to county,” Tony Rakoczy said. “Mike Fitzpatrick, I fought for your freedoms. Now I’m asking you to do the right thing. Stand up, be a man, and stop playing political games with my mom’s right to vote.”

    “I did everything I was supposed to do and sent in my vote,” Patricia Rakoczy said, “but Mike Fitzpatrick and the Republicans are trying to take that away. My baby fought for his country. This isn’t right.”

    Bill Kiernan from Levittown spoke for his daughter, Sam, a college student in Maryland and read a statement for her:

    “Even though I’m at college, I was determined to have my vote count. I made sure to apply on time for my ballot. I filled out my vote, signed it, double checked it, and stuck it in the mail – just like I was supposed to do. Now Mike Fitzpatrick tells me, if he gets his way, my vote won’t count because he doesn’t like how I voted. Unfortunately, Mr. Fitzpatrick, I learned in my political science intro class that it doesn’t work like that. I’m asking you to do the right thing. Stop playing political games with my right to vote. Sincerely, Sam.”

    Her father added, “Mike, how dare you try to disenfranchise my daughter – a registered eligible voter – because you will do anything to win your election. I know that I can look my kid in the eye and tell her I’m doing everything I can to protect people’s right to vote. Can you?”

    OUTRAGE: More Dem Voters Targeted by GOP Witch Hunt Voice Anger

    Bucks County voters call on Mike Fitzpatrick to end political games and protect their right to vote

    (Bristol, PA) – Democrats in Bucks County continue to discover that they are targets of the GOP’s witch hunt, as more learn that their names are on a list of voters that Mike Fitzpatrick and his GOP operatives are attempting to disenfranchise. Voters on the target list – including disenfranchised veterans, a nine-month pregnant woman, and college students - are joining the calls for Mike Fitzpatrick to put an end to the political games and allow their eligible vote to count.

    Yesterday, Murphy listened to voters who are on the GOP’s target list express outrage over Mike Fitzpatrick and his GOP operatives’ attempt to steal the election using Florida-style Bush tactics:

    “Six years ago, I put the Marine uniform on for my country and shipped out to fight in Iraq at the battle of Fallujah. I almost lost my life several times in IED blasts and fire fights. Mike Fitzpatrick, I’m asking you to step up, be a man, and stop playing political games. Let my mom’s vote count. I served my country. And I served for your freedom.”

    - Tony Rakoczy, decorated Marine who served in Battle of Fallujah, 2004

    “I did everything I was supposed to do and sent in my vote, but Mike Fitzpatrick and the Republicans are trying to take that away. My baby fought for his country. This isn’t right.”

    - Patricia Rakoczy, Tony’s Mother, Levittown

    “Even though I’m at college, I was determined to have my vote count. I made sure to apply on time for my ballot. I filled out my vote, signed it, double checked it, and stuck it in the mail – just like I was supposed to do. Now Mike Fitzpatrick tells me, if he gets his way, my vote won’t count because he doesn’t like how I voted. Unfortunately, Mr. Fitzpatrick, I learned in my political science intro class that it doesn’t work like that. I’m asking you to do the right thing. Stop playing political games with my right to vote.”

    - Sam Kiernan, Levittown

    “Mike, how dare you try to disenfranchise my daughter – a registered eligible voter – because you will do anything to win your election. I know that I can look my kid in the eye and tell her I’m doing everything I can to protect people’s right to vote. Can you?”

    - Bill Kiernan, Levittown

    “I’ve voted in Bucks County for years, and when I found out last-minute that I would be out of town for business, I immediately applied for my absentee ballot, filled it out, and sent back my vote. Yesterday, I heard I’m on Mike Fitzpatrick’s target list of the votes he’s trying to toss out – and I won’t have another chance to vote. How can he get away with this? Mike Fitzpatrick, I’m asking you to do the right thing. Stand up, be a man, and stop playing political games with my right to vote.”

    - Dorothy Wax, Langhorne

    Other stories have been pouring in as more people learn that the GOP is attempting to strike their vote.

    “My name is Amie Proctor and I live in Morrsiville. I voted absentee because I’m nine-months pregnant and am due next week. So, I might be a little preoccupied on Election Day. Just in case there was any question, I even sent the Board of Elections my doctor’s business card so they could check. Now I’m on their target list to have my vote tossed out. Who on earth do these Republicans think they are, to tell me while I’m nine-months pregnant that I can’t vote?”

    - Amie Proctor, Morrisville

    “They can’t take away my vote. I am not going to be here on Election day. If they try to take away my vote, which is a legal vote, whoever is doing this is going to have a problem. I am a veteran of the Iraq War. I fought to preserve the right to vote. Whoever is doing this, will have to look me in the eye and explain how he can possibly do this, because he is wrong.”

    - Stephen Capaldi, Iraq War Veteran, Levittown

    “It’s my ballot. I requested it. I signed it. I sent it in. No one sent me anything or asked me to do anything. I’m disenfranchised, and I’m angry about it.”

    - Vincent Plebani, 57, Langhorne

    “I did fill out an absentee ballot application and I did fill it out correctly and honestly, since I am in school in Boston. I am very concerned and dismayed that Mike Fitzpatrick has discounted my vote. I wish that I were home or could get home so that my vote would count.”

    - Dana Roccograndi, 20, Richboro
    Also, I should note that the Bucks County Courier Times has featured a few full-page ads over the last two weeks accusing Murphy of everything under the sun, and each day, a little blue dot in the paper’s front-page banner has been telling everyone to go to the page where the ad is located (assuming the paper’s readers are not able to find the full-page ad on their own).

    I have neither the time nor the desire to try and debunk the garbage the Fitzpatrick campaign and the Bucks County Republican Party has been hurling at the Murphy campaign. Even though Murphy and the Democrats have been relentless in pillorying Fitzpatrick, I believe the preponderance of truth is very much on the side of the incumbent as opposed to the challenger. And it also speaks volumes to me that Mike Fitzpatrick, in typical fashion, has chosen to hide behind sleazy ads and voter disenfranchisement tactics (apparently, aside from the testimonials above which are powerful in and of themselves, nothing happening on the absentee ballot story today) in the waning days of the campaign without even bothering to write a Guest Opinion (now watch the paper publish one tomorrow when the Murphy campaign will not be able to respond).

    Please click here to find your polling place to vote for Patrick Murphy, Steve Santarsiero, John Toth, Joe Sestak, and other worthy PA Dems.

    This is it!
  • Sunday, October 31, 2010

    Sunday Stuff

    Just a reminder of what our 8th district incumbent Dem U.S. House rep is up against while the party of Mike Fitzpatrick is busy trying to fix the election for him along with "Self" Ciervo (and as I said, the whole "Pennsylvania Voter Assistance Office" matter is a red herring - prove to me that the Dems violated PA election law by gathering the absentee ballots, which no one has done yet, even though Republican DA David Heckler says that "clearly" some signatures were forged on ballots, even though "proving (it) is another matter"...again for the umpteenth time in this story, charges against Dems with no proof of wrongdoing, even though the Ciervo letter is textbook voter caging - the latest is here)...

    ...and for no particular reason, I give you this, intended to mock Dubya-era triumphalism (guess I'm in the mood for this after watching that putz tonight helping to throw out the first pitch in the World Series...nothing against the Texas Rangers, but I hope San Francisco wins - would serve all those southern fried Methodists right to succumb to a sports team from Nancy Pelosi-land).