Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Stuff

This tells us what happened in Wisconsin yesterday, but the video below tells us how (and to do something about it, click here)...

...and on at least one level, I think this tune (no video) is appropriate.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Stuff

More "past is prologue" stuff with Hosni Mubarak Walker (again, unbelievable that this somehow didn't come out in the campaign last year)...

...and this is a charming little film clip of a Koch Brothers stooge in action (I wonder if he realizes how he's unintentionally impugning the intelligence of the teabaggers with these remarks, saying you have to "break it down" for them as opposed to getting the racist-sign-and-funny-hat crowd to just yell about taxes...and "a funny thing happened in 2009"? Seriously? Private sector union membership has been falling off the proverbial cliff for decades)...

...isn't it a pity, though, that conservatives love to absolutely fellate in a metaphorical sense (and literally I'm sure if they could) The Sainted Ronnie R on most right-wing hagiography, but not when it comes to unions, as noted here...

...and finally, I have to explain this a bit...I'm totally clueless on the movies, performers, etc. nominated for the Oscars that will be handed out on Sunday, but if I were interested in seeing one movie in particular, it would be "The King's Speech," since anything with Geoffrey Rush in it is bound to be good (I'm sure "The Social Network" is enjoyable also, but I'll get to that one of these days).

So, for the occasion, I tried to find something with a royal theme of sorts, and I found this (and when it comes to the nominated songs, I really don't care...don't get me started on something like "Country Strong"; but not "strong" enough for The Dixie Chicks, of course). I fully realize that it has absolutely nothing to do with "The King's Speech," but I like it anyway, so here it is.

Friday Mashup (2/25/11)

  • I give you last week’s Area Votes In Congress from the Philadelphia Inquirer (here)…


    Republican spending cuts. Voting 235-189, the House passed a Republican bill (HR 1) to reduce non-security discretionary spending by $60 billion below current levels in the remaining seven months of fiscal 2011. This amounts to a cut of 13 percent when averaged over the full year and 22 percent between March 4 and Sept. 30.

    The bill awaits Senate action on a competing Democratic measure. The government is likely to be shut down March 4 if the parties fail to settle their differences by then.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Michael Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Pat Meehan (R., Pa.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), Jon Runyan (R., N.J.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

    Voting no: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), John Carney (D., Del.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), and Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.).
    Oh, and while the Repugs are congratulating themselves about trying to strangle the metaphorical baby of our non-job creating economic recovery in its crib, they might want to read this.

    Planned Parenthood. Voting 240-185, the House acted to end federal funding this fiscal year for Planned Parenthood of America, a private organization that provides reproductive health services at 800 clinics nationwide. Planned Parenthood provides abortions, but in keeping with a prohibition in federal law known as the Hyde Amendment, it cannot use federal funds for that purpose. This vote during debate on HR 1 (above) would deny the organization $75 million or more in federal funding.

    A yes vote backed the amendment.

    Voting yes: Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.

    Voting no: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Dent, Fattah, Holden, and Schwartz.
    So Mikey and his pals would send the ladies to God-knows-where for health care if their dreaded “lady parts” need some kind of icky medical treatment (with the Inquirer writeup already pointing out that no federal dough would be used for abortions due to that amendment named after a former House rep and serial philanderer).

    But the Middle Ages brought us so much, like typhus, cholera and religious persecution. Onward Christian Soldiers!

    (And by the way, kudos to Charlie Dent for bucking his party on this and acting like an adult.)

    USA Patriot Act. Voting 279-143, the House sent President Obama a bill (HR 514) to extend for 90 days the only sections of the post-9/11 USA Patriot Act that are not yet permanent law. The three sections authorize roving wiretaps on terrorist suspects, allow surveillance of suspects not linked to terrorist organizations, and permit secretive searches of business, library, bookstore, tax, medical, and other records during terrorism investigations. Congress will use the 90 days to conduct hearings on right-of-privacy concerns raised by these sections.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Andrews, Carney, Dent, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, Schwartz, and Smith.

    Voting no: Brady, Fattah, and Fitzpatrick.
    Again, kudos actually to Mikey The Beloved for opposing this, as much as I hate to say that (and an utter pox on Andrews, Carney, Holden and Schwartz…disgusting).

    F-35 fighter budget. The House voted, 233-198, to strip the fiscal 2011 military budget of its $485 million for continued development of a backup engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The cut was included in a GOP bill (HR 1) to sharply reduce spending in the remaining months of the budget year. The Pentagon hopes to purchase more than 2,400 of the radar-evading F-35 fighters over three decades.

    A yes vote was to cut military spending.

    Voting yes: Brady, Dent, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Holden, Meehan, and Schwartz.

    Voting no: Andrews, Carney, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.
    As an astute commenter noted here, this ends up costing jobs in both Boehner and Cantor’s districts, cutting off funding for a proverbial white elephant that our services didn’t want (and I know Mikey voted to cut it to placate the teabaggers, but this was the right thing to do – “swing and a miss” by Andrews and Carney).

    Community police grants. The House voted, 228-203, to spend $228 million in fiscal 2011 for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program and reduce NASA's space-exploration budget by the same amount. This would continue a Democratic program targeted for elimination by the Republicans' budget-cutting plan (HR 1, above). The COPS program provides local police departments with grants for putting officers on the beat and buying crime-fighting technology.

    A yes vote was to continue the COPS program.

    Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Dent, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Meehan, Runyan, Schwartz, and Smith.

    Voting no: Pitts.
    So Pancake Joe has no problem voting for a “money pit” of a jet fighter that nobody wants, but he does have a problem voting to support local crime fighters (how the voters in his district who keep sending him back to Washington can look at themselves in the mirror is something I’ll never know).

    Internet neutrality. Voting 244-181, the House stripped the Federal Communications Commission of funding to advance its recent rule aimed at keeping the Internet equally available to all users. The FCC said the rule is intended to preserve "Net neutrality," in part by preventing different levels of broadband service. Critics said the agency lacks authority to regulate the Internet.

    A yes vote backed the amendment.

    Voting yes: Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.

    Voting no: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Fattah, and Schwartz.
    As much as it pains me to admit it, this fight is slowly being lost because the telecoms have more money to fight it in court, and the Obama FCC appointees are wavering. This vote is just another Repug attack that voters should have anticipated last November, if more of them had the remotest clue of the importance of this issue.

    Ever wonder why the cable and internet service in this country offers lousy selection and costs too much (as well as the fact that broadband is a rumor for waay too many rural places in this country, which hurts our economic competitiveness)? This is a big part of the answer (a recent news story is here).

    Greenhouse gases. The House voted, 239-185, to sharply reduce funding for the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program under which power plants, refineries, and other major polluters must disclose emissions data to the Environmental Protection Agency. The amendment to HR 1 (above) shifted $8.5 million of the program's $16 million budget to deficit reduction.

    A yes vote backed the amendment.

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

    Voting no: Andrews, Brady, Fitzpatrick, and Schwartz.

    Not voting: Carney and Fattah.
    Maybe some of those who voted for this amendment will finally get it when there’s three feet of water everywhere in the Capitol and most of their legislative districts have turned into deserts. Maybe.

    And once again, Mikey does the right thing…fair is fair (how does that saying go…in a kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man rules over all, or something?).


    Federal aviation budget. Voting 87-8, the Senate passed a $35 billion two-year authorization of federal aviation programs. The bill (S 223) uses a combination of general appropriations and user fees such as fuel and passenger-ticket taxes to fund the U.S. aviation system.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.).

    Voting no: Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).

    Not voting: Chris Coons (D., Del.).
    I don’t agree with the teabagger aversion to spending a single solitary dime on “gumint,” but at least I understand it. However, it takes a particular kind of crazy to oppose funding the FAA (wonder if Wingnut Pat had a fever dream about The Sainted Ronnie R and the air traffic controllers?).

    Aviation budget cut. Voting 51-47, the Senate tabled (killed) an amendment to S 223 (above) to cut the Federal Aviation Administration budget by more than $2 billion annually, to the fiscal 2008 level of $14.7 billion.

    A yes vote was to kill the amendment.

    Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, and Menendez.

    Voting no: Toomey.
    Yeah, you show ‘em, Pat – why does the FAA need more dough to spend on dumb stuff like equipment maintenance and upgrades so there are as few surprises as possible at 30,000 feet?

    Air-service subsidies. The Senate voted, 61-38, to preserve the Essential Air Service program, which uses $200 million annually in taxpayer subsidies to provide commercial service to 1.1 million travelers in more than 150 small cities and rural outposts.

    A yes vote backed the Essential Air Service program.

    Voting yes: Carper, Casey, and Coons.

    Voting no: Menendez, Lautenberg, and Toomey.

    USA Patriot Act. Voting 86-12, the Senate passed a bill (HR 514) to extend for 90 days the three sections of the USA Patriot Act that have not yet been added permanently to the U.S. Code. Congress will determine whether to make the sections permanent or continue to subject them to periodic congressional review. The House later sent the bill to President Obama.

    A yes vote was to temporarily extend the three sections.

    Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Coons, Menendez, and Toomey.

    Voting no: Lautenberg.
    A good vote here by Lautenberg, as opposed to the rest.

    Airport screeners' rights. Voting 47-51, the Senate refused to block an administration plan to provide Transportation Security Administration personnel with limited collective-bargaining rights. Under the plan, TSA employees such as passenger screeners would be empowered to bargain over working conditions but could not strike or bargain over pay. A yes vote opposed collective-bargaining rights for TSA employees.

    Voting yes: Toomey.

    Voting no: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, and Menendez.
    Ahhh, it looks like “No Corporate Tax” Pat is doing his best imitation here of Hosni Mubarak Walker. Which should come as no surprise whatsoever.

    This week, Congress was in recess until the week of Feb. 28 (hey, by their standards, this was a ton of work – they need time to “hit the links” or meet with their Chamber of Commerce pals to catch their breath, or something).

  • Next, it looks like somebody had better call the WHAAAAM-BULAAAAANCE for former Dem and now Repug Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama (here)…

    Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) ratcheted up the rhetoric surrounding Thursday's announcement that Boeing won a $35 billion Air Force tanker contest, saying "Chicago politics" was the difference.

    Many defense insiders and congressional aides were betting Boeing's top rival, EADS, would capture the 179-plane tender. But Air Force and Pentagon brass announced Thursday that Boeing "was a clear winner."

    “I’m disappointed but not surprised," Shelby said late Thursday, according to reports. "Only Chicago politics could tip the scales in favor of Boeing’s inferior plane. EADS clearly offers the more capable aircraft. If this decision stands, our warfighters will not get the superior equipment they deserve."
    I will grant a small point in Shelby’s favor and say that Boeing didn’t do as good of a job as it could have on the original bid (which I noted here, along with a threat from “Country First” McCain to launch an investigation if Boeing ended up with the deal, influenced in no small part by a McCain campaign contribution from EADS, the company competing with Boeing). However, though I am not an aerospace expert by any means, based on what I’ve read on this, Boeing has built better planes of this type and likely will do so again. And had EADS gotten the contract, some of the work would have been done overseas; this way, it will all stay stateside.

    However, it is nothing short of hilarious for Shelby to complain about politics allegedly being used to influence a contract award of this type, seeing as how he blocked Senate action on at least 70 of President Obama's nominations because Shelby wanted money for two projects in his home state, as noted here (and here is an example of Shelby talking tough against the automakers while sucking up to the “banksters” – more Repug fiscal nuttiness particularly in light of this).

  • Finally, Repug House wingnut Paul Broun is quite rightly taking a lot of flak here for, at best, blowing off one of his demented constituents who asked “Who is going to shoot Obama?” as opposed to giving this person verbally what he (I believe) deserved.

    Like you I’m sure, I hope the Secret Service finds out who this despicable fool is and absolutely scares the fertilizer out of him. However, Broun has been trafficking in threatening anti-government rhetoric for years, so this really isn’t surprising.

    Here, he said that health care reform and the stimulus will “kill people by denying care”; here, he said that Obama and the “Socialist elite” were planning to “declare martial law”; and here, in his book “The Backlash,” Will Bunch documented Broun’s ties to the “Oath Keepers,” a “fast-growing, ultraradical organization that spreads unsubstantiated fears of Obama confiscating guns and placing U.S. citizens in concentration camps.”

    Hopefully, the incarceration of one of these America-hating (for real) cowards will go a long way towards clamping down on the garbage that seeps out of the darkest reaches of our discourse, pretending to pass for informed commentary. And that is a day that is long overdue.

    And by the way, when I’m talking about incarceration, I’m referring to Broun, not his constituent.
  • Thursday, February 24, 2011

    Thursday Stuff

    To do something about the ongoing travesty in Afghanistan, click here (and good for Michael Hastings to completely embarrass our bought-and-paid-for corporate media yet again)...

    ...also, you knew Jon Stewart would have something to say about Hosni Mubarak Walker and "David Koch," didn't you (here)?...

    …and as I pointed out earlier, someone once asked what an uprising in support of democracy in this country would look like – to me, this answers that question (and every once in awhile I want to ring Dennis Kucinich’s neck, but he’s usually on the right side of the issue)…

    …and I’m “one-for-two” with this song in elections (I used it and won in ’06 but used it and lost last year), but I’m bringing it back anyway; I believe it is appropriate.

    Thursday Mashup (2/24/11)

  • It’s time for another “Foto Funny” from Fix Noise, as noted here.

    Now before you get too steamed over the Milwaukee school district supposedly spending over $786 grand on Viagra for teachers, read the linked story at ABC News (which, unlike Fix Noise, is an actual news organization) to learn the following...

    Two years ago, the Milwaukee school district decided that it was more interested in enhancing teacher performance in the classroom than the bedroom.

    The district cut Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs like Cialis and Levitra from its health insurance plan, hoping to save $786,000 a year.

    Officials said too many teachers were using the expensive drugs for recreation, swelling their insurance rates. An estimated 1,000 of the 10,000 school's staff, which includes employees, dependents and retirees, were using the drugs.
    Notice how “Milwaukee School District Spent $786,000 on Viagra for teachers,” or whatever (and I wonder how much companies like, say, Halliburton, pay for the same prescription coverage for their employees?) has now become, well, “the Milwaukee School District is hoping to save $786,000 a year on Viagra for teachers.”

    So basically, the Milwaukee School District doesn’t know for certain how much they paid to cover their teachers for Viagra (and for the record, I would say the same thing about similar prescriptions for women employees, which, if anything, is more important).

    And besides, before we laugh too hard over the requisite snarky remarks about Viagra prescriptions for the teachers and their plan dependents, I would ask that you read this, particularly the following…

    Many doctors recommend PDE-5 drugs as “rehabilitative” treatments for men following radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer. Human relationships are an essential part of good health, and sex is an essential ingredient to marriage. Erectile dysfunction is a devastating health problem and can cause relationships to end, which typically leads to a subsequent deterioration in overall health. And dont’ forget, erectile dysfunction is an early sign of heart disease. By making ED treatments accessible, we bring men into the health care setting and give them earlier treatment for heart disease.
    Not that you’d learn any of that from Fix Noise, of course.

  • Next, it’s time once more for the tired old saw that the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is really just a front group for George Soros, a charge alleged here, when in fact, as TPM tells us here…

    Soros is a member of the Democracy Alliance, which has provided money to CREW, and his Open Society Institute has given money to the watchdog group as well, according to Media Matters.
    So again, in the wingnutosphere, “has provided money to” equals “ownership” (concerning Dems, of course).

    The really funny part of the post at The Weakly Standard, though, is here…

    (Conservative uber-lobbyist Rick) Berman's Center for Union Facts is up front about its opposition to union leadership.
    In response, Media Matters tells us the following here…

    Berman runs at least 15 industry-funded front groups and projects, such as the Center for Union Facts and holds 16 "positions" in those organizations.

    Each year, Berman, using his front groups to spread misinformation, spends millions of dollars distracting the public with misleading ads.
    In a universe where Rick Berman is “up front” in anything he says or does, Flush Limbore should also be named chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.

  • In addition, I give you the following (here)…

    While 92 Republican “budget cutters” voted alongside every Democrat against the (U.S. House amendment from Repugs Jim Jordan and Marsha Blackburn to cut $20 billion more from the budget), what was significant is that a single Appropriations Committee cardinal voted in favor, defying his majority leader, majority whip and his Appropriations Committee chairman, as well as every other Appropriations subcommittee chairman.

    Which member took this courageous stand to not only defy his powerful colleagues but to stand on the principle that the federal government needs to cut its budget baseline to fiscal 2008 levels as a starting point to restoring fiscal sanity?

    Denny Rehberg from Montana.

    Rehberg distinguished himself this past week as a man who put his country before his own comfort, and made the tough vote that had others running for cover.
    In response, I give you the following here (naughty word alert)…

    Montana's Congressman is pushing fiscal snake oil. No surprise there. As Tyler Gernant put it a few weeks ago:

    While Rehberg claims that fiscal responsibility is at the core of his being, Gernant said he voted for "a massive tax cut for the wealthy that completely eliminates our budget surplus and returns us to deficits."

    Gernant said Rehberg voted to put two wars on the country's credit cards and voted for a pharmaceutical drug plan that lets the big drug companies charge the U.S. government whatever they want.

    Rehberg doesn't give a shit about the deficit. He's either an idiot or a liar on this stuff. What he really wants is to destroy government, except when he can have a press conference to take credit for it.
    Oh, and did I point out that Rehberg is the guy who said that some “activist Federal judges” should be “on the endangered species list” here (yet another Repug who learned absolutely nothing from the Tucson tragedy)?

    Apparently, Rehberg is going to challenge Dem Jon Tester for the latter’s U.S. Senate seat. Tester, despite spitting on the progressives who supported him by opposing the DREAM Act, may actually win re-election, given the fact that he may end up drawing a total wingnut like Rehberg as an opponent.

  • Continuing, Chris Wallace over at The Daily Tucker tells President Obama to stop saying that inaction in Libya is “unacceptable unless he’s prepared to do something about it” (here).

    Anytime you want to give up your cushy gig as a Fox-PAC propagandist and go over there to fight yourself, feel free to do so, Chris (and the same goes for this nitwit).

    At least Obama is talking at all about Libya, which is better than Wallace did, blowing off Egypt here on Super Bowl Sunday, saying in essence that the story will “still be there” after football is over (Wallace also brought us the hilarious claim here that discussing human rights and democracy "sound(s) more like President Bush," which is almost in bad taste when you consider the following from here).

    What a shame that Wallace has devolved further from the individual who once brought us this moment.

  • Finally (and speaking of the Middle East), today is the fifth anniversary of the Dubai Ports World controversy, in which Bushco sought to turn over management of 22 U.S. ports (not just the 6 Dubya and his pals originally told us about) to a company based in the United Arab Emirates (a related post is here…a big part of the flap was based in the fact that we were still being ruled by a cabal that derived its power from yelling Terra! Terra! Terra! every chance it got, and on this occasion, it almost glibly decided to approve the sale despite the fact that the UAE was home to some of the 9/11 killers).

    As Wikipedia tells us, the controversy subsided a bit when port operation was turned over to “a U.S. entity” instead.

    And guess who the “U.S. Entity” turned out to be?


    Yep, the bunch that came up with the dreaded “credit default swap” con that had a lot to do with very nearly wrecking our economy.

    So, why exactly were we so mad about DPW again?
  • Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    Wednesday PM Stuff

    Here is a link to both clips of Hosni Mubarak Walker getting punked by the "Buffalo Beast" phone caller (nice when our side does this stuff for a change...of course, Fix Noise is harrumphing all over the place - screw 'em).

    However, I thought it more appropriate to take a break from all of this for a minute and instead express my admiration to Robert Cowie, who speaks in the clip below (more info is here, and I extend my sympathies for his loss - it happened in Florida, but it could happen anywhere)...

    ...and this might be some good advice for Walker the next time he thinks about saying something stupid (five, four, three...).

    Wednesday Mashup (2/23/11)

  • I give you the following about Wisconsin:

    - Gosh, Fix Noise is all in a snit over kids joining the protestors, as noted here.

    Funny, though – they didn’t seem to have a problem when kids joined the teabaggers (and I just know this little girl keeps Ayn Rand on her shelf right next to “Little Liza Freeze and the Magical Ice Cream Cone Tree” and the Judy Blume series, right?).

    - Also, according to this, it looks like Hosni Mubarak Walker is “worried” about people bussed in from other states to join the protests in the state capital.

    I didn’t see him too concerned, though, when some person or persons unknown paid for some of those moronic teabaggers to do the very same thing last weekend, as noted here (and by the way, I think it's funny that the quote from Rep. Michael Capuano of Massachusetts is getting spun to be read as if it automatically condones violence against others, particularly in light of this).

    - Finally, some dim bulb here over at The Daily Tucker says that Governor “Koch Addiction” Walker ought to just fire all of the striking teachers when, as it turns out, that’s impossible; that’s a matter for the local school boards in that state who employ the teachers, as noted here.

    And I guess it was driving Governor Bully nuts to be left out of the headlines for a little while, so leave it to him to come up with this (and here and here are more updates).

  • Next, U.S. News and World Report gives us the seven reasons here why Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement, and they are as follows: 1) Living beyond our means, 2) Little employer help, 4) Not saving automatically, 4) Too much debt (yep, starting to get more than a little redundant), 5) Savings isn’t a priority (looks like the CD player is stuck – give it a good shove), 6) No emergency fund, and 7) Spending windfalls.

    Well, I would add the following as, at least, Reason #8 (here)…

    the (George W. Bush) administration’s tax policies fostered the weakest jobs and income growth in more than six decades, and ignored alarming labor market trends in minority communities. This record of anemic job creation was accompanied by sluggish business investment and weak gross domestic product growth that characterized the period after the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 went into effect.2

    Overall monthly job growth was the worst of any cycle since at least February 1945, and household income growth was negative for the first cycle since tracking began in 1967. Women reversed employment gains of previous cycles. And for African Americans, the worst job growth on record was matched by an unprecedented increase in poverty.
    Am I going to tell you that Mrs. Doomsy and I have made financial choices that were 100 percent practical and sound at every moment? No, I’m not going to lie. But saving is difficult at best with anemic job growth, and shrinking income due to out-of-control health care costs and wages held down primarily due to the threat of offshoring.

    I realize that the primary audience of U.S. News and World Report is the “pay no price, bear no burden” bunch. That still doesn’t excuse them, however, for substituting pejorative scolding towards the rest of us in place of reasonably coherent economic analysis.

  • And last but certainly least, I give you Former Senator Man-On-Dog here, who has spoken out in defense of the Crusades (taking on the powerful anti-Crusades lobby, I’m sure). And if you guessed that he blamed “the left” for this big supposed misunderstanding - “They hate Western civilization at the core. That's the problem,” PA’s former senator from northern Virginia intones- then you win a free DVD of “An American Carol,” since that’s just about what it’s going for on Amazon these days (for rent, anyway).

    As I said about Governor Bully, it must tear up Little Ricky to see everyone getting the headlines but him (with this being another despicable “dog whistle” to his beloved base).

    Have fun losing your party’s presidential primary, you holier-than-thou fraud.
  • Wednesday AM Stuff

    More good stuff on Wisconsin here via Eschaton and First-Draft (and yes, I got the right day this time)...

    ...and I haven't featured any Indie stuff for a little while, so here goes (interesting imagination).

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Monday Stuff

    Sometimes it really is that simple...

    ...and the latest issue of Rolling Stone features another great report by Matt Taibbi, this time on how the banksters escaped jail, and it also features a story on a recording, the band's first in 24 years, by the surviving members of The Cars, minus Ben Orr, who passed away in 2000 - when I think of the group, this is one of the 3-4 songs that comes immediately to mind.

    Monday Mashup (2/22/11)

  • Gee, I wonder how many people in our government are feeling stupid right about now for “normalizing” relations with Libya given some of the apocalyptic rhetoric from that country’s leader-for-life Moammar Gadhafi, saying that he intends to “die a martyr” here?

    Yes, I know the process of normalizing diplomatic relations with him began under Clinton and full relations were restored under Dubya, but I still think we’ve cut this guy way too much slack for reasons noted here.

    The bottom line is that we and other countries have cozied up to this guy because his country sits on the largest oil reserves in northern Africa (if he were sitting on the world’s largest reserve of thumb tacks, we probably wouldn’t give him the time of day).

  • And oh noes! It looks like voters are abandoning the Democratic Party, as Fix Noise tells us here…

    ABC News' Amy Walter reports: A Gallup analysis of interviews of more than 350,000 Americans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia finds that fewer people defined themselves as Democrats in 2010 than did in 2008.

    In fact, notes Gallup "every state and the District of Columbia had fewer residents identifying as Democrats, or identifying as independents but leaning Democratic, in 2010 than in 2008." States carried by Barack Obama in 2008, including New Hampshire, Maine, Wisconsin, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, and Nevada, saw some of the most significant shifts away from Democratic identification. Back in 2008, for example, Democrats had an 18-point lead in party affiliation in Wisconsin. By the end of 2010, however, that lead had shrunk to 2.6 percent.
    Cautionary stuff to be sure – however, when you read the linked ABC story, you find out the following…

    …as Gallup notes, “the Democratic losses have not led to major gains in Republican affiliation.” In other words, even as they are no longer identifying themselves as Democrats, Americans aren’t flocking in droves toward Republicans either. Still, party identification doesn’t always translate into votes. For example, in West Virginia, self-identified Democrats outnumber self-identified Republicans by 47.6 to 37.9 percent. A Democratic presidential candidate hasn’t won West Virginia since 1996.

    Ultimately, it means that the Electoral College map looks much more dynamic today than it did at the end of 2008 or even 2009.
    Yep, looks like more congressional seats will be in play in 2012, to say nothing of the presidential contest. And this time around, the House Repugs will have to play defense. And with their wretched performance so far, that should make things really interesting.

  • Finally, it looks like freshman (woman?) Repug U.S. House Rep Anne Marie Buerkle is all in a snit over the Senate Dems supposedly not “follow(ing) the House’s lead on cutting spending, even if it meant giving up their scheduled week back home,” as noted here.

    And this is precious…

    “I have only been here 40 days and may be new to the process, but I must wonder why the Senate is taking this week off if they are so concerned about a shutdown on March 4th,” Buerkle said in a statement.
    The U.S. House under The Orange One and that sleazy weasel Cantor work, quite literally, two weeks on and one week off (name for me any other occupation that allows that), as noted here. And Buerkle has the gall to lecture Senate Democrats about work habits?

    Besides, as noted here, Buerkle should really speak to the House Majority Leader on the matter of averting a shutdown…

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Tuesday that he was taking two actions he said are aimed at averting a government shutdown after March 4.

    He said he is introducing a bill temporarily extending federal funding for 30 days, to give time for spending talks with the Republican House, and that he has appointed an emissary to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to lead the talks over funding for the rest of the year.

    Reid has tapped his chief of staff, David Krone, to begin negotiations with Boehner’s chief of staff Barry Jackson.
    And in response…

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Tuesday blasted a proposal from Democrats to keep the government running for another 30 days at current spending levels.
    So basically, Cantor wants the Dems to cave before negotiations even begin (kind of like what Hosni Mubarak Walker wants the public sector unions to do in Wisconsin).

    I will admit, though, that Buerkle is probably the perfect spokesperson for the U.S. House Repugs and their “down the rabbit hole” approach to “governance” based on this (at least Mikey had enough of a brain to oppose the Patriot Act, which is more than I can say for this cornflake).
  • More Partisan Mikey Musings On Wisconsin

    I give you the latest from Bucks County, PA’s conservative newsletter (here)…

    Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick said Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is doing the "right thing for his state" and called government bureaucracy "the next bubble."

    "I've got to tip my hat to any governor willing to take on that bureaucracy," Fitzpatrick said Monday night. "We can't just load that debt onto future generations."
    Putting aside Mikey’s typical boilerplate idiocy about the situation in Wisconsin, I should ask the following: If Fitzpatrick is supposedly so concerned about the deficit, then why is he fighting tooth and nail to repeal health care reform, which would only add to it (and when even the Washington Times reports on that here, I would say that that pretty much eliminates any further wingnut argument).

    (I should note, by the way, that Mikey The Beloved said that and some other ripe stuff at a “town hall” meeting in Philadelphia among local U.S. congressional Repugs in which the only Dem who appeared was Chaka Fattah.)


    (Fitzpatrick) also spoke of the GOP's allowing debate on the House floor as a significant change from the last Congress; the need for tort reform to bring down health care costs; and why he voted to reduce funding for the Public Broadcasting System.

    "I support public broadcasting personally," he said, adding that he has written checks to PBS. "Today there is less need for significant federal support as there was in the 1960s or '70s. We just don't have the money with a $1.6 trillion deficit."
    The part about the Dem congress supposedly not allowing debate on the House floor is a typical lie (as if he would know since he wasn’t even there at the time). The process of submitting amendments was regulated, I’ll admit, but that’s because his party sought to gum up the legislative process by submitting amendments that had nothing to do with actual legislation, as they did here on April 20th, 2009 concerning a Washington, D.C. voting rights bill – the Repugs inserted an amendment to loosen the district’s gun laws (and what exactly does owning a gun have to do with voting?).

    (Also, as far as trying to defund public broadcasting is concerned – yet another Repug “golden oldie” from the days of Baby Newton Leroy as House Speaker – I give you this.)

    Returning to Wisconsin, though, it really tells you how out-of-touch Mikey is that he isn’t even conversant on the actual issues in that state and instead lapses by default into “GOP talking g point” mode when asked about it. If it were merely a matter of “bureaucracy” (meaning what, exactly?), then why are the unions of the police and firemen exempt from Walker’s efforts to strip collective bargaining rights of public sector employees? Oh, right – because, in their stupidity, they actually endorsed Walker in the last election (and. And by the way, here and here are more non-reported tricks by Walker in this fiasco, particularly timely with Mikey waxing stupid as usual on Medicaid, and here is another consequence of Walker’s prior union-busting activities – wonder how this somehow wasn’t prominently played up in the election?

    Continuing with the “town hall,” I should note that I really got a hoot out of this…

    Joey Vento, owner of the city's popular Geno's Steaks, told the crowd to clean up the fraud in the entitlement programs. He asked how you could give health care to 30 million people and save money over 10 years. "I've got a bridge to sell you if you believe that."
    Fortunately for us all, nobody elected Joey Vento to a damn thing (try reading this, wise guy – and by the way, your sandwiches stink too…go here instead).

    This is more typical non-reporting by Gary Weckselblatt of the Courier Times, and when I criticize him as I often must do, I usually implore him to make a career change. However, this time, I think I’ll try to expedite the process by linking here instead.

    The Repug non-jobs agenda drags on...

    Update 1: I originally said that the police and firemen in Wisconsin endorsed Walker, which, for the most part, isn't true based on this.

    Update 2: And of course, Mikey is definitely on the wrong side of the issue as many believe based on this.

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Monday Stuff

    Truly, the whole world is watching Wisconsin, as noted here...

    ...and "every time you close our eyes," you can expect the Repugs and their pals (including chicken Dems) to steal more of our rights (here).

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    Sunday Stuff

    Once more, I'm about a day or so behind on Rachel Maddow's fabulous reporting on what's going on in Wisconsin and how high the stakes truly are; here is her report from Friday.

    (By the way, at about 11:00, she notes that part of the Repug strategy is to either discourage or disenfranchise younger voters who traditionally vote Democratic. In these parts, that was accomplished by the infamous Ciervo/Fitzpatrick letter in the last campaign, which basically provided confusing instructions that more or less encouraged entering the wrong address on the absentee ballot application which would result in the absentee ballot getting disqualified, one tactic employed by the Repugs as part of their "voter caging" strategy. The silence on this from the local media in these parts is I've said before, a US attorney should be looking at that and that "PA Voter Assistance Office" stuff by the Dems)...

    ...and read whatever you want to into this, I just like the tune (and kudos to Colin Meloy for the item noted here at the bottom - heh).

    More Anti-Obama Agit-Prop From Rummy The Liar

    CNN lapped up the following garbage from our former Defense Secretary here (maybe he figured that everyone would be paying so much attention to Wisconsin that no one would notice)...

    (Rummy) said there's no evidence to support the premise that the United States is "liked" more now that Obama is president, an idea touted by his supporters.

    "No, and I don't think there's data that supports that," Rumsfeld said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "I think he has made a practice of trying to apologize for America. I personally am proud of America."
    As noted here from last June (the most recent data I could find)...

    (Around the world) Obama is broadly popular. Majorities or pluralities in 16 of the 22 countries Pew surveyed expressed at least some confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing regarding world affairs.

    This includes 90 percent of Germans, 76 percent of Japanese, and 84 percent of Nigerians. Only 14 percent of Germans, 25 percent of Japanese, and 55 percent of Nigerians expressed confidence in Bush during his last year in office. After a spike in anti-Americanism during the Bush administration, the U.S. image abroad has recovered. America's favorability is now on par with that found at the end of President Bill Clinton's time in office, 1993 to 2001. Responders in 17 of the 21 foreign countries had a positive view of the United States, and favorability improved markedly in Russia, China, and Japan, all key players on the world stage.
    Continuing with his CNN nonsense...

    He said he's "deeply worried about the budget" and that the country needs to start saving money now.

    "My goodness, every year the Congress was stuffing $10 billion down the Pentagon's throat that we didn't want," Rumsfeld said. "There's no question that there's money there."
    If Rummy had an ounce of common sense (or a tad less egotism), he would know not to "go there." As noted here...

    War funding appropriations began skyrocketing under the Bush administration, growing from $10 billion in 2001 to $189 billion in 2008. Facing mounting costs of the ill-considered Iraq invasion, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld began using war appropriations as backdoor budgets to disguise the unexpected expenses.

    Rumsfeld seemed to have become addicted to the secret spending. He realized he could hide other programs in the war bills. Since those bills were theoretically funding “emergency” battlefield requirements, they were barely scrutinized as they were sped through Congress. Without safeguards like due diligence and oversight, Rumsfeld’s Pentagon began routinely categorizing low priority programs as “emergency” necessities.
    Given all of this, I guess it's appropriate that Rummy would call his tome "Known and Unknown," since he's plainly leaving it up to us to decide which is which (and as usual, with no help from the corporate media slaves fawning over him in zombie-like adulation).

    Update: Oh, and my bad for not noting earlier Rummy's claim that Bushco wouldn't have invaded Iraq without WMD here, when this tells us that Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History was plainly intent on doing so regardless, claiming that Saddam Hussein "would still have the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction" (lather, rinse, repeat - sigh).