Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday PM Stuff

(Not sure about posting early next week, by the way...)

Five years ago, Stephen Colbert hosted the White House Press Club Dinner and gave that ballsy performance in front of the utterly soused Dubya and his pals - nice to see he hasn't lost his touch...

...and democracy is a "problem," Governor "Used-To-Make-Lousy-Gateway-Computers" (here)? Anyone who still thinks the Repugs care about government (good government, anyway) is a goddamn idiot...

...and I'm a little behind on this, but it bears repeating; nice touch to scroll the names of the Repug reps, including Mikey The Beloved, who voted for "Ryan Care" at the end...

...and here's a nice, reserved, unassuming little video to begin the weekend - hope it's a good one.

Friday Mashup (4/29/11)

  • A lot of times, I link to a story or a post and try to refute it with another link or commentary, or both (for the benefit of anyone who hasn’t grasped that by now). However, I’m not going to do that for this story, which tells us the following…
    EDINBORO — Some Pennsylvania universities should consider drilling for natural gas below campus to help solve their financial problems, Gov. Tom Corbett said today.

    The Erie Times-News reported that Corbett made the suggestion during an appearance at a meeting of the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees at Edinboro University.

    Corbett said six of the 14 campuses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education are located on the Marcellus Shale formation, part of a vast region of underground natural gas deposits that are currently being explored and extracted.

    The Republican governor’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that starts in July would cut $2 billion from education and reduce aid to colleges and universities by 50 percent. The newspaper said Corbett emphasized the cuts are only proposals and that funding for education could change as he negotiates the budget with state lawmakers.
    I’m not going to provide another link because I think the pig-headed ignorance of PA governor “Space Cadet” Tom’s remarks are damning enough on their own (What’s next, I wonder? A return to workhouses where the college students pressed into drilling will be served cold gruel at least twice a shift? Somewhere, I’m sure Charles Dickens is saying to himself, “They’ll never learn, will they?”).

  • Further (and keeping with the theme of energy, I came across this mess from someone named Steven Hayward at Power Line (so much stoo-pid here, but I’ll focus on a couple of items in particular).

    Hayward’s argument, such as it is, is that The Sainted Ronnie R released the price controls on the oil industry in the ‘80s, and oil prices fell. However, what he fails to point out (as noted here) is that the price controls were already being removed in phases, a process that had begun under Reagan’s predecessor Jimmy Carter (and the price controls had been instituted to begin with under another Republican president, Richard Nixon). And prices fell in large part because demand had been reduced due to Carter’s energy policies.

    Hayward also decries “infinite liberal stupidity” on this issue, ending his screed with “Keep this in mind the next time a liberal says more oil production in the U.S. won't do any good.”

    Well, I don’t know if the CNN Money writer here is a “stupid liberal” or not, but I’ll believe him over Hayward any day of the week (and here is something else to keep in mind about Number 44 and energy).

  • Next, it seems that The Orange One and his pals are continuing to play chicken with our economy (here)…
    House Republicans are considering a plan to grant only incremental increases to the federal debt limit in a bid to extract more concessions on spending cuts and budgetary reform from the Obama administration.

    The idea has a champion in Grover Norquist, the conservative activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform, who says he is “building allies” in the House Republican Conference to push for extending the debt limit every two months.

    “My argument is, you give them two months at a time, because each time you could get something reasonable,” Norquist told The Hill in an interview this week at his downtown offices.
    And just remember that our elite corporate media will forever consider Mr. “Drown Government In A Bathtub” to be “serious.”

    I already got into this here (second bullet), so I won’t repeat myself. However, I would say only this to Obama and the Senate Dems: give Boehner and his pals nothing – tell them to stop screwing around and raise the damn debt ceiling already!

    And by the way, Mr. Speaker (and Mikey The Beloved), where are the bleeping jobs??!!

  • Update 5/16/11: Even from the grave, he still bites his party in the ass (here).

  • And tied to that a bit, it seems that actress Patricia Arquette lobbied Repug lawmakers in favor of more funding for the arts (here)…
    “I had an amazing meeting today with the RAMS,” Arquette said, referring to the Republicans Associated for Mutual Support (RAMS), a group of current and former GOP chiefs of staff. “Obviously, [Republicans] aren’t considered the party that typically supports public arts funding, but we talked about the economic impact of creative work and intellectual property, and we were all reasonable adults, so there was a lot of mutual understanding in the room.

    “As the country moves beyond a manufacturing economy, one of the areas we’re going to need to stay on top of the world is the creative economy: film, movies, music and technology. After all, isn’t the iPod a work of art?”
    Well, I don’t know about that, but I’ll give Arquette points for trying anyway.

    Also, as noted here...
    "For that billion dollars that is put into the funding of arts and culture around this country, $29 billion comes back into the Treasury. … There is no other issue, no other area of the budget, that has that kind of return on its investment," (actor and director Kevin) Spacey said. "Countries may go to war, but it's culture that unites us and teaches and makes us better as citizens."
    (I know Alec Baldwin also had something to say, but on balance, I think he’s a guy who gives Democrats a bad name.)

    Concluding, filmmaker Miles Mogulescu tells us the following here…
    When people attend a performance or go to a museum, they often spend additional money on restaurants, nearby shopping or parking. Artists are often the pioneers of urban revitalization. First artists move into lofts in a rundown neighborhood. Then cafes and galleries start to open. Soon middle class professionals are flocking to the area, first as consumers and then to rent and buy real estate, generating tax revenue which supports city and state governments and helps pay for things like schools and police.
    It’s all about ripples, people. And funding the arts is one of the ways to create them.

  • Continuing, some humanoid at The Daily Tucker tells us the following here…
    The left-leaning Center for American Progress published a blog post Thursday blaming Republicans for the tornadoes that devastated the South earlier this week.

    “The congressional delegations of these states – Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia, and Kentucky – overwhelmingly voted to reject the science that polluting the climate is dangerous,” wrote CAP’s Brad Johnson. “They are deliberately ignoring the warning from scientists.”
    I don’t know what is more ridiculous – the fact that the genius complaining here apparently can’t tell the difference between the blog Think Progress and the Center for American Progress (though the contributors to each frequently overlap I believe) or the fact that there is no place wherever that Johnson states point blank that the Repugs are responsible for the tornadoes (I’ll let you, dear reader, check out the linked post from the DC to see what I’m talking about…an update is here).

    Is the overall denial of climate change in the region impacted by these disasters something to consider for the future? Perhaps, but that is a discussion for another day – in the meantime, to help out, click here.

  • Finally, I must admit that I really don’t have much of a rooting interest in the whole “Kate and ‘Wills’” show that began earlier today – very early, in this time zone – but the following from Irrational Spew Online caught my attention (the writer reflects on another wedding in Britain’s royal family)…
    We watched as Charles and Diana were married in St. Paul’s Cathedral. And we were struck by the beautiful wedding sermon preached by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Every couple is a king and a queen on their wedding day, said His Grace on that memorable occasion. And, he said, a marriage is strongest when it works for others.

    We loved that sermon. It has shaped our own marriage. We clipped it out of the Christian Science Monitor and taped it inside our kitchen cabinet. That yellowing copy of his Lordship’s sermon made it through two or three house moves with us. Thirty years later, undimmed by fading memories, it still motivates us. We felt like a king and queen on that day, too. No amount of tragedy for those star-struck royals diminished our gratitude for that gracious wedding message.

    Bill Bennett likes to quote Chekhov: “He and she is the engine that makes fiction work.” Thirty years after Charles and Diana’s wedding, he and she still has a powerful appeal. Some 2 million people lined the route of the wedding party through London’s ancient, narrow streets, and billions more watched on television.

    Of course, monarchy itself is endangered in a world they constantly tell us is flat. Her Majesty’s Government — those who actually rule Britain while the royals only reign — announced this month they are giving serious thought to changing the order of succession. Henceforth, the eldest child of a royal couple — he or she — might ascend the throne.

    They might also drop the 300-year ban on any Catholic becoming a king or queen of England. My late friend Joe Barrett was forever reminding anyone who would listen that the English monarchy was legally a bigoted institution, constitutionally anti-Catholic. I always reminded him of the luck of the Irish. They at least had an alibi when the London tabloids splashed stories of yet another royal scandal.
    As for Bennett, I wouldn’t trust him unless he were providing a quote about “riding a hard eight” based on this (and even that much would be problematic). And for anyone who thinks Catholicism gets a bad rap in the UK, I would suggest that they familiarize themselves with the story of Queen Mary Tudor (see page 2 here), who preceded Elizabeth I to the British throne (there was a reason why she was called “Bloody Mary,” people, and it wasn’t because of the drink…hat tip to Mrs. Doomsy, a true Anglophile, for that one).

    As I say, the whole “royal wedding” show really isn’t my thing, but I still wish the two of them well. The world needs all the love it can get.

  • Update 4/30/11: Concerning the royals and the "birther" B.S., Dan Rather is pretty much a lone voice calling out in the media wilderness, but he's absolutely right here.

    Friday AM Stuff

    OWWWWW!!!! TEH STUPID!!!! IT BURNS US!!!!! (here)...

    ...and anyone who voted for this misogynist asshat should lose his or her right to the universal franchise.

    Thursday, April 28, 2011

    Thursday Stuff

    Ladies and gentlemen, I now give you Repug U.S. House Rep from PA Lou Barletta here, ultra supreme jag off ("oooh, you filthy unkempt liberal blogger, you're not supposed to call people names.").

    Well then, what would YOU call a U.S. Congressman or woman who laughs at his constituents (and yes, I realize the guy who spoke most of the time was strident, but he happened to be absolutely right). And isn't it disgusting to watch Barletta shine those pearly whites when someone speaks with whom he disagrees (and shuffles papers disinterestedly), but can suddenly try calling the crowd to order when he hears a sympathetic question (while the Fix Noise automatons try to hush the guy who actually makes sense)...

    Update 5/20/11: Wow, Barletta sure is one smiling coward based on this.

    …and Dem Gov. Pete Shumlin of Vermont is my new hero; Rachel Maddow explains why…

    …and happy 85th birthday to Harper Lee, one of the greatest writers of all time…

    …and I know Lawrence O’Donnell teed off on Orly Taitz, and good for him, but sorry, I want to deal with stuff here that’s actually important – that said, though, as long as we’re dealing with the supposed controversy over the place our president was born, let’s not forget about this also (h/t Atrios), which brings to mind this tune.

    (Yes I know, Kiss last night and Van Halen tonight – I’ll return to more normal fare tomorrow.)

    Thursday Mashup (4/28/11)

  • With all of the attention paid to the utterly ridiculous non-issue of President Obama’s birth certificate (which the Bucks County Courier Times thought merited a 72-point, all caps and bolded headline on the front page this morning), another wingnut attack on Number 44 occurred recently that was pretty much pushed out of the spotlight, and that came from Pat “Uber Alles” Buchanan of MSNBC where he said that Obama was “affirmative action all the way” regarding his education (here – to be honest, I think that’s worse than all of this “birther” crap).

    As noted here, President Obama “graduat(ed) with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) magna cum laude[36] from Harvard in 1991.” Which, of course, proves that he received an “affirmative action” education.

    Sure he did.

    So, what of “Take Our Country Back” Pat, then? Well, as noted here…
    Buchanan was born into a Catholic family, and attended Catholic schools, including the Jesuit-run Gonzaga College High School. As a student at Georgetown University, he was in ROTC, but did not complete the program.
    OK, then…
    He received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia in 1962, writing his thesis on the expanding trade between Canada and Cuba.
    Commendable. Oh, and by the way…
    He received his draft notice after he graduated in 1960. However, the District of Columbia draft board exempted Buchanan from military service due to reactive arthritis, classifying him as 4-F. It should be noted, however, that this has come under scrutiny. Buchanan has been an avid jogger since and there are those that have questioned the validity of his exemption from military service.
    I realize this doesn’t pertain directly to educational issues, but I thought it should be noted anyway.

    One final note about Obama – as noted here by his former professor Lawrence Tribe, Obama was “the most impressive all-around student I’d seen in decades.”

    If that means that Obama is “affirmative action,” then the program must be working wonders.

  • Next, I give you the following from The Daily Tucker (here)…
    When Congress was debating Obamacare, the left needed cover against those who pointed out that the bill, in many places, would lead to health care rationing. The media happily provided that cover.

    Liberals needed cover because the law created the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which will be comprised of 15 “experts” who will basically decide which treatments seniors on Medicare will be allowed to get.
    Oy – as noted here…
    With regard to IPAB's recommendations, the law says "The proposal shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums under section 1818, 1818A, or 1839, increase Medicare beneficiary cost sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria."
    By the way, though I respect Cynthia Tucker, it aggravates me to no end when I see a media person generally sympathetic to Democrats using Republican code language when they write or broadcast something, referring to “death panels” of course.

    One more note for Derek Hunter of Carlson’s Crayon Scribble Page – the writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is Jay Bookman, not Booker, as referred to in the link.

  • Further, it looks like Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao doesn’t want the political contributions of contractors to be revealed (here).

    Which is really funny when you remember that McConnell’s wife, the “Dragon Lady” herself, made it one of her missions in life when she ran the DOL (in addition to perpetuating wage theft and discriminating against workers generally) to find out everything she possibly could about union political organizing and fundraising, as noted here (more on Chao is here).

  • Continuing, I give you the following from Irrational Spew Online (here)…
    In my experience, there are some subjects liberals don’t want to talk about very much. One is abortion. They’re happy to talk about the rights of women (as they understand those rights). But they don’t want to talk about abortion: what it is, what it does.

    They don’t want to talk about Vietnam either. The war, yes; the aftermath, no. Liberals, many of them, longed for an American withdrawal, and then for a cutting off of the Saigon government. Those things came to pass. And then, hell.
    I could be snarky and say that the reason most liberals supposedly don’t want to talk about Vietnam is because more of us were off fighting the war than conservatives generally (and by the way, a review of Nordlinger’s bio on Wikipedia showed no military service).

    Of course, that’s if I wanted to be snarky.

    The reason I’m pointing this out, though, is because Nordlinger uses this as an excuse to try and perpetuate another zombie right-wing lie; namely, that our withdrawal from Vietnam led to the rise of Pol Pot (and it tells you how disingenuous Nordlinger is that he mentions Sydney Schanberg of the New York Times in passing without giving him credit for his landmark reporting of Cambodia, aided greatly by the late photojournalist Dith Pran of course).

    As noted here…
    …some historians have cited the U.S. intervention and bombing campaign (spanning 1965–1973) as a significant factor leading to increased support of the Khmer Rouge among the Cambodian peasantry. Historian Ben Kiernan and Taylor Owen have used a combination of sophisticated satellite mapping, recently unclassified data about the extent of bombing activities, and peasant testimony, to argue that there was a correlation between villages targeted by U.S. bombing and recruitment of peasants by the Khmer Rouge.[15]

    In his 1996 study of Pol Pot's rise to power, Kiernan argued that foreign intervention "was probably the most significant factor in Pol Pot's rise."[16]
    If anyone wants to make Nordlinger’s feeble argument, then it's their right to do so, I know. But maybe the reason no Democrat/liberal/progressive/whatever wants to discuss these matters (assuming you buy Nordlinger’s argument) is because we are focused on trying to resolve our present difficulties as opposed to rearguing settled history.

  • Finally (speaking of protesting American foreign policy), it looks like The Man of Steel is getting ready to fly the proverbial coop (here)…
    Superman is no longer an American.

    In "Action Comics’" new record-breaking 900th issue, the fictional iconic super hero renounces his U.S citizenship following a clash with the federal government.

    The Man of Steel, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938, has always been recognized as a devoted American warrior who constantly fought evil, but as of Thursday, he is no longer the country's own to claim.

    No word yet if Superman will change his red and blue suit, or his longtime motto "truth, justice and the American way" -- but the landmark issue is certainly sparking controversy.
    You knew that, with Obama speaking out about the “birther” nonsense, we were overdue for some new “values” issue, right?

    Well, with all this in mind, I thought of the following based on this…
    Woke up in the morning from a bad, bad dream
    Looked in the mirror and wanted to scream
    Figured some coffee would put me right
    While I looked out for green Kryptonite
    Then I saw the paper and the headline read
    The unemployed might as well drop dead
    Turned on the TV news to hear the sports
    They said China’s job rate is strong of course
    Cornering the industry of IT
    As well as “green” technology

    Why’d America fluff the rich
    But for all else, do not a thing
    I’ll save the planet from the U.S. and oil
    So watch me fly straight to Beijing

    Superman, Superman, just immigrate like Superman
    Superman, Superman, just an “expat” like Superman
    Yeah, I know – I’ll work on it :-).
  • Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    Wednesday Stuff

    Hopefully back to posting tomorrow - in the meantime, here is some big news from yesterday (he also said something about improving the quality of the show's online content - it would be hard for it to be worse than what is offered by MSNBC)...

    ...and I would say that "Shout It Out Loud" is something you want to do in response to K.O.'s return...a guilty pleasure, I know (and by the way, Ace Frehley is 60, believe it or not).

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Tuesday Stuff

    Looks like that dastardly Kenyan Marxist socialist has struck again, as a segue to The Donald (here - joke)...

    …and gosh, methinks it’s getting a little uncomfortable for those Repug life forms recently elected to the U.S. House here (my kingdom for a clip like this starring Mikey The Beloved)…

    …and so how about those early presidential poll numbers anyway, huh?...

    …and RIP Phoebe Snow.

    Tuesday Mashup (4/26/11)

  • Somebody named Katie Gage over at The Hill opined as follows here…
    “S.C. political leaders used words such as ‘frivolous,’ ‘shameful’ and ‘ludicrous’ Thursday to describe a National Labor Relations Board complaint against Boeing, which is building a $750 million aircraft assembly plant in the state.” This was the lead in the Associated Press story from North Charleston.

    If there was any doubt whether or not the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under the Obama administration had declared war on job creators, it was answered the other day when the “independent,” taxpayer-funded agency decided a company did not have the right to build a facility in a right-to-work state.
    As noted at the bottom of her column, Gage represents the Workforce Fairness Institute, and if you can smell the Astroturf here as well as I can, then you’re “too cool for school” or you’ve been reading this blog for a little while (if the latter is true, then you have my thanks).

    As SourceWatch tells us, "The (website of the Workforce Fairness Institute) lists among its 'allied groups' the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, Rick Berman's Center for Union Facts, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business." So yes, they very definitely have an axe to grind here, as it were.

    Boeing basically admitted in this story that this move to South Carolina is to prevent future strikes at its plants in Washington State; as noted here, “We have two notebooks about seven inches thick of public statements by Boeing executives that were threatening our workforce and actually also threatening the workforce in South Carolina,” according to International Association of Machinists spokesperson Connie Kelliher.

    And I would say that this is a reversal on the part of Boeing management, since, as noted here (upon resolution of the 2008 strike, which cost the union members an average of $7000.00 in base pay and cost the company $100 million per day in revenue and penalties with a postponement of the delivery of aircraft)...
    Scott Carson, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said “This is an outstanding offer that rewards employees for their contributions to our success while preserving our ability to compete…I thank both negotiating teams and the federal mediator for their hard work and commitment in reaching this agreement. We recognize the hardship a strike creates for everyone – our customers, suppliers, employees, community and our company – and we look forward to having our entire team back.”
    Gage’s partisan hackery is the typical noise you would expect from a right-wing advocacy group that, given all that has transpired in Wisconsin under Hosni Mubarak Walker and elsewhere in this country, is trying to stab at the heart of the rights of working men and women and families just a little deeper.

  • Next, I happened to come across this item in BoBo’s typical mess in the New York Times today (basically, if I did nothing but gaze at my navel for an hour or so, I could probably come up with something comparable), and I thought I should say something…
    Sixty-three percent of Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling; similar majorities oppose measures to make that sort of thing unnecessary.
    Of course, far be it for the esteemed pundit of the Old Gray Lady to tell us that opposition to raising the debt ceiling is utter madness, as noted here (to say nothing of hypocritical as well given this...more info is here).

    I suppose I should also note the cynical paradox of the “U.S.” Chamber of Commerce, which has done its part to cross-pollinate with those zany teabaggers (who of course profess to hate government spending) now calling for raising the debt ceiling here, which of course is anathema to the racist-sign-carrying-and-funny-hat-wearing bunch.

    Oh, and for good measure, this tells us who is cheering on this would-be catastrophe (of course, most of them are well-kept by their corporate media puppet masters and wouldn’t feel quite the same impact of this country’s fiscal ruin as the rest of us).

  • In addition, I found this item at the AEI blog by someone named Kenneth P. Green (can't link directly to the post without subscribing to the AEI feed, which I do not intend to do)…
    The president points to the national highway system as proof that the government can create great infrastructure, and employ people, and it did. Of course, the highway system also caused much of what vexes environmentalists and leftists today: dispersed housing; carved-up ecosystems; long-distance trucking of goods to market; greater access to what would have been land-locked natural resources; and an emphasis on driving huge RVs, or truck-towed trailers hundreds of miles for vacations. It also led to the higher rates of water pollution, soil pollution, conventional air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions that are so despised by the environmentalists today.
    Aside from pointing out once more the Pavlovian antagonism of anything pertaining to any level of the public sector by conservatives generally, I wanted to highlight this web site; yes, there are some topics listed where I have disagreement, but it’s heartening to see that there are actually some sane Republicans still out there (“non-leftists” dwindling by the minute, I’m sure) who, if nothing else, get the whole “stewards of the earth” thing, as opposed to the “fear and smear” delusional bipeds in that crowd who act as if they barely have a handful of brain cells between them.

  • Finally, I can’t help but laugh over the criticism aimed at President Obama for his supposed antagonism towards the religious holiday we recently celebrated (here).

    In response, I thought the following words were sublime (here)…
    Using the kind of personal religious language that he had once shied away from in public, Obama spoke of “the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross” in an Easter prayer breakfast for about 150 guests and staff.

    “And we’re reminded that in that moment, (Jesus) took on the sins of the world — past, present and future — and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection,” Obama said.
    However, if you prefer something ridiculous for Easter instead, I give you the following (here).

  • Monday, April 25, 2011

    Monday Stuff

    Regarding the earlier post and that disgusting National Review cover, we didn't have to Photoshop Number 43 to communicate the message that he was a clueless idiot - as Paul Krugman says, most outside the Beltway don't consider Ryan to be "serious," but inside the Beltway...

    ...and yeah, I may "run out and get me some of these" too.

    Monday Mashup (4/25/11)

  • Once more unto the breach, dear friends – to begin, I give you Former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm (here – shocking that he’s actually taking a break from bashing President Obama for now)…
    If the conventional mantra about California being on the forefront of the nation's political trends holds true, it's really bad news for America's taxpayers.

    According to a new L.A. Times / USC Dornsife poll, a majority of Californians -- 52% to 38% -- are just fine with Democrat Jerry Brown's plan to fill the state's chronic budget deficit with $14 billion in new or renewed taxes along with cuts, as long as they get to vote on it.

    This despite the recent history of waste, corruption and spending abuses in the most populous state's vast government.

    This despite the state's continuing 12% unemployment rate, second-highest in the country.

    This despite the weak 44% job approval rating for Gov. Brown.
    Oh blah blah freaking blah, Malcolm (and by the way, Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History…your former boss’s old man…would have unilaterally invaded someone or something else for a 44 percent job approval rating).

    And isn’t Malcolm’s framing here absolutely hilarious? Namely, that a tax increases poses “ominous implications” for U.S. taxpayers? And this, given the fact that, in addition to taxpayers of the Golden State who are fine with a tax increase, about 64 percent of those polled here have no problem with a tax increase on our country’s higher earners?

    So, if voters favor development of clean energy, I guess that poses “ominous implications” for ExxonMobil. Or if voters think the “birther” argument is BS, that poses “ominous implications” for Donald Trump.

    I’ll tell you what – as opposed to more hectoring of the L.A. Times’ journalistic mistake, I’ll merely link here once more to Professor Krugman, who rebuts Malcolm’s idiocy better than I could.

  • Next, Kevin Ferris of The Philadelphia Inquirer weighed in on the recent Republican candidates’ debate for the Philadelphia mayoral and city council elections (here)…
    One candidate, former Democrat Karen Brown, was a no-show. Organizers said she had promised to attend but had a last-minute scheduling conflict. Given that the debate was sponsored by the Loyal Opposition, the GOP radicals who believe that political parties should try to win elections, it's not surprising that the party's candidate wouldn't show for the upstarts' event.
    Ordinarily I could care less about intra-party GOP hissy fits, but it turns out that, as noted here, the so-called “Loyal Opposition” wing of the GOP is run by someone whose name should live in infamy when it comes to Repug local-area politics…
    It’s a little after 8pm and Kevin Kelly is not happy. The Philadelphia Loyal Opposition leader is at the podium of last night’s Republican debate inside the German Society at 6th and Spring Garden. He says Republican City Committee-endorsed mayoral candidate Karen Brown won’t be making it, even though “she agreed to be here.” The word “cowardice” is thrown around more than once.

    Kelly says he’s exchanged several phone calls and text messages with Brown. She even allegedly sent a head shot for the occasion and Kelly openly mocks someone from her campaign in attendance, sitting in a folding chair amongst the audience. “I think you got the phone information wrong,” says the Brown staffer who would leave before he could be identified.

    “Don’t piss in my ear and tell me it’s raining out,” says Kelly, still from the podium. “It’s very disrespectful what you’re doing here.”
    Hmmm…”cowardice,” “disrespectful”? Kind of amusing to hear this from Kelly who, as noted here, once maligned Patrick Murphy’s military service in Iraq, saying that Patrick’s claim that he risked life and limb with many, many others in our services was a “mischaracterization” (Kelly served in the Air Force in 2006, which makes his claim even more ridiculous given that Murphy served in the Army from 2003-2004).

    But then again, when it comes to handicapping a political contest, it’s pretty typical of Ferris to cast his lot with a character who is almost as disreputable as he is.

  • That leads us to Ferris’ pundit playmate at the Inky, Smerky himself (here – the subject is the air traffic controllers nodding off)…
    …what's essential is that air traffic controllers not alternate between a normal schedule and an overnight shift. Their bodies can't adjust. Better to have a dedicated night shift whose bodies can adapt to the unusual schedule.
    Great idea, actually. Of course, as noted here…
    The FAA budget is about to be cut again, but the only question is by how much. House Republicans have passed a bill rolling back funding to 2008 levels, while Senate Democrats have pushed through a bill that would keep funding stagnant. If recent short-term budget negotiations are an indication, the final bill will hew much more closely to Republican demands.

    Like everything else in the US, air safety is subordinated to cost. That dozens of major airports across the US rely on a single air traffic controller for overnight “graveyard” shifts raises deeply troubling questions. What if this lone controller becomes physically incapacitated? What happens if an emergency arises in which one airplane must receive the full attention of the lone air traffic controller?

    There is abundant evidence to suggest that sleeping on the job is the inevitable outcome of working conditions imposed on air traffic controllers.
    So, Smerky, would you care to stand up to those zany teabaggers, more than a few of whom listen to your radio program and read your column I would imagine, and call for more FAA funding?

    I don’t know the answer to that question of course, but the fact that our intrepid little pundit ended his column with a hosanna to The Sainted Ronnie R and what happened to the controllers under the watch of our 40th president is more than a bit of a giveaway as far as I’m concerned.

  • Returning to Bucks County, I wanted to highlight this recent story in the Courier Times about the negotiations between the Pennsbury School Board and the teachers in that district…
    A state appointed mediator overseeing talks between the Pennsbury school board and the teachers union ended a negotiation session Thursday after two board members who had not attended previous meetings entered the room, according to district officials and a union spokesperson.

    Board president Gene Dolnick called the unannounced arrival of board members Allan Weisel and Simon Campbell - who are not a part of the board's negotiation team - "disrespectful to the negotiating process and to the entire Pennsbury community."

    Dolnick added "a chance to reach a settlement was derailed" by their appearance.

    Campbell said that he and Weisel attended the meeting only to observe the talks and informed both parties of this intention when they arrived.

    According to Lucy Walter, spokesperson for the Pennsbury Education Association, when Campbell and Weisel arrived, school board representatives asked for a caucus. At this point, she added, the PEA negotiating team left the room to accommodate the request for a caucus.

    "Mr. Dolnick then asked us to leave," Campbell said Thursday. "I told him he has no legal right to ask a fellow elected official to leave the room and stop observing the process."

    After meeting separately with both sides, mediator John Cairns, according PEA and district officials, announced that he was adjourning the meeting as the "structure of the bargaining session had been changed."
    And timed no doubt with this result in mind, a member of Campbell’s little peanut gallery just happened to chime in with this letter to the Courier Times a day or two after the story was published.

    Simon wants a strike, people. End of discussion.

  • Finally, I really don’t have much to say about this…

    …except to note in response that it should be no surprise that I generally detest conservatives.
  • Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Happy Easter 2011

    May you all have a happy and blessed Easter. If you don't observe anything, may you have a happy and blessed long weekend.