Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Stuff

Bill Maher laid into The Mittster a week ago during New Rules and made some good points; I was going to search for the clip, but then I came across this from Stephen Colbert, which is probably a little better...

...and yeah, Willard Mitt has been a "man in motion" all right (even though he managed to keep his campaign staff, unlike somebody else - almost too funny for words).

Friday Mashup (6/10/11)

  • Back to the blogging thing – I give you the following (here)…
    Voter-photo-ID laws and the like are targeted at those ineligible to vote, regardless of race. If (Dem Congresswoman from Florida Debbie) Wasserman Schultz is concerned that photo-ID requirements have a disparate impact on minorities, she’s bought into a stereotype that minorities are too poor or feeble to obtain photo IDs.
    So this person from Irrational Spew Online supports voter ID laws, of course, intended to fight the thoroughly nonexistent scourge of voter fraud in this country. And by focusing on minorities, Peter Kirsanow totally ignores the threat of these laws to younger voters also who vote in large numbers for Democrats, as noted here (ignoring by design I’m sure, and not that his argument towards minorities, such as it is, is credible either…and in that vein, I’m sure the findings from Repug Bucks County DA David Heckler on the Ciervo/Fitzpatrick letter from last year will be forthcoming any day now…any day now).

    Also, voter ID laws drive up costs for local governments, as noted here recently in the Concord Monitor…
    (New Hampshire) lawmakers yesterday continued to parse the fiscal implications of a proposal to require voters to show photo identification.

    The bill would require people without valid photo identification to vote by provisional ballot and return by the third day after the election to verify their identity. The Department of State projects the law would increase state expenses by $80,670 in 2013 and $103,840 in 2015, and the state association of town clerks says the requirement would increase local costs as well.

    The state would have to pay the cost of identification cards for people who lack them as well as the cost of hearings for people seeking waivers from the requirement.
    And as Media Matters reminds us here, the closer we get to a national election, the louder the clamor you will hear from the wingnutosphere about alleged voter fraud (voter caging and disenfranchisement, not so much, though – Think Progress has much more on this here).

  • Next, I give you last week’s Area Votes in Congress writeup (here – the Senate was in recess...hey,, what happened to the comments?)…

    Debt-limit increase. Voting 97-318, the House defeated a bill (HR 1954) to raise the national-debt limit by $2.406 trillion to $16.7 trillion. The Treasury is expected to soon reach the current limit of $14.294 trillion. Republicans sponsored this bill but voted unanimously against it, saying their purpose was to show that any new borrowing authority must be joined with comparable spending cuts.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.) and Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.).

    Voting no: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), John Carney (D., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Michael Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., 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.).

    Not voting: Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.).
    In addition to more on this typically ridiculous bit of Repug gamesmanship here, I think the following should also be noted once more from here (Rob Andrews continues to slide in the wrong direction, as does John Carney).
    Homeland Security budget. Voting 231-188, the House approved a $40.6 billion Department of Homeland Security budget for fiscal 2012, down $1.1 billion or 2.6 percent from 2011. The bill (HR 2017) funds agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Coast Guard. The first of the fiscal 2012 appropriations bills to pass the House, the measure reflects deep spending cuts fostered by the Republicans' 2012 budget plan.

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

    Voting no: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Fattah, and LoBiondo.

    Not voting: Schwartz.

    Firefighters' funds. The House voted, 333-87, to add $320 million to HR 2017 (above) for antiterrorism grants used by local fire departments to fund equipment purchases and recruit and train personnel. The added spending would be offset by cuts in the Department of Homeland Security's administrative budget. The amendment would set funding for firefighters' programs at $670 million for the budget year, reversing cuts fostered by the House Republicans' 2012 budget plan.

    A yes vote backed the amendment.

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

    Voting no: Pitts.

    Not voting: Schwartz.
    I guess Pancake Joe doesn’t have to worry about the threat of terrorism or funding firefighters in PA-16 (once more, take a bow, you nematodes who insist on sending this meat sack back to Washington every two years).

    Also, I’ll be interested to find out how many jobs are lost as a result of the Homeland Security Budget approved by “So Be It” Boehner and his pals – I’ll keep a lookout for more info.
    Mass-transit security. Voting 187-234, the House defeated a motion by Democrats to set aside $75 million in HR 2017 (above) in dedicated funding to protect intercity and commuter rail lines and bus services from terrorist attacks. Although amply funded in previous Homeland Security budgets, these transportation modes face deep cuts fostered by the GOP budget plan passed in April.

    A yes vote backed the motion.

    Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Fattah, and Holden.

    Voting no: Dent, Gerlach, Fitzpatrick, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.

    Not voting: Schwartz.
    As noted here, the Repugs no likey infrastructure projects generally, high-speed rail projects in particular (I guess they think it’s a “gumint” handout or something and not a “real” private sector job – and by the way, any word on when that glorious, private-industry-job-creating machine is going to ramp up at long last in this country?).
    War Powers Act. Voting 148-265, the House defeated the tougher of two pending challenges to President Obama's addition of U.S. forces to the NATO-led air war over Libya. The measure (H Con Res 51) sought to end the action in 15 days under the 1973 War Powers Act, which authorizes presidents to deploy forces for up to 60 days without congressional approval. Obama on March 19 ordered U.S. forces to join the United Nations, NATO and Arab League effort to bolster Libyan rebels against the regime of Moammar Gadhafi. Obama has neither sought nor received congressional approval of the action but has described his policy in detail to Congress and the public.

    A yes vote was backed withdrawal within 15 days of enactment.

    Voting yes: Pitts.

    Voting no: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Dent, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Meehan, Runyan, and Smith.

    Not voting: Schwartz.
    I’m sure Pitts voted for this just to slam our Kenyan Marxist socialist pre-zee-dint who was too busy killing bin Laden to show us his birth certificate. However, smarter life forms in his party realized that this would have set a precedent that could one day be used against a Repug chief executive also.
    GOP Libya plan. Voting 268-145, the House adopted the softer of two resolutions before it concerning U.S. military actions over Libya. Introduced by Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio), the essentially nonbinding measure (H Res 92) gives the president 14 days to justify the deployment but states no consequences if he fails to do so. A competing measure (above) sought to use the 1973 War Powers Act to force an end to the action within 15 days of enactment.

    A yes vote was to back the GOP resolution.

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

    Voting no: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Fattah, and Holden.

    Not voting: Schwartz.
    If there is any issue where I have some agreement with the majority party in the House, it’s this one. Yes, Boehner and company are clowns, but the Obama Administration does owe us a legitimate explanation as to what our involvement is exactly in Libya as well as elsewhere and when exactly it will end.

    After this vote, the House was in recess. The Senate's legislative schedule was to be announced.

  • In addition, this tells us that, with our economy stumbling along, two wars and the battle in Libya, our planet melting and our government doing its best to erode our civil liberties as much as possible while trying to turn every last one of us into debt slaves forever…leave it to the Repugs to fight the dread threat of the possible return of (wait for the scary-sounding music)…THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE!!! And I can’t believe FCC chair Julius Genachowski caved in response.

    Here is more from the Hillbilly Heroin Addict and the Murdoch Street Journal on this fake “controversy,” and here is more on why we need it back (a day we likely will never see, of course…the Fairness Doctrine ended up going the way of Horn and Hardart’s, parachute pants and the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1980s).

  • Finally, George Will concocted some truly ripe stuff here yesterday at the WaPo (of course)…
    Consider a hypothetical Ralph, who operated Ralph’s Diner until Applebee’s and Olive Garden opened competitors in the neighborhood. With economies of scale and national advertising budgets, those two franchises could offer more choices at better prices, so Ralph’s Diner went out of business. Should he and his employees be entitled to extra taxpayer subventions because they are casualties of competition?

    Why should someone be entitled to such welfare just because he or she is affected negatively by competition that comes from abroad rather than down the street?
    Sooo…it’s “welfare” to Will if a businessperson is shut down and they need a hand-up, but no word from Will about what you would call it when our august captains of finance in this country nearly crater our economy and they tells their bought-and-paid-for media/political sycophants to plead their case for them (and I thought this was a good response from a Daily Kos diarist).

    (OK, to be fair, I should note that Will has decried all "handouts," though he was typically wrong here about bailing out the automakers.)

    Besides, as noted here, Will’s notion of welfare is somewhat…how shall I put it…skewed anyway.

    It should also be noted that Will’s attack on trade adjustment assistance is typically misguided partly because, in addition to leveling the playing field for those who are displaced by unfair competition, it was also signed into law by a Republican president in 1974, Jerry Ford to be exact (here).

    And for good measure, here is more (a Will assault on unions, of course), and a real “evergreen” post from Will about “hard” and “red” America supposedly paying for “soft” and “blue” America (as you can read, Will has it exactly backwards).

    And as a coup de grace of sorts, here is a clip from Keith Olbermann about how Will supposedly thinks liberals want to bring back the Fairness Doctrine (dove-tailing into the prior topic – just a reminder that K.O. returns to Current TV on 6/20 at 8 PM EST…yaaay!).

  • Thursday, June 09, 2011

    Thursday Stuff

    Hopefully back to more posting tomorrow – this is a recording, I know…

    I think the Weiner thing is now officially too bizarre for words (or, as Atrios might put it, “the Weinis meets the Clenis”)…

    …and today marks what would have been the 120th birthday of music legend Cole Porter; here is one of his most famous works (P.S., I also featured one of his tunes two nights ago...interesting guy who ended up living a life with a lot of tragedy).

    Wednesday, June 08, 2011

    Wednesday Stuff

    Yeah, let's watch and see what happens with crap like this if Willard Mitt wins the Repug nomination ...

    ...and I read this (h/t Atrios) and I find myself thinking of this song ("is it ever gonna be enough"? indeed).

    Tuesday, June 07, 2011

    Tuesday Stuff

    I think this requires a replay of this fine commentary by Lawrence O’Donnell from a few months ago (bang bang, wingnuts – why do you hate America?)…

    Update 6/9/11: "Here kitty kitty"...

    …and yep, it looks like the thermometer is going to tick upwards by a bit over the next few days in these parts, so here’s a timely tune with an important message (the numbers are a little dated at this point, but it all still bears repeating).

    Tuesday Mashup (6/7/11)

  • It’s bad enough that I have to do my best to avoid Christine Flowers of the Philadelphia Daily News on Fridays, but apparently, I have to do so now at other times during the week; here, she’s uncharacteristically polite in criticizing Sister Mary Scullion, a legendary figure in these parts for her work on behalf those who are disadvantaged in however many ways, particularly the homeless…
    …I couldn't disagree more with Sister Mary's op-ed this week in the Inquirer, which berated Councilman Frank DiCicco's proposed legislation concerning the homeless. Like many of the bill's critics, Scullion believes it's more punitive than it needs to be in that it lets police deal with a homeless person without first contacting a social-service agency, as mandated by law.

    Sister Mary conjures up an almost fascistic scenario where the government has the power to arrest vulnerable people on a whim when she writes:

    "The problems with DiCicco's bill, beyond its sheer inhumanity, are manifold. Frivolous citations would create legal problems for homeless people, hampering their efforts to get housing and services and break the cycle of homelessness. Violations of their basic rights could lead to costly litigation. And enforcement would waste precious city resources while forcing many homeless people out of Center City and into nearby neighborhoods, shifting the problem rather than solving it."
    As noted here from last March (depicting a scenario that, while “fascistic,” is also fairly likely to occur if DiCicco’s ordinance is passed)…
    A little over a week ago, First District Councilman Frank DiCicco introduced Bill 110386 in an attempt to amend the 1999 Sidewalk Behavior law to, in his words, “give police … more authority … as to people who are aggressively panhandling …” by ordering those officers to arrest homeless persons without even attempting to first get the assistance of social service professionals who are trained to deal with the kind of financial, mental health, and/or substance abuse problems that many of those human beings have. The current law, which requires such mental health involvement, ain’t broken and therefore doesn’t need to be fixed. In fact, it has become a national model as noted by (Sister Mary), co-founder of Project H.O.M.E., an advocacy group for the homeless.

    There are already laws on the books addressing harassment, terroristic threats and simple assault to deal with real criminal behavior if that’s what DiCicco is truly worried about. But that’s not really what he’s worried about. What he’s really stressed about is what he actually said, which is that “hotel guests … are uncomfortable” with having to deal with those kind of people. Well, whooptie-goddamn-do! Tell those upper-crust fancy pants that we’re blue-collar folks here in Philly, and we’re tough enough to deal with the trauma of encountering—GASP!—a talkative guy wearing ragged jeans who hasn’t showered in a few days.
    I have worked in downtown Philadelphia, and the missus and I have journeyed to a variety of locales in Philadelphia primarily for dining out, but for other activities also, along with the young one on occasion. And based on our experience, I think Michael Coard of The Philly Post is absolutely right. You just don’t make eye contact if you see someone approaching you who looks like they plainly do not belong in that area. Or, on the rare instance where you happen to be accosted, call 911 at your first opportunity (though I think that is just as likely to happen on a concrete or cobblestone city sidewalk amidst steel-and-glass monuments to corporate America as it is among leafy suburban glades).

    So I’m not a bit surprised to see that Flowers basically wants to lock up anyone who didn’t seem to have the wherewithal to emerge one day as a celebrated Philadelphia media columnist and lawyer, or some other well-to-do occupation, in the name of her twisted notions of Christianity. Particularly since, given this column in which she said that anyone who voted for Obama isn’t a real Catholic, she has at best what I would consider to be a depraved notion of spirituality anyway.

  • Next, I guess I’m supposed to weep crocodile tears over the departure of Bush Dog Dan Boren, who announced here that he will not seek another term in the U.S. Congress from Oklahoma (and the prognosticators say this seat will likely go Republican – gee, ya’ think?).

    With that in mind, I give you the following:
  • Basically, Boren never met a Dubya tax cut that he didn’t like, as noted here (Think Progress commemorated the ten-year anniversary of the first batch here, with the requisite ruinous effects - more here).

  • As noted here, he opposed any legislation that set a timeline for troop WD from Iraq.

  • Boren said here that Obama was “the most liberal senator” in Congress and “had no intention” of endorsing him for the White House during the 2008 election (heh).

  • He accused Obama of being “weak on defense” (an evergreen Repug charge) even though the defense budget was paired by a Republican SecDef, Robert Gates (here).

  • Boren opposed health care reform here (of course).

  • He voted against three animal protection measures in the House in 2008, the only Dem to do so, as James Wolcott tells us here.

  • Lastly, he said here in January 2010 that Democratic congressional losses that fall would be “a good thing” for the party (sadly, his prediction was realized, though how “good” it turns out to be remains to be seen depending on November 2012 I guess).
  • So yeah, barring a cosmic miracle, Boren’s seat will officially go Red in about 17 months or so. Of course, given his record, it’s hard to argue that an actual Democrat held the seat anyway.

  • In addition, we learn the following from the Globe and Mail up north here, namely, that perhaps the most notorious liar in the world who still walks upright will appear at a symposium with Fareed Zakaria in a week or so…
    The American war against Vietnam, the Pakistani massacre of Bengalis in 1971 (an estimated 1.5 million killed), the operations of the Shah of Iran’s secret police, the brutal Pinochet years in Chile, the secret U.S. bombing of Cambodia that made possible the Khmer Rouge’s genocidal killing fields (1.5 to 2 million dead), the bloody 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus (an estimated 150,000 refugees), the betrayal of the Kurds in 1974-75, the Indonesian slaughter of some 100,000 East Timorese, the war against the government of Angola, the entrenchment of apartheid in South Africa.

    No one will ever know how many millions of ordinary citizens were killed, maimed, tortured, brutalized or displaced in these merciless operations. A U.S. Senate subcommittee on refugees estimated that more than three million civilians were killed, injured or rendered homeless in Southeast Asia alone from 1969 to 1975.

    And we do know this: By a curious coincidence, all of these horror stories have in common the very man who’s soon coming to Toronto, Dr. Henry Kissinger (somehow the only PhD in the world who’s regularly called Dr.). As Richard Nixon’s national security adviser and both Mr. Nixon and Gerald Ford’s secretary of state, Dr. Kissinger enabled or endorsed every one of them.
    And this describes a typical Kissinger manoeuvre…
    In a meeting with presidential speechwriter Michael Gerson in early September 2005, Kissinger was more explicit: Bush needed to resist the pressure to withdraw American troops. He repeated his axiom that the only meaningful exit strategy was victory.

    "The president can't be talking about troop reductions as a centerpiece," Kissinger said. "You may want to reduce troops," but troop reduction should not be the objective. "This is not where you put the emphasis."

    To emphasize his point, he gave Gerson a copy of a memo he had written to President Richard M. Nixon, dated Sept. 10, 1969.

    "Withdrawal of U.S. troops will become like salted peanuts to the American public; the more U.S. troops come home, the more will be demanded," he wrote.

    The policy of "Vietnamization," turning the fight over to the South Vietnamese military, Kissinger wrote, might increase pressure to end the war because the American public wanted a quick resolution. Troop withdrawals would only encourage the enemy. "It will become harder and harder to maintain the morale of those who remain, not to speak of their mothers."

    Two months after Gerson's meeting, the administration issued a 35-page "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." It was right out of the Kissinger playbook. The only meaningful exit strategy would be victory.
    Kissinger also said in February ’07 that Dubya had “a secret plan” to end the Iraq war (hmmm, wonder what other Repug president had “a secret plan” to end a war? Think “I am not a crook” – this post also details how Nixon and Kissinger sabotaged the 1968 peace talks on Vietnam, thus allowing the war to continue for seven more horrendous years).

    One day, Kissinger’s physical body will die, which will be a belated deterioration, his soul having died decades ago.

  • Finally, Andrew Breitbart clone Michael Walsh bellows as follows here (and yes, I’m still in shock that, after having defended Anthony Weiner, it turns out that he was guilty of the underwear pic after all, though I can’t think of a word to describe how pathetic our discourse is that, while our “gilded age on steroids” economy continues to plod along, our wars rage, our civil liberties continue to erode and our planet continues to melt, a picture of an erect member and the legal doings of a former Dem senator seem to rule the day for our corporate media).

    (The title of Walsh’s screed, by the way, is “Behold The Face of the Modern Left”)…
    In his combination of unctuousness, mendacity, mock-reasonableness, petulance, bullying, hypocrisy, overweening arrogance, brazen aggression, self-pity, victimhood, and bogus moral preening, it’s hard to beat Congressman Anthony Weiner. He’s the perfect face of the modern American Left in all its glorious pathology; why anyone takes these people seriously is utterly beyond me, so transparent are they. And yet for some, their sweet nothings continue to resonate.
    It should be noted that Walsh has apparently also written for Irrational Spew Online under the alias of David Kahane, which is the name of an aspiring screenwriter in the film The Player who is killed by an irate movie producer (I suppose that fits the typical “oh I’m such a poor victim of that evil li-bu-ruul media” conservative mindset).

    And as noted here, Walsh once ridiculed House Dem Steny Hoyer for speaking out against violence as a result of the Tucson tragedy, even though, as noted here, 10 Democrats received threats of violence after their health care votes (and Orange Man Boehner spoke out against those threats, even though he was guilty of that tactic himself against former Dem House Rep Steve Driehaus…that and much more is noted here; basically, except for former rep Paul Kanjorski threatening Lex Luthor in Florida, which I don’t condone even though Scott is horrible, I can’t find a comparable instance of bad Dem behavior).

    Also, for good measure, it should be noted that Walsh referred to James O’Keefe’s lawbreaking here (for which O'Keefe entered a guilty plea) as “spitting on the sidewalk” (U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval described O’Keefe’s breaching of security at the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu as “an extremely sensitive matter,” so I think it’s safe to say that Judge Duval did not agree).

    So to sum up, Walsh demonstrates perceived victimhood, a tolerance of violence against his enemies, a total inability or lack of desire (or both) to demonstrate any empathy whatsoever (on health care in this case), and a complete disregard for the rule of law.

    Behold the face of the Radical Right.

    Oh, and as noted here, Walsh describes “David Kahane” as “a complete idiot who never understands that the joke’s always on him.”

    I rest my case.

  • Oh, and as long as we’re continuing to pile on Anthony Weiner (And by the way, CNN, why do I now have to know about Weiner’s wife too? Any pics on Mrs. John Ensign?), let’s just take a breath and remember something, OK?

    This guy consorted with prostitutes and continues to serve in the U.S. Senate. And don’t give me that crap about how the voters of Louisiana, in their eternal, dunderheaded stupidity, sent him back to Washington. He should have had the guts to quit long before then.

    Monday, June 06, 2011

    Monday Stuff

    This brought the following scene to mind…

    …and speaking of food, I give you another tale of capitalism run amok (here)…

    Save The Farm Trailer from Cinema Libre Studio on Vimeo.

    …as well as the stupidity of voters in this country who continually elect the frauds on display here (“Democrat” Party, Baby Newtown Leroy? I’m still waiting for details on that space-based air traffic control system of yours)…

    …and yep, this works for me too (h/t Thers at Eschaton – don’t quite get all the references to what appears to be Irish politics, but oh well...shape of things to come, maybe?).