Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday Stuff

Awww, looks like “God’s quarterback” got his lunch handed to him by Brady and the Pats…

…and yep, looks like Willard Mitt and his pals are trying to “hate away teh gay,” if you will, big time (here)…

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…and I wonder if Tom “Space Cadet” Corbett would consider doing his job for free (here)? And, after watching this, I’m somehow supposed to be sympathetic to schemes involving vouchers...

…and I guess this is as good an excuse as any to take a trip back to the ‘80s.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Stuff

Point, meet counterpoint (from wingnuttia-land)…

…and somehow I have a feeling that, if Rod Serling were still alive, he would approve of this message (here, and in a related story as they say, this piece in the Times today made me want to puke)…

…and Rachel Maddow and Dave Weigel tell us here that it’s déjà vu all over again for the Repugs (and actually, her analogy between 2008 and this year holds up better when you realize that Former Senator Man-On-Dog quite probably won the Iowa caucus, as Weigel mentions - truly scary)…

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…and on this day in 1968, Johnny Cash performed live at Folsom Prison – nice bit of a remix.

Friday Mashup (1/13/12)

  • This post at The Daily Tucker tells us the following…
    The rise of Ron Paul in the Republican primary season has raised questions about what Americans expect from the executive office. The accepted interpretation of presidential powers and executive effectiveness centers on the “use” of the office. “Active” executives, such as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, are usually considered “great,” while those who did “little” in office round out the list. For example, a 2010 Siena Research Institute survey included both Roosevelts and Lincoln in the top five while Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman were in the top ten. The bottom dwellers included Andrew Johnson, John Tyler, James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce. Grover Cleveland and Martin Van Buren were also in the bottom half.
    Author Brion McClanahan, author of The Founding Fathers Guide To The Constitution (yep, that wingnut alarm in the back of my head just went off) then uses this as an excuse to defend former Presidents John Tyler, Grover Cleveland, Martin Van Buren, James Monroe, and (perhaps most egregiously) James Buchanan (presumably for low taxes, low tariffs, and lower spending than other chief executives – McClanahan does defend his selections of course, as he should).

    When considering John Tyler, our 10th president, I think we should also look at the following (from here)…
    He sided with the Confederate government, and won election to the Confederate House of Representatives shortly before his death (and Texas was annexed under his administration - maybe better left with Mexico? :-).
    And what of Grover Cleveland? Well, from here…
    He vetoed hundreds of private pension bills for American Civil War veterans, believing that if their pensions requests had already been rejected by the Pensions Bureau, Congress should not attempt to override that decision. When Congress, pressured by the Grand Army of the Republic, passed a bill granting pensions for disabilities not caused by military service, Cleveland also vetoed that.
    Oh, and there was that fathering-a-child-out-of-wedlock business, but that happened before he was elected to the White House (God knows what Fix Noise and their pals would do with that now, though).

    I think we should also consider the following about Martin Van Buren (who came after Andrew Jackson)…
    He oversaw the "Trail of Tears", which involved the expulsion of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw and Seminole from Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina to the Oklahoma territory. To help secure Florida, Van Buren also pursued the Second Seminole War, which had begun while Jackson was in office. The war, which would prove the costliest of the Indian Wars, was highly unpopular in the free states, where it was seen as an attempt to expand slave territory. Fighting was not resolved until 1842, after Van Buren had left office.
    The one selection where I don’t have much of a bone to pick, as it were, with McClanahan concerns James Monroe. However, the following should be noted from here…
    As Secretary of State, Monroe dismissed Mordecai Manuel Noah from his post as consul to Tunis in 1815, for the apparent reason that he was Jewish. Noah protested and gained letters from Adams, Jefferson, and Madison supporting church-state separation and tolerance for Jews.
    He also brought slaves with him to the White House, but that apparently was a common practice back then (repugnant still, though, I realize).

    Monroe also said the following (to his credit)…
    "It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin."
    And finally, this brings us to James Buchanan, the only president who came from our beloved commonwealth. As noted here…
    Knowing that secessionist fervor was strongest in South Carolina, Buchanan made a quiet pact with South Carolina's legislators that he would not reinforce the Charleston garrison in exchange for no interference from the state.[53] However, Buchanan did not inform the Charleston commander, Major Robert Anderson, of the agreement, and on December 26 Anderson violated it by moving his command to Fort Sumter. Southerners responded with a demand that Buchanan remove Anderson, while northerners demanded support for the commander. On December 31, in an apparent panic and without consulting Anderson, Buchanan ordered reinforcements.
    I think that Buchanan’s predecessor Franklin Pierce had at least as much to do with the runup to the Civil War as Buchanan did, though, truth be told, you could argue that no one could have prevented it (kind of the way that Calvin Coolidge was at least as much at fault for the Depression as Herbert Hoover because of his inaction…I realize, though, that all of this is conjecture in the end).

    This probably would be a more appropriate topic for President’s Day next month, but I guess now is as good a time as any to comment on this subject too.

  • Next, I couldn’t help but come across this item from The Hill, in which Repug U.S. House Rep John Fleming of Louisiana criticizes Number 44 as follows…
    With his new defense strategy President Obama has charted another step on his road map for American decline. His inconsistent, lead-from-behind mentality has diminished our standing in the world. As our exit from Iraq last month demonstrated, the commander in chief is more concerned with political appearances than with well-thought-out strategy.

    The men and women of the United States military do an extraordinary job of executing their orders. They have been stretched throughout the past decade, but their service has paved the way for freedom in Iraq, while keeping terrorists from using their familiar haunts in Afghanistan to plan and carry out attacks on innocent Americans.
    Hmmm, John Fleming, John Fleming – why does that name sound familiar?

    Oh yeah, it’s because he’s one of these supposedly oppressed millionaires in the House whose $6.3 million swag is apparently only worth $400 grand, and he was all “woe is me” about it here (cry me a river, dirtbag).

    Oh, and by the way, as noted here, the exit of our troops from Iraq had nothing to do with President Obama. It was negotiated in the Status of Forces Agreement under Dubya (and before you start blaming Obama for not enough troops in Afghanistan, take a look at this to see how President Hopey Changey has sent more of our people over to The Land Where Empires Go To Die after years of us shortchanging the war effort under Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History).

  • Finally, I thought the Bucks County Courier Times was occasionally lucid in this editorial this morning over the fact that Patrick Murphy, former U.S. House congressional rep and current candidate for the Dem nomination in the PA Attorney General’s race, did not take the PA state bar exam…
    Criticizing Murphy for opting out of the only bar exam that tests students’ knowledge of Pennsylvania law, a spokesman for (Philadelphia prosecutor Dan McCaffery, another candidate) asserted, “Not taking the Pennsylvania bar exam automatically disqualifies (Murphy) for attorney general. It’s a fatal flaw.”

    Maybe it will be for voters; we’ll see. But we don’t think it should be.

    We further think the spokesman’s comments are a cheap shot because requirements for the job of attorney general do not include trial experience. In fact, the only professional qualification that the Pennsylvania Constitution mandates for attorney general is to be a member of the state bar.
    Uh, yep – and as noted here…
    Murphy's also taken some hits recently because he never sat for the Pennsylvania bar exam, but rather became licensed to practice in the state through a very common process known as "reciprocity," which involves passing another state's exam and then gaining sufficient legal experience. Speaking as a lawyer, this kind of criticism is manifestly stupid—if Pennsylvania thought it necessary for all lawyers practicing there to take the PA bar, they'd make that a requirement. But they don't, and it's not. That said, things play differently on the campaign trail than they do at bar committee meetings, and McCaffery has been making a big deal of this story.
    To help out Patrick Murphy, click here (and as mentioned in the Daily Kos post, good luck to Dem Kathy Boockvar, who has lined up to challenge Mikey the Beloved for Murphy’s old seat…click here to help).
  • Mikey's "TRAIN In Vain" And Other Follies, Part 1

    A correspondence from our PA-08 U.S. House rep recently arrived at Le Manse Doomsy, which is Mikey The Beloved’s “2011 Year-End Review and Issues Update.” In this post, I will list the legislation Fitzpatrick supported, along with what I consider to be appropriate responses (the legislation is divided by headings, one of which appears below; I will not be able to cover the entire correspondence today, but I’m sure it will end up providing future posting material also).

    Empowering Small Business Owners

    HR 2401 – TRAIN Act
    As noted here…
    The health standards that the TRAIN Act will prevent are long overdue and would save tens of thousands of lives every year once they are implemented (including the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and Mercury and Air Toxics standards). Blocking these standards for just one additional year would result in:

    • up to 25,300 lives lost;
    • more than 11,000 heart attacks;
    • more than 120,000 asthma attacks;
    • over 12,200 more hospital and emergency room visits; and
    • many hundreds of thousands more days of missed work or school.

    And the bill’s lengthier minimum periods of delay (15 & 19 months) would result in up to 33,450 premature deaths. The real toll likely will be much higher since the legislation allows indefinite delays in these vital public health safeguards.
    Continuing with Mikey (what a great start)…
    HR 3094 – Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act
    As noted here…
    The House this evening passed (235-188) legislation (H.R. 3094) that gives employers new tools to combat and delay elections by workers who try to form unions. Dubbed the Election Prevention Act by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the bill is the congressional Republican effort to block some modest rule changes proposed earlier this year by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to reduce unnecessary litigation and modernize the way union elections are conducted.

    While they have refused to pass jobs legislation this year, congressional Republicans have made nearly 50 separate assaults on the NLRB since January by proposing bills to gut the agency’s oversight and funding, holding hearings and issuing subpoenas, according to American Rights at Work (ARAW).
    Your House Repugs on the job, ladies and gentlemen.

    Continuing with Mikey again…
    HR 527 – Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act
    As Michigan Dem congressman John Conyers noted here…
    Rounding out the trio of public safety killing legislation is H.R. 527, the “Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011.” Under current law, rulemaking agencies must make an analysis for every new rule that would have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, such as small businesses. Among other things, this bill repeals the authority of an agency to waive or delay this analysis in response to an emergency that makes compliance or timely compliance impracticable.

    So if there is an epidemic of E. coli or listeria infection caused by some item in our nation’s food distribution network, or if there is an imminent environmental disaster that could be addressed systemically through regulation, this bill says “Don’t worry. Don’t rush.”

    My conservative colleagues argue that this legislation is necessary because too much regulation is responsible for our nation’s current economic difficulties. They must be suffering from some collective form of amnesia. It was not too much regulation of Wall Street that led to the near collapse of the worldwide marketplace. It was not too much regulation that caused the BP oil spill. And, it was not too much regulation that allowed mortgage brokers, servicers, bankers and others to engage in predatory lending and falsify foreclosure documents in court proceedings.
    Continuing with Mikey…
    HR 10 – REINS Act and HR 3010 – Regulatory Accountability Act (I combined them)
    As noted here about REINS…
    The first of these is the childishly-named "Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act"(H.R. 10). Currently, Congress passes a regulatory law and it is up to the agencies within the Executive branch to write the regulations based on that direction from the Legislative branch. If Congress doesn't like how it is done, there are expedited ways for them to halt the new or changed regulations.

    Under the REINS Act, this all changes. Now, any new regulation that is deemed to be a "major regulation" (having an impact of $100,000,000 or more) must be APPROVED by both the House and the Senate. Not only that, it must happen within 70 days of being submitted to Congress.

    Think about that for a minute. When was the last thing Congress did anything in 70 days?

    The impact of this is dramatic. The current way regulations are written attempts to insulate the regulatory process from the political winds that buffet our country. It's not a complete insulation, of course, but it's an important separation. If this law passes, a small handful of legislators with a political axe to grind can bring the process to a near standstill, all but guaranteeing the 70 day window will close and no action is taken on the new regulation. When that happens, the regulation is scrapped.

    If this becomes law, it also would allow a current Congress to thwart the actions of a previous Congress without ever having to repeal any legislation, a subjugation of our democratic process.
    And as noted about the RAA from the same Daily Kos post…
    The Regulatory Accountability Act (S. 1606/H.R. 3010) will grind to a halt the rulemaking process at the core of implementing the nation’s public health, workplace safety, and environmental standards. This bill will not improve the federal regulatory process; it will cripple it. Rules that somehow make it through the RAA's process would tilt against the public interest and in favor of powerful special interests.

    The RAA would cover every rule and guidance – big and small – proposed by any executive regulatory agency and any independent regulatory agency. It seeks to fundamentally rewrite and expand the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a 65-year-old statute that can be considered as a kind of Constitution for administrative agencies and the regulatory process. There are now more than 110 separate procedural requirements in the rulemaking process; the RAA would add more than 60 new procedural and analytical requirements. For the country's most important rules, the RAA would add no fewer than 21 to 39 months to the rulemaking process.
    And as noted from here…
    The REINS Act is built on the faulty premise that the regulatory state is out of control. It’s easy to mock government rules, of which there are many, if you focus only on their costs and ignore their benefits. But, in reality, every major federal rule is already subject to extensive cost-benefit analysis by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and, under President Obama and President Bush, OMB has consistently concluded that the benefits of federal regulations far outweigh the costs. Last year, it concluded that the annual cost of major rules issued between FY 1999 and 2009 was $43 to $55 billion, while the annual societal benefits of those same regulations ranged from $128 billion to $616 billion—an excellent return on investment by any standard.
    And lastly (for now)…
    HR 910 – Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011
    As noted here…
    The bill prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from protecting the environment. And other than the title, the word "tax" does not appear at all in the bill. This legislative lunacy has inspired a couple of obviously frustrated Democratic congressmen to offer amendments that seek to improve at least the official title of the bill.

    Jared Polis of Colorado submitted an amendment to change the title to "The Dirty Air Act of 2011." Gerry Connolly of Virginia was somewhat more industrious. He submitted eight amendments including "The Koch Brothers Appreciation Act," "The Protecting Americans from Polar Bears Act," and "The Head in the Sand Act."

    Some people may think that these sorts of pranks mock the serious responsibilities of the institution. But the truth is that these amendments are no more ridiculous than the title as written in the bill's original language. And nothing is more ridiculous the actual intent of the bill. This is a great way to illustrate that it's the GOP who are a joke.
    Including Mikey the Beloved of course; I’ll plan to return to Mikey’s “year in review” later.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Thursday Stuff

    Well golly gee, it looks like that little puke Jimmy O’Keefe may have added a felony to his rap sheet (here, with a reminder below of one of his most notorious escapades; also, more here)…

    …and here’s a little number to help make our days more tolerable.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Wednesday Stuff

    Listening to Baby Newton Leroy and “Goodhair” Perry trying to claim the moral high ground here is hilarious, though they definitely have a point about the presumptive Repug presidential nominee…

    …and here’s something you’re not hearing much of, though you should, as Cenk Uygur tells us (more here)…

    …and as Think Progress tells us here, today marks ten years since the first “terrists” were detained at Guantanamo, which makes me recall this clip from November 2008 (just after the election – more good “Young Turks” stuff)…

    …and with that in mind, I bring you this – if the DFHs have a “national anthem,” it’s probably this song or that tune by Country Joe and the Fish at Woodstock (two notes first: 1) Though I definitely have disagreements with Obama from time to time, it should be noted that, while he’s shown in this clip, he did try to close GITMO, and 2) It might be worthwhile to read the story of John Kay, lead singer of Steppenwolf, and his harrowing escape from then-East Germany when he was young – songs like this arise from a true sense of idealism about this country, which I think is commendable).

    And by the way, under the heading of “Crime and Punishment,” I have a great big “WTF?” reaction over this.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Tuesday Stuff

    I’m sure the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Bucks County Courier Times wrestle with this question every day, since it hits so close to home for their core demographic – heh…

    How Will The End Of Print Journalism Affect Old Loons Who Hoard Newspapers?

    …and from the Department of Double Standards, I give you this (oh, and by the way, I hate to shock anyone out there, but Mitt Romney won New Hampshire – yawn)…

    …and speaking of Willard Mitt and his pals, I thought this was a bit of fun…

    …and let’s hope we’re not all singing this tune after this November (speaking of New Hampshire).

    Tuesday Mashup (1/10/12)

  • This Daily Tucker post tells us the following…
    The Department of Justice’s inspector general has refused to investigate Attorney General Eric Holder’s response to public safety threats stemming from the ongoing “Occupy” movement nationwide, especially in New York City and Washington, D.C.

    The nonprofit investigative firm Cause of Action asked DOJ Inspector General Cynthia Schnedar to look into Holder’s response to concerns about the potential for violence in connection with Occupy protests.
    About the group Cause of Action, here is a link to their web site. If you have better luck finding out who is behind this organization than I did, please let me know (ahhh, I can smell the Astroturf!).

    Also, this link from the Daily Tucker “story” provides a video showing what is supposed to be an attack by “Occupy” protestors on “elderly women” outside of a Washington, D.C. fundraiser. Well, I watched the six-minute-or-so video (heavily edited as most clips from conservative sites are), and while it is possible that two women who weren’t particularly elderly were roughed up a bit in a scuffle between “Occupy” protestors and the D.C. police (you see the after effects more than the actual supposed misconduct, which again is typical), you also see a tall man in his 50s or 60s (I would guess) trying to manhandle two shorter (and younger) “Occupy” protestors, and you also see a confrontation resulting from this.

    If the Department of Justice and the Inspector General aren’t going to investigate the car attack on the three “Occupy” protestors, then it would be utterly farcical to investigate any alleged “attacks” against those attending the Koch Brothers soiree in our nation’s capital.

  • Next, BoBo asks “Where are the liberals?” here. And if you guessed that this line is another excuse for a column full of straw man arguments against all Republican opposition, then you win a complimentary “Obama/Hillary 2012” bumper sticker courtesy of Bill Keller (here).

    Actually, I think there are more than a few liberals here, BoBo (and here is more food for thought on that subject…by the way, I always thought that a liberal was someone seeking a benefit from the government and a progressive was someone who sought change through governmental legislation; if that's not totally correct, I'm open to discussion on that).

  • Finally, this tells us the following…
    Tony Blankley, who frustrated and entertained reporters as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during his rise to power in the House, then joined the press corps himself as a columnist and editorial page editor for the Washington Times, died Saturday in Washington. He was 63.
    Before I say another word, I wish to extend my condolences to Blankley’s family and friends. I think that 63 is too young of an age for someone to cash in, as it were.

    However, that being said, I think the following should be noted about Blankley…
  • Here, he once called Valerie Plame “a CIA operations officer with relatively minor responsibilities” (last bullet).


  • Here, he said that Bill Clinton vetoed welfare reform twice (wrong, and this is particularly funny since, as was already pointed out, Blankley was Baby Newton Leroy’s press secretary at the time, so he should have known better).

  • Here…well, you can read a whole bunch of Blankley BS, so take your pick.
  • Again, it is sad for Blankley’s cohorts that he has passed, and I acknowledge that. What is sadder still is that his legacy, such as it is, is service for such an utterly dishonorable cause.
  • Monday, January 09, 2012

    Monday Stuff

    I was trying to find a way to respond to the latest pain narrative from Fluffyhead here (h/t Atrios), and I think this clip sums up my feelings pretty well; this features Sam Seder in Wisconsin last March or April in response to the antics from Hosni Mubarak Walker.

    (Oh, and here is another item to raise the blood pressure, I know, from last month - missed it while I was in "Do-Gooders and Dregs" mode)...

    …and by the way, happy belated 65th birthday to David Bowie, featuring a song that mentions the place where David Gregory surely lives.

    Sunday, January 08, 2012

    "Orwell That Ends Well"

    From Bill Maher’s great new book (a Christmas present from Mrs. Doomsy – this is dated March 16, 2007)…
    New Rule: Liberals must stop saying President Bush hasn’t asked Americans to sacrifice for the war on terror. On the contrary, he’s asked us to sacrifice something enormous: our civil rights. When I heard George Bush was reading my Emails, I probably had the same reaction you did: “George Bush can read?” Yes, he can, and this administration has read your phone records, credit-card statements, mail, Internet logs – I can’t tell if they’re fighting a war on terror or producing the next season of Cheaters. I mail myself a copy of the Constitution every morning on the hope they’ll open it and see what it says.

    So when it comes to sacrifice, don’t kid yourself; you have given up a lot. You’ve given up faith in your government’s honesty, the goodwill of people overseas, and six-tenths of the Bill of Rights. Here’s what you’ve sacrificed: search and seizure, warrants, self-incrimination, trial by jury, cruel and unusual punishment; here’s what you have left: handguns, religion, and they can’t make you quarter a British soldier. If Prince Harry invades the Inland Empire, he has to bring a tent.

    In previous wars, Americans on the home front made a very different kind of sacrifice. During World War II, we endured rationing, paid higher taxes, bought war bonds. In the interest of national unity, people even pretended Bob Hope was funny. Women donated their silk undergarments so they could be sewn into parachutes – can you imagine nowadays a Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan going without underwear? OK, bad example.

    George Bush has never been too bright about furreners, but he does know Americans. He asked this generation to sacrifice the things he knew we wouldn’t miss: our privacy and our morality. He let us keep the money. But he made a cynical bet that we wouldn’t much care if we became a “big brother” country that has now tortured a lot of random people. And yet no one asks the tough questions like “Is torture necessary?””Who will watch the watchers?” and “When does Jack Bauer go to the bathroom? It’s been five years – is he wearing one of those astronaut diapers?”

    After 9/11, President Bush told us Osama bin Laden could run, but he couldn’t hide. But then he ran, and hid, so Bush went to Plan B: pissing on the Constitution.

    Conservatives always say the great thing Reagan did was make us feel good about America again. Do you feel good about America now? I’ll give you my answer, and to get it out of me, you don’t even have to hold my head under water or have a snarling guard dog rip my nuts off. No, I don’t feel very good about that. They say that evil happens when good men do nothing. And the Democrats prove it also happens when mediocre people do nothing.
    The new season begins this Friday.

    Update 1/9/12: And here is something else to keep in mind about Former Commander Codpiece (which isn't surprising in the least).