Saturday, February 11, 2012

More Saturday Stuff

Kudos to Dem U.S. House Rep Luis Gutierrez for this; nothing like speaking truth to stupid, is there…

…and all this business with the Catholic Church up in arms over contraception coverage made me recall this item from The Eternal George Carlin (bad word alert)…

…and here is my response to the latest Breitbart meltdown (hey, we lefties can play the “let’s doctor the videotape to make it look as incriminating as possible” game too)…

…and this is awful news – my sympathies to the family and friends of Whitney Houston.

Saturday Stuff

Do we? Sometimes I wonder (here)…

…and the whole “Cal Thomas saying something typically stupid and full of red meat for the CPAC wingnuts against Rachel Maddow” thing ended up moving a little faster than I could comment on it in real time, but I’m going to say something now anyway (here).

To begin, I give Thomas credit for being enough of a man to stand up and admit that he made a pretty childish mistake, though I wonder if he would have done that if Greta Van Susteren of Fix Noise hadn’t come to Maddow’s defense. However, I think we need to remember that Thomas fancies himself as some sort of pundit moralist who, if he had been that indeed, would have known reflexively to stand up to intolerance instead of catering to it, as he did at CPAC.

In that vein, as noted here (digging into the Wordpress archives), Thomas once praised the “worship experience” of former president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn at the First Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., even though he once described our 39th president as something that “stinks as badly as a perishable item that has passed its ‘sell-by’ date.”

Given the Maddow dustup and some of Thomas’s past calumnies (including the item noted above), I think he needs to reread the scripture passage stating that “he who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted”…

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…and I had planned to include this video since the name of this band echoes what I think of Thomas, but I’m including it even though he apologized because I like the tune anyway...

…and happy 50th birthday to Sheryl Crow.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Thursday Stuff

This combines Black History Month with more bad conduct from the banksters, though we can do something about it…

…and kudos to Ron Johnson (the good one) of J.C. Penney for standing up here (along with Ellen DeGeneres)…

…and in a related story, I’d been so preoccupied with the utterly manufactured “issue” of contraception offered in health insurance for Catholic institutions (I’m sure more screeching drivel on this subject from Christine Flowers will attack our sensibilities on this tomorrow) that I’d forgotten about Prop 8 in California…

…and happy 70th birthday to Carole King.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Wednesday PM Stuff

I know I called Florida the Land of Duh a little while ago, and after this whole dustup over the Catholic Church and contraception, I realize that I was being waay too limited in my geographic scope.

In an attempt to dispatch with this idiocy as soon as possible, I give you the following:
  • This tells us that Charles Chaput, head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is of course speaking out in protest, desperate for any opportunity to move the spotlight from the hideous recent school closings.

  • This, despite the fact that contraception coverage is provided at other Catholic institutions (here, including this one).

  • Also, this is despite the fact that contraception coverage is supported by a majority of Catholics (here).

  • Oh, and Willard Mitt Romney once supported the contraception coverage he now opposes (here), and good for Obama for bashing him on it (here).
  • And for good measure, I give you Rachel Maddow and that Repug presidential candidate with a Google problem here…

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    …and I know Little Ricky and his pals don’t “do” irony, but I’m presenting this anyway.

    Mikey's "TRAIN In Vain" And Other Follies, Part 3

    (Part One including the setup is here, and Part Two is here...this may be the last regular post before the hiatus, or at best the next-to-last one.)

    So, how about if we move on with Mikey’s mailer from last month…

    Serving Our Veterans

    HR 2433, Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act of 2011
    HR 1392, Introduced the Fairness to Veterans Act of 2011
    HR 178, Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act
    HR 333, Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act
    HR 2534, Ensuring America’s Promises Act of 2011
    HR 2349, Veterans Benefits Training Improvement Act of 2011
    HR 2074, Veterans Sexual Assault Prevention and Health Care Enhancement Act
    I couldn’t find anything controversial about these bills, though, in the matter of our veterans, I would ask once more why Mikey voted against both a combat pay raise and a bill guaranteeing pay to our military in the event of a government shut down, noted here.

    Also, though Mikey’s support of the above-noted bills appears to be commendable, it would be nice if he would sign on as a co-sponsor to this also.

    The next section of Mikey’s mailer has to do with his efforts to try and repeal health care reform, which, by itself, automatically disqualifies him from serving in Congress as far as I’m concerned.

    Protecting The Environment

    HR 1964, Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2011
    Opposed HR 2018, Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act
    I can’t find anything wrong with HR 1964 (Local Repug Jim Gerlach is a co-sponsor with Dem Mike Thompson of California, as noted here). And as noted here, Mikey was wise to oppose HR 2018, which basically is a gift to polluters and guts the Clean Water Act.

    Fitzpatrick also voted to ensure that new drilling environmental safety studies are conducted and updated regulations are put in place to protect the Gulf of Mexico (Amendments to HR 1 and HR 2354). That’s nice, but it’s a shame that Mikey didn’t bother to point out that he voted to continue taxpayer subsidies for big oil here. Also, as noted here from last May, Mikey blamed Obama for the rise in oil prices, even though energy experts say such a claim is not credible, partly because oil production increased under Obama, as noted here.

    Government Reform

    Fitzpatrick co-sponsored Repug U.S. House Rep Mike Coffman’s HR 2913 bill (here), which terminated a member of Congress’s ability to pay into a defined benefit pension plan. That’s a good step, although, as noted here, members of Congress currently pay about 1.3 percent of their salaries into their retirement, described as “puny” by Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe (and I agree with that characterization).

    Of course (again, noted by Jacoby), if Congress wanted to get serious about their compensation, they could have acted on the bill by former Dem Rep Gabrielle Giffords to flat-out cut congressional salaries by 5 percent. Their response?

    Cue the sound of crickets…

    Also, HR 187 from Joe “You Lie” Wilson eliminates automatic pay raises, but of course it doesn’t touch COLAs (which, as we know, many of us in that glorious private sector upon which the Repugs heap so much praise aren’t able to receive).

    Maximizing Domestic Energy Production

    HR 1230, Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act
    HR 1229, Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act
    HR 1231, Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act
    HR 2021, the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011
    HR 1938, the North American-Made Energy Security Act
    HR 3410, the Energy Security and Transportation Jobs Act
    (Now we’re going to get back to what the Repugs do best. And I don’t mean that in a good way.)

    As noted here in response to HR 1230…
    Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) opposed the bill: “One year ago today, we were 2 weeks into the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We were 2 weeks into what would ultimately become the worst environmental disaster in our Nation's history, with more than 4 million barrels of oil spilling into the Gulf. And since that disaster, we have learned many things about the safety of offshore drilling….We learned that the oil companies had neither the resources nor the ability to stop a deepwater blowout. BP spill response included an attempt to shoot golf balls and bits of rubber into the well. When we were told that the industry was relying on the most sophisticated technologies, we assumed that they meant technologies developed by MIT and not the PGA….And yet here we are debating legislation that would do nothing to improve the safety of offshore drilling and could actually make drilling less safe. The legislation before us represents a return to the pre-spill mentality of speed over safety.”

    Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) also opposed the bill: “I rise in strong opposition to this oil spill amnesia bill that threatens our coastal communities….The bill sidesteps safety and environmental reviews, acting as if the Nation's worst oil spill in history never happened. And, it pushes a failed energy plan that pours billions of dollars into already overstuffed oil industry coffers. The only thing it adds up to… is a false promise. The truth is the Republican majority is hoping to delude the public into believing that this rush to new offshore drilling will provide a quick fix to high gas prices, but the harsh reality is this: The U.S. is never going to have control over world oil supplies or gas prices through drilling. We simply don't have the oil reserves, no matter how much we drill. What we do have is the ability to control prices by lowering our consumption, and that's just what we're starting to do.”
    And as noted here in response to HR 1229, this is still more overreach by this Congress, trying to tell an executive-branch agency what to do, in this case telling the EPA to review 40 drilling permit applications within 60 days (and what exactly does this have to do with job creation again – I probably could have said more about this last May, but didn’t…my bad).

    Continuing, this tells us the following about 1231…
    This drill-only bill mandates the most sweeping expansion of offshore drilling in our nation’s history – making broad swaths of the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts open for leasing automatically.
    And by the way, as noted here, the BP spill victims (remember them?) continue to suffer (and as noted here, Mikey voted against a Democratic motion to H.R. 1231 to prohibit energy companies from selling abroad the outer continental shelf oil and natural gas they extract under federal leases).

    So what of HR 2021? Well, Henry Waxman, ranking member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, tells us the following (here)…
    “The legislation is not about creating jobs. It is not about lowering gasoline prices. It is a giveaway to the oil industry that will increase pollution along our coasts….There are many flaws in the legislation. It allows huge increases in air pollution from oil and gas drilling activities by moving the point of measurement from the drill ship to the shore….The legislation eliminates the Environmental Appeals Board from the permitting process, even though it is a cheaper, faster, and more expert substitute for judicial review. And it requires all challenges to air permits to be raised before the Federal Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., thousands of miles away from the affected communities. Claims that this legislation will reduce gas prices or the budget deficit are nonsense. They have no substantiation. There are sensible improvements we could make, but we aren't making them. Instead, this bill waives environmental requirements and short-circuits permitting reviews at the expense of public health.”
    Further, this is a response to HR 1938, which is basically an attempt to rush through a decision on the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline before an environmental review has been completed.

    Oh, and about the supposed job creation associated with this project, I give you the following once more…

    Finally, as noted here by Dem U.S. House Rep Ed Markey of MA once more on HR 3410, “(the bill) contains a dangerous provision to share offshore drilling revenues with coastal states, which has the potential to actually increase the deficit over the long term.”

    There’s some other ripe stuff in Mikey’s mailer from last month that I probably won’t be able to get to, though I will note his support of HR 140, which would end birthright citizenship in this country (and as noted here, this would involve repealing the 14th Amendment to the Constitution; in addition to the fact that the amendment has pretty much been enshrined in settled law by now, trying to repeal it is really stupid public policy).

    I think that the three posts related to our congressman’s 2011 report card, or whatever, provides ample reason to support the Democratic alternative in this fall’s election, who happens to be Kathy Boockvar – to help her out, click here.

    Wednesday AM Stuff

    See what you’re voting for, all you nitwits in Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota (here)? God, are parts of this country stoo-pid

    …and I know I praised the Eastwood Super Bowl ad the other day, and I stand by that, but I think the following should be noted from here too…

    …“Worst Persons” (Uber-lobbyist and wingnut Rick Berman tries to pass himself off as a “union member” in one of his anti-union ads – once again, you’d have to be a stone cold moron to trust these people; Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association – not representing my family, I hasten to add – takes on the dreaded scourge of Ellen DeGeneres…and yes, I’m being tongue-in-cheek – also, nice work by J.C. Penney; but Repug Florida State Rep Rachel Burgin takes top “honors” for being too dumb to remove the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, notation from the bill she proposed, allegedly on her own…more here)…

    …and this goes out to Rep. Burgin (the gender thing doesn’t completely work, I realize, but you get the idea).

    Monday, February 06, 2012

    Monday Stuff

    “Worst Persons” (K.O. is back to tell us of Charles Payne somehow trying to claim that, well, y’know, poor people really aren’t poor because they get gout…OK, genius, let me clue you in on something – this hits me where I live because, in addition to the causes for the affliction that Keith mentions, namely diet and hypertension, there is also a hereditary component to it, and as someone who has suffered with it from time to time, I can testify that it can attack ANYONE regardless of income; Repug Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White, from the political party that has made a living from yelling about the virtually nonexistent threat of voter fraud, gets convicted of – wait for it! – VOTER FRAUD, and faces 3 to 18 years in the gray bar hotel – nice work; but Repug U.S. House Rep John Fleming of Louisiana takes top “honors” for taking a story on The Onion seriously about Planned Parenthood and abortion, though the three percent figure is correct (here, Fleming claimed the teabaggers are getting a bad rap from those dastardly libs, and here, he blamed Obama for our troop withdrawal from Iraq when it was negotiated under the SOFA, and he also cried poor mouth since he could ONLY make 400 grand as a U.S. House Rep – you Louisiana voters who elected this meat sack must be so proud)...

    …and speaking of abortion, I think this is a good opportunity to put up this tune – sorry, no video; I’m sure Hendrix had no political inclination whatsoever behind it.

    Sunday, February 05, 2012

    More Sunday Stuff

    God, is Pete Hoekstra a moron...

    Update 2/6/12: I guess I was so pissed off by the stupidity of Hoekstra's ad that I didn't pick up on the contradiction of someone who claims to be a fiscally prudent Repug running the most expensive possible ad that he could - fortunately, mcjoan did here.

    …and by the way, here is more Hoekstra stupidity (a response is here)…

    …and after viewing the ridiculous, I now give you the sublime (from here – apparently, both these ads aired during that football game tonight - not the biggest fan of Eastwood's politics, but this is still great stuff; like to see the Pats lose for personal reasons, by the way)…

    …and for no particular reason, I give you this tune.

    Sunday Stuff

    I’ve disagreed with Fareed Zakaria plenty of times, but as far as I’m concerned, he is one of the handful – fistful, actually – of conservatives that I take seriously, precisely because of commentary such as this…

    …and yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of the debut of “Rumours” by Fleetwood Mac, with some great songs depicting often dysfunctional relationships, including this one.