Saturday, February 28, 2009

CPAC explores new and provocitive ideas to bring the Republican party back to prominence.

Conservative Political Action Conference is the annual gathering of the conservative faithful. Leading conservative politicians, media personalities and really, really angry white people get together and discuss cutting edge issues that matter dearly to the conservative cause. This year it was in Washington D.C. One of the speakers was Mike Huckabee, who had this to say (via Washington Monthy):

"The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics may be dead," said Huckabee, "but a Union of American Socialist Republics is being born." Democrats, according to Huckabee, were packing 40 years of pet projects like "health care rationing" into spending bills. "Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff."

I might point out that any comparison of the United States to the Soviet Union because of “pet projects” might have a bit more credibility if it weren’t for the fact that the Republicans held the purse strings for many years while the deficit ballooned, that no prominent Republican objected to budgetary items that benefitted their constitutients, and that no one, anywhere, is talking about health care rationing. And that if a prominent Democrat that ran for president said this about a Republican administration, where would have been much wailing, rending of garments and gnashing of teeth. But as Boone famously noted, “Forget it, he’s rolling.”

Here are some of the other items on the agenda.

Al Franken and ACORN: How Liberals are Destroying the American Election System

Because a poorly run voter registration outfit and an ex-comedian who wrote a book called “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot” that actually won an election by a very narrow margin are, without a doubt, destroying the American election system. (Of course, if I were a conservative, I would be VERY careful about saying anything about voting irregularities and stolen elections. Because, if they do, then what might pop into people’s minds might be Florida in 2000, Ohio in 2004, the New Hampshire phone bank jamming scandal in which at least one person was convicted and went to jail, Diebold voting machines manufactured by a company whose president was quoted as saying that he would do anything to get Republicans elected, etc., etc.)

Building the Conservative Hispanic Coalition

Because this is something that Republicans certainly need to work on. One problem, however, is to figure out how to be virulently anti-immigration and vilify anyone with brown skin while building that very important Hispanic coalition.

The Key to Victory? Listen to Conservatives

Because Conservatives have really had their collective finger on the pulse of this nation in the last two elections.

New Challenges in the Culture War

Because no one paid much attention to the old challenges, such as the War On Christmas, Barack Obama is a Muslim terrorist, George Soros is controlling the entire country with his shadow government, etc.

Sarah Palin Unplugged on the Media Video Interview

Because we all need a little more hilarity in our lives. Imagine, Sarah Palin unplugged!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Republicans hold a press conference regarding their plan to address the economic crisis.

"If we sit here long enough, things will eventually get better. Any questions?"

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I love Michele Bachmann. She’s so cute when she’s insane.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand how some people get elected to public office. Michele Bachmann (R – congresscritter, MN) is a case in point. She’s the person, if you remember from before The Day The World Changed (i.e., 2008 election), who got herself noticed by calling on… someone to investigate her fellow congresspersons because they might harbor anti-American feelings. McCarthy, anyone?

Well, she recently went off on a tirade against the economic stimulus package that President Obama, most Democrats and a couple of less insane Republicans put together. Here is a bit of a summary of her statements, via HuffPo.

* ACORN is "under federal indictment for voter fraud," but the stimulus bill nevertheless gives ACORN "$5 billion." (In reality, ACORN is not under federal indictment and isn't mentioned in the stimulus bill at all.)

* many members of Congress have "a real aversion to capitalism."

* the stimulus bill includes a measure to create a "rationing board" for health care, and after the bill becomes law, "your doctor will no longer be able to make your healthcare decisions with you."

* the recovery package is part of a Democratic conspiracy to "direct" funding away from Republican districts, so Democratic districts can "suck up" all federal funds. Bachmann doesn't think this will work because, as she put it, "We're running out of rich people in this country."

* the "Community-Organizer-in-Chief" is also orchestrating a conspiracy involving the Census Bureau, which the president will use to redraw congressional lines to keep Democrats in power for up to "40 years." When the host said he was confused, noting that congressional district lines are drawn at the state level, Bachmann said Obama's non-existent plan is an "anti-constitutional move."

I can’t even begin to comment on this. “Making shit up” is now the normal operating mode of many Republicans.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy President’s Day!

Go buy a mattress. I am sure that Abraham Lincoln would want you to.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Every once in a while, this blog gets a hit because of a rather disturbing search.

Here’s one example.

In case you can’t find the search words in that, they are “this country should exacute liberals.” “Exacute…” That’s nice. A hateful SOB that can’t spell. I found it a little reassuring that of all the finds that this search came up with, it appeared to me that the vast majority were pointing out such lunacy, not promoting it.

I understand that there are really “Two Americas” out there, Rachel Maddow’s beliefs notwithstanding. There are a huge amount of people out there who really do think President Obama is the Anti-Christ, or that liberals really want to destroy the country. They actually believe that. But it is really sobering when you come across people who advocate violence. I had an earlier post about the hate mail that Jessica Lynch got because she started telling the truth about what happened to her.

I understand that the two sides are pretty much locked down in their positions, so that neither side is going to listen to the other or admit that they might have a valid point now and then. So, it’s rather difficult to argue that “my side” is correct and righteous and the “other side” is full of crap, because there is someone on the other side who is arguing exactly the same thing. Therefore, the argument should become (but usually doesn’t) one about demonstratable truths. Which side really was correct about thus and such (for instance, the presence of WMD’s in Iraq)? But in today’s society, facts do not seem to matter as much as loudly articulated opinion. Facts do not hold much sway anymore, and for that I hold the Bush adminstration responsible. Conservative talk radio certainly started this, but the Bush administration codified it. That is the way the conservatives of this country operate now. All basis for having a rational, reasoned discussion is now gone. I think that is probably one of the worst things that the Bush adminstration did to this country. But my point here is this. What else can we look at to see the difference in the two sides?

Here’s one. It takes no great effort for anyone who can use Google to find all sorts of threats, veiled and otherwise, made by conservatives. Against Obama, against liberals, against anyone who disagrees with the conversative world view. It is much more difficult to find that amount of venom and hatred in the form of actual threats coming from liberals. Our extreme radicals might go out and do stupid stuff like spike trees to keep loggers from cutting them down, burn down huge McMansions under construction to protest our society’s use of resources, let loose a bunch of minks from a mink farm to protest animal cruelty, etc. I cannot remember anything (the 60’s Weathermen aside) that comes close to threats of physical intimidation and violence that we see coming from the extreme right these days. And we have loons like Michelle Malking egging them on, and then have the gall to say that they aren’t responsible. No, it’s perfectly reasonable to publish the name, address and phone number of someone you disagree with. What do you expect is going to happen, Michelle? No, of course you didn't mean that your listeners should call up that phone number and threaten the person who answers. How could that every enter our minds?

I really do not see the two sides of this country coming together any time soon. The right has just become too ensconsed in their belief that everything that Democrats and liberals do is evil, and must be opposed with all their might. For our side, we have gotten pretty damn tired of being threatened and insulted with everything that conservatives can throw at us, such as “traitors”, “Saddam lover”, “terrorist sympathizer”, etc. Liberals and Democrats are now finally fighting back, after getting pummeled since the Nixon administration, and the conservatives and Republicans don’t like it.

I do believe one thing that the wingnut right keeps pointing out. Their side has the guns. If our society starts breaking down and everyone reverts to the days of the wild west where the gun ruled everything, I know which side is going to lose. And that does not make me feel very secure.

UPDATE: Here's more rightwing lunacy (courtesy of Sadly, No!) This guy takes it several steps further when he muses on what should happen next after all the liberals in this country are killed. And he is apparently quite serious about it, too. And here I thought openly advocating murder was against the law. The mindset of these people is absolutely amazing. This guy apparently wants to murder the 52% of the people in this country that voted for Obama, I guess, because he's upset that "liberals are destroying this country." Godzilla-sized irony, that.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Republicans are patting themselves on the back for not voting for the stimulus bill.

The modern Republican party is truly beyond me. I cannot truly believe that so many people elected to public office can be so small minded and self centered. Yes, sure, I know there are going to be many, many areas where Republicans and Democrats disagree with each other. But there really has to be a time when they stop playing games and work to find common areas where both parties can come together and help this county. And this would seem to be one of those times. See this post on the finanacial crisis.

But no. Republicans are bound and deteremined to be “the opposition party” both in name and spirit. Anything the Democrats want to do is either bad, so they must oppose it, or else it might actually be good and if it works, that would be good for the Democrats, and they must oppose it as well. They have pretty much admitted that is their mindset these days. The last two elections have taught them absolutely nothing.

I must give President Obama a lot of credit for trying to get bipartisan support for this stimulus bill. There are many good reasons what that, in principle, would be a good thing to do. But the Republicans, after they initially made some hopeful signals, reverted to their true form. Zero votes from the House Republicans, three votes from Senate Republicans. And they are congratulating themselves on this! Michael Steele, the new leader of the Republican party, said “The big fat goose egg you laid on the president’s desk was just beautiful!” They are congratulating themselves for this, and are going around making statements like, “I hope the White House learned their lesson!”

You know what? I think that the White House may have indeed learned their lesson. However, it’s not the one that the Republicans may have desired. I found this quote from a post at Washington Monthly.

Advisers concluded that they allowed the measure of bipartisanship to be defined as winning Republican votes rather than bringing civility to the debate, distracting attention from what have otherwise been major legislative victories. Although Mr. Obama vowed to keep reaching out to Republicans, advisers now believe the environment will probably not change in coming months.

Rather than forging broad consensus with Republicans, the Obama advisers said they would have to narrow their ambitions and look for discrete areas where they might build temporary coalitions based on regional interests rather than party, as on energy legislation. They said they would also turn to Republican governors for support -- a tactic that showed promise during the debate over the economic package -- even if they found few Republican allies in Washington.

So, what it looks like to me has happened is that the Republicans shot themselves in the foot on this one. And it took them all of three weeks as the minority party! They are proud of trying to scuttle a measure that around 65 percent of the country wants! They have cut themselves out of future deliberations on controversial issues. The working assumption by President Obama might now be that Republicans are going to obstruct anything that he wants to accomplish, so might as well go around them. Truthfully, this is the advice that many progessive bloggers and columnists have been giving Obama since Day One. But it looks like he may have learned his lesson the hard way.

The Republicans may have also learned a hard lesson. However, I am thinking that the current crop of Republicans, except for a tiny minority, has such rock hard heads that absolutely nothing is going to soak in. Such will be the next four years, and most likely, eight. They appear, to me, to be working tirelessly to make themselves irrelevant. But, as long as they can feel all righteous and indignant while doing so, I guess that's all they want.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Question concerning Republican fixation with tax cuts.

Which do Republicans REALLY believe?

a) Tax cuts really are the cure to everything.

b) Tax cuts are a the best method available to throttle the government, so that Grover Norquist really can go "drown it in the bathtub."

c) Democrats are opposing further tax cuts, so it is my solemn duty to support anything that Democrats are against.

d) Tax cuts are beneficial to me because I, personally, don't want to pay any taxes.

e) All of the above.

Here’s a picture of Barbara Eden as Jeannie.

There’s not really any point here. I have had this photo in my memory stick for a while now, hoping to find a good place to use it. I never did, and with the (happy) demise of the Bush adminstration, opportunities to use fun photos like this in a topical way are getting to be few and far between. So, I’ll just leave it like this. Even as an 11 year old, I always thought Jeannie looked pretty cool, especially given that on a black and white television, you can’t really tell what part of her costume is fabric and what part isn’t.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

According to someone who looks like he should know, we were about four hours away from losing our entire economic system here in the U.S.

I really hate the phrase “the end of **** as we know it”, and the person speaking is being perfectly honest. That phrase is fine when I hear it in a 1950’s era sci-fi film, like Them! For things in the here-and-now reality, no, I don’t like to hear that. It really gave me the heebie-jeebies, whatever those are, when I first heard a clip of this on Countdown. Here is a text version that I came across below was in a much bigger column in Sadly, No! (You should go read this post at SN. It’s hysterical and deeply, deeply depressing at the same time.)

Via C-Span, Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), chairman of the House Capital Markets Subcommittee:

“I was there when the secretary and the chairman of the Federal Reserve came those days and talked to members of Congress about what was going on… Here’s the facts. We don’t even talk about these things.

“On Thursday [September 18], at about 11 o’clock in the morning, the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous drawdown of money market accounts in the United States to a tune of $550 billion being drawn out in a matter of an hour or two. The Treasury opened its window to help. They pumped a hundred and five billion dollars into the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts, and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there wouldn’t be further panic and there. And that’s what actually happened. If they had not done that their estimation was that by two o’clock that afternoon, five-and-a-half trillion dollars would have been drawn out of the money market system of the United States, would have collapsed the entire economy of the United States, and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed.”

“It would have been the end of our political system and our economic systems as we know it.”

O.K., I would normally dismiss people who go around saying things like, “It would have been the end of our political system and our economic systems as we know it”, as someone just going all over-the-top and hyperbolic in order to inflame whoever it is he is trying to inflame. Rush Limbaugh comes to mind. Or maybe he might be just an insane gasbag, such as James Inhofe (R-OK). In this case, however, I am pretty much inclined to believe what this guy is saying.

If this statement above is anywhere near the truth, then I have a severe case of sweaty palms. We are actually talking about how close we came to “the end of our political system as we know it.” That is a very scary thing to contemplate. Oh sure, there are quite a few Republicans that we could certainly do without, and I am certainly weary of the constant political games being played as if politics were some sort of game of Cricket in coats and ties. But about the only thing that could end our political system at this time is complete anarchy, which a complete collapse of our financial system could certainly precipitate. Anarchy is not a pretty thing to contemplate.

Painting of French Revolution from here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let's get back to government oversight where oversight is necessary to protect the American public, shall we?

This business about salmonella laced peanut products is old news by now. But the relevations about how this company in Georgia operated, with absolutely no regard for public safety, is intolerable.

Via Americablog:

A Georgia peanut plant knowingly shipped salmonella-laced products as far back as 2007, at times sending out tainted products after tests confirmed contamination, according to inspection records released Friday.

Food and Drug Administration officials earlier had said Peanut Corp. of America waited for a second test to clear peanut butter and peanuts that initially were positive for salmonella. But the agency amended its report Friday, noting that the Blakely, Ga., plant actually shipped some products before receiving the second test and sold others after confirming salmonella.

Federal law forbids producing or shipping foods under conditions that could make it harmful to consumers' health.

In 2007 the company shipped chopped peanuts on July 18 and 24 after salmonella was confirmed by private lab tests. Peanut Corp. sold products "on or after the positive salmonella results were obtained," the FDA report states.

In other cases, the company didn't wait for a second round of salmonella tests.

"In some instances, peanut products were shipped by (the company) prior to having assurance that the products were negative for salmonella," said Michael Rogers, head of field investigations for the FDA.

Jesus H. Christ. How could ANYONE actually operate a business like this, sending out product they know is tainted with something that could actually kill someone, or at least make someone very sick? And Conservatives of this country don't understand why Liberals and Progressives don't trust putting oversight of an industry, any industry, into the hands of the very people who are being regulated.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Amazing presidential press conference from President Obama

That was SO refreshing to be talked to as an adult, by an adult, with carefully formulated answers that actually supply information. This is in contrast to President Bush's approach, which was to bully, to confuse, to dismiss, to talk down to. I do not agree with everything that President Obama said. I am VERY upset that he has apparently decided that he isn't really going to look into the abuses of Bush administration officials about anything that went on that may have been illegal or unethical. But what a difference! I hope that the American people sat up and took notice that we actually have an adult in the White House that can articulate his vision of what he wants to accomplish in a way that most people can relate to.

And he can correctly pronounce the word "nuclear!" Amazing!!

Friday, February 06, 2009

A half million-dollar salary? Draconian?

This is how out of touch with “normal America” that some people on Wall Street are. All these poor people, whining about President Obama’s decree that executive pay be capped at $500,000 if their firms are getting federal assistance during these very rough times. For instance (via, there is this guy:

"That is pretty draconian -- $500,000 is not a lot of money, particularly if there is no bonus," said James F. Reda, founder and managing director of James F. Reda & Associates, a compensation consulting firm. "And you know these companies that are in trouble are not going to pay much of an annual dividend."

You know, I can maybe see (but only just barely) someone’s point that, after making 30 mil a year, half a million dollars a year and no other perks might be somewhat difficult to take. I mean, there is that vacation house in the Hamptons to pay for, the yacht, the hired help to pay… Just like a law of garages (“You will accumulate just enough stuff to completely fill your garage”), so it goes, I guess, for the salary you get. You will find a way to dispose of that salary, even if it is more than the total sum of the average salary of 500 “regular people.” But to call this cap, “draconian” and “not a lot of money”, well… “Delusional” hardly does this justice. They need to take a look around outside their little bubble where they apparently only associated with other very rich assholes. All I can say is that I wish we could sentence people like this to work as a elementary teacher whose salary might reach 30K if they have been at it a few years. Let’s see how they manage then.

On second thought, we don’t want these kinds of scumbags anywhere near kids in their formative years. Maybe they should work as garbage collectors instead.

Sweet Jesus, I am tired of hearing about stories like this. I think we know why this country is in as much trouble as it is. Republicans helped remove any and all oversight on financial institutions, and these guys kept taking and taking and taking.

Meanwhile, we just learn that this country lost almost 600,000 jobs in January alone.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

David Brooks of the NYT again earns his moniker of “Bobo” by defending multi-million dollar bonuses.

At least, I think that What Brooks is doing. This column is really confusing, so I am not certain what point he is really trying to make. Maybe you can figure it out.

The essence of the problem is this: Rich people used to set their own norms. For example, if one rich person wanted to use the company helicopter to aerate the ponds on his properties, and the other rich people on his board of directors thought this a sensible thing to do, then he could go ahead and do it without any serious repercussions.

But now, after the TARP, the auto bailout, the stimulus package, the Fed rescue packages and various other federal interventions, rich people no longer get to set their own rules. Now lifestyle standards for the privileged class are set by people who live in Ward Three.

For those who don’t know, Ward Three is a section of Northwest Washington, D.C., where many Democratic staffers, regulators, journalists, lawyers, Obama aides and senior civil servants live. Thanks to recent and coming bailouts and interventions, the people in Ward Three run the banks and many major industries. Through this power, they get to insert themselves into the intricacies of upscale life, influencing when private jets can be flown, when friends can lend each other their limousines and at what golf resorts corporate learning retreats can be held.

The good news for rich people is that people in this neighborhood are very nice and cerebral. On any given Saturday, half the people in Ward Three are arranging panel discussions for the other half to participate in. They live in modest homes with recently renovated kitchens and Nordic Track machines crammed into the kids’ play areas downstairs (for some reason, people in Ward Three are only interested in toning the muscles in the lower halves of their bodies).

Nonetheless, many people in Ward Three do have certain resentments toward those with means, which those of you in the decamillionaire-to-billionaire wealth brackets should be aware of.

In the first place, many people in Ward Three suffer from Sublimated Liquidity Rage. As lawyers, TV producers and senior civil servants, they make decent salaries, but 60 percent of their disposable income goes to private school tuition and study abroad trips. They have little left over to spend on themselves, which generates deep and unacknowledged self-pity.

Second, they suffer from what has been called Status-Income Disequilibrium. At work they are flattered and feared. But they still have to go home and clean out the gutters because they can’t afford full-time household help.

Third, they suffer the status rivalries endemic to the upper-middle class. As law school grads, they resent B-school grads. As Washingtonians, they resent New Yorkers. As policy wonks, they resent people with good bone structure.

In short, people in Ward Three disdain three things: cleavage, hunting and dumb people who are richer than they are. Rich people have to learn to adapt to the new power structure if they hope to survive.

Yeah… So, like I said, I think that Brooks is on some sort of “stream of consciousness” rant (Cleavage? Aerating one’s pond with a private helicopter?) about how some people that live in a place called “Ward Three” don’t really appreciate how fat cats on Wall Street and other the financial institutions of this country get multi-million dollar bonuses for running their companies into the ground by utilizing really stupid business practices and then coming to the government to get huge taxpayer funded bailouts, and those same fat cats continue to do stupid stuff like set up million dollar ad campaigns at the Super Bowl, buy million dollar corporate jets, or making renovations to their private corporation biffys to the tune of several tens of thousands of dollars? David, is that really who you are defending here? Or attacking, I mean? Or are you using some sort of “reverse snark” logic that I cannot comprehend?

Dat David, he suh hates them Ward Three people who resents them some rich, smart people that makes mo’ money that they do! Dat’s for suh! (That’s not intended to be racist. It is some stupid thing that just came to mind when Brooks was talking about the lack of hired help that these “Ward Three” people suffer from. It’s implied reverse racism of the people who object… Oh, never mind. It wasn’t that funny anyway.)

Jeez, Bobo. This is just about as weird of a column that I have ever read. Maybe he’s on some prescription that makes him go all wacky every once in a while. I get that way sometimes when I take a decongestant. My head starts feeling really light and I have really funny and interesting thoughts and I know, with some amount of certainty, that I should not drive heavy machinery or write a column for national publication. Sometimes, I really like what he says in his column. Other times, he sounds like your basic Grade A wingnut. Cause, the only thing I get out of this column is that Brooks is dissing the people who object to giving multi-millionaires more millions when the companies they run into the ground give them bonuses.

Can anyone else come up with a different interpretation of this?

Here’s a MUCH better column on the subject, from Mr. Eugene Robinson.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Blogroll Amnesty Day!

As Jon Swift explains here, February 3rd is Blogroll Amnesty Day, or B.A.D. Kinda catchy, eh? Anyway, just go to the link for the full explanation. But in short, it is a now-yearly event in which mid-sized blogs (like Jon) go out of their way to bring some attention to some of the smaller blogs out there which many people don’t even know exists (like this one). It’s quite a worthwhile affair. There is some very interesting stuff out there on the web, if one has the time and inclination to go looking for it.

Here are some interesting blogs that I have recently added to my list, or have been on there for a while that would not necessarily qualify as well traveled blogs. Go check them out!

Under the Lobsterscope

Donkey Punch

The Hunting of the Snark

Kung Fu Monkey

The Denialism blog

Canadian Common Sense

O.K, this one isn't really a blog, as such, but I find it pretty hilarious. Go check out The Sasquatch Militia. I was very sorry to see that The Canoe Society of Jupiter has been shut down. That one was pretty funny, too.