Politics: 31 October 2010

Let’s Play Dress Up

Gawker discusses this week’s Time Magazine cover featuring Meg Whitman, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Christine O’Donnell. The cover proclaims, “How a new breed of Republicans tapped into voter rage and upset the Establishment—but can they govern?” The funny thing about this is that two of the candidates will definitely lose: Whitman and O’Donnell. So I guess this is Time’s idea of “dress up” for Halloween: dressing up conservative candidates as though they were conservative victors. As Count Floyd would say, “Scary!”

Politics: 30 October 2010

The Rally to Restore Sanity

I watched the whole fucking thing. I’m sorry about that. Anyway: Jon Stewart, as usual, said something that really pissed me off. He was talking about hyperbolic language—I’m all for that. But then he said something about just because someone is more liberal than you doesn’t mean that he is a Marxist who wants to subvert the Constitution. My problem is the “Marxist who wants to subvert the Constitution” part, because I don’t think he meant this as two different things like, “Dog with blue fur.” I think he meant it as one thing like, “Humans with central nervous systems.” I am against Marxist who want to subvert the Constitution. I’m against anyone who wants to subvert the Constitution. (This includes a lot of Americans—especially those who claim to believe in it most.) But it is certainly not the truth that Marxists want to subvert the Constitution by definition. In fact, I think Republicans are far more keen on subverting the Constitution than are Marxists.

As usual, in his desperate attempt to seem reasonable, Jon Stewart ends up not being reasonable. He is so out of touch with any political thought that isn’t on cable TV that he doesn’t think such political thought actually exists, or that if it does exists is a caricature that rolls off his tongue as easily as it does the tongues of Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck. They all need to spend a little time reading some real books (The Shock Doctrine and C Street might be a good start) and occasionally watch Democracy Now!

We Are So Fucking Pathetic

I just watched the start of game 3 of the World Series and just as the singing of the National Anthem was ending, four military planes flew over the stadium. When I was a kid, one thing that really made me hate the USSR was their constant demonstrations of military power. At least they had a major enemy! (And no, Islamic extremists are not a major enemy; they have simply been presented that way for political reasons; I recommend watching The Power of Nightmares.) We don’t, and yet we are so insecure as a nation that we have to constantly flaunt our military power. How pathetic!

And this was the second time today I had to hear the fucking National Anthem! I’m a reasonably proud American (more proud of our ideals than our practice these days, you know), but there is nothing patriotic about loving that horrible song. The lyrics suck. The music sucks. And worst of all: it is exactly the kind of song that the American Idol kind of singer just loves to wail away on. The song just sucks! I think our National Anthem should be Burn On:

Politics: 29 October 2010

Where’s Alito Now?

Back during the State of the Union address, President Obama said, “With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that, I believe, will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections.” In response, Alito mouthed the words, “Not true.” This is rude, of course, and shows just how far the conservative movement has gone when even a Supreme Court Justice can’t just shut-up for this annual ceremony.

After Obama has been proven utterly correct, Samuel Alito now says that he is going to skip the next State of the Union address because it has become “very political and awkward for the justices.” He’s right. Now that we have four highly partisan, conservative justices on the court, it does make the event very political. The future does not look bright. As Paul Krugman said in his column today, “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

Politics: 28 October 2010

More on Lauren Valle Attack

It bothers me that the attack on Lauren Valle is repeatedly referred to as a “stomping.” It was not a stomping, it was an attack, or if you prefer a more legal term: assault. There is more news on the attack, though. According to KTAR, the man accused of tackling her is Mike Pezzano. (It also bothers me that this act is repeatedly referred to as her being “held down”—sure, she was held down—right after she was tackled.)

When asked if he thinks he should apologize to Ms. Valle, Tim Profitt said, “I would like for her to apologize to me to be honest with you.” He did not go on to explain that he felt this way because he’s an ignorant, bigoted, small-minded man with a penis the size of his world view.

Politics: 27 October 2010

No Control of 50 ICBMs: Who Cares?

According to the LA Times, a computer glitch caused 50 ICBMs to go “off-line” at a Wyoming Air Force for 45 minutes. Given that the US has roughly ten thousand ICBMs, I don’t see why we care. The glitch did not put us in any danger of the missiles being launched. Just in case you were wondering.

Jack Conway’s Brother Matthew

The Louisville Courier-Journal recently reported that the brother of Kentucky Democratic Senatorial candidate Jack Conway’s was under investigation for drug trafficking. Even after almost 3000 words, the article never mentions what that drug might be. What’s more, the definition of trafficking is so broad that this could mean that Matthew Conway shared a joint with a friend once. Regardless of all this, there doesn’t seem to be any there here. There were two complaints, and the first seems to have come from Conway’s recently divorced wife. Certainly the narcotics officer investigating concluded that it was a case of revenge. He said, ““It just seemed like [the complaint} was a BS … domestic kind of issue.”

The conservative blogosphere is all over it, though. They are trying to make the case that Rand Paul’s campaign member’s stomping on the head of a Move-On protester is just a pretense to cover up the drug trafficking case. This is all sounding very much like those claims that Bill Clinton was a big-time drug dealer while governor of Arkansas.

And remember, this whole “scandal” is about Jack Conway’s brother—not about the candidate himself. So the real question is, “Who cares?” And the real answer is, “Conservatives, who never care about facts—who only care about winning.”

Teabag Crazy

This is just too good not to watch. It is an almost endless list of the teabagger craziness.

Politics: 26 October 2010

Teabaggers Show Their Colors

The Rand Paul Campaign showed what they think of dissent last night. Here, Lauren Valle was assaulted by two supporters. One of them is known: Tim Profitt, Bourbon County now former coordinator for Paul’s campaign. He’s the one stomping on Ms. Valle. The person who tackled her and held her down is not currently known. This is the kind of thing you would expect from Carl Paladino, but Paul stands a very good chance of winning.

DailyKos reports, “Oh, and Paul didn’t mention that he has a full-page ad in today’s Herald Leader, proudly touting, among others, the endorsement and support of Tim Profitt.”

Politics: 25 October 2010

I Can Be a Writer!

I just saw a review on Amazon by one Jon R. Stosser, commenting on S. E. Cupp’s Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity. Stosser writes, “I just [saw] Ms. Cupp on RealTime [with] Bill Maher and watched in amazement at her surprise that communism was akin to a State religion. She didn’t seem to know very much. I guess I am just jealous, cause I now know if I was conservative I too could be an author. Unfortunately, I live in the world where things are complex and grey.”

I feel much the same way. Last night, I did a good deal of writing on a book I have been putting off for too long. It’s hard work because I know that the book has to be good. I too am jealous; I know that I could write an un-researched conservative polemic in a couple of months, get it included in the Conservative Book Club and make enough money to live on for the next ten years—with health insurance! I also know that it would be trivial to create teaching materials for Christian home schoolers. It just isn’t right that people in the reality-based community have to work so much harder.

GOP No Longer Pretends to be “Big Tent”

Indiana Govenor Mitch Daniels suggested a value-added tax at a speech at the Hudson Institute. Daniels had been a possible Republican candidate for President in 2012. But not any more, it would seem. According to Grover Norquist, “[T]his is disqualifying. This is beyond the pale.”

The Assassination of Dr. Tiller

The Rachel Maddow Show presented a special documentary called The Assassination of Dr. Tiller. It is very sad, but very much worth watching. I highly suggest spending 45 minutes watching it.

Politics: 23 October 2010

Obama on the Attempt to Repeal Wall Steet Reform

I disagree with this guy so much. He would be conseridered very conserviative in, say, Finland (you know, the best country in the world). But I really like him. He could sell me a Peter Motteux translation of Don Quixote—he’s just that good. This week he discusses attempts to repeal wall street reform. Listen to your president!

Is America Really Number 11?

If you go to Newsweek’s interactive map of the World’s Best Countries, you will see some interesting things. One of the criteria is “Economic Dynamism” and America is ranked number two here, and this is responsible for it getting a rating of eleventh overall. The other category where America does reasonably well is in “Quality of Life.” That sounds pretty good until you see the list of what makes up quality of life:

  • Income Inequality
  • Gender Equality
  • Percent Living on $2/Day
  • Consumption Per Capita
  • Homicides per 100,000
  • Environmental Health
  • Unemployment Rate

Apparently, “Consumption Per Capita” is weighed really heavily in this list. For example, France—rated below America at number 16 (it is number 12 to American’s 10 in this category)—rates above America in everything other than “Consumption Per Capita” and “Unemployment Rate” (which is 9.7% compared to 9.4% for America). So “Quality of Life” really comes down to economics—and not even economics that matter for most people given that America has inequality that is almost 25% greater than France. What’s more, those unemployed in France are far better taken care of then they are in the good ol’ USA.

It is also worth noting America has a high homicide rate. Despite the war that is going on there, Mexico’s 11.2 homicides per 100,000 doesn’t sound that bad compared to America’s 6.0. And America looks really bad compared to most stable nations. France’s number is 0.7. Even Saudi Arabia (64 overall) is only 3.2. Egypt (74 overall) is 1.2. Could it be that we have 9 guns for every 10 people in this country? I know there is no clear correlation between gun ownership and homicide rates internationally but there sure does seems to be one within the US. It especially affects kids. But that doesn’t really matter, right? After they are out of the womb, who gives a fuck?

I think that Newsweek had to go out of its way to get America up as high as 11 on their list. It’s an American magazine, after all.

More on Juan Williams

I have a couple of things to say about our friend Juan. First, I don’t have that much of a problem with what he said. It was more stupid than offensive. One thing I remember about the 9/11 hijackers is that they went out of their way to not appear to be Muslim. The idea that a hijacker would bring his burka-wearing wife onto a plane is ridiculous. His statement about that was just dumb. I think he should have been fired from NPR long ago, because he has been saying dumb things for years.

Second, there are a lot of conservatives who are making a lot of noise about Williams’ firing. They are trying to make it out to be some kind of First Amendment issue, which is ridiculous. But they are also hypocrits. They applauded with Bill Maher and Helen Thomas were fired. This is nothing new for conservatives.

Third: I was right about Juan Williams’ future. He has already been hired by Faux News fulltime for two million dollars over the next three years—a hell of a lot more than NPR pays.

Fourth, I’d like to she how this embed works:

Politics: 22 October 2010

Chris Coons

I’ve been very busy today. Other than the six-month anniversary of the soil spill (yesterday, actually), there is not a lot going on that needs my attention. Plus, Will tells me I should give this whole thing up. And he may be right. But here is an ad worth watching:

Politics: 21 October 2010

Strange Conservatives

In conversations with conservatives where I ask for a justification for their beliefs, they will respond, “I’m just a Republican.” I call these Popeye moments: I yam what I yam. I have received this response a number of times. I have never received a corresponding response from a liberal. At very least, liberals always think they have reasons for their beliefs. Most conservatives do too. But what is it about a small, but notable fraction of conservatives, that make them think of their beliefs as either a gift or curse from God—something they have no control over?

Another strange thing about conservatism is the number of radically conservative—Rush Limbaugh worshiping—people who are on the government dole. In general, I’m talking about people on SSI. These are people who Rush Limbaugh and his ilk would hate. These are people who favor a political party that would eliminate the very programs that make their lives possible. It seems that these conservative welfare recipients always carve out a neat exception for themselves, but they are usually extremely hostile towards other welfare recipients. This is not that unusual, I suppose. Older people are generally conservative—except when it comes to Social Security and Medicare. It has begun to make me think that conservatism has something to do with bitterness and selfishness. Selfishness is the baseline of what it takes to be conservative. To be really conservative, you need a good dose of bitterness or plain, old-fashioned hatred.

NPR fires Juan Williams

Finally! I’ve been waiting for NPR to get rid of the ignorant, racist commenter Juan Williams for years. He’s been fired for comments he made on Bill O’Reilly’s show. Now Faux News will probably hire him. I mean, on the down side, he’s black; on the up side, he’s a bigot!

Jerry Brown’s Echo Ad

Will called this morning and asked if I had seen the new Brown ad that equates Meg Whitman with Arnold Schwarzenegger. I hadn’t but I quickly found it. It is a very exciting ad, because, as we have seen over and over, Whitman has made the same claims that Arnold did regarding how “independent” he would be because he was financing his own campaign. (Of course, both Schwarzenegger and Whitman have taken lots of money from other people, but we’ll deal with that issue another time.)

Politics: 20 October 2010

Democratic Surge?

Last night I reported on Russ Feingold’s recent surge in the polls, and DailyKos reports this morning that in three of the last four polls, Joe Sestak is ahead of Paul Toomey. This is happening all over in Senate and House races. It doesn’t mean that these Democrats will win (Feingold is still behind, for example), but it is indicative of something. It is probably as simple as the fact that Republicans are more comfortable being closed minded than Democrats are. Before there are any candidates, Republicans know that they will vote Republican. Democrats want to think about about it. Sure, we will almost certainly vote Democratic, but you never know. So as the election gets closer, Democrats moves from “undecided” (defined as, “might over the course of a lifetime vote for a Republican”) to, “Hell yes, I’m voting for Joe Sestak!”

There is another issue. For the last ten months Democrats have been told that there is a crushing defeat looming, that Republicans have a great enthusiasm edge, that the teabaggers are some new political group that is sweeping across the nation (rather that what it actually was: the most conservative Republicans doing and saying what they always do and say). At least among the Democrats I know, there is great gloom, but also great motivation.

Democrats Set to Lose Big Says The Onion

According to American’s Finest News Source, “Democrats Could Lose Up To 8,000 Seats In Upcoming Midterm Election.” In addition, “Experts also predicted the one-sided election results would cause Barack Obama to die on the spot, at which point the nation’s leading conservative talk-radio host would be sworn in as president of the United States forever.”

Realizing We Suck

One of the biggest problems in America is that we don’t realize how much and where we suck. We are used to hearing that we are the “richest country in the world!” Okay. But by per capita GDP, we are about sixth. By median “purchasing power parity” we are about third. After China becomes the “richest county in the world!” I suspect that we won’t be hearing a lot of, “America is the second richest country in the world!” (BTW: China’s per capita GDP is about 100th, even though it is the, “Second richest country in the world!”)

The issue isn’t money, of course. It just seems that people all over the place have better lives than we do here in America. My quality of life, for example, is greatly reduced knowing that I will not have healthcare in the foreseeable future; as I look towards our reform, I suspect I will just take the tax hit and continue on without healthcare. But as with most things, Americans have been sold this idea that healthcare for all will make us less rich. This may well be true, but it would make us happier and healthier. What’s more, if healthcare reform were done correctly, it could have been used to lower the enormous economic inequality in this country.

Conservatives are fond of saying (implausibly) that businesses are not hiring because of uncertainty about the future regulations and taxes. The truth is that I am almost paralyzed by thoughts about my financial future. I am very worried that the Republicans will get in and legislate me out onto the streets or into a job where I have to buy all my food at the company store. I look at a country like Canada and I think, “How do I get in on that?” Not only does Canada have a higher median income than the USA, but their economic inequality is much lower (half by some estimates). How do I get in on that?

Politics: 19 October 2010

The Real Issue with Joe Miller

Joe Miller won’t answer any questions about his past and apparently won’t engage in debate with his rivals—he was not present for the Alaska Senatorial debate held last night by the Alaska Dispatch (check out their Palin Watch blog). But then, Joe Miller doesn’t much like the Dispatch as indicated by his refusal to answer reporters’ questions (some of which he has been willing to answer for national media like CNN and Faux News). Also: earlier yesterday, Miller’s security detail handcuffed and detained Dispatch reporter Tony Hopfinger for almost a half-hour.

Miller went of Faux News to justify this reprehensible act. He repeatedly referred to Hopfinger as a blogger—he is a reporter. He also claimed that Hopfinger was so out of control that he followed Miller into the bathroom. According to Hopfinger, he did not follow Miller into the bathroom—he simply had to use it before Miller’s event, which he was covering. For a man who is forever claiming that just about everything the government does is unconstitutional, Miller is quick to brush aside the First and Fourth Amendments. (This is hardly surprising: Teabaggers are mostly focused on the Tenth Amendment—you know: states’ rights.)

Miller also claims that Hopfinger pushed one of his security guards (although Miller wouldn’t know since he was long gone by the time of the incident). Hopfinger claims he pushed back only after being butted by one of the security guards. Regardless, there is no question that the reporter was being surrounded by a large, antagonistic crowd. Pushing them away seems like a reasonable response.

The big question is not about this incident, however; it is about the story Hopfinger was trying to cover: Miller’s unethical behavior while working at the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Are we to accept his word that he was not fired for using Borough computers for political purposes? Are we to disregard the word of former Fairbanks Mayor Jim Whitaker, who says that he was? This is a huge scandal. We’ll see if this gets any media traction.

The Teabagger Constitution

Markos “Kos” Moulitsas reports on a radio program he was on when a caller defended the Teabaggers, claiming that she had gone to an event where she had learned a great deal about the Constitution. The host asked her what she learned. Kos continues:

The caller hemmed and stammered until finally she said, “There’s the thing about guns, and how they can’t ram health care down our throats.” And that was it, in a nutshell, the teabagger understanding of our Constitution.

Clarence Thomas’ Wife Leaves Offensive Message for Anita Hill

Virgina Thomas, wife of the the Supreme Court Justice, left a message on Anita Hill’s voicemail that she referred to as, “Extending an olive branch to her after all these years.” Here is the olive branch she left:

Good morning, Anita Hill, it’s Ginny Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. Okay have a good day.

Mrs. Thomas is a loon. Note that there is no doubt that Anita Hill was telling the truth in this matter. Any questions about this were eliminated in David Brock’s book, Blinded by the Right.

Rush Feingold Tied With Johnson!

TV’s Frank on Countdown!