Archive for January 29th, 2009

Time To Play Offense

Sounds like Labor gets it, Senate Democrats (as usual) don’t, and Obama?  Maybe.

The White House said Obama had no regrets about his week-long courtship of Republicans, all of whom rejected his advances and voted “no” as the Democratic House majority passed the 819-billion-dollar measure.

“The president wouldn’t do anything differently,” Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said after the 244-188 vote sent the pitched political battle to the Senate. “His hand is, was, and will always reach out.”

The White House signaled that it expected the Senate to include more Republican-friendly items in the measure, leading to a House-Senate compromise bill that would be more likely to win Republican support in the end.

So far, not exactly promising.  I’m not sure how to parse that last paragraph – was that a prediction or a command?

Gibbs declined to comment on a labor union media onslaught designed to heap pressure on a handful of Republicans to support the plan in the Senate, saying Obama was “not going to referee” the actions of outside groups.

(…)

The strategy called for millions of union members to telephone Republicans from hard-hit states, coupled with an aggressive television advertising campaign targeting potentially vulnerable Republican senators.

The ad invites voters in Maine, New Hampshire, Alaska, and Iowa to tell their senators to “support the Obama plan for jobs not the failed policies of the past,” according to the script.

And the White House did not deny a report by Politico.com that it planned a state-by-state effort, highlighting job losses, to pressure lawmakers on the stimulus plan — even as Republicans called on Obama to repudiate the threat.

After eight years of Dubya and the Republicans repeatedly playing the existential crisis card (Scary terrorists coming to get us!  Social Security about to go bankrupt!  Scary terrorists still coming to get us!) to try to shape public opinion into political pressure, I simply do not think it would be out of line for Obama to use the same playbook now that we’re facing an Actual Real Crisis.

January 29th, 2009 at 10:57pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Economy,Labor,Obama,Politics,Republicans

Question Of The Year

Dakine asks the question I most want answered:

I have a question for the members of the Congressional Blue Dogs Coalition. Why are you a Democrat? I ask this of Mike Arcuri. If I were still living in Rome, NY, you would be my Congressman. I ask this of Ben Chandler since you represent the district in Kentucky that I grew up in and where I first voted. I ask this of Heath Shuler and Jane Harmon; of John Salazar and Loretta Sanchez. I ask this of all members of Congress who claim this name for themselves.

Why are you a member of the Democratic Party?

I ask this most sincerely as you show by your votes that you are against most of the core values I have long associated with the Democratic Party. You consistently vote against the environment. You consistently vote against Unions and workers. You consistently vote against LGBT rights. You vote for the Corporations that foul the air and poison the land. You vote to give money away to the rich and then try to show how “fiscally sound” you are by doing everything to block helping those who aren’t your big money campaign contributors.

So why do you call yourself a Democrat when you vote consistently against the values of the Democratic Party?

Who are you lying to, the voters or yourself?

I can understand, say, a Joe Lieberman pretending to be a Democrat to get elected in a blue state, but I don’t understand why a Republican in a red state or district would pretend to be a Democrat.  The only plausible explanation I can think of is that they can get a lot more support from Democrats and progressives to knock off a Republican in a general election than they can get from other Republicans to knock off an incumbent in a primary.  Of course, we soon find out that we didn’t really knock off a Republican, merely replaced him with one who just happens to wear a blue suit.

1 comment January 29th, 2009 at 09:49pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Lost Thoughts: Dharma, Others, & Widmore

I’m probably hopelessly behind the curve, and every Lost fansite has already expanded on this theory in mind-numbingly exquisite detail, but I figured I’d share my version of it nonetheless.

Okay, so, here’s what I think we know so far about Dharma, the Others, and Charles Widmore:

1) Charles Widmore is a Dharma bigshot, possibly even the CEO.  (I can’t remember for sure whether I know this, or just assumed it.  I know something made me pretty sure about it, though.)

2) The Others have been on the island since at least the 50s.  They are very disciplined and organized, and probably have some kind of outside backing.  They appear to have a similar mission to that of Dharma: to somehow tap or exploit the island’s powers.

3) Charles Widmore used to be one of the Others when he was young.

4) Charles Widmore now has a vendetta against the Others in general, and Ben Linus in particular.

If I throw all that together and shake it around for a while, I reach the conclusion that Widmore had some kind of falling-out with the Others – presumably either a disagreement on methods or goals, or else they wouldn’t let him be the leader.  So Widmore’s response was to create Dharma to be a rival (but similar) group to the Others, which would wrest control of the island away from them and take all the island’s secrets for himself instead.

Widmore would obviously be familiar enough with the Others to know what kind of force Dharma would need to conquer the island, but he couldn’t have anticipated the Others turning Ben so that he would betray Dharma.  And this is why Widmore has a special grudge against Ben, because if it hadn’t been for him, his plan would have worked, and Dharma would still control the island.

This theory works pretty well for me – it explains the relationship between the Others and Dharma, and it also explains why they seem similar in many ways, and why the Others took over the Dharma people’s duties after they killed them.  The Others have the same basic mission as Dharma, because they were the model for Dharma.

4 comments January 29th, 2009 at 08:21pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: TV

Return On Investment

It never ceases to amaze me how well lobbying pays; not for the lobbyists themselves, but for the corporations that hire them.  The sums of money that our politicians give them for a mere pittance of donations is truly astounding.  Of course, it’s not the politicians’ own money; it’s our money, so they have no qualms about giving it away to the highest bidder (which, by the way, is never, ever us).

Check out this latest example: The 15 banks who received TARP money, plus Chrysler, GM, and GMAC, who did as well, spent almost $15 million to lobby Congress for bailout money.  Even if they only received money from the first TARP tranche, that’s $350 billion in exchange for $15 million.  That’s an ROI of, what, about 2.3 million percent?  And if you take out the auto companies, which had to pay more to get less, we’re looking at something like $330 billion in exchange for $8.5 million, an ROI of almost 4 million percent.

I think I probably donated around $300 to various candidates this past election cycle.  I’d like to know when I can expect my check for $12 million, please.

January 29th, 2009 at 06:58pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

The GOP’s Remarkable Evolution

1980s Republicans: “ZOMG Cadillac-driving welfare queens are stealing your hard-earned tax dollars!”

2009 Republicans: “ZOMG Nancy Pelosi and white racist liberals want to commit eugenocide on minorities and poor people!”

You’ve come a long way, babies.

January 29th, 2009 at 07:07am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Choice,Politics,Religion,Republicans,Wankers


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