Archive for November, 2009

Torrey Pines B&W Tree Photoblogging

I particularly like how the tree in the second photo looks like it’s walking down the hill.

Torrey Pines Curly Branches

Torrey Pines Beetle Traps 3

Torrey Pines Crazy Tree 2

November 30th, 2009 at 11:21am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: La Jolla/San Diego,Photoblogging

Monday Media Blogging – Batman Edition

Batman sings “Am I Blue”:

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Turkish Batman OMG:

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November 30th, 2009 at 07:15am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Disappointed Charlie Pierce Is Disappointed

I feel your pain, dude:

[I]t is becoming increasingly plain that the man is not up to the most important job he was elected to do–which is to wring the accumulated viciousness, ignorance, and hackery of the past eight years out of the various parts of the United States government–and to do it brutally, if necessary, which it is. One of our two major political parties has completely lost its mind. This should be a political issue. It is incumbent upon the other party to eliminate that party’s influence until it purges itself and comes to its senses again. It also scarcely needs to be said that the sane party has to watch its own ranks for people who seem to be enabling and abetting the goals of the crazy party. Otherwise, as Ezra Klein memorably put it this week, every attempt at bipartisanship winds up as “a hostage negotiation.” President Obama… not only seems unequal to this task, he doesn’t even seem to recognize the task at all. He wasn’t elected to change the tone, dammit. He was elected to change everything because everything needed to be changed. So it’s a hard goddamn job. So what? He didn’t know this coming in? Now we’re going to feed 34,000 more American kids into the meat grinder in Afghanistan because we’re America and we can do anything we set our minds to? Hell, we can’t even keep our own citizens alive by breaking the power of the health-insurance industry. We can’t right our economy because it’s still in the hands of Wall Street grifters, and the government has fallen into the thrall of a bunch of banker-morons I wouldn’t trust with a potato gun. Some people needed to be crushed politically. Some people needed to go to jail. Some people needed to be exiled forever from the serious business of self-government. It’s Black Friday, and I’m shopping for another candidate. I’m beating the rush.

I don’t think anyone seriously expected Barack Obama to be crushing people beneath an iron boot, no matter how deserving they might be.  Hillary certainly would have been a little tougher and a lot more motivated, but ultimately I don’t think she would have done a whole lot more than Obama has, either on accountability or financial reform.  She’d probably be stronger on healthcare reform, but she would also be facing an opposition that would be waving the failure of “Hillarycare” in her face every single minute of the day.

I still believe that Obama’s charisma and eloquence better equipped him to lead this country out of the Republican darkness – unfortunately, as I also feared, he appears to have very little stomach for actually doing so.

4 comments November 27th, 2009 at 09:36pm Posted by Eli

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

Torrey Pines Scenic Bench Photoblogging

Inviting, no?

Torrey Pines Bench 1

Torrey Pines Bench 2

November 27th, 2009 at 11:16am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: La Jolla/San Diego,Photoblogging

Friday Quote & Hamster Blogging

This week’s quote is from Guilty As Charged, starring Rod Steiger as a vigilante with an electric chair in his basement.  Also Isaac Hayes, Lauren Hutton, and a young Heather Graham.

You see, in my eyes, the state should televise the electrocutions, they should be on Saturday mornings, they should be with the Smurfs, and the Muppets. And then even, even the small children would understand, that the wages of sin is death.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s dwarf hamsters…

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So cute.

2 comments November 27th, 2009 at 07:16am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!

I give you The Greatest Thanksgiving Episode Of Any TV Show In The History Of Ever:

As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

1 comment November 26th, 2009 at 04:14pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Ross Douthat Wanks About Wonks

Wow, that Ross sure does have an active imagination!  Yesterday he blogged about Lou Dobbs running for president as a “radical center populist”, and the day before that he tried to claim that conservatives aren’t really as anti-intellectual as all that, and might even vote for a thoughtful policy wonk.  No, really!

Matt Yglesias and Isaac Chotiner both suggest that if a Republican politician were to embrace serious domestic policy ideas, Republican voters wouldn’t want anything to do with him. The conservative movement tends to “fetishize stupidity,” Yglesias writes, and believes that there’s “something actually un-American about being thoughtful, having respect for scholarship, or incorporating any kind of nuance into your discussion.” If Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee “were interested in policy, then they would not be so appealing to the GOP base,” Chotiner argues, adding that since movement conservatism “sneers at intellectuals and elites,” a conservative candidate “who was interested in learning the ins and outs of the welfare state and health care policy is unlikely to ever achieve Palin/Huckabee levels of popularity with the grassroots.”

(So far, so good!)

I would really like to see this theory put to the test. Certainly there’s a strong anti-egghead bent on the Right, and you’re probably never going to see grassroots conservatives swooning for a purely cerebral candidate — a Adlai Stevenson or Bill Bradley type. But it’s possible for a candidate to have the common touch and to know a thing or two about domestic policy (see Clinton, William Jefferson), and I don’t see any evidence that a conservative politician couldn’t profit from trying to pull off that particular two-step.

Then he talks about how Palin (hahahaha) or Huckabee wouldn’t suffer politically if they boned up on policy, and about how popular Gingrich is because he has a reputation as a policy wonk even though Ross himself admits that he really isn’t one.  Which proves only that conservatives like ideologues who masquerade as policy wonks.

[P]recisely because the G.O.P. currently has a reputation for being anti-intellectual, there’s a huge upside for a Republican politician in being identified as that rarest of species — a “conservative with domestic policy ideas.” (For a small-bore example of how this works, look at Paul Ryan, who’s made a substantial name for himself by being one of the few House Republicans willing to get into the weeds on health care reform.) Of course identity politics and symbolic appeals will always matter more than substance, and political careers will never be made on wonkery alone. But even — or especially — in today’s Republican Party, being known as a thoughtful politician seems much more likely to help you than to hurt you.

Okay, some comments:

1) Interesting that Paul Ryan is the only Republican policy wonk Douthat mentions, and he’s not exactly a high-profile figure in the GOP.  Perhaps it’s because Republican policy wonks don’t get elected very often, much less obtain prominent GOP leadership positions?

2) Hey, can someone refresh my memory on what happens every time a conservative with some degree of intellectual honesty criticizes Dubya, or one of the GOP’s other heroes for being incompetent, immoral, or insane?  How does that work out for them?

3) How often do policy wonks of either party get elected?  Dukakis got crushed by a mediocrity, and Gore managed to lose to the dumbest man ever to run for president.  Clinton won despite his wonkery, not because of it.

4) Most people don’t like Republican policies, because they’re mean-spirited and prone to spectacular failure.  Republican candidates win by using emotional appeals and misinformation to camouflage those toxic policies, not illuminate them.

But hey, if they want to try it, I’m all for it.  In fact, I think the Republicans should keep on fielding wonky candidates until they start winning, that’s how committed I am to Ross’s genius idea.

1 comment November 26th, 2009 at 01:11pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Media,Politics,Republicans

Using Karl’s Trick To Hide The Consensus

I admit, I haven’t been following this ridiculous global warming pseudoscandal very closely – it was immediately obvious that it was yet another manufactroversy where a whole bunch of conservative politicians and pundits wave around a pair of threes like they just got a royal flush.  Josh has a staggeringly comprehensive and awesome rundown at EnviroKnow, and I have to say that his first point gave me some serious deja vu:

1. The scientific consensus that humans are responsible for climate change — and that we must stabilize concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases at 350 parts per million — remains overwhelming. This latest cybercrime and the private emails it revealed do nothing whatsoever to change that.

(…)

Chris Mooney at the Intersection observes that these emails don’t actually imply anything substantive about climate science:

Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that all of the worst and most damning interpretations of these exposed emails are accurate. I don’t think this is remotely true, but let’s assume it.

Even if this is the case, it does not prove the following:

1) The scientists whose emails have been revealed are representative of or somehow a proxy for every other climate scientist on the planet.

2) The studies that have been called into questions based on the emails (e.g., that old chestnut the “hockey stick”) are somehow the foundations of our concern about global warming, and those concerns stand or fall based on those studies.

Neither one of these is true, which is why I can say confidently that “ClimateGate” is overblown–and which is why I’ve never been impressed by systematic attacks on the “hockey stick.” Even if that study falls, we still have global warming on our hands, and it’s still human caused.

Hmm, Republicans pretending that questions about the authenticity of one nonessential part of an otherwise overwhelmingly slam-dunk case invalidate the whole entire edifice of evidence?  Where have we heard that before?  Oh, that’s right – because a couple of memos might have been fakes (or reconstructions), that must mean that Dubya didn’t pull strings to get out of Vietnam, and didn’t walk out of his ANG commitment a year early.

Yep, the right is using the exact same strategy they used -successfully – to defuse Dubya’s military service timebomb.  But the reason that worked was that CBS folded, forcing Rather to apologize and essentially retract the entire story, rather than simply pointing out that it was never based on the memos, and was therefore not invalidated by the memos.

Of course, CBS was compromised and probably actively working to sabotage Rather – presumably the scientific community will not do the same.  It also doesn’t hurt that the progressive blogosphere is so much bigger now too, so the pushback should be a lot stronger.

My gut feeling is that this will blow over and do no lasting damage.  But not all by itself.

3 comments November 25th, 2009 at 09:33pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Environment,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

Once again, the Weekly World News goes where others can’t, and gets the details on Lou Dobbs’ presidential ambitions:

Lou Dobbs has confirmed he will be running for President in 2012, on the Unashamedly Xenophobic ticket.

Dobbs retired recently after spending nearly 30 years as an anchorman for CNN.  He left the program due to controversy around his views on illegal immigration and the Obama Birther conspiracy.  Now with extra time on his hands, Dobbs in considering a run in politics.

Lou Dobbs said he will run on the Unashamedly Xenophobic ticket.  “We’ve got to do something for this country,” said Dobbs in an interview yesterday.  He went on to describe how America is losing touch with its roots:  “America deserves a leader that fight for our identity.  Finally, there will be a party for middle class white people who are threatened by change.”

Political advisors say that Dobbs is capitalizing on a rift in the Republican party.  Around the country moderate Republicans are at odds with staunchly conservative Republicans.  Feeling abandoned by moderate Republicans, the more extreme conservatives have already begun threatening to create a third party.  Some believe Lou Dobbs would hope to rally these disaffected and inherently frightened conservatives and spearhead their third party initiative.

“Some people say that after 9/11 and the wars abroad they are tired of living in fear.  I say America isn’t scared enough!”  Dobbs continued in his interview.  “There are people out there who aren’t like us, and I don’t know about you but that scares me!  Mexico could invade at any minute!  Al-Queda has sleeper cells everywhere!  Somebody needs to stand up for the sake of regression to a simpler time, in the face of a changing world!”

Dobbs released on his website his first commercial for a presidential campaign.  In the video he stands in front of a mirror talking himself up, encouraging himself to stand up to stand up for the middle man, the scared man, and be the voice of “Real America.”  “Somebody has to stand up to the Liberal Agenda, the Gay Agenda, the Illegal Alien Agenda!  Are you threatened by change?  You should be.  I’m Lou Dobbs, and I want to be your President.”

Another media personality Glenn Beck has also considered a third party alternative.  Beck’s fan base is similarly conservative and accustomed to being afraid.  In several of his episodes Beck has also chastised the Republican party for being too moderate, and not speaking to the needs of its more conservative fringe.  Lou Dobbs is expected to meet with Beck to join forces in creating a third major political party.

Run, Lou, Run!  And if you could recruit some candidates to run under your mighty xenophobic banner in the downticket races, that would be even better.

November 25th, 2009 at 11:16am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News

Richard Cohen Serves Self Up A Softball, Whiffs Anyway

Because I try not to read him because he makes my brain sad, sometimes I forgot just how stupid and obtuse Richard Cohen is.  In yesterday’s column, he manages to come up with a very valid thesis (Obama has lost his moral clarity and betrayed the ideals he professed on the campaign trail) and then does an incredibly awful job of backing it up:

Somehow, though, that moral clarity has dissipated. The Obama who was leading a movement of professed political purity is the very same person who as president would not meet with the Dalai Lama, lest he annoy the very sensitive Chinese. He is the same man who bowed to the emperor of Japan when, in my estimation, the president of the United States should bow to no man. He is the same president who in China played the mannequin for the Chinese government, appearing at stage-managed news conferences and events — and having his remarks sometimes censored. When I saw him in that picture alone on the Great Wall, he seemed to be thinking, “What the hell am I doing here?” If so, it was a good question.

The Barack Obama of that Philadelphia speech would not have let his attorney general, Eric Holder, announce the new policy for trying Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other Sept. 11 defendants in criminal court, as if this were a mere departmental issue and not one of momentous policy. And the Barack Obama of the speech would have enunciated a principle of law and not an ad hoc system in which some alleged terrorists are tried in civilian courts and some before military tribunals. What is the principle in that: What works, works? Try putting that one on the Liberty Bell.

Of course, there’s a difference between campaigning and governing. There is no reality to campaigning. You want Guantanamo closed, you say you’ll close it. You want to close it as president, and all of a sudden it becomes a political crisis that costs you your White House counsel, an experienced and principled man named Gregory Craig. Governing is hard.

Okay, he’s right about the Dalai Lama and Gitmo, but The Bow? (It’s a sign of respect not submission, you pinhead)  Getting China on board with reducing carbon emissions?  Trying KSM in a civilian court?  These are supposed examples of Obama losing his moral clarity?  How about his continuation of Bush’s policies of secrecy and executive power?  His doubling down on Afghanistan?  His unconcern for the public option?  His serial betrayals of the gay community?

It’s a pretty easy case to make, and Cohen still can’t do it effectively.  Why a major American newspaper would pay him to write this inept drivel, I have no idea.

November 25th, 2009 at 07:16am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Media,Obama,Wankers

Torrey Pines Torrey Pine Photoblogging

A couple of random tree photos from the Torrey Pines Nature Reserve:

Torrey Pines Cones 1

Torrey Pines Beetle Traps 2

November 24th, 2009 at 11:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: La Jolla/San Diego,Photoblogging

Out Of The Mouths Of Comic Book Writers…

So I was reading a Wired writeup of a graphic novel called Luna Park, and this quote from the writer jumped out at me as an excellent summing-up of where we’re at these days:

“I’m utterly depressed about our current political situation,” Baker said. “The Republicans have been completely overtaken by the far right, and turned into one of the great, lunatic parties in American history. The Democrats are completely feckless. President Obama seems to have all but disappeared. And beyond ideology, many of our elected representatives in both parties seem to have simply been bought off.”

(…)

“We’re on the verge of making potentially catastrophic decisions, or continuing our equally catastrophic drift,” Baker said. “The basic element of American optimism — that we can and will adapt to meet any crisis — has been destroyed.”

Nailed it.  Unfortunately.

November 24th, 2009 at 06:52am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Comics,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Obama,Politics,Quotes,Republicans

DeMint Tea Party At The GOPurity Ball

Well, just in case anyone was still wondering whether the GOP intended to stop galloping hard to the right, the answer is still “Hell to the no!”

Ad Nags has the story on how Republicans will be forced to pledge their faithfulness to the Daddy Party:

The battle among Republicans over what the party should stand for — and how much it should accommodate dissenting views on important issues — is probably going to move from the states to the Republican National Committee when it holds its winter meeting this January in Honolulu.

Republican leaders are circulating a resolution listing 10 positions Republican candidates should support to demonstrate that they “espouse conservative principles and public policies” that are in opposition to “Obama’s socialist agenda.” According to the resolution, any Republican candidate who broke with the party on three or more of these issues– in votes cast, public statements made or answering a questionnaire – would be penalized by being denied party funds or the party endorsement.

And Politico has a story on Jim DeMint backing far-right primary challengers to establishment GOP incumbents, and how moderate Republicans are begging him to rub his magic crazy dust on them:

A favorite of the tea party crowd and a longtime scourge for Democrats and some Republicans alike inside the Senate chamber, DeMint has emerged as the leading benefactor for any Republican who wants to challenge the establishment candidates backed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

DeMint has already endorsed conservative Assemblyman Chuck DeVore over party favorite Carly Fiorina in the California Senate race and was the first member of Congress to back conservative Marco Rubio over Gov. Charlie Crist in the closely watched Florida Senate race. He has been openly considering an endorsement of a conservative political unknown in the Illinois Senate race against moderate Republican Rep. Mark Kirk.

And in a sign of his growing influence, several of the party’s more moderate candidates are looking for DeMint’s support to give them some conservative street cred, like Rob Simmons of Connecticut and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who have begun to reach out to the junior senator from South Carolina.

These moves are signs that candidates believe a blessing from DeMint not only may hold off right-wing challenges in the Republican primaries but also could open up new lines of funding from an increasingly passionate, grass-roots conservative movement.

Part of me is scared by the GOP’s determination to become ever more insane; part of me is hopeful that they will embrace their crazy base so tightly that everyone else is afraid to vote for them… and part of me wishes the Democrats would show half as much consideration to their base, which in my perhaps not-entirely-unbiased opinion is nowhere near as batshit as the people who think that Glenn Beck is onto something rather than on something, and that Obama is a Kenyan islamosocialofascist who wants to kill their grandma.

November 23rd, 2009 at 09:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Republicans

Monday Media Blogging

The rousing “Hang The Bastard” number from Cannibal! The Musical:

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It just popped into my head for no apparent reason.

November 23rd, 2009 at 11:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Wankers Of The Decade

These sons-of-bitches have actually managed to make Enron look like a bunch of two-bit pickpockets:

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is struggling to save his city from fiscal calamity. Unemployment is at a record 28 percent and rising, while home prices have plunged 39 percent since 2007. The 66-year-old Bing, a former NBA all-star with the Detroit Pistons who took office 10 months ago, faces a $300 million budget deficit — and few ways to make up the difference.

Against that bleak backdrop, Wall Street is squeezing one of America’s weakest cities for every penny it can. A few years ago, Detroit struck a derivatives deal with UBS and other banks that allowed it to save more than $2 million a year in interest on $800 million worth of bonds. But the fine print carried a potentially devastating condition. If the city’s credit rating dropped, the banks could opt out of the deal and demand a sizable breakup fee. That’s precisely what happened in January: After years of fiscal trouble, Detroit saw its credit rating slashed to junk. Suddenly the sputtering Motor City was on the hook for a $400 million tab.

(…)

Now Detroit must use the revenues from its three casinos — MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown Casino, and MotorCity Casino — to cover a $4.2 million monthly payment to the banks before a single cent can go to schools, transportation, and other critical services….

Detroit isn’t suffering alone. Across the nation, local governments and related public entities, already reeling from the recession, face another fiscal crisis: billions of dollars in fees owed to UBS, Goldman Sachs and other financial giants on investment deals gone wrong.

(…)

Investment bankers sold exotic derivatives designed to help municipalities cut borrowing costs. Banks and insurance companies constructed complicated tax deals that allowed public utilities, transit authorities, and other nonprofit organizations to extract cash immediately from their long-term assets. Private equity firms, pointing to stellar historical gains, persuaded big public pension funds to plow billions of dollars into high-cost investments at the peak of the market.

Many of the transactions shared a striking similarity: provisions that protected the banks from big losses and left the customers on the hook for huge payouts.

Now, as many of those deals sour, Wall Street is ramping up its efforts to collect from Main Street.

“The banks stuffed customers with [questionable investments] and then extorted money from the customers to get rid of them,” says Christopher Whalen, managing director at research firm Institutional Risk Analytics.

Yes, it was foolish for the cities to fall for the same kind of too-good-to-be-true deals that have cost so many people their homes, but that doesn’t come close to absolving the financial predators from their role in destroying large swaths of the country in the pursuit of ill-gotten profit.

But as much as I would love to see these bastards spend the rest of their lives in prison, I’m betting they won’t even be forced to take a haircut on all these bad loans.  Which is only going to reinforce the teabaggers’ conviction that Obama and the Democrats are completely in bed with the Wall Street elites.  Which is actually true, but to a slightly lesser degree than the GOP, which somehow always gets overlooked.

Still, it’s a massive missed opportunity for Obama and his party if they insist on staying on the wrong side of this fight.  This is one of those occasions where the morally right course and the politically popular course are in perfect harmony – it’s practically a freebie.  Unfortunately, campaign donations trump both considerations, or we would have had universal single-payer healthcare decades ago.

1 comment November 23rd, 2009 at 07:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Wankers

Belated Friday Quote & Torrey Pines Bee/Lizard Blogging

This week’s quote is from the classic Ernst Lubitsch comedy, Cluny Brown:

It is the privilege of a successful establishment to keep the customer on edge.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s bees & lizards…

Torrey Pines Bee 4

Torrey Pines Bee 5

Torrey Pines Lizard 4

Torrey Pines Lizard 6

November 21st, 2009 at 01:03pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging,La Jolla/San Diego,Photoblogging

Grotesque Irony Of The Week

How. Dare. They.

Citing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to civil disobedience, 145 evangelical, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian leaders have signed a declaration saying they will not cooperate with laws that they say could be used to compel their institutions to participate in abortions, or to bless or in any way recognize same-sex couples.

“We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence,” it says.

These bastards actually invoked Martin Luther King’s name in their mission to oppose civil rights.  That’s even more monstrous than Dick Armey studying Saul Alinsky.

November 20th, 2009 at 10:49pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Choice,Religion,Republicans,Teh Gay,Wankers

Good Comeback, But Not Good Enough

I forgot to hit this yesterday, to my eternal shame:

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) just gave a severe tongue-lashing to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner moments ago in the Joint Economic committee, concluding with a surprising call for Geithner to resign. For a change, Geithner didn’t just sit there and take it.

(…)

“Will you step down from your post?” Brady asked, concluding his statement.

Geithner shot back: “It is a great privilege for me to serve this president. I agree with almost nothing you said, almost nothing you said represents a fair and accurate picture of the economy today.” He told Brady, “You gave this president an economy falling off a cliff.”

(…)

Geithner then directed his criticism back to the Bush administration, accusing it of “either years of basic neglect of basic public goods in health care, in education…in how we use energy and fixing those problems is the central objective of this administration.”

Brady shot back: “Tell that to the millions of Americans who no longer have jobs because of your decisions.

Geithner would not take the criticism lying down: “They would have had more jobs and more confidence and more employment in this country if we had not let this crisis get to the point it did.” Geithner said the Bush administration should have spent “eight years of paying for our commitments instead of borrowing against them.”

Shorter Geithner: “My incompetence wouldn’t be such a big deal if you guys had been doing your jobs for the last eight years.”  Burn!

2 comments November 20th, 2009 at 07:23pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Obama,Quotes

Most Appropriate Name Of The Day

Alan Blinder:

The People Who Couldn’t See an $8 Trillion Housing Bubble and Thought Iceland Was Thriving Oppose Auditing the Fed

That is what Alan Blinder tells us in a Washington Post column today. Blinder tells us that the vast majority of academic economists and people in the financial industry oppose efforts to make the Fed more accountable to Congress. (He also bizarrely asserts that “very, very few” people support more Congressional control of the Fed. This would seem to be inconsistent with the support for the Paul-Grayson bill to audit the Fed.)

Why would anyone argue for less accountability and transparency?  Especially when there are no national security ramifications?

November 20th, 2009 at 11:35am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Wankers

So Much For “I’m Just Voting My District”…

Okay, so it’s technically only the Democratic primary.  But if the excuse the Blue Dogs and ConservaDems offer up for voting against meaningful healthcare reform is that they have to do it to hold onto their seats, some primary losses sure would make that excuse look foolish (and also, good riddance).

I don’t have much of an expectation that conservative Democrats will vote for healthcare reform (or financial reform, or climate change reform, or…) out of conscience or a desire to do the right thing, but if they do it out of fear, I can live with that.  Although I’d still rather see them gone, even if it means they’re replaced by real Republicans instead of real Democrats.  Just so long as the Democrats have enough members left to hold onto their majorities so we don’t have to put up with frivolous investigations and impeachment attempts every five minutes.

November 20th, 2009 at 07:14am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Healthcare,Politics,Polls

Spam Fail

Would it kill you to at least make an effort???

From: Uba Kannma
Subject: I am interested… reply quickly

Hello Dear,

I am interested in establishing and operating a very viable business as a means of investment abroad. I do not know too well on how this is done in your country, so I will need you to help me in this regard.

My preference is any good profit yielding business and I would appreciate any viable ideas you could come up with. I will also need you to help me look for properties like homes and lands for sale as I am proposing to invest the sum of Fifty Million United States Dollars ($50,000,000 USD) for this. I do not know if you can and will be of help to me.

For a brief on my personality; my name is Elder Clinton, a Zimbabwean based in U.K.

I am a retired Business man formally into private Shipping Business. I am
62 years of age, married with a wife and 4 lovely kids. I dropped my Shipping business because it wasn’t producing profitable income and above all, the Government is too inquisitive with a lot of political enemies here and there.

My need for this business proposition and to acquire these properties is very urgent as I am planning to move out of this country with my family down to your country. I want you to also help in finding a good home where my family and I will live in. (Mini Estate)

Please I expect your good and prompt reply so that we can proceed swiftly.
I will need your phone and fax numbers for easier communication with you if I am unable to access my emails.

Best Regards,
Mr Adamu Danfudio

So which is it?  Uba Kannma, Elder Clinton, or Admu Danfudio?  I mean, I need to know who to make the checks out to, right?

Also, “Hello Dear” is possibly the greatest salutation ever.

1 comment November 19th, 2009 at 05:54pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Spamoptikon

McCaskill: Congress Is Only Supposed To Do Easy Popular Things

Well, this is certainly inspiring:

Senate Majority Leader Reid Tuesday said Democrats will try to move a climate and energy bill early next year as part of a larger effort to address the economy.

“We’re going to try to do that sometime in the spring,” Reid said about the climate bill.

(…)

Some senators are skeptical lawmakers will be ready to tackle another huge issue after finishing health care. “After you do one really, really big, really, really hard thing that makes everybody mad, I don’t think anybody’s excited about doing another really, really big thing that’s really, really hard that makes everybody mad,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said. “Climate fits that category.”

Yes, apparently Congress has an allotment of one Big Difficult Thing per year.  That would certainly explain why they were so cautious and incrementalist during the Bush Era, right?

3 comments November 19th, 2009 at 11:36am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Environment,Politics,Quotes,Wankers

JOBS

It looks like the Democrats have finally realized that unemployment is important to American voters, and that breezily stating that the economy is recovering fine and jobs are just a “lagging indicator” is not going to cut it (it is, in fact, so staggeringly tone-deaf that it’s actually worse than saying nothing).

Best of all, Democrats pursuing an actual jobs bill puts the Republicans in an awkward position:

Without doubt, Republicans will oppose a new jobs bill with near unanimity. Michael Steele has already said that any jobs created by infrastructure rebuilding efforts aren’t real jobs, but that conservative mindset isn’t resonating with voters who can tell the difference between being employed and unemployed.

Polls show notion of a federal jobs bill is overwhelmingly popular, even in the South, even among Republicans. As long as the bill stays focused on creating jobs it will be a huge winner in substantive terms, and given the public’s focus on job creation, that means sending the legislation to President Obama’s desk early next year will be a great way to start off the 2010 political season.

So much for the GOP’s burgeoning attempt to brand themselves as the populist party of the little guy – funny how their idea of helping the little guy always seems to involve helping corporations and rich people rather than helping the little guy directly.  (One of the Republicans’ all-time cleverest linguistic tricks was when they started substituting the word “jobs” for the word “profit” – I mean, who doesn’t want us to maximize jobs, right?)

If Obama and the Democrats had had the good sense to smack the banksters around instead of giving into them and feeding them trillions of taxpayer dollars, there would be a lot fewer teabaggers, and the poll numbers for 2010 probably wouldn’t look nearly as dire.  Not screwing around on healthcare probably would help too.

3 comments November 19th, 2009 at 07:03am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Economy,Politics,Republicans

Palin ≠ Reagan

Yeah, what John Nichols said. Just because people thought Reagan was a stupid lightweight too, that doesn’t make them the same, any more than their shared lousy approval ratings make George W. Bush into Harry Truman.  Sometimes people think you’re an idiot because… you’re an idiot.

I would further add that all talk of qualifications aside, Reagan was a soothing, reassuring presence, whereas Palin is, for want of a better word, alarming.  I can absolutely understand an apolitical person who goes with their gut voting for Ronald Reagan solely because of his persona.  Sarah Palin, not so much.

To put it another way: Ronald Reagan scared liberals; Sarah Palin scares non-conservatives.  See the difference?

November 18th, 2009 at 08:41pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Palin,Politics,Republicans

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

Oh yeah, Obama sure is sticking it to Fox News, all right.  If by “sticking it to”, you mean “granting an exclusive interview with”.  Weekly World News has the inside skinny on Obama’s preparations:

President Obama will finally give an interview to Fox News.  Both he and the station are preparing for the imminent showdown.

News broke this week that the Obama administration will be reversing its policy towards Fox News.  Previously the administration refused to give the channel interviews, ignored Fox reporters at press conferences, and federally detained Fox reporters whenever the President “had a case of the Mondays.”

The rivalry came to a head Tuesday when White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and his staff started a food fight with Rupert Murdoch at a five-star restaurant in Washington D.c.  After the incident the White House decided that President Obama would finally give Fox News an interview.

In preparation for the event the President is preparing himself mentally and physically.  Knowing that Fox reporters will try any and every trick to make him look bad he has taken up meditation in the hopes of remaining calm and focused no matter what is said.

To improve his memory, the White House has begun a strict hypnotherapy program to give him exceptional recall for even the most minute of details.  The President has also taken advanced Tai Chi, blindfolded fencing, and challenging two chess grand-masters at once while balancing the education budget.

Fox News is also preparing for the interview.  Sources claim they have already started compiling their list of questions, which is to include “Were you really born in Hawaii?” “Really?” and “Really?”

Further they will ask, “Why do you hate America so much?” and “Will you admit that you’re a socialist?”

Other questions may include:

- “Are you a puppet of the New World Order?”
- “Do you know some people believe you are the Anti-Christ?”
- “Why do you ignore the will of the American people, as seen in Tea Party demonstrations and town hall meetings?”
- “Does the sight of American Values burn you like a cross to a vampire?”
- “Will you ever come clean about being a Muslim?”
- “Do you have a fatwa against the Constitution?”
- “How are we supposed to believe that you are not a Kenyan/socialist/fascist/muslim/anti-christ untill you prove otherwise?”

I can hardly wait.

November 18th, 2009 at 11:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Obama,Republicans,Weekly World News

Well Worth Trying

Well Worth Trying

So Mel Watt pretends that his amendment to the Fed audit bill would increase transparency rather than destroying it, while Bart Stupak continues to pretend that his anti-abortion amendment to the healthcare reform bill does nothing more than preserve the status quo of the Hyde amendment, which prevents government money from paying for abortions.

If those are the fig leaves they choose to hide behind, then why don’t progressive Democrats call their bluffs by introducing amendments that actually do what the Watt and Stupak amendments purport to do?  Even if they don’t pass, it would be revealing to watch Watt and Stupak and their allies insist that these alternative bills are bad without being able to clearly explain why.

Actually, since the Stupak amendment has already passed in the House, the alternative would have to be introduced (and passed) in the Senate, and then prevail in the conference committee that reconciles the House and Senate versions.  The final vote on the merged bill would therefore be the point at which Stupak would start to have trouble articulating.

It’s one thing to call these wankers out – it’s quite another to actually force them to either give in or admit that they’re liars.

(NOTE: I’m not a huge fan of the Hyde amendment either, but it’s still far better than Stupak and probably politically impossible to repudiate altogether.  I’d like to see a fight to repeal it, just not as part of the fight for healthcare reform, which is uphill enough as it is.)

November 18th, 2009 at 07:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Choice,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Healthcare,Politics,Wankers

Torrey Pines Scenic Photoblogging

A couple of scenic ocean views:

Torrey Pines 7

Torrey Pines 8

November 17th, 2009 at 11:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: La Jolla/San Diego,Photoblogging

Palin Pollin’

I can’t say this is exactly surprising:

In case all the publicity around her new book is going to her head, Sarah Palin is receiving some sobering news in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll: She’s not all that popular.

The former Alaska governor’s popularity score is a negative 9, with 43% liking her and 52% seeing her unfavorably.

“Favorability is the most basic measure of a public figure’s popularity; in politics, where majorities win, it’s trouble when it goes negative, as it’s been for Palin since October 2008,” notes ABC’s poll maven, Gary Langer.

There’s more bad news for Palin: A solid 60% say she’s not qualified to be President, and 53% say they definitely would not vote for her in 2012.

Sooo… 7% of Americans would vote for Palin even though they don’t think she’s qualified to be President?  Fascinating.

1 comment November 16th, 2009 at 08:02pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Palin,Politics,Polls,Republicans

Monday Media Blogging

Das Monty Python!  Auf Deutsch!

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Wunderbar!

1 comment November 16th, 2009 at 11:22am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Sunday Mr. Deity Blogging

Death is a bit disgruntled, apparently.

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4 comments November 15th, 2009 at 02:04pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging,Mr. Deity,Religion

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