Archive for May, 2010

Monday Media Blogging

I’m at the airport and a little strapped for ideas, so here’s one of my favorite semi-obscure songs: “Skin Deep”, by The Stranglers:

YouTube Preview Image

May 31st, 2010 at 06:04pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Program Note

I will be on vacation for the next week, so posting may be sparse until next Tuesday.

May 31st, 2010 at 10:58am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Movie Alert

Mega Piranha (starring Tiffany!) is on SyFy tonight at 9:00, and I cannot recommend it enough. It is truly one of the Most Awesome Movies Ever Made.

May 30th, 2010 at 12:06pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Movies

Two Birds With One Stone: A Modest Proposal

As dakine laments, when confronted with continuing 10% unemployment, Obama and the Democrats would apparently rather address the Social Security “crisis” (“it is necessary to gut Social Security in order to save it”) than extend unemployment or promote job creation.

But I ask, why can’t the government do both at the same time?  It could hire a bunch of unemployed people to put seniors on ice floes to reduce the burden on Social Security.  The OMB could calculate the age cutoff and the size of the client base, and then millions of “floe consultants” could be deployed to assist them onto the next phase of their lives.  And since global warming has depleted the supply of ice floes, even more Americans could be employed in the manufacture of artificial ones.  It’s a win-win-win!

1 comment May 28th, 2010 at 07:29am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Social Security

Wanker Of The Day

John Kerry, Environmental Champion:

File this one under not at all helpful:

Stopping offshore drilling is not a realistic option, the senator said.

“Now we are not going to stop drilling in the Gulf tomorrow, folks. Let’s be realistic. There are 48,000 wells out there. One of them went sour. About 30 percent of our transportation fuel comes from the Gulf. You think Americans are going to suddenly stop driving to work tomorrow? Do you think people are going to stop driving the trucks to deliver the goods to the department stores? Not going to happen,” said the Massachusetts Democrat.

This goes beyond the strictly political argument I’ve heard from staffers, which says that drilling is part of Senator Kerry’s energy legislation only because it may help pick up Republican support.  It remains to be seen whether that political calculation will pay dividends or end up costing the bill more support than it gains.

The bit about halting drilling ‘tomorrow’ is a straw-man designed to make opponents of offshore drilling seem extreme.  While some groups are calling for a pause on new permits, and others may be advocating taking steps to shut down currently operating offshore rigs, I haven’t seen anyone argue that we should stop drilling ‘tomorrow.’

Thanks, Big John.  Way to be a fierce advocate for the environment and brand the Democrats as the let’s-not-destroy-any-more-ecosystems party.

May 27th, 2010 at 06:25pm Posted by Eli

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

Liberty For White Guys!

Yes, it is kinda ironic that the teabaggers are suddenly so up in arms about government infringing on personal freedom, yet don’t seem at all bothered by Arizona’s show-me-your-papers law.  I’m pretty sure their passion for freedom only applies to white people – after all, it’s not like the teabaggers were up in arms about Bush/Cheney’s warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detentions, or torture of Teh Scary Muslims.

May 27th, 2010 at 11:24am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Immigration,Racism,Republicans,Wankers

What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

YouTube Preview Image

Inconceivable!

When it approved BP’s 2009 plan to start an exploratory well 50 miles off the Louisiana coast — the same well that is now spewing millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf — the federal agency that oversees oil drilling assumed there would be little risk of a well blowout and likely no death to marine life if an accident were to happen.

BP estimated that in the worst case, a blowout at the well would spew out 162,000 barrels of oil every day, a massive figure that far exceeds any estimate of what is coming out now.

But in its exploration plan in March 2009, BP assured the federal Minerals Management Service that a well blowout was so unlikely that “a blowout scenario … is not required for the operations proposed.”

MMS then granted BP a “categorical exclusion” from a public review of the potential environmental impact of the drilling.

That was in line with the general view of MMS that a blowout was nothing to be feared. Before the lease of the oilfields in 2008, the MMS wrote a generic Environmental Impact Statement for the entire northern and western Gulf of Mexico that made the catastrophic well blowout that happened April 20 seem like a near impossibility.

MMS produced its blanket Environmental Impact Statement for 11 proposed leases, mostly off the Louisiana and Texas coasts. One of those planned sales was Lease Sale 206, which gave BP the right to drill at what is known as Mississippi Canyon 252 with a Transocean oil rig called Deepwater Horizon.

The MMS assessed everything from the possible impact of noise on marine life to the specific vulnerabilities of sea turtles and sturgeon, but through it all, the agency assumed any oil that might be spilled would be minimal and any leak would be quickly shut off.

(…)

When it comes to the type of oil well blowout that happened April 20, MMS was downright dismissive. The agency determined that fewer than six of every 10,000 wells would have a blowout that caused any oil to spill. Blowouts are “rare events of short duration,” the study stated, and “the infrequent subsurface blowout that may occur on the Gulf OCS (Outer Continental Shelf) would have a negligible effect on commercial fishing.”

That paved the way for BP to assert that its plans for drilling in Lease Sale 206 posed no real dangers.

After stating that 162,000 barrels a day is the worst-case scenario from a blowout of the well, BP certifies that it “has the capability to respond, to the maximum extent practicable, to a worst-case discharge.” Elsewhere in the document, the company states it could deal with a loss of well control by drilling a relief well, but states a “further discussion of response to an oil spill resulting from the activities proposed in this plan is not required for this Exploration Plan.”

I mean, how could anyone possibly expect that there might be an uncontrollable blowout in a well a mile underwater?  Why, that’s just crazy talk!

May 27th, 2010 at 07:13am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Environment,Wankers

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

Awk-ward:

One morning, thirty-three-year-old Dan Marshal awoke and immediately felt something clutching his shoulders.

“I thought I was having a heart attack or something,” said the young man.  “I turned on the light and was surprised to see two little people clinging to my skin.  If that wasn’t freaky enough, they were miniature versions of myself.  One was angelic, the other devilish….”

(…)

Marshal’s new guests launched into a heated discussion regarding a moral dilemma he’d been wrestling with that week.

“They were both advising me on what to do about my boss, who I knew was embezzling from the company,” Marshal said.  “My good conscience ordered me to turn him in, while my bad conscience instructed me to let him off the hook because he had given me my first break – though it also suggested that I extort a little blackmail money for my silence.”

Assuming that he was the only one who could see his warring selves, Marshal got the shock of his life when he arrived at the accounting firm.

“Everyone was looking at me like I had three heads,” said Marshal, “which, actually, I did.  They could all see and hear my consciences.”

Marshal immediately visited his psychiatrist who, though astounded by the presence of these tiny advisors, had a theory about their existence.

“Intense emotional conflict excites the brain,” said Dr. Robert Stamford.  “It causes energy levels to increase dramatically.  Theoretically, if someone is experiencing enough distress, their mind can generate sufficient power to project their thoughts.  In Marshal’s case, his moral dilemma was so overwhelming that he conjured up these corporeal beings to help solve his problem.”

To put an end to his stress, Marshal chose a third option that neither of his small advisors had offered.

“I talked to my boss in private and pleaded with him to stop taking money from the company,” said Marshal.  “He respected my honesty and integrity and agreed to put an end to it.  The moment I made the decision, my little buddies vanished.

“It’s a good thing, too,” Marshal added.  “I was getting sick of hearing their non-stop bickering.  My conscience was literally killing me!”

I just have two questions about this story:

1) Does anyone at Marshal’s accounting firm read the Weekly World News?

2) How did he put on his shirt?

May 26th, 2010 at 08:53pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News

GOP To 9/11 Responders: Drop Dead

Well, this is just lovely:

Calling the Sept. 11 Health and Compensation Act a new “entitlement program” like Medicare, members of the GOP on the House Energy and Commerce Committee argued the nation already has too much that it must pay for, and making the care of tens of thousands of 9/11 responders mandatory was too much of a burden.

“By making this a new mandatory program, you jeopardize the financial health of the United States of America,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.).

And they argued that the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001, were already being cared for, noting the $150 million the Obama recently requested for this year.

Speaking to dozens of responders gathered in a Capitol Hill hearing chamber, Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) argued that their demand for the federal government to help “would be just if we weren’t spending money already.”

“In fact, there’s $131 million in the fund right now. The health care needs of first-time responders have been addressed,” Shimkus declared, referring to contracts that are being spent now and were delayed by the federal government.

“There’s $131 million there that’s unspent,” said Rogers. “The President said 150. Please don’t make it a mandatory program I agree with the President.”

The bill aims to set up a permanent fund to care for ailing responders at a cost estimated around $11 billion over three decades.

Republicans want the responders to come back to Congress every year to make their case, which the legislators argued will help protect against fraud and waste.

(…)

“Some of the conditions that are covered under this legislation seemed unusually broad to me because we’re talking about asthma, sleep apnea, panic disorder, anxiety disorder, even substance abuse,” said Kentucky Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield. “It’s so broad that I think it’s going to cover a lot of things that may not be directly related to this incident.”

(…)

The whole debate over whether the program should be mandatory or an annual discretionary program misses the point, said Rep. Anthony Weiner, saying it was Congress’ obligation to help the people who answered the call almost nine years ago. And, he noted, the health fund could not be an endless and growing entitlement like Medicare.

“There’s a finite number of people,” Weiner said. “That finite number of people is getting smaller and smaller every day because they’re dying.”

Funny how the Super Patriot Support Our Troops Party never wants to spend money on the people who sacrificed their health and wellbeing in the service of their country.  And accusing them of being greedy scammers and malingerers just adds insult to injury.  For shame.

May 26th, 2010 at 07:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Republicans,Wankers

Who’s Pullin’ Palin’s Strings?

Here’s an intriguing little morsel from the NYT’s recent profile of Sarah Palin:

Mr. Heath said he was careful about nudging his daughter toward the things that interest him.

“I don’t want to push the wrong button with Sarah,” he said. “Besides, she doesn’t make the decisions. Let me retract that. I’m sure she thinks them over and she has a lot of say as to yes and no.”

Um, if Palin isn’t calling her own shots, then who is?  Todd?  Or does she have some “handler” in the GOP or Tea Party movement?  Was she the decider when she was governor, or was someone else running Alaska for her half-term?  Was it really her idea to quit?

May 25th, 2010 at 07:19am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Palin,Politics,Republicans

Monday Media Blogging

The world’s worst motivational speaker:

YouTube Preview Image

It goes from lame to sublime when he starts frantically beating himself to death with the wooden plank.  Comedy. Gold.

(h/t HuffPo)

1 comment May 24th, 2010 at 06:11pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

In Case You Needed Any More Proof…

Of just how thoroughly corrupt, compromised, and generally rigged our government has become:

Who could be opposed to closing a tax loophole that allows hedge-fund and private equity managers to treat their earnings as capital gains – and pay a rate of only 15 percent rather than the 35 percent applied to ordinary income?

Answer: Some of the nation’s most prominent and wealthiest private asset managers, such as Paul Allen and Henry Kravis, who, along with hordes of lobbyists, are determined to keep the loophole wide open.

The House has already tried three times to close it only to have the Senate cave in because of campaign donations from these and other financiers who benefit from it.

(…)

Several of these private investment fund managers, by the way, have taken a lead in the national drive to cut the federal budget deficit. The senior chairman and co-founder of the Blackstone Group, one of the largest private equity funds, is Peter G. Peterson, who never tires of telling the nation it faces economic ruin if deficits aren’t brought under control. Curiously, I have not heard Peterson advocate closing this tax loophole as one way to further the cause of fiscal responsibility.

Closing tax loopholes for billionaires may seem like a no-brainer, especially at a time when the nation is cutting back spending on the middle class — slashing budgets that fund child care, public schools, and public universities. Tens of thousands of teachers are getting pink slips.

But you can expect a huge fight.

There is also a moral issue here. Call me old fashioned but I just think it’s wrong that a single hedge fund manager earns a billion dollars, when a billion dollars would pay the salaries of about 20,000 teachers.

God forbid that we should try to balance the budget on the backs of the mega-rich instead of our retirees and everyone else.  It’s amazing and repellent that this is even difficult.

May 24th, 2010 at 11:34am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Wankers

Priorities

So given the choice between preventing the next financial meltdown and protecting their Wall Street donors, guess which Congress chose.

But hey, at least they did enough to make it look like they’re taking the financial crisis seriously, and that’s all that really matters, right?

2 comments May 24th, 2010 at 07:04am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Wankers

It’s Not Just The Fish

I’m sure no one could have anticipated that there would be a human cost as well:

Desperation is setting in in Southeast Louisiana. “I spoke to a group of fishermen, mainly Vietnamese Americans and a group of them came up to me and said, they told me that they contemplated suicide because they’re in such despair,” says Congressman Joseph Cao. He says fishermen are feeling compounded stress on top of post-Katrina troubles. “For some people, this is almost a boiling point where they can no longer handle it and they’re going to crack.”

“These are grown men that broke down and cried this morning because they don’t know what to do and we don’t know how long it’s going to be,” says Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.

That’s why Cao and organizations like Volunteers of America are working to get mental health workers on the ground to intervene. “They’ve just recovered as a result of their businesses, their homes and the rebuilding effort and now you have a number of these small businesses, these fishermen, who have to go through this all over again,” says Voris Vigee with the Volunteers of America. She says organizations are expediting crisis and mental health counseling among other disaster-related services.

Maybe BP’s CEO and COO should come down and explain to the distraught fishermen that “the overall impact… will be very, very modest” and they’re “very optimistic that the gulf will fully recover.” So you see, there’s really nothing to worry about, just ignore all those terrible alarmist scientists and reports of 24-mile stretches of wetlands being killed stone dead.

And if that doesn’t work, there’s always the old standby, “At least you still have your health.”

May 22nd, 2010 at 07:25pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Environment,Wankers

All You Need To Know

…About the culture at MMS:

The director of the Minerals Management Service in Alaska is apologizing to colleagues for having a cake at a recent meeting with the words ”Drill, Baby, Drill” on it.

Yes, this was after the Deepwater Horizon blew up and unleashed an environmental holocaust.

…And about the culture in the Obama White House:

That the WH called reporters into the press office privately today to criticize them for asking about BP over & over is disturbing

Seriously???  Obama is playing Dubya’s “trust us and don’t ask questions, we know what we’re doing” card?

The oil industry rules our world, apparently.  Or at least our government.

2 comments May 22nd, 2010 at 04:01pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Environment,Obama,Wankers

Great Moments In Irony

I really can’t add anything to this…

Glenn Beck, of all people, is attacking poor people who are losing their homes for having the gall to protest against the bankers.

Remember, Beck is the same guy who has been cheering the tea partiers on, urging anti-Obama forces to protest vehemently and loudly every single chance they get. But when people who are losing their homes after getting mistreated by Bank of America dare to protest, he gets all squeamish. Suddenly, they become dangerous “mobs” threatening children.

Beck and his banker buddies sure do have glass jaws. There was no violence at this protest, no threats of violence, no hint of it: just a bunch of folks protesting bankers who have destroyed millions of jobs and cost millions of people their homes by their recklessness.

Obnoxious, racist, gun-packing teabaggers protesting against Obama = Concerned Patriots.

Foreclosure victims protesting against the banks taking away their homes = Dangerous Mobs.

May 22nd, 2010 at 02:00pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Media,Republicans,Wankers

Friday Quote & Leopard Blogging

This week’s quote is from Gunfighter’s Moon, starring Lance Henriksen, which… I saw, apparently:

Sometimes talking to you is like going to the bottom of a mine without a lantern.

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

SD Leopard

Leopardy!

May 21st, 2010 at 06:20pm Posted by Eli

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

The Real Villains

YouTube Preview Image

It’s those damn scientists, of course:

MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell: Some of the scientific estimates, Mr Dudley, have been vastly hugher. The Perdue scientist Steve Wereley said that as much as 100,000 barrels a day – 4.2 million gallons of oil every day were leaking. Could it be that bad?

BP’s Dudley: Andrea, it’s not anything like that, and I find those statements alarming. I think they’re alarming to the people on the Gulf Coast. I think it actually damages the Gulf Coast. There are people now saying, “I don’t want to near Florida, Alabama, Mississippi.” Those beaches are clean, the fishing is good. I think it’s actually hurting the local economy with that sort of alarmist statements. No. I think it’s highly unlikely oil will actually reach the beaches of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.

It’s a well-known fact that the leading cause of fish kills is actually alarmist scientists.  Sea life is very sensitive to bad vibes, you see.

May 21st, 2010 at 11:35am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Energy,Environment,Science,Wankers

Whose Side Are They On Again?

It sure does look like MMS sees their role as facilitator rather than regulator…

A proposal to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean as early as this summer received initial permits from the Minerals Management Service office in Alaska at the same time federal auditors were questioning the office about its environmental review process.

The approvals also came after many of the agency’s most experienced scientists had left, frustrated that their concerns over environmental threats from drilling had been ignored.

Minerals Management has faced intense scrutiny in the weeks since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. An article in The New York Times reported that it failed to get some environmental permits to approve drilling in the gulf and ignored objections from scientists to keep those projects on schedule.

Similar concerns are being raised about the agency’s handling of a plan by Shell Oil to begin exploratory drilling in the Arctic’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.

The Shell plan has stirred controversy for many years among environmentalists and advocates of the endangered bowhead whale, which is legally hunted in the area for subsistence by Alaska Natives.

Opponents have argued that an oil spill would be virtually impossible to contain, given the region’s remoteness, its severe weather and ice and limited onshore support.

The investigation of the Minerals Management’s Alaska office by the Government Accountability Office, completed in March, examined the environmental review process for proposed offshore leasing in southwest Alaska, which has since been canceled.

But it also raised questions about future leasing plans in the Beaufort and Chukchi at the time the agency was deciding whether to allow Shell to go forward on leases it had purchased. The Shell project received critical initial permits from Minerals Management last fall, though it still needs several final approvals.

The G.A.O. found that the Alaska branch deliberately avoided establishing consistent guidelines for determining whether future leases would cause significant environmental impacts in the Arctic — a finding that could require further examination and delay or prevent drilling.

Umm, I also thought there was a moratorium on new offshore drilling?  Perhaps that word does not mean what I think it means…

May 21st, 2010 at 06:55am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Energy,Environment,Wankers

Equality Minute With Rand Paul

Wow, I sure have learned many fascinating things about Rand Paul, racism and the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the past 24 hours.  Let’s start with his post-primary victory lap, which is apparently the perfect time to start disparaging one of the most important bills of the 20th century:

SIEGEL: You’ve said that business should have the right to refuse service to anyone, and that the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA, was an overreach by the federal government. Would you say the same by extension of the 1964 Civil Rights Act?

Dr. PAUL: What I’ve always said is that I’m opposed to institutional racism, and I would’ve, had I’ve been alive at the time, I think, had the courage to march with Martin Luther King to overturn institutional racism, and I see no place in our society for institutional racism.

(…)

SIEGEL: But it’s been one of the major developments in American history in the course of your life. I mean, do you think the ’64 Civil Rights Act or the ADA for that matter were just overreaches and that business shouldn’t be bothered by people with the basis in law to sue them for redress?

Dr. PAUL: Right. I think a lot of things could be handled locally. For example, I think that we should try to do everything we can to allow for people with disabilities and handicaps. You know, we do it in our office with wheelchair ramps and things like that. I think if you have a two-story office and you hire someone who’s handicapped, it might be reasonable to let him have an office on the first floor rather than the government saying you have to have a $100,000 elevator. And I think when you get to the solutions like that, the more local the better, and the more common sense the decisions are, rather than having a federal government make those decisions.

In other words, Rand Paul believes that institutional (but only institutional?) racism is a Terrible Horrible Very Bad Thing… that should be legal.  And the Civil Rights Act and the ADA are government overreach because racism and ableism can be solved with a little locally applied common sense.

But wait, there’s more!

Rand Paul lashed out at the “loony left” for pressing him on his view of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in an interview with Laura Ingraham this morning.

“I’ve never really favored any change in the Civil Rights Act,” he said. “They seem to have unleashed some of the loony left on me.”

Paul called the Civil Rights Act “settled” but suggested he does view federal regulation of private business on matters of racial discrimination as fundamentally unconstitutional.

So Rand Paul thinks the Civil Rights Act is fundamentally unconstitutional but is willing to let it slide because it’s settled law, and anyone who thinks this is disturbing must be part of the “loony left”?  Perhaps an official statement would help clear this up…

“I believe we should work to end all racism in American society and staunchly defend the inherent rights of every person.  I have clearly stated in prior interviews that I abhor racial discrimination and would have worked to end segregation… I unequivocally state that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Let me be clear: I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws.”

“As I have said in previous statements, sections of the Civil Rights Act were debated on Constitutional grounds when the legislation was passed. Those issues have been settled by federal courts in the intervening years.”

(…)

This much is clear:  The federal government has far overreached in its power grabs. Just look at the recent national healthcare schemes, which my opponent supports.   The federal government, for the first time ever, is mandating that individuals purchase a product.   The federal government is out of control, and those who love liberty and value individual and state’s rights must stand up to it.”

Okay, so:  Rand Paul won’t support repeal of the Civil Rights Act, which is not the same as saying he would have actually voted for it.  His support for it is limited to “stop[ping] discrimination in the public sphere,” so he still thinks it’s wrong to tell private businesses they can’t discriminate.  He points out that there was debate over whether the Act was even constitutional.  And then he finishes up by invoking the specter of overreachy government “power grabs.”

On the other hand, Paul does insist that he wants to work to end racism… just so long as the government doesn’t have anything to do with it.  Of course, his anti-racist fervor would probably be a lot more believable if he hadn’t hired a full-blown, balls-out racist asshole to be his campaign spokesman.  Paul fired him immediately after he was outed, but I’m kind of amazed that a guy that racist could have kept it under wraps so successfully that his boss never noticed until he got his nose rubbed in it.

May 20th, 2010 at 08:28pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Politics,Racism,Republicans,Wankers

Wanker Of The Day

Pennsylvania AG and Republican Gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett:

Tom Corbett, current Attorney General of the state of Pennsylvania and Gubernatorial Candidate, has subpoenaed Twitter to appear as a Grand Jury witness to “testify and give evidence regarding alleged violations of the laws of Pennsylvania”.

The subpoena orders Twitter to provide “any and all subscriber information” of the person(s) behind two accounts – @bfbarbie and @CasaBlancaPA – who have been anonymously criticizing the man on the popular micro-sharing service.

According to the subpoena (embedded below), the information that Twitter is ordered to provide includes “name, address, contact information, creation date, creation Internet Protocol address and any and all log in Internet Protocol address”.

Because using your government office to prosecute and harass your political critics isn’t an abuse of power at all…

I hope this wanker goes down hard in November.

May 20th, 2010 at 11:27am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

You Say Tomato…

This seems to be the Republicans’ favorite talking point:

Republicans accused Senate Democrats and the Obama White House of orchestrating a “government takeover” of the financial industry and suggested that the bill would severely harm businesses on Main Street.

(…)

“The marching orders are coming from downtown: push the bill as far to the political left as possible,” [Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell] said. “Look at the last 15 months. They’re running banks, insurance companies, car companies, taking over the student loan business, taking over health care, now, apparently doing to the financial services industry what they did to the health care industry.”

“This is a massive government overreach,” Mr. McConnell said, adding that Republicans were confident about their political prospects. “The American people are saying, ‘enough’ and I think that’s why everyone is anticipating a major midcourse correction this November.”

They’ve been trying to make this absurd takeover argument against net neutrality too, despite the fact that it makes absolutely no sense.

In Republican Bizarro World, amoral business practices are just good old-fashioned free enterprise, and any attempt to regulate those practices is a “government takeover.”

May 20th, 2010 at 07:07am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Sentence Of The Day

This is just beautiful:

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., fighting a fraud lawsuit from U.S. regulators who accuse the company of misleading investors, is trying to persuade more Americans to trust the firm with their retirement funds.

What could possibly go wrong?  After all, Goldman’s concern for their clients is legendary.

May 19th, 2010 at 06:24pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Quotes

Great Moments In Education

Way to break out of those stereotypes, Alabama!  And conservatives worry about gay teachers indoctrinating their kids…

A Jefferson County teacher picked the wrong example when he used as­sassinating President Bar­ack Obama as a way to teach angles to his geome­try students.

(…)

The teacher was appar­ently teaching his geometry students about parallel lines and angles, officials said. He used the example of where to stand and aim if shooting Obama.

“He was talking about angles and said, ‘If you’re in this building, you would need to take this angle to shoot the president,’ ” said Joseph Brown, a senior in the geometry class.

“Damn, I just can’t seem to get through to these kids!  I need to figure out a way to make geometry relatable and fun.  Wait, I know – what high school kid doesn’t fantasize about killing the President?  I’m a genius!  I am totally going to win Teacher Of The Year for this!”

Guess how shocked I’ll be if this guy turns out to be a teabagger and avid Glenn Beck fan.

May 19th, 2010 at 11:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Education,Obama,Wankers

My Brilliant Genius Plan To Fix Everything

Convince Obama that Wellpoint, PhRMA, Goldman Sachs, the oil industry, Pete Peterson, Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson and Rahm Emanuel are all gay.

Because they could all use a little more “fierce advocacy.”

(Cross-posted at The Seminal)

May 19th, 2010 at 06:57am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Lieberman,Obama,Social Security,Teh Gay

Democrats Still Haven’t Learned

Yesterday’s NYT:

In 2008, when Mr. Obama’s candidacy galvanized Democrats and intrigued the nation, nearly 4 in 10 Americans declined to vote. Even at peak interest, the American appetite for democratic rituals is hardly universal.

Without a presidential race to lead the ballot, the appetite is even weaker. The last time more than half of the eligible citizens voted in a midterm election was nearly three decades ago, in 1982, census figures show.

Students of modern political history point out that this is often a problem for Democrats. Their less-affluent constituency traditionally goes to the polls at lower rates.

“We usually do well when the turnout is low,” said John Morgan, a longtime Republican demographic specialist.

(…)

Elections with low turnout can allow parties to tilt the outcome substantially through small shifts in the composition of those voting.

In the 1994 midterms, for example, overall turnout as a proportion of eligible citizens dropped slightly. But since Representative Newt Gingrich’s party was energized that year and President Bill Clinton’s was downcast, the result earned the moniker “Republican Revolution.”

“You can have a big-wave result,” Mr. Cook said, “without a big wave of voters.”

Multi Medium, 2/14/06:

Republicans understand that voters in “the base” turn out if motivated, and the undecideds in the middle do not. Consequently, they tailor their electoral strategy to pumping up their base to maximize that turnout, and they don’t worry about the middle all that much because they’re proportionally less of a factor. The Democrats, on the other hand, repeatedly throw their base under the bus in pursuit of those fickle undecideds who probably aren’t voting anyway.

In other words, Republicans understand that turnout is a force multiplier. Democrats are satisfied with just being ahead in opinion polls, implicitly assuming that voter turnout is homogeneous.

And this is why the ballot results never quite live up to the poll results for the Democrats. The Democrats are alienating voters by chasing after non-voters.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  The Republicans and the Democrats continue to race to the right, for complete opposite reasons.  The Republicans may scare off everyone except their crazy base, but they don’t care because they know the crazy base will turn out.  The Democrats may alienate everyone except a few people in the middle who won’t vote, but they don’t care because, well, they’re corporate-owned idiots.

GOTV and boots on the ground are all well and good, but if no one’s excited about what you’re selling and what you’ve done, it’s not going to translate into as many votes.  This is why Republicans usually do better in elections than they have any right to.  The GOP got crushed in 2006 and 2008 because so many people were passionate and energized against Bush’s failures, but Obama and the Democrats squandered all of that energy by deciding to be GOP Lite instead of actually keeping the promises that got them elected.  And now they’re about to pay the price.

May 18th, 2010 at 11:39am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Politics

Monday Media Blogging

I’m pretty sure this is exactly how the whole Abraham-and-Isaac thing went down…

YouTube Preview Image
On the fifth day He invented the birds and the fish, and today He’s invented me murdering my son.  Another winner, Lord!

May 17th, 2010 at 11:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging,Religion

The Wages Of Bigotry Is Boycotts

Apparently Arizona’s government are such huge racist bastards that it never even occurred to them that many people in other states are not:

Acknowledging that Arizona has developed a serious image problem because of its tough new immigration law, Gov. Jan Brewer and tourism-industry leaders said Thursday that they will launch a new effort to stanch the flow of lost trade and convention business in the state.

The legislation and firestorm of negative publicity that followed brought calls for boycotts, moved groups to back out of local conventions and led several cities to cut business ties with Arizona companies.

(…)

“It’s up to us to get the truth out there. This is impacting Arizona’s face to the nation,” said Brewer, who blamed the controversy on misconceptions about the law.

(…)

Officials were just starting to see signs of life when the backlash over the new immigration law began, said Debbie Johnson, CEO of the Arizona Tourism Alliance and the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association.

To date, dozens of cities and groups have announced boycotts. Arizona has lost at least 30 to 40 meetings and conventions, she said.

“We were surprised by (the boycotts),” Johnson said. “We didn’t think it was going to be a tourism issue. This is a political issue.”

Of course, no one could have anticipated.  They couldn’t even imagine that anyone might find the show-me-your-papers law offensive.  But I think this is my favorite part right here:

“The end goal is to reassert that we are a safe, inviting, diverse and culturally aware community,” said Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Really?  A diverse and culturally aware community that harasses Latinos and demands to see their papers?  That has banned ethnic studies and won’t even allow anyone with an accent to teach English?  I can’t think of any other state whose government has actively embraced racism and xenophobia like Arizona’s has.  They’re like that creepy uncle who uses the N-word all the time and can’t understand why no one invites him to dinner any more.

(h/t Karin for the accent thing)

May 17th, 2010 at 07:17am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Immigration,Racism,Wankers

Friday Quote & Panda Blogging

This week’s quote is from Talking Heads pseudodocumentary True Stories:

I have something to say about the difference between American and European cities. But I’ve forgotten what it is.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s wee baby pandas…

SD Panda 9

Yes, I like pandas.

May 14th, 2010 at 06:12pm Posted by Eli

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

No One Could Have Anticipated…

Hey everybody!  It looks like Blanche Lincoln’s surprisingly populist and progressive derivatives bill was all a sham to get her re-elected!

Earlier today I mentioned that the Senate club was working to protect Blanche Lincoln, first by allowing her to offer up a kabuki derivatives bill which was strong enough for her to counteract claims of being too tight with Wall Street, then by delaying the eventual watering down of that piece in the overall bill until after her Senate primary. I’ve heard that Lincoln couldn’t even defend the concept of forcing the big banks to spin off their swaps trading desks in a caucus luncheon; Maria Cantwell had to do it for her. Clearly, she was fed the most left-leaning derivatives package available, with the expressed intention that it wouldn’t make the bill. Nobody wants to overturn it before it serves its purpose of getting Lincoln nominated for re-election, however.

It’s not like anyone predicted this or anything…

I kind of suspect that this was the kabuki plan all along – let Blanche posture and grandstand as some kind of anti-Wall Street crusader to fend off Halter’s primary challenge, but make sure her bill gets watered down substantially by other Senators before it actually comes up for a vote so her generous Wall Street donors don’t get pissed off.

Otherwise I think Blanche would be in the awkward position of having to vote against her own bill…

3 comments May 14th, 2010 at 11:20am Posted by Eli

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

Previous Posts


Contact Eli

Checkered Flag 1




Choose a color scheme:

Feeds

Linkedelia!

Most Recent Posts

Archives

Categories

Calendar

May 2010
M T W T F S S
« Apr   Jun »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  


Thinking Blogger

Pittsburgh Webloggers

Site Meter


View My Stats *