Archive for April, 2011

Friday Quote & Panda Blogging

This week’s quote is from an Onion A.V. Club Inventory feature about famous actors whose final performances were… disappointing:

Yes, the star of Sullivan’s Travels ended her career by putting maggots on Hitler’s face.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s baby pandas riding rocking horses… or trying to:

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Aww.

April 29th, 2011 at 11:22am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

Wait… What?

I can’t make any sense of this sentence:

The question of whether President Barack Obama was born on U.S. soil will have zero impact on the 2012 campaign but could significantly damage Republicans’ prospects for retaking the White House if it lingers.

Wouldn’t “significantly damage” be a little more than “zero impact”?  Of course, Roll Call is just reporting a Republican consensus view, so I guess nonsensical contradiction is to be expected.

Speaking of Obama’s birth certificate, I’m surprised Obama didn’t choose to release it in late 2012 to embarrass the GOP right in the middle of their campaign against him (or, y’know, NOT AT ALL).  I guess that’s what happens when you have a Democratic president who only plays hardball against his own base.

April 29th, 2011 at 07:59am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Obama,Politics,Republicans

Even Massachusetts Dems Aren’t Dems Anymore

When even Democrats in one of our bluest states are acting like Scott Walker, it’s not hard to see why unions are starting to walk away from them in disgust.  2012 is already likely to be another bad election for the Democrats (who will likely be relying on an inspiring “We may suck, but at least we’re not crazy” campaign strategy), I wonder how much worse it will be if the unions sit on their hands (or boots on the ground, as the case may be).

By the way, I really have to quibble with Mike Elk’s last paragraph here:

While Democrats have been less brazen in their attacks on public employees’ unions, they have still attacked public employees unions. Why is that? It’s because it’s often less politically risky for Democrats weary of taking on the rich to go after unions than to call for higher taxes on the rich.

Saying that Democrats are “weary of taking on the rich” is like me saying I’m tired of fighting Mike Tyson.

April 28th, 2011 at 08:13am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Economy,Labor,Politics,Wankers

Alan Greenspan Speaks Out Against The Tax Cuts He Made Possible

On the one hand, it’s nice to see him coming around to reason and discrediting the Republicans’ much-beloved tax-cuts-pay-for-themselves canard.  On the other hand, he should have been saying this TEN YEARS AGO when it could have actually done some good.

Kinda hard to believe now that someone could fret about paying down our national debt too quickly and not get laughed out of the country.

April 27th, 2011 at 11:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Republicans,Taxes,Wankers

When You’ve Lost The Billionaires…

Oh noes, the Democrats have lost the support of the Masters Of The Universe because Obama said mean things about them!

These oh-so-sensitive hedge fund guys just don’t appreciate how good they’ve got it.  Obama talks smack about us whiny unreasonable progressives too, but he almost never does anything we want, and he certainly doesn’t care whether he pisses us off or not.

April 27th, 2011 at 08:02am Posted by Eli

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

Overthinking

There’s really a very simple reason why conservatives haven’t built a strong grassroots internet infrastructure: THEY DON’T HAVE TO.

Why on earth do you need internet grassroots when your political movement is primarily about serving the interests of corporations and elites instead of ordinary people?  And when those corporations and elites can funnel you more money than ordinary people could ever dream of without even breaking a sweat?

1 comment April 26th, 2011 at 07:58am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Elections,Politics,Republicans

Monday Media Blogging

Apparently porn stars are really really into lemons.

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(Swearing but no nudity. Also: lemon whores.)

April 25th, 2011 at 11:39am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Seriousness

Apparently the new definition of “seriousness” is using a genuine unemployment crisis and a ginned-up deficit crisis as excuses to pursue ideological goals that have absolutely nothing to do with fixing them.

Too bad the Progressive Caucus is so unserious, otherwise maybe someone might take their deficit-reduction plan seriously.  Hell, they probably have an employment plan too, one that would actually create jobs instead of destroying them.

April 25th, 2011 at 08:08am Posted by Eli

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

Sunday Mr. Deity Blogging

Mr. Deity and Jesse try to work out how to complete the Holy Trinity.

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It’s my favorite cloth, sir.

April 24th, 2011 at 05:21pm Posted by Eli

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

Friday Quote And Mostly Hamster Blogging

This week’s quote is from the surprisingly delightful Easy A:

After we watch The Bucket List, remember to cross “Watch The Bucket List” off our bucket list.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s wee critters eating stuff:

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Nom nom nom nom nom nom nom.

April 22nd, 2011 at 11:27am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare!

I think Republicans may actually hate their party’s plans for Medicare reform even more than Democrats hated Obama’s plan for healthcare reform.

McClatchy/Marist:

Americans clearly don’t want the government to cut Medicare, the government health program for the elderly, or Medicaid, the program for the poor. Republicans in the House of Representatives voted last week to drastically restructure and reduce those programs, while Obama calls for trimming their costs but leaving them essentially intact.

Voters oppose cuts to those programs by 80-18 percent. Even among conservatives, only 29 percent supported cuts, and 68 percent opposed them.

WaPo/ABC News:

When simply asked whether they wanted Medicare to remain a defined benefits plan or see it changed into a voucher system to buy private insurance, a full 65 percent of Americans said they were opposed to this change, while only 34 percent supported it. After the poll explained that the cost of private insurance would likely rise faster than the value of the vouchers, causing seniors to pay more for insurance (as the CBO says would happen under the House Republican budget), the total opposed jumped to 84 percent.

Just how incredibly unpopular is this major provision of the Republican budget? With 84 percent opposed to it, Ryan’s Medicare voucher program has even less support among the American people than the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which the latest KFF poll found 67 percent want repealed.

If it were possible to vote against politicians without having to vote for their opponents, DC would be a ghost town.

April 21st, 2011 at 11:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Healthcare,Politics,Polls,Republicans,Taxes

If Republicans (And Democrats) Were Really Serious About The National Debt…

Maybe they might want to think about some actual real financial reform, or doing something about runaway healthcare costs:

[T]he financial crisis will end up causing government debt to increase by more than 50 percentage points of G.D.P. over a decade. This is the major fiscal crisis of today and the likely one tomorrow. (I wrote more on this in a column this week for Bloomberg.)

(…)

A future financial crisis, given the nature of our economy, could well cause a debt increase of more than 34 percent of G.D.P. — just look at what happened this time in the United States or the way in which Ireland was ruined by big banks and reaction by the politicians there. There is no way that the S.&P.’s stress situation is sufficiently negative.

(…)

There is, of course, a longer-run budget issue — beyond 2020 –- that is mostly about health care costs. S.&P. follows the current consensus by flagging the Medicare component of this, and the C.B.O.’s projections on this front are undoubtedly scary (see this C.B.O. Web page or jump directly to the document and study the image on its front page).

But the real threat to the economy is health-care costs seen broadly, not just the Medicare component. For more on this, see the analysis by my co-author on the Baseline Scenario blog, James Kwak, writing about an important letter from Douglas W. Elmendorf (the head of the C.B.O.) to Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, on Mr. Ryan’s budget proposal.

(…)

The real danger to the United States economy –- and to its federal budget –- is that we will somehow derail growth, either by letting too-big-to-fail banks become irresponsible again or by allowing health-care costs to continue to rise on their current trajectory or in some other way.

…Or we could just kill Medicare, slash Social Security, and keep cutting taxes for rich people and corporations until the trickledown fairy works her magic.

April 21st, 2011 at 09:01am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Healthcare,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Social Security,Wankers

Wanker Of The Day

Alleged liberal Democrat Dick Durbin. Also Joe Sudbay has to win some kind of award for not noticing where he’s answered his own question:

Durbin, as the senior Senator from Illinois, is considered one of Obama’s closest allies on Capitol Hill. But, for whatever reason, he has lost his bearings. Now, using right-wing talking points, Durbin is even criticized Bernie Sanders over Social Security.

Durbin criticized a resolution put forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders, a liberal independent from Vermont, that says Social Security should not be cut under a deficit reduction plan. Durbin said he would not vote for such a resolution.

“I think Bernie is going too far with his language,” Durbin said.

“In 2037, as we know it, Social Security falls off a cliff,” he said. “There’s a 22 percent reduction rate in payments, which is really not something we can tolerate. If we deal with it today, it’s an easier solution than waiting. I think we ought to deal with it. Many of my colleagues disagree, put it off to another day. But from my point of view, leaving it out makes it easier politically, including it, I think, meets an obligation, which we have to senior citizens.”

Yes, I’m sure there couldn’t possibly be any connection between Durbin being an Obama ally and his sudden fondness for right-wing talking points…

April 20th, 2011 at 09:10am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Politics,Social Security,Taxes,Wankers

Agree & Disagree

I agree wholeheartedly with the Republicans that something must be done to rein in the overpaid parasites who take our money and produce nothing of value in return.

Where we disagree is on who they are.

April 19th, 2011 at 08:32pm Posted by Eli

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

The Civility War

Krugman nails it:

At the beginning of last week, the commentariat was in raptures over the Serious, Courageous, Game-Changing Ryan plan. But now that the plan has been exposed as the cruel nonsense it is, what we’re hearing a lot about is the need for more civility in the discourse. President Obama did a bad thing by calling cruel nonsense cruel nonsense; he hurt Republican feelings, and how can we have a deal when the GOP is feeling insulted? What we need is personal outreach; let’s do lunch!

The easy, and perfectly fair, shot is to talk about the hypocrisy here; where were all the demands for civility when Republicans were denouncing Obama as a socialist, accusing him of creating death panels, etc..? Why is it OK for Republicans to accuse Obama of stealing from Medicare, but not OK for Obama to declare, with complete truthfulness, that those same Republicans are trying to dismantle the whole program?

Calling criminals criminals, liars liars, and hacks hacks = Uncivil.

Calling poor people and seniors greedy moochers, liberals unpatriotic, and gays degenerate = Serious.

Presented with that choice, I’ll choose uncivil and unserious any day.

2 comments April 19th, 2011 at 11:34am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Save us, Donald!

Donald Trump’s will-he-or-won’t-he shadow presidential campaign continues.  This is far and away my favorite part:

“I can send two executives into a room. They can say the same things; one guy comes home with the bacon and the other guy doesn’t,” Trump said. “I’ve seen it a thousand times. … We don’t have the right messenger. [President Barack] Obama is not the right messenger. We are not a respected nation anymore and the world is laughing at us.

Because the only way to regain our respect and stop the rest of the world from laughing at us is to elect Donald Trump President.

April 19th, 2011 at 07:58am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Politics,Republicans

Monday Media Blogging

Early Jim Henson puppetry for Wilkins Coffee.

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Totally not excessively violent at all.

April 18th, 2011 at 11:29am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Still Waiting For Some Shared Sacrifice

“Shared sacrifice” is the favorite buzzword of all the Very Serious Budget Talkers in DC, but no one has yet explained what exactly it is that the wealthy or the corporations (i.e., the ones with all the money) will be sacrificing.

There’s a South Park episode where the boys adopt a poor African child they nickname “Starvin’ Marvin”, and in one scene Cartman (who is clearly not wanting in the food department) keeps trying to steal Marvin’s food.  One of the other boys scolds him and reminds him that they’re supposed to be sharing with Marvin.  Cartman continues trying to steal Marvin’s food, only now he calls it “sharing”.

That’s pretty much where we are in the budget debate: The have-mores are taking from the have-nots and calling it “sharing”.  And the only difference between Republicans and Democrats is a matter of degree.

April 18th, 2011 at 08:08am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Social Security,Taxes,Wankers

Friday Quote & Pig/Monkey Blogging

This week’s quote is from the unstoppable Billy Crystal/Gheorghe Muresan team-up, My Giant:

I said “Dad, that was World War 2. There were Nazis shooting at you.” He said, “Yeah, but you get a feel.”

And speaking of unstoppable team-ups…

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April 15th, 2011 at 07:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

NOOO DON’T LEAVE MEEEEEEE

Oh noes, whatever would we do without all our precious millionaires and billionaires?  How would we ever survive without them after all they’ve done for us?

Like a mirror image of progressives who supposedly have no alternative but to remain loyal to the Democratic Party no matter how corrupt and debased it becomes, rich people and corporations can and will move to another country at the drop of a hat.  Then again, with our crumbling infrastructure, healthcare, and educational system, could we really blame them if they wanted to move to a country that isn’t dying?

April 14th, 2011 at 08:29pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Republicans,Taxes

Attack Of The Giant If

Paul Krugman is conditionally okay with the content of Obama’s Big Important Budget Speech:

Much better than many of us feared. Hardly any Bowles-Simpson — yay!

The actual plan relies on some discretionary spending cuts, this time including defense — good, although I think too much is being cut from domestic spending. It relies on letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire — finally! — plus unspecified reductions in tax expenditures.

(…)

Overall, way better than the rumors and trial balloons. I can live with this. And whatever the pundits may say, it was much, much more serious than the Ryan “plan”.

However:

I should probably say, I could live with this as an end result. If this becomes the left pole, and the center is halfway between this and Ryan, then no — better to pursue the zero option of just doing nothing and letting the Bush tax cuts as a whole expire.

That is one enormous If for a president who plays tug-of-war in roller skates.

April 13th, 2011 at 06:50pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Healthcare,Media,Obama,Politics,Social Security,Taxes,Wankers

Monday Media Blogging

Peter Sellers’ leering spoken-word rendition of A Hard Day’s Night, as performed by Richard III:

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Totally not creepy at all…

April 11th, 2011 at 11:27am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Primirony

From an Americablog post from an anonymous Democratic insider about the need to primary the Obatross:

We saw in 2008 that organizing a primary campaign apart from the built-in support of the established party can create a national movement for change. A successful campaign has to recruit and organize supporters around the country, it must create its own message machine and rapid response team, and it must create donors and fundraise successfully in order to support all of these efforts. Modern technologies make this even easier than it was in the days of Reagan’s 1976 campaign. But, to really succeed, the movement cannot be discarded at the moment of the Inauguration (just ask the poor folks trapped in the tunnel with the Purple tickets).

Hey, you know what would provide a really great ready-made base of supporters for an upstart progressive primary challenger?  The Obama For America mailing list.

April 11th, 2011 at 08:00am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Obama,Politics

The Republicans’ Rapist God

Shorter Idaho Republicans: That’s God raping you, so just lie back and enjoy it.

Marching in step with the GOP’s nationwide war on a woman’s right to choose, the Idaho legislature gave final approval to a bill that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks. Modeled after Nebraska’s first-in-the-nation measure, the bill — like the one passed in Kansas last week — is based on highly disputed medical research alleging that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. Idaho’s bill, however, also fails to include exceptions for rape, incest, severe fetal abnormality or the mental or psychological health of the mother. “Only when the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life or physical health could a post-20-week abortion be performed.”

(…)

But this year during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, state Republican lawmakers found plenty of reasons to advocate for it. State Rep. Shannon McMillan (R) argued that women who were impregnated under “violent circumstances” should have no choice because it’s not the fetus’s fault. State Rep. Brent Crane, the bill’s sponsor, took it a step further. Believing that “tragic, horrific” acts of rape or incest are the “hand of the Almighty,” Crane said women should trust God to turn the consequences of their sexual assault into “wonderful examples”:

“Is not the child of that rape or incest also a victim?” asked Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton. “It didn’t ask to be here. It was here under violent circumstances perhaps, but that was through no fault of its own.”[...]

The Idaho bill’s House sponsor, state Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, told legislators that the “hand of the Almighty” was at work. “His ways are higher than our ways,” Crane said. “He has the ability to take difficult, tragic, horrific circumstances and then turn them into wonderful examples.”

(…)

The bill does more than compel sexual assault victims to carry pregnancies to term, it makes it a felony to perform such an abortion and allows spouses and relatives to file legal injunctions against physicians who break the ban. The bill also sets up a fund that can accept donations to defend the bill — a needed provision since the Idaho attorney general has issued two legal opinions declaring the bill unconstitutional for violating the Roe v. Wade decision’s viability standard.

Despite the lack of constitutionality or compassion, the bill passed 54 to 14 with only one Republican joining all 13 Democrats in opposition. The bill now heads to Gov. Butch Otter (R) “who is expected to sign it.

If rape is just God moving in mysterious ways to produce serendipitous miracles, then why should it even be illegal?  Shouldn’t we be thanking the rapists for opening up all these “wonderful” divine opportunities?

April 8th, 2011 at 07:31am Posted by Eli

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

Diabolicalness

I can’t help but wonder if the real strategy behind the GOP’s budget sabre-rattling is something like this…

“ZOMG the deficit will destroy us all!!!  The only way out is to kill Grandma!”

“Get real, we are not killing Grandma.  Grandma votes.”

“We HAVE to kill Grandma!  If we don’t kill Grandma, my friends and I will hold our breath until the government shuts down!”

“Okay fine, we’ll kill Grandma.”

“See that, America?  We told you the Democrats wanted to kill Grandma!”

April 7th, 2011 at 07:15am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Healthcare,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Thomas Sowell’s Analogy Fail

Thomas Sowell helpfully explains why it’s so terribly unfair to accuse the right’s Serious Budget Grownups of trying to destroy Medicare and Social Security:

When someone gives you a check and the bank informs you that there are insufficient funds, who do you get mad at? In your own life, you get mad at the guy who gave you a check that bounced, not at the bank. But in politics, you get mad at whoever tells you that there is no money.

Well, that certainly is some lovely and poetic imagery there, but perhaps a better analogy would be if the bank informs you that it has no money for withdrawals because it blew it all on freebies and giveaways for its most valued wealthy and corporate customers, expensive hunting trips overseas, and maybe losing big at Vegas.

Not only that, but that it intends to siphon off your savings and/or garnish your wages so that it can lavish even more money on rich people, gambling and bloodshed.

So yeah, I’m pretty sure I’d be mad at the bank.

(Cross-posted at MyFDL)

April 6th, 2011 at 08:39pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Media,Politics,Republicans,Social Security,Taxes,Wankers

Monday Media Blogging

Admittedly late for April Fool’s Day, but I think the Top Five Viral Videos Of 1911 stand pretty well on their own:

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Run and declare that, hayseed.

April 4th, 2011 at 11:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Sob Stories From A Parallel Universe

This is not the first time that I’ve wished that I lived in that alternate world conservatives think they live in, the one where cunning, all-powerful, unstoppable liberals have all the advantages and control all the messaging and media.  But you have to admit that this world does sound appealing:

[C]onservative operatives working on independent research efforts say they’ve encountered some reluctance to engage in the more aggressive tactics of opposition research, and a dearth of talent willing to put in the long hours necessary to make it a success. Raising money for it has also been a problem.

“A lot of conservatives think that you have to abide by Marquess of Queensberry rules even if you’re in a knock-down, drag-out bar fight,” said Matthew Vadum, a senior editor at Capital Research Center, a conservative non-profit that researches liberal donors. “And it’s good to be ethical, but sometimes maybe you need to explore new frontiers to reflect the changing nature of political combat in modern America.”

He added, “This doesn’t mean we have to go all Saul Alinsky on the left, but the right can be more aggressive in how it deals with the left and we’re starting to see that.”

Though Vadum cast the right’s effort to close the oppo gap as part of a normal cycle of political innovation and mimicry, he also pointed out that some conservatives have expressed discomfort with the alternately effective-and-disastrous undercover sting tactics of videographer James O’Keefe.

The right needs to overcome its skittishness and “start manufacturing more conservative journalists, and you have to wonder if that’s going to happen, because the people who tend to go into journalism for ideological motivations are on the left,” Vadum said.

If only the right had its own network that it could use to broadcast its own propaganda 24 hours a day in the guise of “news.”  Or alternatively, maybe if they stopped being so blatantly corrupt, spiteful, dishonest, and downright crazy, doing oppo on them would be a little less like searching for three-leaf clovers.

April 4th, 2011 at 07:58am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Sunday Mr. Deity Blogging

Mr. Deity and John The Baptist discuss free will and the “after party”.

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Perhaps not an entirely swell deal.

April 3rd, 2011 at 04:40pm Posted by Eli

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


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