Wednesday, October 31, 2012

360 Sound

I am looking forward to this.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Consequences of ideology

Yes, I am going there:

Sending back to the states. Seems Romney wasn't always so opposed to the federal government's money.

The entire region was under flood warnings, but the problem was especially acute along the Merrimack River, especially in the city of Lowell, where Romney's response was considered, well, leaky. The right-leaning Lowell Sun was particularly displeased.
We find it inconceivable that Gov. Mitt Romney claims the state can do nothing to help those residents still struggling to rebuild homes and businesses after the May flood. Massachusetts is sitting on millions in unspent emergency funds from Hurricane Katrina and more than $1 billion in cash reserves, yet Romney has failed to even respond to the Lowell delegation's requests to discuss additional aid for victims. The governor's spokesman — since Romney can't be bothered to comment now that the photo opportunities have dried up even though some residents' basements haven't — said the state will not consider spending its own money for flood victims until it's clear how much cash the federal government will give.
The NYT editors go there, too.

FEMA, created by President Jimmy Carter, was elevated to cabinet rank in the Bill Clinton administration, but was then demoted by President George W. Bush, who neglected it, subsumed it into the Department of Homeland Security, and placed it in the control of political hacks. The disaster of Hurricane Katrina was just waiting to happen.

The agency was put back in working order by President Obama, but ideology still blinds Republicans to its value. Many don’t like the idea of free aid for poor people, or they think people should pay for their bad decisions, which this week includes living on the East Coast.

Over the last two years, Congressional Republicans have forced a 43 percent reduction in the primary FEMA grants that pay for disaster preparedness. Representatives Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and other House Republicans have repeatedly tried to refuse FEMA’s budget requests when disasters are more expensive than predicted, or have demanded that other valuable programs be cut to pay for them. The Ryan budget, which Mr. Romney praised as “an excellent piece of work,” would result in severe cutbacks to the agency, as would the Republican-instigated sequester, which would cut disaster relief by 8.2 percent on top of earlier reductions. 

And Chait says going there is the right thing to do.

Disasters are inherently political, because government is political, and preventing and responding to disasters is a primary role of the state. But there is an innate tension in overtly politicizing a disaster. At the moment of greatest urgency, emotions run so hot that it’s hard to fairly assess the costs and benefits of disaster response. On the other hand, moments of normality are too cool, and it is far too easy to minimize the costs of preparing for an eventuality that is far from the horizon.

What you are going to see over the next week is an overt effort by Democrats to politicize the issue of disaster response. They’re right to do it. Conservatives are already complaining about this, but the attempt to wall disaster response off from politics in the aftermath of a disaster is an attempt to insulate Republicans from the consequences of their policies.

And, yeah, I'd add climate change to that as well. But after a campaign conducted in one of the hottest summers on record, where the subject did not arise, I'm not hopeful about that one.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Shock troops of disaster

Where's our WPA?

UPDATE:  And also: Al Gore is still fat.

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Blue Monday, Sonny Boy Williamson edition

The rain has just started to fall...

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Friday, October 26, 2012

And he's oh, so healthy...


Thursday, October 25, 2012

The real threat to our economy

It isn't the debt, Felix Salmon writes today, it's self-serving CEOs harping about the national debt.

Money is cheaper now than it has been in living memory: the markets are telling corporate America that they are more than willing to fund investments at unbelievably low rates. And yet the CEOs are saying no. That’s a serious threat to the economic well-being of the United States: it’s companies are refusing to invest for the future, even when the markets are begging them to.
Instead, the CEOs come out and start criticizing the Federal government for stepping in and filling the gap. If it wasn’t for the Federal deficit, the debt-to-GDP chart would be declining even more precipitously, and the economy would be a disaster. Deleveraging is a painful process, and the Federal government is — rightly — easing that pain right now. And this is the gratitude it gets in return!
The national-security angle is just silly: there’s no evidence at all that the United States is any more vulnerable at times of high debt than it is at times of low debt. And even if it might be essential that we put in place a plan to fix America’s debt, it certainly isn’t urgent: the bond market is telling us that very clearly indeed. When the 10-year bond yields well under 2%, the market is telling America to borrow more, not less. And central banks around the world have made it very clear that these low rates are going to be around for a good while yet.
The CEOs do concede as much, a little grudgingly, when they say that “this plan should be enacted now, but implemented gradually to protect the fragile economic recovery” — a statement which does rather undercut the “urgent” bit at the beginning. And to their credit, they do say that any successful fiscal plan “must be bipartisan”: I take that to mean that Republican pledges not to raise taxes are idiotic, not least because there’s no way that any such plan will ever get Democratic buy-in.
And oh yeah, they concede we need to collect more tax "broadening the base," rather than raise taxes on rich CEOs taking home absurd pay packages.  In other words, make more people pay income tax so that they can pay less.

Also too: Social Security.

So, CEOs, wanna help?  Borrow money at, basically, 0% interest, to invest in and expand your enterprise. And Hire. More. People.  More people working...that will "broaden the base," you sons of...

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

There are no boundaries


They went to the unusual length of arranging a focus group to test anti-Obama films. Conducted by Frank Luntz, the well-known Republican research analyst, a 30-person focus group looked at three choices: Dinesh D’Souza’s “2016: Obama’s America,” which theorizes that the president’s political beliefs were shaped by the radical “anticolonial” views of his Kenyan father; “The Hope and the Change,” a softer critique of the president that features interviews with disaffected former Obama supporters; and “Dreams From My Real Father,” which posits the implausible theory that the president’s real father is Mr. Davis, and that Mr. Davis indoctrinated him with Marxist views early on. 

And also.  Douchebags.

The film is the work of Joel Gilbert, whose previous claims include having tracked down Elvis Presley in the witness protection program and discovering that Paul McCartney is in fact dead. 

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Geography is not a Bain specialty

  1. Romney said "Syria is Iran's path to the sea." and so, here is an excellent song explaining how Syria, which does not border Iran, is Iran's path to the sea...

  3. Helpful geography lesson for Mitt Romney tonight
  4. mittens most likely failed world geography.
  5. mittens wants to be friends with syria and pakistan but not iran.
  6. Syria is Iran's route to the sea like Bohemia has a coast.
  7. On what fucking map is Syria a path to the Sea for Iran #Romneyisstupid #debate
  8. This is a very disturbing video. What should we do about it? i seriously don’t know.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Blue Monday, Billie Holiday edition

Sunday, October 21, 2012

McGovern's conscience

Friday, October 19, 2012

The experience of pain

The great Ichiro, on the Yankees' terrible end to their season.

“The feelings of dissatisfaction and hurt inside right now is something that I hadn’t experienced in a while. So to be able to experience even this pain right now, I’m just so grateful to the Yankees to give me this opportunity to do that.”


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"In fact, he's the only decent man in the Senate"

That's what Robert Kennedy said when asked whom he thought was the most decent man in the U.S. Senate.

George McGovern, 90, has entered hospice care and is no longer responsive, according to his family.

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Monday, October 08, 2012

Blue Monday, Blind Willie McTell edition

I can't believe I've never come across this recording before.

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Friday, October 05, 2012

Whoa, Nelly. Everybody's favorite centrist said something you're not supposed to say on CNN

Did David Gergen really say this?

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For Seamus


Thursday, October 04, 2012

Apparently, there was a reenactment of the Lincoln/Douglas debates last night.


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Apple Maps force change to classic cover

Mad Magazine?  I thought it was long gone.  Good to know it's still subverting young men's minds.

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Sad, sad little manboy in a bow tie

You may have heard that they finally found the "Whitey Tape" that's been promised to us for over four years.  Except.  That it is five years old.  And was well covered at the time.  And is Obama being is usual sensible self.

Anywhoo, I interrupt my blogger radio silence only to point out that Zandar nails it.

I will add however that Romney’s internal polling numbers must continue to be absolutely horrific if the Tighty Whitey Patrol here is resorting to what is actually a really damn good speech by then Senator Barack Obama as some sort of secret instructions to us black folk to rise up and…build…infrastructure in…primarily minority neighborhoods…to benefit…minority owned local businesses.   Or something equally fabulously offensive.  I don’t really know, honestly.  Either way, it’s desperation piled on so thick you could armor plate a truck in it and probably add enough internal baffling and bulkhead structure to make the truck amphibious to boot, which would be really neat.  You could call it SUBMOTRUCK 4000 and you could avoid tunnels and floods and Headless Horsemen and crap.  Really awesome except for the fact that it’s covered in thick sheets of ablative desperation, which would make the interior smell terrible, like what I imagine the “war room” at Romney HQ smells like about 5:45 in the afternoon.
 "Ablative desperation."  Heh.  Heh.

Enjoy the debate folks.  At Casa Vega we'll be watching the Yankee's 162nd game of the season, hoping there won't be a 163rd.

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Monday, October 01, 2012

Blue Monday, Otis Spann & Muddy Waters edition

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