Tuesday, February 28, 2012

They are wrong

Gosh, if only we could elect a truly progressive president.


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Monday, February 27, 2012

Mexico? Or Mad Max?

Michael Scherer takes a look at two governors' differing views of our relationship with Mexico:  Jan Brewer sees a dystopic place where drug cartels rule and threaten to take our homes and rape our daughters; Jerry Brown sees a modern day Rum Trade (minus the third point of the triangle...my analogy is...inexact), for which we bear responsibility to fix a massive problem.

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Blue Monday, Lightnin' Hopkins edition

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The mission Romney wants to accomplish

LBJ introduced The War on Poverty.

Romney wants to tweak that -- The War on the Poor.


Bringing the property values down

The opinion pages of The Paper of Record has this weekly line-up of luminaries and their insights each Sunday:  Bruni (compares the Oscar "race" to the Republican primaries), Dowd (the GOP are fuddy-duddies), Douthat (liberal elites can't appreciate Ike), and Friedman (in a perfect world, oil companies would be benevolent).

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mitt connects with the common man, again

Mittens, speaking to an empty Ford Field in Detroit, explains that the poor -- whom he doesn't care about -- should be required to make the payments on a couple of Cadillacs.

Row after row of barren blue seats across the giant stadium made the crowd seem minuscule. Through the rapid-fire, reality-reshaping powers of the Web, a storyline for the day began to take hold that undercut and detracted from Mr. Romney’s words: big speech, tiny crowd.
Ordinarily, such imagery might be overwhelmed by the news of the day: a highly anticipated, substantive address packed with previously unknown details. Mr. Romney called for a 20 percent cut in income taxes; handing control of federal welfare programs to the states; and creating private sector competition for Medicare services.
But the Romney campaign had leaked most of the speech’s contents several days ago, leaving members of the news media with little to focus on — except, of course, the scene itself.
The distractions did not end there. After Mr. Romney finished his remarks, he took a handful of questions from the audience. The final question seemed harmless: Why was Mr. Romney the best candidate to challenge President Obama?
But Mr. Romney veered off course. After ticking off his credentials as a businessman and a Washington outsider, he detailed his fleet of personal vehicles, trying to connect his love of cars with his love of Detroit. “I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually.”
Two Cadillac SRXs, to be precise. The cost of each: $35,000 to $50,000.
Once again, Twitter feeds and news blogs lighted up with Mr. Romney’s latest casual reference to his extraordinary wealth — remarks reminiscent of the playful $10,000 bet he tried to make with Rick Perry during a debate, and his remark about liking to fire those who provide services to him.
(A campaign aide displeased by the fuss later said that Mrs. Romney owns a 2007 and a 2010 model SRX, a luxury crossover vehicle, keeping one at the family’s home in Massachusetts and the other at their beach house in California.) 
Shorter Romney campaign aide:  If you have a house on both coasts, you need two cars, dumbasses!

But it gets better.

Mr. Romney’s aides were quick to dismiss the clinical dissection of the candidate’s words and the location of his speech on Friday. 
 Don't pay any attention to what he said or where he said it.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran...or not?

The drumbeat to attack Iran after 10 years of clusterfucks in Afghanistan and Iraq is eerily similar to the lead in to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  So, it's good to see articles like this rather than "analysis" by Judith Miller.

Talk of war over Iran’s nuclear program has reached a strident pitch in recent weeks, as Israel has escalated threats of a possible strike, the oratory of American politicians has become more bellicose and Iran has responded for the most part defiantly. With Israel and Iran exchanging accusations of assassination plots, some analysts see a danger of blundering into a war that would inevitably involve the United States. 

Echoes of the period leading up to the Iraq war in 2003 are unmistakable, igniting a familiar debate over whether journalists are overstating Iran’s progress toward a bomb. Yet there is one significant difference: by contrast with 2003, when the Bush administration portrayed Iraq as an imminent threat, Obama administration officials and intelligence professionals seem eager to calm the feverish language.
Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a CNN interview on Sunday that the United States had advised Israel that a strike now would be “destabilizing,” adding that Iran had not yet decided whether to build a weapon. And American officials are weighing an Iranian offer to renew nuclear talks as a stream of threats from Tehran continued on Tuesday and international nuclear inspectors reported their mission to Iran had failed. 

The difference between the Bush administration's flogging of the press, the military and the intelligence community, and Obama's quiet imposition of stricter sanctions while not making an invasion seem inevitable can't be overstated.

That said, the overheated rhetoric shows little sign of decreasing, if last night's GOP "debate" is any indication.  There seemed absolutely no awareness of the two wars we've just spent 10 years losing, to countries without an airforce or navy.  Andrew Sullivan calls it "amnesia."  Roy has a more obvious explanation.

The debacles of 2006 and 2008 were rougher on them than I thought. The Republican Party clearly suffers from a traumatic brain injury.

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Obama, worst monster in American history

As America (well, a few hundred likely Republican voters and a handful of others) watched four wealthy white men debate the horrors of contraception, they heard Willard Mitt Romney fail history (again).

You could almost hear the smiles coming from Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago. In the 21st century, four far-right white wealthy guys, all of whom think they should be president, spent 15 minutes in a nationally-televised debate talking about access to birth control.
The GOP candidates might as well have put a banner over their heads reading, "Independents, please don't consider voting for us."
But it was Mitt Romney's response to the question that amazed me. "I don't think we've seen in the history of this country the kind of attack on religious conscience, religious freedom, religious tolerance that we've seen under Barack Obama," the former governor said.

The picture is called "The Battle of Nauvoo," depicting attacks by the good citizens of that Illinois city on the Mormon population of the town.  This took place following the assassination of Joseph Smith, the LDS founder, in nearby Carthage, Missouri.  All done with the tacit approval of the governor of the state. The attacks ultimately led entire Mormon population to wagon train to the salt lake.

It's hard to know what Willard Mitt Romney is at this point.   He's not this guy -- too old to get out of Nauvoo in time.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Singing in code

A sure sign of Obama's Chicago-style politics, the thug.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Sen Huckleberry opposes everything he used to support

And McClatchey's Jim Rosen calls him on it.

For decades, Graham's winning style and mainstream party support would have made him a shoo-in for re-election in 2014.

Now he's struggling to respond to the political force of tea party insurgents, who made a backbench legislator, Nikki Haley, his state's governor in 2010 and last month gave Newt Gingrich's anti-Washington presidential campaign its only win so far, in South Carolina's Republican primary.
Is Graham just being the shrewd pol that his noisy detractors and many admirers agree he is? Is he merely adapting to the times, repositioning himself in the wake of the tea party rise and the ascension of South Carolina's junior senator, Jim DeMint, to the status of national conservative icon?
Or is the aw-shucks senator with the ready wit and self-deprecating style running scared, afraid of a serious primary challenge in a couple of years?

Graham sat in his Capitol Hill office last week, with American and South Carolina flags unfurled behind his desk. He pondered these questions for a moment or two, which for Lindsey Graham, from whom jokes and policy stands flow equally fast, is a rhetorical eternity.

When he responded, he started in typical fashion.

"I fear God," he quipped with a quick laugh.

Then he segued into serious thoughts that sounded like the outline of a stump speech.
"My profile is — I'm conservative, not an ideologue," Graham told McClatchy. "There's no momentum for immigration reform; it's kind of just stopped."

Graham didn't mention that perhaps one reason it's stopped is that he's gone from being an outspoken advocate for easing immigration law to floating the idea of a constitutional amendment to deny "birthright citizenship" to the children of illegal immigrants.

Graham also now opposes the Dream Act, which would give undocumented workers permanent residency if they arrived in the United States as minors and attend college or serve in the military.

He thinks he's better prepared to help the nation and his state.

"I want to be a guy that Democrats can find common ground with on the issues of the day," Graham said. "I want to do something on Social Security and Medicare. I want to find a way to get tea party Republicans and conservative Reagan Republicans like myself and some middle-of-the-road Democrats in a room to solve problems."
In summary, Graham's strategy for getting re-elected is to throw his previous stands out the window.  Once re-elected, he expects "middle-of-the-road Democrats"to recognize that he was just fibbin' a little to his mouth-breathing constituents and negotiate with the in good faith.

As Charles Pearce might say, this is  your democracy, citizens.  Cherish it.

Of course, Republicans, having lost badly in the 2012 election, discrediting the teahadist agenda, will change course, and "middle-of-the-road Republicans," like Graham, will again be in favor with the adults in the party.

And a pony.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/02/19/139108/sen-graham-adapts-to-the-times.html#storylink=cpyIn

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/02/19/139108/sen-graham-adapts-to-the-times.html#storylink=cpy


Blue Monday, Janis Joplin ediiton

Echoes, the acoustic version

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A GOP rising star demands tolerance

If Romney isn't perceived as being phony enough, his campaign's leader in Arizona is forced to come out.

“All of the allegations are false except one, I am gay,” Babeu said.

The nationally renown Pinal County Sheriff called a news conference to address the explosive story by The Phoenix New Times that he pressured a man only identified as “Jose” into signing an agreement to conceal their relationship or face deportation. The piece, posted late Friday, also includes text messages Babeu exchanged with the man and pictures he posted on online gay websites.

Babeu repeatedly sidestepped questions about his personal life but acknowledged a relationship with the man in question.

“What I do in my personal life and private life is my business,” he said.

Couldn't agree more, what he does in his personal life is his business...but I don't think he'll be welcome at too many Republican events any time soon.

At another stop in Ohio on Saturday, Mr. Santorum waded into what he called the “phony theology” of Mr. Obama’s agenda. 

“It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology,” he said. “But no less a theology.”

In later comments to reporters, Mr. Santorum said while there are “a lot of different stripes” of Christianity, he believes that “if the president says he’s a Christian, he’s a Christian.”

“I’m just saying he’s imposing his values on the church, and I think that’s wrong,” he said, adding that he did not believe Mr. Obama was less of a Christian for doing so. 

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

I can has control of your body, gals

At one point did the notion that denying health benefits to women would be a winning political strategy for the Republican party?

Let’s take a look at Thursday, February 16, 2012, the day Washington fell into a time-warp.

On Capitol Hill, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) held hearings on contraception and religious freedom that produced the now-famous picture of a table full of men called to weigh in on access to contraceptives. Democrats wanted a woman — a Georgetown law student with a friend who lost an ovary because the university doesn’t cover birth control — to say her piece at the hearing, but Issa wouldn’t let her on the panel. He said she wasn’t “appropriate or qualified” to discuss the topic at hand.
Jaws dropped in the women’s rights community.

“She didn’t have the right credentials?” NOW President Terry O’Neill scoffed. “I’m thinking to myself, ‘Buddy, you and your little panel over there don’t have the right anatomy to talk about birth control.’”
Politico published a story about a right wing firestorm that had been burning for days: Did the young women who attended this year’s CPAC wear skirts that were too short?


• Foster Friess, the billionaire backer of Rick Santorum’s campaign, became an instant celebrity when he went on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC show and said, “Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”

 Then there's the state legislature in Virginia who just passed a law legalizing rape against women who want to have an abortion.

Dahlia Lithwick puts paid to the new Virginia law that requires women seeking to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion to have a probe stuck up in them so that they will be shamed like the sluts they are before God and the various meddling members of the House Of Delegates who believe that a woman's place is in all those movies they watch for five minutres (or less) in their hotel rooms at the annual god-botherer's convention in Atlantic City. Anyway, Lithwick comes up with a real gem amid the muck:
Virginia Democrat Del. David Englin, who opposes the bill, has said Gilbert's statement "is in line with previous Republican comments on the issue," recalling one conversation with a GOP lawmaker who told him that women had already made the decision to be "vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant." (I confirmed with Englin that this quote was accurate.)

Yes, and anyone who has had their earlobes pierced already has made the decision that, one day, the law would require them to have a tenpenny nail driven into their eye.

 Like, I said, I don't know when they decided that this would be a winning political argument, but I encourage their war on sex and naughty parts.

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All aboard, haters!


Pointing at ladies' naughty parts from the pulpit

A priest uses his "experience" to tell women how to protect themselves.

Father Landry worries that other priests’ reticence keeps Catholics in the dark on church teachings on contraception. “In most places,” he said, “they don’t hear about it because there are a lot of priests who are conflict-averse, and when you preach in a way that people aren’t pleased, not only do you lose parishioners, but you lose their budget envelopes along with them, and you’ll also get some nasty e-mails and face-to-face conversations.” 

Father Landry, 41, is balding, ruddy and blue-eyed, and he speaks quickly and confidently. He gives his parishioners the stiff, 80-proof doctrine: the church hierarchy bans all artificial contraception, and the withdrawal method. The only permissible forms of birth control are abstinence and “natural family planning,” using knowledge of a woman’s cycle to restrict intercourse to times when she is unlikely to conceive. 


Many non-Catholics — and many Catholics — see the church’s teaching on contraception as cruel toward women. But Father Landry says it’s women who intuitively get how divorcing sex from procreation allows men to use them; in his experience, it is almost always the woman who moves a couple toward abandoning artificial contraception. 

 Meanwhile, meet the new shopaholics.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Blue Monday, RL Burnside edition

Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Don't vote for anyone under 40"

Ron Paul's supporters show up.  And this guy's a pie thrower.

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The Flint sit-down strike of 1936/37

Eric Loomis, in another of his important series on the history of the labor movement in the U.S., notes that yesterday marked the anniversary of what is arguably the most important date in union history.  I won't excerpt any of it because the whole thing...you know.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sick Again


Some tasty values

Jesse Singal, subbing at the Political Animal beat, explains why the GOP simply can't resist The Imp of the Perverse.

Obviously, questions of whether and how and why the the Republican Party and the many independent actors that constitute it attempt to exhume certain “values” issues are complicated and multifaceted, especially during primary season.
But on some fundamental level, there have to be a lot of otherwise levelheaded people in the GOP who, when faced with the prospect of wading back into these waters, can’t help but react the same way Homer Simpson did to the Good Morning Burger. As long as you don’t take the time to actually understand public opinion and how it is changing, these issues just look so good, so tasty, so loaded with the rich creamery butter of cultural panic.

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Saturday, February 04, 2012


Some guy at Balloon Juice cautions against too much triumphalism in the wake of the Komen retreat.

But none of this will change the fact that the Republican party’s policy and message are increasingly alienating to everyone who’s not a white, straight, Tebow-fearing, older man. If anything, the Republicans’ ability to drive their message is only speeding the process up. Steve M:
This right-wing wealth machine is formidable. We won’t really have a democracy as long as such a thing can have the undue influence it has on our politics. I’m not sure our side can beat it—the best we can hope is that it beats itself. And, given the uglier nature of the GOP primaries, which really should be effectively over by now but aren’t, maybe that’s precisely what’s happening. 
It doesn’t feel so good to admit that there is no chance to advance progressive policy at the national level for the foreseeable future (though as someone who thinks ACA is the most important progressive legislation of my lifetime, I don’t feel that bad about this). It would be great if Democrats could throw our country a life-line, but probably the best we can do right now is throw the Republicans an anvil.

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Ben Gazzara



Another sign of the impending collapse of Western Civilization

The Super-Combined is in peril.

Known as the super combi, it is composed of one downhill run, usually held in the morning, followed by an afternoon slalom run. The event was introduced to the World Cup in 2006, but it might not exist beyond next season. The notion to scrap the super combined was initially raised last season but resurfaced at meetings last month at which World Cup ski racing’s governing body discussed eliminating the event over the next few years. The competition schedule for 2012-13 was released last spring, and it features only one super-combined race.
The proposed calendar for next season will be confirmed this spring.
Some skiers and coaches say the event offers an unfair advantage to slalom skiers, is boring to watch and diminishes the battle for the World Cup overall title, which measures a skier’s performance over the season and is the sport’s top prize.
Super-combined supporters, like Ivica Kostelic, a Croatian skier who leads the men’s World Cup super-combined and overall standings, argue otherwise. They also worry that if the World Cup eliminated the event, the Olympics might follow, taking away a medal event.
“Nowadays, the Olympics are getting bigger and bigger and we have more and more sports,” Kostelic said. “Soon there will be medals for snowman making and snowball fights. We must fight that we don’t lose this medal at the Olympics, and that’s why we need to have combined on the World Cup.” 

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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Pink Ribbon Inc.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


The Susan G. Komen foundation has been itching to box out Planned Parenthood for some time.

According to Jezebel's Erin Gloria Ryan, however, the influence of another key player in the Komen organization goes a long way in explaining its decision to defund: Karen Handel, who ran for governor of Georgia in 2010 and lost, despite an endorsement by none other than Sarah Palin, has been Komen's senior vice president for public policy since April 2011. On her campaign blog (fire up the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine because, curiously, these pages don't exist anymore), Handel wrote: "I will be a pro-life governor who will work tirelessly to promote a culture of life in Georgia. ... I believe that each and every unborn child has inherent dignity, that every abortion is a tragedy, and that government has a role, along with the faith community, in encouraging women to choose life in even the most difficult of circumstances. ...since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood."
Handel even "promised to eliminate funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings provided by" Planned Parenthood, according to Jezebel.
What I find interesting is, what are they thinking?  In all likelihood, very few anti-choice advocates were even aware of the relationship between Komen and Planned Prnthd, and very few pro-choice advocates were aware of the deep connection between Komen's leadership and anti-choice.  Speaking for the latter, this long time supporter is now I am aware and can find other cancer research foundations that align more closely with my support for women's health.

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Bain Man

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