Salon

Bring on the outrage: Go ahead and hate on “coddled” college kids — just admit that anti-p.c. backlash is fueled by outrage, too

Bring on the outrage: Go ahead and hate on “coddled” college kids — just admit that anti-p.c. backlash is fueled by outrage, too:

I think most of what gets lumped into “PC” is silly and counter productive. I think the neo-nazi movements are awful. I think Sharia law is incompatible with a modern society. But as a defender of free speech, I’m not going to support silencing people who belive silly, awful or abhorrent things. If free speech covers your right to be offensive, it covers the right of people to say “I am offened”. If it covers your right to complain about PC culture, it covers the right of the most walking on eggshells-exaggerated-straw-man-SJW to call you problematic.

If SJWs have lack a right to “not be offended” then you have no right to “not be offended” by SJW silliness.

Rand Paul goes full Strangelove: The “anti-drone” candidate is okay with droning American citizens

Rand Paul goes full Strangelove: The “anti-drone” candidate is okay with droning American citizens:

Greenwald also questions Paul’s larger strategy here of trying to tie up loose, dovish ends on foreign policy: “I don’t get his strategy: he’s never going to attract GOP hawks, so why dilute what makes him interesting/unique?” That’s the big strategic oddity hanging over all of Paul’s shifts to the right on foreign policy. There are now several politicians considering presidential runs and 501©(4)s being set up solely for the purpose of combating Rand Paul’s allegedly “isolationist” views, even as Paul has fallen in line behind the GOP’s more traditional, hawkish foreign policy. Why is Paul shedding what makes him unique and interesting on foreign policy, when the party’s hawks aren’t buying it anyway?

One posibility is that he, like his father before him; is a complete fraud and cares little to nothing about his rehtoric about freedom and liberty.

Rand Paul’s “anti-torture” sham: Why his ignoring CIA scandal says so much - Salon.com

Rand Paul’s “anti-torture” sham: Why his ignoring CIA scandal says so much - Salon.com:

Put simply, if Sen. Paul’s commitment to his small government vision extended beyond the GOP’s usual hatred of taxes, throwing himself into the CIA torture scandal by vocally and repeatedly demanding the summary’s release would be the perfect way to prove it. If Paul’s libertarian rhetoric is just a branding exercise to separate him from the rest of the 2016 presidential pack, however, then going after the “patriots” who tortured “evildoers” for George W. Bush is not in his best interest.

I predict that the 2016 GOP pack will come out strongly for the use of torture. I expect Rand Paul to take a lukewarm stance against

Inside the terrifying, twisted online world of involuntary celibates

Inside the terrifying, twisted online world of involuntary celibates:

What happened is punishment for evil and violence of feminists and liberals. Any of you supporting atrocities like women’s suffrage, immodest clothing, child support/alimony, no ban on adultery, ban on prostitution and a lack of female premarital chastity, all the things that drove this young man to be unable to find a girlfriend, are disgusting , horrible people and you created a culture where this is possible.

Wow. So the people who believe that women are people with basic rights are responsible for the actions of misogynistic psychopaths who think women don’t count as people with basic rights?

And Incel is nonsense. There is no such thing as involuntary celibacy, as celibacy presumes that the celibate person is making a voluntary choice to not have sex. Its like calling starvation involuntary fasting

Libertarians who don’t understand liberty

Libertarians who don’t understand liberty:

Suppose a gay wedding party goes into a restaurant, sits down, and prepares to order. The restaurant manager comes over and tells them that they must leave because they are gay. Angered by this bigotry, the patrons refuse to leave. Now ask yourself: What happens next? In Carney’s world, what happens is the manager calls the state on the phone and requests that they send some enforcers to the restaurant to physically restrain these people, put them in police cars and then dump them into cages we call jail cells. This is the world of liberty in which the state stays out of things, according to Carney.

The idea that property owners have a right to discriminate is pretty common among Libertarians. I’ve always thought the idea was kind of nuts. No Libertarian I know would admit to supporting a landlords right to prima-nocta on property rights grounds but almost all support the idea of store owners being able to expel people based on the owner’s bigotry.

Can we just start calling them propertarians? It is way more accurate.

Voucher-mania: Conservatives have exactly one answer for all spending questions

Voucher-mania: Conservatives have exactly one answer for all spending questions :

it is probably only a matter of time before some ambitious young right-wing intellectual devises a scheme of personal defense vouchers, which individuals could choose to spend on U.S. military services, foreign armies and navies, mercenary gangs or, perhaps, to bribe the enemy into sparing him or her.

Millionaire tax migration is a myth!

Millionaire tax migration is a myth!:

Those echoing Cuomo’s tax migration myth defend their argument by citing a decline in the number of New York millionaires from 2007 to 2009 after the state passed a tax surcharge. Yet, the real story is what Crain’s Business reports: “New York lost millionaires (between 2007 and 2009) primarily because New Yorkers made less money and saw their property values drop during the recession, not because they moved to other states.”

If you compare median incomes by zip code with property taxes by zip code you’ll see that the wealthy seem to live in places with significantly higher tax burdens. By choice.

Anheuser-Busch heir resigns life-long NRA membership

Anheuser-Busch heir resigns life-long NRA membership

The NRA I see today has undermined the values upon which it was established. Your current strategic focus clearly places priority on the needs of gun and ammunition manufacturers while disregarding the opinions of your 4 million individual members.

They get more money from manufacturers. Dues from individual hunters and sportsmen are meaningless to the bottom line of the NRA.

Boehner and Ryan admit we don't have a debt crisis

Boehner and Ryan admit we don't have a debt crisis

America owes this debt of gratitude to Boehner after he finally came clean on yesterday's edition of ABC's "This Week" and admitted that "we do not have an immediate debt crisis." (His admission was followed up by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who quickly echoed much the same sentiment on CBS' "Face the Nation").

So the are they crazy or stupid argument is answered with neither. They are just liars.

Pointing out that the talking points about Hitler and gun control are mostly wrong is the same as holocaust denial?

Pointing out that the talking points about Hitler and gun control are mostly wrong is the same as holocaust denial?

sanctor:

wontoo3fore:

As it turns out, the Weimar Republic, the German government that immediately preceded Hitler's, actually had tougher gun laws than the Nazi regime. After its defeat in World War I, and agreeing to the harsh surrender terms laid out in the Treaty of Versailles, the German legislature in 1919 passed a law that effectively banned all private firearm possession, leading the government to confiscate guns already in circulation. In 1928, the Reichstag relaxed the regulation a bit, but put in place a strict registration regime that required citizens to acquire separate permits to own guns, sell them or carry them. The 1938 law signed by Hitler that LaPierre mentions in his book basically does the opposite of what he says it did. "The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition," Harcourt wrote. Meanwhile, many more categories of people, including Nazi party members, were exempted from gun ownership regulations altogether, while the legal age of purchase was lowered from 20 to 18, and permit lengths were extended from one year to three years.

Worth a read.

Everyone was allowed guns!

EXCEPT FOR JEWS!

Are we really going to start denying that the holocaust happened?

Pointing out that the talking points about Hitler and gun control are mostly wrong is the same as holocaust denial?

Look at the timeline again. The gun ban predates Hitler. Stating that Hitler came to power then took away all the guns is just wrong. Likewise, when the gun ownership was expanded to everyone but Jews, Hitler was already in power.

Nothing in the article denies the holocaust. Why do you feel the need to make that claim?

The Hitler gun control lie

The Hitler gun control lie

As it turns out, the Weimar Republic, the German government that immediately preceded Hitler's, actually had tougher gun laws than the Nazi regime. After its defeat in World War I, and agreeing to the harsh surrender terms laid out in the Treaty of Versailles, the German legislature in 1919 passed a law that effectively banned all private firearm possession, leading the government to confiscate guns already in circulation. In 1928, the Reichstag relaxed the regulation a bit, but put in place a strict registration regime that required citizens to acquire separate permits to own guns, sell them or carry them. The 1938 law signed by Hitler that LaPierre mentions in his book basically does the opposite of what he says it did. "The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition," Harcourt wrote. Meanwhile, many more categories of people, including Nazi party members, were exempted from gun ownership regulations altogether, while the legal age of purchase was lowered from 20 to 18, and permit lengths were extended from one year to three years.

Worth a read.

Kill lists? Dems don't want to know

Kill lists? Dems don't want to know

When first asked about why her party's presidential nominee flip-flopped on indefinite detention provisions in his National Defense Authorization Act, she refuses to answer the question by saying, "I didn't hear that as a subject at the debate." When subsequently asked about President Obama's notorious "kill list," in which he unilaterally executes those (including U.S. citizens) he accuses of terrorism, she insists, "I have no idea what you are talking about," then smiles and says, "I'm happy to answer any serious questions you have." When asked, "Why isn't that serious?" she shuts down the interview by declaring, "Because I have no idea what you are talking about."

Note to the white house, you are pissing off your base. Again. This is a two fold insult to the base. First, doing something widely unpopular and second, refusing to discuss it as if this should be above discussion.

He raised taxes on the rich - against the wishes of every single Republican in Congress.

Romney and today's GOP often cite the balanced budgets and surpluses that marked the late years of the 1990s, generally crediting them to what was then a Republican-controlled Congress. They'll also give Clinton a measure of credit, if only as a backdoor means of slamming Obama, by citing welfare reform or some other compromise he struck with Republicans. But there's really only one thing that Bill Clinton did to erase the deficit: He raised taxes on the rich - against the wishes of every single Republican in Congress.
When Mitt ridiculed Clinton - War Room - salon.com

Glenn Beck started as a no-account shock jock and is now a no-account Internet show host. Breitbart at least went from Drudge lackey to successful right-wing media mogul. Carlson, though, began his career in the most respectable fashion possible and has spent the ensuing decades gradually lowering himself into the gutter. His story illustrates why we can't have a responsible or at least slightly less hysterical conservative media.

Glenn Beck started as a no-account shock jock and is now a no-account Internet show host. Breitbart at least went from Drudge lackey to successful right-wing media mogul. Carlson, though, began his career in the most respectable fashion possible and has spent the ensuing decades gradually lowering himself into the gutter. His story illustrates why we can't have a responsible or at least slightly less hysterical conservative media.
Tucker Carlson’s downward spiral - Media Criticism - salon.com

a 2010 Stanford University study, for example, found that calorie labeling at Starbucks resulted in a 6 percent decline in the average calories per transaction (and, countering those who claim that such regulations harm profits, Starbucks actually increased its profits in the process).

a 2010 Stanford University study, for example, found that calorie labeling at Starbucks resulted in a 6 percent decline in the average calories per transaction (and, countering those who claim that such regulations harm profits, Starbucks actually increased its profits in the process).
What corporations don't want you to know - salon.com

Federal transportation and infrastructure policy has traditionally been an area of strong bipartisan agreement," says Aaron Naparstek, a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design and founder of Streetsblog.org. "Now, it seems, Republicans want to turn cities into a part of the culture wars. Now it's abortion, gay marriage and subways.

Federal transportation and infrastructure policy has traditionally been an area of strong bipartisan agreement," says Aaron Naparstek, a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design and founder of Streetsblog.org. "Now, it seems, Republicans want to turn cities into a part of the culture wars. Now it's abortion, gay marriage and subways.

The Tea Party's war on mass transit - salon.com

Gingrich was the first to suggest that subways were elitist. I expect this to become a growing non-issue in the next few years with more and more time spent on suggesting that subways hurt the poor, cause urban decay, are wasteful, etc.

Are high-tech classrooms better classrooms?

Are high-tech classrooms better classrooms?

the nonprofit I-News Network recently reported that students attending the state's "full-time online education programs have typically lagged their peers on virtually every academic indicator, from state test scores to student growth measures to high school graduation rates." Stanford University researchers found similar results in their separate study of online schools in Pennsylvania. And after its exhaustive national investigation of the trend, the New York Times concluded that "schools are spending billions on technology, even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning."

Schools are willing to anything to improve education, except increase teacher salary.

maybe Gingrich deserves some credit for his persistence. He pressed ahead last summer when the entire political world was writing him off and ridiculing him - and by December, he was leading by double-digits in national polls. Then, party elites panicked and cut him down to size and Gingrich was again written off - only to return from the dead and win the South Carolina primary by 13 points. However this campaign ends, Gingrich will have enjoyed far more success than he ever would have if he'd folded his tent when everyone was telling him he was going nowhere.

maybe Gingrich deserves some credit for his persistence. He pressed ahead last summer when the entire political world was writing him off and ridiculing him - and by December, he was leading by double-digits in national polls. Then, party elites panicked and cut him down to size and Gingrich was again written off - only to return from the dead and win the South Carolina primary by 13 points. However this campaign ends, Gingrich will have enjoyed far more success than he ever would have if he'd folded his tent when everyone was telling him he was going nowhere.
Why futility might not matter to Newt - salon.com

as just two recent examples, both Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have championed massive cuts to public education while sending their kids to private school.

as just two recent examples, both Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have championed massive cuts to public education while sending their kids to private school.
America's dangerously removed elite - salon.com

Welcome to the 2011 Salon Hack List

Welcome to the 2011 Salon Hack List

The Salon Hack List is a list of our least favorite political commentators, newspaper columnists, political news show hosts, and constant cable news presences, ranked roughly (but only roughly) in order of awfulness and then described rudely. Criteria for inclusion included being wrong about literally everything, shameless sycophancy, appearing on "Morning Joe" and being "Morning Joe."

More than 80 percent of giving to Super PACs so far has come from just 58 donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics analysis of the latest data, which covers the first half of 2011. The Republican groups have raised $17.6 million and the Democratic groups $7.6 million. Those numbers will balloon, with American Crossroads, the main Republican Super PAC, aiming to raise $240 million.

More than 80 percent of giving to Super PACs so far has come from just 58 donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics analysis of the latest data, which covers the first half of 2011. The Republican groups have raised $17.6 million and the Democratic groups $7.6 million. Those numbers will balloon, with American Crossroads, the main Republican Super PAC, aiming to raise $240 million.
Red money, blue money: The making of the 2012 campaign - 2012 Elections - salon.com

a family's economic situation is a bigger determinative force in a child's academic performance than any other major demographic factor. For poor kids, that means the intensifying hardships of poverty are now creating massive obstacles to academic progress.

a family's economic situation is a bigger determinative force in a child's academic performance than any other major demographic factor. For poor kids, that means the intensifying hardships of poverty are now creating massive obstacles to academic progress.
What real education reform looks like - salon.com

The appetite of red states for federal subsidies mocks the tirades of their politicians against the federal government. In March 2008, on the verge of the Great Recession, 22 Republican states were net recipients of federal subsidies, while only 10 Democratic-leaning states were. Sixteen blue states were net payers of federal taxes, compared to only one red state, Texas (thanks to the oil and gas industry).

The appetite of red states for federal subsidies mocks the tirades of their politicians against the federal government. In March 2008, on the verge of the Great Recession, 22 Republican states were net recipients of federal subsidies, while only 10 Democratic-leaning states were. Sixteen blue states were net payers of federal taxes, compared to only one red state, Texas (thanks to the oil and gas industry).
The red state model is (also) broken - salon.com

Andrew Breitbart doesn't understand Occupy Wall Street because he has a simple-minded, binary understanding of the world

You'd think Tea Party champion Breitbart would welcome an independent popular movement that seeks to distance itself from the Democratic Party that he hates so much, but he can't process the idea that these scary leftists aren't in league with Obama. Poor Andrew Breitbart doesn't understand Occupy Wall Street because he has a simple-minded, binary understanding of the world: There are good, Tea Party things, and there are bad things supported by the White House/ACORN/SEIU alliance. This is his obsession with "the institutional left," which he is forced to imagine as a monolithic entity encompassing everyone in a position of power in Hollywood, the media, academia and the government. The idea of members of "the left" have wildly different priorities and goals does not compute.

Why Andrew Breitbart can’t grasp Occupy Wall Street - Occupy Wall Street - salon.com

This is because Breitbart is autocratic at heart. For all his talk about liberty; he and his tea party cohorts are top-down thinkers. Democracy driven consensus building isn’t part of their world view.

The irony is that the same elected Democrats singing the praises of Occupy Wall Street are themselves major recipients of money from ... Wall Street! Does this mean that the Democratic embrace should be rejected? Not necessarily. Occupy Wall Street could, of course, open up political space for Democrats to address unemployment, income inequality, criminality by banks, the overwhelming influence of corporate money in politics and so on. But it's worth keeping in mind that most if not all of these politicians have been cozy with Wall Street for years; so there are grounds for suspicion.

The irony is that the same elected Democrats singing the praises of Occupy Wall Street are themselves major recipients of money from ... Wall Street! Does this mean that the Democratic embrace should be rejected? Not necessarily. Occupy Wall Street could, of course, open up political space for Democrats to address unemployment, income inequality, criminality by banks, the overwhelming influence of corporate money in politics and so on. But it's worth keeping in mind that most if not all of these politicians have been cozy with Wall Street for years; so there are grounds for suspicion.
Dems backing Occupy Wall St. are funded by Wall St. - salon.com

Exciting new talking point: Jobs bill is "blue state bailout" - War Room - Salon.com

The Wall Street Journal today has a column by Hoover Institution fellow Paul E. Peterson reframing the concept of aid to cash-strapped states as a “blue-state bailout,” because “bailouts” are unpopular and it is more fun to imagine that Obama is rewarding his “most fervent supporters” with free money than it is to think that the president just wants to help big states avoid massive layoffs.

It is sort of brilliant. Just imagine how thrilled the memo-writers at Fox News must be to have this talking point. “Blue-state bailout.” “Federal money for healthcare and education” versus “blue-state bailout.” Which one makes you madder?


From War Room - salon.com

This is the difference between the GOP and the Democrats. No one on the left has ever suggested calling oil and gas subsidies as an oil industry bailout. Nor has anyone considered calling the ban on price negotiations for medicare part D as a phama-bailout. Or the 15% tax rate for hedge-funds as a speculator bailout. Likewise, Obama calls medicare and social security entitlements rather than earned benefits. The Dems are awful at branding.

Tweets for 2011-09-16

  1. "On average, contractors may be billing the government approximately 1.83 times what the government pays…" http://t.co/GhVCDWzW
  2. Exciting new talking point: Jobs bill is “blue state bailout” #WarRoom #Salon http://t.co/8RrwQaS3
  3. "These rogue traders are out there because their bosses don't want to know what they're doing. I never…" http://t.co/Fg3S8zVE
  4. "This leads to the obvious question: why would America vote for the party that's willing to hurt America…" http://t.co/mEzF3vLa
  5. Bill Nye speaks very slowly to explain climate change http://t.co/Ev43iXPR
  6. sdenaro: RT @LOLGOP: If you think being gay is a choice, you’re considering it.

This problem began when the administration sought to attribute blame for the financial and economic crisis and alienated large segments of the business and banking community. Steve Schwarzman

This problem began when the administration sought to attribute blame for the financial and economic crisis and alienated large segments of the business and banking community. Steve Schwarzman

Mr. Schwarzman thinks the current economy and out inability to fix the problems we face is due to blaming the banks, not any action the banks took? The banks were not active in the crisis, nor have they been active in the current political climate?

By the way, you’re welcome for the bail-out.

Billionaire private equity mogul will get America back to work by complaining about government spending - War Room - salon.com

Tweets for 2011-08-12

  1. If #corporationsarepeople why can’t we arrest them when they break the law? http://t.co/fuH1MFV
  2. What Republicans get wrong about capitalism #AdamSmith #Salon http://t.co/agSdyoG
  3. sdenaro: RT @BorowitzReport: Rick Perry says God told him to run, but what he neglected to say was that it was the Ancient Mayan God. #2012
  4. sdenaro: RT @FrankConniff: To Michele Bachmann the definition of marriage is the union between a closeted man and a crazy woman. #tweetthepress
  5. sdenaro: RT @benschwartzy: I don’t care about Bert and Ernie being gay. Just tell us who’s the top.
  6. sdenaro: RT @pourmecoffee: Mitt Romney will not be at the debate tonight. He is having a nice, quiet romantic dinner with a corporation.
  7. sdenaro: RT @BorowitzReport: GOP Dictionary: A “gotcha” question is a question whose answer involves a fact. #GOPdebate

What Republicans get wrong about capitalism

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.

People who read this passage and nothing else of Smith tend to regard it as an affirmation of the virtue and efficacy of selfishness over and against the relative impotence of altruism. But that isn’t its significance for Smith. Yes, our personal interests act as a sharper spur to action than the interests of others, but the same may be said for the cocker spaniel. The difference is not that we have selfish interests, but that only by understanding the interests of others are we able to fulfill our own.

Indeed, the passage attests to the human capacity for empathy, the focus of Smith’s other great work, "The Theory of Moral Sentiments".


From Salon

Great quote. Ultimately, any complex social institution requires basic human traits to be promoted if it is to survive.

there's also no modern precedent for the out-of-power party being as widely loathed on Election Day as the GOP now is. And there will be many more opportunities in the next 15 months for congressional Republicans to inflict even more damage on the GOP brand. It's enough to raise the possibility that the very forces that set out to destroy Barack Obama's presidency from the moment it started could end up being the reason he gets a second term.

there’s also no modern precedent for the out-of-power party being as widely loathed on Election Day as the GOP now is. And there will be many more opportunities in the next 15 months for congressional Republicans to inflict even more damage on the GOP brand. It’s enough to raise the possibility that the very forces that set out to destroy Barack Obama’s presidency from the moment it started could end up being the reason he gets a second term.
Could the Tea Party actually be Obama’s salvation in 2012? - War Room - salon.com

Basically the Republicans said we'll blow up the world economy unless you give us exactly what we want, and the President said OK. That's what happened... . We're having a debate in Washington which is all about, "we're going to make this economy worse, but are we going to make it worse on 90 percent of the Republican's terms or 10o percent of the Republican's terms?" And the answer is 100 percent.

Basically the Republicans said we’ll blow up the world economy unless you give us exactly what we want, and the President said OK. That’s what happened… . We’re having a debate in Washington which is all about, “we’re going to make this economy worse, but are we going to make it worse on 90 percent of the Republican's terms or 10o percent of the Republican's terms?” And the answer is 100 percent.
Krugman: America is heading for a “lost decade” - War Room - salon.com

Union thugs found not guilty of assault on Tea Party hero

Apparently SEIU and Media Matters for America and George Soros and the Tides Foundation and Eric Boehlert and the city of Montclair, N.J., acting on orders from the White House, all used their wizard powers to convince a jury in St. Louis that Kennedy Gladney was not actually assaulted. And that is how the vast left-wing conspiracy works.

From Union thugs found not guilty of assault on Tea Party hero

Wow.

America's creditor identifies its budget problem

The chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, Chen Bingde, told reporters he thought the U.S. should cut back on defense spending for the sake of its taxpayers. He was speaking during a joint news conference in which he traded barbs with visiting U.S. counterpart Adm. Mike Mullen.

"I know the U.S. is still recovering from the financial crisis," Chen said. "Under such circumstances, it is still spending a lot of money on its military and isn't that placing too much pressure on the taxpayers?

If the U.S. could reduce its military spending a bit and spend more on improving the livelihood of the American people … wouldn't that be a better scenario?


From Glenn Greenwald - salon.com

Amazing.

Osama: Poster boy for defense waste

The point here is not to suggest that bin Laden shouldn’t have been aggressively pursued, or to imply that the Navy SEALs who ultimately neutralized him aren’t heroes. But it is to say that the numbers next to the photo make the al-Qaida leader the new poster boy for defense budget waste. Simply put, if it cost $4.4 trillion to fight a two-front World War II against the biggest, best-armed militaries in contemporary human history, then it shouldn’t require nearly as much to find a single poorly guarded guy and his VCR in an Abbottabad Motel 6. In that sense, the $3 trillion price tag for bin Laden makes the photo of him in his compound the Pentagon’s latest version of an $1,800 toilet cover.

From Osama: Poster boy for defense waste




Once you factor out the waste of the contractor system, the war in Iraq and the waste of using the military to conduct police action; it would be possible to compare the amount spent to get Bin Laden to the amount of money actually required to get Bin Laden.

Paul Ryan booed at his own town hall

A constituent lays out the problem of growing concentration of wealth in the top 1 percent of the U.S. population, and then questions the wisdom of continuing to give tax breaks to the wealthy.

He is applauded by the audience.

Ryan, in response, attacks the notion that wealth should be redistributed, and says “we do tax the top.”

He is booed, heartily.

The message could not be any clearer. The people — arch-conservative Paul Ryan’s people!— have spoken. Tax. The. Rich.


From Paul Ryan booed at his own town hall

Ikea's Third World outsourcing adventure -- in the U.S. - How the World Works - salon.com

Ikea seems to be treating its American workers at a furniture plant in Danville, Virginia a good deal worse than it does its Swedish workers back at home. The workers are trying to unionize; in response Ikea has hired the famous union-busting-specializing law firm Jackson-Lewis. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary for American labor relations in the 21st century, but in Sweden, eyebrows are being raised.

From How the World Works - salon.com

This is what the GOP wants. To turn America into a 3rd world nation that competes not on value-add but on low wages and low taxes. Expect to see more of this.

Evangelical Liberty University received half a billion dollars in federal aid money - War Room - salon.com

Liberty University, the evangelical private Christian school founded by dead apartheid-supporting bigot Jerry Falwell, received $445 million in federal financial aid money last year. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, by the way, received $420 million from the federal government.

From War Room - salon.com

Any tea party members going after money that goes to unaccredited bible colleges?

Shocker: Tea Party Congress members take tons of farm subsidies

Shocker: Anti-government activists are all welfare queens! But they accept the “wealthy white person” version of welfare, which is “farm subsidies.” (The “wealthy white person” version of welfare is also lots of other subsidies and tax credits and government spending.)

From Salon.com

Anyone surprised? Aparently taking money from 21st century economies in the Blue States and handing them to 18th century economies in the Red States doesn’t count as big government socialist wealth redistribution.

What the right means when it calls NPR "liberal"

When it comes to covering and analyzing the news, the reverse of right isn’t left; it’s independent reporting that toes neither party nor ideological line. We've heard no NPR reporter — not a one — advocating on the air for more government spending (or less), for the right of abortion (or against it), for or against gay marriage, or for or against either political party, especially compared to what we hear from Fox News and talk radio on all of these issues and more.
So what do conservatives really mean when they accuse NPR of being “liberal”? They mean it’s not accountable to their worldview as conservatives and partisans. They mean it reflects too great a regard for evidence and is too open to reporting different points of views of the same event or idea or issue. Reporting that by its very fact-driven nature often fails to confirm their ideological underpinnings, their way of seeing things (which is why some liberals and Democrats also become irate with NPR).


From What the right means when it calls NPR “liberal”


Quote of the day.

Triumph of the flat-earth Republicans

It is possible to understand how people might disagree that climate change is a threat to public health (we’ll all just start farming wheat in Siberia or northern Canada) or that humans are the main cause of rising temperatures (sunspots! natural variation!). But I still find it confounding that 31 Republicans are willing to deny, flat-out, that temperatures are rising, period.


From Triumph of the flat-earth Republicans


In related news, the GOP is going to cure cancer by voting that it doesn’t exist.

Glenn Beck versus James O'Keefe

Increasingly unpopular television clown and radio revivalist Glenn Beck confused folks on the left and right recently when his “news” website The Blaze published a thorough and fair debunking of the recent NPR “sting” video produced by youthful video prankster and unprincipled conservative smear artist James O’Keefe.

From Glenn Beck versus James O’Keefe

It’s like watching Alien versus Predator if the Alien was really dishonest and slimy. And the Predator was also really dishonest and slimy.

Rand Paul to EPA: Don't protect Kentucky

If there was one form of disastrous pollution you would think everyone would readily agree the Environmental Protection Agency should regulate, it would be mountaintop removal coal mining. It’s hard to think of a modern industrial practice that does more damage than the one that blows up the top of mountains, fills up stream beds and valleys, and poisons the local water supply.

From How the World Works - salon.com

Does Senator Paul care about the property rights of the people who will live downstream and downwind of the coal mining operations?

Yes, the Kochs fund groups out of self-interest

I think it’s hard to argue with the basic premise that the Kochs fund organizations that advocate allowing Koch Industries to continue emitting carbon without limits. Those organizations employ various people who employ various arguments — outright denial of climate science, the cost-benefit argument that the cost of limiting emissions exceeds the supposed future “cost” of climate change, the argument that the EPA suxxxxx and government can’t do anything right ever — that all fall under the “libertarian” umbrella, but the point is that they’re all compelling arguments that we shouldn’t make it more difficult for Koch Industries to do whatever it wants to do. (And Koch is on the record saying he would “withdraw funding” from an organization that starts “doing things we don’t agree with,” which is a very straightforward statement of intent!)


From War Room - salon.com

This demonstrates the basic problem with libertarian lobbying. Those powerful enough to demand deregulation are also powerful enough to loot the commons and demand government protection as they do it. After all, the same people who pushed for banking deregulation then turned around and demanded a bailout.

What dumb thing did Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann or Glenn Beck just say? You don't need to watch Fox News to find out. The progressive media will tell you. The economy is still in a coma, revolution is rocking the Middle East - but you can be sure that Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews will take time to snicker at something silly that Palin or Bachmann or Beck said in the last 48 hours. Is the constant mockery of these bloviating right-wing demagogues really the best use of precious center-left media time?

What dumb thing did Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann or Glenn Beck just say? You don't need to watch Fox News to find out. The progressive media will tell you. The economy is still in a coma, revolution is rocking the Middle East — but you can be sure that Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews will take time to snicker at something silly that Palin or Bachmann or Beck said in the last 48 hours. Is the constant mockery of these bloviating right-wing demagogues really the best use of precious center-left media time?
War Room - salon.com

Not long ago Kristol said Beck was hysterical and marginalizing himself and Beck said Kristol stands for nothing besides power and while they were both basically right about the other, the fact is that both of them engage in incredibly irresponsible rhetoric about "Islamists" and their supposed American liberal collaborators, but Kristol does it with a suit and tie and fancy job title at a Serious Magazine, instead of shouting tearful nonsense on the radio or to a television camera.

Not long ago Kristol said Beck was hysterical and marginalizing himself and Beck said Kristol stands for nothing besides power and while they were both basically right about the other, the fact is that both of them engage in incredibly irresponsible rhetoric about “Islamists” and their supposed American liberal collaborators, but Kristol does it with a suit and tie and fancy job title at a Serious Magazine, instead of shouting tearful nonsense on the radio or to a television camera.
War Room - salon.com

Is Keith Olbermann at Current TV the weirdest idea ever?

Olbermann will both host and executive produce — this is key — an hour-long prime-time show five nights a week on Current. In addition to this anchor role, the sometimes tough-to-manage Olbermann will help overhaul Current’s news strategy and hold equity in the company.

From Salon.com

My prediction is that this will either be a mediocre success or a spectacular failure. The possibility of a major success that makes Current TV viable is near zero.

Tea Partyers don't actually care about liberty

The Tea Partyers’ fiery hatred of redistribution and resentment of societal “leeches” is certainly real, but it’s apparent at this late date that most self-identified Tea Party supporters are libertarians in sound bite form only, and certainly no supporters of “liberty” as broadly defined by Reason magazine and the Cato Institute. The Tea Parties believe “liberty” means “not being governed by Democrats” — a sentiment most libertarians would probably agree with — but they don’t seem to get the whole “live and let live” part of the deal.

Andrew Sullivan documented two examples of Tea Party illiberalism earlier this week. First of all, polling reveals that support for gay marriage is lower among Tea Partyers than among almost any group besides “conservative Republicans.” Fifty-two percent of Tea Partyers don’t support gay marriage or civil unions. That is not really the position of actual libertarian-leaning Republicans, let alone freewheeling libertarians.

If ending the disastrous, expensive, immoral and racist drug war gets booed at a Tea Party rally in liberty-loving New Mexico, there is absolutely nothing remotely libertarian about the movement besides a visceral hatred of taxes and the conviction that undeserving Others are benefiting from them.

If the goal of both the Tea Parties and most D.C. libertarian institutions is simply to get Republicans elected, then no harm, no foul. If that’s the case, the libertarians are almost embracing a traditional Republican tactic: ride into Washington with the support of the angry reactionaries, then govern on behalf of the money.

From Tea Partyers don’t actually care about “liberty” - War Room - salon.com

This is the most common form of Libertarianism, what I call Bullshit-Libertarianism. A belief in government big enough to help me but too small to help you and an opposition to socialism that is defined as when government helps someone else.

Alan Greenspan's housing bubble coffee break

There is a lack of consensus as to how the relaxation of credit standards will impact safety and soundness. To date, loan delinquencies have remained modest, both within and outside of the banking industry. However, the undiminished appetite, particularly for the nonconforming mortgage product, has allowed for the flexibility to continue. And there is no slowing in sight, despite all the warnings that we have heard and indications in some markets that there has been a leveling, and even a decline, in some property values …


From Alan Greenspan’s housing bubble coffee break


The sad part about this is that it will be used to attack the Fed system, and not the Let the Market regulate itself philosophy of Mr. Greenspan.

America in the age of primitivism

America needs to have a neomodernist party to oppose the reigning primitivists of the right, left and center. Let everyone who opposes abortion, wants to ban GM foods and nuclear energy, hates cars and trucks and planes and loves trains and trolleys, seeks to ban suburbia, despises consumerism, and/or thinks Darwin was a fraud join the Regressive Party. Those of us who believe that the real, if exaggerated, dangers of technology, big government, big business and big labor are outweighed by their benefits can join the Modernist Party. While the Regressives secede from reality and try to build their premodern utopias on their reservations, the Modernists can resume the work of building a secular, technological, prosperous, and relatively egalitarian civilization, after a half-century detour into a Dark Age.

From America in the age of primitivism

New Modernism? Or just a rejection of utopia-isms?

America in the age of primitivism

America needs to have a neomodernist party to oppose the reigning primitivists of the right, left and center. Let everyone who opposes abortion, wants to ban GM foods and nuclear energy, hates cars and trucks and planes and loves trains and trolleys, seeks to ban suburbia, despises consumerism, and/or thinks Darwin was a fraud join the Regressive Party. Those of us who believe that the real, if exaggerated, dangers of technology, big government, big business and big labor are outweighed by their benefits can join the Modernist Party. While the Regressives secede from reality and try to build their premodern utopias on their reservations, the Modernists can resume the work of building a secular, technological, prosperous, and relatively egalitarian civilization, after a half-century detour into a Dark Age.

From America in the age of primitivism

New Modernism? Or just a rejection of utopia-isms?

The year in trumped-up pseudo-scandals

Every day, right-wing blogs and Fox News are abuzz with hysterical reports of partly or wholly invented scandals that, in their fevered imaginations, threaten to once-and-for-all destroy the Obama administration. While most of the bloggers are true believers, convinced that they’re one smoking gun away from opening everyone’s eyes to the criminality of the administration, on Fox they just run with whatever sounds good until they get bored with it or something more entertaining comes along. Once a pseudo-scandal ceases to be useful, it doesn’t really go away forever — Free Republic commenters will reference it until the end of time — but most people just sort of forget about it shortly after Megyn Kelly stops mentioning it.


From The year in trumped-up pseudo-scandals - War Room - salon.com


Like a walk down memory lane. A rancid, decrepit memory lane.

The year in trumped-up pseudo-scandals

Every day, right-wing blogs and Fox News are abuzz with hysterical reports of partly or wholly invented scandals that, in their fevered imaginations, threaten to once-and-for-all destroy the Obama administration. While most of the bloggers are true believers, convinced that they’re one smoking gun away from opening everyone’s eyes to the criminality of the administration, on Fox they just run with whatever sounds good until they get bored with it or something more entertaining comes along. Once a pseudo-scandal ceases to be useful, it doesn’t really go away forever — Free Republic commenters will reference it until the end of time — but most people just sort of forget about it shortly after Megyn Kelly stops mentioning it.


From The year in trumped-up pseudo-scandals - War Room - salon.com


Like a walk down memory lane. A rancid, decrepit memory lane.

Ken Cuccinelli, How to get ahead as a Republican in 2010

Ken Cuccinelli has called homosexuality “intrinsically wrong,” sought to alter the 14th Amendment in order to strip the children of undocumented immigrants of their citizenship, questioned the science of climate change, and dabbled in birtherism.

He is, in other words, a near-perfect embodiment of the passions that animate the base of the Republican Party in the age of Obama


From How to get ahead as a Republican in 2010 - War Room - salon.com


Nihilism as politics.

The liberal backlash that isn't

with the release of a new Washington Post/ABC News poll — conducted late last week and over the weekend, as the supposed liberal backlash against the deal was at its peak — that shows Obama’s approval rating with liberal Democrats sitting at 87 percent. That’s essentially where it’s been all year; it represents a statistically microscopic decline from where he stood with liberal Democrats in the last WaPo/ABC survey, taken about six weeks ago. Among all Democrats, Obama’s approval rating in the new survey sits at 79 percent — again, pretty much exactly where it’s been all year. As has been the case throughout his presidency, Obama’s problem among Democrats — to the extent he has one at all — is with self-described moderates and conservatives in the party.


From The liberal backlash that isn’t - War Room - salon.com


There is a major disconnect between people claiming to be the liberal base, and actual liberals.

The liberal backlash that isn't

with the release of a new Washington Post/ABC News poll — conducted late last week and over the weekend, as the supposed liberal backlash against the deal was at its peak — that shows Obama’s approval rating with liberal Democrats sitting at 87 percent. That’s essentially where it’s been all year; it represents a statistically microscopic decline from where he stood with liberal Democrats in the last WaPo/ABC survey, taken about six weeks ago. Among all Democrats, Obama’s approval rating in the new survey sits at 79 percent — again, pretty much exactly where it’s been all year. As has been the case throughout his presidency, Obama’s problem among Democrats — to the extent he has one at all — is with self-described moderates and conservatives in the party.


From The liberal backlash that isn’t - War Room - salon.com


There is a major disconnect between people claiming to be the liberal base, and actual liberals.

Ken Cuccinelli, How to get ahead as a Republican in 2010

Ken Cuccinelli has called homosexuality “intrinsically wrong,” sought to alter the 14th Amendment in order to strip the children of undocumented immigrants of their citizenship, questioned the science of climate change, and dabbled in birtherism.

He is, in other words, a near-perfect embodiment of the passions that animate the base of the Republican Party in the age of Obama


From How to get ahead as a Republican in 2010 - War Room - salon.com


Nihilism as politics.

How starving the beast makes us fat

tax cuts that are not matched by spending cuts actually result in increased government spending — for the citizenry as a whole, the pain of payment for products received has been eliminated. When we receive government services without paying their full cost, we consume more such services. If every spending initiative had to be matched by a tax hike or cut elsewhere in the budget, we would end up behaving much more frugally. But starving the beast just makes us more profligate.


From How starving the beast makes us fat


Worth a read. We have moved from impulse buying at the supermarket to impulse government in Washington.

Obama's silent majority

Liberal commentators and activists and interest group leaders may be seething over Obama, but their rage has not trickled down to the Democratic voters (and, in particular, the Democratic voters who identify themselves as liberals), even though they’ve been venting their grief for the better part of two years.

As I noted earlier this week, Obama’s approval rating among Democrats has held steady at or near the 80 percent level throughout all of the turmoil of 2010. This puts him in as strong a position with his own party’s voters as any modern president has been

From Obama’s silent majority

Worth a read.

Christmas Arbitrage

Her defining scam was the Christmas special, when, on the day after Christmas, she’d gather up the presents from under the tree and return them to the stores along with the masses — poor Mommy forced to return all of her thoughtful gifts. But unlike most of those people, she’d circle back to the stores (once the shift change had taken effect) and repurchase those same presents for vastly reduced prices. Was this out of necessity? Was it out of some need to display her cunning? Looking back, I suspect my mother had become convinced of some higher moral agenda, in which the weak (the middle class) outfox the strong (the rich). All I know is that we always got what we wanted for Christmas.


From Christmas Arbitrage


Christmas arbitrage in action

PETA hits a new low, starts digging.

The ads from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals features a scan of a curvaceous woman in lacy underwear with the message: “Be Proud of Your Body Scan: Go Vegan.”


From salon


PETA hits a new low, starts digging.

No. 21: S.E. Cupp

(Cupp was born in California, raised in Andover, Mass., and has degrees from Cornell and New York University. She lives in New York. She totally “gets” Real America way better than you!)

Cupp is proof that being a Young Conservative — especially a TV-ready one willing to cynically tell the rubes that ignorance is noble — is a much easier way to make a living than legitimate journalism.


From No. 21: S.E. Cupp - War Room - salon.com


S.E. Cupp would rank higher on the hack list if she were better known.

No. 3: Thomas Friedman

when he’s not lounging beside the pool at his absurd home — the second-most-influential business thinker in the country is worrying about carbon emissions. Which is, I freely admit, a nice change of pace from back when he was telling the world that the invasion and occupation of Iraq would lead to a glorious new dawn of freedom/democracy/whiskey/iPods/Old Navy in the Middle East as a whole.

From No. 3: Thomas Friedman - War Room - salon.com

And a perfect picture too.

No. 7: Jonah Goldberg

Goldberg favorite rhetorical move is to pretend that he’s making some grand, semi-controversial point, then back off when asked to defend it. He wrote an entire book called “Liberal Fascism,” about how liberals are the real fascists, but constantly insists that the theme of his book was not “liberals are fascists.” He wrote a column about how Julian Assange should be assassinated, but insisted that the point of his column was not to say that Julian Assange should be assassinated. Did you know that proposing that kids perform community service 'is modern slavery?!? (“No, national service isn’t slavery,” he eventually writes, before saying, again, that it’s basically the same thing.)

From No. 7: Jonah Goldberg - War Room - salon.com

If the word shmuck didn’t exist, it would have to be invented for him.

Introducing the Hack 30

Think of the War Room Hack 30 as an all-star team — or a rogues gallery. These are the most predictable, banal, intellectually dishonest and all-around hacky newspaper columnists, cable news shouting heads and political opinion-mongers working today. We compiled the list by reading blogs and Op-Ed sections and watching 24-hour cable news channels for about a decade, and then listing about 200 people who rarely fail to annoy us. We cut the list down to 30 people whose continued employment most baffles us, and then we ranked them in order of shamelessness.


From Introducing the Hack 30


Check if your favorite (or least favorite) is on the list.

Can liberalism save capitalism from conservatism?

Conservatives have long succeeded in persuading business that they are its friends and liberals are its enemies. In reality, the reverse is true. Liberalism saved American capitalism during the depression, and if American capitalism is to be saved from the Great Recession, liberals will have to rescue it.

Modern conservatives claim to be pro-business. But economic conservatism is not based on any empirical study of the actual economic requirements of successful modern industrial and service corporations in a modern mixed economy. The economic right combines an anachronistic tradition with a crackpot ideology.

The anachronistic tradition is Jeffersonian small-producer populism. Defending the rights of small farmers and small businesses was progressive in the 18th and early 19th centuries, when the enemies of freedom were aristocratic landlords who owned slaves and serfs and monopolies with royal charters. Although the industrial revolution rendered small-government Jeffersonianism obsolete by the mid-19th century, American conservatives continue successfully to appeal to Jeffersonian sentiments a century and a half later.

The crackpot ideology of the economic right is libertarianism. Libertarianism and communism are equally crazy in opposite ways. Libertarians believe that it is possible to privatize everything without anarchy, while communists believe that it is possible to socialize everything without tyranny.

Neither Jeffersonian populists nor libertarian ideologues have the slightest clue about how to run a complex technological society in the 21st century. Why should they? Jeffersonianism is a program for a primitive society of small farmers of a kind that no longer exists anywhere. At least, once upon a time, there were genuine Jeffersonian agrarian societies in the real world. There has never been a libertarian country and there never will be, because the maximum of government authority allowed by libertarian theory is well below the minimum required by a functioning community.


From Can liberalism save capitalism from conservatism?


Worth a read.

Glenn Beck's five-point plan for world domination

In Tuesday’s first installment of his series on George Soros’ supposed quest for world domination, Glenn Beck accused the billionaire of — among many, many other things — following a five-point “formula” to gain control of the United States.

From Salon.com

Emma Mustich points out that all of the points used to demonstrate a Soros conspiracy can also be applied to Beck and Fox.

How to understand Fox News

To begin with, bluntly, Fox is part of the Republican Party. American political parties are made up of both formal organizations (such as the RNC) and informal networks. Fox News Channel, then, is properly understood as part of the expanded Republican Party, just like Hill staff of GOP Members of Congress, or pollsters who only work for Republicans, or activists who volunteer for Republican campaigns, or think tanks that generate legislation for Republicans to support. So, in the first place, Fox is simply part of the communications arm of the party.

The tricky part is that FNC isn’t only a component of the Republican Party. It’s also a business, so it may have profit motivations beyond its partisan goals (both on the organizational and individual level, of course). It’s also, in format, a cable news network, and there are a variety of norms that come with that — norms that may be important to both individual correspondents and producers on the one hand, and consumers on the other. Fox may be part of the communications arm of the Republican Party, but it’s not the same part as the RNC’s Web page, or ads for GOP candidates.


From How to understand Fox News


Not sure I totally agree with this. Fox seems to be part of the conservative movement, just like the GOP is now part of the conservative movement.

Republicans begin carving up bank reform

The great irony here is that the Volcker rule was the Obama administration’s direct response to the upset election of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Brown capitalized on anger against the bank bailout in his successful campaign, and the White House correctly realized it needed a course correction that signaled a stronger line against the banks. The beauty of the American political process is that Obama’s failure to get tough enough against the banks ensured that Republicans determined to weaken bank reform are now in power.

From Republicans begin carving up bank reform - How the World Works - salon.com

So…how long until the Tea Party folks catch on? I’m guessing the anger will have to wait until the election.

Wall Street's best friend is The Tea Party

Even though few things enrage Tea Party rebels more than government checks made out to Wall Street financial companies, the reverse dynamic does not seem to be a problem. The top 12 Senatorial candidates most favored by Tea Partiers have already hauled in $4.6 million in campaign contributions from Wall Street. Even more amazing is a tidbit reported by the Washington Post:

The two top recipients of money from companies receiving TARP funds are the top two House Republicans, Minority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) with $200,000 and Republican Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) with $187,000. They are followed by the ranking members of two key House committees, Spencer Bachus (Ala.) on Financial Services and Dave Camp (Mich.) on the tax-writing committee.

Let’s spell that out: The Wall Street banks that were bailed out with taxpayer money are using their profits to bankroll Republicans who now claim to be unalterably opposed to any more bailouts, ever, for all time, in any universe — even though the original TARP bailout was a Republican idea, signed into law by a Republican president, with the strong backing of the Republican leadership of both the House and Senate.


From Wall Street’s best friend is The Tea Party


How does something like this make sense, other than the Tea party being an Astroturf group funded by the people the Tea Party pretends to oppose?

Founding Fathers' papers to be accessible online

The University of Virginia Press is putting the published papers of Washington, Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin on a National Archives website that is expected to be accessible to the public in 2012.

When complete, the website will allow users to read, browse and search the text of tens of thousands of documents from the period.


From Founding Fathers’ papers to be accessible online


I am just cynical enough to believe that this will lead to more out of context quotes from the founding fathers mudding up what should be reasonable debate.

The audacity of audacity

Imagine Anita Hill’s shock when she checked her voicemail last weekend and found a message from one Virginia Thomas. As in, the wife of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, the man she accused of sexual harassment back in 1991. The New York Times reports that Thomas has confirmed that she made the out-of-the-blue call as a means of “extending an olive branch.” It’s more accurate to say that she extended … a request for an apology.

From The Audacity of audacity Clarence Thomas’ wife calls up Anita Hill - Broadsheet - salon.com


What she did to him? Amazing.

For-pay fire department lets man's house burn

The homeowner, Gene Cranick, said he offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late. They wouldn’t do anything to stop his house from burning.

Each year, Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the city of South Fulton. But the Cranicks did not pay.

The mayor said if homeowners don’t pay, they’re out of luck.

This fire went on for hours because garden hoses just wouldn’t put it out. It wasn’t until that fire spread to a neighbor’s property, that anyone would respond.

Turns out, the neighbor had paid the fee.


From For-pay fire department lets man’s house burn


This is what it looks like when the libertarian version of defending property rights in enacted. Property has rights and people don’t.

James O'Keefe defends "sex boat" prank by saying it wouldn't have been that gross

James O’Keefe defends “sex boat” prank by saying it wouldn’t have been that gross

From James O’Keefe defends “sex boat” prank by saying it wouldn’t have been that gross - War Room - salon.com

If your defense is that it wouldn’t have been “that gross” then you probably should shut up and slitter away before you do yourself more damage.

Internet Jihadists are silly conspiracy theorists

Internet Jihadists are silly conspiracy theorists

The Guilliam Foundation has released a fascinating report on the content of pro-Jihadist Internet message boards. Focusing on the ideology and “social dynamics” of Arabic-language web-forums, the study finds that internet jihadists spend a lot of time attacking other Muslims, restricting free debate, and re-posting the same pro-Jihad texts. Users have little knowledge of scripture, continue to cite material from “recanted” Jihadists, and they love Saudi-funded Wahhabbi clerics. They also actively ignore information that contradicts their beliefs, shut out “bad news,” and are super-paranoid.

They sound like half the wing nuts on the net. Truthers, Birthers and Ayn Rand followers all exhibit the same on-line behaviors.

Tea Party or Whiskey Rebellion?

The movement chose the wrong historical precedent when it selected the Boston Tea Party of 1773, a genuinely revolutionary event, as its symbol. Today s Tea Party movement is much more like the misguided and ill-fated Whiskey Rebellion of the early 1790s, during the first term of America s first president, George Washington.

When Congress in 1791, at Hamilton s suggestion, enacted an excise tax on whiskey, along with a tariff, to help pay down the consolidated national debt, the result was the Whiskey Rebellion.


From Tea Party or Whiskey Rebellion?


There are two problems with this analogy:

  • They are rebelling with the people who proposed the bailout, not against it.
  • Taxes have gone down, not up.
Other than that, I like the comparison.

Who are the liberal birthers?

41 percent of Republicans say Obama was definitely or probably born in another country.

Why do so many Americans believe such a silly thing? And why are Republicans so much more likely to believe it?


From Poll: 41 percent of Republicans think Obama wasn’t born in America - Birthers - salon.com

If the media does in fact have a liberal bias, there should be some liberal media equivalent to the birther. What liberal falsehood does 40% of the population believe? Or even 10%? It must be something clearly and demonstrably disproved that a large segment of the population believes because the media propagates the myth.

Climategate debunking is (or should be) major news

By restoring the reputation of the U.N. s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the reports released by a Netherlands environmental agency and a special British investigative panel should do much to dispel the widespread doubt generated by hackers who pinched nasty e-mails from the computers of climate scientists associated with the IPCC.

Or the reports would dispel doubt, if only the mainstream media showed sufficient interest in correcting the record. For what the probers found is that those embarrassing e-mails, considered in context, undermined neither the basic integrity of the scientists who authored them nor their dire conclusions about the potential impact of carbon dioxide pollution.


From "Climategate" debunking is (or should be) major news - Joe Conason - salon.com

This is the next zombie lie that will soldier on for decades to come. In the future, right wing conspiracy nuts enjoying the fruits of the renewable energy economy will be writing revisionist histories about the whole climate change problem being a secret socialist hoax.
Of course having the media correct the record should be the first step. The second should be to call out all the people in the media who were quick to report the false scandal and slow to clarify that they were wrong and that there was no scandal. Lastly, those who insist on reporting this as a zombie lie for the next few decades should be called out as well.

Joyless parents: You're doing it wrong

Somewhere along the line, having a baby has stopped being an inevitable part of the life cycle and started to be one of those things-to-do-before-you-die, like climbing Machu Picchu or running a marathon. Basic aspects of the mothering experience, like labor and breast-feeding, took on a spiritual significance. Now, as we prepare to make the many sacrifices necessary to become parents, we anticipate nothing less than enlightenment in return.

From Joyless parents: You’re doing it wrong - Broadsheet - salon.com

Far more worthy of reading than commenting on.

Tesla Motors outstrips expectations in first day of trading - Electric Cars - salon.com

Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. climbed in their trading debut after the electric car maker’s expanded initial public offering raised more money than expected.

Tesla’s performance was a feat in a sour market that has forced many companies looking to raise funds through IPOs to accept lower prices to get deals done.


From Tesla Motors outstrips expectations in first day of trading - Electric Cars - salon.com

First US Auto company IPO since 1956!

Dr. Paul: Not board-certified

Libertarian ideology rejects most of the modern regulatory systems that protect consumers, because everyone should be responsible for determining whether the hamburger contains E. coli on his own. But does that do-it-yourself dogma apply to the regulation of medicine, too? If you’re Dr. Rand Paul, practicing ophthalmologist, the answer is emphatically yes.
From Dr. Paul: Not board-certified, but self-certified - Joe Conason - salon.com

Paul is obviously well within his rights to get mad about some dumb policy and write cranky letters about it and then form his own medical board with pizza parties every day and no girls allowed. It is just not clear why he was still claiming to be certified by the ABO years after he began his crusade against them.
From Dr. Rand Paul’s crusade against board certification - War Room - salon.com

Joe Conason and Salon raise some really interesting questions about Rand Paul. The guy comes off as a crank and a bit of a lose cannon.

Brooklyn prosecutors clear local ACORN office

A four-month investigation by the Brooklyn district attorney found no evidence that the local ACORN office had engaged in any criminal conduct, despite the hype conservative media gave to tapes of a fake prostitute asking for help from the organization.
From Brooklyn prosecutors clear local ACORN office - War Room - salon.com

The whole ACORN Pimp story has been reviled as fraud, and the perpetrator of that fraud was caught trying to bug the office of US Senator. So where are the corrections? How much time has FOX spent on corrections to the story?

Healthcare Reform

There’s nothing “sure or quick” about changing medical liability laws that will improve healthcare or its costs. Defensive medicine adds very little to healthcare’s price tag, and rising malpractice premiums have had very little impact on access to care.
From Healthcare Reform - salon.com

Of course it won’t. And it hasn’t. So far, there have been a number of states that have passed this kind of reform. Notice how you never hear about how much money these reforms have saved consumers in Texas? Because it hasn’t. It has made money for Blue Cross. You don’t hear about that either.

Taxes vs Voucher Socialism

Instead of being paid to deliver planes, missiles and tanks, defense contractors would receive “weapon supply tax credits” (WSTC). The defense contractors would be able to reduce the taxes they owed the federal government by the prices of the weapons they delivered. Because the tax credit would be refundable, if the prices exceeded a firm’s annual tax liability, the IRS would send a check to the firm in the amount of the difference. In this way, the federal government could finance a massive military buildup — and because tax credits aren’t counted as part of the federal budget, for official purposes the cost of the buildup would be zero!
I had you going there for a minute, didn’t I? The “weapons supply tax credit” is a joke. It was proposed some years ago by the late David Bradford, a Princeton economist who worked in the Ford and George H.W. Bush administrations. Bradford’s purpose was to ridicule the growing reliance of Congresses and presidents on tax credits and other so-called tax expenditures as an alternative to ordinary spending programs funded by ordinary taxes.
From Taxes - salon.com

Excellent article on the misuse of Tax Credits as a substitution for taxes as a way to fund public goods.

The death panels are already here

Long before anyone started talking about government “death panels” or warning that Obama would have the government ration care, 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan, a leukemia patient from Glendale, Calif., died in December 2007, after her parents battled their insurance company, Cigna, over the surgery. Cigna initially refused to pay for it because the company’s analysis showed Sarkisyan was already too sick from her leukemia; the liver transplant wouldn’t have saved her life.
URL: Salon - The “death panels” are already here

Remember, rationing healthcare is bad. Unless that rationing if done for profit. Then its ok.

Ahmadinejad reelected in Coup

A few thousand Iranian young people demonstrated in Iran on Saturday morning to protest the announcement by that country’s Interior Ministry that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won a second term by an overwhelming margin of 63 percent. The president’s rivals decried ballot fraud and many observers saw the results as a hard-liner coup. If the government really has descended to the level of fixing the presidential elections, it is a sign of deep insecurity and fear of change, as Tehran is challenged by the Obama administration’s outreach and by reformist stirrings among youth and women. …
The final vote counts alleged for cities and provinces, even more so than the landslide claimed by the incumbent nationally, strongly suggest a last-minute and clumsy fraud.
Salon.com | Ahmadinejad reelected under cloud of fraud

All of this had the appearance of a well orchestrated strike intended to take its opponents by surprise - the classic definition of a coup. Curiously, this was not a coup of an outside group against the ruling elite; it was a coup of the ruling elite against its own people.
Gary Sick on Iran’s Coup
I talked to my brother who is in Tehran a couple of hours ago. YouTube is apparently down (filtered). The satellite TV and international radio stations (SW) are also jammed. But apparently a VOA satellite TV station has started to broadcast on a new frequency and so they have access to that. They had also lost the cell-phone service. (The phone system is operated by the Ministry of Technology and Communications; so it is state run.) It really is feeling like a coup.
From The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Awful. Simply awful. I fear that things will become far more unstable and possibly violent as Ahmadinejad looses what little popularity he has and the scope of the fraud becomes public.

Blackwater vs. Blackbeard

Blackwater is now receiving inquiries from dozens of new clients, mainly shipping companies and shipping insurance companies. All of them want the same thing: for Blackwater mercenaries to guide their freighters and tankers safely past Somalia, through the world’s most dangerous waters, the hunting grounds of bands of pirates armed with Kalashnikovs and grenade launchers, attacking anything that comes into their sights.
From Salon.com News | Blackwater vs. Blackbeard off the coast of Africa

Corporate mercenaries fighting peasant pirates in international waters. What could possibly go wrong? My prediction is that in the next couple of years, we will hear about Blackwater mercenaries behaving like pirates off the coast of Somalia. They will be accused of shooting at and conducting raids on fishing boats and other small vessels they suspect of being pirates.

Nader refers to Obama as Uncle Tom

During a radio interview on Election Day, independent candidate Ralph Nader said of Barack Obama, “His choice, basically, is whether he’s going to be Uncle Sam for the people of this country or Uncle Tom for the giant corporations.”
From Nader refers to Obama as “Uncle Tom” - War Room - salon.com

Great job Ralph. I guess you aren’t going to stop until you’ve destroyed every aspect of your legacy.

Paying for sterilization

Louisiana state Rep. John LaBruzzo announced on Tuesday that he is “studying a plan to pay poor women $1,000 to have their Fallopian tubes tied.” Seriously. Because he’s worried that “people receiving government aid such as food stamps and publicly subsidized housing are reproducing at a faster rate than more affluent, better-educated people.”
From Paying for sterilization - Broadsheet - salon.com

Paying for sterilization. How is that small government? It’s like Louisiana has just entered the nineteenth century and is just discovering eugenics.

Inside the vaccine-and-autism scare

Eleven studies now show that the MMR vaccine doesn’t cause autism (the most recent just came out). Six have shown that thimerosal doesn’t cause autism; three have shown thimerosal doesn’t cause neurological problems. Studies showing the opposite, like Wakefield’s, use flawed methods, have serious conflicts of interest or have been conducted in animals whose results can’t be extrapolated to humans.
From Salon.com Books | Inside the vaccine-and-autism scare

Another must read on the topic.

Rice: Military power is not the way to deal in the 21st century

Just during the time Rice has served in the Bush administration, we bombed, invaded and occupied Afghanistan; did the same to Iraq; repeatedly bombed Somalia, killing all sorts of civilians; fed bombs to Israel as they invaded and bombed Lebanon; top political officials (led by John McCain and Joe Lieberman) have repeatedly threatened, and advocated, that the same be done to a whole host of other countries, including Iran and Syria.

The most enduring and predominant rule of American politics is that every national politician must demonstrate their willingness, even eagerness, to start wars.
Rice: Military power is “not the way to deal in the 21st century” - Glenn Greenwald - salon.com

I fear that one of the lasting legacies of the Bush administration will be the grudging acceptance that what world leaders say is largely irrelevant in judging true intent for a foreign policy position or military action. Besides the obvious and regrettable degrading of public trust; it leads to a national dialog where in the absence of honesty, you end up with debate by conspiracy theory and nazi analogy. Polemics to the left of me, cries of nazi appeaser to my right.

So when Secretary Rice says something so naive and clearly contradictory of recent history, I can’t help but wonder why she said it. She isn’t a fool. Why would he make a statement that almost begs a reply of *cough*Iraq*cough*? Maybe that statement meant to be ironic? A way of saying the opposite to the Kremlin while still being on the public record as opposing Russia’s military action?

New evidence suggests Ron Suskind is right

That story begins during the final weeks of 2003, when everyone in the White House was suffering severe embarrassment over both the origins and the consequences of the invasion of Iraq. No weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq. No evidence of significant connections between Saddam Hussein’s regime and the al-Qaida terrorist organization had been discovered there either. Nothing in this costly misadventure was turning out as advertised by the Bush administration.
According to Suskind, the administration’s highest officials — presumably meaning President Bush and Vice President Cheney — solved this problem by ordering the CIA to manufacture a document “proving” that Saddam had indeed been trying to build nuclear weapons and that he was also working with al-Qaida. The reported product of that order was a fake memorandum from Tahir Jalil Habbush, then chief of Saddam’s intelligence service, to the dictator himself, dated July 1, 2001. The memo not only explicitly confirmed that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta had received training in Baghdad for “attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy” but also carefully noted the arrival of a “shipment” from Niger via Libya, presumably of uranium yellowcake, the sole export of that impoverished African country
From Salon.com | New evidence suggests Ron Suskind is right

What strikes me as really odd is the lumping together of two right-wing talking points in one memo. This is so unlikely that I wonder who came up with the bone headed idea. Why didn’t just lump in some anti-Clinton talking points and a call for a flat tax while they are at it.

Obama/Kennedy vs. McCain/Goldwater

If John McCain is running for George W. Bush’s third presidential term, as Democrats have suggested, Barack Obama is campaigning for John F. Kennedy’s second term.
Obama/Kennedy vs. McCain/Goldwater | Salon

Normally this is the type of political article I despise. Debate by analogy mixed with historic revisionism and a touch of baseless speculation. But sometimes, a really good writer can make it work. This is one of those cases. I see more Goldwater in McCain than JFK in Obama. The comparison seems to work pretty well. Well worth the read.

Obama, get ready for the Clinton rules

And as Barack Obama should have learned during the debatea s first 45 minutes, if not before, the same fuzzy but obsessive focus on “character” that plagues Bill and Hillary Clinton will be turned on him with equal or greater ferocity by those who once claimed to admire him. He is now subject to the “Clinton rules,” which have long permitted pundits, editorialists and reporters to indict the former president and first lady for sins that other politicians, mostly Republican, may commit with impunity (see Gingrich, Newt, first, second and especially third marriage).
Those slanted rules have guided coverage of Sen. Clinton during the past several weeks, notably in the controversy over her inaccurate version of her arrival in Bosnia a decade ago. How the game works can best be understood by comparing the firestorm over her remarks with the placid acceptance of blatantly self-aggrandizing falsehoods by certain venerated politicians of the other party.
From Salon.com | Obama, get ready for the “Clinton rules”

Conason hits the nail on the head with this one. The focus on trivial nonsense in the Democratic debates and the press giving McCain a free ride on lack of support for a Modern GI Bill. Or on his multitude of flip-flops.

Everything you know about absinthe is wrong

Perhaps you already have your own absinthe story. You drank it in New Orleans one foggy night, too full of fumes to remember much aside from the cloudy green swirl of the drink as water drip-dropped into the glass. You smuggled a cheap bottle back from Spain and brought it out at cocktail parties like a magic trick. You tried it at a party where someone mixed a batch in the back room, and it was caustic stuff, as mean as moonshine. You sipped it in an gloomy underground Czech bar, where everyone looked like spies, and the bartender lit the sugar cube aflame.
Absinthe may not cause hallucinations, but its buzz has been likened to a kind of “waking drunk,” in which inhibitions are lowered but synapses fire faster, the perfect companion for a lively barside debate.
From Salon.com Life | Everything you know about absinthe is wrong

Turns out my Absinthe stories are all cliche now. With that said, a great article on Absinthe. And the most honest description of the effects.

Newt is a Theodore Roosevelt Republican?

I don’t know of anybody who argues for unregulated free enterprise. I’m a Theodore Roosevelt Republican. I like the fact that the government requires that I have clean water to drink no matter what restaurant I walk into anywhere in America.
From Salon

I’m feeling charitably; so I’m not going to pick-nits. As much as I might disagree with Newt, the guy is brilliant. This article is well worth the read.

Religious right may blackball Giuliani

A powerful group of conservative Christian leaders decided Saturday at a private meeting in Salt Lake City to consider supporting a third-party candidate for president if a pro-choice nominee like Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican nomination.
From Religious right may blackball Giuliani, by Michael Scherer | Salon News

I don’t think the Texas Taliban is dumb enough to do this. They may think that the earth is 6000 years old and they the country will fall apart if we treat gay people like…people; but what they lack in scientific knowledge they more than make up for in political savvy. They will threaten Rudy. They will act silly. And in the end they will not vote to help Hillary.

Glenn Greenwald on imperial ideology

It may very well serve our “national interests” to start a war because we want to control someone else’s resources, or because we think it would be good if they had a different government, or because we want the world to fear us, or because we want to change the type of political system they have, or because they aren’t complying with our dictates, or because we want to use their land as military bases, or because they are going to acquire weapons we tell them they are not allowed to have. But those who believe that war is justifiable and desirable under those circumstances are, by definition, espousing an imperial ideology.
From Glenn Greenwald - Political Blogs and Opinions - salon

A brilliant sumation of what is wrong with our foreign policy. Greenwald is one of the many must read blogs on Salon. The ongoing debate between he and Daniel Drezner is also very informative.

The collapse of Karl Rove

A month ago, a friend who has spent his entire career working for the Republican House leadership pulled up beside me at the intersection of Seventh and Pennsylvania in Washington. A House institutionalist, and a fiercely partisan secular Republican, he was oddly cheerful. “Call me next time you’re in town,” he said. “We’ll talk about how George Bush destroyed the Republican Party.” It will be a long conversation.
From Salon.com News | The collapse of Karl Rove

Very well written article on Karl Rove and what his legacy will actually be.

The three stooges

Omerta (or a code of silence) has become the final bond holding the Bush administration together. Honesty is dishonorable; silence is manly; penitence is weakness. Loyalty trumps law. Protecting higher-ups is patriotism. Stonewalling is idealism. Telling the truth is informing. Cooperation with investigators is cowardice; breaking the code is betrayal.
From Salon.com | The three stooges

I called it Omerta last month. At that time I was sure that we reached bottom. Little did I know this administration was adept at digging.

We are meant to be here

What Davies proposes is truly mind-bending. Drawing on the bizarre principles of quantum mechanics, he suggests that human beings — through the sheer act of observation — may have helped shape the laws of physics billions of years ago. What’s more, he says the universe seems to work like a giant computer. Indeed, it’s possible that’s exactly what it is, and we — like Neo in “The Matrix” — might just be living in a simulated virtual world.
We are meant to be here | Salon Books

When scientists start sounding like Philip K Dick, I usually run in the opposite direction. Much of this sounds like a bunch of stoners sitting around pondering the universe. Some interesting ideas. Mostly the type of stuff that can give you a headache if you let it. The most satisfying part of science is the readiness of scientist to answer I don’t know. Or to accept really odd edge cases and possibilities when the facts point that way.

Olbermann: Even Richard Nixon knew it was time to resign

Were there any remaining lingering doubt otherwise, or any remaining lingering hope, it ended yesterday when Mr. Bush commuted the prison sentence of one of his own staffers.
Did so even before the appeals process was complete. Did so without as much as a courtesy consultation with the Department of Justice. Did so despite what James Madison — at the Constitutional Convention — said about impeaching any president who pardoned or sheltered those who had committed crimes “advised by” that president.
Did so without the slightest concern that even the most detached of citizens must look at the chain of events and wonder: To what degree was Mr. Libby told, “Break the law however you wish — the president will keep you out of prison”?
From Salon.com | “Even Richard Nixon knew it was time to resign”

Frankly, I’d be happy if Gonzales resigned. Let alone President Bush. But it is about time people started calling this exactly what it is. This administration has invoked Omerta with the specific intent to prevent justice from being served. They are doing everything they can to make sure that Mr. Libby will never see the inside of a jail cell and will never be pressured into talking to the prosecution.

But to truly understand the damage he is doing to our system of justice, you have to look at the legal debate.

"The Bush administration, in some sense following the leads of three previous administrations, has repeatedly supported a federal sentencing system that is distinctly disrespectful of the very arguments that Bush has put forward in cutting Libby a break," said Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who writes the blog Sentencing Law and Policy.
From Bush Rationale on Libby Stirs Legal Debate - New York Times

Once again this administration has traded precedence for expedience. Policy for politics. Good faith for sort term gain.

real conservative

The great fraud being perpetrated in our political discourse is the concerted attempt by movement conservatives, now that the Bush presidency lay irreversibly in ruins, to repudiate George Bush by claiming that he is not, and never has been, a “real conservative.” This con game is being perpetrated by the very same conservatives who — when his presidency looked to be an epic success — glorified George W. Bush, ensured both of his election victories, depicted him as the heroic Second Coming of Ronald Reagan, and celebrated him as the embodiment of True Conservatism.
Glenn Greenwald - salon

I agree with Greenwald. A while ago I pointed that when the first conservatives (Sullivan comes to mind) broke from the Bush camp, movement conservatives started calling them liberals. Once Bush’s approval rating dropped to the point that he was only a burden to the movement, they’ve started calling Bush a liberal. Greenwald does a nice job showing how some of the same people who are claiming that Bush isn’t a real conservative supported the disastrous Bush tax cuts, the disastrous Bush foreign policy choices, the incompetents Bush appointments and much of the other Bush policy debacles. And now they realize that Bush wasn’t a conservative after all. How convenient.

What is really silly is that so many of what Bush has done comes from the Reagan play book. Tax cuts. Deregulation. Having industry insiders run the departments that regulate them. Cozy relationships with industry. Privatizing government functions. I see very little that Bush has done that Reagan wouldn’t have done. Or didn’t try to do.

I’m reminded of this quote:

Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others. - Groucho Marx

Bob Barr explains the conservative crack-up

So the conservative movement in recent years has suffered from allowing itself to become captured by the Republican Party, and it has lost, in many respects, its independence, the power that comes from being a true independent, principled movement, the conservative movement. These issues have become very complex because of that. So, for example, when you go to speak to a group of conservatives and you are critical of the way the current administration has been denigrating civil liberties and individual freedom, many conservatives rally to the defense of the administration because they support the administration.
From Salon

Bob Barr does an amazing job of explaining how the conservative movement is going off the rails. Missing from the article is why this happened. My pet theory is the lack of a center to hold everyone together. Between 1980 and 1988; conservatism had a unifying voice. Reagan. Between 1994 and 2000; conservatism also had a unifying anti-voice. Clinton. The one thing they could all agree on is that Clinton was bad. In order to be part of the Republican club, you had to have something to hate Clinton about. It didn’t even seem to matter if the GOP was worse on that issue.

And a prediction from me: when W leaves office, there will be a similar crack-up on the left. Many people, united largely by a dislike of W will be unable to find a unifying political philosophy to keep them together. Doubly so after we finally get ourselves out of Iraq.

Greenwald on Brooks

David Brooks’ column in The New York Times this morning contains several important observations. It would maximize clarity in our political discussions if journalists could just ingest Brooks’ central point: the dominant right-wing political movement in this country that has spawned and driven the Bush presidency has nothing to do with — it is in fact overtly hostile to — the ostensible principles of Goldwater/Reagan small-government conservatism. Though today’s so-called “conservatives” exploit the the Goldwater/Reagan mythology as a political prop, they don’t believe in those principles in any way. That movement is the very antithesis of those principles.
From Glenn Greenwald - salon

Brooks’ column is behind the Times Select wall, otherwise I would have posted a link to it. He has been on a roll as of late. If I kept a Colbert-esque on-notice list I would have taken him off that list after his piece on Bill Richards last month, only to put him back on after this. Brooks gets the facts right, sees the major issues. And then goes off the rails. Greenwald does a great job of pointing out what Brooks didn’t.

With that said, I talked about this almost a year ago when I noticed the first rumblings that the Conservative wing of the Republican party; which makes up the majority of that party despite not being in the position of setting the agenda; was being dragged off onto tangents by the Neo-Con and Theo-Con wings of the party. What we are seeing now is a growing revolt by the conservatives against an administration that is far removed from their increasingly dissatisfied constituency.

Yet another GOP gay sex scandel

Several bloggers were posting pictures of me and Coulter together and noting, gleefully, that the guy with his arm around the waist of the woman who called Edwards a faggot had, once upon a time, acted in adult films. Some of the sites were comparing me to Rich Merritt, a Marine Corps captain who appeared in gay films. Others were comparing me to Jeff Gannon and claiming that I too had advertised my services as a male escort. I won’t deny it, or that I acted in several adult movies 15 years ago under names like Pierre LaBranche and Rod Majors.
From Porn free | Salon.com

Why are the Republican sex scandals, gay sex scandals? I can’t think of a single heterosexual sex scandal involving a nationally recognizable republican. Today it dawned on me that the difference between gay and strait Republicans is that the heterosexual Republicans are all married.

Free advice to the GOP: If you let gay people get married with all the benefits of marriage, your sex scandal problems might all go away.

Inside Bush's prosecutor purge

But at least three of the eight fired attorneys were told by a superior they were being forced to resign to make jobs available for other Bush appointees, according to a former senior Justice Department official knowledgeable about their cases. That stands in contradiction to administration claims that the firings were related either to job performance or policy differences.
From Salon.com News | Inside Bush’s prosecutor purge

This was covered on both Countdown and The News Hour. Of all the scare power-grabs by the executive, this is the most clearly impeachable. It is an attempt to prevent the next Libby, Duke or Ney from ever being investigated.

Race, poverty and skin-whitener

the very act of encouraging poor people to consume products that they don’t need may actually make them worse off. Instead of trying to get them to buy more stuff, argues Kulkarni, we should be striving to find ways to help them produce more, so we can buy from them.
From How the World Works - salon.com

A must read article on the economics of poverty and development. A must read for those who haven’t read much about micro-loans and competing development models and just want a taste of the theory and what it looks like in the 3rd world.

the end of caveman-style conservativism

As pathetic, desperate efforts to spin an electoral loss of historic proportions go, this line of thinking makes the kind of faux intuitive sense that is pure talking point gold. The concocters of this poppycock deserve some credit. They were ready and waiting to unleash the conservative Democratic mandate and we’ll hear no end of pontificating about the new zeitgeist in the months ahead. Never mind, as the left-wing blogs have been pointing out with alacrity all morning, that the theory doesn’t hold up when you look at who actually won the majority of the Democratic takeaways from Republicans. If anything, the Northeast, with the possible exception of new Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, is sending a more solid block of liberal Democrats to Congress than has been seen in generations, if ever. New Hampshire’s utter transformation into the bluest of blue states has nothing to do with any purported rise of social conservatism. And even in Pennsylvania, it’s hard not to look at the humiliating annihilation of the Senate’s third most powerful leader, Rick Santorum, as anything other than a triumph over the most backward, homophobic, caveman-style conservativism this country has to offer.
From How the World Works - salon.com

Will people please stop buying the spin that this Republican loss is actually a conservative mandate. This is just plain wrong. The Dems that won buy the biggest margins are the ones like Brown, Whitehouse and Klobuchar who ran the furthest to the left. Heck, Klobuchar and Brown are to the left of me on most issues. Even the ones that ran to the center, Blue-Dogs like Ellsworth and Shuler; ran on Lou-Dobbs meat and potato progressive economic populism. Head over to Media Matters for a point by point analysis.

Second, will those who claim that the democrats don’t have any plans please go over to Google and type in “The Democratic Plan”? Just click here if you can’t be bothered. It’s the first few links.

Lastly, Nancy Pelosi is reading the election mandate correctly. There is a very strong desire for a return to progressive economic policies, a broad consensus for a change in national security policies and a strong desire to return to fiscal responsibility. And if you head over to her web site, you’ll see that her first 100 hours as speaker are to be devoted to those three big issues.

Hacking Democracy

“Hacking Democracy” follows Harris — a middle-aged writer and literary publicist from Seattle who first became interested in voting difficulties shortly before the 2002 race — as she travels the country to sound the alarm about what has become the most talked-about problem in elections, the dangers posed by the paperless electronic voting machines. Harris makes a grand subject for a documentary: Not only is she responsible for discovering some of the greatest vulnerabilities in touch-screen systems, she’s a firecracker who’s got Michael Moore’s flair for sarcastic confrontation. The film captures Harris and a band of fellow muckrakers engaged in a spate of guerrilla media spectacles — they spar with voting company representatives at official hearings, they storm into elections offices and demand evidence of electoral accuracy, they dig through garbage cans for proof of official malfeasance, they stage mock elections to show how quickly you can break into the nation’s voting equipment.
From Salon.com

And yet there are people who think that no one is cynical enough to use technology to tamper with the elections. While I am really skeptical of most of the Diebold conspiracy theories, I am really displeased with the way the company has refused to cooperate any oversight and has dragged its feet in dealing with voter concerns.

Why Johnny can't code

The “scripting” languages that serve as entry-level tools for today’s aspiring programmers — like Perl and Python — don’t make this experience accessible to students in the same way. BASIC was close enough to the algorithm that you could actually follow the reasoning of the machine as it made choices and followed logical pathways. Repeating this point for emphasis: You could even do it all yourself, following along on paper, for a few iterations, verifying that the dot on the screen was moving by the sheer power of mathematics, alone. Wow! (Indeed, I would love to sit with my son and write “Pong” from scratch. The rule set — the math — is so simple. And he would never see the world the same, no matter how many higher-level languages he then moves on to.)
From Salon.com Technology

I have to disagree on their assessment of scripting languages. Both python and ruby have an interactive command line mode that is very similar to the old-school basic I grew up with. The real problem is that the really cool stuff is all web based, so tinkering in basic has been replaced with tinkering with HTML, JavaScript and PHP. Just look at the what people are doing to their livejournal and myspace pages. That’s where the newbies are learning to code.

The Believer

The intelligent design argument presumes that these complicated, multi-component systems — the most widely described one is the bacterial flagellum, a little outboard motor that allows bacteria to zip around in a liquid solution — that you couldn’t get there unless you could simultaneously evolve about 30 different proteins. And until you had all 30 together, you would gain no advantage. The problem is it makes an assumption that’s turning out to be wrong. All of those multi-component machines, including the flagellum, do not come forth out of nothingness. They come forth very gradually by the recruitment of one component that does one fairly modest thing. And then another component that was doing something else gets recruited in and causes a slightly different kind of function. And over the course of long periods of time, one can in fact come up with very plausible models to develop these molecular machines solely through the process of evolution as Darwin envisaged it. So intelligent design is already showing serious cracks. It is not subject to actual scientific testing.
From Salon.com

A really great discription of what is wrong with Intelligent Design; and why Evolution is no threat to religion. The kicker is that it is written by a evangelical Christian. It is also a reminder why I am Agnostic rather than an Atheist.

But the best way to see the difference between science and theologically biased pseudo science is by looking at the field of predicting the apocalypse.

Although Lindsey did not claim to know the dates of future events with any certainty, in one passage he suggested that Matthew 24:32-34 indicated that Jesus’ return would be within “one generation” of the rebirth of the state of Israel, and asserted that “in the Bible” one generation is forty years. Some readers took this as an indication that the Tribulation or the Rapture would occur no later than 1988.
The Late, Great Planet Earth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For thousands of years, tens of thousands of scholars have read the bible with the sincere belief that by careful study and analysis, then can predict the end of the world. The track record for predictions using this methodology is currently 0.00%.

On the other hand, evolutionists have studied the fossil record looking for clues. They make predictions on the type of species, the ages, the characteristics and the locations of the fossils they expect to find. Every time they are right, their track record improves. And every time they are wrong, they study why they were wrong and then their track record also improves. That is the self correcting nature of science. and while science is never 100%, no one can seriously argue that biblical analysis is even close.

highway robbery

Over the years since he ascended to the pinnacle of the House leadership, however, Hastert’s fortunes have improved substantially. Last year, he and two business partners sold a parcel of land west of Chicago for a very tidy profit — only months after he’d “earmarked” hundreds of millions in federal funding for a new highway near their property.
From Salon

Anyone else reminded of Whitewater? The key difference being that Hastert diverted government money to his personal benefit while the Clintons lost money on the deal. So I assume that the Republicans that were all up in arms about Whitewater will demand an investigation on this. Hmm…not likely.

why does CNN grant an open forum to this particular whack-job and not others

When Coulter is invited to spout her putrescence on Larry King Live, the legitimacy granted to her is CNN’s fault, not Coulter’s. After all, there’s no shortage of desperate attention seekers willing to say and do outlandish things to get noticed. The question is, why does CNN grant an open forum to this particular whack-job and not others?
The Grit: The Bleating of Cowards: Hannity, O’Reilly, & Co.

Can someone name a left-wing loony that gets as much TV time as Coulter? Someone who has joked about killing a supreme court justice with rat poison or insulted our troops the way Coulter has? For the life of me, I can’t.

Marines killed civilians "in cold blood"

“Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood,” said Jack Murtha of Pennsylvania, a decorated Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam and is among the most influential Democratic voices on military matters. “This is going to be a very, very bad thing for the United States.”
From Salon.com News

Really sad story here. I have a lot of sympathy for troops in Iraq. They’re in a really tough fight made worse by failures of the civilian leadership. And this is yet another tragic incident that will serve as propaganda by the Islamists.

The Rove watch

Karl Rove’s fans and supporters are putting on a brave face — he’s just wrapping up loose ends, putting questions to rest, etc. — but a source close to president’s chief political advisor tells the Washington Post that Rove simply doesn’t know whether he’s going to be indicted or not.
From Salon.com

A really nice update on what’s going on with Fitzgerald’s investigation and how Rove isn’t off the hook just yet.

Saddam chose to deny inspectors

“I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That’s why I went to the [United Nations] Security Council; that’s why it was important to pass [Resolution] 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences — and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose [emphasis added], then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.”
The official transcript notes “laughter” at that moment.
From Salon.com

Revisionist History unfolding before our eyes. I really want to hear the tortured logic by the usual GOPers defending this obvious lie. Saddam did not deny inspectors. They were in Iraq during the build up to war. This is clearly a lie.

Tell us again about red-state self-reliance

In a study released today, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation reveals that — to a much greater degree than their azure kin — red states continue to rely on the largess of the federal government.
From Salon.com

Between 04 and 06; the amount of money New York State gets back went up $0.02 per dollar. I feel so blessed. The amount I am subsidizing the red-state-socialist economies went down.

right-wingers turn against bush

Instead of shoring up the conservative base, Bush’s bland rhetoric and ticky-tacky domestic initiatives — more switchgrass, less malaria — only confirmed conservatives’ ever-growing concern: Far from an heir to the legacy of Ronald Reagan, the president has become just another free-spending, big-government politician.
From Salon.com

This is what I’ve been saying about Bush for years now. I don’t dislike him because he is a conservative, I disapprove of his administration because is totally devoid of conservative values. The standard GOPer defense is to say he is a non-traditional conservative as if that is something other than a oxymoron.

hybrid cars

Wall Street Journal features business opinion columnist Holman Jenkins Jr. on the warpath against the Prius. Again. It’s a reprise of a satirical column published two weeks ago that succeeded in so thoroughly outraging Prius owners that Jenkins must have decided to take another poke just for the fun of watching the ants swarm.
“If Prius owners consume less, there’s less demand, prices will be lower and somebody else will step up to consume more than they would at the otherwise higher price. That’s the price mechanism at work. Oil is a fantastically useful commodity. Humans can be relied upon to consume all the oil they’d be willing to consume at a given price.”
If Prius owners really wanted to save the world, Jenkins suggests, they should all be driving Hummers, and using up oil as fast they could, so as to drive the price up enough to spur alternative energy technologies.
From Salon

I may want to thank the WSJ for making an argument for increased gasoline taxes. Since they agree that reducing demand will lower prices; wouldn’t increased gasoline taxes do the same as putting more Hybrids on the road? But since blinder wearing neo-conservatives can never muster us the courage to consider a place for something other than strict ideologically pure supply-side economics, they would never admit this.

In 2005, the sales of hybrid vehicles nearly tripled, and the outlook for 2006 is even brighter. According to Edmunds, Hybrids represented 1.26 percent of all vehicle sales last year, and the volume should double in 2006.
From wired

The Aptera prototype, which is halfway to completion, will go for up to 330 miles on a gallon of gas thanks to an aerodynamic design and the lightweight composites that make up the chassis.
From wired

Chris Matthews

You’d think the only focus tonight would be on destroying Osama Bin Laden, not comparing him to an American who opposes the war whether you like him or not. You want a real debate that America needs? Here goes: If the administration had done the job right in Tora Bora we might not be having discussions on Hardball about a new Bin Laden tape. How dare Scott McClellan tell America that this Administration puts terrorists out of business when had they put Osama Bin Laden out of business in Afghanistan when our troops wanted to, we wouldn’t have to hear this barbarian’s voice on tape. That’s what we should be talking about in America. — John Kerry
More here and here

This is the typical GOPer tactic. Applaud hateful comments aimed at your opponents while calling any comment from any GOP critic hate.

But Moore gets the last laugh

America's Constitution is in grave danger

Congressman Barr and I have disagreed many times over the years, but we have joined together today with thousands of our fellow citizens — Democrats and Republicans alike — to express our shared concern that America’s Constitution is in grave danger.
From Salon

This is a must read. I’ve changed my mind on Gore, sadly five+ years too late. I’m really sorry I voted for Nader. Despite the fact that Gore is leading bipartisan criticism against administration actions, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales still found time to misinform on CNN.

Abramoff spin

Now that the corruption scandal has fully metathesized, the GOP spin machine is busy with the talking points, acting as if everything is just fine and there isn’t actually a problem with the GOP. Here is my counter-point by point.

Spin 1: The problem isn’t that bad.

With that, Abramoff turned states’ evidence. He completed his two-year transformation from Republican golden boy, congressional gatekeeper and millionaire glad-hander to disgraced snitch, a man positioned to bring down the political machine he helped create. As part of his guilty plea, Abramoff faces a recommended prison sentence of between nine and 11 years. He will likely pay at least $25 million in restitution, and another $1.7 million in back taxes.
From salon

"Mr. Abramoff says he has information that could implicate 60 lawmakers," the WSJ reports.
From Think Progress

Counterpoint: Abramoff took a deal where he will have to pay back $25 million and then spend almost a decade in jail. That is the deal he worked out for full cooperation with the prosecution. It also involved 60 lawmakers. That is over 10% of total number of members of the House plus Senate. If that isn’t bad, what would be?

Spin 2: Abramoff isn’t a Republican

Since watching the news last night and this morning, I’ve heard Jack Abramoff referred to as a “Republican lobbyist” countless times. This is a blatant attempt to attribute his corruption to the GOP. Lobbyists are not partisan: they whore themselves out to any politician, regardless of party affiliation. As noagenda.org and gopbloggers.org point out, Abramoff is not solely a “Republican lobbyist”, but is linked to many Dems as well.
From rightofftheshore blog

Between 2001 and 2004, Abramoff gave more than $127,000 to Republican candidates and committees and nothing to Democrats, federal records show. At the same time, his Indian clients were the only ones among the top 10 tribal donors in the U.S. to donate more money to Republicans than Democrats.
From bloomberg

Counterpoint: Abramoff was a Bush Pioneer. If that doesn’t make you a Republican, what does? Second, he only gave money to Republicans.

Abramoff raised at least $100,000 for President Bush’s 2004 re-election effort, earning the honorary title “pioneer” from the campaign. It was unclear how much exactly the campaign would be giving to charity since McClellan referred questions about the matter to the Republican National Committee, which did not immediately return phone calls about it.
From AP

Spin 3: This is a bi-partisan problem.

For the record, here’s a list of everybody Abramoff gave hard money to in 2002 and 2004:
From apshort blog

Notice a lack of dems? I did.

Abramoff has reportedly agreed to testify against several members of Congress who received favors from him or his clients. Over the past several weeks, the Justice Department has been debriefing him and combing through thousands of e-mails he kept (he was also a pack rat) from his most productive and illegal period. Investigators are reportedly focusing on as many as 20 lawmakers and aides. Like the Enron scandal and others, this one is likely to affect some who didn’t do anything illegal but were associated with the discredited and vulgar lobbyist.
From slate

Counterpoint: On that list, a single Democrat is listed, Senator Byron Dorgan. So if 8 Republicans to one Democrat counts as bi-partisan then by all means, call it as such. Call it copped liver if you wish. That doesn’t change the fact that this problem is a GOP problem. While it is true that some of his clients gave to Democrats, he is the one on trial, not them. Second, the issue isn’t who he donated money to, but who he bribed. So even if you can produce a list of democrats that have accepted money from Abramoff connected sources, it still isn’t a Democratic problem.

With that said, the GOP doesn’t have a monopoly on corruption. This whole mess makes me think that power; whether political, financial or even social; is like radiation. Prolonged exposure somehow warps your genetic makeup.

Slurring Bush

Amazing what you can do with a little video editing. And a really terrible performance by the president. Normally I don’t post outright ad hominem attacks. This is just too funny not to share.

From: Salon.com

The top ten myths about Iraq in 2005

Juan Cole, one of the most incisive analysts of the situation in Iraq, lists the top ten myths about that country that he sees promulgated in the U.S. media. Cole is a fierce critic of the war and the administration that is waging it, but he’s also a nuanced thinker who challenges conventional wisdom on all sides. Here are the myths he debunks — check out his blog for his explanations.
From Juan Cole, by way of Salon

Hungry Planet

Perhaps we are simply destined to live in a world where local cultures exist only as residue preserved for the sake of tourists. If our children’s children want to know about hand-grinding barley on a stone or spreading manure on fallow fields, they can read about it in “Hungry Planet.” A review of the book, really, should be written 50 or 100 years from now.
From Salon

Health Care for Hybrids

On Nov. 17, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., introduced a “Health Care for Hybrids” bill that outlines a new approach for boosting fuel efficiency in Detroit. It would offer struggling U.S. automakers a voluntary but potentially enticing deal: relief from some of the high health care costs they pay for retired employees (expected to total more than $5 billion in 2005) in exchange for a commitment to reinvest at least half of those savings in the development and manufacture of fuel-efficient vehicles.
Now, is this an argument for Hybrids or for Universal Health Care? I think it is a little bit of both. How high do fuel/health care cost have to rise before we have a honest national debate on our priorities.

making hay from straw-men

Washington is suddenly convulsed by a debate that should have taken place three years ago, and the sleeping giant known as the American public is finally awakening to the deceptions that led to war. Emotion, instinct, and other proclivities may be the driving force behind support or opposition for war, but reason and logic are the means by which we try to prove the correctness of our views.
Peter Daou of Salon lists Ten Pro-War Fallacies

wackos

“The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees,” Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them.”
That quote doesn’t come from Michael Moore, Air America or the so-called liberal media. It comes from Republican Lobbyist Michael Scanlon. Finally, a Republican willing to say the truth. And it is refreshing to see that they understand how wacky thier base is too.