Monday Mashup (10/7/13 – update)

October 7, 2013

  • Time to welcome right-wing bloviator Rod Dreher to the party (here, believing that it’s important for him to let everyone know why he left the Catholic Church)…

    What needed changing? Lots. My own brokenness was plain to me, and I was ready to turn from my destructive sins and become a new person. The one thing I didn’t want to do was surrender my sexual liberty, which was my birthright as a young American male. I knew, though, that without fully giving over my will to God, any conversion would be precarious.

    Also, Dreher, says that he rarely heard homilies about LGBT individuals or abortion; I haven’t heard them as much as I used to either, but there are plenty of reminders during the course of a Mass in the general intercessions or announcements after Communion from the Church about their views on those subjects. That being said, though, yesterday was “Respect Life” Sunday, so we got a heaping helping of a homily full of ABORTION ABORTION ABORTION ABORTION ABORTION ABORTION!!! Oh, and by the way, euthanasia and human cloning are baaaad, and one more thing…ABORTION ABORTION ABORTION ABORTION ABORTION ABORTION!!!! from Deacon Bob (and even trying to co-opt the fight for civil rights and the fall of Communism, as if those two struggles are of equal importance).

    Returning to Dreher, I just wanted you to keep in mind what he says about “surrender(ing) his sexual liberty” as you consider the following (here)…

    Rod Dreher, commenting on the Iowa State Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, notes that the anti-gay marriage position is being likened to racism and complains that as this mindset takes hold “it will be very hard to be a public Christian”.

    For heaven’s sake. Harder than it was for Christ himself, whose crucifixion we will be commemorating shortly? Harder than for the early Christians who were tossed to lions, not just served with a harrassment (sp) summons from the HR Department?

    So Dreher is defending the anti-gay marriage position of the Church even though he tells us that he’s no longer a member of that Church? “Sexual liberty” for me, but not for thee, I guess (and I don’t know anything about the “harassment summons from the HR Department” stuff).

    And for someone who doesn’t want to affiliate himself with the Church, he certainly has no problem supporting its admittedly narrow-minded position on contraception, as noted here from former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist and best-selling author (and now lawyer, apparently) John Grogan (oh, but it’s really John Grogan saying these things and not Dreher – true, but if Dreher didn’t agree, why would he link to Grogan’s commentary? I could be snarky, though, and say that Grogan should apologize for making it possible for me to endure the movie version of “Marley and Me,” but maybe I’d better let that go).

    And get a load of this

    Liberalism, while imposing through state power regimes that declare everyone free to pursue whatever they take to be their own good, deprives most people of the possibility of understanding their lives as a quest for the discovery and achievement of the good…

    So, trying to think like Dreher for a minute (a dangerous exercise I’ll admit), couldn’t you argue that “liberalism,” by making it possible for us all to pursue “our own good,” has helped make it possible for Dreher to achieve the “sexual liberty” he so cherishes?

    I know we’re “deep in the woods” here, so I’ll wrap this up with the following; if Dreher wants to act like a wanton libertine with his private parts, that’s his business. However, that in no way gives him the right to assign any notion of moral behavior to anyone else.

    And as long as I’m in “moral scold” territory, I have to tell you about this from Falafel Man…

    People have a right to take the Bible literally, he said, but in the case of “Killing Jesus,” he was trying to be historically accurate. He never says in the book that Jesus was the Son of God because his book is not intended to be religious.

    “So is this the Gospel according to Bill?” asked “60 Minutes” correspondent Norah O’Donnell.

    “This is best available evidence according to Bill,” O’Reilly responded.

    So, as a Roman Catholic, when given the opportunity to proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God (and yes, I am completely aware that other faiths have different things to say about that, and they should be respected also of course), Bill decides to take a pass because he doesn’t have “the best available evidence,” or something.

    However, this same guy can complain here that “the Judeo-Christian tradition is under attack” and those who think Christianity is a religion are “so stupid, it’s painful” here.

    What a pompous ass.

    Update 10/8/13: There aren’t very many times when I’m ashamed to be a Roman Catholic, bur unfortunately, this is one of them.

  • Next, I haven’t checked in with Former Laura Bush Employee Andrew Malcolm for a little while, so please allow me to do so now here (he who gravitated downward from the LA Times to Investor’s Business Daily; I guess Mad Magazine would be next, as if they’d have him)…

    (Last) Tuesday, addressing the United Nations General Assembly, (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu announced that Israel would not permit development of a nuke by Iran, which has several times vowed to erase Israel from the face of the planet. And, the Israeli added, if necessary, his nation was prepared to go it alone in that preventive endeavor.

    Did Netanyahu’s unusually tough, forthright stance stem from something disappointing that Obama told him during (a) White House photo op?

    My guess would be no, but somehow I’m sure Malcolm will do his best to make it sound like that’s true anyway.

    Oh, and as long as we’re talking about the recent UN speech by “Bibi,” British career diplomat Peter Jenkins flagged about 30 lies from the Israel PM while he spoke (here, and as far as the supposed hostility from Number 44 to our supposedly staunch ally, I give you this).

  • Continuing, former MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent opined as follows at Fix Noise here, trying ultimately (and in vain, I think) to argue that President Obama fails some kind of a leadership test because he isn’t like FDR, or something…

    Against the stunning backdrop of the current diplomatic efforts to avoid our use of military force in Syria, I have been reading a superb new book, “Rendezvous with Destiny: How Franklin D. Roosevelt and Five Extraordinary Men Took America into the War and into the World” by Michael Fullilove.

    There seems no limit to the interest in World War II, and this book examines the efforts of five envoys President Franklin D. Roosevelt used between late 1939 when Hitler invaded Poland and December,1941 when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor, to represent him as he tried to deal the emerging crisis.

    Those envoys, close associates of his, were Sumner Welles, Bill Donovan, Harry Hopkins, Averell Harriman and Wendell Willkie.

    Vincent is correct to say that Fullilove points that out. However, from this New York Times review of the book, we learn that “the only true personal envoy, the only man whom the president fully trusted to speak for him, was Hopkins” (Willkie even ran against Roosevelt for president in 1940). So I would say that Fullilove has a bit to learn on that subject.

    I have to admit that I have a bit of an axe to grind about Vincent ever since his lifetime suspension of Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds (and the Phillies, for a time – more here). Yes, I have a bit of a blind spot because I’ll never forget that catch of Rose’s that led to final out of the 1980 World Series, and I know Vincent’s actions were based upon the rules, but I have not yet seen an epidemic of gambling on baseball because of Rose’s admittedly dumb actions. And I don’t see how that compares to the performance enhancement stuff appearing all over the place in that sport in particular (and somehow, Alex Rodriguez can argue that he still belongs in the game, as noted here).

    Also, while I’m on the subject of “America’s National Pastime,” I have a request for the management of the Philadelphia Phillies that I’m sure will be ignored (now that their season has been over for about the last week or so).

    McCarthy_Wheeler_Matthews
    And that is to fire all three of these guys.

    I don’t spend the time in front of the tube watching the Phillies as much as I used to for a lot of reasons, but when I do, it is absolutely intolerable. All three of the Phillies’ TV announcers (Tommy McCarthy, Gary Matthews, and the thoroughly insufferable Chris Wheeler) should Google the term “dead air” and read up on the concept. And yes, I know the team isn’t riding high at the moment (sports being cyclical and all that), but that has nothing to do with this observation.

    Between the utterly mindless promotions and gabbing about inconsequential nonsense, to say nothing of the thorough non-insight into the actual game (shocking from Matthews, a good former player), I pretty much feel like this when I watch the Phillies on TV…

    McDowell_Eyes
    Simulcast Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen (and Jim Jackson if possible), and let the TV crew do the whole “baseball nostalgia and collectible” circuit instead (maybe Wheeler can spend 5 minutes opining on the Phillie Phanatic to people who actually care…that being said, at least the Phillies aren’t as chaotic as the orange-and-black these days, which, based on this, are turning into a reality TV show IMHO).

    Update 1/9/14: Apparently, Comcast (who recently took over the Phillies broadcasts) was listening based on this (I’m sure McCarthy will follow the lead of whoever is hired to replace Matthews and Wheeler – I have no desire to see these guys, or anyone else, out of work in this climate, and to be fair, Wheeler has put a lot of time in and deserves something. I’m just glad that, whatever it is, a microphone or a TV camera will be nowhere in sight).

  • Finally, I left our “big story,” as it were, for last – to begin, I give you some true comedy from Fred Barnes of the Weakly Standard here

    (House Speaker John Boehner’s) ability to corral Republican votes was in doubt. He had lost 66 GOP members on raising the debt limit in 2011. But the vote on the “fiscal cliff” in late December was worse: 151 of the 233 Republicans, including Cantor and House majority whip Kevin McCarthy, voted against the Boehner-blessed deal. This raised doubts about his future as speaker.

    Now all that has changed. Republicans are united behind him.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Is it my imagination, or does Barnes sound like “Baghdad Bob”?

    Based on this, basically all of the southeastern PA U.S. House delegation now opposes shutting down the government over the continued, ridiculous intransigence of the Teahadists (except this guy, of course).

    And speaking of our delegation, one of Mikey the Beloved’s spokespeople told us here back on 9/17 that a shut down was “off the table” for him (of course, Mikey isn’t the one to make the decision on that – and I wonder if the robocalls noted in the Inky story had anything to do with making up his mind?). Also, I’m sure we’ll never find out why Mikey opposed the measure noted here that would allow our military to get paid in the event of a shutdown (just another reason to support Kevin Strouse, one of the Dems vying for the nomination to run for the PA-08 seat – more on Strouse is here).

    I also wanted to link to this item on the so-called “clean continuing resolution” to fund the government that just about all of this country wants to see passed; Chris Hayes did a pretty good job of pointing out how much the House CR looks like the Ryan budget rejected by the voters last year (and the Senate CR isn’t much better – they both come in under the funding requested by the White House to “keep the lights on”).

    For anyone who still needs to get an understanding of the pain caused by the current shut down, though, I would ask that you read this from here; we’re talking about the following (probably some overlap on this list)…

    Veterans
    Head Start funding
    Welfare recipients (of course)
    Women and infants relying on nutrition programs
    Low-income individuals in need of utility help
    People with disabilities
    Bureau of Land Management operations

    And from here

    Senior citizens in need of food services
    Hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed immediately without pay
    The economy overall (we could lose $10 billon a week)

    And from here

    Flu vaccines
    Death benefits for military families
    Forest fire fighters in California (did I mention that they’re in the dry season?)
    OSHA (they had to halt factory inspections)
    FOIA requests
    Renewable energy permits
    College students
    Data collection from the Bureau of Economic Analysis
    Air monitoring

    And on, and on, and on…

    So let’s give an appropriate ”thank you” to those responsible, shall we?

    Teabagger_100913
    God Bless America.

    Update: Uh, yep (h/t Daily Kos).

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    Friday Mashup (2/1/13)

    February 1, 2013
  • It’s been a little while since I checked in with former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm of Investor’s Business Daily, but, kind of like the dull toothache you experience when you bite down a little too hard on a freezer pop, he has returned, Obama-baiting rhetoric and “Democrat” Party references in tow (here, and as is almost always the case accompanied by polling numbers that don’t come close to telling the whole story)…

    Predictably perhaps, the nation’s economy, which President Obama has vowed to repair even more often than he golfs, earns the least satisfaction from Americans, according to the new Gallup survey. Only one-in-five Americans (20%), presumably among those still employed, are somewhat or very satisfied with the economy. That’s down 27 points since the same 2005 Gallup survey.

    Inquiring minds giving Malcolm more attention than he deserves would be wondering I’m sure why the Dubya loyalist would go back to 2005. Why, that was at the peak of our last economic bubble under Former President Highest Disapproval Rating in Gallup Poll History, of course (you know, so Malcolm could skew the numbers as much as he could).

    And let me note also that, while only 20 percent of this country is satisfied with the economy, Gallup also tells us here that 14 percent approve of our wretched U.S. Congress.

    So with an economic approval of only 20 percent, Obama’s actual approval number would be about that or near Congressional approval if Malcolm were correct to blame Number 44 exclusively, right?

    Uh, no (48 percent, to be exact).

  • Next, Repug U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch tells us here that upgrading our system of background checks in this country prior to approving to gun purchases would lead to a “reduction in liberty,” or something.

    Really?

    To get an idea of why Hatch said that, you need only read this; basically, like all Repugs in Congress, Hatch is worried about saying or doing anything whatsoever that could bite him in the ass from the Limbaugh-Hannity-Drudge faction that was once the fringe, but pretty much calls the shots now in his party (Hatch easily won re-election last year, but the fundraising pretty much never stops any more in the absence of public-money-only campaign financing).

    Hatch also doesn’t want to do anything whatsoever to shut off that flow of dough from the NRA, which has graced him with about $136 grand to date, as noted here.

  • Continuing, I give you the latest from Stu Bykofsky at philly.com on immigration (here)…

    If we fail to get enforcement – not just at the border, but in the workplace – we will “invite” millions more “guests” to arrive illegally, and we will repeat the same drama again.

    That’s a recipe for disaster.

    In response, this tells us that, after about 30-40 years of steadily increasing immigration to this country from Mexico (legal and otherwise), the pace has slowed down. Also, this tells us that PA Repug U.S. House Rep Lou Barletta (who I discussed here) said recently that there basically was no point to pursuing immigration reform for unskilled workers since, well, they’ll just become Democrats anyway (nice guy).

    Think Progress has the nonsense from Barletta and a lot more important stuff on this issue from here (and on the question of Obama and enforcement, the following should be noted from here).

    Update 2/3/13: More “epic fail” from Barletta is here – voters in his district who supported this clown must be so proud (I’m sure Barletta needs special protection from an would-be assailant brandishing a spoon).

  • And speaking of policies from the Obama Administration, I give you this

    Smith & Nephew eliminated nearly 100 jobs in Memphis and Andover, Mass., on Thursday, Jan. 31, as the medical device company cuts expenses in an effort to offset tax hikes included in the Affordable Care Act.

    The Affordable Care Act includes a 2.3 percent medical device tax, which took effect Jan. 1.

    The London-based company, which employs about 1,800 people in Memphis, said the new tax will cost the industry about $30 billion over 10 years.

    “(The tax) has impacted a number of companies across the U.S.,” said Joe Metzger, senior vice president of corporate communications. “Smith & Nephew is not immune from this added expense burden.”

    Smith & Nephew announced in February 2012 that it would reduce its global workforce by 7 percent over the next three years. Several other companies announced similar plans, including Stryker and Medtronic.

    I’m sorry about the Smith & Nephew workers in this country who are now out of a job, of course. However, the company still was able to pursue a deal worth about $782 million in cash last year to acquire Healthpoint Biotherapeutics, a “big name” among bio-pharma companies (here). Didn’t they anticipate what they thought would be the “rainy day” of more medical device taxes to protect their workers?

    And I wonder if a $22 million settlement in a bribery case had anything to do with their sudden financial hardship (here and here)?

  • Finally, with the return of a new Congressional session last month, that marked a return of the old Repug U.S. House wingnut extraordinaire Steve King of Iowa (here, among other idiocies)…

    Mr. Obama’s executive elimination of all work requirements of “welfare to work” violated the 1996 welfare reform work legislation, which was signed by President Clinton. Mr. Obama violated the Constitution by waiving provisions that the law specifically stated could not be waived by the president.

    It should be noted that Politifact had something to say about that urban legend of sorts here when it was uttered by Former Senator Man-On-Dog during the Repug presidential primary last year (just add this to the ever-growing catalog of King wingnuttia, much of which is chronicled here).


  • Monday Mashup Part One (10/11/10)

    October 11, 2010

    (At least one of these items is from last week, but this is the first chance I’ve had to post on it.)

  • 1) Former Senator (and would-be Repug party presidential nominee, apparently – dear God, please let him win the nomination…I’ll post forever!) Man-On-Dog opined as follows in (where else?) The Philadelphia Inquirer recently here…

    Liberal elites are once again using health-care policy to advance one of their agenda items, this time on the abortion front.

    The American Civil Liberties Union has launched an effort to force religious hospitals to provide abortions. The organization is asking the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – which controls nearly $800 billion in President Obama’s latest budget – to force hospitals to provide abortions or lose federal funding.

    The views of the centers’ administrator, Dr. Donald Berwick, are so controversial that Obama had to appoint him while Congress was in recess. Now he is overseeing the writing of countless new health-care regulations, and the ACLU can’t let an opportunity like that slip by.

    Using a handful of mostly anonymous anecdotes about pregnant women who were denied abortions at religiously affiliated hospitals, the group is demanding that Berwick’s agency rewrite the rules of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act to force care providers to perform abortions.

    I’m not going to post about Dr. Berwick because I don’t want to rehash any right-wing arguments and thus inadvertently give them more oxygen than they deserve. Instead, I want to focus on an “anonymous anecdote,” as Little Ricky glibly puts it, that seems to be a lynchpin for his specious argument (of course, he con-vee-niently chooses to downplay the anonymity right patients have anyway due to HIPAA regulations).

    This tells us of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ, a Catholic-owned hospital that provided a life-saving abortion to a young mother of four who was dying from pulmonary hypertension.

    As the story tells us…

    The hospital’s Ethics Committee determined that her physicians would be permitted to perform the abortion under the Ethical and Religious Directives under which Catholic hospitals operate. Though the hospital provided the necessary care in this instance, the Catholic hierarchy — via the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (PDF) and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix (PDF) — subsequently issued statements denouncing the emergency abortion, and making clear that abortion can essentially never be performed at a Catholic hospital. This means that the next woman who enters a Catholic hospital in need of an emergency abortion could die.

    And as this story tells us, the hospital administrator, Sr. Margaret McBride, was “automatically excommunicated” by Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted.

    The story from the ACLU web site tells us that the group “asked the federal government to ensure that religiously affiliated hospitals provide emergency reproductive health care as required by the Emergency Medical Conditions and Women in Labor Act and the Conditions of Participation for hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds (PDF).”

    Of course, given what passes for Santorum’s thought processes, forcing Catholic hospitals to comply with the law automatically gets spun into forcing health providers who oppose abortion to act against their “conscience.”

    So just remember, you would-be moms who run into catastrophic circumstances with your pregnancy, as far as Santorum is concerned, you can either save your own life and commit a mortal sin in the process, or die a slow, excruciating death with a clear conscience, just so long as you “propagate” the faith.

  • 2) Also, I haven’t had much to say about columnist Deroy Murdock, but this item was impossible to ignore, particularly the following…

    Washington dictates showerhead water pressure, limits the capacity of flush toilets, and essentially will ban Edison-style light bulbs as of 2014.

    Yep, looks like those dern terrists are even gonna come after us in our bathrooms (Godless heathens, including those danged li-bu-ruuls).

    This tells us that the law phasing out incandescent light bulbs was signed in 2007, so whatever you may think of that (and the jury seems to still be out, as they say, on the replacement-type bulbs…I’ve read that though fluorescent bulbs contain a smaller amount of mercury than the traditional incandescent bulbs, they pose more of a risk of mercury exposure than the older type if they break), you can’t blame Obama for that (not as president, anyway).

    But in terms of the water from the shower heads, the Murdoch Street Journal tells us here that consumers mostly aren’t affected, and 95 percent of existing shower heads are compliant anyway.

    So it looks like Deroy Murdock is all wet (sorry, too easy).

  • 3) Finally, it’s time for another chapter of Fun With Poll Numbers Starring Former Laura Bush Employee Andrew Malcolm (here)…

    According to president No. 44, George Bush presided over eight years of failed policies and left a huge mess that Obama has been unable to clean up, even with Joe Biden’s verbal help.

    But here’s the problem. And it’s a big one: The American public is now disagreeing with Barack Obama on that issue, too. A new CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows the pair are virtually tied now in terms of approval of their presidencies.

    This tells us the following (“Photoshopped” pic and all)…

    A new CNN/Opinion Dynamics poll released today should provide some hope to Democrats and cause a bit of concern for the GOP ahead of the mid term elections. The poll revealed that a majority of Americans (53%) blame George W. Bush and the GOP not Barack Obama and the Democrats for the nation’s current economic problems.

    The CNN/ Opinion Dynamics poll asked a very simple question. Who do you hold responsible for the nation’s current economic problems George W. Bush and the GOP, or Barack Obama and the Democrats? Fifty three percent of respondents blamed Bush and the Republicans, while only 33% blamed Obama and the Democrats, 10% blamed both parties, 3% said neither, and 1% were not sure.

    In the poll cited by Malcolm, the numbers are 47 percent Obama and 45 percent Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History (which, despite it all, are twice those at least of a former moose-hunting, half-term Alaska governor, as noted here).


  • Tuesday Mashup Part One (10/5/10)

    October 5, 2010

  • 1) I give you the following recent example of “High Broderism” (here)…

    The Democrats were lying in wait for John Boehner when the Republican leader of the House announced that he would address the subject of congressional reform in a speech Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute.

    Before Boehner opened his mouth, Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted him in a statement charging that “Congressional Republicans and Mr. Boehner have stood in the way of Democratic reform efforts in Congress for the last four years, and now they want to take America back to the exact same failed policies of the past that put the corporate special interests ahead of the middle class.”

    That is par for the course in this campaign season, and it represents the sort of reflexive partisanship that voters are understandably sick of.

    Actually, what it represents is the utterly craven and pointless Republican obstruction that voters are understandably sick of.

    And how does The Esteemed Beltway Journalist know what “voters are sick of” anyway? Why, he takes his periodic jaunt to a rib shack in Dubuque or a Rotary Club meeting in Fond du Lac to find some quotes from individuals who perhaps are not as well versed in the art of media spin as he is that reinforce his pre-defined narrative (i.e., Republicans know what’s best, and when they force their agenda, the Dems should respond, “Thank you, sir, may I have another?,” lest there be a breach of “bipartisanship”).

    Fortunately, Bob Herbert of the New York Times is a member of the reality-based community, and he wrote the following on The Orange One today (here)…

    It’s beyond astonishing to me that John Boehner has a real chance to be speaker of the House of Representatives.

    I’ve always thought of Mr. Boehner as one of the especially sleazy figures in a capital seething with sleaze. I remember writing about that day back in the mid-’90s when this slick, chain-smoking, quintessential influence-peddler decided to play Santa Claus by handing out checks from tobacco lobbyists to fellow Congressional sleazes right on the floor of the House.

    It was incredible, even to some Republicans. The House was in session, and here was a congressman actually distributing money on the floor. Other, more serious, representatives were engaged in debates that day on such matters as financing for foreign operations and a proposed amendment to the Constitution to outlaw desecration of the flag. Mr. Boehner was busy desecrating the House itself by doing the bidding of big tobacco.

    Embarrassed members of the G.O.P. tried to hush up the matter, but I got a tip and called Mr. Boehner’s office. His chief of staff, Barry Jackson, was hardly contrite. “They were contributions from tobacco P.A.C.’s,” he said.

    When I asked why the congressman would hand the money out on the floor of the House, Mr. Jackson’s answer seemed an echo of Willie Sutton’s observation about banks. “The floor,” he said, “is where the members meet with each other.”

    The Times’s Eric Lipton, in an article last month, noted that Mr. Boehner “maintains especially tight ties with a circle of lobbyists and former aides representing some of the nation’s biggest businesses, including Goldman Sachs, Google, Citigroup, R.J. Reynolds, MillerCoors and UPS.

    “They have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaigns, provided him with rides on their corporate jets, socialized with him at luxury golf resorts and waterfront bashes and are now leading fund-raising efforts for his Boehner for Speaker campaign, which is soliciting checks of up to $37,800 each, the maximum allowed.”

    The hack who once handed out checks on the House floor is now a coddled, gilded flunky of the nation’s big-time corporate elite.

    And let us not forget the following Boehner moment here, in which he said “Know that I have all of you in my trusted hands” to the Consumer Bankers Association, which ended up losing as a result of legislation to reform the student loan scam enacted under the happily-now-long-departed 109th Congress.

    Returning to Broder, I give you the following…

    What Boehner called “a cycle of gridlock” afflicts both sides of the Capitol, and has been enabled by both parties, depending on who had the majority. As he was honest enough to admit, the abuses did not start when Pelosi took the gavel, and both sides have been guilty of twisting the rules.

    Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if Broder were “honest enough to admit” this?

  • Update 10/12/10: And in case anyone out there thought I was exaggerating, I give you this from one of Broder’s pals (h/t Atrios).

  • 2) Next, I give you the following from former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm (here)…

    (Repug U.S. House Rep “Joe” Cao of Louisiana) said he wanted to work for the benefit of his constituents, whatever that took. So when it came time earlier this year to vote on the House floor on President Obama’s massive healthcare bill, the first Republican to hold that district since 1891 became the only Republican in the entire House to vote in favor of the Democratic president’s bill.

    His wasn’t the deciding vote. But, yes, that bipartisan decision caused him some grief among GOP colleagues.

    Cao hoped the president might reward that bipartisanship by endorsing him in the Nov. 2 midterm election against a Democratic state legislator named Cedric Richmond. Or at least by staying out of the race, one of 435 across the country.

    And this gives Malcolm an excuse in his utterly demented quest to demonize every possible thing Obama does (including stuff Malcolm imagines, like this).

    As noted here, Cao did vote initially for passage of health care reform, but he voted against the version that emerged from the Senate-House conference, which is a particular problem for him because one-fifth of the residents of his district don’t have health insurance. That has a lot more to do with Cao’s current electoral trouble than anything Obama could have said or done.

    As noted here, though, Malcolm has been wrong about health care reform before, and I’m sure will be again; when it comes to his own particular brand of wankery, I’m afraid he is beyond hope of a cure.

  • 3) Finally, yesterday was the ninth anniversary of the death of a Florida man from an anthrax attack; more information is available here (one of others that took place immediately after the 9/11 attacks).

    And I would say that that presents a good opportunity to move, at long last (even in a potential lame duck session) on the bill to investigate the attacks sponsored by Dem U.S. House Rep Rush Holt here.


  • Tuesday Mashup Part One (9/14/10)

    September 14, 2010

  • 1) Here’s a late-breaking development from the Media Research Center…

    Appearing as a guest on Friday’s (9/10) Countdown show, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, formerly with Newsweek, referred to the debunked story that was retracted by Newsweek in May 2005 which had incorrectly claimed that American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a Koran down a toilet to intimidate Muslim prisoners. But Wolffe did not inform viewers that the story was untrue as he accused conservatives of a double standard for criticizing Newsweek’s inaccurate Koran desecration story from 2005 while not being aggressive enough in condemning Pastor Terry Jones’s plan to burn the Koran on September 11.

    Wow, congratulations to the MRC for finding a droplet of water in an ocean and complaining that it’s wet.

    Yes, as it turns out, the story was retracted by Newsweek after the unnamed official used by the magazine as the source changed his story. However, as we also learn from here, “accusations of Qur’an desecration as a part of U.S. interrogations at prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as Guantánamo Bay had been made by a number of sources going back to 2002,” with about a dozen such accusations cited.

    Besides, the real story here (which the MRC actually notes…shocking, I know) is that, given the uproar the last time a Quran desecration story appeared, the relative silence by conservatives on this was dangerously irresponsible (though, fortunately, the whole issue became moot when “Pastor” Terry Jones came down with an attack of sanity and decided not to do anything, though here is a story of a chronic offender on this who really is likely not to be restricted by anything except a jail cell…and kudos to the kid on the skateboard in this story.)

  • 2) Also, here’s another alert for Sheryl Gay Stolberg, former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm, and everyone else worried about the “negative perception” generated by Michelle Obama (more hard-hitting Politico “journalism” from here).

    And she didn’t even say “freedom fries”! Worse, I didn’t read about it from either Malcolm or Stolberg. I actually had to find out about this on my own!

    You’re slipping, people!

    Actually, I take that back on Malcolm; as it turns out – he did have something typically snark-filled to say about it here, including the following…

    First Lady Michelle Obama, who has been unable to convince the Smoker-in-Chief to give up that dreadful habit, now has some health suggestions for other American families and for restaurant menus across the country.


    Yeah, it sure is a shame when presidents have their “dreadful habit(s),” isn’t it?

  • 3) Finally, I came across the following from Joel Stein of Time (one of the stupidest columns about Net Neutrality that I’ve ever read, and that’s saying something; more info is here)…

    I like that everything is allowed to be on the Internet, which is like a planet-size bookstore with, for some reason, a continent-size section for pets doing stupid things. But I like that at a real bookstore, I can instantly tell the difference between works by actual historians and works by conspiracy theorists, since the real books are printed on good paper with pretty covers and the others are smudgy pamphlets. We need to bring those barriers of entry to the Internet, and speed is a key way to do it.

    Senator Al Franken, at the Netroots Nation conference in late July, talked about a dystopian future without Net neutrality: “How long do you think it will take before the Fox News website loads five times faster than Daily Kos?” Hopefully, this will happen right away. Fox News should load 20 times faster than Daily Kos, because far more people read it. It’s better for society that millions of people get someplace a little faster while the relatively few Daily Kos readers wait a few seconds. This is why not all roads are the same width. And more people go to the Fox News site because it’s got tons of people reporting, balancing and fairing, whereas two of the contributing editors at Daily Kos are named DarkSyde and Angry Mouse.

    Their names are also Steven Andrew and Kalli Joy Grey, but that’s not the main point, I know (also, according to this, the “relatively few” readers of Daily Kos include “thousands of diarists” and “millions of page views” every day – and this was in 2008; I should note that I found out everything in this paragraph through some truly easy Google searches).

    I want to comment also on Stein’s bookstore analogy, which may be more apropos than he realizes (and I know from whence I speak on this, since I toiled briefly in such an establishment that, happily, went out of business long ago…it was a big conservative donor).

    In a typical chain retail bookstore, you’ve got the mass market titles on display all over the place, since they will sell the most, obviously. And if the “self-help” and Edgar Cayce titles will sell more than the John Grishams and the Richard North Pattersons, well then, they get the center display table so it’s the first thing the customer sees after they shuffle in from Spencer’s, FYE, or whatever.

    But suppose you get somebody like me who may be looking for “The Hidden Persuaders” by Vance Packard, and I need to go to the microfiche counter to order it. Should I have to be told “well, we have more bandwidth for the best sellers than we do for some dusty piece of sociological piffle like the book you want” (and that certainly doesn’t describe “The Hidden Persuaders,” by the way, written about the ad biz in the era of “Mad Men”)? And for that reason, I get told that they have no possible idea of when the book can be shipped.

    I guess a scenario like this is just fine for Stein, but it certainly isn’t fine for me (Stein being a writer callow enough to concoct allegedly humorous columns about Asian Indians in America here, and here, where he said, “Most of what I know about poor people comes from watching ‘Good Times’”).

    Oh, and let’s not forget this from Stein about our troops and Iraq……

    After we’ve decided that we made a mistake, we don’t want to blame the soldiers who were ordered to fight. Or even our representatives, who were deceived by false intelligence. And certainly not ourselves, who failed to object to a war we barely understood.

    But blaming the president is a little too easy. The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they’re following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying. An army of people ignoring their morality, by the way, is also Jack Abramoff’s pet name for the House of Representatives.

    I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get mad when I’m tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only imagine how they feel.

    Yes, but somehow, I don’t think I’ll ever click on a pop-up ad and, as a result, have my leg or another body part blown to bits, or suffer a concussive brain injury (idiot).


  • Friday Mashup Part One (6/25/10)

    June 25, 2010

  • 1) I got a kick out of this article about Jeb Bush from Matt Bai in the New York Times recently (though not in a good way, I should note, particularly the following)…

    CORAL GABLES, Fla. — For months now, Jeb Bush has been listening as President Obama blasts his older brother’s administration for the battered economy, budget deficits and even the lax oversight of oil wells.

    “It’s kind of like a kid coming to school saying, ‘The dog ate my homework,’ ” Mr. Bush, this state’s former governor, said over lunch last week at the Biltmore Hotel. “It’s childish. This is what children do until they mature. They don’t accept responsibility.”

    In fact, instead of constantly bashing the 43rd president, Mr. Bush offered, perhaps Mr. Obama could learn something from him, especially when it comes to ignoring the Washington chatter. “This would break his heart, to get advice that applies some of the lessons of leadership my brother learned, because he apparently likes to act like he’s still campaigning, and he likes to blame George’s administration for everything,” Mr. Bush said, dangling a ketchup-soaked French fry. “But he really seems like he’s getting caught up in what people are writing about him.”

    Yeah, it’s a real issue when a sitting president blames his predecessor, isn’t it (here).

  • 2) And speaking of presidents, former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm tells us here that The Sainted Ronnie R “had a profound appreciation for show business stars” (Malcolm’s post has to do with the anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson).

    Well, I can think of at least one show business luminary that Reagan thought little of (besides Gregory Peck, a far better man on many counts), and that would be Rock Hudson (I’ll get to him in a minute).

    As noted here, though, about the epidemic that flourished under Reagan’s watch…

    Although AIDS was first reported in the medical and popular press in 1981, it was only in October 1987 that President Reagan publicly spoke about the epidemic. By the end of that year 59,572 AIDS cases had been reported and 27,909 of those women and men had died. How could this happen? How could Reagan not say anything? Do anything?

    The Reagan administration’s reaction to AIDS is complex and goes far beyond Reagan’s refusal to speak out about the epidemic. A great deal of his power base was born-again Christian Republican conservatives who embraced a reactionary social agenda that included a virulent, demonizing homophobia. In the media, people like Reverends Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell portrayed gay people as diseased sinners and promoted the idea that AIDS was a punishment from God and that the gay rights movement had to be stopped. In the Republican Party, zealous right-wingers, such as Representative William Dannenmeyer (CA) and Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), hammered home this same message. In the Reagan White House, people such as Secretary of Education William Bennett and Gary Bauer, his chief domestic advisor, worked to enact it in the Administration’s policies.

    In practical terms this meant AIDS research was chronically underfunded. When doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute for Health asked for more funding for their work on AIDS, they were routinely denied it. Between June 1981 and May 1982, the CDC spent less than $1 million on AIDS, but $9 million on Legionnaire’s Disease. At that point over 1,000 of the 2,000 AIDS cases reported resulted in death; there were fewer than 50 deaths from Legionnaire’s Disease. This drastic lack of funding would continue through the Reagan years.

    The story tells us the following repugnant anecdote also…

    When Rock Hudson, a friend and colleague of the Reagan’s, was diagnosed and died in 1985 (one of the 20,740 cases reported that year), Reagan still did not speak out. When family friend William F. Buckley, in a March 18, 1986 New York Times article, called for mandatory testing of HIV and said that HIV+ gay men should have this information forcibly tattooed on their buttocks (and IV drug users on their arms), Reagan said nothing. In 1986 (after five years of complete silence) when Surgeon General C. Everett Koop released a report calling for AIDS education in schools, Bennett and Bauer did everything possible to undercut and prevent funding for Koop’s too-little too-late initiative. By the end of 1986, 37,061 AIDS cases had been reported; 16,301 people had died.

    The most memorable Reagan AIDS moment was at the 1986 centenary rededication of the Statue of Liberty. The Reagan’s were there sitting next to the French Prime Minister and his wife, Francois and Danielle Mitterrand. Bob Hope was on stage entertaining the all-star audience. In the middle of a series of one-liners, Hope quipped, “I just heard that the Statue of Liberty has AIDS, but she doesn’t know if she got it from the mouth of the Hudson or the Staten Island Fairy.” As the television camera panned the audience, the Mitterrands looked appalled. The Reagans were laughing. By the end of 1989, 115,786 women and men had been diagnosed with AIDS in the United States—more then 70,000 of them had died.

    Somehow I’m sure that revealing piece of history will be scrubbed from the “Reaganalia” due to inflict this country next February on the 100th anniversary of his birthday (I’ll try to make sure I’ve booked a trip out of the country when that takes place…and yes, I know Bob Hope did a lot for our troops, but he sure as hell should have known better also).

    And I would call this a cautionary local note also; just because we don’t hear much on this issue, it doesn’t mean that HIV/AIDS has gone away by any stretch of the imagination.

  • 3) Finally, I don’t touch on world news the way I used to, but Australian PM Kevin Rudd was ousted this week, replaced by Deputy Julia Gillard (with the wingnuts claiming here that Rudd’s “cap and trade” policy was responsible…Australia has much more severe issues on its continent than we do because of the climate crisis, though we are catching up, sadly).

    This Telegraph article, though, tells us that one of the reasons why Rudd went down was because of “shelving (Australia’s) emissions trading scheme,” which, if those opposing him are right, should have enhanced his position.

    But then again, the climate change deniers have been screaming about alleged conspiracies for years (and one day, school children will read about why the Great Barrier Reef was destroyed and wonder why nobody did anything about it).


  • Friday Mashup Part One (6/18/10)

    June 18, 2010

    (Note: There may not be much posting for most of next week, maybe towards Thursday and Friday a bit, and definitely no posting on Tuesday.)

  • 1) I couldn’t get through the week without encountering the latest anti-Obama nonsense from former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm here…

    America’s favorability rating in Egypt has dropped from 27% to 17% — the lowest figure recorded there in five years. In Turkey, a NATO ally, confidence in Obama has fallen from 33% to 23%. Opposition to key aspects of U.S. foreign policy remains pervasive and many Muslim publics continue to view the U.S as a military threat.

    Never mind that, despite the Malcolm headline that “Obama’s ‘hopey, changey’ fading abroad now too” (sic), the “Top of the Ticket” hack tells us that “confidence in Obama remains high in European countries.”

    Citing the same Pew study, the New York Times tells us the following (here)…

    According to a survey of nearly 25,000 people in 22 countries published Thursday by the Pew Research Center, the popularity of the United States has risen most notably over the past year among respondents in Russia and China. Both countries are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and are essential to American efforts to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

    Positive attitudes toward Mr. Obama himself remain overwhelmingly strong among America’s West European allies, according to the survey, with 90 percent of Germans, 87 percent of French and 84 percent of Britons expressing confidence in Mr. Obama to do the right thing in world affairs, compared with 65 percent of Americans surveyed.

    Among the more surprising results of the survey was the substantial improvement in Russian attitudes toward the United States. Of those surveyed, 57 percent said they had a favorable view of the United States, an increase of 13 percentage points over the previous year. Among Russians who say their country has an enemy, more than one-third, 35 percent, name the United States as its biggest enemy.

    Oh, and here is another Malcolm moment, guffawing over Chris Dodd quite rightly laying at least partial blame for the Deepwater Horizon disaster at the feet of the husband of Malcolm’s former employer (the rig wasn’t built when Obama occupied the White House, you shill).

  • 2) And not to be outdone, “Z on TV” himself, David Zurawik, pointed out here that the audience for Obama’s Oval Office address to the country about the Gulf disaster “dip(ped)” to 32 million viewers.

    That’s still pretty good when you consider that, as noted here, 37.8 million people watched his swearing-in and inaugural address last year (compared to less than half that for Dubya when he was sworn in in 2005 – what a shame so many people missed out on hearing 43’s pax-Americana flowery fairy tales concocted first and foremost by Bushie acolyte Michael Gerson).

  • 3) That actually is a nice transition to this, which is the WaPo columnist’s piece today on Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, who seems to be trying to interject some sanity into his party (good luck with that one)…

    If there were a WMD attack, death would come to straights and gays, pro-life and pro-choice,” (Daniels) told (Gerson). “If the country goes broke, it would ruin the American dream for everyone. We are in this together. Whatever our honest disagreements on other questions, might we set them aside long enough to do some very difficult things without which we will be a different, lesser country?”

    Now before we get all misty-eyed over Daniels, thinking he might be emerging from “the dark side,” let it be known that, were he to occupy An Oval Office as the commander-in-chief, he would bring back the awful “Mexico City Policy,” which banned the use of federal funds for family-planning groups that offered abortions abroad (which, let it be known, reduced the overall funding provided to particular NGOs, closing off their access to USAID-supplied condoms and other forms of contraception, as Wikipedia tells us here).

    Gerson also tells us the following…

    I was a colleague of Daniels when he was director of the Office of Management and Budget. It was his job to say “no” to splendid policy proposals, which he did with good-humored enthusiasm. Raining on parades was both a profession and a hobby.

    Well, Mitchy didn’t do such a hot job of “raining” on the Iraq war “parade” when it mattered; as noted here…

    In 2002, Daniels helped discredit a report by Assistant to the President on Economic Policy Lawrence B. Lindsey estimating the cost of the Iraq War at between $100-$200 billion. Daniels called this estimate “very, very high” and stated that the costs would be between $50-$60 billion.[9] As of 2007, the cost of the invasion and occupation of Iraq has exceeded $400 billion, and the Congressional Budget Office in August 2007 estimated that appropriations would eventually reach $1 trillion or more.[10]

    Oh, and one more thing about Daniels – no more lame apologies for supposed “baby boomer” wrongdoing, as he inflicted upon us here, OK?


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