Friday Mashup (5/24/13)

May 24, 2013
  • I get it that this Andrew Marcus character is trying to hawk his “documentary” called “Hating Breitbart” on the site of The Daily Tucker, and he’s pretty much trying to do whatever he can to get people to pay attention to him, but even by wingnut standards (low as they are), I would say that trying to draw some sort of equivalence between John Podesta of the Center for American Progress and H.R. Haldeman, former chief of staff to President Richard Nixon, is pretty lame (here)…

    In “Hating Breitbart,” John Podesta emerges as someone who perfectly embodies the left’s penchant for creating an environment of corruption, abuse and personal attacks. As the co-chairman of Obama’s 2008-2009 transition team, Podesta obviously enjoys a very close relationship to this White House. Today he runs the Center for American Progress, a far-left think tank, and exerts a great deal of influence in media circles. The political culture he has helped create is exactly what Andrew Breitbart so passionately resisted and despised.

    Let me be clear: I have no evidence that Podesta has been personally involved in any of the scandals that are currently rocking the Obama presidency. But what I do know about Podesta is that his Center for American Progress has been instrumental in dehumanizing Obama’s political opponents. In doing so, he has created fertile ground for these scandals to take root.

    As far as “scandals” that are “rocking” the Obama presidency (and, as usual, there’s no actual evidence of wrongdoing on Podesta’s part, just more guilt by association), this tells us that the stuff on the IRS and the Teahadists, the AP and Eric Holder and BENGHAZI!! are pretty much being met with a collective yawn (to the point where even Republican staffers are wondering if the elected officials they support have lost what little is left of their minds here).

    And this is just REALLY way too damn funny from Marcus (page 3)…

    Ultimately, it’s people like H.R. Haldeman and John Podesta who build the nests and turn the eggs — though Richard Nixon’s crimes pale in comparison to what has been recently alleged of the Obama administration. Congress was never able to establish any broad-based abuse of the IRS against Nixon’s “enemies list,” but even Nixon’s comparatively modest abuses merited an article of impeachment. Obama’s IRS has already admitted to misconduct. Who knows what other scandalous evidence may ultimately emerge?

    Let me know if and when John Podesta is convicted of perjury, conspiracy and obstruction of justice and sentenced to 18 months in the federal pen, OK, as noted here (although this is cause for a bit of concern about CAP, though when it comes to undisclosed foreign donations to the “U.S.” Chamber of Commerce, it’s a speck by comparison – here).

    And as far as the “Obama vs. Nixon” stuff goes, here is my answer.

  • Next, it looks like former Repug Senator and potential Obama Commerce Secretary Judd Gregg has decided to cash in, as noted here

    Former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) has been named CEO of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), a powerhouse trade group for Wall Street.

    The top job at SIFMA was one of the hottest openings on K Street, and it comes with a hefty payday. The group’s last leader, Tim Ryan, earned $2.9 million in compensation in 2010, according to the group’s tax form for that year.

    Gregg said he plans to use his new platform to champion the message that Wall Street is good for the economy.

    “I suspect what I’m going to be doing is what we have talked about, which is reorient ourselves on the issue of how you communicate the importance of this industry to people on Main Street America and their jobs,” Gregg told reporters on a conference call.

    SIFMA, which represents financial giants such as Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, lobbies extensively on Capitol Hill and at regulatory agencies, and has been particularly active on the implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

    (“Particularly active” being Beltway media-code-speak for trying to gut Dodd-Frank every way possible, as noted here, which is what I think this is really all about anyway.)

    And as noted here, “Skank” of America was one of the banks that made yet another fortune off fees charged to the city of Detroit while that once-great metropolis restructured its debt (and as noted here, the financial rogue colossus recently asked a judge to throw out a lawsuit over the mortgages Countrywide wrote for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac…totally on their own and without any prompting from anyone, BOA took over Countrywide in 2008).

    And as far as Morgan Stanley is concerned, this tells us about the toxic CDOs (Collateralized Debt Obligations) they peddled, which basically were collections of mortgage-backed securities that the investment banking geniuses at M-S knew would blow up, so they sold them to the Chinese…what a cunning plan; antagonize the country holding the single largest volume of our debt among all others. Brilliant!

    And these are the people Gregg will be shilling for in his cushy new gig.

    “Them that’s got shall get, them that’s not shall lose…”

  • Continuing, I’d at first planned to stay away from commenting on the tornado disaster in Moore, Oklahoma earlier this week (and if you are able to assist in any way, please click here), but I really felt like I had to say something in response to this from Seth Borenstein of the AP (here…kind of laughable to me that he’s the “science” writer after reading this)…

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Everything had to come together just perfectly to create the killer tornado in Moore, Okla.: wind speed, moisture in the air, temperature and timing. And when they did, the awesome energy released over that city dwarfed the power of the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima.

    I don’t have any information to contest that claim, but I think, based on this, that any comparison between the Moore tornado and the Hiroshima atomic bomb explosion is ridiculous. And that is because, as deadly as the Moore tornado was, it was only the wind at work, not the combination of wind, blast-furnace heat and radiation that was inflicted on Hiroshima (and I’ve heard many scholarly arguments against dropping the bomb, including that of Oliver Stone in his “Untold History of the United States” here, but sorry – I still believe it was the right thing to do; Stone, for example, argued that the Soviet Union would have assisted the U.S. in an invasion of mainland Japan, but I don’t think his evidence on that is totally credible).

    And get a load of this bit of wankery (returning to Borenstein)…

    Scientists know the key ingredients that go into a devastating tornado. But they are struggling to figure out why they develop in some big storms and not others. They also are still trying to determine what effects, if any, global warming has on tornadoes.

    Really? I guess, as far as Borenstein and his denialist pals are concerned, 97 percent of a consensus on the subject just isn’t good enough, as noted here (h/t Wonkette…think “more extreme weather patterns,” and maybe this too).

  • Further, I thought I should let you know what at least one of Willard Mitt Romney’s confidants is up to now that we haven’t sworn The Mittster in as our 45th president (thank God), along with Mr.-Puppy-Dog-Eyes-With-The-Shiv as his veep – I’m referring to Glenn “Give It Your Best Shot” Hubbard here

    The United States itself has a larger GDP and higher productivity than 10 years ago, but its long-term growth rate has slowed by half. That’s a reflection of internal imbalance – budget deficits, heavy taxes that hinder incentives to work and innovate, unfunded entitlements and more.

    Actually, there’s no freaking demand, you soulless parasite, as noted here (unless he considers that to be part of the “and more,” and the sequester is doing absolutely nothing to help of course, as noted here…and isn’t this encouraging also – not!).

  • Finally, I’d like to point out the utterly obvious fact that Memorial Day weekend is basically upon us, and it is quite appropriate for us to ponder the sacrifices made by the men and women in our military who have given much (and, in many cases, given all), and say a prayer of two in gratitude, wish good thoughts for them, visit cemeteries to pay our respects, and engage in all manner of solemn events for the occasion to express our gratitude (or assist the VA and/or veterans groups as our means allows).

    The heroism we appreciate on this occasion takes place in the name of maintaining our freedom, a thought that occurred to me as I read an otherwise generic (in its wingnuttery, I mean) opinion column from Repug Louisiana Governor Bobby “Don’t Call Me Piyush” Jindal here (and I apologize in advance for conflating notions of honor and courage here with rank political claptrap)…

    Look at liberalism across every issue, from healthcare to energy to spending, and one thing is crystal clear: Liberals don’t believe in the dynamic and transformative power of freedom. Bigger government and more power in the hands of a few means the interests of the public will be violated.

    With this idiocy in mind, I’d like to offer the following in response from Mike Malloy (here)…

    Why do conservatives hate freedom? The question may be startling. After all, don’t conservatives claim they are protecting liberty in America against liberal statism, which they compare to communism or fascism? But the conservative idea of “freedom” is a very peculiar one, which excludes virtually every kind of liberty that ordinary Americans take for granted.

    In the cases of freedom from racial discrimination and freedom from sexual repression, American conservatives have been solidly on the side of government repression of the powerless and unprivileged. The same is true with respect to workers’ rights, debtors’ rights and criminal rights.

    To listen to their Jacksonian rhetoric, American conservatives are the champions of the little guy against the “elites.” But not, it appears, in the workplace or the bank. The American right is opposed to anything — minimum wage laws, unions, workplace regulations — that would increase the bargaining power of workers relative to their bosses.

    What would America look like, if conservatives had won their battles against American liberty in the last half-century? Formal racial segregation might still exist at the state and local level in the South. In some states, it would be illegal to obtain abortions or even for married couples to use contraception. In much of the United States, gays and lesbians would still be treated as criminals. Government would dictate to Americans with whom and how they can have sex. Unions would have been completely annihilated in the public as well as the private sector. Wages and hours laws would be abolished, so that employers could pay third-world wages to Americans working seven days a week, 12 hours a day, as many did before the New Deal. There would be far more executions and far fewer procedural safeguards to ensure that the lives of innocent Americans are not ended mistakenly by the state.

    That is the America that the American right for the last few generations has fought for. Freedom has nothing to do with it.

    4991033-american-flag
    And with that in mind, please allow me to extend best wishes to one and all for a happy and healthy Memorial Day weekend.


  • Friday Mashup (5/10/13)

    May 10, 2013
  • I happened to check in to The Gun Report, the blog of New York Times columnist Joe Nocera, and he told us here a couple of days ago that New York State has divested itself of gun-related holdings from its public employee pension plan, following the lead of California. And according to this, Pennsylvania has gun-related holdings in their public employee pension plans which are basically negligible at this point (even though I don’t know what that last sentence in the philly.com piece actually means).

    And as long as I’m on the subject of our beloved commonwealth, this from a recent Philadelphia Inquirer article tells us that our illustrious governor Tom “Space Cadet” Corbett is proposing a “fix” to the public employee pension plans (actually, he has proposed this for a little while now, but details, or what pass for them, seem to be trickling out at last – a bill number has apparently been assigned in the legislature, and Corbett wants it approved by July 1st).

    As noted here, though…

    Sen. John Blake, D-Archbald, ranking Democrat on the finance panel, said the governor’s plan will add to pension debt instead of reducing it.

    “Moving new employees to a 401(a) will undermine the investment performance of our existing pension systems…,” Blake said. “Further, 401(a) retirement plans are proven to provide lower financial returns and by, disaggregating investment, expose workers with different levels of financial literacy to the vagaries of the markets while sending millions in fees to the financial service industry – money that should instead be invested and managed by experts to guarantee retirement security for our workers.”

    Switching to a defined contribution plan for future hires will leave a less secure retirement for new employees, said state Treasurer Rob McCord, a potential Democratic candidate for governor next year.

    “So far, the 401(k) plans have failed in that regard,” McCord said.

    And of course, it’s not as if Corbett is willing to cut back on his stinking tax cuts for his “pay no price, bear no burden” pals to cover the difference, as noted here.

  • Next, in more “News for the Investor Class,” I give you the following (here)…

    We have our Twinkies back! And our Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and Wonder Bread. As The Daily Caller reported on April 24, key assets of bankrupt Hostess Brands have been sold to private equity firms and plans are underway to open new plants. Presumably, the new owners will operate non-union.

    If they don’t blow it.

    To refresh your memory, last fall Hostess Brands, the maker of iconic products such as the aforementioned Twinkies, suspended all operations and began liquidating assets in response to a nationwide strike by the bakery workers’ union. The union was striking over requested concessions the company needed to stay in business. Over the following weeks and months, Hostess let go most of its 18,500 workers as it shut down operations and started trying to sell its valuable brands. The asset sale yielded fruit, and the new Hostess has announced it will open three plants in the near future and start hiring workers.

    Yeah, well, that’s the wingnut spin on this story. Here is the reality point of view (from last November – this is alluded to in the Daily Tucker piece, but of course it isn’t properly documented)…

    Even as it blamed unions for the bankruptcy and the 18,500 job losses that will ensue, Hostess already gave its executives pay raises earlier this year. The salary of the company’s chief executive tripled from $750,000 to roughly $2.5 million, and at least nine other executives received pay raises ranging from $90,000 to $400,000. Those raises came just months after Hostess originally filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

    It is indeed good news that the jobs related to manufacturing items under the Hostess brand are being saved. And based on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution story noted in the Daily Tucker post…

    Hostess Brands, which is hiring for several bakeries, including one in Columbus, emphasized Monday that it will not discriminate against applicants on the basis of union membership or activities.

    The strident effort to clear the air on its hiring plans followed comments last week by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dean Metropoulos, who suggested the company would be staffing plants with non-union labor.

    Under the headline “New Twinkie Maker Shuns Union,” Metropoulos reportedly told The Wall Street Journal that the company does “not expect to be involved in the union going forward.”

    In a statement Monday, Hostess Brands said it “intends to hire the most qualified applicants, regardless of their age, race, gender, or prior or current union affiliation.” It added that “none of the company representatives stated or intended to imply that Hostess will be avoiding union-represented employees or job applicants.”

    Of course, I could really be a pointy-headed liberal here and wonder what it says about our glorious system of private enterprise that the manufacture of junk food is a growth industry. But I won’t.

  • Further, I give you this item from “Tiger Beat on the Potomac,” as Charles Pierce quite rightly calls Politico…

    Conservative radio talk show host Craig Bergman is sick of Republicans failing to appeal to environmentalists, and he’s making a documentary to try to bridge the gap.

    He’s behind a new Kickstarter campaign for “Unsustainable,” the documentary underway that Bergman hopes will provide common sense solutions for environmental concerns.

    “We are conservatives but we believe there is a vast swath of common ground,” Bergman told POLITICO. “This is not a right wing, radical, beat ‘em up, red meat movie.”

    He added, “We’re not trying to get into the, ‘I’m right, you’re wrong,’ debate. That’s the whole problem. We’re trying to get into what used to be old fashioned politics, which was two people who would sit down, both wanting the same result, to protect the environment and then deciding how best, under our constitutional framework of liberties and individual rights, do we get there? We haven’t had that on this issue in 30 years.”

    He cited examples of what he considers to be both left and right wing extremism on environmental issues, such as a man in Colorado who was threatened with federal prison for collecting rainwater on his property.

    And he singles out his conservative brethren for making light of environmental issues, including “some of the ridiculous things you hear from some of my compatriots on talk radio, where they say things like, ‘Well, everyone, today is Earth Day so be sure you roll down your windows while your air conditioning is on, hee, hee, hee.’ That does nothing to help the dialogue.”

    “We’ve got hundreds of examples of abuses on the right and abuses on the left.”

    “Hundreds” on “the left,” huh?

    “We are going to take the position that exposes the bad science,” he said. So do you believe in climate change, then?

    “I don’t know that there is a conclusion. That’s part of the problem. It needs to be a dialogue. It does not need to be an absolute definitive, because nobody knows.”

    For the uninitiated, I should note that this is the very definition of “concern trolling” (wonder if this Craig Bergman guy is associated with “No Labels” in any way?).

    Aside from linking to statistical study after statistical study pointing out the obvious (as noted here), I could also mention that the biggest obstacle towards a common sense policy on CO2 emissions and reusable energy are the Teahadists, funded by the Koch Brothers who want us to choke on our fossil fuels while the planet continues to melt (and many of those life forms constitute Bergman’s audience).

    Ordinarily, I would be happy to read about someone trying to achieve some kind of a mutual understanding on an issue. But as far as I’m concerned, the science on this issue has been settled for about 30 years (so, contrary to Bergman’s claim, I would say that EVERYBODY knows, as noted here.)

  • Moving on, Karl Rove concocted the following at the Murdoch Street Journal here

    Thinking strategically about Iran also might have led Mr. Obama to act earlier for regime change in Syria. After two years of fighting, the war is spilling into Lebanon, Iraq and Israel. A million Syrian refugees are flooding into Jordan.

    Of course, the war of choice in Iraq waged by Rove’s old boss created at least two million refugees, as noted here (actually, four million if you count those inside the country). But who’s counting, right?

    “Turd Blossom” also tells us the following…

    (Obama) would also not have sabotaged chances for a U.S. military presence in Iraq by insisting on parliamentary approval of a status-of-forces agreement. A U.S. presence in Iraq would have reduced Iranian influence in Baghdad and diminished the likelihood of sectarian conflict in Iraq.

    Does Rove mean the SOFA approved by the Iraqi parliament before Former President Nutball left office in 11/08 (here)? Any by the way, the terms of the agreement mandated that all US troops would leave.

    Rove also criticized Obama for his moves related to missile defense in Poland and Czechoslovakia, with the goal of getting NATO more involved, a group the Repugs hate, of course…basically, Obama wants NATO to get more involved on the issue of defense against potential short-to-medium-range rockets from Iran, as noted here (part of that whole Kenyan Muslim Marxist notion of making other countries more responsible for their own sovereignty as oppose to us being the “policeman” everywhere, I guess).

    And if Obama is supposed to be so “aloof,” then why did “Bibi” Netanyahu express his “appreciation” for Obama helping Israel defend itself from Palestinian rockets, as noted here? And is Rove seriously going to argue that Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History was “close to” German Chancellor Angela Merkel…

    5127738-bush-merkel
    …when the memory of this utter idiocy is still fresh in our minds?

    Rove also alleges that Obama “undercut the new Libyan president, Mohammed Magarief”; I’m only mentioning this nonsense because I have a question.

    How many people out there know that that country has arrested 50 people in connection with the death of Ambassador Stevens and three others, as noted here (“BENGHAZI!!!”)? Show of hands?

  • Continuing (and overlapping on Rove a bit), it looks like David Horowitz has somehow emerged from some foul nether regions somewhere to foist this upon us…

    Obama’s desire for rapprochement with the Islamist regime in Iran has prompted the administration to drag its feet on the sanctions designed to halt Tehran’s nuclear program. For the same reason, the president and his administration were silent when hundreds of thousands of Iranians poured into the streets of Tehran to call for an end to the dictatorship and were met by an orgy of violence from the mullahs’ thugs.

    Obama was “silent,” huh? Really?

    Continuing…

    The administration’s denial was glaring also in its response to the massacre of 13 unarmed soldiers at Fort Hood by an Islamic fanatic and terrorist, Nidal Malik Hasan, who three and a half years later still has not been brought to trial.

    Unbelievable – through one of the easiest Google searches in my life, I learned from here that the trial of Hasan will begin later this month, on the 29th.

    And as far as I’m concerned, it’s particularly grotesque for Horowitz to bring up the Ft. Hood shootings, which he infamously once said were “the chickens of the left coming home to roost” here (I guess this is the crap you come up with when you are no longer being bankrolled to travel to colleges all over the country to scream about alleged “liberal bias”).

    Continuing, Horowitz rants as follows…

    Obama had previously intervened in Egypt, the largest and most important country in the Middle East, to force the removal of its pro-American leader, Hosni Mubarak. He then promoted the (Muslim) Brotherhood’s ascension to power by portraying it as a “moderate” actor in the democratic process. As the Middle East situation deteriorated, the Muslim Brotherhood became the chief beneficiary of America’s financial, diplomatic, and military support. This same Brotherhood was the driving force behind the Islamist surge, the mentor of Osama bin Laden and the leaders of al-Qaeda, and the creator of Hamas. Rather than being quarantined, the Brotherhood-dominated government in Cairo has received hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid and F-16 bomber jets from the Obama administration that had facilitated its rise to power.

    Oh brother – in response, this tells us the following…

    (In Egypt) The Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda hate each other. The former view the latter as terrorists, and the latter view the former as traitors to the cause. Critics of the Muslim Brotherhood often cite a common ideological ancestor of both the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda, Sayyid Qutb, to draw connections between them. But this obscures the depth of the ideological and religious gulf between the two. The willingness of the Brotherhood to pursue its goals through legitimate democratic means, without violence, is precisely the point — and precisely why the Egyptian uprising threatens more extreme groups even if it empowers the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Here’s more from Horowitz…

    In Libya, al-Qaeda terrorists overran an American consular compound and murdered the U.S. ambassador and three brave staffers. The attack took place in a country that had recently been destabilized by Obama’s own intervention to oust its dictator.

    I guess it was inevitable that Horowitz would invoke BENGHAZI!!, but as far as presidents destabilizing countries goes, let’s not forget that, as noted here, U.S. diplomat David Foy was murdered in Pakistan the same day that Number 43 agreed to send nukes to India, as noted here (and I don’t recall hearing a peep of protest at the time from Huckleberry Graham, Gramps McCain, or any other supposed foreign policy Repug Senatorial genius – hat tip to Bob Cesca for that info on Pakistan, as noted here…and by the way, on the whole BENGHAZI!!! thing, isn’t this interesting?).

    I could go on, but you get the idea (and to demonstrate what a supposedly enlightened character Horowitz is, not, here are some of his reactions to people who disagree with him).

  • Also, I give you the latest foul activities of that insect Jesse Watters, promoted as you might expect by Fix Noise here

    (Watters is) headed to Columbia University to get the community’s reaction to the decision to hire Kathy Boudin, a convicted cop killer, and confronts the controversial professor about her actions.

    As noted here, however…

    As a member of various radical militant groups during the 1960s and 1970s, Boudin advocated extreme measures to combat what she saw as racism, sexism, and American imperialism. And then, in 1981, she participated in the armed robbery of a Brinks security truck–and although she carried no weapon nor directly caused any injuries, she was, in her own words, “morally responsible for all the tragic consequences that resulted.” Nobody pretends to justify Boudin’s actions–they were repugnant.

    However, in the years that followed, Boudin tried to make amends. At Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, where she was incarcerated, Boudin founded AIDS Counseling and Education, a women’s group that provided support for HIV-infected women, combated stigmatism and harassment in the prison, and made sure that women had access to needed medication. She organized programs for teenagers with incarcerated mothers, taught classes on parenting, and helped Columbia Law School teach inmates about the rights and responsibilities of incarcerated parents. She published scholarship about her work in–among other places–the Harvard Educational Review.

    Yes, what Boudin once did was wrong. But even though Boudin’s conduct and actions with the Weather Underground were awful and remain so, she didn’t engage in violent activity or shoot the Brinks officer whose father wrote the commentary on Fix Noise (I would have a problem with someone interfering with commerce if they were engaged in the destructive activity Boudin was engaged in or blocking a Planned Parenthood clinic, as Watters was involved in here and here).

    And by the way, as long as we’re talking about Planned Parenthood here, I want to say that I think we’re looking at the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell exactly the wrong way – yes, the evidence is horrific, and the full weight of the law should be brought down if he’s found guilty (here).

    However, in consideration of this item, maybe with proper teen and pre-teen sex-ed and related funding, do you think just one of those tiny lives would have been spared or prevented from conception if, just maybe, Planned Parenthood had been demonized just a little bit less? And if that had been the case, with more P.P. funding, would there have even been a need for Gosnell’s clinic at all?

  • 050813_sergei-bobrovsky_600

  • Finally, turning to the world of sports, congratulations to former Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (pictured), now with the Columbus Blue Jackets, for earning a nomination for the Vezina Trophy, the NHL’s highest award to goalies (here). Other nominees are Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks (Niemi, by the way, was once available as a free agent after the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, and the Flyers could have signed him, but instead chose to give $3 million to Jody Shelley, who will probably never be anything more than a goon).

    Here are the other former Flyers currently still active in the NHL 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs:

    Arron Asham (New York Rangers)
    Daniel Carcillo (Chicago Blackhawks)
    Darroll Powe (New York Rangers)
    Dennis Seidenberg (Boston Bruins)
    Harry Zolnierczyk (Anaheim Ducks)
    James van Riemsdyk (Toronto Maple Leafs)
    Jaromir Jagr (Boston Bruins)
    Jeff Carter (Los Angeles Kings)
    Joffrey Lupul (Toronto Maple Leafs)
    Justin Williams (Los Angeles Kings)
    Ken Hitchcock (St. Louis Blues)
    Luca Sbisa (Anaheim Ducks)
    Mark Eaton (Pittsburgh Penguins)
    Martin Biron (New York Rangers)
    Michal Handzus (Chicago Blackhawks)
    Mike Richards (Los Angeles Kings)
    Patrick Sharp (Chicago Blackhawks)
    Ray Emery (Chicago Blackhawks)
    Steve Eminger (New York Rangers)

    Good luck to one and all.


  • Monday Mashup (7/26/10)

    July 26, 2010

  • 1) The Bucks County Courier Times brought us more riotous comedy yesterday from Repug Mikey Fitzpatrick, running to reclaim his PA-08 House seat from Dem Patrick Murphy (here)…

    Unemployment has risen 100 percent in the four years Congressman Murphy has been in Congress; notably, his party has been in the majority in every one of those years.

    It has only occupied the White House for a year and a half, though (of course, Mikey omits that incon-vee-nient detail). And the event that triggered the skyrocketing unemployment rate was the fall of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, which took place on the watch of A Certain 43rd President, as well as approval of TARP funding soon afterwards.

    Besides, based on the graph that appears here, the Repugs and their “leader” in the White House had nothing on the employment numbers of the full eight-year Democratic presidential administration that preceded it (and here is more on Murphy and jobs).

    And a lot of other House members, both Democratic and Republican, have held their House seats since 2006, so I guess you could say that they brought us a “100 percent” increase in unemployment also.

    Otherwise, Mikey’s screed was full of the “tax cuts, magic of the marketplace” mythology that got us into this mess to begin with, as well as “Murphy-Pelosi Murphy-Pelosi Murphy-Pelosi baad scary liberals vote for me I’m a native Bucks Countian with six kids” stuff (and to help his opponent, click here).

  • Update: Oh, and P.S…

    Fitzpatrick Spending Cuts While in Office: 0

    Former Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick’s criticism of Murphy bill to cut spending shows complete lack of an agenda to move country forward.

    (Bristol, PA) – Former Congressman Fitzpatrick announced last week that, given the chance to return to Washington, he will not fight for legislation to cut government spending and waste. He criticized Patrick Murphy for passing a new law to cut spending but clarified that he agreed with the content, just not the act of passing a law.

    “We are all against waste, fraud and abuse,” former Congressman Fitzpatrick said, “but shouldn’t the federal government be working to eliminate fraud without new federal legislation?”

    Patrick Murphy’s campaign manager Tim Persico noted that it was unclear what, exactly, Fitzpatrick suggested we do to cut spending and eliminate fraud, since it seems unlikely that asking agencies nicely will work.“Fitzpatrick’s comments pretty much sum up his economic agenda,” Persico said. “If sent to Washington, Fitzpatrick promises not to fight for legislation to cut spending and waste.”

    This matches up neatly with his past record. When the voters of Bucks County gave him a chance in Washington, Fitzpatrick failed to introduce or pass a single bill to cut spending. However, he was happy to support massive, unpaid tax breaks for the richest people in the country. Now, in a bit of sour grapes, he’s whining that we’re finally making progress against outrageous and wasteful spending. It’s his own record in Congress – not Patrick Murphy’s – that Mike should take issue with.

    # # #

    For Immediate Release, July 23, 2010
    Contact, Tim Persico, (215) 783-3736

    —————————————————-
    BACKGROUND:

    Passing this law is the latest in a series of initiatives that Patrick Murphy has championed to cut spending. He worked with Republican Congressman Tim Rooney (FL) to pass a law closing loopholes in Medicare that were allowing billions in fraud. He also has a measure to eliminate a massive corporate welfare scheme in the Department of Agriculture that would save $500 million taxpayer dollars.

    Additionally, Murphy has fought to eliminate the F-22 savings taxpayers $3 billion, and he has crossed party lines to vote for $20 billion in spending cuts.

    And Fitzpatrick? His bipartisan bills to cut spending while in Congress? …0

    Successfully passed Fitzpatrick bills to cut spending while in Congress? …0

  • 2) And speaking of big yuks, Jonah Goldberg chastised Tom Friedman in the New York Times yesterday since Friedman quite rightly took umbrage over what could be the death knell for common sense climate change legislation this year (here)…

    But when DC — and the entire East Coast — was shellacked by an historic snow storm and deep freeze, Friedman thought it was flat-out stupid to cite abnormal weather as evidence in political squabbles:

    I realize there are a lot of different directions I can go to point out that only a life form with a single-digit IQ could contest the fact that man-made global warming has accelerated to the point where our planet is melting and sane people need to do what we must to try and stop it, but I think this will suffice for now.

    Oh, That Doughy Pantload.

  • 3) Also, I’ll “cut to the chase” concerning this Matt Bai column in The New York Times yesterday; he blames the Shirley Sherrod mess last week on Obama because he isn’t “transcendent” enough on the race question – there really is no further need to frustrate yourself by trying to make further sense of it.
  • 4) And in a related story, as they say, Mark Halperin tells us the following on the Sherrod business here (comparing her case to the O.J. Simpson mess – Memo to Halperin: lay your hand on the table, open it up so your palm faces upward, and then smack yourself in the forehead)…

    But the coverage of both sagas — Simpson literally for years and Sherrod for the better part of a week — was insanely overblown. The Sherrod story is a reminder — much like the assault in 2004 on John Kerry by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — that the Old Media is often swayed by controversies pushed by the conservative New Media. In many quarters of the Old Media there is concern about not appearing liberally biased, so stories emanating from the right are given more weight and less scrutiny. Additionally, the conservative New Media, particularly Fox News Channel and talk radio, are commercially successful, so the implicit logic followed by decision makers in the Old Media is that if something is gaining currency in those precincts, it is a phenomenon that must be given attention. Most dangerously, conservative New Media will often produce content that is so provocative and incendiary that the Old Media finds it irresistible.

    I guess this is as close as Halperin actually gets to something approximating introspection, but I still believe the following should be noted from here (in the matter of “Old Media” preoccupation with largely conservative “New Media”).

  • 5) Finally, the Washington Times continues to give column space to Ted Nugent, with predictable results (here)…

    We shouldn’t expect anything different from a president and administration who don’t have a clue about how private industry works or how Fedzilla’s policies stifle growth. At least from my research, I still can’t find anyone on the president’s closest team who has actually started a successful business.

    From here…

    In Obama’s Cabinet, at least three of the nine posts that Cembalest and Beck cite — a full one-third — are occupied by appointees who, by our reading of their bios, had significant corporate or business experience. Shaun Donovan, Obama’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, served as managing director of Prudential Mortgage Capital Co., where he oversaw its investments in affordable housing loans.

    Energy Secretary Steven Chu headed the electronics research lab at one of America’s storied corporate research-and-development facilities, AT&T Bell Laboratories, where his work won a Nobel Prize for physics. And Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, in addition to serving as Colorado attorney general and a U.S. senator, has been a partner in his family’s farm for decades and, with his wife, owned and operated a Dairy Queen and radio stations in his home state of Colorado.

    The post also tells us that the only Obama cabinet appointees who do not have had “significant private sector experience” are Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

    And funny, but as I read this, I don’t have an inclination that Nugent, were he deprived of a guitar, a weapon, or his big mouth, would have the slightest clue as to how the “private sector” works either.


  • A Lesson In Climate Science For The Repugs

    July 23, 2010

    Of course, I’m assuming any of them would want to listen in light of this pathetic story (so many levels of stupid here…increasing our dependence on oil from despotic regimes, thus continuing to endanger our service people – remember them? – failing to be “stewards of the earth” as commanded by the Bible, the book self-righteous political types always invoke when trying to criminalize women trying to terminate a pregnancy or gays trying to marry, etc.).

    It’s bad enough that the Repugs perpetrate all manner of malfeasance, including what I just mentioned. Now they want us to melt with them and rest of the planet as well.

    Update 7/23/10: It just occurs to me that I was too easy on “coal state” Dems like Casey Jr. who didn’t do a damn thing in support of Kerry-Lieberman either…sorry about that.


    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).


  • “America’s Assignment Editor” Gives Diane Her Marching Orders

    November 5, 2009

    Wow, I’m so glad Diane Sawyer treated this interview with former vice president Al Gore with the seriousness it deserved, considering that our planet has been slowly melting for years (and taking her cue from a certain crying conservative TV demagogue here).

    Oh, and here’s another series of clips featuring Diane in action.

    Oh, yes, Diane, the whole “climate crisis” thing is just an excuse for Gore to become “the world’s first carbon billionaire.”

    Sure it is.


    Wednesday Mashup (9/23/09)

    September 23, 2009


    gwb_13-george-w-bush

  • Someone named Iain Murray at Irrational Spew Online has criticized President Obama for using the term “carbon pollution” instead of “greenhouse gases” in recent speeches here, as follows…

    I am proud to say that the United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months than at any other time in our history. . . . We’re investing billions to capture carbon pollution so that we can clean up our coal plants.

    This supposed catch is attributed to a reporter named Lauren Morello from openmarket.org, who noticed this “shift in the vocabulary (of) U.S. officials.”

    I would think that conservatives should be the last people in the world decrying a “shift in the vocabulary” or the employment of likely-marketing-tested wording to help sell a policy on behalf of the current administration.

    For you see, Bushco was proficient in selling any policy it wanted to achieve its nefarious ends, twisting words and meaning whenever it suited its foul purposes (of course, more and more people became wise to their con over time, but not soon enough).

    For me, the phrase “return on success,” as it allegedly pertained to the Iraq war, was a particularly galling example.

    As Think Progress told us here, “return on success” was Bushco-ese for “some of our troops are leaving Iraq, but most are staying behind.”

    And as Salon.com’s Alex Koppleman tells us here…

    …the withdrawal of these forces isn’t tied to success in the way the president pretends. In fact, he had little choice but to begin these drawdowns, and his top generals — including Gen. David Petraeus — have not made a secret of that.

    In July 2007, Petraeus appeared on Good Morning America, where he said, “We know that the surge has to come to an end … General Odierno and I have — are on the record telling our soldiers that we will not ask for any extension certainly beyond 15 months.”

    Also, as a Think Progress commenter noted…

    “Return on Success” is actually a play on the business term: “Return on Investment.” Looked at from that angle, it’s been a huge loss of investment in both lives and treasure for the American public. If this war/occupation was a stock offered in the financial markets, it would be worth about $-0.2. The only profitability has been for the war profiteers and stock holders in THOSE criminal corporations.

    So given all of this, I believe that using the phrase “carbon pollution” instead of “greenhouse gases” isn’t anything to get hot and bothered about (unless you’re thinking of replacing the phrase “return on success” with “return on failure” to describe the foul, fetid Bushco reign, in which case you would be substantively correct).

  • gay_rainbow_flying_flag

  • And by the way, anyone who had Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy secretary for the office of Safe & Drug Free Schools in the U.S. Department of Education, as the next person on the list “Cracker Nation” (as Bill Maher calls them) would get into a tizzy over automatically wins first prize (wonder what it would be – a collage of “family values” Republicans such as Jesse Helms, David Vitter, Larry Craig, Mark Foley and Mark Sanford, maybe?).

    As noted here, Jennings’ “crime” is “aiming to prevent gender- and sexual orientation-related bullying in schools,” (wingnuttia reigns in this excerpt)…

    Jennings has spent decades actively and successfully promoting myths about homosexuality to schoolchildren as founder of the radical Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GSLEN). Van Jones was done in by two key charges and one taped quote; FRC documented at least seven outrageous facts about Jennings and five inflammatory quotes in documents we released in June (see http://www.stopjennings.org).

    Unfortunately, Jennings has now taken his office at the Education Department-where he will be charged with implementing laws like the “Safe Schools Improvement Act,” introduced as H.R. 2262. This bill to combat “bullying” and “harassment” is like a “hate crimes” law for schools-but without being limited to actual violence. Cutting down on bullying and harassment of anyone is a worthy goal, but naming “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected categories makes this bill more about advancing the homosexual agenda than keeping schools safe.

    Ah yes, the dreaded “homosexual agenda.” I know it’s permeating every aspect of my life whenever I feel an unmanly urge to watch “Project Runway,” read The Bell Jar or wear Mrs. Doomsy’s beige pumps.

    (…give me a frackin’ break, people!!…)

    As we learn from Pam’s House Blend here, charges that Jennings “hates Christians,” “is teaching children nasty sexual behavior through the group GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network),” and “covered up the sexual abuse of an underaged child” have all been refuted.

    However…

    The newest “controversy” is that Jennings gave a speech in 1995 explaining how to introduce lgbt supportive groups in schools:

    In 1995, he gave a speech in which he described how he has used the concept of “safety” in schools to promote homosexual advocacy in public schools in Massachusetts. He gave a speech called “Winning the Culture War” at the Human Rights Campaign Fund Leadership Conference on March 5 of that year.

    Excerpts have been posted on the website of MassResistance, where chief Brian Camenker has worked to oppose the demands of homosexual activists.

    In the speech, Jennings described how he was concerned about being described as promoting homosexuality, so he chose to campaign on the idea of “safety” instead.

    “If the radical right can succeed in portraying us as preying on children, we will lose. Their language – ‘promoting homosexuality’ is one example – is laced with subtle and not-so-subtle innuendo that we are ‘after their kids,'” he told the conference. . . “

    Actually there is nothing wrong with the speech. In fact, it’s a very good speech which should be remembered.

    Again, we have here another example of conservatives twisting words to suit their ends.

    As for Jennings himself, this tells us the following…

    Prior to his tenure at GLSEN, Jennings served as History Department chair and a history teacher at Concord Academy in Massachusetts and before that as a history teacher at Moses Brown School in Rhode Island. Jennings has also authored six books including Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son: A Memoir which was named a 2007 Book of Honor by the American Library Association and Telling Tales Out of School which was the winner of the 1998 Lambda Literary Award. Jennings received an A.B. in history from Harvard, an M.A. from the Columbia University Teachers College and an M.B.A. from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

    Besides, the prior regime employed a gay man named Mark Dybul at the State Department as Bushco’s “global AIDS coordinator,” as we learn here, and I don’t recall hearing any howls of protest from the FRC (or Fix Noise, for that matter – no surprise – as noted here).

  • Update 9/25/09: More from Media Matters here…

    monopoly-man

  • And finally, did you know that the pay of bank CEOs in this country “dwarfs” that of the rest of the world, as noted here?

    As Sarah Anderson, a fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies, tells us…

    “(U.S. bank CEOs) have claimed it is impossible to recruit people without paying such compensation. Yet, if you look at the pay levels in Europe and in a lot of Asian countries, somehow they manage to find people who can run major global firms while making a fraction of what they make in the U.S.,” she said.

    And so what exactly do we get for all that extra dough?

    Well…

  • Bank of America and Citigroup (I’ll be nice here and not use the scatological names) are alleged to have funded Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan national at the center of a reputed Al Qaeda terror cell probe, according to the New York Daily News here (as the post asks, “What kind of banks lend tens of thousands of dollars unsecured to 20-year-old coffee cart vendor / shuttle bus driver foreigners with no assets?”).
  • The banks bailed out by TARP “stuffed” CEOs with stock when the market was down, and now these CEOs are making out all over again now that the market is returning to reasonable health, as noted here.
  • As noted here in this story telling us that even token regulation of bank products was defeated, Barney Frank tells us that the banks generally “regard consumer affairs as a kind of nuisance.”
  • Meanwhile, Dem Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota continues to be absolutely correct in the matter of bank regulation, as noted here from last March.

  • Update: Oh, and, by the way…


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