Saturday, February 14, 2009

Jimmy Carter Bitchslaps House Republicans

Jimmy Carter on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night when asked about Obama's situation and House Republicans deciding not to vote for the Economic Recovery plan:

"[Obama] didn't get any [Republican] votes in the House of Representatives. As you know, Republicans representatives are like robots. They have to do what their bosses tell them, they can't put into consideration what's best for the country or what's best for their own district. If they do, they'll lose their seat on a committee or they'll lose their future benefits for their district, so they have to vote the way they are told."

Framing the Debate: Why Does the GOP Hate the Middle Class?

We find ourselves in the middle of an economic crossroads, arguably the hardest financial crisis the country has had to face since its founding. 3.6 million jobs have been lost since December 2007 and half of those were in the last three months alone, which means the problem is accelerating. Basically, we are facing another Great Depression if nothing is done to try and stem the tide.

And yet for the last three weeks, while debating an economic recovery bill that will attempt to create jobs, give tax breaks to middle and lower income workers and try to kick start the economy with some consumer spending, there has been nothing but resistance from the Republican Party. I really don't understand that. Are the Republican leaders in Washington so isolated that they think doing nothing and letting this economic storm run its course is the way to go? Are they so obtuse that they think corporate tax cuts, the same type of cuts that we experienced for the last eight years, are the solution to losing 600,000 jobs a month?

For all those three weeks, I personally heard nothing from GOP leaders except whining and moaning about how much this bill was going to cost our children and our grandchildren. I heard about how it was so full of pork, it wasn't really a stimulus bill. I heard about how the real way to get the economy going again was a round of tax cuts for businesses one minute and then crying that there were too many giveaways for the "corporate high rollers" the next, thank you very much, Senator John "The Fundamentals of Our Economy Are Still Strong" McCain.

And the news outlets and cable news talking heads and pundits were all too eager to frame the narrative in the same fashion, repeating GOP talking points about money for "grass on the National mall" and criticizing Medicaid family planning money as "$200 million for contraception." And after all the grousing, and President Obama acquiescing because he knew that the sooner we could get this bill passed, the sooner we could make our way back on the road to economic recovery and the better off we would all be, he still got absolutely zero support from his supposedly distinguished colleagues across the aisle.

Well, the bill passed anyway and out of all the Republican members of Congress, the bill only received three Republican votes. Three. So now it is our turn to frame the narrative. Every Democratic Congressman and Senator should be shouting this from the mountaintops:

The GOP just voted against the biggest middle class tax cuts in history!

Why does the Republican Party hate the middle class? Why are cuts for businesses and the wealthiest Americans not a problem for the GOP to vote for, but they can't bear the thought of giving a break to middle and lower income earners, the people who need it most? Keep repeating until it becomes second nature and you say it in your sleep. It's time to take over the narrative.

(H/T Bob Cesca)


And I'm tired of hearing wingnuts complain that there wasn't time to read the bill that was written behind closed doors. Are you telling me that Senators and Congressmen don't have enough interns or staff to take the 400 or so pages that were amended and break it down into 40 page sections to get through it in an hour? They wasted their time on the news outlets crying and moaning about the "spending" in a stimulus bill instead of reading the fucking thing. They certainly seem to have time to make up lies about what's in the bill or sling mud at the Speaker of the House. Studying field mice? A Pelosi vacation trip to Europe?

Stop wasting time making shit up and start using your time constructively and do some fucking work. Sorry, I'm not going to take the "no time to read the bill" crap as an excuse when they have plenty of time to make shit up out of whole cloth, and can spare a staffer to run to the pet store for a furry cat toy play mouse to use as a prop on the House floor.

These rats are circling the drain. Next stop: November 2010.

Must Reads

driftglass: Man Is A Rope

Paul Krugman: Failure to Rise

Mark Morford: Death By Moron

David Sirota: Addicted To Fake Outrage

The Bobblehead Translations: Obama Press Conference, February 9, 2009

Elvis Dingeldein: Freedom From Fear

Obama's Weekly Address - Feb 14, 2009

A Major Milestone

Friday, February 13, 2009

Party Before Country

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

~ President Barack Obama, January 20, 2009

Here we are 24 days later, 24 days into the Presidency of Barack Obama, who was handed the task of leading us out of this abysmal mess left by the previous administration because of the avarice of those men behind the curtain to which we should have been paying attention, pulling the levers and pushing the buttons; making the jaw move and the head bobble and the walk swagger of their Great and Powerful Wizard of Intellectual Slothfulness.

President Obama had a message, and in our joy and excitement for the glorious day that had finally arrived, we failed to realize who he was speaking of, as the Wizard took his final balloon flight. He spoke to the Muslim world when he asked to "seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect." He spoke to leaders around the world when he warned that "your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."

And then he said, "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent...". Who do you suppose he meant?

It didn't even take a month. In just a little over three weeks, we now know to whom he was referring when he spoke those words. President Obama has extended his hand, but the GOP has not unclenched their fist. "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent..." Can you think of any examples of corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent off the top of your head these last eight years?

He extended his hand as he met with Republican lawmakers in an effort to get support for his recovery bill to try and fight out of our current economic crisis. But why should Republicans help a newly elected Democratic President? Why should the Republicans care about the constituents they were elected to represent? And they slapped President Obama's hand away, claiming they'd been left out of the process.

He extended his hand again, in the interests of bipartisanship, trying to yet again appeal to the GOP's better angels in hosting them at the White House to discuss further ideas for economic stimulus and heard nothing but petty griping, about grass on the mall and contraception. After all, how can creating jobs by repairing the infrastructure of our crumbling national monuments and funding family planning that would save an estimated $60 billion in future government medical costs possibly help our economy? President Obama heard their complaints, removed the "offensive" items from the bill and held out his hand. And they slapped his hand away, claiming they'd been left out of the process.

President Obama then nominated Republican Senator Judd Gregg as Secretary of Commerce. Gregg accepted. After all he had lobbied for the job, why would he refuse? He then abstained from voting on the recovery bill, and decided he didn't want the job after all, in a weak, "It's not you, it's me" moment.

White House statement:
"Senator Gregg reached out to the President and offered his name for Secretary of Commerce. He was very clear throughout the interviewing process that despite past disagreements about policies, he would support, embrace, and move forward with the President’s agenda. Once it became clear after his nomination that Senator Gregg was not going to be supporting some of President Obama’s key economic priorities, it became necessary for Senator Gregg and the Obama administration to part ways. We regret that he has had a change of heart".

Shorter Gregg: Yeah, I wanted the job, thought it would look cool on my resume. Then all my Republican friends got mad at me and I fell to the peer pressure. Besides, I'm going to retire in 2010 anyway since the GOP is going down faster than Larry Craig in an airport bathroom stall, and there's no way I'd be re-elected. But what did you expect? I'm a Republican. That's what we do.


Is it possible that the Republican Party is thinking about nothing but trying to sabotage President Obama and the Democrats in order regain control of Congress in 2010? That would be pretty outrageous, don't you think?

Andrew Sullivan: "Their clear and open intent is to do all they can, however they can, to sabotage the new administration (and the economy to boot). They want failure. Even now. Even after the last eight years. Even in a recession as steeply dangerous as this one. "

TPM: "It's hard not to think that Gregg's withdrawal, with the grumbling about the census and the stimulus, was not timed to cause the most damage possible to the Obama administration. Releasing the statement just as Obama took the stage in Peoria was clearly designed to undermine the President's event. The fact he scheduled a presser only seems to confirm it. The classy exit would have been to wait til tomorrow afternoon to quietly bow out. Basically Gregg decided not just to politely decline, but rather to blow shit up and burn the bridge behind him. Do not think this portends good things for the wider political climate. "

Robert Reich (H/T Bob Cesca): "But going into the midterms, I think a lot of Republicans would like to say this was not our bill, this was not our bank bailout, if you had followed us with out tax cuts, we would not be in this position today. And they're gonna want to do what [Newt Gingrich] did in 1994 to nationalize the election."

Bob Cesca: "Ultimately, I don't mind that Senator Gregg has dropped out. But this is yet another indication that the Republicans have no intention of meeting the president halfway on a goddamn thing. They will, in fact, attempt to sabotage the president at every turn because it's their nature."

Yes, it would be pretty outrageous, but in my opinion, not out of the question. Show me the evidence. Give me examples where they have acted for the greater good of the country than for their own political gain. Never underestimate the Republican Party's lust for the return to power that they've lost and what lengths they'll go to regain it. In their minds, they're burning the village in order to save it. If that isn't party before country, I don't know what is.

Things Republicans Don't Mind Spending Money On

Guest-posted by Fraulein

Here is what is infuriating about the uproar over President Obama's economic stimulus package: the very same people who are screaming that the U.S. government is setting taxpayer money on fire by using it for upgrading the electrical grid and fixing crumbling bridges, had, and STILL HAVE, absolutely no problem with the trillions of dollars the U.S. has spent on the Iraq war. Money flushed down the toilet. Wasted--for nothing. Well, except guaranteeing that most of the Middle East will continue to hate us for generations to come.

This is a major point that you rarely hear made by the TV news empty suits. Why is "government spending" a horrible travesty when the money goes to building schools and cleaning up toxic waste sites in our own backyards? Why is it not only OK, but utterly necessary, according to the Republicans, to spend trillions of dollars of public money on wars of choice? Because putting on a show--homeland security theater, if you will--trumps all other considerations? Because as long as their buddies in the defense and oil industries are raking in the cash, that's all that matters? That's what it's about, and the leadership of the GOP knows it. The question is when ordinary citizens who tend not to pay attention to politics are going to figure this out.

I wonder if we are beginning to see a shift in public thinking on this issue. I think Obama's election was just the beginning. As people's 401ks and other investments continue to tank and their jobs become more precarious--as more and more people lose their homes--the consequences of eight years of indiscriminate tax cuts for the uber-wealthy are becoming increasingly clear. The math just doesn't work. You can't simply remove a vast chunk of the public wealth from the government's coffers, in the form of the war spending and the tax cuts, and then expect things to magically continue to function as they always have. Infrastructure falls apart after a while. Schools crumble. If you never spend money to fix anything, well, things don't get fixed. I think people are starting to figure this out. It's really not that complicated.

The peril for the GOP will be the moment when a critical mass of Americans FINALLY gets this point. Once people realize that for the past 30 years, this line they've been feeding us about how "government is the problem" is actually bullshit, the Republicans are done. And they know it. This is why they are fighting Obama tooth and nail over this stimulus spending. The outcome of this fight will determine what trajectory our country takes over the coming generations.

Cross-posted at Purple Ink

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lincoln's 200th Birthday

Lincoln Portrait by Aaron Copland (1942)

Adding... today is also the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin. Interesting.

GOP Humor (Or Lack Of It)

It seems that Kyle Smith is either 1) just another lackey doing the the bidding of Rupert Murdoch or 2) proof that Republicans don't have a sense of humor, their sensibilities are blinded by ideology and the last thing they should be doing as a careers should have absolutely nothing to do with the arts, especially being a theatre critic.

Will Ferrell's new Broadway show You're Welcome America. A Final Night With George W. Bush has received mostly positive praise from critics. However, what New York Post "critic" Kyle Smith calls a review, I call a conservative Republican's angry response to something they decided they would hate before watching, and may as well been written for Red State, American Thinker or Michelle Malkin's blogs.

What most anger's Smith during Ferrell's show is the moment of silence to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for the "War on Terror."

Ferrell/Bush asks the audience for a moment of silence to honor our troops who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the performance I saw, most of the audience members went silent but a few tittered nervously. Who can blame them? This is a comedy show. They were expecting a gag, and they soon got one.

After a few seconds of silence a phone on the stage rings, and everyone laughs. The relief is palpable. Hurrah! That thing about honoring our war dead? It really was just the setup to a joke!
Wrong. I know it's wrong because I saw the show. This is the one moment in the entire almost 90 minute act that was sincere. It was Will Ferrell dropping his Bush mask just a bit and honestly asking for a moment of silence for our fallen soldiers. The silence was deafening. You could hear a pin drop. We all sat there "for a few seconds" (more like 20 or so) realizing that while we were laughing at the caricature Ferrell was creating on stage, the buffoon that got us into the mess we're in really did ruin countless thousands, hundreds of thousands of lives. And it was a wake up call. We can poke fun at this failure of a President, but we can't forget what he's destroyed.

Now if Smith knew anything about theatre - the medium that this ass is apparently a "critic" of - he would know that this was the ending of a scene. I wonder if Smith would have objected to the silence had the lights faded to black and then restored with the phone ringing? Would that have separated the two scenes in Smith's little brain for him to see that this was a transition into the next section of the show?

Of course, Smith plays the dutiful little GOP wingnut in assuming that this was all a setup for a punchline, outraged that Ferrell and director Adam McKay "are so confident that everyone shares their contempt for Bush that they slosh over into contempt for all things associated with Bush: the show includes cracks about Texas, Christianity, and finally the military."

Wrong again. Ferrell never pokes fun at the military in this show. Ever. But I suppose to get the proper conservative frenzy that his rag of a paper calls it's readership, Smith has to appeal to the basest emotions of someone who hasn't seen what he's reviewing and dissuade them from attending by accusing Ferrell of being un-American. No matter. Anyone reading the New York Post is too busy watching Wifeswap to attend live theatre.

The problem with Smith's review is that he doesn't allow himself to view the show objectively. His Republican sensitivities were raw nerves on the surface of his thin skin and he could not bring himself to critique in a theatrical or comedic sense. His vision was skewed by his ideology. And he makes it plain for all to see:
Ferrell mouths a few Bush malapropisms backed by the words "actual quote" projected on the screen behind him. If I were Bush, I'd reply: "If you think you've never screwed up, I've got three words for you: 'Semi-Pro.' " ...

...The military is the military. It isn't going to whine. It isn't going to organize a team of protesters to cause a ruckus in front of the Cort Theatre. It is just going to keep its head down and drive on. The military's finest men and women will continue to be ignored at best and loathed at worst. No Medal of Honor winner will get even one percent of the publicity Ferrell will generate with this show. For every hundred books written about the failures in Iraq, there will be one paragraph written about the post-surge turnaround.

But is it too much to ask for our war dead to not be ridiculed by wealthy comedians? Maybe those who fly on private jets, live in closely policed communities with surveillance cameras covering every inch of their property and send their kids to private school don't understand that there is such a thing as public security, and that it isn't a joke.
Smith doesn't even see the irony in that last sentence as former President Bush is moving to an exclusive Dallas whites-only suburb. But as usual, Republicans are immune to irony.

Finally, Smith leaves with a wag of the finger parting shot as he suggests Ferrell drop the "jokey" moment of silence from the upcoming HBO special and apologize to the troops on a USO tour to Iraq. Perhaps if he could name a couple of Republican comedians (if there is such a thing as GOP humor) who've been on a USO tour, I might take him seriously. I, on the other hand, hope that the HBO special will be uncut, complete with the sincere moment of silence to show how incredibly wrong Kyle Smith was in his backward assessment of Ferrell, the show, and his mindset.

(H/T Armadillo Joe for bringing Alicublog to my attention.)

Values Voters

Guest posted by Armadillo Joe

Once, during my senior year in high school, a girl accused me -- in front of everybody -- of being a "satanic atheist." When I attempted to explain to her the stupidity of that statement, she started crying and yelling that I had been tempted by Satan to reject the god who loves me and his son who died on the cross for my sins and that made me a "satanic atheist."

That experience was not the only reason I left Texas and The South, but the fact that she was not only not that unusual in the braindead bigotry of her beliefs nor even their spittle-flecked passion, but is in fact pretty much considered mainstream illustrates the type of people many Texans and Southerners are in their core and why I had to leave for more wide-open minds.

Which brings me to this story (h/t Booman Tribune). In South East Texas, 16 miles outside of Jasper -- the internationally famous, racist shithole where James Byrd, Jr. was dragged to his death behind a pickup truck about ten years ago -- it seems a 35-year veteran of the Brookeland, Texas Independent School District had the temerity to express his un-reactionary views a little too much in class. He had the unmitigated gall to tell his students that he was a supporter of Barack Obama and that Fox News and Rush Limbaugh were lying about Mr. Obama being a Muslim. Soon enough, he was suspended following an argument in a school building hallway with an upset parent (yes, a parent came to the school to confront him about speaking ill of Fox News and the porcine drug-addicted sex-tourist -- during school hours). After a few weeks of on-again, off-again questioning that culminated in the ISD's superintendant asking him if he was a Christian, and to which he replied that it was none of the school district's business, he was ultimately dismissed him for a trumped-up charge of "inappropriate contact" with students. The best part is that he was replaced by the Baptist minister who leads the church where the majority of the Brookeland ISD's supervisors get their churchin'.

Which was purely a coincidence, I'm sure.

You can read the finer details of the whole sordid tale here, but only do so if you don't want to bash your forehead into your desktop.

Stories like this explain how George W. Bush was able to get the second election close enough to steal and the continued political careers of neanderthal nitwits like Pete Sessions and John Cornyn. However many good, awesome True Blue hippies and other assorted space cowboys one might find in Austin and the Texas Hill Country or even in certain isolated pockets of Dallas or Houston, by and large the State of Texas, especially the South East corner of it near the Louisiana border -- like the rest of Old Dixie it is so close to -- is still the racist, unevolved sewer it has been since the days of slavery.

And Barack Hussein Obama is their president.

So suck on that, haters.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Coulter Investigated For Voter Fraud

Oh, sweet, merciful, baby Jebus in The Heaven™. Why does she hate the democratic process? Why is she committing voter fraud? I wonder if Ann Coulter registered with ACORN?

Ann Coulter is being probed. (Ewww...) Following our Jan. 11 column, Connecticut’s Elections Enforcement Commission is making a “thorough investigation” of whether the conservative pundit broke the law by voting in the Nutmeg State while living in New York City, according to a commission spokeswoman. Officials are responding to a formal complaint filed by blogger Dan Borchers. “For over 10 years, Ann Coulter has gotten away with illegal, immoral and unethical behavior, ranging from plagiarism to defamation, perjury to voter fraud,” claims the conservative Borchers. Coulter declined to comment, but in the past has branded Borchers a stalker. He says the FBI has determined he poses no threat.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Yes Pecan!

I just received this e-mail and laughed so hard, I had to share.

Ben & Jerry created "Yes Pecan!" ice cream flavor for Obama.

[This is true. The rest of it, I'm not so sure.]

They then asked people to fill in the blank to the following:
For George W. they created "_________".

Here are some of their favorite responses:

~ Grape Depression
~ Abu Grape
~ Cluster Fud
~ Nut'n Accomplished
~ Iraqi Road
~ Chock 'n Awe
~ Wire Tapioca
~ Impeach Cobbler
~ Guantanmallow
~ imPeachmint
~ Good Riddance You Lousy Motherfucker. .. Swirl
~ Heck of a Job, Brownie!
~ Neocon Politan
~ Rocky Road to Fascism
~ The Reese's-cession
~ Cookie D'oh!
~ The Housing Crunch
~ Nougalar Proliferation
~ Death by Chocolate... and Torture
~ Credit Crunch
~ Country Pumpkin
~ Chunky Monkey in Chief
~ George Bush Doesn't Care About Dark Chocolate
~ WM Delicious
~ Chocolate Chimp
~ Bloody Sundae
~ Caramel Preemptive Stripe
~ I broke the law and am responsible for the deaths of thousands... with nuts

11th Commandent: Thou Shalt Not Waste Indoor Tennis Court Time

From the American Thinker, a site whose recent blog post titles include "Global Warming Causes Mental Illness" and "Democrat Wage Controls Mean Mediocre Management" (so beware if you venture over there) comes this lovely gem from Joyce Capron describing her horrifying incident on the tennis court with her playing partner. Oh, the humanity!

Today at tennis, after I made a hard point, my partner offered the Obama fist bump.

"I don't do that," I said, and I gave her a stern look. It's not the first time I've run into Obamabots on the courts; the game attracts argumentative, competitive types (of which I may be one). I didn't stop and lecture the O'Bot, because Wasting Indoor Court Time is a Sin. I just high-fived her with my racquet, and went on playing.

It seems that Capron has a stick up her ass the size of a tennis raquet (raquet head end first). Well, Jebus forbid that she should share a gesture of goodwill and sportsmanship with her playing partner. After all, everyone knows that Obama invented the fist bump and some in the inner circle say you must avoid physical contact with "Obamabots" at all times, else be subjected to infection through skin pores causing inevitable assimilation. So she did what any normally insane wingnut would do. She followed the RNC handbook guidelines for dealing with just such an instance.

  • Step One: State your case. Stare the threat in the eye and assert your beliefs. She gave her a stern look and said, "I don't do that."

  • Step Two: Avoid physical contact. She avoided the gesture by using a non-physical appendage. She "high-fived" her with her raquet.

  • Step Three: Promptly dispose of infected item. She wrapped the raquet in a Neocon haz-mat bag (available for a small donation to the RNC).

  • Step Four: Discard. She stored it away in a safe place for later incineration.

What struck me most about this elitist, racist piece of shit was not that she doesn't do the fist jab, which Obama invented by the way, or that she can't stand to look at the President to the point of turning over "offensive magazines" at the store checkout lines (like she actually does her own grocery shopping, HA!) or even that she's arming her kids with disinformation so they can spread their stupidity at their Conservative Club, which they co-founded at their notoriously liberal high school; so liberal in fact, they had trouble finding a faculty sponsor. Or that she'd protest the "porkulus" bill, "Even if it snowed." That's nothing. We're all used to that kind of erratic, irrational thinking and behavior.

No, what struck me, being a non-religious person, was Capron's third sentence into her piece. "I didn't stop and lecture the O'Bot, because Wasting Indoor Court Time is a Sin." That struck me as a little off. I think it's pretty safe to say that the majority of Republicans (at least the rabid type) are devoutly religious in nature. And I don't think I've ever heard any non-religious person use the word "sin" in their daily chatter. Rather than engage in a debate with a person with which she assumes is ideologically opposed to her, voicing her opinion of this outrageous gesture that cannot be taken lightly, this fist bump (which Obama invented), she kept her mouth shut because she didn't want to waste precious tennis court time. And this stuffed shirt, tennis playing snob equated "wasting indoor court time" (with capitalization) to a sin.

Picture that for a minute...

Capron (walking into a confessional): Forgive me father, for I have sinned.

Priest: Yes, my child. Confess.

Capron: I used the Lord's name in vain twice this week. I yelled at my son for hanging out with that liberal boy, Billy from down the block. And... and... (*sniff, *sniff)...

Priest: Go on.

Capron: I refused to fist jab with my tennis partner (you know, because Obama invented the fist jab) and was going to tell her off about her Obamabot ways, but I resisted, knowing that WASTING INDOOR COURT TIME IS A SIN. And then I realized that in my though process, I might have actually wasted maybe... a minute! (*uncontrollable sobbing)

Priest: Write a check to the RNC and your sins will be forgiven.

I really do hope that she does give the Obama fist bumper "an earful" next time and winds up getting an earful of raquet smashed across her head for her trouble. Maybe then she'll move out of the "bluest of the blue states" to a red state to be with her kind, but I don't know that she'll find a tennis partner in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

(H/T Bob Cesca)

Michael Steele Ebonics

Well it looks like new RNC Chairman Michael Steele took no time trying to school his fellow Republicans in the ways of street talk, jive, ebonics or whatever other words are used in the lexicon defining "black folk talk" to inspire people of color to join the Republican Party and really make it the "Dark Side."

The Obama-backed stimulus, he said, "is just a wish list from a lot of people who have been on the sidelines for years.. to get a little bling, bling."
Yes! YES! Michael Steele called the recovery package nothing but "BLING-BLING"! Fo' real, yo! This sonofabitch is making a joke of himself faster than Alan Keyes can carpetbag a state. Does he seriously believe that he can throw in an occasional "black" phrase and think that some will get fooled into believing he's black? What's he going to do if he accidentally throws in a terrorist fist jab? Michael Steele has lost his fucking mind.

I don't know about you, but I hate it when a down and out, lower income wage earner gets all up in my face, flashing his fancy bling Food Stamps card hanging from his neck.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Troll Hunting

It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it. For those unfamiliar with the phrase "troll" when it comes to the blogotubes, here is an Urban Dictionary definition:

troll - One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark up such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. 'you're nothing but a fanboy' is a popular phrase) with no substance or relevence to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue.

That's the thing with wingnuts that regurgitate Rush Limbaugh, right wing talking points. They really can't think for themselves and refuse to let facts get in the way of their belief system, like corporate tax cuts stimulate the economy or that President Obama cannot be the Commander-in-Chief because he isn't an American citizen.

Over at Bob Cesca's Goddamn Awesome Blog! GO! , trolling was relatively quiet, but with the growing success and popularity of his blog, the publishing of his book and his weekly contributions at The Huffington Post, Bob's blog has seen a rise of trolls as they rear their ugly heads from beneath their bridges (and by "bridges" I mean stomping on their Cheeto's stained keyboards in their parents' basement).

Now, normally the tactic taken is to ignore the troll. If you feed them, they only spew more of their neocon vomit. But what I've found at Bob's place unfortunately, is that their modus operandi is to return to a comment thread after the hullabaloo has died down, sometimes in the middle of the night or the next day, to try make an asinine point in the feeble minded thought that if they are not responded to, then they must have won the debate. They also sign in with multiple names to make you think there is more than one idiot guarding the bridge. So what if no one is paying attention anymore? Well, feeding trolls or not, I will not abide by that.

Here are a series of typical troll comments that I found this morning. At this point in a tax cut/recovery bill debate, the troll, "Booogie-Mann" is quoting other commenters and trying to rebut their position. These were posted between 3:45 and 4am:

"Tax cuts are far less stimulative than spending, hence there should be more spending and fewer tax cuts in the recovery bill."

... whenever the tax rate is above the optimal rate for revenue, there should be tax cuts. I pay almost 40% of my income in taxes, is that fair, isn't this too much, isn't this theft??

Bob reads one CBO report from a Democrat controlled congress and thinks this bolsters his spending works better than tax cuts argument. How silly. I agree that some spending on projects like windmills or energy would be helpful, but overall this huge Lobster Bill with butter and lemons just gives money away. States will use it to fill their budget gaps.

AdyLeigh: bless your feeble little brain, but years of overspending and huge deficits by the states have put them in a situation where spending increases will need to stop. You imply that we need to pay more taxes, otherwise all these elderly, poor, education will suffer or whatever. Do you understand where this money comes from?? Somebody else's pocket, who will suffer from having it confiscated. Who are you to judge where my money should be spent?? Why should I fund someone's College Edu-k-shuh ... take out a loan for Chrissake...

If anything, you should be mad at State Government Officials who never passed a reasonable budget, nor saved a penny for a rainy day (today). During the economic boom of the past 6+years State Governments have just raked in $$ and spent it on crap. Look at how spending has increased in your state since 2000, go look it up and ask yourself if wages in the state or population increases justify this amount. I doubt it.

Posted by: Booogie-Mann at February 9, 2009 3:49 AM


Social Security ... anyone who wants more taxes and government to pay for things, just ask any senior how they like Social Security. How's that program working for ya huh?? What happened to the "Lock Box" of money Al Gore talked about. Yea, right.

South Carolina: I wonder if any of these folks working for SC Government, making over 100k, would be willing to take a small pay cut to fund the poor:

Posted by: Booogie-Mann at February 9, 2009 3:57 AM


AdyLeigh: 7% cut across the board?? How smart, I wonder how many Unemployed people would have taked a mere 7% cut in pay to keep their jobs!!

-7% means putting SC back to 2006 levels, wahhhhh, big deal, be patriotic and get over it, we don't have the money.

Posted by: Booogie-Mann at February 9, 2009 4:00 AM

Pretty smart guy, huh? Now at this point, I'd had it with this moron. For three straight days, he whined and moaned about the recovery bill, but had no ideas other than the usual Republican tax cuts talking point that has been proven a failure for the last 30 years. So here is my (harsh) response:

Booger-Man/CS/StupidChris/CnnNews/whoever the fuck you are, you've got to be the stupidest asshole on the planet. Let's take your stupidity point by point.

CBO - You sons of bitches whined for days about how a CBO report touted by Republicans showed that the recovery bill would not inject enough stimulus into the economy fast enough. Every douchebag Republican was hiding behind that CBO report - WHICH DIDN'T EXIST - and now that a full report is out from the same group, you cry that it's a partisan report. FUCK YOU.

Enough with the "lobster bill with butter and lemons." You've been saying that for days. It wasn't funny the first time, and it's not funny now. FUCK YOU.

"States will use it to fill their gaps."

That's the point, you fucking moron. States get relief from the federal government and can continue unemployment benefits for the millions that have lost their jobs (who have been paying into the system, by the way), relieve the burden of having to lay off law enforcement, firefighters, school budget cuts or closing schools all together, etc. Shovel ready projects get funded and put people back to work. FUCK YOU.

"I pay almost 40% of my income in taxes, is that fair, isn't this too much, isn't this theft?"

Answer: No, dipshit. It's the price we pay for living in this country.

I pay almost 40% too, so quit your bitching. You know what the real theft is? Corporations that don't pay 40%. Schlubs like you and me pay 40% while billionaires like Warren Buffet pay 17%. How is that fair? How can you be so ridiculously contradictory when someone mentions that there have been 7% cuts across the board in SC, yet you cry like a fucking baby about your tax rate?! Big deal. Be patriotic and get over it, fuck-o.

By the way, seniors LOVE Social Security. They get their check every month. No delays. No hassles. It was a forced savings account started by a Democrat 70 fucking years ago and it still works. They only reason you bitches are crying foul is because you keep using it to pay off other shit. Al Gore and his "lock box" idea was awesome. Too bad it wasn't implemented by your Chimp after he stole the 2000 election. Ask your grandparents about Social Security. I'm sure they're glad that Bush didn't break that system too and rolled it over into private accounts. Where would that money be now if that had happened? Swallowed up like the rest of the DOW and whatever was leftover would be your "finance fee" to the fund operator.

And you can shove that SC $100K chart up your ass. Are you saying that educators, professors, deans, doctors and nurses don't deserve to make money? If you're going to ask them to take a 7% cut, great. Then the person that makes $100K can pay his/her almost 40% in taxes and the person/corporation who makes billions can pay their 40% as well.

And you're right, Fuck it. Why should we fund ANY "Edu-k-shuh."? You never went to school, right? You didn't go to grammar school, or high school or college. We don't need any fancy book learnin' Americans to run our country. Let's just import them from other countries that fund their education. They'll do it for less money too and Americans can just do ALL the manual labor of America. Hell, that takes care of the immigration problem too. See you on the lettuce fields, asshole.

And I love this one: "...Government Officials who never passed a reasonable budget, nor saved a penny for a rainy day (today). "

What do you mean, Boogie Nights? Saving money?! Why should they keep our hard earned cash? They should just give us TAX BREAKS, they shouldn't keep the money for a rainy day. According to you, that's thievery! Gee, I don't know why we find ourselves in this mess after Bush's initial $1.3 TRILLION tax break, not to mention more tax cuts during "war" time, something NO OTHER PRESIDENT HAS EVER DONE.

So keep thinking that the same policies that have ruined us financially over the last 30 years are the answer to everything.

Oh yeah, one more thing. FUCK YOU.

Posted by: Broadway Carl at February 9, 2009 8:55 AM

Surprisingly, I have yet to receive a response. So in conclusion, don't be afraid to feed a troll. They may be a nuisance, but they'll help sharpen your debate skills for actual debate with intelligent people and keep all those facts fresh in your head.

Letting the sun shine in

Guest-posted by Fraulein

In the early 1990s, fresh out of college, I began my career as a newspaper reporter. My career in the news business was pretty average--I toiled somewhat anonymously at a variety of weekly and daily papers, covering car accidents and fires, town council meetings and court hearings, parades and funerals and school board meetings. I worked for several years before my employer thought to invest in this crazy newfangled Internet thing. Once we got it, the whole concept was so alien to us that most of my colleagues avoided any attempt to do research on the Internet in favor of the reporting tools that had worked just fine for us up until that point--the telephone and the strength of our relationships with our sources.

But sources, no matter how solid, can only bring a reporter so far. When you're covering a complex issue of national import like, for example, proposed military base closings (which I wrote about extensively during this period) you inevitably run up against the limits of what your sources know--or what they're willing to tell you.

The Freedom of Information Act is a powerful tool that can be used by every reporter, whether at a lowly weekly or the New York Times, to shine light on issues of great importance to the public. FOIA requires federal agencies to release (with certain exceptions) requested non-classified information pertaining to the activities of the federal government. The request can come from any citizen, but reporters tend to rely on FOIA the most (even today, when the Internet has made it so much simpler for reporters to research most topics). The idea is to keep the government honest. So you can imagine what happened to FOIA under George W. Bush. As Leslie Harris wrote on Huffington Post:

For the last eight years, government agencies were encouraged to thwart FOIA requests twisting the broad language in the Act in favor of secrecy. Under Bush, FOIA restrictions were routine, often bizarre and sometimes outright laughable. For example, the names of drugs forced used on the prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay were withheld because releasing the information would be considered a violation of 'personal privacy.' Schedules of agency officials were deemed off-limits and information once widely available on the Internet, such as information about toxic chemical spills, essentially became invisible to scrutiny.

It's just another example of how Bush and his minions went out of their way to hide the extent of the damage they did to our country. Now, with Bush mercifully gone and Barack Obama running the show, FOIA has gotten a new lease on life. Obama has directed federal agencies to take FOIA requests seriously, in stark contrast to the obstructionism of the last eight years under the Republicans. The importance of this is hard to overstate. Imagine a government operating in the sunlight instead of skulking about in the shadows. It's a win not only for journalists, but for all of us.

Music Break! Freddie Hubbard and David "Fathead" Newman

So much has happened in the last month, I didn't even realize that two jazz greats had passed away until I watched part of the Grammy Awards last night. Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard died a couple of days before the new year at 70 of a heart attack and saxophone/flutist David "Fathead" Newman just passed away at 75 due to complications from pancreatic cancer on January 20th.

No wonder I didn't hear. It was all Obama all day on the 20th. Still, negligence on my part is on an excuse. So here are a couple of videos to commemorate their contribution to the music world.