Saturday, March 7, 2009

Must Reads

Class of 1984

I attended my first high school reunion last evening. It's been 25 years since graduating from an all male Catholic high school... I think I'm still recovering. Not from the reunion, from the high school.

I kid. I had a great time seeing old friends, some of whom I've kept in touch with over the years and some who I haven't seen since walking out of the front doors. Some of us traded business cards in an attempt to really keep in touch this time. One friend came across my blog though my Facebook page and said he reads it daily, and although he doesn't agree with everything I say, if he agrees with any of it, he gets a kick out it and encouraged me to keep writing. Steve, if you're reading this, please leave a comment once in a while. That's the whole point of these blogs - to encourage debate.

Anyway, a fun time was had by all as we reminisced about the good ol' days of high school, traded stories (some true, some legend), rekindled lost friendships and forged new ones.

MSNBC and The Dow

These past couple of weeks have seen the mainstream media, particularly MSNBC and CNBC trying to correlate the Dow Jones dive to the time President Obama has been in office. But as we all know, the DJIA has been in a tailspin since it's highpoint in September 2007. On Friday, Morning Joe used a graph showing the Dow's collapse... since Election Day, a full 14 months since the start of the downfall and 2½ months before Inauguration Day.

I decided to use Twitter in an attempt to contact Joe Scarborough directly to voice my concern regarding their more than misleading graph. And to his credit, Scarborough actually responded.

broadwaycarl@JoeNBC Watching your show et al showing the DOW tanking since Obama took office. Do yourself a favor and take a look at a graph since 9/07
9:41 AM Mar 6th from web

broadwaycarl@JoeNBC The market has been in a nose dive for 18 months. Are you expecting SuperObama to stop it in six weeks or are you just blaming him?

9:43 AM Mar 6th from web

JoeNBC@broadwaycarl We will tell the graphics dept that if they run the chart again, to either do it since 9/08 or 1/09. That seems fair.
[5:30 PM Mar 6th] from web in reply to broadwaycarl

Thanks for responding, Joe, but does that really that seem fair? I specified September of 2007 because it was the height of the DJIA and 16½ months before President Obama took office. September 2008 may be a bit better even though it's hiding the 14000 DJIA peak during Bush's term, but the idea of using January 2009 as a possible benchmark is completely useless.

From September 2007 to January 20th, 2009, the DJIA lost about 6000 points. Since January 21st, it's lost approximately 1350 points, but the talk on the news and cable chatter would have you believe that the nascent Obama administration is to blame for years of deregulation, unbalanced trade agreements, trillion dollar tax cuts in time of war and aggressive day traders influencing the market for a quick buck in the short term regardless of the instability it causes.

Unfortunately, that's the game: manufacturing misleading charts, graphs and juggling the numbers to make it appear as if President Obama's six weeks in office has ruined the economy.

ADDING... Suffice it to say, if President Obama had done nothing to this point and let the banks that "are too big to fail" actually fail, I think you'd be hearing about a newly elected President who's like a deer in the headlights letting the country collapse financially and not doing anything about it because of his "inexperience."

President Obama's Weekly Address - March 7, 2009

Toward a Better Day

Friday, March 6, 2009

Our Nation's Leaders

Senator Jim DeMint thinks he knows what's happ'nin' in da DC 'hoods.

Think Progress: Yesterday, at a news conference promoting a Republican amendment to continue D.C.’s school voucher program, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) — a longtime cheerleader for vouchers — suggested that students in D.C. public schools are more likely to join gangs than graduate. “If you send a kid to [public] school in D.C., chances are that they will end up in a gang rather than graduating,” he said. City officials were quick to respond, noting that “gross misjudgments like that one” bolster the argument for giving D.C. full voting rights in the House. In fact, nearly 70 percent of D.C. students graduated last year, putting the District “in line with the national average,” while Sen. DeMint’s home state of South Carolina had a graduation rate of almost 56 percent,” the fourth worst in the nation.

Way to go, DeMint! More Republican awesomeness!

Glenn Beck Needs a Medication Adjustment

What. The. Fuck?

The new Glenn Beck show has got to be the freakiest thing I've seen in a long, long time. And that's just from watching clips because Jebus knows, I don't tune in to this crap. Sure, Bill O'Reilly is an idiot, but at least with him you sort of know what you're getting. With Beck, you have no idea where he is headed from minute to minute. I'm waiting for him to start drooling in the middle of his show or banging pots over his heads and screaming "Oklahoma!"

Watch the clip provided by C & L to see what I mean. The inclusion of Jonah Goldberg as a guest only intensifies this train wreck.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

President Obama at The Rx for Health Care Reform Summit

President Obama: "There's been some talk about the notion that maybe we're taking on too much. That we're in the midst of an economic crisis and that the system is overloaded and so we should put this off for another day.

Well, let's just be clear. When times were good, we didn't get it done. When we had mild recessions, we didn't get it done. When we were in peace time, we did not get it done. When we were at war, we did not get it done. There is always a reason not to do it. And it strikes me that now is exactly the time for us to deal with this problem. The American people are looking for solutions, business is looking for solutions and government, state, federal and local, needs solutions to this problem.

So for all of you who've been elected to office or those who are heading up major associations, I would say, 'What better time than now? And what better cause for us to take up?' Imagine the pride when we go back to our constituencies next year and say, 'You know what? We finally got something done on health care.' That's something that's worth fighting for and I hope that all of you fight for it."

"Health care is a privilege."

Cross posted by Fraulein

So says Tennessee GOP 3rd District Rep., Zach Wamp. What he means is, "Will you go die already, you sick poor people?"

Here's Zach's contact page. I'm sure he'd welcome an e-mail telling him what you think about this!

Also: Can the Democratic party start compiling video like this for campaign ads? Pretty please?

UPDATE (3/6/09):
The always-insightful Bob Cesca nails it:

Maybe if we all dressed up in fetus costumes, the Republicans would be tricked into finally supporting our right to life.

The truth is, Republicans only support life when the super rich aren't taxed to pay for it.

Barbara Bush Has Heart Surgery...

... apparently to remove the black part.

Jon Stewart PWNS CNBC & Wall Street

Stewart hits it out of the park... again. The whole show is worth watching.

Limbaugh's Minions Rush To His Defense

One hates to keep talking about Rush Limbaugh all the time. After all, if you're not a dittohead why would you want your world to be consumed by all things Limbaugh 24/7? But I would be remiss to ignore the continuing clusterfuck that is the Republican party being sucked up in a Limbaugh food vacuole.

Yesterday, I mentioned the ever deepening quicksand the Republicans are sinking into as they try wriggling away from the notion that Limbaugh is the de facto head of their party while being fearful of offending him and feeling the Rush wrath. And now as a testament that the GOP is stuck between a rock and a fat place, Texas Senator John Cornyn has started a petition to get the big, bad "Democrat party" to stop saying mean things about how Rush leads the Republicans.

...just weeks into his Administration the President’s staff has been caught engaging in a coordinated and cynical political attack game – the very diversion and manipulation then-candidate Obama attacked the McCain campaign for last year. The apparent goal of this strategy was to distract public attention from the Democrats’ massive spending proposals by depicting Rush Limbaugh as the new face of the Republican Party.

...President Obama owes the American people an explanation.

His staff should apologize to the American people for supporting these tactics and diverting attention to the hard work that needs to be done to get America’s economy back on track.

Please join me in signing this petition and calling on the Obama White House to come clean on this matter. Join me in asking them to work with Republicans on the critical issues facing our country today. The American people deserve better than diversions and manipulations.
Seriously? What's more of a diversion from "the hard work" than a petition to stop the White House from connecting Limbaugh and the GOP? Instead of Cornyn, or any Republican for that matter, proving the theory wrong and blatantly stating that Rush Limbaugh does not speak for any elected official in the Republican party, he decides to indirectly defend Limbaugh and try to turn the attack on the White House with a ridiculous petition, in essense inferring that the accusations have some merit!

But this is my favorite line of his "Stop, or I'll take my ball and go home" petition:

...It appears the Obama Administration has forgotten that the salaries of White House staff are paid for by you the taxpayer.
And who the fuck is paying Cornyn's salary while writing Save Rush Limbaugh petitions? Limbaugh? Cornyn is under the assumption that all other work stops when exposing the Republican party's Limbaugh ass kissing, puncuated by his petition. He forgets that the Democratic party, unlike his party, has the ability to multitask because they don't march in lockstop with one specific idea.

Until the Republicans can divorce themselves from the negative Limbaugh rhetoric without pissing in their pants for fear of a Rush retribution the following day on his radio show, then Big John Cornyn should shut the fuck up and prove that the "Limbaugh is leader" meme is wrong.

(H/T Bob Cesca)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

McCaskill Rips GOP Hypocrisy on Earmarks

I love this woman.

Limbaugh Challenges Obama To A Debate

Limbaugh thinks he is so important, he can challenge the President of the United States to a debate... on his own show... on his turf.

"I am offering President Obama to come on this program without staffers, without a teleprompter, without note cards to debate me on the issues," Limbaugh said on his program today. "Let's talk about free markets versus government control. Let's talk about nationalizing health care and raising taxes on small business. ... Let's talk about illegal immigration and lawlessness on the borders. Let's talk about massive deficits and the destroying the opportunities of future generations."
And apparently, he thinks if he's "taken out," that President Obama will have defeated his opposition and will "own" the country. As if a radio talk show personality warranted equal footing with the leader of the free world .
"If you take me out," Limbaugh said addressing Obama directly, "if you can wipe me out in a debate and prove to the rest of America that what I say is senseless and wrong, do you realize you will own the United States of America? You will have no opposition."
Un. Hinged.

Callers then asked why, if he's fighting for the soul of America, Limbaugh wouldn't take the opportunity to debate in prime time with a moderator of his choosing in front of a huge audience. Limbaugh refused. It had to be on his show.

What a valiant man!


Dismiss Limbaugh? Not A Chance - UPDATED

I've been reading some comments on other web threads of those who are concerned of the Limbaugh situation and how it may galvanize Republicans in 2010 and 2012. Or perhaps that the Democrats are not taking Limbaugh seriously.

Sure, it's great comedy for the left - right now. What about in a couple of years when these idiots mobilize? And mark my words, they surely will. This whole "kiss the ring" mentality of the party is ludicrous, but it keeps them in the news cycle.
I say fine, let it come. Let them continue to make asses out of themselves by bowing down to a radio talk show entertainer. Anyone who listens to and agrees with Limbaugh is never in a million years voting Democratic anyway. It's the independents who are annoyed, frustrated and fed up with the Limbaugh rhetoric, and if the Republican party refuses to distance themselves from Rush because they're afraid of him and the power he wields with 20 million listeners, then it shows them for weak party they've become. They can sit behind their podiums and threaten to filibuster when they're in the collegial body of the Senate, but when they have to shiv someone in a Rush Limbaugh airwaves street fight, they kneel down, cower and beg for mercy.

So in a sense, Democrats and liberals who are making the correlation between Limbaugh and the leadership of the GOP aren't doing it for a laugh, they aren't taking Limbaugh for granted, they're embracing the fact that as far as GOP voters are concerned, Limbaugh TRULY IS the de facto leader of the Republican party and every time a GOP politician tries to distance himself from Rush, he looks like twice the fool when he tucks his tail between his legs and apologizes the next day. They can't say Rush doesn't speak for the party and then backtrack and say they "cherish his voice in the public debate."

And what if they do "mobilize"? The crazies came out in droves to vote against what they perceived was a black, Muslim, Manchurian candidate, foreign born socialist who palled around with terrorists. There were shouts of "treason" and "terrorist" and "off with his head" from the wingnuts at Sarah Palin rallies.

What did that get them? 45 million votes, 160 some odd electoral votes, and major seat losses in Congress. They're in for the same thing if the strategy remains the same. If the Republican party was serious about changing, they wouldn't be touting the likes of Jindal and Palin for 2012.

As an aside, I don't know whether the Obama staff and the Democratic party in general stumbled upon Limbaugh equaling the head of GOP by chance, or whether it was a carefully laid out tactic, but it seems to be working. The Republicans are in Limbaugh quicksand right now, and the more they struggle to extract themselves, the deeper they sink.

UPDATE (4:25pm):

Maybe it was planned after all. Well, I suppose not "planned" per se, but the Democrats are definitely using it to their advantage.

Politico's Jonathan Martin: Rush Job: Inside Dems' Limbaugh plan

Washington Post Op-Ed - David Plouffe: Minority Leader Limbaugh

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Sky Is Falling! Blame Obama

The Dow Jones average fell below 7000 for the first time since 1997. And it's Obama's fault. At least that's what the corporatists and right wing would like you to believe. The fast and furious mudslinging doesn't stop, nor will it ever in my opinion. Anything bad that happens? It Obama's fault.

Nevermind the fact that it's taken years to reach the financial tsunami, this perfect storm of a crisis. It's Obama's fault. Even the Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal, a financial paper that used to have some credibility has jumped on the "Blame Obama" bandwagon.

As 2009 opened, three weeks before Barack Obama took office, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 9034 on January 2, its highest level since the autumn panic. Yesterday the Dow fell another 4.24% to 6763, for an overall decline of 25% in two months and to its lowest level since 1997. The dismaying message here is that President Obama's policies have become part of the economy's problem.
January 2nd? But President Obama didn't take office until January 20th, when the Dow closed at 7949. Kinda blows a whole in the numbers, doesn't it? So not only is it bad enough for the WSJ editors to fudge numbers to make it look worse since Obama took office, they are now saying he's had enough time to fix the economy. Why can't Obama close the deal?
But after five weeks in office, it’s become clear that Mr. Obama’s policies are slowing, if not stopping, what would otherwise be the normal process of economic recovery. From punishing business to squandering scarce national public resources, Team Obama is creating more uncertainty and less confidence — and thus a longer period of recession or subpar growth.
Yes, because after eight years of deregulation, ponzi schemes, major tax cuts for the wealthy causing a continuing disparity between the upper crust and the middle class, and during war time no less, it only takes five weeks to clean up the mess, doesn't it...

You'd think some serious ideas to help solve the problem instead of being the Party of No would behoove these people, but why should I continue to be surprised?

Earmarks By The Numbers

The Omnibus bill currently being debated in the Senate is being attack by the right as just more pork with thousands of earmarks categorized as wasteful spending. But the people doing the most talking account for practically half of all the earmarks. That's right, almost half.

Bob Cesca: Okay, so it's time for another wingnut revolution (get a permit!) to protest the staggering amount of pork in the omnibus bill that's moving through Congress right now. So let's go, wingnuts. Get your little tea bags and your awesome signs and get going.

Here are the
top three offenders (solo earmarks):
1) Senator Byrd (D-W.Va.) - $123 million
But Byrd supports the earmark system, so of course he's going to take advantage. He always does. But look...
2) Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) - $114 million
3) Senator Kit Bond (R-Mo.) - $86 million

Senator Inhofe? $53 million. Senator Cochran? $76 million. Senator McConnell? $51 million.
Could this be correct? I don't doubt that Cesca's numbers are wrong, but you'd think that the fiscally responsible Republicans would tone down the rhetoric if they were just as guilty of adding earmarks to the 2009 Budget. But I tend to forget that for the most part, they are idiots.

So here's what I found when breaking down the numbers (Excel file) provided by the non partisan group Taxpayers for Common Sense even further:

6 of the top 10 solo earmark procurers were Republicans for a total of $454.4 million.
The remaining 4 Democrats in the top 10: $312.9 million.

Of the 78 Senators asking for solo earmarks, 40 were Republican.
Of the 22 Senators that didn't ask for solo earmarks, only 5 were Republican.
Of the seven Senators that didn't ask for ANY earmarks, only one was Republican.

Total amount for 55* Democratic Senators: $681.3 million.
Total amount for 45* Republican Senators: $665.8 million.

Democrats: 3,956 earmarks for a total of $4.75 billion.
Republicans: 3,536 earmarks for a total of $4.6 billion.

Democrats: 52.8% of earmarks totaling 50.8% of the money.
Republicans: 47.2% of earmarks totaling 49.2% of the money.

So there you have it. The fiscally responsible Republicans in the Senate who have been front and center complaining about earmarks as pork account for basically HALF of the earmarks... with less members.

But we're supposed to take them seriously as they grovel at the feet of Rush Limbaugh, see Bobby Jindal as the future of the their party and play identity politics with their choices of Sarah Palin and Michael Steele.

* list includes members that are no longer in the Senate.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Balls of Steele...

...are now sitting in a jar on Rush Limbaugh's mantle along with the rest of the Republican political so-called leaders on Capitol Hill.

It started early on with Phil Gingrey in his once in a lifetime moment of lucidity when questioning the rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh, until folding like a house of cards and apologizing to The Portly One the very next day after receiving tons of phone calls from the Dittoheads. For every time one of the Republican politicians deny that Limbaugh doesn't speak for them, denounce his "hope that Obama fails," or that they don't go by what Limbaugh says, they then grovel and apologize the next day.

Now the new off-the-hook, hip-hop, leader of the RNC, Michael Steele is the latest to fall under Limbaugh's corpulent thumb.

During Steele's appearance on D.L. Hughley's CNN show on Saturday, he took umbrage at his host's observation that Limbaugh is the de facto leader of the Republican party.

"I am the de facto leader of the Republican party... Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh — his whole thing is entertainment. He has this incendiary — yes, it's ugly.”
Wow! Michael Steele was one step away from poppin' a cap in Limbaugh's fat ass. But then the inevitable happened.

"My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh,” Steele said in a telephone interview. “I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. … There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.

...I went back at that tape and I realized words that I said weren’t what I was thinking,” Steele said. "It was one of those things where I thinking I was saying one thing, and it came out differently. What I was trying to say was a lot of people … want to make Rush the scapegoat, the bogeyman, and he’s not.

I’m not going to engage these guys and sit back and provide them the popcorn for a fight between me and Rush Limbaugh,” Steele added. “No such thing is going to happen. … I wasn’t trying to slam him or anything."
That brown you see on Michael Steele's face is no longer his skin color, it's the skidmark left after inserting his head into Limbaugh's cornhole. Add another jar to Limbaugh's mantle to house Michael Steele's testicles next to Phil Gingrey's, Mike Pence's, Eric Cantor's, Mitch McConnell's and on and on.

Here's Democratic Committee Chairman Tim Kaine's shorter response: I was impressed with Steele for about a minute, until he licked Limbaugh's stiletto heels. All hail Rush Limbaugh! Leader of what used to be the Republican Party!

CPAC's Defender of Constitution Award Recipient Misquotes Constitution

Is it really this easy?

"We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. Liberty, Freedom. And the pursuit of happiness." —Rush Limbaugh in his address to CPAC

Psst... Rush, that's the Declaration of Independence... which you also got wrong.

Like shooting whales in a barrel.

(H/T Bob Cesca)

The Republican Party Leader

The more things "Change" the more they remain the same.

This past weekend saw the return of the Conservative Political Action Conference convention (2009 Crazy Edition), and what a show it was! Between Cliff Kincaid, a right wing activist who is an editor at the ironically named "Accuracy In Media" inferring that President Obama is a communist and doubting his citizenship, and Ann Coulter suggesting that some U.S. cities aren't worth saving in a nuclear attack, everything was overshadowed by the leader of the Republican Party Rush Limbaugh apparently making the crazies cream in their pants with a 90 minute speech for the ages, and receiving CPAC's Defender of the Constitution Award. No, really.

It's impossible to hear House Minority Whip Eric Cantor's claim that the GOP rejects Limbaugh's hope that President Obama fails over the din of his frenzied base at their yearly circle jerk.