Saturday, March 19, 2011

Feeding Frenzy

There's good ol' Mitt Romney taking a leisurely paddle out on the Republican Presidential Nomination Sea on his surfboard. But there are sharks in the water below him and they're confused (as is the case with most GOP sharks) and his silhouette looks like a seal. They go in for the kill. There's blood in the water. Health care blood.

Yesterday, it was the news that Jim DeMint won’t support Mitt Romney unless Romney repudiates RomneyCare.
Now it’s Mike Huckabee’s turn. Speaking on Fox early Friday afternoon, the former Arkansas Governor said that RomneyCare is a “real problem for Mitt Romney” and that the reform plan is Romney’s “Achilles’ heel.”
Huckabee said he was advising Romney to repudiate his health care plan “because it is the model for ObamaCare, and now we have it 50 states, and not one.” Romney, however, is standing by his plan, saying he’s got no apologies for signing it into law despite its similarities to President Obama’s health care reform plan.

Must Reads

Chris Cillizza: The Stumbles of Haley Barbour

Markos Moulitsas: Wisconsin Recall is Real

Jason Linkins: Would A Nuclear Calamity In The U.S. Require A Billion Dollar Taxpayer Bailout? (Yes.)

Media Matters: Note To Media: Experts Say It's "Not Credible" To Blame Obama For Spike In Gas Prices

The Rude Pundit: Why Rush Limbaugh Ought To Be Force-Fed His Own Liposuctioned Fat (Nuclear Edition)

Karoli: Meet the “Other” (Kenneth) Bradley Manning

Dana Milbank: The NPR ‘Emergency’

Eugene Robinson: Inviting a Nuclear Emergency

Steve Benen: The Difference Between Talking Points and a Jobs Agenda

Bill Moyers & Michael Winship: NPR: The Saga Continues

Bill Berry: Carlin Knew the Rich Just Want More

Video referenced in Bill Berry's column:

Warren Christopher Dies at 85

CNN: Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher died Friday from complications of kidney and bladder cancer, his family said. He was 85.
As America's chief diplomat for four years during President Bill Clinton's administration, Christopher "eschewed confrontation in favor of negotiation with friend and foe alike," according to a profile posted on the State Department website.

President Obama's Weekly Address - March 19, 2011

American Jobs Through Exports to Latin America

Friday, March 18, 2011

Anthony Weiner: Get Rid of Click and Clack

Rep. Anthony Weiner took to the floor of the House and outwardly mocked his Republican colleagues (and rightly so) for suspending House rules and calling an emergency session to... discuss the UN Resulution to impose a no fly zone over Libya? No. ...Vote for the US involvement for airstrikes in Libya with France and Britian? No. ...Oh, right, it was to vote for defunding NPR because of yet another edited video by hack James O'Keefe. Nothing about nuclear power plant safety, nothing about creating jobs. Just the GOP falling for another scam.

This is an instant classic.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

One of my favorites.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hey, Reince Priebus... SUCK IT!

The latest RNC Chairman Clown has taken the opportunity to tweet about President Obama's lack of leadership because he spent a few minutes filling out an NCAA March Madness bracket with ESPN.

I suppose Priebus expected the President to don a radioactive suit and get air-dropped into the center of the failing nuclear reactors in Japan? But I'd bet my house that if the President hadn't taken the time for a little diversion to fill out a bracket, Reince Priebus would have tweeted some asinine comment about how President Obama was too elitist to take the time to be an Average Joe and participate in a March Madness pool.

Do you know what I think is elitist? A name like "Reince Priebus."

Martin Bashir does a fine job showing how petty this complaint is.

Just So We're Clear On The Gas Price Thing...

... and frankly because I'm getting sick and tired of Mississippi Governor Boss Hogg and his inane meme that President Obama is somehow manipulating high gas prices because of administration policies (it comes out whenever Barbour decides to open his cakehole), "Drill here, drill now" has nothing to do with gas current prices. That goes for House Speaker John Boehner and Sarah Palin too. Boehner's just using it as a political tool, while Palin should just shut her yapper for once and trying learning something. Drilling here, drilling now might yield oil production increases... in a decade or two, which has nothing to do with today's prices. And the experts, conservative or not, agree:

Near-term fluctuations in gasoline prices are determined by two primary factors: crude oil prices and seasonality. Since the deepwater drilling delay applies only to exploration and production, it would take years, maybe a decade to get any amount of crude oil out of the ground and into our gas tanks. In the meantime, global crude oil supply is exactly the same as it would have been if the government were giving away permits like candy.
~ Chris Lafakis, economist at Moody's Analytics and expert in energy markets

It's not credible to blame the Obama Administration's drilling policies for today's high prices because of the relative scales involved. As I indicated the last time, world oil prices are determined in a market of around 85 million barrels per day of production and consumption, while the consequences of domestic drilling, particularly in the Gulf, likely would be more in the range of several hundred thousand to one million barrels per day, and most of that production would not occur for a number of years.
~Michael Canes, research fellow at the Logistics Management Institute and former chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute

Higher oil prices today are a global phenomenon, and the additional supply from increased drilling by the U.S. would not alter the global balance of supply and demand greatly. Gasoline prices at the pump would be higher either way.
~Lou Crandall, chief economist of Wrightson ICAP LLC, an independent research firm that analyzes high-frequency economic data

Even if you gave permission to drill, it might take generally about seven years for oil to get to market. So that has absolutely no effect on the price of oil today. None whatsoever. The amount of extra oil that the U.S. would produce, as far as affecting the world price of oil, is almost insignificant.
People who say producing more oil will bring price down for Americans are missing the fact that it's a world market. For instance, oil produced in North Slope may very well go to Japan. There's not a separate market -- It's a world market.
~Tom O'Donnell, professor of Graduate International Affairs at The New School and expert on the globalized energy sector
Drilling here, drilling now will only serve to add more oil production to the global market at minimum in the year 2018. It may be harvested on our land, but that doesn't mean it's ours. It's put into a reserve where we are free to purchase it at global prices. And for this privilege, we continue to give exorbitant subsidies and tax breaks to Big Oil.

If Haley Barbour is serious about running for president, then he needs to stop sounding like a fool when it comes to energy policy and lying about the true causes of rising gas and oil prices.

And while we're at it, maybe the media should actually do the research, tell the truth and challenge anyone who tries to blurt out nonsense for purely political purposes instead of having two nitwit talking heads arguing both sides of an issue and giving both sides equal gravitas. Usually, someone is right and someone is wrong. Usually, someone is being honest, and someone isn't. So do your homework and call them out on it. Isn't that what you're supposed to do with liars when you have truth on your side?

Dumbass Quote of the Day

“We all know there’s a double standard in the media... as we know all 3,400 members of the mainstream media are part of the Obama press contingent.”
~ Michele Bachmann on The Laura Ingraham Show as she was trying to explain away her American history gaffe.
It just never stops with Bachmann. She just can't be gracious enough to admit she made a mistake without lashing out. She's got the Sarah Palin Victimization Syndrome down to a tee.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the reason Bachmann gets all the extra attention when it comes to gaffes isn't because of some journalistic double standard, but because the things she says are so fucking outrageous, to ignore them would be a media sin. The founding fathers worked tirelessly to abolish slavery? Lexington and Concord are in New Hampshire? I would think the general public would want to know that a member of Congress doesn't even know her basic American history; and this is the same person who advocated some kind of test of congressional members to see if they are anti-American.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beverley Randolph

Today, the Broadway world is a little less bright with the passing of Beverley Randolph, a long time production stage manager who lost her battle with cancer this morning. She was 59.

I had the pleasure of working with Beverley about ten years ago. Unfortunately it was on a musical flop called The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. We had about a month of previews and after opening, ran for two and a half weeks before closing. According to the Internet Broadway Database, we ran a total of 55 performances, but in that short time I realized that Beverley Randolph was top notch at her job.

The first time I heard Beverley's name mentioned, it wasn't in a very positive light. Mind you, this was after I'd found out I'd be working my first Broadway show as the Head Electrician with Beverley as the Production Stage Manager. I don't know if those who knew her were trying to pull my leg when telling their unflattering stories, or if they really disliked her. I'd come to find out soon enough that if you did your job well, she would treat you like gold. Of course, having a pre-conceived notion of what I might be headed for didn't leave me with a good feeling. And my first impression made me think the not-so-nice stories I'd heard were valid.

You see initially, Tom Sawyer was supposed to have an out of town tryout in New Haven, Connecticut at the Shubert Theater. Soon afterward it was decided that we would open cold in New York and abandon the tryout. This was all well and good, except that no one told the people in New Haven. They had sold tickets, were awaiting a show and canceling at such a late date was out of the question. By this time, we had already prepped our equipment for New York and were loading in to the theatre for the Broadway run, so a compromise was reached whereby New Haven would get a pared down version of the show. Originally, they'd decided on a concert version of the show. Then it became a concert version with costumes, then some minor set pieces, and before we knew it, there was an attempt to stage a version of the full show in New Haven.

A couple of electricians were hired to put in the abbreviated run in New Haven and somewhere within a week or two into our load in in New York, I was told that I'd have to go to New Haven to run the show. I balked. I thought this was a ridiculous idea because we were already setting up for the run in New York, my place was here and it made no sense to go to New Haven for a crucial ten days while our load in and dry tech was taking place for the actual Broadway run. I was told I had no choice. "Beverley had insisted" that I come.

Two days later, I arrived in New Haven. Most of the work was done and I was angered that I was taken away from my duties to sit on a show that only a few weeks ago was not in the picture. My irritability was soon alleviated when a rather tall woman with long dark hair, a commanding presence and a big smile strode up to introduce herself. It was Beverley.

She told me how grateful she was that I was able to come, and how she felt better having me there to get to know me and have someone to lean on during tech in New York. She also felt that I'd get a good head start for our Broadway production by having a sneak peek. She was right.

I told her I was here mainly at her request and if she needed anything, not to hesitate in asking. She said, "Well, the main thing I'd like are cue lights. There hasn't been enough time to set them up. But I don't really need them until tomorrow." Having just gotten there, I told her I'd see what I could do. An hour later I approached her and said, "Your cue lights are all set." She looked at me incredulously, apparently shocked that I'd gotten the task done so quickly and thanked me. And that's all it took. Beverley knew I was on her side and we hit it off. That simple task formed a bond of trust between us. She knew I had her back and I knew she had mine.

When we got to New York and began our tech there, she'd call me privately to let us know when we were close to a break and wanted to make sure it was okay with the lighting designer while he was working on cues; either we could stretch it out a bit if he was in the middle of something or take it as scheduled. Trust.

As I said earlier, our working relationship was short-lived and I never had the privilege of working with her again. Our career paths never crossed after that one show. For a couple of years afterward, I would run into her occasionally on the street or stop by to say hello at a show she was working on and was always greeted with a warm smile.  Working on the same show for the last four years, I haven't ventured beyond my normal routine too much which cause random meetings to become rare, so when I found out Beverley was no longer with us I felt a sadness that I never got a chance to see her again. But I will always have fond memories of her smile, her amazing work ethic and her booming laugh.

My condolences to her family and her husband, Jim. Tomorrow at 8pm, all the lights on Broadway will dim for one minute in memory of Beverley Randolph. When they restore, I don't think they'll seem as bright.  She will be missed.

If Gilbert Gottfried Got Fired...

...for tweeting distasteful and obviously inappropriate jokes about the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami, then what should happen to Republican Kansas State Rep. Virgil Peck?

The state's House Appropriations Committee was debating financing for controlling the feral swine problem, the Lawrence Journal World reports, when one legislator suggested the problem could be handled by shooting them from helicopters. Peck offered: "It looks like to me if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works maybe we have found a [solution] to our illegal immigration problem."
Asked about his comment, Peck was unapologetic. "I was just speaking like a southeast Kansas person,"...
...He said he didn't expect any further controversy over his comment. "I think it's over," he said.
Over? ...We'll see.

At the very least, there should be calls for Peck's resignation. If Gottfried got fired for "joking" about Japan's tragedy, and Haley Barbour's aide resigns amid controversy after sending tsunami (and Janet Reno) "jokes" via email, then Peck's "joke" about shooting illegal immigrants from helicopters like feral hogs are grounds for his dismissal.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dumbass Quote of the Day

“We don’t abandon highway systems because bridges and overpasses collapse during earthquakes. The 1.6 million of us who fly daily would not stop flying after a tragic plane crash. We would find out what happened and do our best to make it safe. And that’s what we need to do here.”
~Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) brushing off the notion of a moratorium on building new nuclear power plants in the U.S. while assessing and learning lessons from the evolving situation in Japan.
Raise your hand if you think a single plane crash or a bridge collapse that can kill hundreds is a moronic comparison to a possible reactor meltdown causing radiation poisoning that can kill a hundred thousand people and infirm a million more.

In short, Lamar Alexander is an idiot.

A Generation of Stupid

Michele Bachmann home-schooled her children. There should be a law against the mentally deficient home-schooling their children.

"As a mother of 5 and foster mother to 23, as well as someone who homeschooled her children, Congresswoman Bachmann is a strong supporter of homeschooling and is looking forward to speaking to the group in Iowa," says Bachmann spokesman Doug Sachtleben.
Wow, that's 28 kids who think that Lexington and Concord are in New Hampshire...

ADDING... Duh. Winning!

Evan Bayh: Fox Contributor

Former Indiana Senator Evan Bayh made his decision not to run for the Senate again so he could take a cushy job as a Washington lobbyist. Now he's gone to the dark side.

Bayh will be a commentator and political analyst across all of Fox News’ platforms. He was a Senator from 1999 to 2011, where he became one of the more prominent conservative Democrats in the chamber.
Et tu, Evan?

Presidential Material

For the last few weeks, the talking heads have been wondering where the viable Republican presidential nominees were and why they were waiting so long to announce their decision to run. At this same point 4 years ago, I believe there were somewhere in the neighborhood of ten GOP candidates. But let's face facts: despite the constant fear mongering, the constant barrage of insults, misinformation and accusations of being "the other"; despite a slow economic recovery and public sector jobs putting a drag on the unemployment rate, President Obama's approval rating has been hovering around the 50% mark. At this point in the timeline of his presidency, even St. Ronnie's approval numbers weren't any better and in fact had dipped below 40% within his first two years, a number to which Obama hasn't even come close.

The reason no one has come out and officially announced their intention to run even though some are going through the motions in Iowa, New Hampshire and North Carolina, is because they are scared - they know there's very little chance to beat President Obama, so why bother throwing your hat into the ring of a losing cause? While there may be some lackluster but legitimate candidates that can make it interesting, maybe a Jon Huntsman, a Mitch Daniels or even a Mitt Romney, the rest of the names being tossed about are a Who's Who of Clown Car passengers.

Newt Gingrich self-immolated with his Christian Broadcast Network confession that his extramarital affairs during his first and second marriages were a condition of hard work and patriotism. Rick Santorum still believes that WMD were found in Iraq and touts government staying out of your life, unless there's a brain dead person involved. Mike Huckabee has started with a real bang in the radio circuit with his Obama/Kenya/Mau-Mau snafu and then tried to cover it up by saying he misspoke, citing information in his book. Information that doesn't exist. Sarah Palin is... well, she's Sarah Palin. But the rampant stupidity of Michele Bachmann is really an amazing thing to watch.

Not only has she hooked her wagon to the Tea Party and actually started a Tea Party caucus in Congress, but there isn't a day that goes by where she doesn't cause you to spit up your coffee with the crap that comes out of her mouth. It's not just an occasional gaffe here and there. This woman puts Joe Biden to shame in the Foot-in-Mouth Department.

Take for instance Bachmann voicing her inner Joe McCarthy and suggesting looking "at the views of the people in Congress and find out: Are they pro-America or anti-America?" Or her penchant to call President Obama's views anti-American. How about claiming that the founding fathers worked tirelessly (including John Quincy Adams, who wasn't a founding father) until slavery was abolished in the United States. But this latest one is a beauty.

Wanting to impress the Live Free or Die people of New Hampshire, she said, "What I love about New Hampshire and what we have in common is our extreme love for liberty. You're the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord." Uh... that would be Massachusetts, dumbass.

Of course, instead of just raising her hand and saying, "Oops" she resorted to, shall we say, less than presidential demeanor on the latest choice of political idiots, Facebook:
So I misplaced the battles Concord and Lexington by saying they were in New Hampshire. It was my mistake, Massachusetts is where they happened. New Hampshire is where they are still proud of it!
And by the way... That will be the last time I borrow President Obama's tele-promoter!
GASP! She was using a teleprompter?! Isn't that the tool of the devil? Why can't she scribble on her hand like the others? So MENSA member Michele Bachmann tries to cover up one of her daily mistakes by taking a swipe at arguably one of the smartest men in whatever room he happens to enter. But hasn't that become the default position for the GOP? Sit on Fox News and laugh at the President and belittle his intelligence, and soon enough the yahoos will believe it.

As Bob Cesca states...
...I'd love to see Bachmann or Palin or any of these hooples challenge the president to a head-to-head round of common knowledge questions. Hell, the president could be the smartest man on Earth -- he could have solved the mysteries of the universe and defeated that computer on Jeopardy, while simultaneously defeating that other chess-playing computer -- blindfolded -- and these idiots would still be accusing him of somehow being a marble-mouthed ignoramus. Remarkable.
Exactly. But of course if ever a contest or debate were to take place, the expectations bar would be set so low, it would be spun as a win for the idiot just because she didn't manage to vomit on herself.