Saturday, June 25, 2011

Must Reads

Matt Taibbi: Michele Bachmann's Holy War

driftglass: Waiting For The Miracle

Ian Millhiser: Rep. Chris Murphy: Thomas Gift Scandal ‘Undermine[s] The Integrity of The Entire Judiciary’

Angry Black Lady: Jane Hamsher’s “Afro-American” Reeducation Program Rolls Through Washington, D.C. (and Other Ratfucking Tales)

Amy Gardner: Nevada Presidential Debate Postponed in Hopes of Perry Candidacy

Raise Your Hand If You're Sick of Dan Choi

Where does this guy get off?

On a day where there should be celebration after the passage of a same-sex marriage law in the State of New York, Dan Choi instead chose to yet again attack President Obama for perceived slights against him and the LGBT community. Check out this Twitter feed:

As my recent tweets show, I really don't care for Lt. Dan Choi. He came out knowing he would be the face of the gay military and has now shown that the limelight is to his liking. You know, sort of like Sarah Palin and in my opinion, equally annoying.

No one is saying you shouldn't advocate for what you believe in, but to cast blame solely on President Obama as Choi has done is myopic, opportunistic and egotistical, knowing he was going to continue to get attention in this vein. Hitching your wagon up to Jane Hamsher only solidifies my opinion of his ever-evolving narcissism.

Let's take his tweets one at a time, shall we?

1. "...sad that Barack Obama would have voted no."
Really? How could you possibly know that? We all know that personally, President Obama has stated that he is opposed to same-sex marriage. This is a personal choice based either on his religion or it may be purely a political stance. The same stance every other presidential candidate took at the time.  But what else has he said? He is opposed to a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, signed a repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, and his Justice Department will not fight appeals of the Defense of Marriage Act with the opinion that it's unconstitutional.
2. I wish Gov. Cuomo would run for President with Sen. Gillibrand on an 'equality ticket.'"
Instant new hero, that Andrew Cuomo. I suppose if you're a one issue voter, it doesn't matter that Cuomo has so far been anti-union and that Gillibrand had issues with being pro-gun. But hey, self avowed progressives like Choi don't care about issues like that, do they?  Don't get me wrong, I really don't have much of an issue with Cuomo or Gillibrand, but let's not get carried away with fantasies of a White House ticket.
3. Obama: "I have plenty of gay friends. Some of them work for me. I just feel they are inferior to me, and they don't deserve marriage."
Okay, this is flat out horse shit. This is the kind of drivel that makes me turn completely off to his side of the story, because he's just flat out putting words in the President's mouth that he obviously never said. In fact, he's said the exact opposite.
President Obama at an LGBT Fundraiser in New York (6/23/11): "...Last year, I received a letter from a teenager growing up in a small town, and he told me he was a senior in high school, and that he was proud to be the captain of a club at his school, and that he was gay. And he hadn’t told his parents. He hadn’t come out. He was worried about being mocked or being bullied. He didn’t think it was safe to, in his words, “openly be myself.” But this 17-year-old also looked towards the day when he didn’t have to be afraid; when he didn’t have to worry about walking down the hallway. And he closed his letter by saying, “Everyone else is considered equal in this country. Why shouldn’t we be?”
So, yes, we have more work to do. Yes, we have more progress to make. Yes, I expect continued impatience with me on occasion. But understand this — look, I think of teenagers like the one who wrote me, and they remind me that there should be impatience when it comes to the fight for basic equality. We’ve made enormous advances just in these last two and a half years. But there are still young people out there looking for us to do more, to help build a world in which they never have to feel afraid or alone to be themselves. And we know how important that is to not only tell them that it’s going to get better, but to also do everything in our power to ensure that things actually are better.
I’m confident that we will achieve the equality that this young person deserves. I’m confident that the future is bright for that teenager and others like him, and that he can have the life that he wants and that he imagines.
There will be setbacks along the way. There will be times where things aren’t moving as fast as folks would like. But I know that he’ll look back on his struggles, and the struggles of many in this room, as part of what made change possible; part of what it took to reach the day when every single American, gay or straight or lesbian or bisexual or transgender, was free to live and love as they see fit."
Yeah, that really sounds like a man who believes the LGBT community is inferior and doesn't deserve marriage, huh?
4. "I really appreciate the confidence and strength of NY Gov. Cuomo. He could teach Barack Obama. Or just primary him."
Cuomo's "confidence and strength?" Cuomo signing off on New York's legislation is a no brainer. Show me a bipartisan Congress willing to pass a bill repealing DOMA and I'll show you a President Obama signing the goddamn thing before the ink is dry.

There they go again with the "primary Obama" meme. But here's the thing: if these so called progressives really consider themselves the base, there has to be some kind of support involved. To call yourself Obama's base while not showing one ounce of support for the man and constantly shrieking "Primary Obama!" just shows you to be attention whores uninterested in progressing the discourse. Show me where progressives Jane Hamsher and Dan Choi have supported the president even once. Look for it, because I surely haven't seen anything resembling support from this duo.

And finally let's take a look at the Obama administration's record when it comes to progressing the LGBT agenda.  As has been stated in the past, President Obama has done more for the LGBT community than any other U.S. president, despite the ramblings of the attention seeking Choi.

What may have started as a good intention has now become a Frankenstein monster. Dan Choi comes off as a petulant whiner when chaining himself to the White House fence or ripping up a letter of support for Obama during Netroots Nation, but shows his hypocrisy by attending CPAC and calling GOProud "American heroes." The same GOProud that also opposes ENDA (which President Obama supports), opposes the DOMA repeal and opposes partnership inclusion in UAFA. Those "American heroes?" That's truly a WTF moment.

So can I please stop seeing Dan Choi on my television machine for a while? Or if you insist on putting him on the air, then at least challenge him on his hypocrisy.

UPDATE (11:45pm): It would seem that this post is making it's way around the blogosphere and the immediate reaction from the pro-Choi faction is that A) I have no credibility, B) I am obviously an anti-gay bigot for criticizing Choi and C) I mistook Choi's tweet in which he quotes Obama as a real quote and not satire, therefore I don't know what I'm talking about.

As to 'A', I have yet to find one of these responses refuting the myriad links to Choi's actions and words that helped form my opinion.

In response to 'B', those willing to dismiss my criticisms as the rantings of a homophobe obviously chose to ignore looking at anything else in my blog before reaching that conclusion, including the entry immediate preceding the Choi post in which I praised the passing of New York's same-sex marriage legislation. I suppose that's what gay bashers do, huh? Also by their logic, if I'm anti-gay for criticizing Choi, does that mean Choi is a racist because he's critical of Obama?

And finally, in response to the idea that I didn't understand the "satire" in Choi's tweet where he uses quotation marks for an Obama attribution, that's just silly. To be satirical, the subject matter should at least have a modicum of truth to it, making it all the more ironic. It just doesn't work that well when you're looked to as a leader (as Choi is to many) and you use quotes for something not even remotely close to how President Obama feels about LGBT equality, as shown by the actual quote I used in the post.

New York Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill

NY Times: Lawmakers voted late Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, making New York the largest state where gay and lesbian couples will be able to wed and giving the national gay-rights movement new momentum from the state where it was born.
The marriage bill, whose fate was uncertain until moments before the vote, was approved 33 to 29 in a packed but hushed Senate chamber. Four members of the Republican majority joined all but one Democrat in the Senate in supporting the measure after an intense and emotional campaign aimed at the handful of lawmakers wrestling with a decision that divided their friends, their constituents and sometimes their own homes.
With his position still undeclared, Senator Mark J. Grisanti, a Republican from Buffalo who had sought office promising to oppose same-sex marriage, told his colleagues he had agonized for months before concluding he had been wrong.
“I apologize for those who feel offended,” Mr. Grisanti said, adding, “I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.”
Finally, a Republican who gets it. This is not about God, or a religious "sanctity." It never has been. It's about equal rights for all.

The passage of the bill followed the passage of an amendment exempting religious institutions participating in same-sax marriage from being sued for discrimination, which in my opinion is completely fine. No religion should be forced to adhere to something it is against, just as no religion should force it's doctrine on others. The separation of church and state is a protection that runs both ways.

Although I now live in the land of Christie, I'm proud to be a native New Yorker today.

President Obama's Weekly Address - June 25, 2011

Strengthening America by Investing at Home

Thursday, June 23, 2011

For Sale: One Tour Bus, Rarely Used, $100K OBO

Real Clear Politics: Less than a month after she appeared poised to shake up the Republican presidential campaign, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has once again receded from the 2012 limelight... 
Though Palin and her staff never announced a timeline for the remaining legs of her trip, aides had drafted preliminary itineraries that would have taken her through the Midwest and Southeast at some point this month. But those travel blueprints are now in limbo, RCP has learned, as Palin and her family have reverted to the friendly confines of summertime Alaska...
More than a few of Palin's core supporters have grown impatient and confused about her strategy, venting their frustration on Internet fan sites.
Is there nothing Sarah Palin won't quit?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jon Huntsman Announces Bid - Day Full of SNAFUs

I thought this guy was supposed to be the true professional. What happened on his launch day in his bid for the presidential nomination is not the stuff of legends.

Look, things happen. Wanting to be all Reagan-y and announce your bid in the same location as St. Ronnie did 31 years ago to evoke the spirit of the greatest president in the history of the world is one thing, but you sort of need a good camera angle to get Lady Liberty in the shot. And sure, how can you predict your power generator crapping out 12 minutes before your speech?

But a couple of things that are unforgivable in preparation for your launch are not getting your address and phone number correct on your own campaign website and misspelling your own name on, of all things, press passes!

Rachel Maddow has the whole, sordid story with the ugly details here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Stewart V. Wallace -UPDATED


ADDING... This is the full, unedited version of the interview. Media Matters looks at an edit where Stewart criticized Fox executive Bill Sammon during an exchange about Fox getting "marching orders."

UPDATE (6/21/11): Jon Stewart took the time to point out the editing job of Chris Wallace's "fair and balanaced" interview.

Perry's Tax Plan Hurts Schools


I just watched Karen Finney, on MSNBC, correctly remind viewers that Rick Perry's job growth in Texas, over the last two years, was in part due to the federal stimulus. That needs to be stated over and over.

What also needs to be stated over and over, is that Republicans in the state have been calling out Perry's state tax plan as detrimental to the state, primarily to education.

In 2006, the then State Comptroller, a Republican who later ran against Perry as an Independent, stated EMPHATICALLY and repeatedly that Perry's plan would destroy school budgets. She wrote, in a public letter to Perry

Texans deserve relief from high property taxes, but they do not need it at the expense of future tax hikes and more cuts in public education. Educators are justifiably skeptical of this program because they know that when the state controls the purse strings, rather than locally elected school boards, the result will be devastating to our schools.

The property tax relief contained in the bill, if it can be financed past 2008, will be quickly eroded by rising property values, and increases in local tax rates forced on local school districts struggling to keep up with rising costs. In as little as five years, the state could be right back in court.

Finally, your plan represents the largest tax bill in Texas history, includes an unconstitutional income tax, represents a 200 percent tax increase on Texas businesses at a time when the state has taken an $8.2 billion surplus out of the pockets of hardworking Texans, and does not pay for itself as required by the spirit of our Texas Constitution's "pay-as-you-go, no-deficit-spending" provision. That is unconscionable.

Governor, we should be working to improve state services for Texans and to reduce the burden of government on businesses and individuals. This plan creates a rolling mess that will take 20 years for future leaders of the state to untangle. Texans will recognize this plan for what it is -- a short-term, smoke-and-mirrors patch at best.

Sadly, the only part she was wrong about was "Texans will recognize this plan for what it is -- a short-term, smoke-and-mirrors patch at best."

My husband works for a local school district that just voted down a property tax increase that would have amounted to a bag of chips a week per household. Now buses are on the chopping block, as well as MORE teachers, sports, music, summer school, etc.

The ISD is ranked one of the highest in the state on ROI -- meaning they are efficiently run. Sure they have waste they can cut. But that waste is a blip on the $$$ scale. YET, the people most vocal against the tax increases' ONLY argument was that the ISD wastes money. Since all evidence from the current (Republican) state comptroller and other measurements shows otherwise, and even though the dollars they point to as waste were so minor that we'd still have a budget disaster, all I can say is that messaging, not common sense or comprehension of basic math, won out.

Perry says he has brought jobs to TX (without crediting the many of which were created by the stimulus to the feds). But when you bring families to TX then eliminate the way to fund educating the kids in those families, you can't blame the local ISDs. You especially can't blame the ISDs with high rankings of budget efficiency.

The entire state is facing school budget crises. Why people think each and every ISD created the problem is absurd.

And THIS guy may run for President. If he does, Texans better not fail the American people. We better tell everyone what he has done.

We need to make sure the independents hear the correct messaging: Perry destroyed the budget in the state of Texas. He has led the state since Bush left and has had a Republican state congress. All of the state's problems are his to own and he can't run away from them while running on lies. And finally, if you close your eyes and listen to him talk, you can hear George W. Bush -- and I don't mean the accent.

The only gift his run against Obama would mean would be that Obama COULD actually run against Bush policies again.

So I am also asking a favor: don't bash Texas or Texans. Help the blues in this red/purple state fight. Don't denigrate the state because we need friends outside the state standing with us. We'll have a huge battle on our hands down here -- mocking us will only give us additional fights to counter. Attack Perry and HIS policies. But treat the state with respect and friendship and lift us so that we may have the strength to fight another Texas governor ruining the country!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

They Can Dish It Out, But They Can't Take It

The powers that be at the Republican Leadership Conference thought it would be a great idea to hire Reggie Brown, an Obama impersonator, so everyone could have a good laugh at the expense of the President. I have no problem with that, and actually Brown does a really good job at impersonating President Obama and his self-depricating humor. And Brown knew the audience he was performing for, throwing in a couple of racially tinged jokes for good measure, which the Republican audience ate up. Things like only celebrating half of Black History Month or depicting the premature aging that presidents experience by putting up a picture fictional character Fred Sanford.

Then things took an interesting turn. Brown challenged the audience when referencing and mocking the current crop of GOP candidates for 2012. And as you'd expect, they couldn't take it. He was ushered off the stage.

You can watch a longer version of the performance here, before Brown was escorted off the stage, where he makes fun of George W. Bush, and shows what George Washington looks like today (photo of Barbara Bush in colonial garb).

Did they learn nothing after inviting Stephen Colbert to the White House Correspondents' Dinner a few years back?

UPDATE (5:40pm): GottaLaff has provided the full, unedited C-SPAN video of Brown's act.