Saturday, January 21, 2012

Early Entry for Headline of the Year

Worst. Psychiatrist. Ever.

I'm guessing if you lined up 100 psychiatrists and asked them the same question, only Fox News' head shrink Keith Ablow would come up with such a ridiculous answer, the other 99 would demand to see his credentials and recommend revoking his license.

How else can you explain Ablow's amazing analysis when he comes to the conclusion that Gingrich might make a better president because of his infidelity? And if three women fell in love with him, then why not the entire country? You know, because Newt's such a Svengali.

1) Three women have met Mr. Gingrich and been so moved by his emotional energy and intellect that they decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with him.
2) Two of these women felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married.
3 ) One of them felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married for the second time, was not exactly her equal in the looks department and had a wife (Marianne) who wanted to make his life without her as painful as possible.
Conclusion: When three women want to sign on for life with a man who is now running for president, I worry more about whether we’ll be clamoring for a third Gingrich term, not whether we’ll want to let him go after one.
Really, "Doctor" Ablow? I have no such worries.

But witness the analytic mind at work. It may be working at an insane asylum, but working nonetheless, complete with bullet points, assumptions that Marianne Gingrich wanted to punish Newt,  and his "logical" conclusion.

Before you think this is a satirical piece, just remember that Ablow is part of Fox News Channel's  "Medical A-Team." That's got to be worth something, right? My guess is that he's the Howling Mad Murdoch of the group. He continues:
4) Two women—Mr. Gingrich’s first two wives—have sat down with him while he delivered to them incredibly painful truths: that he no longer loved them as he did before, that he had fallen in love with other women and that he needed to follow his heart, despite the great price he would pay financially and the risk he would be taking with his reputation.
Conclusion: I can only hope Mr. Gingrich will be as direct and unsparing with the Congress, the American people and our allies. If this nation must now move with conviction in the direction of its heart, Newt Gingrich is obviously no stranger to that journey.
Yes, because we all know that Gingrich is so truthful in his political life, he was reprimanded and fined for ethic violations during his tenure as Speaker of the House in the 90's. (And a Happy Anniversary to you on that one, Newt.) And it looks like the "great price he would pay financially" comes in the form of Tiffany's charge accounts.

But don't stop there, read the rest. I'm sure you'll have a good laugh, but keep a barf bag near you just in case.

I pity the fool that follows Ablow's psychiatric advice.

UPDATE: A previous version of this post mentioned Ablow insulting Marianne Gingrich's looks which was a misreading on my part. He is actually comparing Callista Gingrinch's attractiveness to... Newt's!

Must Reads

Marcus Cederstrom: What if Tim Tebow were Muslim?

Digby: Straight Up Racism, No Dogwhistle Necessary

Ezra Klein: Who will get the ‘Recovery Presidency’?

Andrew Sullivan: How Obama's Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics

Robert Reich: The Romney Tax Loophole

Ruth Marcus: Mitt Romney’s miserly concern for the poor

E.J Dionne: Republicans keep moving Obama to Europe

Our blast from the past comes courtesy of loyal reader Chris U. who wants to remind us all of Newt Gingrich's political past, sans revisionist history.

John E. Yang: House Reprimands, Penalizes Speaker

President Obama's Weekly Address - January 21, 2012

America is Open for Business

Friday, January 20, 2012

In Follow-Up to the Newt Affair


Ooops, I probably shouldn't have called it an affair. I might hurt Newt's feelings and make him go all nukuler on me.

But, anyway, here's this.

h/t Rick Parry on Facebook.

Why Am I Not Surprised?

Gingrich flatly denied [Marianne Gingrich's] story and attacked ABC News at Thursday's GOP debate. He said, "Every personal friend I have who knew us in that period says the story was false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false. They weren't interested because they would like to attack any Republican."
On Friday, ABC senior vice president Jeffrey W. Schneider said that Gingrich's account was "just not true." He said in a statement, "His daughters were interviewed for our 'Nightline' story last night and we sought interviews with Gingrich or surrogates very aggressively starting Tuesday morning. We would have been happy to interview anyone they put forward."
At this point, who are you going to believe? If what Gingrich said was true, he would have been accommodating in at least having someone fight back the open marriage allegation, but the better political road would be to claim it's a witch hunt and blame the media. How very Herman Cainsian of him.

Etta James Dies at 73

NY Times: Etta James, whose powerful, versatile and emotionally direct voice could enliven the raunchiest blues as well as the subtlest love songs, most indelibly in her signature hit, “At Last,” died Friday morning in Riverside, Calif. She was 73.
Her manager, Lupe De Leon, told The Associated Press that the cause was complications of leukemia.

I Really Tried

I took a deep breath, grabbed my remote and tuned in to CNN last night to watch the latest Republican debate. Normally, when I flip these things on in passing (the GOP debates, I mean) it's just to make sure something miraculous hasn't happened and they started debating in truths rather than whatever fantasy world they live in. But alas, that moment never comes.

Well, while still not living in reality, this night had the makings of being different. After all, Rick Perry had bowed out just that morning and now the GOP Nomination Clown Car was down to four. Newt Gingrich's second ex-wife, Marianne, accused him of wanting an open marriage after he began an affair with his now third wife, Callista. And after two weeks of recounting Iowa caucus votes, we found out that Rick Santorum actually beat Mitt Romney, but since Iowa takes its voting so seriously and eight precincts worth of votes went missing, the recount will never be complete, so we'll never really know, will we?

I knew I was in for a long night when the first question out of the gate was directed at Newt and the open marriage accusation. And an angry, defiant Gingrich went after moderator John King for having the gall to ask such a question at the debate, blamed the media for attacking him and "protecting Barack Obama" and the crowd lapped it up and went along for the ride.

And I think that's what disgusted me most about this South Carolina debate - the audience was chomping at that red meat like there was no tomorrow. They were cheering Gingrich's "fuck you" attitude while simultaneously forgoing their Christian conservative selves in support of a thrice married, twice divorced, serial adulterer. Let alone the hootin' and hollerin' when Newt once again chose to go after welfare recipients (you know, because there are no white people on government assistance) to appease the blood thirsty crowd who'd left their torches and hoods at the coat check.

Somewhere along the line I felt my blood pressure rise and decided my health was more important than a futile exercise. I noticed the time was 8:36pm EDT, probably the longest I've sat through a GOP debate this season... and actually the first time I consciously tried. But to tell you the truth, besides the Newt opener and Santorum claiming victory in Iowa, the rest is a blur. It's hard to concentrate when you have blood boiling in your eyes.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Santorum Won?!

Well where the hell does this put the GOP presidential nomination race? It would seem that after a recount of the Iowa caucuses that gave Mitt Romney a slim eight vote victory shows that Rick Santorum actually won with a 34 vote edge. And it's still a clusterfuck.

Republican officials indicated Santorum finished ahead of Romney by 34 votes on Thursday. The Des Moines Register reports that votes from eight precincts will never be counted, however, and therefore the ultimate tally remains inconclusive.
...Officials found inaccurate counts in 131 precincts, including one that had an error by 50 votes, the Des Moines Register reported on Thursday.
Chad Olsen, the party’s executive director, told the Register that the results showed "a split decision." The final tallies, exempting the eight precincts that will not be tallied, were 29,839 for Santorum and 29,805 for Romney, according to the Register.
Boy, the Republican party is in such disarray that they can't even rig their own elections properly. And now what happens in South Carolina? With a couple of days left and Newt Gingrich's negative carpet bombing of Romney cutting his poll lead in half, anything can happen when you combine the fact that the GOP still can't stomach Newt.

One more thing: after this complete debacle in which the votes of eight precincts will never be counted, and errors exposed in practically every other precinct, can someone please explain to me why it is that we give a shit about Iowa?

Rick Perry Throws In the Towel

Texas Governor, GOP gaffe machine and Jethro Bodine doppelgänger Rick Perry is announcing he is dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination. Nothing like quitting while you're behind.

Reports say he will endorse Newt Gingrich.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA & PIPA are Personal for Me


Technically, SOPA is on hold in the House. PIPA is moving forward in the Senate -- there is a vote whether to discuss it or not, next week. There is a whole other bill in the Senate that is similar.

As a business owner who sells my own creative/intellectual property online, I am torn in two by all of this. I want my designs protected in a reasonable way. At the same time, I sell via sites that I need to be open for business 24/7.

The intent of the bills expand protection from existing laws to encompass international theft of intellectual rights. It's really about getting current with the global reality.

As a business owner who is effected either way by these bills, and as a social media user, my hopes are these:

1) All of Congress adjusts the language to protect free speech and deal with the new realities of how people communicate and share, while ensuring that the people who design/create aren't treated as donors. People who create for a living don't do it for free. Their work is less tangible than a couch or a saw blade or a shirt and therefore do need special consideration. However, the protection of the creative can't come at the cost of the very tools we use to sell.

2) American citizens, journalists and websites must stay CURRENT with the language of all these bills at each stage. Something that annoys me is when we, as a whole, keep yelling about a bill AFTER the language is changed. We lose so much when we don't keep up with changes and keep fighting about language that doesn't exist anymore. The process of passing a bill is longer and more complex than people have the attention span for. If this issue matters, people need to make sure they know what they're talking about at each step. Yelling about version one when we're already on version three is stupid.

3) I hope people will avoid letting the bad parts of any bill blind them to the good parts that are workable. We don't always need to throw a whole bill out. Sometimes we just need to re-work it. Maybe we need to re-work it a lot, but sometimes, that's all that's needed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A must read, seriously.


If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you must read this article in the Guardian. Jonathan Freedland has nailed so many points like no one I've read.

Here's a tease:

The Republican shift is now towards an anti-government fervour that recalls the militia movement of the 1990s, convinced that every Washington move – even a plan to expand healthcare – is motivated by wickedness and constitutes a step towards tyranny. In that context, any action to thwart the government beast is justified. Such ideas were always around on the lunatic fringe, but they have entered and now dominate the Republican mainstream. Today's Republicans are less like a traditional political party and 'more like an apocalyptic cult'. There is a bitter irony here, that the party that insists it is conservative and patriotic now threatens the centuries-old political system that lies at the core of the US's national identity.

Perry Shows Off Alamo Boots

Seriously? (1:38 mark.)

I know the man is a joke, but if you want to be taken seriously for the highest office in the land, maybe you would think about wearing a pair of regular dress shoes, you goddamn shitkicker.

Hey, Y'all, Let's Move!


I get annoyed by Republicans and their "personal responsibility" meme because so often, they preach it while they completely avoid living it. So often, the meme is really just a spiteful response to reasonable ideas. And at times, it's used in response to issues that aren't applicable to a single person. For example, smoking in public. It's NOT a personal responsibility issue when MY lungs are filled with YOUR smoke. See? See how personal responsibility sounds great but isn't realistically implemented because YOU have an impact on ME. My personal responsibility to not smoke is moot because your personal responsibility is to say, "Fuck it. I have the right to liberty and freedom and any shit I want to do because I'm a damn American". But, no. The idea of personal responsibility stops at your skin. Like it or not, your choices effect others. So, if you make poor choices that effect me, I DO get a say.

The underlying problem, as I see it, is that the element of spite is there in almost every single issue where Republicans try to encompass themselves with some make-believe shield of "I wanna and you can't stop me". Not locking a gun away from your kids just to spite gun control advocates. Turning on every light/appliance/TV in your house on Earth Day or driving an old truck that can't pass inspection to spite the clean air advocates. Choosing to feed your kid total crap to spite Michelle Obama.

At some point, the revered "personal responsibility" is replaced by spite.

So, what does a 60-something year old woman's eating habits have to do with personal responsibility or spite or me? If she eats poorly, how does that effect me?

Well, when that 60-year-old woman's entire career is built on eating unhealthy foods and enabling you, me and every obese person in America to eat unhealthy, then her personal responsibility crosses a line into either denial, enabling, greed, pride or all of the above.

Paula Deen was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. How long ago she was diagnosed, we don't know. But the scuttlebut is that she has known for quite a while and didn't disclose it. So, how does that effect others? Because she may have knowingly allowed people to keep eating in ways that cause serious harm to their bodies, that put a strain on the health care industry and that, in turn, effects the cost of health care for everyone. Not to mention the effects it has on a whole new generation of kids who have been taught that their personal responsibility is to eat more butter. These kids will have a much harder time re-learning how to eat.

I have NO CLUE what party Paula Deen votes for. I have NO CLUE if she is a "personal responsibility" Republican. But she is a perfect example of the abuse of the thinking that what you do only effects you. No, Ms. Deen. It effects millions of people when you promote a lifestyle that actually harms people. If you knew you had this food-related disease, why did you choose to pretend your role in society was irrelevant? Could you just not accept it? Could you just not figure out how to adapt your reality to the image you created? Could you not see the "personal responsibility" you had to your fans?

And through all of this Americans with spite and denial and pride, Michelle Obama has been educating kids and families about eating and exercising in realistic and healthy ways. She has been vilified for educating people. Her "personal responsibility" has been to set a good example of enjoying foods that aren't great for you -- in moderation. She has never said all Americans should eat only salads. But people despise her for suggesting we think and take personal responsibility for our health, and the health of our kids.

So, here we have two women. One who is beloved for her image of unhealthy. And one who is derided for her image of healthy. And yet, I imagine many of the same people who criticize Michelle Obama will come to the quick defense of Paula Deen.

So, you know what? Personal responsibility and spite don't mix. And in this case, it may actually kill someone.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sully Gets It


I know, I know. Andrew Sullivan comes with baggage. But for the last four years, he has made more sense than not, and far more sense than many people in all parties. Like him or not, Andrew Sullivan GETS President Obama. And it was nice hearing someone say what many of us have been saying for years. So, thanks, Sully. It was a pleasure having you express reality so clearly.

You can watch him on Hardball

or read his insight in Newsweek.

I would like to add, that when Chris Matthews asks why the Obama team doesn't shout his accomplishments, they do. The media just misses it, ignores it, or doesn't get the significance.

Thanks to The Obama Diary for getting this online so fast!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

And There Goes the Sane One


Jon Huntsman is withdrawing from the campaign in the morning.

OK, Republican friends, this guy was your most mature, sane, reasonable candidates. I have been telling you for years that your party was slipping from your grip. Do you realize that this man would have given Obama, and America, an honest, fair challenge to hear and think about?

If I were a Republican, I'd be really sad for my party. As an American, I am really sad what the Republican party is doing to America.

Cartoon of the Day

(H/T Bob Cesca)