Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fired Up, Ready To Go!

President Obama in Columbus, Ohio today.

"This is a make or break moment for the middle class, and we've been through too much to turn back now."

Small Government Republicans

Yes, Republicans want to shrink government small enough to drown in a bathtub... or stuff into a woman's vagina.


More Like This, Please

I have a feeling this is only the first in what will be a long line of debunking Mitt Romney, Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and the GOP in general over the next six months.

(Via Upworthy

 Here's the debunkification.

Must Reads

Paul Begala: What's Mitt Romney Hiding in His Record as Governor

Stephen King: Tax Me, for F@%*’s Sake!

Bob Cesca: The Republicans Can’t Handle the Truth About Bin Laden

Ben Demiero: The Obama Ex-Girlfriend Conspiracy Inevitably Falls Apart

Paul Krugman: Wasting Our Minds

Jed Lewison: Paging Donald Rumsfeld: If the bin Laden raid was such an easy call, why did you say no?

David A. Graham: Obama's Composite Girlfriend: How Politico and Drudge Created Fake News

Sahil Kapur: Krugman Unloads on Paul Ryan

David Macaray: There Is a Plague Loose Upon the Land

Paul Buchheit: Five Tax Fallacies Invented by the 1%

President Obama's Weekly Address - May 5, 2012

A New Chapter in Afghanistan

Friday, May 4, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Oh, Tim, if you’re looking for someone who’s never changed any positions on any policies, then I’m not your guy." 
~Mitt Romney to Tim Russert, on Meet the Press in 2007
Well, no shit, Sherlock. Mitt Romney has taken changing policy positions, AKA flip-flopping in his case, to an art form.

This quote was unearthed by Think Progress in regards to the resignation of openly gay policy advisor Richard Grenell, affirming at the time that Romney doesn't think it's the job of the federal government to protect workers from being fired based on sexual orientation. Based on the recent caving to the evangelical right on the Grenell affair, it seems this is one of the few policy issues on which he hasn't flip-flopped.

No Mitt, you're not my guy.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Take That, Joe Scarborough!

Posted by Desert Crone NM

Joe Scarborough, the former Florida congressman, full-time pundit, and pseudo-journalist, claimed Sen. Marco Rubio isn't ready to be vice president just like "'Barack Obama wasn't ready to be president in 2008, just like Sarah Palin wasn't ready to be on the national ticket in 2008.'" So Scarborough thinks Rubio, Palin, and President Obama are and were similarly unprepared to be president and vice president. Shall we take a serious look at this comparison.

Scarborough is right about Sen. Rubio. In fact, he didn't go far enough. Rubio isn't just unprepared; he's the shallow GOP's pretty pet parrot. Compared to President Obama, Rubio is "Bush" league. Rubio attended Tarkio College, a now closed, bankrupt Missouri college and Santa Fe Community College in Florida. I'm not casting aspersions on community colleges since I was an English instructor at one for 10 years. However, Columbia they are not.

Rubio's biography claims he was a football star at Tarkio College in 1989-1990, when the team went 1-8. Seriously, I probably could have been a star on that team. Rubio transferred to Santa Fe Community College and then the University of Florida, where he graduated with a BA. In 1996 he graduated from the University of Miami with his law degree. My google searches failed to produce a single prestigious award he earned from any of his colleges.

Lawyer by trade but politician by profession, Rubio became a city commissioner and never looked back. Accordingly Rubio's wealth grew along with his political clout. In 2000, when he was elected to the Florida State House of Representatives, he made over $82,000, and by 2008, when he was elected Speaker of the House (FL), his income was over $399,000. As a United States Senator, he has sponsored 18 bills, which is the fewest bills of any senator. He has missed nearly 7% of senate votes this session, which is below the senate average attendance.

Shyster by trade and profession, Sarah Palin attended 5 (6 if you count the University of Idaho at Moscow twice) colleges and universities in 5 years. Frankly, I can't imagine how any of the colleges she attended could possibly have kept up with her grades, much less her credits.

Again her colleges were not Columbia. She went on to work as a sports reporter for an Anchorage TV station. She eventually won a seat on Wasilla, Alaska city council, a town of 7800 citizens. I would like to point out that I won a seat on the board of education in a town of 25,000, so I'm thinking that I could be .....oh skip it. Anyway, we are painfully aware of the rest of her story. Palin was catapulted onto the national stage in one of the most egregious, self-centered, damaging, not to mention unpatriotic, acts by a politician and his staff ever.

Palin's lack of general knowledge about American history, world history, world geography, and global politics was abysmal. She was and still is a divisive figure and should be an embarrassment to every American. Well, except to those who share the same qualities. Oh, and she wrote a book or maybe even two with a ghost writer.

From Occidental to Columbia to Harvard, where Barack Obama graduated magna cum laud and was president of Harvard Law Review, the President's academic record is certainly more impressive than the others to whom he has been compared. According to many who have participated in White House meetings, the President also possesses an eidetic memory. In fact, his frequent critic Keith Olbermann claims Pres. Obama is one of the 1000 most intelligent people in the United States. Those of us who have read President Obama's books know he is a self-actualizer who possesses an impressive intellect as well as profound, thoughtful insight into others. Lawrence Tribe, esteemed Harvard law professor, pronounced Barack Obama to be his best student ever.

Unlike Palin and Rubio, Barack Obama didn't become wealthy because of holding public office but because of his superior writing skills. In fact, his wealth doesn't compare to many politicians, say, such as Darryl Issa. (I know I veered slightly off subject, but I couldn't stop myself.) Both Rubio and Palin have been accused more than a few fabrications and found guilty of unethical and illegal behavior. The same certainly cannot be said of President Obama.

I believe it's fair to conclude that, in terms of both character and intellect, the President is far superior to the other two. However, Scarborough is probably referring to leadership skills possessed by the President, Palin, and Rubio. Well, then let's examine the President's leadership skills. He was elected president of the Harvard Law Review, a most prestigious and probably political position. In fact, being elected president of the law review at any law school is considered one of the highest honors at any university Pres. Obama's selection shows exceptional leadership when you consider this was over 25 years ago, not a time commonly known for Black men or women to be recognized at revered white institutions. (Remember his embrace of his African-American professor Derrick Bell--black on black hugging that gave Sean Hannity the vapors.)

And then there was that silly community organizing thingy, which, of course, you only think is silly if you don't give a damn about people. By the way, if any of you have attempted community organizing, you know it is like herding cats. Organizing any group of people with different opinions, desires, goals, etc. is a tough job. It's damn hard even when the people have similar goals and desires. I know. I was president of a local teachers' union. But the Republicans, ignoring the juggernaut of a campaign organization put together by a man with organizing skills, scoff at this experience as if it's nothing. Folks, that's not nothing to put together a machine that defeated both the Clinton team and the GOP. Besides President Obama did employ lots of people, so he should be called--wait for it--a job creator.

President Obama, a civil rights lawyer and professor, could have had, along with Mrs. Obama, a very lucrative career as a lawyer in powerful law firm. Instead President Obama entered politics as an Illinois state senator, a position he served in for 8 years. Get that---8 years, not half a term, and was elected by 46,000 voters. Later in the United States Senate, he served on both the international affairs and homeland and national security committees where he was well-suited with his degree in political science (emphasis on international relations) from Columbia. As a senator for nearly 4 years, Barack Obama sponsored--not co-sponsored--but sponsored 137 bills. As a comparison, look again at Sen. Rubio's rather lackluster accomplishments. In fact, if you compare their original pieces of legislation, I think you will find much more fluff and less substance in Rubio's offerings. If you do the math, at Sen. Rubio's pace, he will never be as productive or prolific a senator as Senator Obama.

Let's pretend for a minute ol' Joe reads my post, and he shoots holes in it-- in a sort of right wingy way-- I still have one more bit of proof that will separate President Obama from those two lightweights. Historians such as Doug Brinkley and Doris Kearns Goodwin have praised President Obama as one of the most productive presidents in history. His accomplishments would be historical even without some of the most intense obstructionism and extreme partisanship in American history. So don't tell me he was unprepared, Joe. Even if you disagree with his politics, you cannot deny that President Obama has been a pretty doggone amazing president. How else can you possibly explain his accomplishments. No one has the qualifications to be President unless they've been President. No occupation fully prepares one for such a job, but in President Obama we see a kind of "harmonic convergence" of intellect, curiosity, maturity, wisdom, leadership, and temperament. How else do you explain his preparedness but to conclude that Barack Obama was born ready to be President.

This Post Isn't Really about Elizabeth Warren

Posted by Desert Crone NM

I am a fan of Elizabeth Warren, and if you're a liberal like I am, why wouldn't you be. She is a warrior for the poor and middle class. She is outspoken, honest, and sincere. Warren, like President Obama, carries a big stick. However, she has a problem now with her claims to be a minority faculty member at Harvard, which can't be easily dismissed by even her most fervent followers.

Ms. Warren, the darling of the Left much like President Obama was, is already being haled as a presidential candidate by many folks on the Left. That overzealousness, as I see it, gives me butterflies--just a slight feeling of nervousness. I frequently caution those who ballyhoo her as a 2016 Presidential contender with "shouldn't we get her elected to the Senate first?" Let's face it, we don't know how she'll perform as a senator. Many believed a Senator Clinton would also be a bulldog, but instead, she was a (gasp) compromiser. And, lest we forget, a hawk.

My caution has proven to be prescient. As you may know by now, Harvard claimed Ms. Warren as a minority faculty member. Sorry folks, you can't claim minority status by virtue of 1/32 of minority ancestry. Ms. Warren has stated (or at least a campaign staffer has) that she didn't know Harvard made such a claim. I'm a bit skeptical about this since as a high school and college instructor, I was always well aware of the contents of my bio. Secondly, how would Harvard have known about Warren's ancestry if she had not mentioned it.

Like Ms. Warren many Americans claim Native American ancestry with much pride and an abundance of ignorance. For example, my great-grandmother was a Kiowa, who was referred to as Kiowa Woman in the small Oklahoma town where she lived. I only discovered the truth when I was working on a graduate project in folklore in the early 70's and conducted extensive interviews with my grandmother. She rarely discussed her heritage although both my grandmother and mother would've qualified for Oklahoma tuition credits based on their Kiowa ancestry. (My mother's parents left Oklahoma for New Mexico during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl.) In spite of my ancestry, I know very little about the Kiowa Nation, other than what I learned in college history classes. I'm not ashamed of my ancestry, but, frankly, I had nothing to do with it. I certainly wouldn't have claimed to be a minority or allowed anyone else to claim it for me.

However, this issue alone should not hurt her and will probably be a blip on the political radar by Nov. if she will just be honest be about it. The question that arises from the incident is, as a political novice, would she even be ready for the presidency in four years. The incident also tells us that Elizabeth Warren is human with the accompanying flaws. Let's be clear--her authenticity is not based on 1/32 of minority ancestry but of her long advocacy for the underdog. She is what she is--a wealthy white woman who is a bulldog for the poor and middle class.

She has earned our respect and admiration, but let's not make her more than she is, which is exactly what many on the Left did to Barack Obama. Liberal critics of the President emerged as little emoprogs, who became, do I dare say it, emofrogs, croaking their disappointments endlessly. I've often commented that the first time Warren makes a political decision rather than a purist one, many of her starry-eyed fans will scream that she betrayed them.

We liberals desperately want to bestow the hero's cape on someone along with all the unstated expectations that accompany that cape. The emoprogs, bewailing the "impurity" of President Obama, obviously didn't listen to the man but only heard what they wanted to hear. In doing so the critics denied his authenticity as a human being. Let's not make the same mistake with Warren because, as we see now, she is very human.

Let's be honest about Elizabeth Warren. We have no idea how she'll perform in the Senate. Will she be a Sen. Sanders, who, too, is a champion of the poor and middle class but rarely gets a bill passed? Or will she be a pragmatist like President Obama, whose objective is to get as much done for us as possible? Frankly, I hope she's a pragmatist rather than a purist.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

MLB, Won't You Please Join Us in the 21st Century?

This morning after watching a few minutes of ESPN and some of the highlights, I was ranting about the idiotic call made yesterday by Major League Baseball umpire Tim McClelland, ironically calling his 4000th game in the majors, and making a boneheaded mistake.

The Kansas City Royals' Jeff Franceour had just crushed a ball that bounced off the top of the wall in left-centerfield and Detroit outfielder Austin Jackson made a good play to catch the ball on the rebound and prevent a home run. But McClelland called Franceour out, even though it was a live ball. After reading accounts, I understand that it was a case of brain freeze. McClelland realized his mistake immediately and tried to correct it.

But that is nothing in comparison to what happened today:

This kind of play begs the question: When will Major League Baseball step into the 21st Century with the rest of the world and set up an instant replay system?

It's bad enough that the only replays currently allowed are home run calls because it got so bad a few years ago, umpires couldn't even figure out when balls when over the fence or hit the foul poles. And even in some cases after instant replay had been instilled in those situations, they still got the call wrong.

But more and more, I've noticed a growing rash of horrible calls. Yes, there's the occasional "bang-bang" play at first base that can go either way when you're watching in real time, but I'm not talking about those types of plays (although those can easily be corrected by watching an instant replay). I'm talking about calls that are egregiously wrong.

Two years ago, Armando Galarraga was robbed of a perfect game that could easily have been corrected had MLB had an instant replay system. There are plays too numerous to mention when it comes to blown umpires' calls in the MLB from regular season games to more important playoff games. But in a world where the average viewer sees an instant replay of practically even play during the game, routine as well as controversial, why is Major League Baseball so adamantly against using instant replay to help correct human error?

Practically every other sport uses it. The NFL has a challenge process by which head coaches can challenge a ruling on the field. The NBA can review baskets that come close to the expiration of the shot clock even long after the event during the next stoppage of play. The same applies to NHL goals. Even pro tennis players can challenge the ruling of whether a ball was in play or out and it's checked by computer graphics. But the resistance of MLB to the use of instant replay is mind boggling.

And I don't know why. Some say it would slow down the game even more than its current snail's pace, or that the umpires' union would never allow it. Well, what if an extra umpire were hired for every game to sit in a video booth and instantly see every replay just like we do at home? That would be 16 extra umpires employed by MLB and the video review would be instantaneous. Some say you don't want to show up the umpires. Ask Jim Joyce if he'd prefer being "shown up" instead of giving Armando Galarraga the perfect game he so richly deserves. And what shows up the umpire more than an angry manager arguing a questionable call on the field in front of thousands of fans?

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig can etch his name into the annals of baseball history by mandating some form of instant replay system to double check important calls that can sway the outcome of a game. God knows he won't be remembered for much else. So, please, Major League Baseball, for the sake of the Baseball Gods, join us in the 21st Century and consider making instant replay part of the day to day operations, simply for the sake of making the right call.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post misidentified Jeff Franceour as a Detroit Tiger and Austin Jackson as a Kansas City Royal, and has since been corrected. (Thanks, Annette.)

Stay Classy, NY Post

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Spiking the Football

I've heard this phrase, "spiking the football," mentioned numerous times in the last few days in reference to the GOP and the right wing punditry accusing President Obama of politicizing the killing of Osama Bin Laden under his administration's watch.

"Shame on Barack Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11th and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning it into a cheap political attack ad." ~Sen. John McCain.
Uh-huh. It's not like McCain would ever do something like politicize 9/11, right?

"If he wants to take credit for it I have no problem with that at all. I wish he wouldn't use it as a source of negative campaigning. I think that's a big mistake." ~Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney said this, at of all places... wait for it... in front of a New York City firehouse that lost 11 members of their department on 9/11 after sharing pizza with the current crew and Rudy "Noun, Verb, 9/11" Giulani. He's literally criticizing President Obama, the man who gave the order to take Bin Laden out, for politicizing his accomplishment while politicizing a New York CIty visit with first responders. A pizza photo op.

And this is an accomplishment that no one else can claim. Certainly not the previous administration, and no, not Mitt Romney either. Romney who, back when then Senator Obama gave a hypothetical during a presidential debate about unilaterally going into Pakistan and taking out OBL if they wouldn't, said it was a foolish thing to say, doubled down on it today while standing if front of a plaque with the names of fallen 9/11 firefighters.
"I said that very clearly in the response that I made, but that I thought — and many people believed as I did — that it was naive on the part of the president at that time, the candidate, to say he would go into Pakistan."
Yet, that's the situation that President Obama found himself in, And that's the decision he made. A decision Mitt Romney probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to make because according to Romney himself, it wasn't worth it.
Romney: “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”
So yeah, spike the fucking football. Spike it all the way to November, because America has to remember that while one candidate didn't think it was worth going after Bin Laden, and while a previous president didn't "spend that much time on him," the current President did.

The GOP has constantly claimed to be the daddy party, with some phantom stranglehold on national security dibs. But no more. They insist President Obama is weak on foreign policy and national security, and when it's presented to them in black and white that this President has been more successful than any of their clown car politicians, they claim he's politicizing. Fuck, yeah he's politicizing! But the difference is he's touting his results and displaying his bona fides for all to see, as opposed to scare tactics like, say... raising the terror threat level for political reasons or invoking 9/11 constantly while running for President.

So spike the fucking football, then pick it up, sign it and shove it down their throats.

UPDATE: It looks like Bob Cesca and I were on the same wavelength.
When McCain noted that President Obama criticized Hillary Clinton’s “invoking on Bin Laden,” McCain was right. And so did I at the time. But here’s the big difference: the president isn’t using Bin Laden to scare us. The Republicans only ever used 9/11, Bin Laden and terrorism to scare people into voting for them. This is fearmongering. It’s the flagrant exploitation of both a tragedy and the threat of an on-the-loose maniac to trick voters into supporting Republican policies for no other reason than to ameliorate their irrational fear.
His Daily Banter piece is a good read - great videos to drive home the point too.

ALSO, this:

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Victory Lapse
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Victory Lapse - The Anniversary of Osama bin Laden's Death
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook



Monday, April 30, 2012

Disarming the GOP Memes

Yesterday I posted the video to Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner and took the opportunity to watch them a second time. I thought the second time was better than the first in regards to both the President's and Jimmy Kimmel's performances.

But something struck me while watching the President. There were the dog eating jokes. A lot of dog eating jokes. Just when you think he'd move on, he'd come in with another one. For a bit, I thought it was too much. But watching it a second time, I realized that all the self deprecation was yet another tool to disarm some of the ridiculous right wing talking points and conspiracy theories that still resonate with the uninformed, misinformed and ignorant that plague our society.

The President's wink after he stating he was born in Hawaii, the GSA scandal cracks, Hillary Clinton's "drunk texting from Cartajena" joke, and the constant dog eating jokes, all designed to disarm the constant harping from the right wing on things that don't matter, or more serious issues that are being dealt with but are used to misplace the blame on the President.

Why this struck me the way it did was because I can't recall such self deprecation on the other side. Sure, there's that hilarious time President Bush was looking under his coffee table for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, but that wasn't so much humorous as it was sad and insulting. Eating dog because it's part of the culture in Indonesia when you're eight years old is a little different than starting a war under false pretenses. An "Oops, my bad" joke in that situation is not at all funny. But I digress.

The point is, watching the idiots on Fox and Friends or Hannity make the off-handed dog eating joke now is only going to make them look childish.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

White House Correspondents' Dinner - April 28, 2012

President Obama

Jimmy Kimmel

I don't mean to sound like an Obamabot, but you have to admit that President Obama is a natural at this. He's likable, not stiff and knows how to dish it out as well as being a master of self deprecation while also being able to take Kimmel's best punches.

Jimmy Kimmel was funny and a bit more biting than performers from previous years. I thought he did well, although in my opinion not as well as Seth Meyers last year and the command performance of Stephen Colbert in 2006. It seemed he rushed through some of his material. Whether it was due to nervousness or the fact that he seemed to have a large volume of material and was trying to get through it all is yet to be determined. Just because you write a thousand jokes doesn't mean you have to use all of them.

But overall, it was a good time. With so much caustic, partisanship these last couple of years, it's nice to sit back and not take things so seriously. Anyone who was offended (I'm looking at you Keith Olbermann and awaiting a Donald Trump tantrum) needs to lighten up.